Thursday, September 22, 2016

Malachi’s Message to the Church

This last book of the old Testament contains six messages from the heart of a pastor/prophet named Malachi. At the time when Malachi preached, the temple had been rebuilt, but it paled in comparison to Solomon’s temple which had previously been destroyed by the Babylonians. The priests  and Levites during Malachi’s time were apathetic and led the people into sin, not out of it. Worshipers offered inferior animals as sacrifices and neglected God’s requirements for tithes and offerings.
Malachi confronted a people given to religious cynicism, political skepticism, and spiritual disillusionment. They expected prosperity, and they expected the new covenant promised through Jeremiah, but the saw none of these things. In the minds of many, God had failed his people.
Malachi’s message was an attempt to motivate the people to conform to God’s plan. They could neither expect nor receive God’s covenant promises through all their disobedience and shameful acts of worship.
The first message to the people is that God has “always loved Israel.” (Malachi 1:2 NLT) He had not rejected them, but they had rejected Him. God had chosen them as His own people but they spurned His covenant love.
The second message to the people was aimed at the Levites and the priests sewing in the second temple. The worship of the Father and Lord of all was dishonoring and disrespectful to Him. They had defiled altars with tainted sacrifices disregarding thoughts of offering to Him the very best. Are the altars of the church today becoming disregarded as a place to connect people with a closer encounter with God?
The third message spoke to the husbands and wives to be true to their vows of marriage. He called them to stop being unfaithful to each other and to stop divorcing. He called for faithfulness to each other. (Malachi 2:14 NLT) “You cry out, ‘why doesn't the Lord accept my worship?’ I’ll tell you why! Because the Lord witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows.” Does the rate of increase of divorce among God’s people today have an effect upon the purity of worship in our lives?
The fourth message related to God’s justice for adultery, dishonesty, in business and social affairs. God will purify the leaders by refining them in order to bring purity to their hearts. (Malachi 3:3-5 NLT)
The fifth message emphasized God’s faithfulness to His word and called His people to faithfulness in worship, especially in the giving of tithes and offerings. (Malachi 3:8-11 NLT)
The final message spoke of God’s desire for Israel to be honest and faithful in worship, in view of the coming day of the Lord. (Malachi 3:16-18 NLT)


Monday, September 12, 2016

Why A Small Group?  It’s Scriptural.



As we study the first New Testament church in Acts we see 2 strategies they used. The first is Large Group gatherings for the purpose of corporate worship and instruction by spiritual leaders. The second is Small Group gatherings for the purpose of fellowship and discipleship. Both are important. We all need to gather for instruction and worship as the larger church family and we also need to be connected,  disciple others, and be discipled. I love how the Message translation states Matt 18 -19.  “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”    

The Benefits.
It connects me to the body of Christ. The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part.

2. I get a better understanding of the Bible. I can ask questions, learn from others, and share what I know.

3. Pray together. “When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.”    

4. Give and receive care and support. “Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.”  

Expect to know you are not alone.
Expect to find other people who are new to the small group experience.
Expect to start some new relationships.
Expect that trust will deepen over time.
Expect to learn something new.
Expect to have an opportunity to use your spiritual gifts.   

Monday, August 29, 2016

Spirit Filled Believers

Have you ever thought of yourself as an “artesian well” for Jesus? Probably not. But if you are obeying Paul’s command to continually “be filled with the spirit,” you are functioning spiritually much like an artesian well functions geophysically! (Eph 5:18) “Don’t be drunk with wine, Because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.” So, how is this so? Paul reminded Timothy “You have not been given a spirit of fear but of power and love and sound mind.” (2 Tim 1:7) The word for “power” is dunomis which gives us our English words dynamo, dynamic, etc. Dunomis speaks of power which is residing in believers by virtue of our new nature - new creations in Christ (2 Cor 5:17). The “effecting agent” of that power is of course the Holy Spirit who dwells in us now and forever throughout eternity! Paul was telling Timothy that “you are to live this new life in Christ not in dependence on your own natural strength, but in dependence on the power (dunomis) provided by the Spirit who dwells in you!” Charles Spurgeon put it this way regarding our power versus God’s Power:
Power in the creature is like water in the cistern.
Power in the creator is like water in the fountain!
What does an artesian well have to do to function effectively? Two things:
1) STAY LOW! Spiritually this is not subtle- “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” So the message is “stay humble!” Understand that in order to daily experience His power and live a supernatural life, we have to continually humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God!
2) STAY OPEN! WE have to allow the flow of the Spirit to keep flowing. Sin impedes the flow of the Spirit, so we need to be sensitive when we have offended Him by our thoughts, words, or deeds, and we need to confess and repent.
And what is the result?
Amazing grace flows down from on high and as our Lord Jesus Christ promised, from our “innermost being shall flow rivers of living water” as the Spirit flow of power is unimpeded and unhindered!
Hudson Taylor, the great missionary of China, affirmed this truth declaring “depend upon it.” God’s work done in Gods’ way will never lack supplies. All God’s giants have been weak men (and women) who did great things for God because they reckoned on His being with them. God asks men (and women) who are weak and feeble enough to lean on Him! I will sum it all up with two questions for us:
1) Am I daily leaning on Him?
2) Am I keeping short accounts?
Your answers are between you and God.
~Pastor Reg


Our Father In Heaven, Hallowed be Your Name!

There is a widespread view in today’s world that there is no connection between public and private morality. Surveys show that generally speaking people can act as if there is no connection. But the bible knows no such distinctions. As far as God is concerned morality is one and indivisible. What a person is in private he or she is likely to be in public life.
“They pant after the dust of the earth which is on the heads of the poor and pervert the way of the humble. A man and his father go into the same girl, to defile My Holy name. They lie down by every altar on clothes taken in pledge, and drink the wine of the condemned in the house of their God.” (Amos 2:7,8)
I remember my grandfather once said: “If a man who works for me cheats on his wife, then he is likely to cheat on me.” It may be convenient for those in public life to argue otherwise but the truth is there is no real division between private and public.
Israel’s leaders, as we see from the book of Amos, are judged  for oppressing the weak, vulnerable, and helpless. These verses also show us that both the boardroom and the bedroom are subject to God’s law! As we see, in not only the political but in most public scenes, God is scandalized by the culture today. What is most serious is that, by their actions, God’s holy name is profaned across the countryside and the world. By choosing Israel to be His show piece nation God has put His reputation on the line. Such behavior as Amos now exposes drags God’s good name into disrepute. For this, Judah was sent into exile 150 years later. No wonder Jesus made it first priority for His disciples to pray that God’s name would again be hallowed in Israel. Nothing more matters to God than the honor of His name! Let us all honor the name of the Lord in everything we do, and in every place we do it!

Pastor Reg


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

What to do when you find yourself in a pickle

My friend and evangelist Tom Shanklin and I communicate quite regularly. He sends articles that he writes and I always enjoy his comments. These words today are being share from his last article that he sent to me. I believe these words will bless you.

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Philippians 4:6, KJV.
I have found a very effective solution when I find myself in a dilemma. Pray!
The other day Susan and I were at the mall where we walk and pick up our mail, and when we were ready to leave, the car would not start. It had been an intermittent problem for a several weeks.
My car operates without a key. You simply have the key in the car, and then you use a push button on the dash. Fancy! However, from time to time it simply would not start. Then we would push the button again and again and finally it would start. This time, however, it would not start. So here we were in the parking lot next to the mall. It was very hot and the sun was shining through the windshield and my car wouldn't start. In that situation, there’s a temptation to be upset, fearful, angry or frustrated. 
But then I remembered Philippians 4:6. So in heat of the moment (literally), Susan and I prayed. I quoted Philippians 4:6 to the Lord and committed the problem to the Him. Then I called the shop and they were able to get the car in right away, which is unusual for them.
Within a short time they called and said the problem was the brake light switch. The brakes must be engaged in order for the car to start. Even though it was very late in the afternoon, they were able to get a new switch and install it before the end of the day.
I cannot tell you how many times this verse has gotten me out of a jam. It just seems that God honors His Word when you apply the Scripture in prayer. Many times I have found myself fretting over a situation and wondering what to do, and then I will remember this scripture. Then I will say, “Lord, you said. ‘Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be known unto God.’ So I bring my petition to you concerning this issue. Thank you Lord for working it out. I can’t solve it, so I give it you and I thank you for it and for all you have done for me through Jesus your Son. Amen."
Many times, the answer comes very quickly, as it did with my car. But there are also times when it takes some time for things to change. Thanksgiving will help sustain your faith while you are waiting for the answer to manifest. The power of thanksgiving is a great tool in releasing your faith in prayer. Faith takes hold of the thing that you are asking for BEFORE you see the manifestation of it. As Jesus said, “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” Mark 11:24, KJV.
So when you make your request and you believe you receive the answer, it’s time to start praising God. As Paul said, “…with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Philippians 4:6, KJV. So don’t leave out the “with thanksgiving” part. Start praising God immediately for the answer. 
Think of it this way. If you made a request to the Lord for a need in your life and Jesus walked in your living room and sat down and said, “Your prayer has been received and I am giving you what you requested,” the normal thing would be to start jumping up and down and praising God for His love and miraculous provision. Well, the truth is, He has come into your house and spoken to you! He has come to you through the Word of God. As the scripture says: “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” 1 John 5:14, 15, KJV.
So when you pray, it’s time to shout the victory. “Praise God, I have my request! Praise God, it’s mine! Thank you Jesus! Hallelujah!!! Amen.”

~ Tom Shanklin
www.tomshanklin.org



Friday, July 29, 2016

Turn Toward God

I picked up some timely thoughts while reading Pastor Max Lucado’s booklet on “Remembering Our Foundations.” Especially after listening to the disparity on the differences between the two parties of the Republican and Democratic conventions held in the last two weeks. It is so evident that we need God to heal our land.
Pastor Lucado tells about the spider who dropped a single strand down from the rafter of an old barn and began to weave his web. The wee web grew as the months went by and was able to catch all kinds of bugs and insects.
One day when the spider was traveling across his web he noticed a single strand stretching into the rafters. He wondered why it was there and thought, “It doesn’t serve to catch me any dinner or add to my pantry of insects.” He thought the strand really wasn’t necessary so he climbed as high as he could - - and severed it. That resulted in the entire web falling upon itself and tumbling to the floor, taking the spider with it.
Could we, as a nation, make the same mistake as that foolish spider? Can a country spin a great web and sever it? Can she grow so successful, so smug, so self-sufficient that she forgets the strong strand that supports her? Could she look at her liberty, her strength, and her prosperity and respond not with gratitude - - but with arrogance?
Are we forgetting the strength that holds us? What happens when a nation forgets God? Psalms 9:17 says “The fate of all the nations that forget the Lord will be turned into hell.”
Israel of old also seemed prone to forget. Moses sternly warned them to “beware in their plenty that you do not forget the Lord your God, - - - do not become proud of that time and forget  the Lord your God - - - If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods, worshipping them and bowing down to them, you will be destroyed.” Deuteronomy 8:11-14, 19
God defines all boundaries for “He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed lines and the boundaries of their habitation.” Acts 17:26
I believe that God determines national leaders. Leaders don’t determine the future of countries; God determines the hearts of leaders. Proverbs 21:1 says, “the king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord; He turns it wherever He pleases.” The king (or president) may think he calls the shots, but he doesn’t. God holds sway over his thrown. “It is God who makes nations great, and destroys them; He enlarges nations, and guides them.” Job 12:23(NLT)
So, America exists by the power of God. Can we afford to forget this? Can we afford to sever this single, silver strand that supports the whole framework of our republic? Only at the terrible risk of destruction!
Our heritage has been given to us by God, not for our glory, but His. Not for our comfort, but His cause. Gods’ ultimate commitment is to His reputation, not ours. We may think God exists to bless America, but according to scripture, America exists to bless God.
During this time of divisiveness and confusion in American politics, there is a specific prayer that we all can pray and God will answer. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Blessings,

Pastor Amundson 

Monday, July 25, 2016

First Fruit Offering

First Fruit Offering
The old testament introduces a clear cut plan for prosperity and blessing. It is revealed in Exodus 13. It is known as the “Law of First Things.”
Every first-born child was to be consecrated to the Lord. Every first-born animal that was male was given to the Lord. In Exodus 23:19, the first of the first-fruit harvest of the Lord was brought into the house of the Lord. These were brought unto the priests who set it before the Lord as an act of worship.
In Deuteronomy 26:13 the first-fruit offering was called a tithe (tenth). It was called a “hallowed thing” and served the needs of the priests, the widows, and the poor.
In Proverbs 3:9 it says, “Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first-fruits of all thine increase.” To honor God this way, brought glory to Him. The attached promise to the tithing principle in verse 10 says, “So your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.”
God receives honor and glory and He blesses His people when they recognize Him as the source for all that we have and when we give Him the best part of what we have. If God is first in our lives, then all is in order. If He is not, then all is out of order.
Principle of Putting God First
When Isreal moved into Caanan, there were ten cities for them to conquer before they could settle in the land. The first city they conquered, God told them that they were not to touch anything in that city. Everything in it belonged to God. They could have everything in the next nine cities. In Joshua 7 Isreal was judged harshly because someone had violated God’s word not to touch anything or keep anything for themselves. It all belonged to God. Achan couldn’t trust God’s provisions so he stole something from that city, which belonged to God.
In Leviticus 27:30, God said that “all the tithe is the Lord’s.” God never changed His mind about honoring Him first. His promise is to take care of His people. God wants this church to be fully resourced from within. Giving is such a big part of growing. Giving always produces increase.
Giving tithes and offerings does not buy God’s blessings. It does release God’s blessings upon our lives. When we started the church in Shell Lake I was 30 years old. I left my secular job to move into full-time ministry. We started out with the least amount of money we ever had in our life. We wanted God to be first in everything. We started out by giving a tenth of our income to the Lord. God put missions on my heart so we began to add another tenth of our income to be given to missions. This came from our limited income. God released a miraculous flow of blessing upon our finances to meet all of our needs. Generous giving is proof of our faith and love for God. More scriptures on tithes, offerings, and giving are found in: Malachi 3:10-11, Proverbs 11:24, Luke 6:38, and 2 Corinthians 9:6-8.
Blessings,

Pastor Amundson 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Purity

Purity
“The wisdom from above is first pure”- James 3:17.
Our moral values are in free fall. Purity has become a laughable term. Roving eyes spot bare flesh anywhere it is exposed. We see so many men with impeccable records astonish us with their secret indulgences.
We Christians, and especially ministers, have to get our acts together morally. We can’t prevent all the failures in the area of moral purity, but surely we can storm the tide. Like the woman who carried a flyswatter in her home for years so that she could kill the flies that constantly flew through the open windows. Her son finally suggested the she put screens on the windows. Screens don’t guarantee a “no fly” environment, but they can sure cut down on the number that do get in. We must take the same action to filter out impurity. Too many of us have already permitted impurity to go too far.
Purity is the Christians generational legacy, but impurity will stain your life forever, as it did for David, Israel’s great.
I once heard someone say, “you can’t keep the devil from flying over your head, but you can keep him from building a nest in your hair.” There are ways to maintain purity in our lives. Let’s see what purity is and how we can maintain it.

What is Purity?
Purity refers to the inward control of  fleshly lusts, thoughts, and actions. It means “unmixed,” a state of being without compromise. It means “uncontaminated,” free from outside corruption. It’s interesting that when something is pure, it is called “unadulterated.” We desperately need some unadulterated Christians.
Paul said, “to the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.” (Titus 1:15)
Samson in the Bible, made little compromises that paved the way for his big collapse eventually with Delilah. “It’s the little foxes that spoil the vine.” (Solomon 2:15) It’s the little compromises that we make with temptations that can ultimately trap us into immoral actions. We must make it our highest priority to walk in purity.
Impurity starts with our thoughts. If thoughts become a problem, how then can we control them? It is quite impossible in today’s world to not see images, exposures, or opportunities that become fuel to fire up lusts of the flesh. The power of the Holy Spirit within us can control lust. Our bodies (mind included) are His temple (1 Corinthians 6:19), and He stands ready to spring into action on our behalf against lustful thoughts.
The Holy Spirit is a constant filter and helper. We can have self-control over the lusts of the flesh that activate through inflaming thoughts. We can call on His name (“Holy Spirit”) under our breath the moment any impure image or thought enters our consciousness. He will quickly extinguish that passion or thought, much like a water pistol will douse a flaming candle.
Satan has a full arsenal for injecting lustful thoughts daily. We must not permit him to dump his garbage on our front yard. “Whatever is pure - - dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8) God wants the story of your life to end well!


Pastor Amundson 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Turn up the Light!

We have a wonderful identity as the people of God. God identifies us as His “chosen people, His royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people” in 1Peter 2:9.
We live in a world full of confusion, violence, crime, and hatred. Isaiah referred to it as a world of “gross darkness”. Isaiah 60:2 Most of our world has its identity with this darkness. Darkness is the absence of light and fear is the absence of faith. When darkness overtakes a person, they are unable to see where they are going. Jesus said in John 12:35, “he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.” Is it any wonder why there is so much confusion and lack of direction in our nation? In our world?
The bible tells us that there are spiritual rulers of darkness of this age who rule their wicked schemes from above the earth. Ephesians 6:12 Darkness has power to rule with tyranny to bring danger, death, sickness, and hostile situations.
Such is the example of what hatred can do by the terrible shootings of the police officers in Dallas this week. Evil is ruled by the powers of darkness that bring danger, death, and hostility into our everyday world. (Please note that prayer is our response to all the families who are suffering from these losses.) Also remember that our police officers are peace officers who protect us the best way they can from danger and harm. Let’s give them words of encouragement and show honor and respect to them for the job they do. The scripture says that “those who are given the authority to promote justice are God’s servants sent for our own good. They are sent for the purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. Anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and will be punished.” Romans 13:2-5
What is the answer to the darkness? The answer is to “turn to the light!” “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5 “In Him was life, (Jesus) and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness is unreceptive to it, but will never be able to eliminate it.” John 1:4,5
When people come to Christ the light of the world, the light is not only greater than darkness, but it also will outlast the darkness. The more light the less darkness. This is the greatest time for us to let our light shine. “Stand up for Jesus you soldiers of the cross; lift high His royal banner, it must not suffer loss!” “You are the light of the world, a city set on a hill which cannot be hid.” - Jesus
Let your light shine!

Pastor Amundson

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

What is your Name?



              “So He said to him, ‘What is your name?’ He said, ‘Jacob.’ And He said, ‘Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.’” (Genesis 32:27,28) Jacob means “supplanter” or “deceiver”, but Israel means “Prince with God”.
              Jacob suffered from an identity crisis with his fathers favoritism toward his twin brother Essau. The blessing of his father fell upon his brother who was born only seconds before Jacob. In these days the fathers “double portion” blessing was pronounced upon the first-born son in the family.
As a young boy, Jacob became jealous of his fathers attention toward Essau. Jacob, with the help of his mother, who loved him, hatched a plan to deceive his father Isaac into pronouncing the blessing over him instead of over Essau. The deception worked and his father gave him the birthright inheritance that was due to his older twin brother. This act created an intense sibling rivalry and Essau turned against his brother Jacob and Jacob had to go on the run to avoid his brothers wrath. Jacob had fulfilled the meaning of his name “supplanter” and “deceiver”.
We find in the scripture that God often renamed people, aligning their names with their identities in Him. Abram was 90 years old when God made a covenant with him that he would become a father of many nations. The name Abram meant “exalted father”. When God revealed his destiny He named him Abraham which means “father of a multitude”.
God brought Abraham’s wife into the covenant relationship as well when He changed her name. His wife’s name was Sarai which means “bitter”, but Sarah means “beautiful mother of princes”. Their new names would always remind them of God’s covenant promise and their true identities in Him.
Jesus called Peter by the name of “Simon the son of Jonah”. Simon means “reed”. Reeds bent and vacillated easily whenever the wind blew. In (John 1:42) Jesus said, “You shall be called Cephas (which is translated “a stone”).” Jesus was predicting Peter’s destiny as a foundation stone in the early beginnings of the church. Peter had struggles in changing from a reed to a stone but as he moved into his future destiny, his rock-like identity was becoming recognized.
To each and every one of us Jesus gives a new name, a new identity, and a new destiny. I’m not talking about changing your given name but I’m talking about the name that God has given you which is what He calls you. The name He gives you speaks His destiny over your future as you become exactly the person God has ordained you to be.
He who named every star in the heavens also calls His children by name. Each one of us has our own gifts and callings, so each name is different. It’s this name and identity with which Jesus will greet us when we meet Him face to face. “And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” (Rev 2:17)

Happy 4th of July,
Pastor Amundson


Monday, June 27, 2016

The Place of Power

Amos asked the question, “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3) Or  can men who are not in agreement with each other walk together? The obvious answer is no, they can not.             
King David said: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” He ends with, “for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life forevermore.”
Agreement is unity. I remember my dear friend Richard Reneau speaking a message here several years ago. His message title was, “the point of agreement is the place of power.” We never empower people with a contentious spirit or a dis-agreeable attitude. We empower people when we come to terms of agreement and have a spirit of unity.
Agreement is a dynamic principle of God. It works between us and God, and it works between us and one another. A church will never have power where brethren are in disagreement with each other. The dynamic event of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was the result of the believers being in one place and in one accord. It was at that point that the power came down. (Acts 2:1-4)
The power of God’s presence can not come into a home until the husband and wife get into agreement. Submitting to each other brings unity in the marriage and agreement brings power to make good decisions.
God wants to release the power of His presence into each of our lives. This will happen when we come into agreement with God and with His word. What is faith? Faith is agreeing with God’s word. Power is released when we come into agreement with God. “The point of agreement is the place of power.”
Sometimes people get angry with God because God has not performed for them in the way they wanted Him to. God didn’t do something. But they won’t express their anger because we all know that if a person is spiritual they won’t blame God. Right? At least not openly. But in our spirit we do. We ask questions like, “Why doesn’t God bless me financially like He blesses other people?” It’s a matter of principles. We are not in agreement with God’s principles for financial blessing, so the power to bless us has been limited.
God’s promises to us will lose their power if we are not in agreement with Him. We must come to the place of agreement with God’s word. God wants to release His power in every aspect of our lives but His power comes where faith is present. The opposite of faith us unbelief, and unbelief is disagreement with God. Faith is agreement with God and agreement with God releases God’s hands to put more of His power into our lives. Unity and agreement bring God’s blessings in greater measure than in an other way that I know!

Blessings,
Pastor Amundson





Monday, June 20, 2016

England - Romania - and GOD!

My trip into England and Romania turned out to be one of the most productive and rewarding experiences of any other mission trip I have taken. I saw first hand the power and strength of God demonstrated through pure brotherly love among the pastors and leaders from ten nations gathered in Brasov, Romania at a leaders conference this past week.

I was overwhelmed with joy to see such spiritual hunger and expectation of what God is preparing to do in Eastern Europe. It’s a new day of renewal and restoration of God’s Kingdom for that part of the world!  It was such a privilege to be one of the speakers for the conference and to join together with our team to lay our hands on all the many leaders there. Our prayers were for God’s empowerment and the release of gifting's and skills needed to expand God’s Kingdom work throughout Eastern Europe.

With the help of some good translators we were able to connect in the Spirit and see some powerful effects from body ministry. The excitement that these European leaders have to see the growth of God’s Kingdom in that part of the world is so refreshing to see.

Ten Nations Represented!

The I.G.O (International Global Outreach) conference was attended by pastors and leaders from Romania, Germany, Hungary, Ukraine, Moldova, Transistria, Syria, Israel, Luxembourg, and United Kingdom. The speakers whom I traveled with were Kelton Black, Kingsley Armstrong, David Price from the U.K. and Doug Pittman from San Antonio, Texas.

God Blesses Unity!

Psalm 133 tells us that God commands His blessing where brethren dwell together in unity. There was absolutely a family type relationship spiritually among those of us who traveled together from England to Romania. We were in spiritual agreement all the way! Even when we were short on financial resources because of some over budget expenses from the Romanian side, a Spirit-led Christian businessman from Romania stepped up to cover all expenses with more than enough to cover some of the costs for another I.G.O Conference next year. God had commanded His blessing!

Kelton Black has made a giant leap for God on an international level since recovering from cancer surgery last year. He is amazingly well and took care of all my accommodations which included speaking at another conference in Cornwell, England and at his church in Sommerset, England. Trevor Krantz joined us for the Romanian trip and will be staying in England to help Kelton for the next few weeks.

Mike Andrews joined us in Brasov, Romania and we visited his work in the gypsy community where he will be this week. Thanks for everyone’s prayers for us! We all felt the impact of them.
Pastor Amundson





Friday, June 10, 2016

Author and Finisher of our Faith

Author and Finisher of our Faith
As Christians we all have our times when things around us are anything but perfect. It is easy to get caught up in the circumstances around us and become discouraged and even begin to grumble a little. Of course when we do this, it is displeasing to the Lord. Especially those of us who have been walking with the Lord for some time, for we know better. Fixing our eyes on our circumstances rather than the author and finisher of our faith.
I have known those who have lost loved ones and in the process not felt the assurance that their salvation was secure. It is a very hard thing to go through, the closer the person is to the individual, the harder it is.
So how can we know? Or I should say, can we know? To my knowledge we can’t for sure but the Bible has some encouraging news. Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:42,43)  As this man was about to die, he turned to Christ for forgiveness and Christ accepted him. This shows that our works don’t save us - our faith in Christ does. It is never too late to turn to God. Even in his misery, Jesus had mercy on this criminal who decided to believe in Him. Our lives are much more useful and fulfilling if we turn to God early, but even those who repent at the very last moment will be with God in His kingdom. The dying criminal had more faith than the rest of Jesus’ followers put together. Although the disciples continued to love Jesus, their hopes for the kingdom were shattered. Most of them had gone into hiding. By contrast, the criminal looked at the man dying next to him and said “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.” By  all appearances, the kingdom was finished. How awe-inspiring is the faith of this man who alone saw beyond the present shame to the coming glory! What a motivation to those of us long time believers to look beyond the troubling circumstances in our lives to the author and finisher of our faith!
~Pastor Reg


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

My Life Helps Paint My Neighbors Picture of God

My Life Helps Paint
My Neighbor’s Picture of God!

“After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.” John 13:5

Albert Einstein once remarked, “Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another; it is the only means!”

In washing the disciples feet, Jesus shocked His followers. This was not to show off - Jesus was not some water-basin wonder. With a towel around His waist, Jesus washed soiled feet, but He was more interested in dirty people than dusty toes. The disciples had been vying for leadership positions, and Jesus played chief foot washer to clean their hearts rather than their feet. Knowing that He would be going away, Jesus acted as a servant to combat the hot shot attitudes of the disciples. He hoped they would recall and imitate His humility.

The Old Testament writers described Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, and Daniel as servants. Humble and caring leaders before God and others, they led without service charges.

In coming to this earth, Jesus became part of a long-running play, but He was not acting. HE took the servant part for some 33 years to show people how to live. Those who follow Him lead by example. They never make a grand entrance; they come in the service door, and others soon come after them. Jesus Christ visibly demonstrated the love of God when He was on earth. In stooping to wash His disciples feet, HE mirrored the submissive step HE had taken when HE left heaven to become a man. He lived with limitations of humanity, yet HE healed the sick, reached out to the despised, and endured bitter hatred as His reward. HE died like a criminal on a Roman cross. All of these things reflected God’s love, for Jesus said, “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9) Jesus is no longer with us in His physical body - HE now sits at God’s right hand in heaven. Therefore, if God’s love is to be embodied on earth today, it must be done through those of us who are Christians.

Not long ago, 16 women from Rockford, Illinois, my home town, beautifully demonstrated God’s love by rearranging their schedules to give round-the-clock nursing care to Martha, a 26 year old women with ALS. They bathed her, fed her, talked with her, prayed for her, and witnessed to her. Martha, who had not accepted Christ as her Savior and couldn’t understand how a loving God could let her get ALS, saw His love in these women and eventually became a Christian. Although feeble and unable to speak clearly, she gave a testimony of her faith and was baptized in a local church. A short time later, she died. She is with the Lord today because 16 women, following Jesus’ example, personified God’s Love!

                                                                                                                      

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What Is Holiness?

Growing up in a Pentecostal Holiness Church it was common to often hear the term “holiness” mentioned in messages that my Pastor preached. Much of what I understood about “holiness” growing up, I equated with standards of apparel as to what to wear or not to wear as a Christian. Also the list of rules regarding what we could or could not do seemed like a mile long to me. It didn’t seem to matter if a person had a real heart change and loved God and others as long as that person was compliant to all the rules and looked good outwardly. “Holiness” was understood to mean that real Christians were to look and act in the same way. Phariseeism is a by-product of that kind of holiness.

So what is true holiness? The Greek word “hagios” defines holiness as “set apart for God, to be, as it were, exclusively His.”  Those who receive His new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead they will live for Christ.” 2 Corinthians 5:15 (NLT)  Holiness, then, is to separate ourselves from the world that once controlled our selfish desires and to live our new life to please Christ. The world is driven by selfishness, and so is the believer who is unholy. Holiness is based in conduct and behavior, therefore if a believer is not fully devoted to God, their conduct and behavior is self-centered and their priorities are centered upon what they want. Holiness is really about living in our new nature that is recreated in the image of Jesus with the inward ability to live the truly good life.

Paul instructs us to submit to the new inward nature of Christ, in Ephesians 4:21 (NLT) “Since you have learned about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from Him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God - truly righteous and holy.”  Another definition of holiness means to have “pure, sinless, upright, behavior.” Of course this can only be possible through our position in Christ. Paul writes: “Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes.” Ephesians 1:4 (NLT) This holiness is solely due to what Jesus did for us and speaks of our place in Christ. We could never have earned this position by our behavior; it’s His gift to us.  Our behavior is an aspect of holiness that results from holding this position. Peter writes in 1:15, 16 (NLT) “Now you must be holy in everything you do (behavior), just as God who chose you is holy. For the scripture says “You must be holy because I am holy.” This chapter tells us that God will judge us according to what we do, which is referring to our actions, not our position in Christ. Peter is talking about our behavior and lifestyle, not our position in Christ. The blood of Jesus forgives our sins, but there is a certain judgment that will occur with God’s children in regard to what we do. (Read 2 Corinthians 5:9-11)

If we have been saved by grace, we are enabled by the gift of our new nature to live differently than the world; to live a holy life.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Purpose for Water Baptism

In our American culture it is customary to bury a deceased person in a cemetery shortly after they have passed.

After Jesus’ death on the cross, He was buried in a tomb until He rose again from the dead. Burial is what we do for people who have died. The application of water baptism is for those who have died in Christ to their old life of sin. “In Him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with Him in baptism and raised with Him through your faith in the power of God, who raised Him from the dead.” Colossians 2:11, 12 (NIV)

In the Israelite faith, circumcision was a sign that the individual stood in covenant relation with God. Now, for the Christian, water baptism is a parallel sign of our covenant relationship with God.  Water baptism is a symbol of a believers union with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. “Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” Romans 6:3 “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so also we should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4 NKJ

How believers are baptized:  The form of baptism - Biblical baptism was always by immersion. The Greek word “baptizo” means to dip or place under. Christ’s own baptism demonstrated this. (Matthew 3:13-17)  Philip baptizing the eunuch “went down into the water, came up out of the water.” (Acts 8:38, 39)

The command to be baptized:
Matthew 28:19 - “teaching all nations, baptizing them…”       Mark 16:16 - “He that believeth and is baptized…”
Acts 2:38 - “Repent and be baptized every one of you.”           Acts 10:48 - “He commanded them to be baptized.”

Water baptism into the Name:  It is through Jesus Christ, our Lord, that we fully know God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Apostles consistently used the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ in baptizing their converts. Acts 2:38; Acts 8:16; Acts 10:48; Acts 19:5 “eis to onoma tou Kurio Jesou” - “into the Name of the Lord Jesus.” 1 Corinthians 1:11-17 makes it clear that the Corinthians were not baptized in the name of Paul. Whose Name were they baptized? The obvious answer would be the Name of the one who was crucified for them - Jesus Christ their Savior!