Thursday, July 30, 2009

Follow The Leader

Pastor Tim Howard
July 30, 2009

Have you ever been in route to a specific destination only to discover you were lost? You can almost feel your blood pressure rising as your emotions begin to fluctuate and your intellect reminds you, this is an extremely important appointment so you don’t want to be late.

One time a Pastor friend of mine named Ron lost his way as he was trying to find a small country church where he had been invited to speak. He left the hotel room early to assure a timely arrival and to enjoy the scenic drive but not being familiar with the country roads and landmarks he ended up totally and completely lost. Even though it was humbling for him to admit he needed some help, he decided to stop at the first country store he found. A man named Karl, the proprietor of Karl’s Feed & Fuel, gave him these directions.

“First you take Rural Route 18 -- that’s this road here -- go south to the big red barn with black trim. Black trim and not white! The white-trimmed one is the old Wilkerson place and the Timmitville Bridge is out, so you don’t want to go that way, trust me”.
He nodded to acknowledge he was listening. “Anyway” he went on, “after you get to the barn, head due east on Berrybriar Road until you hit Clear Creek, which you follow
North -- maybe two, three miles till you get to the big aluminum grain silo. That’s Earl Simmons’ place. Then turn north onto County Road Number 7, follow that a mile or
so -- winds around a good bit -- and then turn left where you see the big herd of Guernsey cows”…

To Ron’s surprise a man interrupted the conversation and said: “Pardon me, my name is Lyle. Didn’t mean to listen in, but are you the visiting pastor speaking at the church on Petersburg Road?” “Well yes, I am” Ron said. “Well, pastor, why don’t you just follow me to the church. I know the way.

Sometimes you can lose your way in life and it’s a lot easier to follow someone than to figure things out with your own intellect. You don’t have to keep track of barns or silos or Earl Simmonses or Guernsey cows. All you need to do is follow the leader.

In Matthew 4:19, Jesus told those who were lost and needed direction for their lives to follow him. I won’t just tell you where to go and what to do, I will actually lead you and show you the way. FOLLOW ME! Wow that simplifies everything. All we need to do is follow Him: Do what He does, go where He goes, say what He says and things will work out. Jesus will get you to your appropriate destination because He knows the way. Believe it or not, God has already been in your future. Psalms 139 makes it clear that he “goes before us.” He charts a path for us and knows where we should stop, when we need to rest and the best route for the journey.

To follow someone, you must trust them and to trust them you must know them. I invite you to visit one of the many church families in Kings County this weekend to deepen you knowledge of God. Don’t settle for only acquiring knowledge about God when you have the privilege of really getting to know him personally. If you are ever lost and need directions He will show you the way. All you need to do is follow Him.

Friday, July 17, 2009

God Has a Dream

Pastor Tim Howard
July 17, 2009

Someone recently asked me if I had a dream? I told them I had dreams every night and most of them are somewhat bizarre. The question posed to me, however, had nothing to do with this type of dream and we laughed because both of us knew it.

Over the years I’ve had many dreams. In the 1960’s I dreamed about owning a 1964 and ½ Mustang 289 convertible. At that time, I was earning $1.25 an hour (you heard me right) so the dream was not meant to be, even though the whole car sold for about $2,300.00 brand new. I dreamed about graduating from college and becoming a millionaire but that didn’t happen either. Well, I did graduate from college so one out of two isn’t all that bad. Then, while in college I dreamed about finding a wife whom I could spend the rest of my life with, serving God and helping people. That’s when I met and married a woman by the name of Donna Higgins and for the past 36 years this has been a dream come true.

We all have dreams! You may recall Martin Luther King, Jr., a Baptist minister, who was a driving force in the push for racial equality in the 1950’s and the 1960’s. On August 28, 1963 he delivered his great, “ I Have a Dream” speech and made a lasting impression on this nation. Here are a few excerpts to refresh your memory:

“I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’ I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.”

We all have dreams and so does God. His dreams have your best interest in mind. Listen to His words in Jeremiah. 29:11, “For I know the plans (dreams) I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans (dreams) to prosper you and not to harm you, plans (dreams) to give you hope and a future.”

Many times we find ourselves pursuing dreams that don’t involve God. Too often it is what we want for ourselves and not what God wants for us. Maybe that’s why so many dreams have been shattered. Sometimes we dream about getting those new and glitzy things but once we get them they let us down. We thought they would make us happy but in the end, we are left with emptiness inside. Today’s discovery becomes tomorrow’s disappointment. Sometimes a dream can turn into a nightmare! Do you know what I mean? You want something, you dream about it, you plan and save but when you get it you realize it doesn’t live up to all the hype. What started out so exciting becomes very tedious.

It may be good to have dreams but it’s great and essential to discover God’s dreams for you? Jesus wants to assist you in this discovery. He’s even created a Dream Team that can help you in your search. They meet every weekend in various places throughout Kings County. They are frequently called the ‘Church’ but in reality, they are the family of God. Why not visit this weekend and ask some family members about God’s plans. I think you’ll be glad you did.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Divine Appointments

Pastor Tim Howard
July 3, 2009

In my chosen vocation appointments are a common occurrence. People call to set an appointment for a variety of reasons and because I value people, I always try to accommodate their request. At times it is necessary to decline or delegate a request to another Pastor but if it’s at all possible, I say yes. Recently I said yes to one such appointment and I’m so very thankful. With hindsight I can unequivocally say it was a divine appointment.

Divine appointments impact your life and influence you in a significant way. Divine appointments are set up by God and always have a purpose. Divine appointments can happen at church, in a coffee shop, on a college campus, in a mall or virtually anywhere. You definitely don’t want to miss a divine appointment with God or people because when you walk away from a divine appointment you realize something positive has happened.

Believe it or not, the God of the universe wants to set a daily and divine appointment with you. Revelation 3 tells us that he is knocking on the door and wants to talk. I can remember times when my boss would knock on my door and ask me to step into his office. I feared the encounter because I assumed the worst. You may be wondering: Why would the Creator of the world want to see me? Am I in trouble? Did I do something wrong? What does He want to correct?

Let me assure you - His main reason for setting a daily appointment with you is to express His love and to help you navigate life’s journey. That’s why I encourage you to accept his invitation and keep your appointment with Him. Unlike me, He has never missed an appointment and He has never been late. He is willing and waiting to reveal Himself at the appointed time. All you need to do is show up!

God is also constantly planning divine appointments, heavenly convergences or divine bump-ins for you. There is someone he wants you to help, a person who has something to say or some kingdom business to be accomplished. He is your divine dispatcher! One time during a ride-along in a police car, a dispatcher contacted the police officer in command and gave him directions to a specific destination with a specific purpose. After hearing the directives he made an abrupt ‘U’ Turn and obeyed the orders. If you are going to experience divine encounters and divine appointments, you must be willing to alter your plans and obey the divine dispatcher.

That may be difficult for some. A full schedule, lots of plans, goals set in cement and a personality that doesn’t want to alter the day can make change very troublesome. For people like this, divine appointments seem like an interruption, intrusion or inconvenience to their well thought out blueprint for the day. I’m not suggesting we do away with a plan but simply make room for alterations. Some of the greatest things to happen in your life and some of the greatest encounters you are yet to experience will not take place because you plot a wonderful course to follow but because you were willing to follow the directives of the divine dispatcher and alter your day.

Don’t schedule your day so tightly that there’s no room for God to insert an unexpected opportunity to touch someone’s life or experience something out of the ordinary. Those unscheduled and unplanned happenings may open a door to a divine visitation.

The next time you feel like someone or something is interrupting your day and intruding into your plans, ask this question: Could this be a divine appointment in the making?