Revive Me According to Your Loving Kindness

Church Family,

This morning I read this passage, 'Revive me according to Your loving kindness, so that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.' Psalm 119:88 That is a great prayer.  'Revive' can also be translated 'quicken, restore, renew'.  Is there anything in your life that needs to be 'quickened' or have life spoken into it?  Is there anything that needs to be restored?  Health, relationships, hope, expectation?  Is there anything that needs to be renewed? A promise, a dream?  

God is in the businesses of 'reviving' His people.  Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus, 'Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us."  Ephesians 3:20  Perhaps it is time to allow God to breathe life back into your life.  To revive, quicken, restore, renew you today!

How does He do this?  The Psalmist gives the answer, 'according to Your lovingkindness.'  Lovingkindness is better translated 'favor or grace'.  It is by His grace we are quickened, restored and renewed.  It is an act of God poured out on us as we determine to seek Him.  I don't know about you but I need some grace today!

The whole purpose of being 'revived' is to enable us to declare every word God has spoken is true.  Notice the psalmist said, 'so that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.'  Not my testimony but God's.  Not my story but God's.  To be able to declare that every promise God has spoken in and over my life, He will fulfill!  

That is powerful, amazing, wonderful.  That is grace in action!  That my life can declare the faithfulness of God.  That thought is mindblowing.  God would choose to use you and me to declare His testimony!  How priviledged we are to be called sons and daughters of the Most High God.  To be the instruments used to declare His truth.  Would you pause for a moment and thank Him for allowing you to be the spokesperson for His testimony.  

Tonight, 7-8pm, we have an opportunity to declare His testimony.  Join us as we unite in faith to honor and praise the Most High God.  All ministries will be meeting tonight.  MPact Girls-preschool children and elemenatry gilrs, Royal Rangers-elemenatary boys, Student Ministries-Junior High and High School Students, College and Young Professionals and all adults will join me in the Sanctuary.  

Tonight I am starting a four week study on Christ Revealed-Jesus in the Old Testament.  This is going to be  a great study and I want you to join me as we learn together.

Doug Apple will be teaching a Membership Class over the next four Wednesdays as well.  This class will meet in the Green Room, 7-8pm.  

We will see you tonight, 7pm.

Come Expecting,

Steve and Yvonne Dow

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Posted on November 29, 2017 .

Wednesday Night Meetings

June 7, 2017

Church Family,

When we read the Book of Acts we see the phrase, ‘continuing daily in one accord in the temple', this speaks of the early disciples priority on corporate worship.  It is spiritual discipline we also need to embrace.  There is something inexplicable about being 'together in one accord in God's house'.  

As vessels of the Holy Spirit, carriers of God’s Presence, when we gather together for the purpose of worshipping Him, we experience a magnification of His Presence.  He becomes LARGE in our lives.  Our faith increases because of His increased Presence.  Our problems diminish because we choose to focus on Him.  His anointing increases as we lift our voices to Him in worship.  It is in His Presence chains are broken, disease is healed, discouragement is set to flight.  When we choose to set aside time from our lives and join with other believers we are establishing an atmosphere to witness the greatness of God.    

Yvonne and I love standing on Main Street after the service and just looking and listening.  Seeing you talking, laughing, sharing your lives with one another and listening to the muted sound of so many voices.  The experience of being 'together' to worship brings a dynamic to our lives that we will not experience in any other setting.  So tonight, let's come in one accord to worship the King of Kings!  Let's experience that same dynamic the early church experienced by 'continuing in one accord in the temple'.  

Tonight, don’t just ‘come to church’, but come to share God in you and experience God in others so we can all declare, ‘I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the House of the Lord.’

All ministries are meeting tonight, 7-8pm.  MPact Girls, Royal Rangers, Student Ministries, College and Young Professionals, New Beginnings, Nehemiah and The Battle Plan of Prayer.  Don't miss this opportunity to be with your 'family' as we worship God together.

We hope to see YOU tonight.

Come Expecting,

Steve and Yvonne Dow

Posted on June 7, 2017 .

Our DNA

January 27, 2017

Church Family,

A couple of weeks ago we celebrated Yvonne's birthday in Key West.  We throughly enjoyed the island and all it's charm.  While there we saw a tree that was blooming in 'winter'.  I guess you can call 80 degrees winter!  When I asked about that tree I was told it was from the Southern Hemisphere.  Even though it was winter in the Northern Hemisphere it is summer in the Southern Hemisphere.  The DNA of that tree caused it to bloom not based on a calendar or temperature but based on what was inside that tree.

Often God teaches us powerful lessons from the nature He has created.  As a believer, what is on the inside of us, the Spirit of the Living God, the same Power that raised Jesus from the dead, should be controlling what is on the outside.  Our DNA is full of grace, mercy, love, peace, joy, contentment, assurance and so much more.  Our DNA is regulated by the Presence of God's Holy Spirit.  Our DNA is programed to cause us to bloom in adverse times.  

Often the characteristics of the Father that we are to display are counter-cultural.  In a world filled with turmoil, fear, hate division, racism, we as believers need to be 'showing' grace, mercy, peace and love to those around us. Don't allow yourself to be pulled into a narrative that doesn't reflect your spiritual DNA.  In adversity, let the Presence of a Mighty God BLOOM!  That is our mandate.  As Jesus said, 'Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.'

 

We will see you Sunday.

Come Expecting,

Steve and Yvonne Dow

Posted on January 27, 2017 .

A Meaningful Christmas!

December 2, 2016

Church Family,

December means a lot of different things to many of us. For those who are from a colder climate, it means decreasing temps and higher chances of snow.  For sports fans, it means the basketball season is in full swing and the football season is winding down.  For retailers, it means the greatest revenues of the year.  But, for Christians it means the celebration of the birth of Jesus, our Savior. God becoming man and living among us! Without doubt, Jesus is the greatest gift ever given in the history of humanity.  Through Jesus, God chose to do what we could not.  God chose to become what we could not.  God chose to pay a price we could not!  This December, don't allow the commercialism or the secular spin move you from the true purpose of the season, Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on a cross for our sins and rose again on the third day!  That is what Christmas is ALL about!

Steve Dow

Posted on December 5, 2016 .

Vote!

November 6, 2016

Church Family

This week we have the responsibility of determining who will lead our nation for the next four years.  Today, perhaps more than at any point in our history, we are a nation posed at a moral crossroads.  As citizens and Christians it is our duty to prayerfully cast a ballot for those who will determine the direction of the United States not just in the next four years but for those coming after us as well.

There are many important positions of civic leadership that will be determined this Tuesday.

President of the United States

United States Congressman

State Congressman

School Superintendents and Board Members

Local officials and more

Each of these elected officials will exert influence on many important issues, Right to Life, Marriage, National Security, Economic Policies, Freedoms relating to the First and Second Amendments to the Constitution and the appointment of Supreme Court Justices.

Please prayerfully consider your choices for each office.  If you need further information regarding issues, candidates or platforms please go to www.voteundergod.com.

As Spirit-filled believers, we must not by our silence, create a void the enemy can fill.  Stand Up, Speak Up and cast a ballot. November 9th our confidence will still be in God and God alone!  We will know we have fulfilled our duty to be Light in a dark world by letting our voice be heard.

Yvonne and I will be praying for you and for our nation.

Steve Dow

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Posted on November 7, 2016 .

Don't quit because one bad experience!

September 23, 2016

Church Family,

This week I took a class to get a motorcycle license and yes I did pass!   Numerous times during the class the instructor made reference to the Bible, church and Christians.  I had the occasion to ask him about his faith.  His response is very typical of our society.

He said, "I believe in God, love Jesus but don't go to church."  When I pressed as to why he responded, "I had a bad experience and got burned."  So many in our society will tell you the same thing.  It is up to you and me to live Biblical Christianity before those we come in contact with.  Often a genuine Christian living the Grace of God over a period of time can bring change to the attitude my instructor had.  

Yesterday at one of our breaks the instructor was talking about going to dinner on Wednesdaynight.  His wife got food poisoning from the restaurant.  They were so surprised because it was one of their favorite places.  

I ask him, "Are you ever going back to that restaurant?"  His reply opened the door for me to really witness to him.  He said, "Oh yeah, we will go back.  It is one of our favorites and we just had one bad experience."

Wow! One bad experience at a restaurant he loved would not keep him from going back.  Yet one bad experience with the church caused him to never go back.  We then begin talking about the fact that the church is a bunch of imperfect people living in the Grace of God.   And the church is not a man-made institution but God, Himself, ordained the church.  God, Himself, put the church in the world to be a light in darkness.    I could see the wheels turning as he considered this.  

After completing the riding test we were picking up the traffic cones that marked the range.  I happened to be working with the instructor again.  Just before we finished he said to me, "I have been thinking about what you said about one bad experience.  My wife has actually been after me to go back to church and I have refused.  But I am ready to give it another try.  I do love Jesus and have missed going to church.  I was just too stubborn to go back."

I am convinced there are tens of thousands of people who are just like my instructor.  Because they had one bad experience they have quit.  My challenge to you today is to be the kind of Christian that will make someone want a second chance.  That will cause a sinner to take a close look at the gospel.  That will influence someone who does not know God or who had a bad experience with the church to return to the ONE who loves them and gave His life for them.

Steve Dow

Posted on September 26, 2016 .

Plow Deep

June 29, 2016

Church Family,

Early this morning I was thinking about an incident from my boyhood on the farm.  In Western Oklahoma the wind blows almost non-stop every day of the year.  Because of the wind, crop fields are often the recipients of weed seed that is harmful to a crop.  Long before the days of Organic Farming, the solution to the weeds, without using herbicides, was to plow deep every couple of years.  

Our neighbor, Floyd, farmed 360 acres with a small Ford tractor and a two bottom plow.  He had a 90 acre wheat field across from our house.  Every year Floyd would plow that field with his two bottom plow.  It would take him two weeks to plow the entire field.  There were no shade trees around that field.  As a result, Floyd would often take a break from plowing and come sit in the shade in our yard.  As a small boy I would often go out a sit with him. I was fascinated as he took off his work gloves, loosened the strings in his boots and rolled a cigarette.  He would then begin telling stories about farming through the Great Depression and Dust Bowl days of the High Plains.

One day I asked him, "Floyd, why do you plow this field so deep every year?" His answer has never left me, “Son, when the wind blows it brings in a lot of bad stuff that will crowd out the wheat.  It steals the moisture and nutrients that the wheat needs.  The only way to be sure that bad stuff doesn't grow is to plow deep.  To turn the soil over at least 18 inches.  Nothing can grow from that depth."  

As I remembered that conversation Holy Spirit began speaking to me about our lives today.  The wind of culture blows a lot of bad stuff into our lives.  If we don't 'plow deep' by reading the Word, praying in the Spirit, being a part of a dynamic Spirit-filled church, that bad stuff will crowd out what God is doing in our lives.  If we don't 'plow deep', that bad stuff will steal what we have received that enables us to grow and produce a crop for the Kingdom.

Can I challenge you today to set time every day to 'plow deep’?  Immerse yourself in the Word of God, listen to the voice of God, and be led by Him into a deeper relationship and fresh revelation.  When we 'plow deep' on a regular basis God does amazing things in and through our lives.

Take some time today and 'plow deep!'

 Steve and Yvonne Dow

Posted on June 29, 2016 .

Pray!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Church Family,

In light of the shootings in Orlando today, now more than ever we need to be a people of prayer. We must grasp the fact that we have a very REAL enemy whose desire is still to steal, kill and destroy.

Please be focused in your prayer and understand Satan is using radical Islamics to bring murder and mayhem to America and much of the world. This morning during the message I had no idea of the shootings in Orlando. Yet the words the Holy Spirit gave were accurate, what we are seeing in the Mid-East has come to America.

Today, take the words of the Apostle Paul to heart, Eph 6:10-18 "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might."

Eph 6:11 "Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil". For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness. And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints"

Tonight, pause and pray for the families of those who were murdered, prayer for those who were wounded and pray for our country. Pray for God to revive the church that we would be able to STAND against the forces of darkness. That our presence would make a difference in our culture.

Be a light! Be an intercessor! Be a witness! Follow the advice of Paul and put on the whole armor of God. Read verse 18 one more time....Pray in the Spirit, let the Holy Spirit pray through you. He always prays the perfect will of God! Get in alignment with Heaven and pray accordingly.

Tomorrow when you are engaged in conversations regarding the Orlando shootings, be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in you.

Steve Dow

Posted on June 13, 2016 .

Are We ready To Stop Grumbling? Let's Start Praising...!

 

Church Family,

Sometimes we get things upside down, wrong side out, messed up from the git-go, confused as a termite in a yo yo...yes I could go on and on.  The point is we often see the circumstances of life through the wrong filter.  My prayer today is that we begin to see as Joseph.   He was able to look past the current circumstance-slavery, imprisonment, abuse, betrayal-and by faith know the plan of God would come to pass in his life.

As Christians, faith is the fuel that drives our life.  Often we can't see how things will turn out.  Will we be rescued from a circumstance or given the strength to go through it.  The Bible tells us that when we by faith, choose to stand and believe God's purposes for our life, we will be victorious.

Daniel refused to stop praying to the Almighty God and as a result he went THROUGH the lion's den.  God didn't deliver him FROM the circumstance but was with him THROUGH the circumstance.  Maybe it's time we shifted our focus from 'deliver me, rescue me' to give me the courage and strength to go through whatever is in my path.  In that place, the challenges of my life have the potential to be a source of inspiration and blessing to those around me!  At that point others can look at what I am going through or have gone through and say, 'I know that guy and he is nothing special.  If you can do it, I sure can.'  It is at that point Jesus is revealed through me!  

Anyone can live for God when all is going well.  When everyone is speaking well of you.  When there is plenty of money in the bank, no health issues, your family has it all together.  But it takes a true believer to live for God when you are betrayed, afflicted, abused, wronged.  It is those circumstances of life that we show what we are made of, the Grace and Mercy of the Lord.

How about it?  Are you willing to stop grumbling and starting praising?  Are you willing to start declaring my God is able....able to do whatever is best for me!

 

Steve Dow

Posted on June 6, 2016 .

Mid-Week Service

Church Family,

Why should we attend a mid-week service? Hebrews 10:25 declares, Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching. The key to this scripture for us is 'and so much the more, as you see the day approaching. Please understand, going to church will never save you. Only the sacrifice of Jesus at Calvary can bring forgiveness and salvation. But attending church will strengthen you, equip you, inspire you. When we determine to set time aside for God, He always honors that commitment.

When we come together, in any of the ministries of Christian Heritage, you will receive the Word of God. We don't teach the philosophies of man, the politically correct demands of culture, but the WORD of GOD. The Word coupled with the Holy Spirit, has the power to change our lives. To make us more like Jesus.

Hebrews 4:12&13 declare the power of the Word of God. "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account."

The Message Bible says the Word of God 'lays us open to listen and obey.' The Word shows us the way of righteousness and the Spirit gives us the strength to walk in righteousness. All of us, no exceptions, need the power of the Word and Spirit to continue to grow in Christ.

I know we are busy, I know there are more demands on our time that we have time to accommodate, I know we are tired after working all day, I know it is easier to just sit in the Lazy Boy and relax. But if we are serious about our faith, our walk with the Lord, then we will push ourselves to do the things that will bring spiritual growth and power into our lives.

So push yourself! Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Out of the realm of logical excuses. Out of habits that rob you of God's blessing.

Hebrews 10:25 tells us to push ourselves 'so much more as we see the Day approaching'. What day? The coming of the Lord. The end of this age. Anyone with an ounce of Biblical knowledge is convinced we are living in the last days. If we believe that, then we should be pushing ourselves to get as much of Him as we can. So join us tonight! Don't let anyone or anything rob you of the blessing that God has stored up for you when you choose to gather with believers and worship Him.

Come Expecting,

Steve and Yvonne Dow

Posted on June 1, 2016 .

A Burr Under the Saddle!

May 25, 2016

Church Family,

As a boy, we always had horses on the farm.  Some were quite gentle, others were just looking for a reason to hurt you.  The ornery horses would use their teeth, hooves, tail, head...anything to prove who was boss.  As a result, we always made certain we were not giving any additional reasons for their bad behavior.  

Maybe you have heard the expression, 'A burr under the saddle.'  If a horse does have a burr under the saddle you are not going to have a pleasant ride! That animal will do everything possible to get you out of the saddle and relieve the pressure and pain the burr is causing.

Here's the application, you will never see a burr under the saddle, you can only feel it.  You have to take the saddle and saddle blanket off to find the source of irritation.

Sometimes we need to take a hard look at our lives.  We need to check for burrs.  If we find ourselves angry for no good reason-you may have a burr under the saddle.  If you find yourself discouraged-you may have a burr under the saddle.  If you find yourself ready to quit-you may have a burr under saddle. If you find yourself moving from one confrontation to another-you may have a burr under the saddle.  

One thing I know for sure, at some point this week you will have a burr under the saddle.  The remedy is to take a hard look at what is hidden.  Expose it and let God do a  new work in you! 

James tells us true faith understands there are burrs under the saddle.  True faith searches for the source of irritation and addresses it.  I have found if I allow anything crowd out my time in the Word and prayer, I am going to have a burr under the saddle.  If I allow disappointment to rule my life, I will have a burr under the saddle.  If I throw a pity party, I will have a burr under the saddle.

So when something is really bothering you, circumstances, temptation, another person, strip the saddle, remove the blanket and take a close look at what you haven't previously seen.  James says  a disciple (a doer of the Word) is one who is not afraid to take inventory, and then make required changes in his life to please God.  James 1:23-25(NKJV) For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 
But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

Today, be a doer of the Word, find the source of irritation and DO something about it!

Steve Dow

Posted on May 25, 2016 .

Take a Break...

May 11, 2016

Church Family,

Don't you love it when someone says, "Take a break", you deserve it?  Growing up on a farm our days started early and ran late.  We worked seven days a week.  The cows had to be milked, pigs fed, crops to be planted and havested, fences fixed, water tanks cleaned out, tractors repaired...the work never ended.

But one of my favoirte memories is hearing my Dad say, "Take a break!"  Mid-morning and mid-afternoon I longed for that statement.  "Take a break" meant sitting down in the shade, getting a cold glass of Iced Tea, having one of Mom's famous cookies or cinnamon rolls, relaxing for a few minutes.  "Take a break" meant easing the cramped muscles in the back and legs, telling a few funny stories, taking a quick nap.

Many times our Father is saying to us, "Take a break", sit down and talk to Me. Let Me refresh you.  Let Me relax you. Let Me make you smile and laugh, "Take a break."    When our lives are a whirlwind, we need to 'take a break'.  We need to make time to stop, listen, laugh and learn.  We need to carve time from our schedule to do nothing but be with our Father.  

In our hectic lives we often believe  that idleness is irresonsible.  But when we are 'taking a break' with the Father nothing could be more responsible.  Today I want to encourage you to slow down, sit down, relax and spend a few minutes with the Father.  You will be suprised at the change in your attitude, focus and zeal for life.  You will be suprised at how small your challenges seem when you 'take a break' with the Father.  

So "take a break" from your routine and join us at Christian Heritage every Wednesday and Sunday.

Come Expecting,

Steve and Yvonne Dow

Posted on May 11, 2016 .

Word of Encouragement

May 3, 2016

Church Family,

Last night Yvonne and I called our youngest grandson, Spencer, who was celebrating his second birthday.  While on the phone Spencer's mom, Mindy, tried to get him to count for us.  When he refused to perform, his older sister, Harper, who is almost four, begin to count.  As I listened to Harper count I begin to think, she has a whole counting career ahead of her, will feel compelled to keep track of countless things (pun intended) during her life.  From her age and how many fingers and toes she has, she will graduate to wins and losses on the basketball court, to her grade scores and G.P.A., to her daily caloric intake, to who owes her what and how much, to all the offenses she has suffered, etc., etc.

If she becomes a writer, she’ll be concerned with how many books she sells.  If he becomes a pastor, she’ll monitor how many attend her church.  She should become an accountant, she will be counting everyone else's problems, too!

No matter what she goes on to do, she will worry about the numbers until the day she retires. But even then she won’t retire from counting. Instead, she’ll worry about the Stock Market and how much is in her retirement account. Until the day she breathes her last breath, she will be busy worrying and counting, counting and worrying.

Here’s the problem with all of the counting we do: Beyond occasionally counting our blessings, the exercise of keeping track of the numbers in our lives is seldom an act of faith. We are so concerned about the numbers because we depend on them for our sense of accomplishment and self-worth. We keep track so we can compare ourselves with others. We also count because we think we need good numbers to justify ourselves before God.  We count out of fear, insecurity, or pride. 

We are like David, whom God warned against taking a census of the nation of Israel because He knew the King’s motives were worldly. God didn’t want David to look to, or trust in, the numbers. He wanted him, and He wants us, to look to, and to trust in Him.  The truth is, the things we can count, no matter how many of them we may accumulate, are not worthy of our trust. They do not do what we “count on them” to do.  They cannot protect us from our fears or justify us in our insecurities. All they really do is channel our faith in the wrong direction.

By contrast, if you can count up to one, that’s all the counting you need to do to put your trust in the Only Person who is worthy of your complete confidence. God is the only one who ever has or ever will protect you. When you put your faith where it belongs, you will stop worrying about the numbers.   

God’s grace invites you to stop counting. It calls you to be content with the person God made you to be, and with the call He has placed on your life.  It means you don’t need to compare yourself to anyone else to be a success. It means you can stand before God without fear of your failings because you’ve placed your confidence where it belongs, in the “finished” work of Christ. 

Steve & Yvonne Dow

Posted on January 11, 2016 .