One Black Friday years ago, Tammy and I decided that for the first time we would get up early and travel to Menards, for an item we wanted that was deeply discounted. We walked in the front door, saw every cash register line full…all the way to the back of the store. We turned around, walked out, and drove home. Later that afternoon, we returned and got the item we left behind, and the lines were back to normal.
Depending on who you listen to, there are numerous stories on how the term “Black Friday” came into being. Among the stories, many believe that Black Friday is the one day of the year when retailers make so much money that rather than ending the year in the “red,” it causes them to be in the “black.”
I believe that the most important Black Friday ever, saw the purchase of the most extravagant gift. People were “in the red,” with debt so high, they saw no hope of ever getting out. The debt was sin, and the future seemed hopeless. Then, Jesus Christ, the Son of God died on a cross on the first “Black Friday.” For everyone who repents of their sin (debt), and trusts in the Savior who gave His life for them, Black Friday becomes the day people’s debts are forgiven. For the first time in their lives they find themselves out of debt. Submit your life to Jesus today, and let the benefit of Jesus’ Black Friday become your Good Friday!
Last Thursday night at a Waffle House, a man & woman in a nearby booth had nothing positive to say about anything. They complained of harassment when the waitress came “too early” to their table for their order. They complained about the order not being right, and threatened to call the police on the waitress! As I think about their conversation, it was evident that they were miserable. Were they unthankful because they were miserable, or were they miserable because they were unthankful?
I contend that they were miserable BECAUSE they were unthankful! In the past few years, Tammy and I have had some great trials and tribulations. It’s been nearly 14 years since Tammy was first diagnosed with breast cancer, and nearly 4 years since she was told she was in Stage 4…not curable! Yet, rather than focus on that news, we have focused on the goodness of God and the hope that He brings (that the doctor’s diagnosis & assessment are not the last word).
Today, Tammy’s doctor calls her, her star patient, because in the doctor’s eyes Tammy is doing unexpectantly great! At this point, the last 3 PET scans have shown no malignancy! While we are so very grateful for God’s sustaining and healing power, we were also so very grateful BEFORE we received this wonderful news.
God is our Creator, and loves us immensely. His abiding presence assures us we are not alone! We are His and are here to serve Him—it is a work that matters for eternity. If the worst that can happen to us is we get to go to heaven to be with Him for eternity, then we are among the most blessed people!
Make sure to consider that for which you have to be thankful. When negative things come your way, don’t let the earth’s dark clouds make you think that the Bright Son of God is not shining! What you choose to dwell on will affect your attitude, which will determine if you are full of joy and thankfulness, or frustrated, miserable, discouraged, hopeless. Choose to be thankful! 2 Corinthians 2:14 (NIV) says, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.”
Have you ever been frightened or "spooked" so bad that the hairs on the back of your neck stood up? There are some very natural things in this world (unexpected happenings or noises) that can cause us to be frightened. However, there are also some supernatural (demonic) things that can cause us to be frightened also. This coming Sunday I want to talk about this, but also show how the Bible says we as followers of Jesus can cause demons to tremble! In this day of evil, God is looking for His people, not to shrink back, but to "possess the land." NOW IS THE TIME!
I’m reminded that in the last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation, (chapters 2 & 3), it says to each of the seven churches, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Is it possible that it’s referring to a time when God is speaking but few are hearing? This seems to be confirmed by the prophet Amos, who talks about time when there will be a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. Are we in that time?
A quick look at the human ear shows in intricate detail, how God designed the ear to hear. If He did that physically, wouldn’t He have done that for us spiritually also? If so, then what’s going on? Well, there’s so much “noise” today, so much busy-ness, that we don’t hear His “still small voice.” Yet, He’s speaking!
Let’s renew our commitment to finding that quiet place so we can turn our ears to hearing. Hebrews 1:3 (NIV) “The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word…” If His word sustains and we don’t hear it, we fall apart! Maybe it’s time to let God’s spoken and written words in, to lead our famine-stricken, unraveled life back to fullness and wholeness!
Is there a God out there somewhere, or is He ever-present? If God exists, does He intervene? If you have ever had any of these questions, current events will remind you that God is very active in world events, therefore, you should be able to expect that He is very active to fulfill His promises towards those who call upon Him.
Evidence of God’s activity is shown in the nation of Israel—a nation in the news daily. This tiny sliver of land-mass—this nation, whose population equals that of New York City, is amazing evidence of God’s activity today. 2500 years ago the Bible prophet Ezekiel, in chapter 36, prophesied of the restoration of the nation of Israel—land that God promised Abraham and his descendants would be theirs “forever.” The beginning of this restoration took place in 1948 (after over 1900 years of the Jewish people being dispersed).
The restoration of Israel kicked off a time-clock of what many believe is the last of the “last days.” Then, Ezekiel goes on to describe a “last-days” war, which will include Russia, Iran, Turkey and other Arab nations. That seemed impossible until the last couple of years. Now, what nations are eyeing Israel? Those very nations! Just days ago, Israel was set to celebrate its 70th year of existence. Yet, the Israeli military was in high alert for an attack from Iran. Then, an interesting thing happened.
On the very day of Israel’s 70th anniversary, Iran experienced a dust storm—not just any dust storm. “Iran Daily” reported: “While sandstorms…are not uncommon…the speed of the recent one and the sheer amount of dust it raised have been highly unusual.” Thousands of Iranians were hospitalized and layers of dust was on everything. Airplanes were grounded! It surely seems like there is a God who still intervenes to fulfill His promises to His people.
The God who keeps 2500-year-old promises to nations is the same God who will keep His promises to all who are His! In Psalm 121:4, it says “Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” That same God will not sleep concerning you, His promises to you, and His fulfillment of His purpose for your life. Look to Him—trust in Him—live for Him. He will show Himself great in your life too!
“I Can Only Imagine,” is the most radio-played Christian song ever. The movie with the same name—based on the lead singer, Bart Millard’s personal life story, was expected to gross $2-$4 million. After three weeks this movie has grossed over $70 million. The reason? It contains some very powerful real-life happenings that lead most people to a sense of hopelessness and despair, and tells the story of redemption, forgiveness, and hope.
Beginning Sunday April 15th, I will be preaching a 4-week series based on the truths presented in this movie. I will be using interview clips of the lead singer and movie clips from the movie that is currently in the theaters. In week one, I will deal with IDENTITY THEFT. If life, from your past or present, has left you believing something about yourself, your worth or your potential that does not agree with how God sees you or His plan for you, your identity has been stolen. Get it back! Come this Sunday, April 15th at 10am to Delphi First Assembly of God and experience God the Father’s, amazing love for you. Through Him, you can reclaim your true identity!
In the Holy Scriptures, it says, ‘By those who come near Me, I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified’ (Leviticus 10:3). God is a holy God. However, that understanding of our Creator, and the appropriate response by humanity has overwhelmingly ceased. In the Scriptures, those who encountered God’s presence God trembled, fell on their face as dead, repented as they recognized their sinfulness, etc. We must not ignore him, treat Him as if He doesn’t exist, or treat Him as if He is so far away He doesn’t matter. He must be regarded as Holy! I’m preaching a series on our Holiness of God, and how we as Christians ought to respond to Him…and not just to Him, but to all that He calls holy. Be challenged by this challenging word!
I remember as a child, riding in the car in downtown Kokomo, Indiana. At certain times of the day you could smell the aroma of fresh-baked bread from the Wonder Bread Bakery.” All you wanted to do was to open the window, close your eyes and sit in that smell!
Our time of prayer and fasting is just that—to “sit in the fragrance of Jesus!” The Word of God says He is the Bread that came from heaven. If we could only slow down life enough to “smell” His fragrance, everything would change—our attitudes would change, our pursuits would change, our relationships would change…everything! So, going into our last week of fasting and prayer, I invite you to pull over, roll down the window to the heavenly Bread, take a deep breath and smell the Bread!
No one gets to where they are by themselves. I encourage you to stop for a moment and think of that person or those people who helped you along the way. Furthermore, we should regularly cultivate a thankful heart, followed by expressions of thankfulness. Thankful people are more joyful and more at peace. Thankful people have a better outlook on life. Oh, I know, there are plenty of negative things that one could choose to dwell on, but that would only serve to dampen spirits, and drag us down. In turn, it would also negatively affect our relationship with others around us. So today, make the choice – be thankful! Whisper a prayer to God, expressing your thankfulness for His many blessings! And, while you’re at it, why don’t you contact that person or those people towards who made or make a difference in your life, and express that to them. It’s the right thing to do! And… you’ll be glad you did! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT)
Spiritual quacks keep setting dates for the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ. This is part of the reason why I am currently preaching a series on Bible prophecy. Using Scripture, I am attempting to separate fact from fiction, truth from hype. Since the Bible says that no one, not even the angels in heaven, knows the day or the hour of His return, therefore, no one in humanity can discover the date. That being said, the Scripture also says that, “Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door” Mark 13:29 (NIV).
How will we know His coming is at the door? Signs! Similar to when you travel—when you get closer to a destination you begin to see signs of how far until you arrive. The above Scripture notes that those who are able to understand the signs will KNOW that it is right at the door.
I’m seeing signs! They are clear! They are real! It sure feels like we’re very close! I’m sharing them here and in my messages each Sunday morning at the 10am service at Delphi First Assembly of God, because we must be prepared. We must declare the message, “Repent and turn to Jesus! The Kingdom is at hand!” Whether or not you believe it won’t matter. It will affect you! Get ready
Pastor Brent Oliver grew up in Kokomo, Indiana and is an Ordained Minister through the Assemblies of God. Before embarking on God’s plan to establish a church in Delphi, Pastor Brent served in both Peru and Logansport, Indiana encompassing over 29 years of fulltime ministry. His vision and creativity has been the benchmark for the growing ministry at Delphi First and after 23 years, his passion and leadership could not be stronger.