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We have been attending the other Assembly of God church here in town and loving it. Its called Church of The Harvest. The Pastor and his wife (Tim & Cassie Cooper) are everything we tried to be at our church. Same Spirit, same vision. We love it. They let me preach on Wednesday Night and have invited Debbie to come and practice with the Worship Team. And Friday Night they asked us to be pray about me coming on staff as an Assistant Pastor. We're excited. I think we found a home, and more importantly, the next step in this walk with God that we committed to.

A Revelation
I was born in 1961. When I was born the United States of America was 185 years old, today it is 230. I am 45. That being the case I have lived through 20% of our nations history. That astounds me. I have lived through a full 1/5 of everything that has happened since we became a nation. If I live to be 91 our nation will be 276 and I will have witnessed 1/3 of our entire existence. Does that seem real? I have shared the earth with 11 of our 43 presidents (26% of the total) and have been alive through 9 of their reigns (21%). I have been here during the lifetimes of over a quarter of our total presidents. In my life time the world has doubled in population from 3 billion to 6 billion and the US has gone from less than 184,000,000 to 300,000,000.

(no subject)

If you have read Steve's journal (http://thelistsofsteve.livejournal.com/) then this picture above may not seem so strange.

This is by far the most frequently encountered set of instructions that I find on hand dryers and the message, although clear, seems out of place on a hand dryer. Look close (double click on the picture if necessary)...isn't the message saying what your mother always said "Don't pick your nose or it will bleed!"

(no subject)

20 Years ago I wandered into an antique store in Adams NY and found some old Bible Study commentaries for sale. Not knowing the value of them at the time I passed up on most of them and have always regretted it. When I was strong enough I dedicated my life to searching antique stores, thrift stores, flea markets and used book stores trying to hit the mother lode once again. I promised myself I would not fail if given another chance. To day, October 10th, 2006, shall live in infamy as the day that I redeemed myself.

In a flea market between Coosada and Wetumpka on Alabama State Route 14 I found the mother lode:

1) 13 volume set on church history
1) 6 volume set on church history
1) 7 volume set on church history
1) 4 volume Hands Fulls on Purpose commentary
1) 4 volume set of Vincents NT Commentaries
1) 10 volume set of Barnes Notes on the Bible
1) 4 volume set of Collier classics
1) 9 volume set of Treasury of Literature, etc, classics
1) 3 volume boxed set Lord of The Rings trilogy.

Total 60 Books @ $.075 per book for $45.00 no taxes. WOO HOO!!! I may need to build a new bookcase!!!

(no subject)

"Is thine heart right, as my heart is with thy heart?"

2 Kings 10:15

I recently received a phone call from my brother updating me on his heart problems. At 48 (3 years older than me) he has already had one heart attack and is needing more bypass surgery. Our Dad died at 38 with many health issues including heart problems. At the time of his call I had been experiencing chest pains myself for a couple days all of which led me to do something I had been putting off for years. I went to my Dr and said "Run all the tests you have. I want to know what shape I'm in".

The tests seem to be of three types, an EKG (to check the rhythm), a blood test (for chemical issues) and a stress test (how it performs under stress). For the last few years my DR had been telling me that I am "fighting a genetic battle" that predisposes me to health issues like hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol. I figured it would be better to know now than later.

All the tests came out fine but I was saving a question for the end. After they told me all that the tests had revealed I was going to say "Yeah, but what about blockages?" Because Every time I turn around someone is going in for emergency surgery because they found out 90% of this artery is blocked, 80% of that one, etc.,. But after the last test the DR was showing me the pictures from the stress test and said "See the 4 walls of your heart? All of them were moving when you BP went to 190. That's good. It means there are no blockages or dead spots." It was a relief to know every thing was fine.

This morning when I went up for the altar call God was drawing a comparison for me about how we all are so afraid to face Him. We're afraid to go to the Holy Spirit and say "Go ahead, run every test you have. I want to know." I think we find the same tests awaiting us essentially. The EKG, to check the rhythm and see if we are in tune with him. The blood test to see if there is anything chemically wrong. Any poison seeping in somewhere that needs to be dealt with. The stress test. To put us under a tremendous stress to see if our heart is still soft. No dead spots or blockages.

And I think the enemy likes to lie to us and create the same fear that made me wait so long. Like Elijah said "Let me die. I am no better than my fathers". I was harboring a lie ignoring that fact that a lot of lifestyle issues were different. My Dad and brother both drank and smoked heavily for years while I have done neither for close to 30 years. That made a big difference. Don't let the enemy lie to you. The work that God has done in you has given you nothing to fear when you stand before him. The only thing that can interfere with our relationship with God is if we are to afraid to come to him. I say "Run every test you have Lord. Even the stress test".

(no subject)

Ecclesiastes 8:14 "There is no discharge from that war".

15 years ago, or more, we attended a presbyters meeting in Watertown where Paul Canon, Eldon Wilson and others prayed and prophesied over people from the congregation. I have received many "words" from the Lord over the 28 years I have been saved, and many that were legitimate, but I felt that most were given out of a sense of concern or friendship and were often colored with the sense of familiarity that existed between myself and the "prophet". People tend to get overwhelmed with emotion at times and express as prophesy their best wishes for us or their darkest warnings.

That night was different. They laid their hands on us and shaped our destinies with prophecy as surely as Abraham had with Jacob and Esau. As sure as Paul and the other elders had with Timothy. In the midst of Eldon Wilson's prophecy he said "...and there is no discharge in that war..." quoting either consciously or unconsciously from Ecclesiastes. Above all other words that I have ever received it stands out. It meant the same to me as saying "the gifts and calling of God are without repentance" but laying the burden on the other side. Not God saying that he would never change his mind about his call on my life but that he would never allow me to change my mind.

I happened upon that verse this morning reading my Bible at home before church and it struck me anew with the urgency and permanency of the call on our lives. It also shed new light because my current KJV Bible had a translation in the margin that renders "discharge" as "casting off weapons". It is a cowardly act to walk away from the battle. It affects everyone around us. In Nehemiah 4:14 he tells them "Do not be afraid of them (the enemy), remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses." In this war there is no discharge.

Letter to the Church
David F. & Debbie Sweet
1005 Fitzpatrick Ave
Opelika, Alabama 36801
(334) 745-6061

First Assembly of God (Opelika )
510 Simmons Street
Opelika, Alabama 36801

Attention: Provisional Board

Dear Saints:

I have heard that there is some talk of confusion over our departure from the pastoral duties at the church and I want to send you a letter that should clarify our reasons for leaving and remove any confusion that may exist.

As you know on the morning of Sunday, August 13th God spoke to our congregation in a prophetic message that consisted of two parts. One delivered from the midst of the congregation and one delivered from the pulpit. The first message seemed to be more of a general word to the church but the second was directed to the leadership of the church who have been there long term.

The 2nd message contained a charge from God concerning two historical sins that he was holding you accountable for as leadership. The first is refusing to yield to the Holy Spirit. You have a history of rejecting God’s attempts to move in the service in the exercise of the gifts attributed in the Scripture to the Holy Spirit. It is not blatant, but it is constant resistance which the Holy Spirit will not tolerate. God must have control of a church, and must be welcome, or he will not stay.

The 2nd charge was resisting the pastors that God has sent you and not acknowledging their authority in leading the church. You must submit to the man of God that he sends you, not in word, but in deed. You cannot wait for a man who is perfect because there isn’t such a thing. You must trust the word from Jeremiah that says “I will send you pastors according to my heart to feed you”. Submission to such authority is not a matter of words but of supporting the programs and initiatives that he institutes.

I do not have any way of knowing your history, I simply obeyed God in delivering the message, but my experience during our 2 years there bears witness to the accuracy.

In the matter of submission to authority you often were quick to speak obedience but it only came when you were in agreement with what I was doing. When it was not to your liking you simply refused to participate or pushed us aside and did as you felt was right.

In the matter of resisting the Holy Spirit’s moving during the service our experience was that when God moved, you refused to participate and attributed the events to us being in the flesh or my wife or children being out of order.

If an organization is simply of a worldly or fleshly nature and you own the organization or control it, you certainly have the right to determine what should occur during the meetings and you have the right to hire someone with the intention of dictating to them what should happen during those meetings.

If on the other hand you are claiming to be a church, a part of the body of Christ, then you are claiming to belong to God not men. As painful as this may be for you to realize you have no right to exercise control over spiritual things other than offering accountability to make sure that your pastor is not sinning or violating any scriptural standards. You also have a duty, as I expressed to you in writing some months ago, to come with humility and seek God with the pastor in prayer to find God’s will for the body. You can not come with an agenda looking to build alliances to push your plan. I plead with you to see the plain difference between those two attitudes.

Let there be no confusion, when God speaks and accuses you of sin and calls you to the altar to repent there is no room for “I don’t get it”. You receive it or reject it. Your refusal to obey the word of the Lord means that you have rejected God’s authority. In your mind you may view it as simply rejecting my authority by choosing to believe that I was not hearing from God when I delivered the message but if I was correct, which I believe that I was, the effect in heaven is the same.

If there exists any confusion over our love for you, or our appreciation for the love and care you showed us during the 2 years we were there, let me clear that up. We love and appreciate you. We simply love you enough to tell you the truth and when God says that we are done in a situation then, as Peter said in the book of Acts, “We ought to obey God rather than men”. The last thing that God told me that morning (which I shared) was “Take Debbie and get out of here. It is no longer about you. It is between me and them.”

Please do not misunderstand the intent of this letter. In no way am I looking to defend my actions that morning or submit an account of those actions to the court of public opinion for anyone’s approval. As a friend I simply want to make sure that there is no confusion about what happened that morning and why we left.

Please do not mistake my confidence in affirming the accuracy of my perception of this matter as arrogance. I may not know everything but I do know how to hear, believe and obey God, which is the heart of what I have preached to you over the past 2 years. Anything that we call faith which stops at hearing God, or even believing him, but does not culminate in obedience, is no faith that can be found in the scriptures.

In Christ

David & Debbie Sweet

Prince Rilian and The Silver Chair
If you have never read the Chronicles of Narnia series (CS Leweis), you have missed a treat. In Prince Rilian and The Silver Chair 2 children are recruited from our world to come to Narnia to find a missing prince. When they finally find him he has been captured by an evil witch who keeps him under a spell and in love with her.

She tells everyone that he is mad 1 hour a night and has to be lashed to a chair to keep him from hurting anyone but the truth is that he is sane during that time and knows who he is and tries to get free. The rest of the time, when he is under her spell, he is impervious to reason about who he is and what she is.

It's normal to go through times of self doubt about the call of God on your life and to experience short, infrequent times of refreshing from the Lord that serve to assure us of who, or what we really are. It is possible to get confused about which is the madness or which is the sanity. Sometimes it takes other people, faithful saints who also believe in the call of God on your life to remind you of all that God has promised you. Friends who help slay the witch and set us free from the bondages of the enemy.

"Strike up the band and play a song
and try hard not to cry,
fake a smile as we all say goodby..."

Jars of Clay

For some reason this song is going through my mind alot. Maybe because the parade is over and everyone is gone. For some reason I keep getting drawn to Lamentations too, although I think that has more to do with the church situation. What a place to be in. Having all these changes come about at the same time is disorienting. Usually when you get tossed up in the air you land somewhere familiar but I feel like there is nothing familiar left to land on. Except in the Lord's hands.

General Thoughts
"Walk in his love as newborn children,
walk in his love let your wedding gown mend,
walk in his love, in humility come with pure hearts,
and cast all your cares to the wind..."

Prepare Ye The Way, Caedmons Call (John Micheal Talbot)

I can honestly not think of a better virtue than humility in the life a Christian. Everything stems from that. Obedience, growth, love for one another. It all relies on the body coming together and interacting in humbleness. Preferring one another, esteeming the other higher than ourselves. It's how we find the will of God in our lives as individuals and as a church. God has to be welcome in our lives and we have to be open to his leading. We can't come with preconceived ideas or our own agenda. Lord help me to lay everything down to you today and declare that I am open to anything that you have for us. Everything is on the table Lord. Lead us.