Thursday, June 30, 2005

Response to Henry Blackaby at the BGC Annual Meeting in Denver

Henry Blackaby spoke this morning on God's refining fire in our lives. After his message, Dana Olson of the BGC Prayer First invited the delegates to come forward to pray. Dozens upon dozens (maybe more, but I am not sure because I was close to the stage when I went forward) to cry and confess our sins. Many pleaded for a fresh touch from God. Mr. Blackaby has experienced corporate revival fist-hand. Perhaps it will come to the BGC.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

I Heard Henry Blackaby Today

I was able to hear Henry Blackaby speak today at the BGC Annual Meeting in Denver. He said this statement: "If revival in America depended on your prayer life, would God grant it?" Honestly and with shame, I would personally say "no." If revival is going to come, God's people must pray. Have a good evening. Pastor Bryan

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I Am in Denver for the BGC Annual Meeting

I flew into Denver, CO for the Baptist General Conference (BGC) Annual Meeting. It is beautiful here. There is still snow on some of the higher mountains. The landscape reminds me of the years I lived in Hawaii. There are mountains in Hawaii (there is no snow on them except on the Big Island).

I love these annual meetings because of the fellowship, corporate prayer, worship and preaching. Henry Blackaby will be speaking tomorrow.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Perspectives Course Will Be Taught in Omaha

The Perspectives on the World Christian Movement will be taught here in Omaha from August 30 to December 13, 2005 at Christ Community Church. This course will motivate and challenge students to understand God's singular intent to bless all nations.

I have not taken it, but I know people who have. It will truly be life changing. If you are interested, contact LaVern Smith at (402) 734.1551 or at

The cost $195.00 plus $35.00 for the textbook and Study Guide. There is a $25.00 discount if you register before June 30th.

Have a great day. Pastor Bryan

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Good Morning:

Check out this link about the current weather conditions in Omaha: I am in my air-conditioned office and the humidity is still getting to me!

Well, the Nebraska Cornhuskers were eliminated yesterday in the College World Series. It was a great baseball game and a great season.

Stay cool and drink lots of water.

Pastor Bryan

Monday, June 20, 2005

Michael Campbell Wins the US Open

Yesterday on Father's Day, I watched 36 year-old New Zealander, Michael Campbell win the US Open. Even though Tiger Woods made a charge, Campbell dug deep and played wonderful golf
on a very difficult course. See...
Campbell's career has been characterized by ups and downs. During the broadcast, Campbell was quoted as saying that prior to the Open, he decided that it is time to go to the next level of golf. So he took the time in recent months to refine his game--especially his short game.

There is certainly a lesson for us followers of Jesus. Are we content with an up and down Christian life? Are we content with mediocrity in our relationship with Jesus? Or are we willing to do what it takes to go to the next level of faith? May we all dig deep into God's Word and delight in it. May we be people of prayer who possess a holy urgency to grow deep in the faith.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Playing Golf for God's Glory!

My sermon this Sunday on Father's Day will answer the question: "Can we play golf for God's Glory?" The answer, of course is yes because 1 Corinthians 10.31 says: So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. I love the game of golf and I do want to improve every year. But it is not to be more important that my love for the Lord. The second point of the message is simply: "Remember that golf is just a game". Here are some statements of that point...

Psalm 37.4 says delight yourselves in the Lord. That is command! Isaiah 58.14 says that we will find our joy in the Lord. We are to delight ourselves in the Lord even when that little golf ball refuses to go where we want it. Every golfer will have bad rounds and stretches of weeks where it seems like nothing goes right but it is just a game. ILL--Many years ago, I was with a friend at the Sony Open in Hawaii, and we saw a well-known golf pro hit a bad shot.

It was bad according to his standards. His approach shot to the green wasn't as close to the hole as he visualized. Most of us would be thrilled to be near the green. After he did that, he took his iron and just smashed it on a rock, and then he threw that mangled club into the woods. We were right behind him. I looked where he threw it and I thought, "I wonder if I can fix that!" But he destroyed it.

Well, he lost his temper. And on a professional level, there is a needed intensity in order to compete, but it is still just a game. And there are far more important things in life than golf. ILL--Several years ago after the conclusion of the 1995 Ryder Cup, the American team was beaten by the Europeans. The Americans went in the locker room feeling bad. Then Paul Azinger came into the room.

He is a pro who just recovered from cancer. He told the team: "Guys, this isn so bad. The sun will come up tomorrow. I had cancer." In other words, golf is just a game. It is temporary compared to the glories of eternity. When we die, our clubs stay in the garage or basement.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

More Prayer is Needed!

Good Afternoon. Two Wednesdays ago, Harvey Oaks Baptist Church began a prayer time. It is a prayer time for the spiritual state of the church. We want to pray for the power of God to descend on the church. Seven people came to pray yesterday. As they walked into the sanctuary, they picked up a handout which is below.

"Harvey Oaks Baptist Church
Wednesday Morning Prayer (6:30 to 7:30 AM)
June 15, 2005

This morning's Scripture: Psalm 85. Especially notice the prayer in verse 6.

As we pray this morning, let us pray:

That God will send spiritual revival to Harvey Oaks Baptist Church (True spiritual revival will refocus our hearts and lives on the supremacy and greatness of Jesus Christ so that we will be the church that he desires. Someone once defined revival as "a people saturated with God").
That Christ-centered worship will occur each Sunday morning at Harvey Oaks Baptist Church. Psalm 100.2 says:
Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.

That the powerful wind of the Holy Spirit will descend on us every Sunday morning so that lives are radically transformed.

That Harvey Oaks Baptist Church will no longer be in a state of plateau (Eight out of ten churches in the United States have plateaued or are declining).

That God will cause many people around in the Omaha area to turn to Jesus for salvation. Pray that they will be fruitful Christians for God's kingdom.

That the remaining unreached people groups around the world will be reached for Jesus Christ.

Thank you for praying this morning. Have a great day as you live for the Lord Jesus.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Our Need For Revival!

Recently, I read in the book, "Breakout Churches" by Thom S. Rainer that eight out of ten churches in America are in a state of decline or have plateaued (Pg. 45). If that is the case, then the American church is in deep trouble. Acts 1.8 and the Great Commission (Matthew 28. 18-20) is not, on the most part being fulfilled by us. What is the answer to this. We must pray! Psalm 85.6 says: "Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?"Brothers and sisters in Jesus, we must pray for a fresh new power from the Holy Spirit. Let us wake up and pray urgently for revival. I will welcome any feedback.

Pastor Bryan

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

How to Query God

Good Morning. Is it okay to question God? Below is a helpful article by John Piper. Stay strong in Jesus. Pastor Bryan

John Piper

Thoughts on Romans 9:20 - You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?" 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?"

Clearly Paul was displeased with this response to his teaching about God. Does this mean that it's always wrong to ask questions in response to Biblical teaching? I don't think so.

Paul had said some controversial things. Peter admitted that Paul was sometimes hard to understand: "There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures" (2 Peter 3:16). Paul had said that God "has mercy on whom he wills and hardens whom he wills" (Romans 9:18).

The point was: his will decides finally whether we are hard-hearted or not. "Before they were born or do anything good or evil" God had mercy on Jacob and gave Esau over to hardness (Romans 9:11-13).

Someone hears this and objects in verse 19, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?" To this Paul responds, "You, a mere human being, have no right to answer back to God."

The word "answer back" (antapokrinomenos) occurs one other time in the New Testament, namely, in Luke 14:5-6. Jesus is showing the lawyers that it is lawful to heal on the Sabbath. He said to them, "'Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?' And they could not answer back (antapokrithenai) to these things."

In what sense could they not "answer back"? They could not show him wrong. They could not legitimately criticize him. They could not truly contradict what he said. So the word "answer back" probably carries the meaning: "answer back with a view to criticizing or disagreeing or correcting."

That, I think, is what displeased Paul in Romans 9:20. This leaves open the possibility that a different kind of question would be acceptable, namely, a humble, teachable question that wants to understand more if possible, but not rebuke or condemn or criticize what has been said.

For example, in Luke 1:31 the angel Gabriel comes to the virgin Mary and says, "Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus." Mary is astounded and baffled. Virgins don't have sons. She could have scoffed and argued. But instead she said, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?" (Luke 1:34). She did not say it can't happen; she asked, "How?" Contrast this with Gabriel's visit to Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist.

The angel comes and tells him, "Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John" (Luke 1:13). But Zechariah knew that "Elizabeth was barren and advanced in years" (Luke 1:7). Different from Mary, his skepticism gave rise to a different question. He said, "How shall I know this?" Not: "How will you do this?" But: "How can I know you'll do it?"

Gabriel did not like this answer. He said, "I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time" (Luke 1:19-20).

So I conclude that humble, teachable questions about how and why God does what he does are acceptable to God. To Mary God gave a very helpful answer, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you" (Luke 1:35). This did not remove the mystery, but it helped.

I can't remove the mystery from Romans 9. But there may be more to understand than we have seen and I do not want to discourage you from pressing further up and further in to the heart and mind of God.

Wanting to be teachable with you,
Pastor John