Alan and Miriam Humphries are being honored for their twenty-six years of pastoral ministry at the Soldotna Church of God and I am delighted to have a part in the honoring.
Alan and Miriam are very close and meaningful friends of mine and I jumped at the opportunity to present the weekend message in their honor. Following are the notes for my message.
As you read these notes, will you consider how much honor you are giving to God’s gift to you (your pastor)? Enjoy!
In Appreciation Of Pastor Alan and Miriam Humphries
It is my joy to give honor, blessing, and appreciation to Pastor and Mrs. Humphries on the occasion of their twenty-sixth year of pastoring the Soldotna Church of God.
Let’s study, today, Ephesians 4.
In verses four and five Paul emphasizes the “One” part of our Christian reality:
• One body Vs. 4
• One Spirit
• One hope
• One Lord Vs. 5
• One faith
• One baptism
• One God and One Father of All
There is no mistaking it. Our Christian life is ONE! Everything is the same.
HOWEVER, in that “one-ness” Paul sees very different graces in each person. “But grace was given to each one…” Vs. 7
Everything is the same and everything is different too!
The graces, of Ephesians 4:7, are given by Jesus in the measure He choses!
Notice the emphasis in verses 7 and 8 on “gifts.” “He gave gifts to men.”
What are the particular graces and gifts that Paul is speaking about? Ephesians 4:11. “And he gave the Apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers…..”
It is my distinct joy and delight to declare, upon the firm foundation of the Word of God, that Pastor Alan and Miriam Humphries are “graces and gifts from Jesus to you!”
In Proverbs 18:16 we learn that “A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before the great.”
Paul just taught us that Pastor Alan and Miriam are God’s graces and gifts to you and now we learn that ….
God’s gift to you makes room for Him. In other words, “Alan and Miriam, God’s graces and gifts to you, make room for God’s presence among us.
• God is Head over everything and His gift is Jesus.
• Jesus is Head over the Church and His gift is Alan and Miriam.
• Alan and Miriam are head over Soldotna Church of God and their gift is their whole lives in ministry to you.
God hates grumbling and disputing (Philippians 2:14) and loves blessing, thankfulness, and honor. I Thessalonians 5:12, 13
We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work.
• We are to respect God’s gift, Alan and Miriam.
• We are to esteem them very highly
• We are to do all of this in love.
• Because of their work.
God loves it when you love His gift to you!
When you honor, respect, and esteem highly God’s gift, you are, in fact honoring, respecting, and highly esteeming the Gift Giver, who is God.
When you bless your pastor you bless God who called your pastor, prepared your pastor, sustains your pastor, anoints your pastor, enables your pastor, gives revelation to your pastor, empowers your pastor, and protects your pastor.
I love the truths of Psalm 133 when applied in this context.
The oil of blessing runs down!
2013 Pastor Appreciation Proclamation
Pastor Alan and Miriam are my shepherds; I shall not want.
They make me lie down in green pastures.
They lead me beside still waters.
They restore my soul.
They lead me in paths of righteousness
For God’s name’s sake
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
For they are with me;
Their rod and their staff,
They comfort me.
They prepare a table before me
In the presence of my enemies;
They anoint my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life,
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
Pastor Philippe YAMEOGO shocked me with one of the grandest gifts of my life.
Philippe gave me the Word of God.
His gift is inerrant, infalible, authoritative, and ageless. It explains the Alpha and the Omega, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, and the Great I Am. His gift reveals Jesus, God’s Son, as the Savior of all mankind. In it’s pages we learn of Jesus’ power over sin, sickness, and Satan. Written there are the words of life and from it we learn about life eternal. Without this book we would not know of heaven, the New Jerusalem, the Throne Room, and the heavenly Tabernacle. Yes, Philippe gave me a Holy Bible. But not just any Holy Bible.
He gave me HIS Holy Bible.
This is the Bible with which he has learned the ways of God, come to know the love of God, and experienced revelation. From this Bible he has taught school classes, Sunday school, Bible studies, weekend sermons, revival meetings, staff meetings, missionary conventions, prayer meetings, children’s church, youth camps, and taught his children the words and ways of God.
As Philippe began to explain his appreciation to me, I had a growing sense of unworthiness. Not the kind that causes self contempt or feelings of worthlessness but the awareness that love and grace are far beyond my ability to comprehend.
If I was worthy, it wouldn’t have been a gift, but a payment.
The only appropriate response to spectacular love is humble acceptance.
Philippe, my dear friend, thank you.
Over 2,000 years ago Someone Else gave us the Word of God and the words of God.
The only appropriate response is humble acceptance.
It is time to celebrate the top innovations of the MCA Church leadership team in 2012 for the Anchorage Campuses. The team that serves MCA Church is creative, inventive, and innovative.
10. MCA Church North Campus Building Plans – Dale Fick
9. MCA Management System Fellowship One, Service U, and Giving Kiosks- Bryan Fick and Pastor Howard Hansen
8. MCA Central Campus Parking Teams – Pastor Fay Niemann
7. MCA Street to the Seat Team’s plans for the Central Campus Commons Area – Pastor Michael Roux, Bryan Fick, and Pastor Blaine Schmidt.
6. MCA Strong Tower Church Visa application and preparation – Pastor Edgardo and Pastor Fay Niemann
5. MCA Online Live Streaming, Facebook Campus, and Video and Audio quality improvement – Pastor Michael Roux and Bryan Fick
4. MCA Children’s Ministry Prayer Wall and Internship Program – Pastor Greg Jones
3. MCA Island Revival Missions Luau – Pastor Moe Tali
2. MCA Cold Weather Shelter Ministry and Lunch Box Children’s Food Program – Pastor Mark Burgess and MCA Church COO Dale Fick
1. MCA Youth Seminary – Pastor Howard Hansen
Everything MCA Church does is designed and intended to bring life transformation of people into the image of Jesus. These innovations have further advanced the structures through which the Spirit brings this amazing transformation into our lives.
MCA Team, we are abundantly blessed to receive the benefit of your creativity.
Today’s talk is designed to discover our opportunity to recalibrate according to Person, work, life, and ministry of Jesus. The Christ in the crib changed everything!
In Times Like These Recalibrate
To get the most beautiful music out of our lives, we recalibrate by the Christ in the crib.
Let’s define recalibration as “to measure and then adjust into alignment with a standard.”
One’s blood pressure is measured according to a standard and then adjusted, in cooperation with a doctor, through exercise, diet, stress reduction, and possibly medication.
Have you ever reset your handheld or tablet device to “Factory Default Settings?” This is another type of recalibration that brings your device into alignment with a standard.
Sailing to your favorite fishing location you discover the wind, waves, and tide have moved you from your intended path, you simply make another type of recalibration, you make a mid-course correction.
The birth of Jesus is the turning point of an entirely new way to relate with God. Because God introduced a new approach to relationship, we must all recalibrate.
To produce the most beautiful music out of our lives, we recalibrate by the Christ in the crib.
Thermometers, speedometers, and navigational devices commonly need recalibration.
Let’s consider recalibration through the life of Saul of Tarsus, also known as the Apostle Paul.
Thermometer (The temperature of your spiritual life) Philippians 3:5, 6
• Saul was fired up with zeal for God but against Jesus.
• With zeal for God Saul traveled far and wide to destroy followers of Jesus.
Speedometer (The speed of your life) Galatians 1:14
• Saul was intensely after God and against Jesus and his followers.
• He was advancing in Judaism beyond many his age (rapid advancement).
Navigation Systems (The direction of your life) Galatians 1:13
• Saul was doing his best with an outdated navigation system.
• God had refreshed from the Old Covenant of law to the New Covenant of grace and Saul was just about to get the update.
If Paul was a piano, he had all the correct hardware. He had the right keys, strings, and pedals. Yet he almost instantly became aware that he needed to recalibrate because he was in the wrong band and playing the wrong music. Acts 9:1-9
Recalibration to the Christ in the crib will help you make the most beautiful music from your life.
Do you need to recalibrate the thermometer of your life? Matthew 24:12 tells us that the love of many will grow cold. Paul says, in Romans 12:11 “keep your spiritual fervor (fever).”
Do you need to recalibrate the speedometer of your life?
Do you need to recalibrate your life navigation system? Like Saul, are you headed in the wrong direction? Do you love God, but need to recalibrate to the Person, character, and life of Jesus? Matthew 6:9,10
God will recalibrate the entire universe. Revelation 21:1-4
Ways to respond to this teaching.
1. Get your blood pressure checked and recalibrate as necessary.
2. Ask God to reset your thermometer, speedometer, and navigation system to factory defaults.
3. Ask God to give you grace to make a mid-course correction.
4. Ask yourself, “Am I measuring my life according to the correct standard (Jesus)?
A bold follower of Jesus Christ was assassinated in Pakistan a couple of days ago. With great devotion to our Lord, he proclaimed that he would be faithful to the call of God even in the face of death threats from the Taliban, Sharia Law proponents, and Al Qaeda. These wicked, God-less, and violent types have threatened the work of Jesus for 2000 years.
But God’s Truth marches on.
Please, on behalf of all Christians on the planet now, in the past, and in the future, view this short video of the now martyred Shahbaz Bhatti.
When we look closely at our lives we begin to comprehend that the story line of our life is His-story. God continually infuses our experience with a narrative that moves in directions we only understand by reflecting upon our yesterdays.
I bumped into this notion while studying pain at Northwest University. C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
Pastor Joany Bazemo was fascinated with the God story inside the lives of Boaz and Ruth. I doubt that these two key Biblical people had an awareness of the glorious and grand story God was weaving into the narrative of their lives.
May the Lord give us eyes to see at least a hint of the grand story he is including in our living.
I was blessed to travel to American Falls, Idaho to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Linfield Crowder. What a joyous occasion. Dr. Crowder looked strong, healthy, and was full of his usual quick wit.
In addition to celebrating his birth, Dr. Crowder launched his new book, “The Therapeutic Value of Speaking in Tongues.” There are only 250 copies of this book in circulation, but more will be published soon.
I am hoping to have a case or two available for our Conference on the Holy Spirit in January 2011.
Pastor and Mrs. Leisy asked me to greet the MCA worship community. The Leisy’s were part of the Muldoon Miracle for many years, with Pastor Leisy preaching many of our Sunday evening services.
Recently I traveled to their town and had the great joy of spending several hours with them. Pastor Leisy is 97 years of age and is doing exceptionally well. Their next wedding anniversary is their 73rd.
Of all the sermons Pastor Leisy preached, I remember a common sentence he would say. “Church, we climb higher in God when we are on our knees in prayer.”
One of history’s greatest. World re-known. Genius.
Is that the whole story? From what I understand, Pastor van Gogh was deeply wounded in ministry. As an evangelist and pastor, he had big dreams for his life and ministry, but they were thwarted by decisions from leaders. Vincent became bitter and angry (two of the worst things in the human soul). From this bitterness and anger he never recovered. On the 29th of July, 1890, at the age of 37, he ended his own life.
There are only two paintings that I have deeply desired to see, “The Return of the Prodigal” by Rembrandt and “Irises” by van Gogh. I became interested in “Irises” while reading a piece about van Gogh’s struggle with hurt and woundedness in the ministry. At the height of his struggle and not long before he shot himself, he painted “Irises.”
How many people do you know who have been deeply wounded in ministry? I think I know hundreds.
Corrie ten Boom was also hurt and deeply wounded in ministry. Unwilling to become bitter and angry, Corrie asked God for a gift of forgiveness. She traveled the world sharing the news that God always gives the ability to do what He requires. God will give you the ability to forgive even the most hated, despised, and hurtful people.
Vincent’s art gallery is in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. His collection is stunning.