Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Game Plan: How To Jumpstart Your Life By Planning For Your Future! Are You Ready To Take The Challenge?

You may be wondering how you know if you have the right dreams for your life. It's actually easier than you may realize. Discovering your divine dreams comes from being in relationship with God. Together we're going to learn how to make those dreams your reality!

Join us Sundays in February to be released from the negativity of your past, overcome obstacles in your present, and forge ahead into the incredible future for which God has created you!

SMALL GROUPS
Relationships matter because people matter! God created us to share life with others and so we encourage you to participate in a 40-Day Small Group this February! Connect with others and grow your faith for six weeks. We have opportunities for men, women and couples. It's short-term commitment with long-term benefits! Sign-up for a Small Group online here
FOOD & FITNESS CHALLENGE
Learn how to glorify God in the ways you eat, move and think! Participate in our Food & Fitness Challenge to become a healthier you. We'll have a special registration at the Tangled Conference, and we will host three Food & Fitness Challenge on Thursdays, February 12th, 19th & 26th at 7pm at the FL Christiana Campus. Dr. Candice Boyer will lead a 45min nutrition education segment and Erica Allain, a certified instructor, will offer 45min of exercise that is compatible and challenging for all levels of fitness. Email info@freedomlife.tv for more information.

MINI BOOK
Pastor Sam has written a mini book complementing The Game Plan series, available at Freedom Life bookstores in various formats. It is a practical tool offering guidance to help you make choices today that will affect your tomorrow; because your life is not happening to you, rather, it's happening through the choices you make. Strategically plan the next ten years of your life with 10 minutes of focused thinking everyday for five days and position yourself for opportunities and blessing. Purchase an electronic version of THE GAME PLAN here.

Here is an excerpt from my new book.  Enjoy!

INTRODUCTION

“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” - Ephesians 3: 20 (NLT) 

— It was a sunny Sunday morning in the North East, and like most Sunday mornings of my life up to that point, I was spending it listening to a sermon. 

I don't remember anything the pastor preached on that day; for all I know it could have been the 5 Steps Samson Took To Have Bouncy, Voluminous Hair. The point is, it wasn’t the message that stuck with me that day, it was what happened after it. I was in college, and visiting a church at the request of the pastor, who had recently asked me if I was interested in becoming their youth pastor. The invitation was humbling, but I told him my schedule was too busy to make that type of commitment. I had a lot going on, including my biggest commitment as the the point guard for the school’s basketball team. 

(If you don’t know basketball, the point guard is usually the most handsome guy on the team who dunks all the time and wears a crown during the game because of how awesome he is.) 

(If you do know basketball, or you know me, you know I’m obviously joking.) 

Though I was young, I knew I didn’t have the time needed to invest into this important ministry, so that was what I thought I had told him earlier that week. Thanks, but no thanks. 

As the service was ending and I was thinking through my lunch options, something unexpected happened. The pastor asked me to stand up, which I did, and then introduced me to the church, saying, “Would everyone please give a warm welcome to Sammy Masteller... our new youth pastor!”

I stood there in disbelief . I was stunned, confused, and if I’m honest , I was slightly annoyed. I replayed our conversation from earlier in the week in my head. I thought I had been clear that I could not commit to this, but maybe I hadn’t been? I certainly wasn’t expecting to be announced to the church as a new hire. And yet, in the last sixty seconds I had gone from deciding between Burger King and McDonalds to being employed in my first ministry job. Wait, what?!?

Still in shock, and I did what most of you would do in that situation. I smiled, waved hello to the small congregation, shook a few hands, kissed a few babies, and never set foot in that church again. 

Definitely not my proudest moment.

~ I share this story, not to demean the pastor or to highlight my terrible communication skills, but merely to point out that if you don’t have plan for your future, someone else will.

Too often we live our lives without clarity or certainty, waiting for doors to open or opportunities to arise. But here’s the truth: your life isn't happening to you, it's happening through you, through the choices that you make. 

Your future isn’t a result of chance, it's a result of choice. I chose to enter into that relationship. I chose to go that particular Sunday. I chose to smile and wave and not say anything to the pastor about our miscommunication. 

It wasn’t fate or chance. It was completely crazy, but it was completely my choice. Today’s choices are creating your tomorrow. The Bible reminds us in Psalm 90: 12, to “… number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (NIV)” 

Within the pages of this little book, I want to help you do just that. It’s time that you get a game plan for your future. It’s time to make choices that will move you into the plans that Almighty God has for your life. 

No more sitting on the sidelines feeling like life is happening to you, it’s time to get in the game and take action on the dreams and purposes God has put inside of you. You’ve only got one life to live, and with each day that passes it gets shorter and shorter. 

Deuteronomy 30:19 says, “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! (NLT)” 

Your greatest power is your power to choose. I’m inviting you to begin making those choices by taking part in The Game Plan Challenge. 

Give me ten minutes of focused thinking a day for the next five days, and I will help you get started in planning the next ten years of your life! Time is ticking, let’s get started! 

Monday, December 22, 2014

LET IT GO, Part 3- How To Let Go Of Loneliness

You Can Watch The Message Let It Go!  Part 3-  How To Let Go Of Loneliness At Our Online Experience! (click here

HOW TO LET GO OF LONELINESS
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone…”.  Genesis 2:18

Loneliness is a complex and usually unpleasant emotional response to isolation or lack of companionship.

CAUSES OF LONELINESS
Transitions | Separations | Opposition | Rejection | Unmet Needs

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU’RE STRUGGLING WITH LONELINESS?
"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:8-11

 •  You Feel UNWORTHY
 •  You Feel INADEQUATE
 •  You Feel UNLOVED

YOU CAN LET GO OF LONELINESS BECAUSE:

 1. God is WITH You
 "Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means 'God is with us.’"  Matthew 1:23 (NLT)

 Key Thought: Choose to turn your loneliness into aloneness with God.

 2. God has Placed PEOPLE Around You
 "So it is with Christ's body. We are all parts of his one body, and each of us has different work to do. And since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other,   and each of us needs all the others.” Romans 12:5

 Key Thought: Mary gave birth to Jesus, and Jesus gave birth to the churchThe first gave us relationship with God, the second relationship with one another.

 Pathway Of Purpose - Inquire at VIP Guest Services or Visit www.freedomlife.tv
 First Steps - Sunday, January 4, 2015 @ FL_CHR & FL_CV
 Baptism - January 7, 2015 @ First Wednesday
 Growth Track - Saturday, Jan 3rd @ FL_CHR | Sunday, Jan 4th at the Blackmun’s
 Dream Team Celebration (formerly Leadership Summit) on Friday, Jan 23rd
 Small groups - Sign-ups begin Sunday, Jan 18th, or email groups@freedomlife.tv

Sunday, December 14, 2014

LET IT GO, Part 2— How To Let Go Of Your Trouble

You Can Watch The Message Let It Go!  Part 2-  How To Let Go Of Your Trouble At Our Online Experience! (click here

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”  Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)

THE TROUBLED HEART OF HEROD   (Matthew 2:1-3, 16)
  • INSECURITY  uncertainty or anxiety about oneself; lack of confidence.  (John 8:14 / 1 Peter 2:9 / Isaiah 54:17 ) 
  • OFFENSE—  (skandalon)  a trap, snare, stumbling block  (Luke 17:1 / Proverbs 18:19 /  Mark 11:25 )
  • UNFORGIVENESS—  a grudge against someone who has offended you  (Matthew 18:21-22  / Luke 23:34 ) 
Key Thought— Forgiveness may not change the past, but it opens up an incredible future.  A future that is unhindered by your past hurt and pain, grudges, or regrets. Let it go and let God do something new!

HOW TO LET GO OF THE TROUBLE IN YOUR HEART

"Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.” John 14:1 (NLT)

1.  Stop Making EXCUSES For Being So Sensitive.  (Ephesians 4:31-32)
2.  Let Go Of Your RIGHTS to be offended. (Proverbs 19:11)
3.  DECLARE Forgiveness Out Loud. (Romans 10:9, 1 John 1:9)
4.  Stop TALKING About It.  (Proverbs 18:21)
5.  BELIEVE That It Is Done And Don’t Look Back. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Key Thought—  Choose To Become Secure, Overcome Offenses And Forgive by FAITH —not be what you FEEL.  

“… but the angel reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior--yes, the Messiah, the Lord--has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!”  Luke 2:10-11 (NLT)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Let It Go! Part 1- How To Let Go Of Fear

You Can Watch The Message Let It Go!  Part 1-  How To Let Go Of Fear Right Now At Our Online Experience! (click here
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)

1.  ADMIT THAT YOU HAVE FEAR.

2.    UNDERSTAND THAT FEAR HAS POWER.

It CONSUMES your mind.  (Psalm 13:2) 
It CLOUDS your judgment. (John 12:42)
 It CONTROLS your life.  (Jeremiah 6:24) 

“I’ve been through some terrible times in my life, a few of which actually happened.” —Mark Twain

3.  RECOGNIZE YOUR GREATEST FEARS

Fear Of What GOD Is ASKING You To Do.  
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”  29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! Luke 1:26-30 (NLT)

"The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.”  1 Thessalonians 5:24 (NIV)

“Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” Luke 1:38 NLT

Key Thought—  When responding to this fear, remember that the outcome is God’s responsibility but OBEDIENCE is yours.  Determine to trust God’s plans.

Fear Of What Other People THINK Of You. 

18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, her fiancĂ©, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement[a] quietly.  20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus,[b] for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:18-21(NLT)

"Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” Prov. 29:25

Key Thought-  Focusing On Pleasing God Often Means DISAPPOINTING People.  Becoming obsessed with what people think about you is the quickest way to forget what God thinks about you.  

4.   LET IT (FEAR) GO BY FEEDING YOUR FAITH.  

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. Matthew 1:24
“ So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  Romans 10:17 (NKJV)

Key Thought- Fear will not DISAPPEAR but you don’t have to give it attention.  Feed your FAITH.


CLOSING QUESTION-  Have you been feeding your faith or your fear? Which of the fears mentioned today are holding you back from the future that God has for you? Isn’t it time to LET IT GO?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Potluck, Week 2- ONE (One Thought Changes Everything)

“Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.”  Proverbs 4:23 (NCV)
“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”  Proverbs 23:7 (AMP)

1.  One Wrong THOUGHT Can Keep Your  From Your God-Designed FUTURE.

*Read the following verses to discover that the Israelites believed something that was not true and it kept them from the promise of God for 40 years.  
Exodus 14:13 / Numbers 13:1-3; 25-32 / Joshua 2:8-1

The Perception Of Your Life Is Established By The Following:
  • Your Parents  
  • Your Past  
  • Your Physique  
  • Your Performance  
  • Your Peers  
2.  Right Believing Will RELEASE You Into Your Divine Destiny.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  John 10:10 (NIV)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

3.  You Have The Divine Power To CHOOSE.

"But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.”  Joshua 24:15

4.  Release The Power Of Right BELIEVING By Choosing God’s THOUGHTS In His Word.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. 9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” ISAIAH 55:8-9 (NIV)

"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. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." Romans 12:2 (NLT) 
  • The Word says you are WONDERFULLY created. 
“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.” Psalm 139:14 (NKJV) 

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb .… Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”  Psalm 139:13, 16 (NIV)

“People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the circular motion of the stars, and they pass by themselves without ever wondering at all.” Augustine (399 AD)
  • The Word says you are created in the IMAGE of God.
“Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us... 27 So God created human beings[b] in his own image. In the image of God he created them male and female he created them... 28 Then God blessed them...”. Genesis 1:26-28

“... put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” Colossians 3:10 *see also Colossians 1:15, Hebrews 1:3, John 14:9, 1 Corinthians 15:49, Romans 8:29
  • The Word says you were created with PURPOSE and DESTINY.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 (NLT) 

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”  Jeremiah 1:5   
  • The Word says that you are more VALUABLE than you can imagine.
“You have been bought and paid for by Christ, so you belong to him—be free now from all these earthly prides and fears” 1 Corinthians 7:23 (LB) *see also 1 Peter 1:18-19, Matthew 6:26; 10:31; 12:2
  •  The Word says that what’s true of JESUS is true of you! 
“Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.” Romans 6:3-4


Key Question-  What Is ONE Thought That You Need To Change To Renew Your Mind?

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)
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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).