“A Definite Must!”

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place,
Pulpit Series Volume 19 Issue 26 Sept 6, 2009

Deuteronomy 28:46-47 “Because you serve not the LORD your God with joyfulness and with gladness of heart for the abundance of all things; your will serve your enemies.”

It seems crazy, but yet, people seem to be miserably saved.

Many church goers today believe that God has saved them, transformed them, released them of the curse, healed and delivered them, filled them, even adopted them... but deep inside they are ungrateful, complaining and doubting!

Now I am not suggesting that we wear a “happy face”. There is no value in being as my mom would say “a phony bolgonia”.

I’m not talking about those dear saints that are burdened down with troubles and hard situations, I am talking about those leek sniffin’, onion eaten’, wishin’ I was back in Eygpt, Nile Bank Christians! Ungrateful, complaining, doubtful, without joy and gladness of heart.

“AND WHEN Israel saw that great work which the LORD did to the Egyptians: the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD... Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song... I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider has he thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will exalt him.”

An estimated one and a half million Israelites watched all this take place. They must have been completely awestruck, overwhelmed at the sight of God’s power!

Miriam, spontaneously led hundreds of dancers in a victory march! Thousands of tamborines, tens of thousands of voices shouting loud hosannas! You would think that from here on in, no matter what, they’d never doubt their God!

How could anybody doubt a God like this?

Exodus 15:22, 16:3 “So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea and they went into the wilderness of Shur; they went three days in the wilderness and found no water...
And the people murmured, Would to God we had died in Egypt, you’ve brought us into this wilderness, to kill us with hunger.”

This great faith of Israel lasted a
whole three days!

God had kept them safe during the ten plagues. He opened the Red Sea for them. He totally destroyed their pursuers! Yet, they acted as God didn’t care for their physical needs.

Could this account be a warning to God’s people today?

The Bible warns that in end times many will lose their faith and leave their first love. The love of many shall wax cold.

Accordingly, they will end up dwelling in the wilderness of unbelief only a short distance from the promised land of supply and rest!

These folk are I believe “the miserably saved”!

I can’t fathom that out of the 600,000 men of Israel only two kept their faith.

Think of it….599,998 lost their faith. They never entered that place of glorious rest in the Lord!

Is it possible for christians to spend their entire lives lost in a wilderness - plagued by depression, fear, restlessness and unbelief?
The Promised Land is not heaven as some think, it is the place of ALL sufficency in Christ! A place of abundant blessings and peaceful rest from all fear. A life free from anxiety!

It was doubt and fear that birthed an evil report and it was doubt and fear that caused the people to be open to it.

Numbers 14:1-4 “All the congregation lifted up their voice and cried; and wept that night. They murmured against Moses and Aaron: and the whole congregation said, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! Why has the LORD brought us to this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? They said, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.”

Go back? How?
No Water, No Cloud, No Pillar, What about the Red Sea?

You can’t simply go back to your old life. The dark enemy of your soul will want revenge for your disloyalty to him when you first surrendered to Jesus!

Death awaits you - and you’ve no shadow of the Almighty to rest in!

Nehemiah 9:19 -21 “God in His manifold mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness: the cloud led them by day, and the pillar of fire by night. God gave His good spirit to instruct them, and did not hold back His manna, he gave them water for their thirst. For forty years He sustained them in the wilderness, they lacked nothing; their clothes did not wear out and their feet swelled not.”

They were pardoned....still guided….still enjoying the Spirit in measure....still cared for….fed and clothed.....YET, something was wrong with this picture!

They were saved, forgiven and blessed - but they went nowhere!

They walked in big circles, in nothing but wilderness. Numbers 14:23 “Those that provoked me shall not enter the promised land.”

I think it is possible to be a recipent of God’s mercy, blessings and protection - yet never enjoy the life of abundant supply and rest Jesus intends for you.
Wasted lives because of a refusal to believe for God’s best.

Each time a crisis came, they chose to forget God’s proven faithfulness and they complained, murmered and losing faith, they doubted!

Yet dispite all of this, they were not forsaken. The manna kept coming, the water still flowed, but they were kept out of His fullness because of unbelief!

For forty years they went in circles, going nowhere - wrapped up in simply surviving. They became lost in petty problems and senseless disputes. They became bored, going through the motions, always on the edge of argument, always sick, constanly worrying about things that never came to pass. Always questioning God. No joy, no strength, no life!

Is this just about the Israelites?

I beg of you, listen to Hebrews 3:12 “Take heed, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from God.”

Hebrews 4:11 “Labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”

I fear there are a great number of Christians that never enter into God’s rest. They’re never free of worry, they never enjoy peace.

I see another caution here as well. Be careful what you say! What you say may be the death of you!

Numbers 14:28 “As truly as I live, says the LORD, as you have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness.”

I remind you what God is looking for:
1. a people who believe His Word
2. a people who will not act in fear
3. a people who will not turn on Him, complaining and doubtful
4. a people who will in faith believe for God’s best being grateful for all that He provides for them!

Our God is an awesome God. II Peter 2:9 “The Lord knows how to deliver the godly!”

God intends for you to have all joy, peace, victory and rest in Him. Jesus was given to be our sufficency!

May we be the people God is looking for.
· Men and women who will stand in spite of what is coming in this dark age.
· Servants who will stand with a calm peace, grateful, trusting, and joyfully loyal because Christ abides in them and they abide in His fullness.

“Holy Ghost And Fire!”

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 19 Issue 25 August 30, 2009

This past summer we have been fighting the wildfires that have threatened BC. We have worked at nine different fires and put in over 600 man hours. However, today rather than fire suppression I hope to ignite a fire - and if you’ll permit it - today will be a day of Holy Spirit Ignition.

Matthew 3:11 Jesus shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

We could all do to be touched a new with Holy Spirit Fire.

The Book of Acts shows us how the Holy Spirit turned volatile Peter into a victorious peacher.

One day he denies knowing the Lord a few days latter he proclaims the Lord’s mighty name with an awesome boldness!

Peter became a channel, a river, a gushing torrent of living water. Whereever Peter went there was life!

John 7:38 He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

Looking at the stark differences in Peter:
Matthew 26:70, 58 Peter denied knowing the Lord, / Peter followed him afar off
Acts 2:14, 4:8, 3:6 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said to them...such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

Before a coward - after a bold lion of the gospel!
Before ignorant in the mystery of God - after a fountain of spiritual insight and truth!

Where did Peter get all of this information? Did he go to Bible School after the crucifixion? No of course not - this was the work of the Holy Spirit!

The Holy Spirit revealed Jesus to Peter to such a degree that Peter was able to ignite a flame in others!

This Peter who had denied Christ for fear of being killed, now after being touched by the fire of the Holy Spirit boldly speaks without fear and look at the result! (5,000 saved, healed).

The theologians of their day considered the disciples as unlearned, ignorant men. Acts 4:13 when they saw the boldness of Peter and John perceiving them to be unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and took knowledge that they’d been with Jesus. I love that!

With Holy Spirit fire; Peter wrote two fine epistles, John wrote a Gospel and three epistles and a book that still baffles wise men today - the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Note they were all filled. Now go to; Acts 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost… Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. Peter was among them again. This filling may be repeated again and again.

I’m not sure if I’ve got it all figured out yet, but there seems to be a difference between a fresh infilling and the baptism of the Holy Spirit!

Acts 9:17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, brother Saul, the Lord, [even] Jesus, that appeared to you has sent me, that you may receive your sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

Saul was not to begin his life work until “baptized”, “filled with the Holy Ghost.” This was Saul’s Pentecost and for him as for others service began at Pentecost.

Now look at Acts 13:9 Then Saul, (who also [is called] Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, This man who was filled in Chapter 9 is filled a new in this passage. The blessing was repeated making him fit for a special work.

Acts 13:52 And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost. This is the same tense as used in Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; This speaks of a habit, The fullness is always coming!

WANTED SEVEN MEN FULL OF THE HOLY GHOST! Acts 6:3 brothers look for seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, who we may appoint over this business.

These were men whose normal condition was to be full of the Holy Ghost. I have met Christians whose heart condition is not always fully after the Lord!

However, it was the habit of these men that they were full, of the Holy Spirit.... they were consistently being filled!

It is interesting to notice the business for which these deacons were wanted. They were to look after a few decent old Greek widows; and yet even for this business the men must be “full” of the Holy Ghost! None other need apply!

Man have we strayed far from that apostolic practice!

Acts 6:5 .. and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and six others.. The demand for Spirit filled men today is very slack; but even if the demand were to be revived to-morrow, how sad the number in our churches that could be found bearing the trade mark - full of the spirit!
Getting back to Stephen - not just full of the Holy Ghost but he was a man “full of faith and the Holy Ghost!”

This was Stephen’s normal condition right up to the very end of his life! It was true in the begining and at the end!

Probably the easiest way we can get a grip on this is to think of our homes. Before we open the tap the pipe is full of water; when the tap is opened and the bucket filling, the pipe is still full for although the water is pouring out at the tap, it is pouring in at the reservoir, so the pipe is kept full, even though the tap is open and the water streaming from it!

When the tap is shut the pipe is still full of water. The pipe open or closed is always full of water!

May our normal condition be “full of the Holy Ghost”.

Why have I spent so much time deliberating this topic.... Go back with me to Ephesians 5:18 be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
Now look at the two verses before... Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord [is].

To redeem the time and to understand what the will of the Lord is we must be being filled with the Spirit.

God does not thunder from a mountain or send prophets with new messages. The last of the profits was His Son from Heaven and His last great gift for this age is the Holy Spirit, who reveals the will of God and fills with the power to do it!

Matthew 3:11 Jesus shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire

Will you allow the Holy Spirit fire to ignite or re-ignite you?

Spread the Fire!

His House

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 19 Issue 24 August 23, 2009

We really don’t understand very much about the richness of the Lord’s presence! In the Old Testament - God’s presence was around them. For us however - we not only have God’s presence around us we also have him in us!

John 14:17 he dwells with you and shall be in you.

Brothers and sisters - we actually house the presence of Almighty God! “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?” I Corinthians 6:19

There is a very interesting set of verses in Matthew 12:43-45 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walks through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, I will return into my house from where I came out and when he arrives he finds it empty, swept, and decorated. He then goes and gets seven other spirits more wicked than himself and they enter in and dwell there: the last state of that man is worse than the first.

What points stand out for you in these scriptures?

Hezekiah’s desire for the people’s well being started in God’s house. “In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the LORD, and repaired them. Also in Ezekiel 9:6 ....begin at my sanctuary.

Hezekiah had no programs to win the people’s votes. In fact he made no appeals to the people at all. He only reinstituted true worship.

The king’s focus was not on turning the heart of the people, but drawing out to the heart of God.

If the Lord is lifted up, He will of His own will and power draw all men unto Himself!

That is why we must focus on JESUS!
Revelation 3:20 I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him and will fellowship with him, and he with me.

Jesus will not come in uninvited.

Jesus won’t pull a B&E!

Do not make the mistake to think that this door to God is automatically opened. We must choose to unlock this door and swing it wide toward Christ!

¨ Is the door of your heart open toward God?
¨ Can the Spirit of Jesus Christ come in and speak with you?
¨ Are you defenseless to His voice?
¨ Can you sense both His pleasure and His displeasure?

Within every Christian there is a secret place, a sanctuary.

We must work with the Holy Spirit in preparing this house for the Lord.

The Spirit desires to cleanse us - His purpose is - “To prepare the Bride for Jesus the Holy Bridegroom!”

It is out of this desire to present a pure bride to the Son of God that we must be willing to deal with sin!

As impossible as it seems - according to scriptures, before Jesus returns, the Body of Christ will be holy and blameless!

Ephesians 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle.. holy and without blemish.

I Thessalonians 5:23 May God sanctify you completely, so that your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless to the coming of our Lord Jesus..

You have probably discovered that a house reflects the character of those living inside.

When purity is evident in the house of the Lord it will once again see and reflect the glory of God!

Your goal should be:
· to know Jesus and to be known of Him!
· to see the character of Jesus Christ, His meekness, authority and love manifested in your life.

The Holy Spirit needs to prepare you to be living sanctuary for His presence. A resting place, a holy house for Jesus!

We must submit ourselves passionately and solely to the Spirit and Words of Jesus!

Any focus or goal other than Jesus will become a source of deception in the days ahead! We are living in the age of great deceptions.

Look at what Jesus did with common men. In just 3 1/2 years average men and women were transformed into fearless disciples, literally filled with the Spirit of God!

These ordinary people didn’t wince at suffering, nor hold back from sacrifice. These ordinary people were equipped with spiritual authority over demons and exercised power over illness.

Living proof that Christ transforms people.

3 1/2 years of undiluted Jesus will produce in us what it did in them!

Listen, God can use practically any church structure, if the people in that congregation are seeking hard after Christ!

Outward form is not the issue with the Almighty; the true issue is the posture of the human heart before Him!

Philippians 2:7 Jesus made himself of no reputation taking on the form of a servant

May the Holy Spirit show us that true fullness is always preceded by true emptiness!

Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

May we become desperate in our search and hunger for God?

May we never settle with religion, may we seek to be a house filled with Jesus!

John 15:4 Abide in me and I in you.

John 15:7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you…
The word “abide” refers to an abode… “to dwell in - to be at home in”

John 14:20 I am in my Father, you are in me and I am in you.

We at The Gathering Place are seeking to be that place where the Spirit of God can dwell. We desire to be in the Father and to have Him in us!

We want to walk as Jesus walked.

We want Jesus to find His house to be Our house!

May Jesus be the fullness of our house!

Isaiah 66:1-2 Thus says the LORD, The heaven [is] my throne, and the earth [is] my footstool: where [is] the house that you build for me? and where [is] the place of my rest? For all those [things] has my hand made, and all those [things] have been, says the LORD: but to this [man] will I look, [even] to [him that is] poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at my word.

Walking In Mercy

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 19 Issue 23 August 18, 2009

I wonder if the reason people do not find comfort in Jesus is because we the church misrepresent our merciful Heavenly Father!

If we preach a hard critical judgmental gospel we do a great injustice regarding the compassionate character of our Heavenly Father!

1. What does the word Gospel mean?
2. Is the gospel to be preached to every creature?

I fear the church sometimes reflects the Prodigal son’s elder brother’s attitude.

God has graciously provided enough mercy and grace that ALL who have broken hearts and willing minds can receive!

We’re talking about the general call to salvation. Whosoever!

TGP has been called to be a place of refuge made up of true believers known for their God given love for all people.

Some of you may feel that we’ve a long ways to go..... perhaps your right. But, with the Holy Spirit’s help and our dying daily, we will see it to be so!

It’s true - we all can do with some adjustments when it comes to loving others.

Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Some church goers are troubled and little wonder, read Proverbs 11:17 The merciful man does good to his soul: but he that is cruel troubles his flesh.

My dear Friends: God is gracious to whom He will be gracious... He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, and He will have compassion on whom He will have compassion.

I like what II Timothy 2:25-26 says, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will...

The lost are not our enemy! They are prisoners of the devil just like you and I were!

I beg of you search your heart ...... understand that when you segregate your self from the unsaved no matter the reason - you hide the Gospel from them!

II Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

The only people we are to have nothing to do with according to the Word are those of the faith who cause division, or discord. However, by Christ’s own example we can eat with and talk with the unsaved.

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

I have discovered that a Christian is either faint hearted, broken hearted or hard hearted! I pray God never finds you with the latter condition!
Our lives must reflect the merciful character of our heavenly Father. Our love should be God-like - “while we were yet sinners Christ died for us!”

We are told that if your enemy hungers give him bread to eat, because that is what God did for us when were were enemies of the cross. We read that in so doing we heap coals of fire upon their heads. BUT do not be under the wrong motive here.... this is not done to destroy them... it is done to melt the heart so that it can see the mercy of Almighty God!

Bless them that bless you? That’s what the world does, but the merciful heart of God calls you to bless them that curse you - do not render evil for evil!

Give to those that can give back to you? Again that’s what the world does. But you are called to give to every man that asks of you. Giving in the mercifulness of God. Since giving to the poor is seen as an evidence of the Love of God dwelling in us, I wonder what “withholding” proves?

Remember that the Love of God goes out to ALL, even those who hate Him without a cause. “Be ye therefore merciful as your Father also is merciful!”

We get a glimpse of the Father Heart Of God in the story of the Prodigal Son.

The word prodigal has three meanings: yielding, giving in abundance: bountiful.

It is the latter that describes the Prodigal Father…..
- yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion
- he ran and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
- the father said, Bring forth the best robe and put it on him.
- put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet:
- bring the fatted calf and kill it; and let us eat and be merry:

What emotions must have gone through the father’s heart... my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.

The father suffers over the lose of his son... Yes, the son was in turmoil, and yes he was in pain, but I don’t think it matched the pain of the father’s heart.

“When he was yet a far way off....”
A father’s heart is easily distracted from its duties when he hears his child cry! God is saying some-thing to us today through this parable.

May we be awake enough to hear it!

Consider the reunion... when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him... the son said to his Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight and am no more worthy to be called your son.

But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet. And bring the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

Did you see the Father’s response ... No angel rejoiced more than did the Father... No angelic being jumped higher than did the heavenly Father! .... in fact the angels rejoiced only because they saw the joy of the Father....

It is so neat to see the father running and smothering his boy in kisses... rather than drowning him in “I told you sos” May be the father was 80 and the son 20, who knows, all I know is that the old man out ran the kid!

What a sight to see the father running down the lane, jumping up on the kid, smothering him in kisses.... (keep in mind where the kid just came from).

Think man! That’s what happened when you came to Jesus!

Let the Father in heaven love on you then you go out and do likewise - make the Father glad!

Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O man, what [is] good; and what the LORD requires of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

Can You Hear Me Now?

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 19 Issue 21 July 19, 2009

John 20:10-18 Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, Woman, why are you crying? They have taken my Lord away, she said, and I don't know where they have put him. At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. Woman, he said, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for? Thinking he was the gardener, she said, Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him. Jesus said to her, Mary. She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, Rabboni! (which means Teacher). Jesus said, Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God. Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: I have seen the Lord!
Today, as we talk about sensible faith, we are going to talk about how Mary heard and believed.

If you have a cell phone, then you’ve probably heard the phrase, “Can you hear me now?” I wonder how many times God has asked that of us, “Can you hear me now?”

I believe that God is always speaking into our lives in different ways — at different times — for different reasons.

W. Tozer, (author and preacher) in his book, “The Pursuit of God” described God as an articulate God. Tozer was saying that God cannot not communicate.

Perhaps like me, you have gone through periods of your life when you were not able to hear what God was trying to say to you. Could be we’ve all been there, perhaps to some degree you are there today.

Although there are times the heavens are quiet, God is always speaking. He is a very persistent communicator.

Let us go to the empty tomb in John 20. Mary is the one who saw that the stone was rolled away. She went and told Peter and John that the tomb was empty, and she is the one that remained behind when the others left. Mary peers into the empty tomb and sees two angels sitting there. They ask, “Woman, why are you crying?”

Have you ever looked back and said, “I knew God was speaking to me but I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t understand.”

I think that was where Mary was at. God spoke to her through two angels, “Woman, why are you crying?”

She was so focused on the fact that Jesus’ body was gone. Look what she says, “They have taken my Lord away, and I don’t know where they have put Him.”

As she turns to leave the tomb, she sees someone standing there. And John tells us that it is Jesus Himself, Mary however thinks it’s the gardener. So preoccupied with her problem she doesn’t even recognize the Lord she is looking for.

Jesus asks the same thing, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it that you are looking for?”

Audiologists tell us that our listening can be affected by just one barrier - one issue, one thought on our mind - can often cause us not to hear things being spoken to us.
Wives call that “selective hearing”. Really though, there are times in our life when we cannot hear what is spoken to us.

I think that Mary was unable to hear or understand who was talking to here because of her focus on the problem (missing body of Jesus). Her hurt caused deafness.

Maybe you’ve been in that situation.. your heart is broken over some situation or some person, and you are unable to hear what God is saying. As others stand around you and sing with joy, you feel the grief and the pain of loss in your life. I think that was where Mary was at.

As a pastor I’ve encountered people in all walks of life and all different shapes and sizes and all different levels of faith.

What I have learned is that people often express their hurt in different ways. Anger, bitterness, ingratitude are all expressions of that - we are hurting inside, and we do not know what to do about it.

The danger here is that hurting hearts can easily turn into hard hearts.

If we allow our hearts to become hard, our hurting hearts can quickly become unforgiving hearts / unbelieving hearts.

The author of Hebrews warns us of this...Hebrews 4:7 Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.

Mary’s heart was hurting so much she didn’t even recognize Jesus when he was speaking, “Woman, why are you crying?”
I believe that Jesus is speaking to some of us just like that.

What has you tied up in knots today?
What is heavy on your heart?

Friends, I beg of you, do not allow your hurting heart to become a hard heart.

Receive the kind of words that only Jesus can speak - words of comfort and hope and healing.

As Mary stood outside that tomb, God persistently speaking to her through angels and through His own resurrected Son, finally the words broke through and Mary was able to hear - when was that?

When Jesus called her by name.

This is a very important point. Mary almost missed out on the most significant event in human history; but when she heard her name being spoken, something clicked.
All of a sudden, the persistent voice of God became a personal voice for her, “Mary…” and when she heard Jesus speak her name, it triggered something in her heart. She began to respond to Jesus in faith.

I believe that healing begins when we hear Jesus call our name. The healing that our sin-sick souls need only begins when we hear Jesus begin to call our name.

Do you remember the first time you heard Jesus call your name? I do.

With no human instruction I responded to that call by faith and asked Jesus to forgive me. I remember, rushing down the aisle to kneel at that old shag covered altar to receive the Jesus that the preacher man was talking about. Jesus called me by name and I responded.

Some of you may still have a white knuckle death grip on the underside of your chair because you know Jesus is calling your name, but you are afraid. “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.”

In John 10 Jesus reminds us of how He knows us by name and how He speaks to us.

As you learn to follow Him, you begin to recognize His voice.

Shepherding in first century Palestine was done by a very close relationship between the shepherd and his flock. Voice commands were given to the sheep, and the sheep learned to respond to the voice of the shepherd. That is why Jesus says, His sheep follow him for they know his voice.

There are times throughout my day where I have to pause and say, “Lord, speak and help me to hear because I want to listen to Your voice.”

Is God asking, “Can you hear me now?” Is God trying to get your attention some how? Today, if you hear His voice, do not hold back. Step out in Faith.

I had a friend once said, “But I do not hear Him speaking.”

Truth is very few of us ever hear Him audibly, but we hear Him in our hearts. We hear Him as He speaks to us through His Holy Word.

We hear Him as He speaks to us through His church.

We hear Him through song. We hear Him through prayer. We hear Him through the circumstances of our lives.

One Another Part III of III

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 19 Issue 20 June 28, 2009

What would it be like if Jesus came into the Sonora Community Centre today, walked up the stairs and walked over to you then while looking you straight in the eye said, "Hello friend."
What if He then had you stand up while He put his arm around you and said to the rest of us, "This is my dear friend."
What friends of Jesus look like, not in their appearance, but in their character. John 15:12-17 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 looks at friendship with Him on the basis of how we love each other, as well as Him. The first priority of life in community and in church is, loving one another.
Folks, faith, hope and love are three great things, but faith and hope will be gone one day (because we will see the Lord and be with Him), but love will never end.
Jesus says, I want you to show your love for Me by loving each other. Bottom line - the proof of our friendship is demonstrated by our loving one another.
Notice Jesus says, my commandment is this, love each other as I have loved you. Not just to love each other - but to love each other, as He (Jesus) has loved you.
Much of what we think passes for love may not be love at all.
Sometimes what we call love is more an attempt not to lose somebody's affection or approval.
Or we feel some level of guilt, so we try to do a bunch of good things for people - it looks very loving, but really its more like we are trying to sway something in us.
Same thing when we have a hard time experiencing people's loss or seeing people in distress. We may try to feel with them, and it can certainly all be mixed up in true expressions of love, but many times what we think about love is really not love at all.
The love which Jesus speaks of is different from the world’s love. So what does this love look like? What would make us be called a friend of His?
How does a friend of Jesus demonstrate love?
The kind of love that Jesus showed toward us is seen in verse 13, Greater love has no one then this that he lay down his life for his friends.
Jesus laid his life down - He freely gave his life!
No coercion. And that my friends is a great question to ask ourselves - am I doing what I am doing freely?
That is the test for Christlike love.
Do we love others freely or because we feel we “have to”?
Love, if it is truly divine is given freely. God loves a cheerful giver. Love is given that means that it is a gift.
Love is patient, love is kind. So it's an expression of something.
Love is active goodness. Some one may say, I show love by not hurting anybody. I love my neighbor by not bothering them. Well, that's good, but it is not divine love. The divine love that Jesus is talking about is active goodness.
Jesus freely laid down what? He freely laid down his life. No greater love has a person than this that they lay down their life for their friends. He laid down his life. That speaks of sacrifice.
In other words, when we love it's going to cost us something. It has too in order to be divine. It may cost us time or money.
Divine love may bring us discomfort. There may be blood, sweat or tears. Definitely moments of inconvenience.
Jesus then speaks of friendship, 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 have learned from my Father, I have made known to you.
So here is how love works in a healthy congregation; True love does not insist everyone fits the same spiritual mold. We are all encouraged to be accountable to Christ. We all need to move each other towards Christ, in spite of the many differences of opinion.

A safe community, a loving community is a place where there can be difference, but one can still belong.
A safe community becomes a healing place and a converting place only after its members have learned to stop trying to heal and convert.
Look, if you believe something differently than I do and I spend all my energy trying to get you to be where I am, I start to 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.
See, it is not our job to convert anyone. Our job is to simply be a vessel that God pours His love through.
As we accept and love each other especially in and through our differences, God can use us to draw others to Christ.
How we are with each other is our first form of witness to a hurting world. Drill that into your mind.
At the 100th anniversary of the arrival of missionaries in Zaire, Christians gathered to celebrate from that part of Zaire once called the Belgian Congo. 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. He explained that when the first missionaries came to the Belgian Congo 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, they continued to love each other. They loved Christ and they trusted him and so in their dying they taught others how to live. Sometimes we are not aware of why we go through troubles, why we go through struggles, but if we will love through them, then a watching world will notice and will believe.
So my charge to you and I am speaking to myself, is that we love one another as Jesus loved us. Freely. Sacrificially. Graciously. So that the world might know that He has been sent. Love one another.

Can You Hear Me Dispatch?

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 19 Issue 19 June 14, 2009

There is a narrow window of survivability for a firefighter who is out of SCBA air supply or trapped. Individual firefighters must not delay reporting to Command if they become lost, trapped, or otherwise in need of assistance.

Canwest Fire Services has completed an extensive study of the Radio Transcripts of the fatal fire at the Sofa Super Store, 1807 Savannah Highway, Charleston, South Carolina, June 18, 2007.

It was in this fire that nine firefighters lost their lives. Analysis of the recorded radio traffic indicates that the deceased members did not attempt to call for assistance until they were in critical distress.

All of the recorded messages indicate that the firefighters are lost, disoriented, and either running out of air or already out of air. The firefighters were already in imminent danger, deep inside the building, when they began to call for assistance.

The single use of the term “Mayday” was recorded at 19:32:15.

The “Mayday” was not heard by the Incident Commander or by anyone else at the fire scene.

The Communications Center immediately notified the Incident Commander when a firefighter’s EIB (Emergency Indicator Button) was activated at 19:34:40.

The only individual who understood and reacted to the urgent radio messages was an off-duty Battalion Chief (Car 303) who was en route to the scene in his privately owned vehicle and heard the radio traffic on his portable radio. He attempted to contact the Fire Chief by radio at 19:30:27 to relay the information, but was unable to reach him. He drove to the scene as quickly as possible and relayed the information in person to the Fire Chief at approximately19:33.
His face to face report to the Fire Chief was the first recognition at the fire scene that firefighters were in trouble inside the building.

During the period while firefighters were attempting to call for assistance, the following radio traffic was recorded:
· Car 1 called for more pressure in the supply line from Engine 12 to Engine 10;
· Car 1 called for Engine 3 to respond to the fire scene and lay a line to Ladder 5;
· Car 2 called for manpower to assist with the civilian rescue operation;
· Car 5 reported that the trapped employee had been rescued;
· Car 2 called for EMS to respond for the rescued employee;
· Engineer 11 advised that he was charging the 2-1/2 inch line;
· Engineer 16 called for traffic control on Savannah Hwy. because cars were still running over the supply line.

The recorded radio traffic included 16 distress messages that were transmitted by firefighters inside of the Sofa Super store Distress messages were recorded from Firefighter 16, Firefighter 5, and Engineer 5.

The recordings included additional distress messages in which the firefighter speaking could not be identified.

None of these messages were heard by a command officer on the scene.

Thankfully God, our God hears our cry and answers. The Lord knows those who are His. He knows our voice.

The Greyhound Bus Company used to have a slogan that we may want to apply to the Lord. “Leave the driving to us.”

God, our God says: “Leave the driving to me. You just trust me and I'll get you where you need to go.”

Jesus said: In this world, you will have trouble, but don't be afraid, I have overcome the world.

Just as Jesus was identified with us in the defeat and humiliation of sin as He suffered for us, so, he says, we can be identified with him in his victory.

This opens up some amazing possibilities. His victories I can make my own. I actually live by the life and victories of Jesus. That doesn't mean the absence of trouble, but the transformation of trouble into good when we place it into the hands of God.

We need to learn not to nurture our fears. It's not for nothing that 81 different times, people are told in the Bible FEAR NOT.

That doesn't mean that you can't have normal fear--the kind that makes you move out of danger.

Someone said that normal fear makes you jump back on the curb when a car is coming.
Abnormal fear, lingering fear, is lighted by the fires of Hell and the smoke of its torment ascends upwards forever.

God has not given us a spirit of fear—but of love and power and a sound mind.

The only antidote is the perfect love of Jesus that casts out our fear.

A famous preacher said: Don't settle down to live permanently with your fear. If you do, you will never be happy or effective.

Fears are not removed by saying, "Cut it out! Swallow your fear!"

No, the steps to take begin with facing your fear realistically.

Then replace fear with faith.

Say to yourself again and again the words
“I trust in you, O Lord; I say you are my God; my times are in your hands”.

The only known cure for fear, one Psychologist says, is faith.

David said: I sought the Lord and he heard me; he delivered me from all my fears.

If God hears us and is quick to respond, may we like him hear the cry of the world and be quick to respond!

God help me, help!

Psalms 3:4 I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.

Psalms 18:6 In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, [even] into his ears.

Psalms 34:6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard [him], and saved him out of all his troubles.

Psalms 107:6, 13 Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, [and] he delivered them out of their distresses. Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, [and] he saved them out of their distresses.

Jonah 2:2 I cried by reason of mine affliction to the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and you heard my voice.

Psalms 34:17 The righteous cry, and the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.

I John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he hears us:

Jeremiah 33:3 Call out to me, and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things...

One Another Part II of III

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 19 Issue 17 May 24, 2009

John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.We are looking at “Comforting One Another” which is part 2 of our Mini series on One Another.

There are two basic groups that come to church on any Sunday. You could put them in a ledger kind of column.
One side of the column is folks who need to be comforted.
Perhaps today you really could use some comfort from God or from other people. Life is tough and maybe you have made some mistakes. Maybe you are needing forgiveness and you need God's comfort. You may find yourself in that first category.
The other column is those who need to provide comfort. I’m sure you’ve learned by now that people need people! So today you may not need comforting, but you may be called by God to provide comfort for someone. Today the Lord may have a ministry opportunity for you, that being to encourage someone else.
Husbands and wives, must understand this is the most important thing we can do for one another. In fact for any relationship to prosper we need to be there for one another and comfort one other in the times of difficulties. We are called to comfort one another.
Perhaps this is the “missing link” in church today.
Far too often we expect the pastor to be the comforter for all who attend. Yet, I gotta tell you there are definitely times I as a pastor get great comfort from you. Each Sunday we come together to celebrate God’s goodness and faithfulness…
but a byproduct of our gathering together is the awesome relationship of comforting one another.
The apostle Paul was a hand holder, and he was an encourager, and he encouraged other people to in turn encourage each other. Maybe my thinking isn’t too far off?
This is very important because there is a very real chance of becoming hardened, and or cynical, and we can forget that people need people.
Life has a way of hardening us.
I read about a mom who had eight kids, and she said that it was so different how she raised each of the eight. She said the first child, if the first child coughed or sneezed she would call the doctor. She said the eighth child swallowed a dime, and she said, "That's coming out of your allowance!"
Unfortunately we have to be reminded that God wants us to have soft hearts. So the apostle Paul in one of his earliest letters sought to comfort his friends and encourage them.
I Thessalonians 4:13-18 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven ,with a loud command, and with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.
The KJV says comfort one another with these words.
Paul was saying, now you in turn provide comfort to others.
The Holy Spirit being a comforter… is described as one who comes along side.

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
Paul was saying that if we know we are forgiven of our past, and we have knowledge and assurance about the future, we are going to have hope and confidence in the presence.
Friends although it is said often, ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance leads to despair. It is knowledge that leads to hope.
One time I went to KGH to visit a woman in a comma. I was harassed by the nurse for speaking to my friend as she lay in that hospital bed. But I kept at it. I prayed the Lord would show me that my visiting wasn’t in vain. I prayed He would show me that Mildred had believed our report of God’s salvation. You see, I had to know - I could of hoped and thought positively, but I had to know.
Suddenly she sat right up straight in her bed and then looking straight ahead sang the first lines to Jesus loves me and lay back down - back in her coma.
She could have sang anything… but she sang, “Jesus loves me, THIS I KNOW”
She went to be with the Lord shortly after… but I knew she “knew”. I could do her funeral with a confidence that Mildred would be with Jesus.
The only way to be really assured of our hope is to know the Word of God, not just theologically but personally through Jesus Christ Who is the Living Word.
To have an experience, an encounter with Him. We said last week that is to be the basis for our UNITY.
When we know and are assured that he lives in us, that his blood has covered our sins, that's where true hope comes from, and that when we die, it is not the end.
We will see Him. We will be gathered up in the air with the Lord. Those who have already died will be raised from the dead.
I Thessalonians 4:14-16 and 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
Paul realized that his fellow Christians were going to grieve, but he didn’t want them to grieve as those who have no hope!
Romans 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope.
Do you see that? Comfort through the Word!
Consider, God does not comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort that we ourselves have received from God.
God wants you to share what's comforted you with other people. God wants us to comfort one another with the way that He has spoken to us and touched our lives and share it with those who are struggling.
Not only to comfort people through the Word of God and through our own experiences, but also we must “be there” for one another.
We must be there for one another. One of the things that bugs Judi in our relationship is when she feels like I am not there for her. I’m a guy so I thought it meant sitting in the same room… but no - it actually means to be focused, listening, understanding, hearing… and you have to be present for that.
The greatest means of comfort humanly speaking is being there for someone else.

What's the greatest verse in the Bible, when it comes to comfort?
How about Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.
Jesus said, the Holy Spirit will come and he will guide you. He will nudge you gently to one side or to the other. So God's Word and God's Spirit becomes the source of greatest comfort to us.
Sharing God's words with others. And the power of the Holy Spirit. Being there for people is the greatest way that we can be of comfort to each other.

One Another Part I of III

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 19 Issue 16 May 17, 2009

There are 36 “One Anothers” in the New TestamentI believe they are the “How To” of Church Life. They reveal what a healthy Church looks like.
We are to: Be Devoted to One Another: Accept One AnotherBear With One Another; Forgive One Another; Honor One Another; Live in Harmony with One Another; Serve One Another; Submit to One Another; Not Judge One Another; Encourage One Another and most importantly LOVE ONE ANOTHER
In Ephesians 4:1-6 Paul talks about the importance of unity. As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit- just as you were called to one hope when you were called-one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
I am planning, Lord Willing to speak on relationships over the next three weeks. Today we will look at “bearing with one another”, next week when we do communion, ”Comfort one another”, and then in two weeks we will look at the greatest message of Jesus (His ultimate commandment to us) “Loving one another.”
So, why this series about the “One Anothers”?
Because unity is the greatest gift that we can offer to God.
It's the gift that Jesus prayed for. He said, I pray that you would make them one, as I and you are one. To all be on the same page marching towards one vision.
Will you agree with me that people are different?
We have different needs, wants and desires.
We have different perceptions about the way things happen.
We can see the same event and can put a completely different spin on it.
We can have wrong perceptions about ourselves, (+ or -) and we can misperceive our understanding of God.
There are two factors that will determine how well you will grow spiritually and it will determine the quality of your relationships.
Here's the first one. Jesus says, "your eye is the lamp of your body and when your eyes are good, your whole body is also full of light. When your eyes are bad, your body is full of darkness."
It's not just what we see, it's how we see, that makes all the difference.
“Eliab syndrome”
“Rose colored glasses”
You and I have a choice everyday. Whether we are going to perceive openly and generously or narrowly and closed, grudgingly or generously.
Some people test our patience, others test our perception. We have all met those special EGR folk.
EGR - “Extra Grace Required"
We choose how we see one another, and how we will bear with one another.

That's the first thing that these scriptures teach us. How we see is as important as what we see.
The second factor of growth in our relationship with God and relationship with one another is that we need to look with an honest heart.
Jesus then says, "see to it then that the light within you is not darkened."
We all try to go around this. I mean really does anybody here think that they are full of darkness?
No. We all think we have a certain measure of light.
Jesus is saying, you better check it out. In fact, the words see to it is where we get the word "scope."
Scope not, the mouthwash, is the ability to see.
Jesus says, scope out your heart.
Look with an honest heart, that is the second factor. Brutal self-evaluation.
Not to the point of being morbid, but to the point of being honest.
When you get on your scale, don't you calibrate it to zero? That's what he is saying. Calibrate to zero. Don't make it five pounds lighter. Assess yourself honestly.
Check out, what's in your heart.

You see the sign of a person who is spiritually honest and spiritual in general is that they know that there are still pockets of resistance, pockets of darkness in their hearts.
It's why the Psalmist prayed this. "Who can discern his errors? Who really can discern ones own errors. Forgive. Forgive O Lord my hidden faults."
On the other hand, the Pharisee's were self-righteous. They thought they were full of light. They didn't send out much light at all. But they thought they were full of light.
And yet, Jesus said they were not. He said you don't see well, you don't see the light of the world, and so your body is full of darkness.
Scope yourself out because truth in your heart will lead to peace in your relationships with others.
Ephesians 4 "in all humility and gentleness and loneliness forbear with one another in love."
What does that mean? Literally, it means put up with.
Isn't that a great statement?
All you brothers and sisters and Christians out there, you just go on and put up with each other.
That is basically what Jesus is saying.
Sometimes we have to put up with each other…. in all love, of course.
Jesus looked at the unbelieving generation that surrounded him and he said, O perverse and unbelieving generation, how long will I be with you and what did he say then, and put up with you. Luke 9:41
That should encourage you.
Jesus himself in his humanity was tested to the limits of his endurance with us and he put up with us.
He loved us. He endured our pain and our shame and our guilt. And so, God tells us brothers and sisters in all that same humility forbear with each other.
Sometimes it means you put up with each other, but that requires being suspect of our own perceptions. That allows us to be more forbearing, enabling us to become a more forbearing person.
The Lord knows that we all jump to conclusions. We all misperceive things.

Probably the most difficult situation of all is when we misperceive God’s love and we think of Him as a begrudging God, a hard task master, and yet the Lord is most generous. He gave everything to us.

We should be quick to pray for good eyes, that is “generous vision” before bearing with one another in love so we will produce the unity of the Spirit. Because friends that is the only way that the world will know that God sent his son to dwell in our midst.


Passion - A Mother's Day Word

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 19 Issue 15 May 10, 2009

We are compassionately called to: “Seek the Lord God” over 53 times in scripture

Psalms 53:2 God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God.

Friends I have discovered that Christ Himself is our only strategy and hope. These are desperate times and Churchianity is failing. We need as the saints of old have said the “unction” of the spirit. That is to say we need the fire of a deep and holy longing for the Lord.

To KNOW HIM! Not just to know about Him!

I find myself to be like Moses who after dwelling in God’s glory for 40 years Moses still prayed, O Lord GOD, you have begun to show me your greatness, and your mighty hand: for what God [is there] in heaven or in earth, that can do according to your works, and according to your might? Deuteronomy 3:24

I pray that Paul’s attitude toward Christ would be the attitude of all those who call the Gathering Place home.

Philippians 3:7-15 what things were gain to me, I counted loss for Christ. I count all things as loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching to those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded....

Seeking God is the attitude of Christ’s bride.

Luke 13:23-28 Then said one to him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said to them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us; and he shall answer and say to you, I know you not who you are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and You have taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not who you are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you [yourselves] thrust out.

Matthew 7:23 Jesus said, I never knew you: depart from me…

Consider this word “Knew”

Genesis 4:1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, 4:25 And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son...
This speaks of becoming one, an intimacy way beyond a mere acquaintance.... a dimension of an unsatisfiable and unrelenting hunger for God!

Dare I suggest that we ought to be intolerant of anything or anyone who would cause distance to grow between us and our God.

DO NOT SETTLE for “edification” “encouragement” or “comfort”. As wonderful as these are, we must seek Jesus Himself!

Matthew 6:33 Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.

Psalms 14:2, 53:2 The LORD looked down from heaven on the children of men, to see if there were any that understood and did seek God.

It has been well said that “God is not on the surface.”

I plead with you to realize that our pursuit of God is not an act, but an attitude!

Realize you can’t live without Him! Want Him as much as the very air you breath... and you’ll find Him!

You won’t find God by searching only in convenient times and comfortable places.

Your search is to be without rest, a continual journey. I Chronicles 16:11 Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.
You can take confidence is in His promise: Deuteronomy 4:29 you will find Him, if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Looking around and seeking are two different things.

Guard against becoming satisfied with your opinion of yourself… “I prayed, I waited, I searched for God. I did more than other men.”

It is hard to be full of God when you are full of SELF!

If we truly want to find God, we must stay both empty of ourselves and hungry for God alone. Don’t kid yourself, God knows the effort and extent of your searching.

Consider the Empty Tomb. The disciples looked in the tomb and left astounded.

Mary comes to the tomb and lingered there, weeping. To her the death of Christ was horrible, but His missing body was unspeakable.

Some come to church, they sing, they listen and they leave astounded. They hear about the death of Christ, but don’t question His missing presence. Jesus is lost in the temple and very few consider that an important issue. Others come, they sing, they listen they linger, they weep and they find Him!

Mary couldn’t bear an empty tomb.
John 20:15 Jesus said, Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for? Mary, supposing him to be the gardener, said, Sir, if you’ve taken him away tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away. She’d settle for a dead Jesus, if she could just put her arms around Him.

John 20:16-17 Jesus said, Mary. She turned and said, Master. The instant Mary sees Jesus she wants to embrace Him. However, Jesus said, “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father...”

This is too fantastic: Could it be that Jesus interrupted His ascent into heaven to answer this women’s love?

Many want Jesus, but to whom did He appear? He came and still does come to the one who has great passion for Him.

Listen to this…
¨ they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.
¨ they that seek the LORD understand all [things].
¨ Seek me and you shall live: Psalms 34:10, Proverbs 28:5, Amos 5:4

Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, 33, Luke 10:27 Jesus said, love your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all understanding and with all strength.

Hosea 2:19-20 I will engage you to me for ever; yes, I will be engaged to you in righteousness, in judgment, in loving-kindness and in mercies. I will even be engaged to you in faithfulness: and you shall know the LORD.
Engagement comes before the wedding!