Feb 28, 2011

Worship - The key to His presence.

I believe worship is an extremely important part of serving God. Worship is very personal and is something that I have to WANT to do. I have to cultivate a desire to worship God.  It comes from a deep love and reverence for God. 

Worship cannot be extorted from people and a common mistake is for a worship leader to berate Christians for not worshipping.  Worship leaders need to lead by example.  Leadership produce after their own kind.  We create an atmosphere of the presence of God that draws people into
it by and stirs a desire to worship.Worship is expressing my love for God and acknowledging His love and provision for me. Worship makes me aware of the Presence of God. Worship brings me closer to God.

God's word comands, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’" Luke 10:27    Worship is not distracted but intimate and requires me to put my will and strength into it.   Worship is not "wishy washy" but a definite act of adoration for God.  

For the past 44 years, I have led worship in every one of my meetings, the first 26 years using a guitar and the past 18 years I have used a keyboard.   I was taught originally that a good minister always makes eye contact with the audience.  But as I was leading worship and watching people, many looked disconnected and disinterested.  It troubled me and was a great source of distraction and always made me feel like I should stop.  I felt I was not doing a good enough job and people were disinterested. 

I asked the Lord how I should deal with this issue and He said very simply, close your eyes and worship Me as if you are the only one in the auditorium. Those who want to, will join you and get caught up in the moment.  It has worked ever since, because it took my attention off of trying to please man and onto God and His awesome presence. 

My philosophy now is, if they want to join me, we are going worship in the throne room of His presence.  If not, there was little I could do to make them worship.   Even if I am not ministering, but part of the audience, I love to worship and get involved with God.

But it saddens me to see so many believers, who have never had a revelation of how awesome it is to worship God with all their heart, mind and strength.  It troubles me to see pastors or guest speakers who only come into the sanctuary when the worship is almost over.   They reason that it keeps them focused on what God has planned for their time of ministry. 

But I contend, that the whole part of the meeting should be orchestrated by God and directed by the Holy Spirit, and we should be involved from the beginning.   When I am ministering at a church, I love to join in from the beginning.  Of course, whatever works for them is ok and I don't stand in condemnation of them, but wish they could see what I have seen.  

There is a great benefit from intense worship, because it brings you right into the presence of God and in the presence of God is fullness of Joy.  There is also love and peace and when you invest in worship, the result is quite amazing and you will feel refreshed, revived, strengthened and encouraged.

Gods richest blessings

Gil Howard-Browne
PS: Listen to our free "Worship Podcast"  CLICK HERE 
Our main ministry web site is www.revivaltimes.com

Feb 24, 2011

Be of Good Cheer - Jesus overcame the world.

John 16:33 (Amplified Bible)

"I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]"

We are told in the Word of God to "guard our hearts"  and "cast down imaginations".   Watching world events, listening to people's opinions and interpretations about what is about to happen, can lead to fear and anxiety in Christians hearts.  The truth is no one really knows.  If I had lived my life by all the predictions people have made over the past 44 years of being a Spirit filled Christian, I would have been in a mess emotionally and spiritually.  In fact, I don't know of one that has come to pass, of the many I have heard. 

The truth is, in life, we will experience, tribulation, trials, distress and frustration, because this is an imperfect world and things go wrong.  But God has already done something about it through His Son.  Jesus often said to those who were fearful or discouraged,  "Be of good cheer".  The amplified expounds on the word "cheer" [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted] 

Those four words, courage, confident, certain, undaunted, speak of learning to trust God implicitlly, that He will "make a way for us in the wilderness and rivers in the desert" Isa 44:19.  We must not let our negative thoughts rule our behaviour, but trust Him to bring us through.  Jesus then proceeds to state "I have over come the world", and the amplified adds,  [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]"   

Jesus is saying in fact "no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper", (Isa. 54:17) I have taken away it's power over you.    We are to get our eyes off of the weapon and onto the magnificent triumph that Jesus wrought on our behalf.   He has "depirved" it of it's ability to harm us and conquered it for us.  He is saying, "I've done the work, now you rest in it"

In Romans 12:2 (Amplified Bible) we read  "Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].

We are commanded not to be fashioned after the external and supercicial customs of the world, but from the inside of our minds and souls to be transformed with new ideals (moral beliefs) and new attitudes (mental outlook).  Those new moral or core beliefs and mental outlook's, come from God and are fashioned by the Holy Spirit in us, so that we change from being fearful, negative, depressed.  We begin to line up and agree with the purpose and plan of God for our lives.  His plan cannot fail as long as I am not sidetracked by all that the world offers to me daily. 

BE OF GOOD CHEER, Jesus has made it possible for you to succeed. 

Be blessed

Gil Howard-Browne
PS: Listen to our free "Worship Podcast"  CLICK HERE 
Our main ministry web site is www.revivaltimes.com

Feb 19, 2011

Receiving from God should not be complicated but easy.

Receiving from God should not be complicated but easy, because Jesus already PAID THE PRICE.  His death on the cross made it possible for us to receive forgiveness, healing, joy, peace and His love.  Jesus said "Matthew 11:30  "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (New International Version, ©2010)

There are too many "formula's" being used to teach people how to receive something that God already has given through His son's death on the cross.  Granted there are principles in the Word that need to be followed, but God did not complicate them.  We have complicated them by interpreting the word from our own understanding and background. 

I remember when I was a baby Christian and hungry for more of God.  There were so many conflicting statements made during the many sermons that I heard that took me up a rabit trail instead towards God.  Of course I now know, they were sermon fillers.  There may even be some truth in them, but it was something someone did which had a positive outcome, and then became the formula used on everyone.  We must ALL be led by the Spirit and obey what God is telling us to do.   

I recently heard a preacher say three conflicting things in the space of five minutes.  He said, "you have to lay down your ministry or vision in order to go to the next level", but he did not explain what that meant.   Did he mean, the pastor who is pressing in to build the Church, needs to quit so as to go the the next level???

Then he said " If your ministry is not working, you need to go back to the point it was working and do what you were doing then."   But what if you had a ministry like Philip.  Having had successfull meetings in Jerusalem with signs and wonders etc, then being instructed to go into the desert to minister to ONE person.   If he had not obeyed, the Eunuch would not have received salvation and been baptised, and returned to Ethiopia to make an impact on many lives.  No sometimes God has us doing things that make it look like we are going backward.  But He is in charge and must have the final say.

Not two minutes later, he said, " ... if the finances are not coming in to support your ministry then you have sin in your life"   I was stunned.  I know a lot of Godly men who are in very economically depressed areas and are feeling financial pressure.  Then I know of men who have large ministries and have millions of dollars coming into their ministries, but later we find they have been living in sin.   There are millions of stinking rich sinners all over the world.   

The above three statements are clich├ęs and not divine truth.   I know a dear pastor and his wife who have poured out their lives and savings into their church, which is in an economically challenged area, who heard these three statements, and were very confused.  

There are a lot of what I call "manipulation phrases" designed to put a guilt trip on people, as a form of control, and sometimes to solicit a bigger offering.   It is wrong for anyone to to taint the good news with a thought that contains a half truth in order to twist someone's arm to do something.  We must make sure our preaching is the pure Word of God and not some nice sounding phrasiology in an attempt to make our sermons sound great.     

I once repeated a phrase I had heard a preacher say often.  But when I said it, I blushed and felt greatly convicted by the Holy Spirit.  I guess no one saw the blush, but I felt it like a rebuke and immediately apologized to the Lord and made a promise never to use it again. 

The reason was that whilst it sounded plausible, it was not biblical.   We have to guard our tongue and make sure we are speaking truth and not a fable.  Of course none of us is perfect and there is no one who has not uttered some unbiblical statement.  But we have to allow the teacher on the inside, the Holy Spirit to correct us.   

"Father help us to be faithful to your Word and to be led by the Holy Spirit in all that we say and do.  Amen"  

Gil Howard-Browne
PS: Listen to our free "Worship Podcast"  CLICK HERE 
Our main ministry web site is www.revivaltimes.com

Did Jesus die in vain?

By His death on the cross, Jesus accomplished several things.
  • He made it possible for the world to be reconciled to the God. I Corinthians 5:19
  • and live eternally. John 3:16
  • He bridged the seperation gap that sin had caused. Isaiah 59:1,2
  • He made it possible for us to have abundant life. John 10:10
  • He made it possible for us to be filled with the Holy Spirit so that God could communicate with us directly and lead us from within.  John 14:16
  • He made it possible for us to be filled with the anointing, God's ability, efficiency and might so that we could be vessels that He could use to touch the world with His power. Acts 1:8 (Amp) & 1Jn 2:27
  • He made it possible for us to walk in divine health because by His stripes we were healed. Isaiah 53:5 
But, did He die in vain.  Has the Church caught the revelation of what He has done, or have we diminished all that He has accomplished.  Are we only serving Him because we need what He can do for us.  Has the Body of Christ become selfish and demanding? Have we missed the meaning of the great commission.  

These are questions we all must answer to ourselves and to God.  Our relationship to and with God needs to be with all our hearts, minds and souls.   Luke 10:27   My focus has to be on worshiping and obeying Him not on what He can do for me.   There are too many Christians who are always thinking of themselves and when God does not do what they ask, they get angry at Him and forsake Him.  

He wants us to trust Him and lean not to our own understanding.  Prov. 3:5

Gil Howard-Browne
PS: Listen to our free "Worship Podcast"  CLICK HERE 
Our main ministry web site is www.revivaltimes.com

Feb 11, 2011

A road to "nowhere"

By Gil Howard-Browne

Have you ever felt like you were on a road to nowhere.  If you are human and are living on this earth, smile, then you have had such moments, from time to time in your life.  It is usually because you are between the vision God gave you and the next door that you are waiting for Him to open for you.  Or you have simply lost hope, because life has become entangled with problems that seem unsolvable. 

It's a frustrating feeling indeed and can be a cause for concern, unless you are firmly rooted and grounded in trusting God and His word.  The truth is God always has direction for our lives and nothing that we do in this life is so bad that Jesus did not already pay for on the cross.   "God ALWAYS causes us to triumph in Christ" 2 Corinthians 2:14

It's almost like this photo I took back in the early 90's in Michigan at the start of fall.  This winding road going downhill looks like it goes to nowhere, and I have always wondered what was at the end of it and my curiosity has often sparked my imagination.  I have mentally tried to visualize what is around the bend.  Is it a lake full of fish, or a cabin in the woods. Maybe a field of vegetables or an orchard of fruit or a cow pasture.  Needless to say, I may never know.    The gate was locked or I might have been tempted to take a look.  LOL

It was way back in about 1995, when my wife Loraine and I and our two children, Jeremy and Jilleen, were living in a 34 ft motor home and were traveling all over the USA and Canada holding revival meetings. We usually arrived for our next meetings on a Friday or Saturday and if we were not too tired, would visit the local mall or shopping center.   On one such occasion, we were in Traverse City, Michigan, we parked our motor home at the side of the Circuit City electronics store, my favorite back then.  

When I got out of the RV, I noticed the locked gate at the end of the parking lot which was at the top of a low hill.  The scene below the gate was very pretty with it Fall trees and farm road, and prompted me immediately to grab my camera and take this shot.   Whilst it always intrigued me, my wife said, it was beautiful but the road that grew smaller and smaller made her think of uncertainty and vulnerability.

I guess that sums it up quite nicely.  There are two ways to look at any situation.  Even if we don't know the outcome or the next step, God does and His plan and purpose for our lives has never changed.  So when the road seems to go nowhere, we must still trust Him and allow His peace and joy to fill our hearts.  That way if we got sidetracked from His purpose, He can lead us back onto the right path.   

Psalm 23 says "yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil"  It's a valley and the shadow means it appears like death, but at the end of the valley there is a mountain and we are surely going to climb it's heights to the next challenge God has for us. 

My friends,  God loves us and has a never ending plan for our lives.  He will make it come to pass and will bless us and keep us in the midst of whatever life deals up.  He is faithful to the end and will make a way of escape for us. 

His word declares "I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." Isa. 43:19   God does not get fazed by our situations and our feelings of helplessness.  His plan is constantly unfolding in our lives.  It is our job to "forget the things that are behind and to press towards the mark of His calling on our lives." Phi 3:13 

God bless you richly.

Gil Howard-Browne
PS: Listen to our free "Worship Podcast"  CLICK HERE 
Our main ministry web site is www.revivaltimes.com