by Mike Windley on June 18th, 2015

Perhaps unnoticed by most of the world, a great saint of God passed, Elisabeth Elliot, passed away on Monday, June 15, 2015, at the age of 88.
 
Elliot was married to Jim Elliot whose life and story became legendary after he and four other missionaries were killed by Auca Indians in Ecuador in the 1950’s. Elisabeth and her daughter went back to the people who had murdered her husband and lived with them in the the bush. She shared the gospel of Jesus with them, leading many to turn from their murderous culture to faith in Jesus. A Hollywood movie, The End of the Spear, was made of this mission endeavor from the perspective of the young son of one of the other missionaries killed.
 
My life was most impacted by Elisabeth Elliot’s writings. The two books that have meant the most to me were Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testimony of Jim Elliot and Passion and Purity.
 
Shadow of the Almighty was a biography of Jim Elliot’s life. He was an amazing young man and his faith was a huge inspiration to me. Jim Elliot became one of my teenage heroes and a must read for any Christian.
 
Passion and Purity was probably a first of its kind “dating manual” for many of us who grew up following it’s release. In it, Elliot details the courtship that she and Jim went through as they tried to honor God in their dating life in a way that was counter cultural. It was certainly an inspiration and a model to me to give me direction about how I could better honor God in relationships with the opposite sex.
 
Not nearly as noteworthy, I was privileged in my seminary days to have had the opportunity to sit and listen to Elisabeth teach when she was invited to be the guest speaker at one of our thrice weekly chapel services.
 
Our world has lost indeed lost a godly saint. I only wish more of us pursuing Christ new more about her life and faith, and that of her first husband Jim.
 
Thank you Elisabeth Elliot for walking that narrow path that leads to life and encouraging many of us behind you to follow. 

by Mike Windley on June 16th, 2015

Over the years one of my habits has been to attempt to save sermon notes, handouts, stories, etc. that have made an impact on my walk with Christ. When it came to sharing the good news of Jesus with others, two early lessons stand out. One, identify three people God has placed in your life who are not-yet-followers of Jesus, and pray for them everyday. On the heels of that came this question for me, "How best do I pray for them?" I'm not sure when and where I got this prayer guide, but it came to me in my high school or college years and I've dragged it around with me in my Bible ever since. We printed copies and shared it at The Bridge a couple of weeks ago and I share it with you again here. So let us pray!

WHAT TO PRAY FOR NOT-YET-FOLLOWERS OF JESUS

1. That God draws them to Himself
Jn. 6:44 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him...”

2. That they seek to know God
Acts 17:27 “God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and
find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.”

Dt. 4:29 “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you look for Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

3. That they believe the Scriptures
1 Thess. 2:13 “And we also thank God continually because when you receive the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God...”

Rom. 10:17 “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”

4. That Satan is bound from blinding them to the Truth
Mt. 13:19 “When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.”

2 Cor. 4:4 “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

5. That the Holy Spirit works in them
Jn. 16:8-13 “When (the Holy Spirit) comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment...He will guide you into all truth...”

6. That they believe in Christ as Savior
Jn. 1:12 “Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.”

Jn. 5:24 “I tell you the truth, whoever hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; He has crossed over from death to life.”
7. That they turn from sin

Acts 17:30, 31 “... (God) commands all people everywhere to repent.”

Acts 3:19 “Repent, then and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”
 
8. That God send someone to lead them to Christ
Matt. 9:37, 38 “Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’”

9. That they confess Christ as Lord
Rom. 10:9, 10 “...if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

10. That they yield all to follow Christ
2 Cor. 5:15 “And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.”

Phil. 3:7, 8 “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ...”

11. That they take root and grow in Christ
Col. 2:6, 7 “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

by Pastor Mike Windley on November 25th, 2014

In my message this past Sunday, we looked at how Scripture teaches us that prayer is a critical part of our ability to "multiply" and build God's kingdom. Jesus told his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. Pray..." And the Scriptures teach us, "Unless the Lord builds the house, the laborers labor in vain." In other words, we've got to depend on God! We cannot rely on ourselves and expect to make a true kingdom impact. So, it seems so simple, right? We should pray. Easy enough. Yeah, right.
 
A life of prayer is not so easy. We also looked at the idea Sunday that there are enemies to prayer. Jesus had to go into the temple of his day and "cleanse" it by overturning the tables of the moneychangers and running them out. His house was to be a "house of prayer" but it had become a "den of thieves."
 
Are there enemies of prayer in our lives? Have our hearts become cluttered and encumbered? Is a cleansing in order? What enemies of prayer are making a "den" of our hearts?
 
Here are some enemies of prayer many struggle with:
 
Over extending ourselves – Our inability to say “No” and misplaced priorities is a den of clutter in our lives.Fear – A misunderstanding of the gospel creates a den of doubt about God’s love and acceptanceWounds – Past and present hurts have caused us to erect a den of walls between our selves, God and our world.Sin – The deceitfulness of sin has created a den of entanglement that stifles our communion with God.Self-centeredness – All of the above and more creates a den of idolatry of self that keeps our attention on our needs and ours alone. 
What’s the remedy? Our hearts are the temple of the God’s Holy Spirit that indwells every follower of Jesus. But they are not immune to becoming a “den of thieves.” If we are to multiply as individuals, as families, as a church, taking an honest look at the state of our “temple” on a regular basis is needed.  How do we do that? Honesty. Courage. Brokenness. Vulnerability. Repentance.
 
The good news (gospel) of a right standing with God (a renewed and restored relationship with God through Jesus) is news too good not to be shared! Let’s keep a close eye on our temples and have the courage to keep them cleared so they can be a “house of prayer” for God’s kingdom.

by Mike Windley on August 26th, 2014

I think it was all the way back in my college days that I first read Bill Hybel’s book on the topic of character. Hybels defined character the way the titled his book, “Who You Are (When No One's Looking).” Reputation is what we have when we are in the spotlight, when others can see us. We can have a great reputation, but terrible character. Character is truly formed by the choices we make that shape who we are and who we are becoming.
 
By far, one of my favorite principles from Hybels book on forming character was that of “advanced decision making.” The idea with advanced decision making to, well, to decide in advance what you’re going to do in a given situation. And while we could never predict and prepare for all the situations we will find ourselves in, we can easily foresee so many choice opportunities and prepare in advance for what we will do.


by Peter Chan on August 14th, 2014

"... if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." - Romans 10:9

What do we believe? And how do we know we believe it? Each of us, in our daily lives, make choices and conduct ourselves in ways that exemplify how we view our world, how we view each other, and how we view ourselves. Essentially, how we live provides a snapshot of what it is that we really believe. I, recently, started helping a seeker friend find a church near his home in Florida. From here in North Carolina, all I can really do to help is research local churches on the internet and read church websites. Although a website does not fully capture the culture of a church, it (usually) does exhibit what a church believes via Statements of Faith or Lists of Core Values. I figure reading what a church is professing and confessing is a good place to start. That got me wondering what I would say if someone began searching my life to see what I believe.