SPONTANEOUS BAPTISM

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SUDDENLY” is one of the most loved scriptures for me. I have experienced God in so many various ways…reading the bible…worship…long prayer and fasting  journeys of pressing in and working out the salvation experience he desires in us all. But what I love most about my walk with Jesus is when does something in my life … SUDDENLY!!!

No plan, no agenda, no calendar, nothing on my part but everything initiated by God!

Tonight, we experienced Night of Worship and there was a plan, for baptism, for prayer, and certain songs were chosen for the experience. But then all of a sudden…. God pours out His love and individuals began to feel the need to get baptized and identify their life with Christ…. So the picture here is one of those spontaneous   moments that God does so well.

Tomorrow, can I encourage you to plan, pray, and pursue God but I want you to do one more thing….EXPECT FOR SUDDENLY TO HAPPEN.

 

HE FILLS

Ephesians 4:10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)

The reason we respond in worship is because He is the ONLY ONE that can truly fill us! Lets consider an illustration using a pitcher and an empty container. When you want to fill an empty container, the supplier or pitcher has to be in a higher position to that of the container otherwise it cant be filled.

If we have 2 containers side by side and one has a greater amount of substance within. The only thing he could do is empty himself. He cannot fill it simply because they are at the same level. The container with substance would have to be raised to a higher position in order for it to pour into the other.

Jesus was raised from the dead and given the highest possible position throughout the universe. From that position, His purpose is “that He might FILL ALL THINGS”. Praise God!

You want substance that lasts? Be filled from oh High! Jesus has an endless supply of whatever it is that you lack. Need strength? Hope? Deliverance? Freedom? Grace? Courage? Wisdom? Love?

Respond to Him in worship! Lift up your hands and receive what only He can give! He desires to pour into you those things you lack!

Sole Fide!
Marcus

FRIEND, PASTOR, LORD OR ALL

friendJohn 15:15
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

Receiving Christ at age 19 was the greatest moment in my life. Little did I know that this decision would also develop into a life of tension. Let me try to explain:

1. Early on, I thought I had many friends but because of a decision I made to follow Christ, my friends deserted me and my grandmother and wife  became my closet friend. Jesus was there for sure.

2. New friends came along, mostly from the Christian community but the first few I came to know and commit myself to hurt me and falsely accused me of wrongdoing. I didn’t realize people could be so mean. and oh…btw…Jesus was still there beside me.

3. I committed myself once and again to others simply cause my heart would not allow me to shut off kindness and care. And…I also found a leader pastor in the church community that poured his life into me. Didn’t consider him a friend but more of a father. He seemed to come the closest to the scripture mentioned above in my life. He was my pastor but it seemed like he never withheld  anything from me. (yet later I found he did but only for my protection) Then he died and I was left alone in a wilderness state not sure which direction I should go. Again, Jesus was my silent comfort and strength. He alone brought me through this wilderness.

4. I became a full-time minister and pastor and was told to separate myself from those to whom God has called me to pastor. So I tried but I found the more I tried to separate the more I struggled inside. Who could I talk to? Everything I was learning needed to be shared yet how could I if I was to keep it seperated? Miserable inside. So I talked to my fellow colleagues yet later surprised that whom I confided in was another set up for deeper hurt than ever before. I couldn’t call it a scalpel but more of a wound from that of a knife. Left bruised, bleeding, broken inside. BUT…I must say it once and again, Jesus the Healer still by my side.

5. In the midst of my quit mindset and bruised spirit, Jesus speaks and surprisingly asks me to rise up and lead. How could I say no? It wasn’t a democracy as though I could vote, it was the King of this Kingdom that I committed to long ago. His voice gave me courage and strength I never knew but deep inside I wondered how I could get through…this season of my life. But only He knew what I was made of; the very thing He had built and established could no longer be moved. My Master…day by day…had established something in me that i didn’t know I had. A friendship that knows all hurts, all wounds, all pain and joys of life up to that day.

I know He is My Pastor, My Lord, My Master…but more than that He has become my friend. At His discretion, He reveals Himself as my friend; at other times, My Shepherd…yet all along I know HE IS MY LORD. I gladly serve and honor Him with all that I have.

He is still here today. Forever Faithful…Friend, Pastor, Lord.

IN TRAGEDY WE MOURN, IN GOD WE TRUST

In light of the recent shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn, I write simply to address myself and to bring peace to my own heart. My deep broken prayers go out to the parents of all those innocent victims who will face this Christmas with many unanswered questions and unopened gifts that will sit underneath a tree that has lost its meaning. I read a passage of scripture last night that described my rage inside.
Psalms 89:
45 You took the best years of his life
and left him an impotent, ruined husk.
46 How long do we put up with this, GOD?
Are you gone for good? Will you hold this grudge forever?
47 Remember my sorrow and how short life is.
Did you create men and women for nothing but this?
48 We’ll see death soon enough. Everyone does.
And there’s no back door out of hell.
49 So where is the love you’re so famous for, Lord?
What happened to your promise to David?

Please don’t misunderstand, I am not hopeless, nor am I confused about the evil of this day. Certainly, there are many who are wondering why God would allow such a horrific tragedy. Where was He? Why did He allow this? Why didn’t He stop this young man from perpetrating this terrible crime? I am not sure to many of these questions but I have this saying that I always run to: “When I don’t understand, I trust”.

This may be too simplistic of an approach to life and the evil in it but it brings peace to my heart. It always has and probably always will. As I reflect on scripture, I am reminded that evil has always existed ever since the beginning in the first family of Creation. One brother murders the other in innocent blood. You move ahead a few chapters in scripture and you see the evil in Pharaoh giving a mandate to destroy and kill all newborn innocent males. We see this evil raise it’s head again during the season of Christmas and again you read where innocent children were being murdered under the order of Herod the King.

Matthew 2:16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under…”

Evil has been there all along. Sin & rebellion has been there all along. The killing of innocent blood has been there all along. Its moments like this that these foolish and selfish acts are highlighted and brought to the surface of our own soul.
WHAT WILL WE DO WITH THIS TRAGEDY? HOW DOES A NATION, A COMMUNITY, A FAMILY move forward from this?
In scripture, Adam and Eve eventually found strength to continue and have other children. In the days of Pharoah, Jochebed refused to abort her child and protect him to become the next leader in Israel. And when you read the Christmas Story in the gospels, you see Joseph and Mary protecting their child in the midst a horrific slaying of innocent children. I can’t imagine the turmoil they may have felt knowing that MANY innocent children were being slain because evil was looking for their child.
I am not sure how we do it as a nation but history shows that these things will only make us stronger. That every family will rise above their hurt and pain and keep moving forward. I am sure yesterday will forever be etched in their heart. They will walk with a limp, but they will walk. They will breakdown and weep, but they will rise back up. Their faith will be shattered and paralyzed for a moment, but they will find the courage to strengthen others and trust God once again.
Evil, you can continue to try and destroy the fabric of our faith in God. You have done this from the beginning. But must I remind you of what happens when people put their trust in God inspite of the evil of the day….It is written…
Ex 1:12 But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew.
peace to my family in Newton, Connecticut,
Pastor Marcus Avalos

REMOVE THE PAIN OF WEEKLY SERMON PREP

After talking to hundreds of preachers, we’ve found most preachers love preaching, but the grind of preparation can often become a pain.  Here are three things we’ve seen.

1. Great preaching comes from a great preparation system.  Perry Noble doesn’t prepare in a vacuum.  He has a team at NewSpring Church that helps him prepare.  Perry will talk about how this works at the PreachBetterSermons.com FREE online eventon March 15th.

2. A Preparation day is better than feeling like you have to prepare all the time.  Andy Stanley sets aside every Wednesday to prepare messages, and his team helps him keep this time guarded.  While Andy is gifted, his commitment to preparation helps make his messages memorable.  Andy will talk about the structure of his preparation day on the Preach Better Sermons online event.

3. Developing a sermon planning system takes the pain out of preparation.  There are things you can do on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual basis that will dramatically improve your preparation time and help you deliver better messages. Helping you put something like this into place will be a part of the free online event.

Make a commitment to be a better preacher.  Sign up for the free online conference.  Here are the details.

40 DAYS (DAY 1)

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Going to spend the next 40 days during this Lent season praying and studying the topic of power in the New Testament. At Crossroads Church we are going to be praying daily from noon-1pm in the living room. If you care to join us, you are more than welcome to come. Its time to get about the Masters business…no more playing church or playing games with life. Its too precious to spend life on this earth trusting in the things of this earth that bring little return. Keep you sights high and your aim on the Mark of JESUS; He is Your Finish Line.

The following are some of the passages in the NT on POWER.

Matt. 6:13         And do not lead us into temptation,But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Matt. 9:6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”

Matt. 9:8 ¶ Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such power to men.

Matt. 10:1 And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.

Matt. 22:29 ¶ Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.

Matt. 24:30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

Matt. 26:64 ¶ Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Mark 2:10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic,

Mark 3:15 and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons:

Mark 5:30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?”

Mark 6:7 ¶ And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits.

Mark 9:1 And He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.”

Mark 12:24 ¶ Jesus answered and said to them, “Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God?

Luke 1:17 He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, “to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Luke 1:35 ¶ And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.

Luke 4:14 ¶ Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region.

Luke 4:36 Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, “What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.”

Luke 5:17 ¶ Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them.

Luke 5:24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”

Luke 6:19 And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all.

Luke 9:1 Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases.

Luke 10:19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Luke 12:5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!

Luke 20:20 ¶ So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor.

Luke 22:53 When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”

Luke 22:69 Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God.”

Luke 24:49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”

John 10:18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

John 19:10 ¶ Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?”

John 19:11 ¶ Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”

Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Acts 3:12 So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: “Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?

Acts 4:7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”

Acts 4:33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.

Acts 6:8 ¶ And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.

Acts 8:10 to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.”

Acts 8:19 saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 10:38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

Acts 26:18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’

Rom. 1:4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.

Rom. 1:16 ¶ For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

Rom. 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

Rom. 9:17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.”

Rom. 9:21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?

Rom. 9:22 ¶ What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,

Rom. 15:13 ¶ Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Rom. 15:19 in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

1Cor. 1:18 ¶ For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1Cor. 1:24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

1Cor. 2:4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,

1Cor. 2:5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

1Cor. 4:19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power.

1Cor. 4:20 For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.

1Cor. 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

1Cor. 6:12 ¶ All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

1Cor. 6:14 And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.

1Cor. 7:37 Nevertheless he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and has so determined in his heart that he will keep his virgin, does well.

1Cor. 15:24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.

1Cor. 15:43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.

2Cor. 4:7 ¶ But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

2Cor. 6:7 by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,

2Cor. 12:9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2Cor. 13:4 For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.

Eph. 1:19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power

Eph. 1:21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

Eph. 2:2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,

Eph. 3:7 of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power.

Eph. 3:20 ¶ Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,

Eph. 6:10 ¶ Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

Phil. 3:10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,

Col. 1:11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;

Col. 1:13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,

Col. 2:10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

1Th. 1:5 For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.

2Th. 1:9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,

2Th. 1:11 ¶ Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power,

2Th. 2:9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,

1Tim. 6:16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.

2Tim. 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

2Tim. 1:8 ¶ Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,

2Tim. 3:5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

Heb. 1:3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

Heb. 2:14 ¶ Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,

Heb. 7:16 who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life.

Heb. 9:17 For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.

1Pet. 1:5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

2Pet. 1:3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,

2Pet. 1:16 ¶ For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.

2Pet. 2:11 whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord.

Jude 25         To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever.Amen.

Rev. 2:26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—

Rev. 4:11         “You are worthy, O Lord,

        To receive glory and honor and power;

        For You created all things,

        And by Your will they exist and were created.”

Rev. 5:12 saying with a loud voice:

        “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain

        To receive power and riches and wisdom,

        And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

Rev. 5:13 ¶ And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:

        “Blessing and honor and glory and power

        Be to Him who sits on the throne,

        And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”

Rev. 6:8 So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.

Rev. 7:12 saying:

        “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom,

        Thanksgiving and honor and power and might,

        Be to our God forever and ever.

        Amen.”

Rev. 11:17 saying:

        “We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty,

        The One who is and who was and who is to come,

        Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.

Rev. 12:10 ¶ Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.

Rev. 19:1 After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God!

Rev. 20:6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.