Ephesians 4:4-6 -- There is one body and one Spirit, and God called you to have one hope. There is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. There is one God and Father of everything. He rules everything and is everywhere and is in everything.
DEVELOPMENT. Increasing in the wisdom and knowledge of the things of God
RELATIONSHIP. Recognizing the importance of building new friendships and strengthening old ones
ENCOURAGEMENT. Meeting the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of our fellow “Philadelphia Folks” and being a blessing to someone inside the church in some way every day.
AUTHENTICITY. Worshipping and praising God “with all we got” just because He is, and not because of what He does
MISSION. Accomplishing the purpose for which God created and gifted us by being a blessing to someone outside the church in some way every day so that we can share with them by word or by action the Gospel
To see what kinds of ministry opportunities Philadelphia Wesleyan Church provides to help us Fulfill His Dream, please see the Fulfilling His Dream page of this website.
As we study praise, we need to keep one thing in mind. If we are truly doing it right, there will be challenges. If praise came naturally, we wouldn’t struggle so much doing it. If it were easy, we would all be doing all throughout the day every day, and we would all be changed people as a result.
And that last sentence – we would all be changed people as a result – explains the problem. Praise demands that we make changes in our lives. And most of us don’t like change.
Change is uncertain. Change is unfamiliar. Change is uncomfortable. And even if that change is guaranteed to improve our lives, most of us would prefer to avoid it simply because it is a change.
The story is told of a woman who had developed hypochondria to a fine art. She routinely “suffered” from a variety of ailments that almost seemed designed to win the attention and sympathy of others. One day 2 of her friends were discussing (gossiping about) her. One of them asked, “Didn’t the doctor give Eloise a new prescription?”
“Yes”, the second friend replied.
Well, is she taking it?” the first lady asked.
“Oh no,” replied the other woman. “It might work!”
The good news is that praise DOES WORK to change us, and change us for the best. Change us into what God wants most for us. It creates good attitudes, good outcomes in our relationships, and good desires. You know, the kind of desires that God promises to give those who love Him.
But it requires change. And God WILL NOT force it on us. We have to choose to take the chance.
We should not enter into God’s Presence with a long shopping list of “stuff” we want. That would be like going to the home of a very important person, ignoring them as you enter the door, and heading straight to the fridge to get yourself something to eat!
After we spend considerable time praising God, then we should inquire of Him just what He want us to ask Him for. We might find His list and our list to be somewhat different. But once His desires for us and our desires for ourselves line up, He does promise …
Psalm 37:4 -- Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
“Delight” literally means to be soft and delicate before the Lord, to be tender and affectionate. And “give” means to give, bestow, grant, permit, ascribe, employ, devote, consecrate, dedicate, pay wages, sell, exchange, lend, commit, entrust, give over, deliver up, yield produce, occasion, produce, requite to, report, mention, utter, stretch out, extend.
So this scripture could be read as: Be soft, delicate, tender and affectionate before the Lord and He shall bestow, grant, permit, ascribe, commit, entrust, give over, deliver up, and extend to you the desires of your heart.
And the surrounding context further defines what is being said here as fret not, trust, commit, rest, cease from anger and depart from evil and He shall bring it to pass. Bring what to pass? The desires of your heart.
So this is the result: Fret not, cease from anger, depart from evil, trust in the Lord, commit your ways to the Lord, rest in the Lord, and be soft, delicate, tender and affectionate before the Lord and He shall bestow, grant, permit, ascribe, commit, entrust, give over, deliver up, extend to you, and bring the desires of your heart to pass.
So what we see is that the purpose of praise is not to get something from God. Instead, it is to put ourselves into a position to see God for Who He is. That is why it is important to praise Him much more outside of church than we do inside church.
Identify 1 area in which God wants you to change (spend time praising Him first, then ask!)
Write the following thoughts on cards, sticky notes, or paper and post them where you will notice them regularly during the day: (1) Praise God more often (2) Praise God longer (3) Praise God with more passion
After about 2 weeks, think back and see if you are actually praising Him more, praising Him for longer periods of time, and praising Him with more passion. If not, ask Him “Why?”
This week, every time you start to have a disagreement with your spouse or children, stop and say, “We aren’t getting anywhere by doing this. Let’s try praising the Lord together.” Then each of you begin to voice some of the reasons you are grateful and thankful to God. Take turns voicing praise for the things He has done and for who and what He is: His strength, His mercy, His love, His forgiveness, His wisdom, etc
UPCOMING EVENTS @ PHILADELPHIA
Community Women's Bible Study, Tuesday, February 28 @ 7pm. We are studying Prayer, based on the book Fervent by Priscilla Shirer from the movie War Room.
Bible Study with RC Mathis on Wednesday, March 1 @ 7pm. We are studying 1 Corinthians chapter 8.
Men's Prayer Breakfast: Saturday, March 4 @ 8am
Prayer Meeting on Saturday, March 4 @ 7pm. One of the goals for 2017 was for each of our members and regular attendees to try to attend our Prayer Meeting at least once-per-month. So we hope to see you this Saturday.
Worship with us on Sunday, March 5 @ 9:45am for Sunday School, 11:00am for Worship, and 6:00pm for an Interactive Message
Remember, if I have your email address, I will send this to you by email. Drop me a note at PastorTim@PhiladelphiaWesleyan.org and I will put you on the email list.
Thanks and many blessings,
The Lord gave us the Season of Sawgrass as His theme for us in 2017. This comes from Galatians 6:7-10 which says, in part, And let us not be weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not. And in Isaiah 1:19 we are told, If you are willing and obedient you will eat the good of the land. And when is the "good of the land" available to eat? In season.
So from that we believe the following for our church and community over the next year or more: The Season of Sawgrass is a period of time, coming at the right and most opportune time, for us to realize our greatest potential to experience the right, proper, and scheduled blessings of God. This Season of Sawgrass will be characterized by the noticeable Hand of God at work in, on, around, through, and for us; as individuals, as families, as a church, and as a community. God’s activity here and our activity in our community during this Season of Sawgrass will be like nothing we have ever seen before. Lives will be changed. People will come to faith in Christ. Folks will be set free. Individuals will be healed. And hope will be restored.
If we are willing and obedient is the caveat to all of this. And I believe Philadelphia is definitely willing. And their willingness to be obedient has been clearly demonstrated over several months. I have previously documented how enthusiastically our congregation has taken up God's challenge to read good, Christian, Bible study and spiritual help books (well over 30 books read in total as of early February); to reach out to others in the congregation through cards, letters, texts, phone calls, visits, social media, etc; and reach out to the unchurched of our area with acts of love and kindness and invitations to church (almost 1,000 such contacts since December 11!).
And just last Sunday night, in the conclusion of the Season of Sawgrass message, over 13 folks in our church responded to the call to "access God's plan for them, their families, our church, and our community through fasting, prayer, praise, Bible reading and study, and holy living.
What a great year 2017 is already shaping up to be!!