Monday, November 10, 2014

Potluck Week 1- PUSH (Pray Until Something Happens)

Key Question-  What Have You Stopped Praying About?

13 Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.  16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. 17 Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! 18 Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.  James 5:13-17 (NLT)

• PUSH Thought #1-  To Often We Are Waiting On God When God Is Waiting On Us. (1 Kings 17:1-7) #PrayUntilSomethingHappens

“You do not have, because you do not ask.”  James 4:2 (ESV)

"Now Elijah, who was from Tishbe in Gilead, told King Ahab, “As surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives—the God I serve—there will be no dew or rain during the next few years until I give the word! 1 Kings 17:1 (NLT)

• PUSH Thought #2-  When It Looks Like Nothing Is Happening, Something Is Happening. (1 Kings 18:41-46)  #PrayUntilSomethingHappens

"Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go get something to eat and drink, for I hear a mighty rainstorm coming!”  42 So Ahab went to eat and drink. But Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel and bowed low to the ground and prayed with his face between his knees.  43 Then he said to his servant, “Go and look out toward the sea.” The servant went and looked, then returned to Elijah and said, “I didn’t see anything.”
Seven times Elijah told him to go and look. 44 Finally the seventh time, his servant told him, “I saw a little cloud about the size of a man’s hand rising from the sea.” Then Elijah shouted, “Hurry to Ahab and tell him, ‘Climb into your chariot and go back home. If you don’t hurry, the rain will stop you!’” 45 And soon the sky was black with clouds. A heavy wind brought a terrific rainstorm, and Ahab left quickly for Jezreel. 46 Then the Lord gave special strength to Elijah. He tucked his cloak into his belt[a] and ran ahead of Ahab’s chariot all the way to the entrance of Jezreel.”  1 Kings 18:41-46 (NLT)

• PUSH Thought #3-  Push Past Your Quitting Points.  (Romans 4:18-20)  #PrayUntilSomethingHappens

"18 Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!”[a] 19 And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb.  20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. Romans 4:18-20 (NLT)

PUSH Thought #4-  Pray That God’s Plans Will Happen Through Your Life  (1 Chronicles 4:9-10) #PrayUntilSomethingHappens

“Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, ‘Because I bore him in pain.’ And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!’ So God granted him what he requested” (1 Chronicles 4:9-10, NKJV).

"Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”  Matthew 7:7 (NLT)

Key Question-  What Will You Start Praying About Today?

Our Prayers & God's Promises Have No Expiration Dates.  Don’t Just Pray For, Pray Through.  Never forget what the Bible says in Jeremiah 32:27, "Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?" (NASB)


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Fixing Us- Part 4— How To Get Your Marriage Unstuck


Marriage Myth: Married life is unhappy life.  The truth is that most marriages last.  Married people have more money, are happier, have better sex and live longer than single people.  (here is the link to the positive statistics mentioned, click here)
______________________________________________________

This week we are challenging every married couple in our church to go on a date each week.  Join us as work together to begin, "fixing us!"

Date Night By Design- (click here) *courtesy of MarriedLifeOnline.com  
The 11th commandment of a happy marriage should be, "thou shalt date your spouse."  

Counseling- Going to church is easier than going to a counselor but it's totally fine if you still need to see a counselor!  If that's you, email hope@freedomlife.tv and we will send you some referral options for your area.
                         ______________________________________________________ 

"Homes are built on the foundation of wisdom and understanding."  Proverbs 24:3 
“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”  Psalm 90:12 (NIV)
  • VALUE TODAY BUT VISUALIZE TOMORROW TO GET UNSTUCK IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
“And without vision the people perish. . .” Proverbs 29:18
“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” - Helen Keller 1880-1968 

4 Thoughts That Will Help You Take Your Marriage To A Whole NUTHA Level

1.  ENVISION The End.  

Your life and marriage will be shaped by your vision of what you believe it should be.  You have 5 days in your marriage, what are you believing for?

     5 Days Of Marriage

     1.  The day you meet.
     2.  The day you marry.
     3.  The day you have kids.
     4.  The day you have grandkids.
     5.  The day you bury your spouse or the day they bury you.

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:13-14 (NLT)

The word “goal” (skopos) literally means, “The distant mark looked at, the goal or end one has in view, to look into the distance.”

2.  Stay Full Of FAITH In The Present.   

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  Romans 15:13 
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

3.  Remember That You Are On The SAME TEAM.

"And the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." . . . So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, He took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib (side) he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man." Genesis 2:18, 21-22
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church."  Ephesians 5:31-32

4. Take A Step Toward Changing Your Future (marriage) Today
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.”  Hebrews 10:24 (NLT)

Key Question-  Day 5 is approaching!  Remember, momentum begins the moment that you take a step and begin to move forward.  What step do you need to take today?

Some of the stories and thoughts from this message can be found in my new mini-book called, "Momentum:  How To Keep Moving Forward When Life Seems Stuck." It is currently available on kindle (click here).

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Take a moment & check out my first mini-book called, Momentum: How To Keep Moving Forward When Life Seems Stuck!

Need encouragement?  Feel stuck in an area of your life? Not much of a reader?  I'm pretty sure that I just wrote the perfect book for you!  It's a little (power packed) book that I believe can make a big difference in your life.  The title of the book is, "Momentum:  How To Keep Moving Forward When Life Seems Stuck." It is currently available on kindle (click here) or you can pick it up at each of our campuses beginning this weekend.  Within the pages of this little book, I share 5 thoughts that can transform your life and help you get unstuck no matter you may be facing!  Below is the introduction, enjoy!  


   


INTRODUCTION

The Chinese Finger Trap
The brilliant Albert Einstein once said:  “I don’t believe in combs.”  (I kid, I kid. Although he must have been, right? Have you seen his hair?)

What he really said was:

 “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

We all have childhood memories of places we’ve gone on vacation, friends we’ve enjoyed hanging out with, and toys that provided countless hours of fun.
Some of my favorites included Nerf basketball, Atari, Operation, UNO, and G.I. Joe, to name a few. All of those toys were great, but looking back I can only think of one toy that I couldn’t put down, not because it was fun, but because it was so frustrating!

The toy was called the Chinese finger trap, and if you’ve never played with one before, shame on your parents for depriving you!

The Chinese finger trap - pictured on the front of this book - is simple. You place one finger into either end of this oversized, woven tootsie roll and attempt to remove them. When you start to pull away you suddenly realize that you’re trapped!

Funny how this little toy can cause a child, specifically yours truly, an irrational fear of having imprisoned, non-functioning fingers for the rest of his life.

The harder you pull back, the tighter the trap gets. And the tighter the trap gets the more you want to pull back! As a kid I experienced real moments of panic when I first started playing with this thing, wondering just what life would be like living with only eight fingers!

It was only a few years ago that I was studying for a message series on building holy momentum into your life when the Holy Spirit spoke to me in one of those oddly divine moments. I wasn’t quite sure what a Far East-inspired party favor had to do with living a momentum filled life. Then it hit me:

Momentum is all about movement.

The only way to get free from the Chinese finger trap is the only way to get free from whatever may be holding you back.

You have to push forward.

You can’t keep doing the same things over and over again and expect a different outcome. That’s what Einstein called “insanity,” remember?

This simple, yet powerful reminder was emblazoned in my heart in that moment, and it has stuck with me ever since.

Within the rest of the pages of this little book we’ll explore what this idea means because I believe it can make a huge difference in your life.

If you want to experience the freedom and life only God can offer through your one and only life, keep pressing on and never give up!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fixing Us, Part 3- Let's Get Ready To Rumble!


Marriage Myth: Married life is an unhappy life.  The truth is that most marriages last.  Married people have more money, are happier, have better sex and live longer than single people.  (here is the link to the positive statistics mentioned, click here)
______________________________________________________

This week we are challenging every married couple in our church to go on a date each week.  Join us as work together to begin, "fixing us!"

Date Night By Design (click here*courtesy of MarriedLifeOnline.com  
The 11th commandment of a happy marriage should be, "thou shalt date your spouse."  

Counseling- Going to church is easier than going to a counselor but it's totally fine if you still need to see a counselor!  If that's you, email hope@freedomlife.tv and we will send you some referral options for your area.
                         ______________________________________________________ 

(watch this message online now! click here)

"Homes are built on the foundation of wisdom and understanding."  Proverbs 24:3 

WHY DO WE FIGHT?
“For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.”  James 3:16 (NLT)

Fights Within A Marriage Relationship Occur When There Are:
     -Unmet need
     -Unfulfilled expectations
     -Unresolved conflict 
     -Undeveloped self-worth

“What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don't they come from the evil desires at war within you?”  James 4:1 (NLT)

Key Thought- We fight when marriage becomes about “me” instead of “we.” 
“My lover is mine and I am his...”.  Song 2:16
"A man should fulfill his duty as a husband and a woman should fulfill her duty as a wife, and each should satisfy the other's needs.”  I Cor. 7:3 (GN)

Dr. Willard Harley, in his book called "His Needs, Her Needs," identified through thousands of couples what causes failure within marriage.  When we fail to understand and meet one another's needs, unhappiness, affairs and divorce are more likely.  The following are the top 5 needs for men and women according to Harley.

The top five needs of most men are:
1.  Sexual fulfillment   
2. Recreational companionship
3. An attractive spouse
4. Domestic support
5. Admiration

The top five needs of most women are: 
1. Affection
2. Conversation
3. Honesty and openness
4. Financial support
5. Family commitment

HOW TO FIGHT FOR YOUR MARRIAGE

"If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand." Mark 3:25
You are on the same team.  You are not enemies.  Treat one another like best friends and you will be.

Key Thought- We Have A Tendency To Judge Our Spouse By His Or Her Actions And Ourselves By Our Intentions.  Begin To Close The Gap Between Intentions And Actions To Fight For A Happier Marriage.

  • When You Think Something Good, SAY IT.   
“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.” Hebrews 3:13

Key Thought- Pursue her with words of affection. Pursue him with words of affirmation. 

  •  When You Think Something Special, DO IT. 

“Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.” James 4:17

Put into practice The Five Love Languages that were discussed last week. Choose to love them the way that they like to be loved today.  We give & receive love in the following ways: Acts of kindness, Words of affirmation, Physical touch, Gifts, Quality time.  Make the change!

  •  When You Want Something Different, BE IT.  

“Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”  Romans 12:2 (NLT)

Key Thought- To get what you’ve never had, you must do what you’ve never done.  To get what you once had, you must do what you once did. (*see Revelation 2:5)

HOW TO FIGHT FAIR IN YOUR MARRIAGE

  •  Choose To Act And Not React.    

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21

  •  Choose To Focus On The Good And Not The Bad.   

“…whatever is pure…lovely…admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.”  Philippians 4:8

"We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are." ANA├»S NIN

  • Choose To Talk And Not Walk. 

"Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold."  Ephesians 4:26-27

Dr. Phil writes in his bestselling book, Relationship Rescue:  "… an interesting statistic shared by David McLaughlin in his wonderful series entitled The Role of the Man in the Family reflects that the divorce rate in America is at a minimum one out of two marriages. But the reported divorce rate among couples that pray together is about one in ten thousand. Pretty impressive statistic, even if you reduce it a thousandfold."  

Final Thought-  Pray for each other, pray over each other, pray with each other.  Prayer produces intimacy.  Prayer gives you the power that you need to love. 

“Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.”  1 Peter 4:8 (NLT)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fixing Us! Week 2- How To Stay A Newlywed Until You're Nearly Dead


Last week we launched our message series on marriages and relationships. We learned that you need to make the choice between weeds or seeds in order to build a lasting marriage.  Here are a few of the thoughts:

Marriage Myth: Married life is unhappy life.  The truth is that most marriages last.  Married people have more money, are happier, have better sex and live longer than single people.  (here is the link to the positive statistics mentioned, click here)

  • WEEDS That Destroy Marriages Are:

Selfish Demands / Disrespectful Judgments / Angry Outbursts / Dishonesty / Annoying habits / Independent Behavior (Solomon 2:15, Proverbs 24:30-34, Matthew 13:24-30)

  • SEEDS That Build Great Marriages Are:   

The Seed of AGREEMENT (Amos 3:3, 2 Corinthians 6:14-15) The Seed of APPRECIATION / The Seed of ATTENTION (1 Cor 7:33-34, Proverbs 18:13, Job 33:14, James 1:19, 1John 3:18, Philippians 2:4, Eph 5:21, Rom 15:5)The Seed of AFFECTION (Rom 12:10, Rev 2:4-5) / The Seed Of AFFIRMATION (Heb 3:13, Proverbs 12:25, 2 Cor 7:4) 

  • Begin SOWING To Begin GROWING.  (Matthew 7:12)
______________________________________________________

This week we are challenging every married couple in our church to go on a date each week.  Join us as work together to begin, "fixing us!"

Date Night By Design (click here*courtesy of MarriedLifeOnline.com  
The 11th commandment of a happy marriage should be, "thou shalt date your spouse."  

Counseling- Going to church is easier than going to a counselor but it's totally fine if you still need to see a counselor!  If that's you, email hope@freedomlife.tv and we will send you some referral options in your area.
______________________________________________________

Fixing Us-  Part 2  How To Stay A Newlywed Until You're Nearly Dead  (watch this message online now! click here)

“Whatever a man sows, he reaps…”  Galatians 6:7

 Jesus told a church: “The love you had at first is gone. Remember how far you have fallenReturn to Me and change the way you think and act, and do what you did at first.”  Revelation 2:4-5 (GW)

1.  REMEMBER How You Used To Feel

“I will (remember) tell of the kindnesses of the LORD, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the LORD has done for us-- yes, the many good things he has done for Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses.”  Isaiah 63:7 (NIV)

Key Thought-  You Choose Your Memories And Your Memories Will Choose Your Future.

2.  Change Your Way Of THINKING  

“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”  Romans 12:10 (NLT) *see also 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV)

“Look out for one another’s interests, not just your own.”  Philippians 2:4 (TEV)
“Honor Christ by submitting to each other.”  Ephesians 5:21 (LB)

Key Thought— Choose To Act Your Way Into A Feeling Instead Of Feel Your Way Into An Action.

3.  Do What Is Needed To Make Your Marriage SUCCEED

“So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”  Ephesians 5:33 (NLT)
“Our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.”  1 John 3:18 (TEV)

5 Love Languages
1.  Words of Affirmation  
2.  Quality Time
3.  Receiving Gifts
4.  Acts of Service
5.  Physical Touch

"Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.”  Matthew 7:12




Saturday, October 4, 2014

Fixing Us! Week 1- Weeds Or Seeds


Over the next few weeks we are focusing our message series on marriages and relationships. Each week will be talking about how to take your marriage and friendships to a whole NUTHA level. We will also be challenging every married couple in our church to go on a date each week.  Join us as work together to begin, "fixing us!"

Date Night By Design (click here) *courtesy of Focus on the family  The 11th commandment of a happy marriage should be, "thou shalt date your spouse."  

Counseling- Going to church is easier than going to a counselor but it's totally fine if you still need to see a counselor!  If that's you, email hope@freedomlife.tv and we will send you some referral options in your area.

Fixing Us-  Part 1  Weeds Or Seeds  (watch this message online now! click here)
“Whatever a man sows, he reaps…”  Galatians 6:7

Marriage Myth: Married life is unhappy life.  The truth is that most marriages last.  Married people have more money, are happier, have better sex and live longer than single people.  (here is the link to the positive statistics mentioned, click here)

WEEDS That Destroy Marriages Are:
Selfish Demands / Disrespectful Judgments / Angry Outbursts / Dishonesty / Annoying habits / Independent Behavior (Solomon 2:15, Proverbs 24:30-34, Matthew 13:24-30)

5 Seeds That Are An Essential Part Of Every Happy & Healthy Relationship. 
  1. The Seed of AGREEMENT (Amos 3:3, 2 Corinthians 6:14-15)
  2. The Seed of APPRECIATION.   Key Thought-  Keep Your Level Of Appreciation Greater Than Your Level Of Expectation.   
  3. The Seed of ATTENTION. (1 Corinthians 7:33-34, Proverbs 18:13, Job 33:14, James 1:19, 1John 3:18, Philippians 2:4, Ephesians 5:21, Romans 15:5 
  4. The Seed of AFFECTION.   (Romans 12:10, Revelation 2:4-5) 
  5. The Seed Of AFFIRMATION.  (Hebrews 3:13, Proverbs 12:25, 2 Corinthians 7:4) Key Thought-  Choose to be your spouses best fan instead of their worst critic.  
  • Begin SOWING To Begin GROWING.  (Matthew 7:12)

Monday, September 1, 2014

FREE Worship Team & Leadership Workshop With Lakewood Church's Cindy Cruse Ratcliff


I wanted to take a moment to invite you to a special evening workshop for worship teams and church leaders that we will be hosting on September 30, 2014.  Cindy Cruse-Ratcliff and her team will be sharing wisdom and insight on how to build and lead an effective worship team. Regardless of the location or size of your church, it will inspire you to dream bigger!  This intimate setting is perfect for teams to gather, learn and grow together.  I believe that this will be well worth your time and will help you take your worship ministry to a whole NUTHA level!

For those who are interested, Cindy, along with her husband Marcus, will also be hosting a Night Of Worship the following evening (Wednesday, October 1st) at our monthly 1st Wednesday service at 7p.m at Freedom Life.  We would love to have you join us for this as well.  If you intend on bringing a group for the service, please email stacey@freedomlife.tv so that we can ensure seating for you.

We look forward to seeing you!

EVENT:
Worship Team And Leadership Workshop With Lakewood Church's Cindy Cruse Ratcliff And Team

LOCATION:
Freedom Life
447 Noble Road
Christiana, Pa  17509
(610-593-5959

SCHEDULE:

6:30-6:45 PM: Worship With The Freedom Life Team
6:45-7:15 PM: Session #1-  Cindy Ratcliff
7:15-7:30 PM: Break
7:30-8:30 PM: Session #2- Panel Discussion/Q&A With Cindy And Her Team

COST:  Free.  Come And Be Encouraged And Grow With Your Whole Team!

REGISTER:  click here  (this event is free but we do ask that you let us know that you are attending so that we can properly host you)


Cindy Ratcliff Bio - GMA Dove Award Winner, Christian music artist and songwriter

Cindy Ratcliff’s music career was launched at the early age of 6 when she began touring with her parents and older siblings as the youngest member of “The Cruse Family”. Not long after, she became the youngest licensed ASCAP songwriter, at the age of nine and went on to sign w/ CBS Records at age 19.

Known to many as America’s Worship Leader, Cindy has served as the Director of music and is the senior worship leader for Joel Osteen & Lakewood church. Through this platform, Cindy enters more than 100 million homes weekly singing and sharing her music with viewers in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Korea, China and Africa. The program was voted the No. 1 most watched inspirational program in America.

Cindy has also recorded several live worship albums with Lakewood, as well as, a collaborative Christmas CD with The Houston Symphony. After the success of her critically acclaimed solo album “Twenty Three”, she released her sophomore project, “Heaven Raining Down” in the spring of 2014 through her label RPM Music, in collaboration with Capitol and L.A. based Dream Records. The new CD climbed to #2 on the Billboard Music Charts and is gaining popularity around the world.

Cindy’s enjoyed performing in such iconic venue’s as Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden, Staples Center, Yankee Stadium, O2 and Wimbley arena’s. In addition to her US events, she’s also enjoyed recent tours to such nations as the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, The Philippines and South Africa.

Cindy is excited to be performing once again in NYC this December, at Carnegie Hall, with award winning composer and conductor Tim Janis to benefit The Golden Hat foundation.

Cindy lives in Houston, Texas with her husband Marcus Ratcliff. Cindy and Marcus have three children, Windsor, Merrick, and Emory, whom they consider to be their greatest treasure.