Monday, December 31, 2007

Special Update and New Year's List!



First of all, Happy New Year from the Masteller's! Secondly, I wanted to give you an update on our African Well Project. As of our Christmas eve service we raised the $8,000 that we needed to provide water and warmth for 200 orphans in Zambia, Africa! For all of you who gave, thanks so much for making our Well Project a huge success! I'd like to wish you a Happy New Year! This past Sunday we talked about God's purposes for our lives and how they need to be front and center in the mainframe of our brains as we determine how to live our lives. I encouraged everyone to take some time and to make a list of what they would do this year if they knew it was going to be their last. What would be on your list? Does your list sync up with the purposes that God has created you for? Take some time and plan out your year and make some decisions to commit to living out God's purpose for your life this year!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!


I want to wish each of you that take the time to check in on my blog a Merry Christmas! We had a fantastic evening last night at Octorara Area High School as we had our 3rd annual Christmas Eve celebration! Over 400 people (lots of visitors) showed up as we rediscovered the purpose of Christmas and celebrated the light of the world. I'm still not sure how much money came in for the Grinch offering. We are half way there as of Sunday ($3,000 collected so far) towards our $6,000 dollar goal for the orphans and widows in Zambia, Africa. I'll update the blog once I find out.I had a wonderful morning with my family as we read the Christmas story, exchanged gifts and savored each moment that is truly a gift from God himself. I hope that you treasure each moment during the most wonderful time of the year! Have a great day and again, Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Jesus!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Don't Miss Our Upcoming Special Services


Don't miss this week as we enjoy our weekend experience on Sunday at 10 a.m.! Also, make sure to bring someone with you to our Christmas eve celebration on Monday night at Octorara High School! The doors open at 5:15 p.m. with music, cookies, hot chocolate and so on followed by our one hour service begins at 6:00 p.m.

This Sunday and Monday we will be receiving our special 'Grinch' offering for the orphans and widows in Zambia, Africa. To find out more about this important ministry click here.

Great devo that I read today!

The Mighty God
Today's Scripture

“For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father [of Eternity], Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6 AMP).

Today's Word from Joel and Victoria

We don’t just serve a mighty God, we serve The Mighty God! People have served many types of gods throughout history, but none of them could be called mighty. One of the definitions of the word mighty in the original Hebrew is a champion or hero. From before Jesus’ birth, His name was Champion. He was marked to be your Hero. And not only did He come to save you from the eternal punishment of sin, He came to save you from sickness, shame, fear, poverty, and anything that would hold you back in this life. The Bible says that He came so that you could have life and have it more abundantly! Is there anything that is holding you back right now? Anything that you need to be “rescued” from? Call on your Hero—The Mighty God. Let Him show Himself strong on your behalf. Open your heart and trust that He is working behind the scenes in your favor. He loves to be your Hero. As you praise and thank Him for all He’s doing in your life, you’ll feel His peace and rest, and you’ll be ready to live the abundant life He has in store for you!

A Prayer for Today

Father in heaven, thank You for sending Your son, Jesus, so that I could be free. Thank You for being my Champion and Hero and for giving me abundant life on this earth. I choose to trust You today and always. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Last second Christmas idea...



I read an article about a 'great' scientific advancement this past week. You can now choose the color of your cat when you turn the lights out. Your cat can now be a great addition to your Christmas decorations or overall decor. You also will no longer need a night light in your house. The article is below...

breitbart.com — South Korean scientists have cloned cats by manipulating a fluorescent protein gene, a procedure which could help develop treatments for human genetic diseases, officials said Wednesday. In a side-effect, the cloned cats glow in the dark when exposed to ultraviolet beams.

We can't find a cure for cancer but...

Al Qaeda Musical Jihad 2

Enjoy this hilarious video!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas Update: Don't Chug Vodka, Choose Pepsi!

Check out this article that I read today. Is it wrong to find this funny?

BERLIN (AP) - A man nearly died from alcohol poisoning after quaffing a liter (two pints) of vodka at an airport security check instead of handing it over to comply with new carry-on rules, police said Wednesday.
The incident occurred at the Nuremberg airport on Tuesday, where the 64-year-old man was switching planes on his way home to Dresden from a holiday in Egypt.

New airport rules prohibit passengers from carrying larger quantities of liquid onto planes, and he was told at a security check he would have to either throw out the bottle of vodka or pay a fee to have his carry-on bag checked as cargo.

Instead, he chugged the bottle down—and was quickly unable to stand or otherwise function, police said.

A doctor called to the scene determined he had possibly life- threatening alcohol poisoning, and he was sent to a Nuremberg clinic for treatment.

The man, whose name was not released, is expected to be able to complete his journey home in a few days.

Good devotional that I read today


Below is a devo that I get in my inbox daily, great stuff and I recommend it. I'm also reading Joel's new book which is very good. It would be well worth your time to pick it up and digest it even if you don't like Joel.

Joy in His Presence
Today's Scripture

“You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand” (Psalm 16:11).

Today's Word from Joel and Victoria

Do you need more joy in your life today? God promises that joy is found in His presence, and if you’ve accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then His presence lives inside of you! That joy manifests when you focus your mind and heart on the Father and begin to praise Him for what He’s done in your life. The Bible says that He inhabits the praises of His people. When you begin to praise and thank Him, you are in His presence where there is fullness of joy. It doesn’t matter where you are or what’s going on around you, you can access the joy that’s inside of you at anytime, day or night. And know this: God wants you to experience His supernatural joy and peace at all times. That’s why He chose to live inside of you and give you an endless supply. Don’t waste another minute feeling overburdened and discouraged. Let the joy of the Lord be your strength, and you will move forward in victory on the path of life He’s prepared for you!

A Prayer for Today

Father in heaven, thank You for an endless supply of joy. Today, I choose to cast my cares on You and give You the praise, glory, and honor You deserve. Let joy flow through me today so that I can be a witness of Your goodness to those around me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Global Warming & the inconvenient truth

I don't often go political on my blog, but I occasionally like to give 'the other side' to popular trends and political movements. Al Gore and the gang have attempted to make global warming the moral issue of our day. (God and His Word defines the moral issues of the day so I do take issue with that) What if global warming wasn't a valid issue? What if there were intelligent 'scientists' that buck the trend of the doom and gloom of the current media onslaught? Well, there are and you should intellectually stimulate your thinking about this big issue. As Christ-followers, we should care about our planet and take care of it. We should lobby against pollution and be good stewards of the earth. We can even get involved in ways to make this happen. (not referring to carbon credits) We should not worship the earth though, (only the Creator of it) nor should we be easily manipulated by clever pictures and faulty data. Think critically and don't be moved by every new idea or fad. There will be a global warming and the earth will be destroyed the Bible teaches us (click here for the reference) and we should be passionate about reaching everyone with the good news of Jesus our Savior before it happens. You cannot save the earth, but you can help save people. Anyway, you've seen the movie, now read some educated responses. (click here)

Reserve your spot in heaven for $12 this Christmas?


Just in case you haven't seen it, there is a new holiday gift that can get you into heaven for the low price of about $12. My initial thought is that this is pretty funny, ridiculous, but funny. My second thought is that our eternity costs a lot more than that and I hope people don't 'buy' into this stuff. Go ahead and have a laugh and get a little annoyed and please don't buy me one for Christmas, I'm good. Here's a little taste of the story..."Worried that your good deeds on Earth won't guarantee you a place in heaven? Fear no more. Reserve A Spot In Heaven's basic $12.79 "Essential Travel Kit" comes with an "Official Certificate of Reservation" with the recipient's name written in, a "boarding pass to heaven," an ID card and a Heaven 101 instruction booklet to "prevent culture shock," Kim said.
An additional $12.16 buys an "All Access" package, which includes a framed certificate and a "VIP pass."
A Seattle-based company is offering to hold a spot for you at the pearly gates, and it will even throw in a money-back guarantee. ReserveASpotInHeaven.com sells "travel kits"— complete with boarding passes, certificates and "Heaven 101" booklets — that offer the "chance to enjoy your sin-filled life" without consequence while lowering the "risk of eternal damnation."
The kits are intended to be gag gifts, but some critics say there's nothing funny about getting into heaven. They say you certainly cannot "buy" your way in, and there's no such thing as enjoying a sin-filled life without the risk of damnation.

click here for the article

Monday, December 10, 2007

Crazy Weekend!

Let's all pray for the ministries in Colorado (YWAM & New Life Church) that are dealing with the horrific events that unfolded yesterday! If you have not heard about the shootings that have occured, here's a link to the details of the situation (click here)

I love politics and social discussion, at least some of it, and I haven't chosen a candidate that I will vote for as of yet, but I love when people speak what they believe. (especially when I agree with it) I read a great article about Mike Huckabee who spoke at a convention this weekend in Utah. Evangelicals are pushing Him up in the polls and He is gaining in popularity. As I mentioned above, I'm not personally convinced of him as a candidate as of yet, but I love leaders that have guts & passion. Check out the article. (click here)

Continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. From the current intelligence estimate it seems as though the Iranians have cooled in their pursuit of nuclear capabilities. The world knows that this is a case of smokes and mirrors but the political climate within our country has led to an ambiguous report that Israel is speaking out against. Before you get defensive and take the side of Iran who needs nuclear power like they need more sand, remember that they have called for the impending destruction of (the little Satan) Israel and the (big Satan) United States. This is a battle that will be World War 3 as President Bush has alluded to and it will be a battle of Biblical proportions. Here is the latest out of Israel (click here) and a really good blog that will break it all down for you both politically and biblically. (click here)

Grinch, Part2


Grinch, Part 2
-How To Become Like Christ-


Ephesians 4:20-24
“ 20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.


Turn to Luke 2
First Step- Make Room for JESUS.

(Verse 6-7) While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
“Behold I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him...” (Rev. 3:20)

Second Step- Change Your PERSPECTIVE.

Greek word (metamorphosis) found in Romans 12:2; 2 Cor. 3:18
(Verse 8-11)  And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation…We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors…” (2 Corinthians 5:18, 20 NIV).

Third Step- Start some new ACTIONS.

(verse 16-20) So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them...The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJ

“Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” 1 John 4:4

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13


Remember Simeon! There are those whose dying hope is to see Jesus for who He is. You and I are called to be Jesus with skin on to those around us.

Prayer for today
God, help me to become strong in my faith in Jesus Christ. May your grace be upon me and help me to grow in wisdom & stature so that I may become like Christ. May I have favor with both God and man. Today I declare that "The Spirit of the Lord is on me,because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." In Jesus name, Amen! (see Luke 2:40; 2:52; 4:18)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A great movie for this weekend...



I just watched the movie, 'Amazing Grace,' this past week with my wife and it was fantastic. I usually like romantic comedies, comedies, action and political type movies. Amazing Grace is a film that follows the life of anti-slavery pioneer William Wilberforce. William Wilberforce fought for the abolition of slavery in the British Empire for about 20 years. You will be inspired, informed and challenged by this great movie and incredible story!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Some holiday humor and a cancellation

FYI, tonight's mid-week Christmas party and our new member's reception are both postponed until next week due to inclement weather. Also, there has been some talk about my dancing in recent weeks during my messages. There have been questions raised about whether or not I can really dance, do I really have the skill? Well, this will answer that question, click here. There is a wait for the upload, but trust me, it is worth it.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Original Grinch from the very first Christmas


Today I'm giving you a link to an article about the original Grinch of the very first Christmas. Matthew 2 talks about this lunatic leader that had all of the babies 2 and under put to death so that the Christ-child would not grow up and become King. What would drive a man to perform such an atrocity you may ask? The Christmas story is always more interesting when you understand the background and context associated with it. I'm going to give you a link to an article from one of my favorite sites that I think you will find fascinating in understand this very real Grinch. If you would like to know more about King Herod from the Christmas story, click here.

Grinch Part 1, Don't Let The Grinch Steal Your Worship


If you've ever watched the movie, "The Grinch," you know that he was always taking and stealing. The enemy of our souls desires to do the same with our lives. He desires to steal, kill and destroy our very lives. How? He does that by stealing the purpose that you and I were created. He doesn't actually take it, he works very hard at deceiving us into giving it away. The first purpose that He desires to take from your life is that of worship. Worship means to bring pleasure to God and is the first purpose of your life. Let's talk about this for a moment. He (the devil) understands that Worship is far more than praising, singing, and praying to God. We worship God by enjoying him. C.S. Lewis said, “In commanding us to glorify him, God is inviting us to enjoy him.”
If we fail to worship God, we always find a substitute, even if it ends up being ourselves. The reason God made us with this desire is that he desires worshipers! Jesus said, “The Father seeks ... worshipers.” (John 4:23 NAS)
Our job is to connect the God-given desire to worship with the One who seeks true worshippers.
Your life and everything that you do, every activity can be transformed into an act of worship when done for the pleasure of God. The Bible says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”  (1 Cor. 10:31 NIV) Martin Luther said, “A dairymaid can milk cows to the glory of God.” When you use your life for God’s glory, everything you do can become an act of worship. The Bible says, “Use your whole body as a tool to do what is right for the glory of God.” (Rom. 6:13 NLT)
How is it possible to do everything to the glory of God? By doing everything as if you were doing it for Jesus and by carrying on a continual conversation with him while you do it! The Bible says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” (Col. 3:23 NIV)
This is the secret to a lifestyle of worship – doing everything as if I was doing it for Jesus. The Message paraphrase says, “Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering.” Rick Warren once said, "Work becomes worship when you dedicate it to God and perform it with an awareness of his presence." We need to do this because it moves worship beyond church services and into your everyday life. We are told to “worship him continually” and to “praise him from sunrise to sunset.” In the Bible, people praised God at work, at home, in battle, in jail, and even in bed! Praise should be the first activity when you open your eyes in the morning and the last activity when you close them at night.  David said, “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” (Ps. 34:1 NAS)
Whatever you do this Christmas season, don't allow the Grinch to steal the very purpose of your life. Settle the issue today and determine to live a lifestyle of worship unto the Lord. Remember to follow the example of the wise men found in Matthew 2:10-11, "When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh."

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Don't miss this week!



I am currently finishing our series for this weekend and I hope that you can make it. Make sure to bring a friend for our special day and check out our website for the updates and our new newsletter.

A One Year Plan For Personal Growth

I was working on our 1 year plan for our church yesterday and as usual I was multi-tasking. I was listening to a podcast about personal development and why it is important and why it is spiritual. I'll put the notes below and why don't you join me in making a plan for your life this new year that will help you grow as a Christ follower.

One Year Plan For Personal Growth
Personal Growth Truths

Personal growth is necessary for Spiritual growth. (faithfulness and fruitfulness are both necessary)
Personal growth requires a plan. (ones mind once stretched by a new idea never goes back to its original form)
Personal growth precedes professional growth. (Growing organizations are lead by growing leaders)

*We need both knowledge and wisdom (Biblical wisdom and basic knowledge)

"We overestimate what we can accomplish in a few weeks and we underestimate what we can accomplish in a year."
Planning Your Calendar (When planning your calendar, go from big to small)

Annual
1. Abandon annually
-Vacation (abandoning annually, plan your vacations for the year now)
Monthly
2. Measure monthly
-mentoring (meet with someone who is further along than you, listen to a teaching)
-evaluation (personally review your month)

Weekly
3. Withdraw Weekly
-Your Day Off
-Reading Goals (Bible & various books)

Daily
4. Divert Daily
-Time with God
-Fitness
-Spouse
-Kids

Monday, November 26, 2007

The 'Our Daily Bread Devotional' for today!

Connected to our church website is a online daily devotional that we also have available in our church foyer called, 'Our Daily Bread.' I thought that is was really good, enjoy the bread!

I’m a news junkie. I like knowing what’s going on in the world. But sometimes the atrocities of life make me feel as if I’m a kid watching a scary movie. I don’t want to see what happens. I want to turn away to avoid watching.

God reacts to evil in a similar way. Years ago, He warned the Israelites that He would turn away from them if they turned toward evil (Deut. 31:18). They did, and He did (Ezek. 39:24).

The prophet Habakkuk had not forsaken God, but he suffered along with those who had. “Why do You show me iniquity,” he asked the Lord, “and cause me to see trouble?” (Hab. 1:3).

God’s response to His confused prophet indicates that even when evil obscures the face of God, our inability to see Him does not mean He is uninvolved. God said, “Look among the nations and watch—be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you” (v.5). God would judge Judah, but He would also judge the invading Babylonians for their evil (see Hab. 2). And through it all, “The just shall live by his faith” (2:4).

When world events cause you to despair, turn off the news and turn to Scripture. The end of the story has been written by our holy God. Evil will not prevail.
—Julie Ackerman Link


Lord, we praise You for Your displays of power in the
past and Your promises of victory in the future,
for they replace our fear of the world
with confidence in You. Amen.


Don’t despair because of evil; God will have the last word.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sunday's message, 'REMEMBER'

REMEMBER (this Thanksgiving Season)

Remember What?
 Remember that everything good comes from God.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  James 1:17 (NIV)

Know that the LORD is God.  It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;  give thanks to him and praise his name.  5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.  Psalm 100:3-5 (NIV)


Remember Why?

Because We FORGET.

 As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria.12 As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, 13 crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14 He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy. 15 One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” 16He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.”  Luke 17:11-19 (NLT)

Remember How? 4 ways that we can thank God this week!
 
1.  BY SINGING TO HIM
 
            "Sing out your thanks to Him; sing praises to our God..." Ps. 147:7 (LB)
 
       "Shout with joy to the Lord.  Worship the Lord with gladness.  Come before Him, singing with joy.  Acknowledge that the Lord is God!  He made us, and we are His... Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and bless His name... For the Lord is good.  His unfailing love continues forever...!"  Psalm 100 (NLT)
     
       About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.  Acts 16:25 (NIV)
 
 
2.  BY PRAYING TO HIM
 
            "Give thanks to the Lord and pray to Him."  Ps. 105:1 (NCV)
 
       "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."  Phil. 4:6-7 (NLT)

 
3.  BY GIVING TO HIM
 
            "Give an offering to show thanks to God.  Give Him what you promised."  Ps. 50:14 (NCV)
 
            "... your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God."  2 Cor. 9:11 (NIV)
 
       "Celebrate the Harvest Festival, to honor the Lord your God by bringing Him a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing He has given you.  Be joyful in the Lord's presence, together with your children..."  Deut. 16:10-11 (GN)
 
       "Now, our God, we thank You... These things did not really come from me and my people.  Everything comes from You; we have only given You back what You gave us... Lord, we have gathered all this to build your Temple.  But everything has come from You and everything belongs to You.  You test people's hearts and You are happy when people do what is right.  I am happy to give all these things, and I gave with an honest heart.  And Your people gathered here are happy to give to You too, and we rejoice to see their giving."  1 Chron. 29:13-16 (NCV)
 

 
4.  BY SHARING MY TESTIMONY ABOUT HIM
 
       "Thank the Lord!  Praise His name!  Tell the world about His wondrous love and how mighty He is!"  Isa. 12:4 (LB)
 
       "Be very careful to never forget what you've seen God doing for you.  May His miracles have a deep and permanent effect upon your lives!  Tell your children and your grandchildren about the glorious miracles He did."  Deut. 4:9 (LB)
 
       "Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God..."  Col. 3:17 (NIV)
 
       "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."  1 Th. 5;18 (NIV)


What do you need to thank God for this week? How do you need to do it?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Remember



First off, HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Secondly, Do you ever have trouble remembering? This week we are going to talk about the importance of remembering to thank God for all that He has provided for us. We will learn about the 4 ways that God shows us in His word that we should use in order to thank Him. It's going to be a great week and I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Good Devotion That I Read Today!

As we head to thanksgiving I always think of God's goodness and how thankful I am that I am forgiven and free. It's a blessing to be able to receive forgiveness and also a great blessing to give it. Check out this devotional I read from Joel Osteen today and ask God if there is someone that you need to bless with forgiveness this week.

The Blessing of Forgiveness
Today's Scripture

“Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered” (Psalm 32:1, NIV).

Today's Word from Joel and Victoria

The scripture is filled with keys to obtaining God’s promise of blessing. It says here in Psalm 32 that you are blessed when your transgressions are forgiven. God extends forgiveness to everyone, but we have to do our part to receive the forgiveness. We have to repent, or change our ways, with open hearts. The Bible also tells us that if we don’t forgive others of their trespasses against us, we cannot be forgiven. Is there anyone in your life today that you need to forgive? Is there someone who has hurt or wronged you? Make the decision to forgive so that you can walk in the blessing of God’s forgiveness for you. Remember, forgiveness doesn’t condone wrong behavior. It simply releases the person from the debt they owe you so that God can release you from the debt you owe from your own transgressions. When you make the choice to forgive and allow God to heal your heart, you will be able to receive His forgiveness for you, and you will walk in His abundant blessing all the days of your life.

A Prayer for Today

Heavenly Father, thank You for the promise of blessing in my life. I open my heart to You and ask that You cleanse me of anything that isn’t pleasing to You. Search me and show me if there is any unforgiveness in my heart so that I can release it and walk in Your blessing for me today. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

The winner is...stuffed crust pizza from Pizza Hut!

I was wondering how I was going to break my fast this past Sunday. I had considered it during the week leading up to the big moment and was undecided. We ended up traveling to Lancaster after the Sunday service to pick something up and opted for an easy meal that we could eat on the go while half of our kids were napping. It was a great pizza (stuffed crust) and a great 21 day fast. Here are some things that I learned or relearned from the fast these past few weeks.
1. I do not eat very well. I mean, I eat pretty well just the wrong stuff.
2. I am capable of eating healthy because I did it for 21 days.
3. I really didn't miss the sugar & junk food after the 2nd week and I am planning on adapting my diet to eat less.
4. Focused discipline is very good. Fasting helps to refocus your thoughts on God.
5. Your diet affects the way you feel which in turn affects every relationship in your life. Including your relationship with God.
6. I want to eat better, feel better and know God more.
7. If you can conquer the temptation of food, you can conquer any temptation.
8. When you think about God more and digest His word daily you recognize more clearly how He works in your life.
9. We have a great church and people really responded by participating in the fast.
10. Once I got rid of the junk out of my body, I began to desire things that were better for me. Obvious implications.

If you fasted at all these last few weeks, take some time this week to reflect on your experience. I really didn't want to stop I enjoyed it so much. I plan on picking a day within the next week or so that I will fast each week. If you are interested in joining me in choosing to do a weekly fast, let me know.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Physical Health gets Spiritual

Over the last 19 days I have been on a spiritual fast like many of you. It's amazing how our spiritual lives affect our spiritual lives and vice versa. I've lost 10 pounds so far and it has been an awesome last couple of weeks both physically and spiritually. I'm really excited to talk about an important topic this week... commitment! It's amazing what you can accomplish when you are committed to something.
One of the things I am committed to making you do today is laugh since you took the time to check out my blog. Click on the link below and enjoy! click here

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Good Poem

This is a good day to go introspective I think. This poem was supposedly written by a terminally ill young girl in a New York Hospital . Or at least that is what the e-mail said, which of course I never believe forwarded e-mails, nor do I normally read them. Either way, this is a great poem and it's called, 'SLOW DANCE.'


Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Do you run through each day
On the fly?
When you ask How are you?
Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done
Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?

You'd better slow down
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Ever told your child,
We'll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time
To call and say,"Hi"

You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift....Thrown away.

Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over.

Monday, November 12, 2007

7 more days...

This week is the last week of the Daniel Fast that we are doing here at our church. The discipline has been great and the food variation has been... interesting. I personally feel physically and spiritually stronger. I sense that God is up to some great things in my life and the life of our church. I've been enjoying hearing the stories of what God is doing in the lives of those in our church family. If you have been fasting, what has God been doing in your life? Go ahead and leave a comment. I think I figured out how to respond to the comments so I will actually comment on your comment. Did that make sense?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Teen Hires Hitman to Kill Parents After Being Grounded From PlayStation, Television

This goes along with our daniel fast discussion and the importance of prayer. This article shows the importance of having a vibrant and vital youth ministry here at our church. The battle for the hearts of our teens is real and we can win it one teen at a time. Read this article and let it trouble you and push you to pray for this generation. click here

Monday, November 5, 2007

The best monday of the year!

I love the Monday after the weekend we turn the clocks back. It is so much easier to wake up! I wish we could get an extra hour every week of the year. What if we did? What would you do with it? My answer probably doesn't sound 'spiritual,' but I'd sleep.
Thoughts anyone?
I'm really hungry for something other than vegetables and fruit right now as we head into week 2 of the Daniel fast. I've dropped about 5 pounds thus far. In honor of being sick of the food that I'm eating, I'd like to do some posts this week on my blog for recipes. If you have found some recipes that are good & different, please take a moment and post them and I'll e-mail them to the church family later this week. Also, I'm thankful that I have food, period. Can you imagine eating the same thing for all of those years like the Israelites did in the desert. Manna and Quail. I'm thinking, at least they had some meat & bread! It sounds pretty good to me!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Great devotional

I was reading some devotions this morning and I got a great devotional in my inbox from Joel Osteen Ministries. Check it out.

Honor the Lord with Your Body
Today's Scripture

“Honor the Lord with your body” (I Corinthians 6:20).

Today's Word from Joel and Victoria

The Scripture says that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. We are commanded to honor the Lord with our bodies. How do you do that? You take care of it. You respect it. You treat it as valuable. You use your body to bring Him glory. When you stand strong against temptation, you are honoring the Lord with your body. When you take care of yourself by eating properly and getting enough sleep, you are honoring the Lord with your body. You are saying, “Lord, thank You for this gift of life. I am choosing to take care of myself so that I can serve You with my whole heart, mind, and strength.” As we enter into this holiday season, remember to honor the Lord by taking care of your body. Enjoy the treasures of the season, but don’t allow the hustle and bustle of the season to rob you from simply enjoying the blessing of your friends, family, and loved ones. As you honor the Lord with your body, you will be strengthened and empowered by His peace. You’ll be able to stand against temptation and walk in love this holiday season and all the days of your life!

A Prayer for Today

Dear Father in Heaven, today I choose to honor You with my body. Thank You for the gift of life. Thank You for empowering me against temptation. Show me Your plan for me today so that I can honor You in everything I do. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Daniel Fast, Day 2

I sitting here feeling a little hungry. I had a great time with God this morning and I have a pretty busy day ahead of me. I can feel the sugar withdrawals already beginning. It's a great feeling when you feel clean from the inside out. If feels great physically and even better spiritually! Fasting is all about emptying ourselves of ourselves and asking God to fill us. It's all about putting our personal (fleshly) desires to death and living for God. In Galatians 2:20 the Apostle Paul tells us, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." I love saying this verse, in fact, I confess or say it on a consistent basis. I want it to be true, that I don't live selfishly for my own pleasure but that I live purposefully for God's pleasure. Go ahead and confess that verse over your life today and live today with purpose.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Daniel Fast, Day 1

So far, so good. I'm excited about everyone that is joining with me over these next 21 days to fast and pray for a spiritual breakthrough in our lives, our church and our community. I haven't started my first withdrawals yet and I'm not looking forward to the only vegetable deal, but I'm pumped about what God is going to do. If you aren't joining us, please consider doing so. It will be good for your Body and Spirit.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Old School Update, Our Daniel Fast Starts Tomorrow!

I'm sitting here relaxing and eating some brownies in preparation for our daniel fast that begins tomorrow. I'm relaxing because I attempted to go 'old school' and play basketball at my alma mater in the annual alumni game last night. I am not in basketball condition by any stretch of the imagination so I wouldn't really consider my effort to be categorized as 'playing basketball.' It was fun though and I had the chance to visit with some old friends that I love dearly. I love talking to people from my past that are doing good in life and are doing their best to honor God. I say that as if it is a rarity and that's because it seems to be the case.
Anyway, beginning tomorrow we are going 'old school' at freedom life and together we are observing a 'daniel fast' for the next 3 weeks. I'm really excited about all the spiritual growth that I am about to go through as I discipline myself and get with God in a deeper way. I hope that you will consider joining me on this spiritual journey. It will be great for your physical body and even better for your soul. For more information, click here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Wild Elephants Electrocuted in India After Drinking Rice Beer


I am reentering the blogging world with some light hearted and interesting news. I guess dead elephants is not light hearted but it is interesting. Take a moment and read this from todays news...

GAUHATI, India — Six Asiatic wild elephants were electrocuted as they went berserk after drinking rice beer in India's remote northeast, a wildlife official said Tuesday.

Nearly 40 elephants came to a village on Friday looking for food. Some found beer, which farmers ferment and keep in plastic and tin drums in their huts, said Sunil Kumar, a state wildlife official.

They got drunk, uprooted a utility pole carrying power lines and were electrocuted in Chandan Nukat, a village nearly 150 miles west of Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya state, Kumar said.

"There would have been more casualties had the villagers not chased them away," said Dipu Mark, a local conservationist.

The elephants are known to have a taste for rice beer brewed by tribal communities in India's northeast. Four wild elephants died in similar circumstances in the region three years ago.

India's northeast accounts for the world's largest concentration of wild Asiatic elephants with the states of Assam and Meghalaya alone estimated to have 7,000 of them.

"It's great to have such a huge number of elephants, but the increasing man-elephant conflict following the shrinkage in their habitat due to the growing human population is giving us nightmares," said Pradyut Bordoloi, former Assam Forest and Environment Minister. (that's code for we need to get rid of the humans, india is a pretty small country, go figure)

Friday, October 5, 2007

Blogging Break

I will be taking a much needed break over this next week, which includes blogging. I will be out of town in Williamsburg, Va with my family for a prayer retreat/ vacation/ restoration time. Pretty burn out, pray that I have a good week. I'll jump back into the game after next week with some interesting stuff. Don't miss our guest speaker, Bob Hulett, who will continue our series. He's a good friend and one of my mentors. Anyway, have a great week!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Stuck In A Room With You, Part 4 CRITICAL PEOPLE

STUCK IN A ROOM WITH YOU- Part 4
HOW TO DEAL WITH CRITICAL PEOPLE

This past week we looked at the story of the sinful woman who washed Jesus' feet with her tears and her hair. Simon the Pharisee stood in judgement over this woman and over Jesus. He was critical because he was convicted by his own inaction. We should be careful not to play God and stand in judgement of others. You and I will reap what we sow. Take a few minutes to see yourself in this story found in Luke 7:36-50.

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines criticism as “an act of criticizing; to judge as a critic; to find fault; to blame or condemn.”
Step one- Make Sure You Are Not ____ONE______ Of Them. “Taste and see that the LORD is good...” Psalms 34:8
He (Jesus) said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Mark 16:15
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23


4 Types Of Critical People THE "MARTYR" --Favorite phrase: "No one appreciates me." Num. 11:11-15 THE "CYNIC" Favorite phrase: "Nothing will ever change." Eccl. 1:2-4,9 THE "WHINER" Favorite action: “Rise and whine” Psalm 73:13 THE"PERFECTIONIST" Favorite phrase: "Is that it?"Proverbs 27:15; 21:19
Criticism –      often reveals your deepest insecurities.
Praise–           often reveals what you value most.


How can you think of saying, 'Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you can't see past the log in your own eye? Matthew 7:4 NLT
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9

2. Step Two- Make Sure You Deal With Them The __Right__ way.
WRONG RESPONSES


Fight and Argue with them.
Runaway in anger.
RIGHT RESPONSES
Open Your Ears and _____LISTEN______.

When their motive is to help not hurt.  
When the person can help.                 

If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise. If you reject criticism, you only harm yourself…Proverbs 15:31-32 NLT

Open Your Mouth and ____SPEAK________.

When the person is missing information that would change his perception.
When the person is open to change. 

Close Your Mouth and Your Ears and ___MOVE____ on.

When the person is characterized by being overly critical.
When this person emotionally unhealthy or wounded.

Jesus replied, ‘Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be rooted up, so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind…they will both fall into a ditch.’  Matthew 15:13-14 NLT

WE CAN’T PLEASE ALL PEOPLE, BUT WE CAN PLEASE _GOD__!

Obviously, I'm not trying to be a people pleaser! No, I am trying to please God. If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ's servant. Gal 1:10 NLT

"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe." Philippians 2:14-15


Prayer, “Father, I don’t want to be a critical person. I desire that people would taste the fruit of your Spirit in my life and that they would see the light of of your love shining through my actions. Help me to deal with critical people in the right way and to love them as you do. Use me this week to bring the good news of who you are to those around me! In Jesus name, Amen!”

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I'm so glad that I am a guy!



MOSCOW — A small Russian city just got a really big addition: its resident has delivered her 12th baby at 17.05 pounds — the biggest on the nation's record. Tatiana Khalina, 42, delivered the girl by Caesarean section at a maternity clinic in Aleisk, a town of 30,000 in the Altai region in southern Siberia, Svetlana Gildeyeva, a nurse at the clinic, said Thursday.

I'm sure this lady is no relation to my family! Holy huge! I'm glad that I'm a guy.

How To Deal With Critical People, Part 3

Whether you are confronting a friend in love or examining your own life, which God tells us to do first by the way, here are 3 things that you need to do to conquer criticism.
1. ADMIT THAT IT IS A PROBLEM. The Bible says "Do everything without complaining and arguing." How do you do that? Admit it is a problem for you or for your friend. Proverbs 28:13 "A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance." If you are the critical person, confess your sin to God. If your friend is the critic, pray for them and don't engage in conversations with them that are critical of self or others.
2.ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR MY OWN LIFE.
Many times complaining is just an attempt to blame other people for the problems I've created. Or excuse myself and put the focus on somebody else. I brought the problem into my life, I'm the cause of it, but if I complain or criticize maybe I can shift the focus onto somebody else and it will make me feel just a little bit better. We like to pass the buck and it makes us feel better. Proverbs 19:3 "Some people ruin themselves by their own stupid mistakes and then blame the Lord." Whether it is you or you friend that deals with this issue, the critical person must accept responsibility and not play the blame game.
3. DEVELOP THE ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
I Thes. 5:18 "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." God says "I want you to be thankful in all circumstances." It does not say "for all circumstances". You cannot always be thankful for the circumstances, but you can be thankful in the situation. I know that God is working all things for good. God's purpose for my life is greater than my problems, so in everything I can give thanks. Not for my problems, but in the midst of them. Don't allow yourself to grow bitter but allow each struggle to make you better.

Join us this weekend as I share the steps that you must take in dealing with critical people. If you can't make it you can listen to it on our podcast via our website.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

How To Deal With Critical People, Part 2

The next 3 that we are going to identify are...

2. THE "MARTYR" --

Favorite phrase: "No one appreciates me."

Numbers 11:11-15 "Moses said to the Lord, `Why pick on me, to give the burden of a people like this? I can't carry this nation by myself! If you're going to treat me like this, please kill me right now -- it will be a kindness! Let me out of this impossible situation!"

These people are pros at having big fat pity parties for themselves. When they are sick or under pressure they want everybody to know about it. How do you react when you don't get your way? Do you mount a complaining campaign? I have, so your in good company. Let's decide not to be the 'martyr' today.

3. THE "CYNIC"

Favorite phrase: "Nothing will ever change."

Eccl. 1:2-4,9 "Life is useless. You spend your life working and what do you have to show for it? The world stays just the same ... what has been done before will be done again."

Actually, this last phrase probably refers to cleaning the house with 4 kids. What's the use? Cynicism breeds the opposite of hope and hope is the air that we breath. Don't allow it to be polluted today.

4. THE "PERFECTIONIST"

Favorite phrase: "Is that the best you can do?"

Proverbs 27:15 "A nagging wife is like water going drip, drip, drip on a rainy day."
Proverbs 21:19 "Better to live out in the desert than with a nagging, complaining wife."


This refers to husbands also ladies, so relax! Nagging perfectionists. Nothing is ever right. Always arguing. Nothing is ever right for this person. It is never good enough. Nothing destroys the warmth of a home faster than complaining. Nothing destroys the harmony of a marriage faster than complaining. Nagging doesn't work. It just makes everybody upset. If your kids are complaining continuously, ask yourself if you are setting the example.

Ask God by His Holy Spirit to show you if you are any of the 4 mentioned these last 2 days. Tomorrow we'll talk about how to deal with others and yourself in regards to being critical people.

Monday, September 24, 2007

How To Deal With Critical People (even if it's you)

This weekend I will be doing a message talking about being critical. I'll be writing some thoughts from my message prep, it's good stuff. Here we go. The Bible says God wants Christians to be different. In fact, here is the scripture for this weekend. It's found in Philippians 2:14-15, it says, "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe." What does God's word have to say about dealing with this habit of being critical or complaining? Here are a few types of critics & complainers that God shows us in His word. Maybe you can relate, I think I've been each of them on different days of my life. These are from a great Rick Warren message that I read recently. Here is the first one for today...

1. THE "WHINER" -- David
Psalm 73:13 "Have I been wasting my time? Why take all the trouble to be pure? All I get out of it is trouble and woe." This type of person wakes up negative. They rise and whine. David does this all through the Psalms. Here is the tell-tale sign of the whiner is when they say things like: "It's not fair. I don't deserve this. Everybody else gets all the breaks." Life is not fair. God never said it is going to be fair. In fact, the fairness thing won't kick in until heaven or hell. Complaining or criticizing about it does not work.

Question, "What are you complaining about today?" Complaining is the sin that kept the Israelites out of the Promised land and it can keep you from fulfilling your destiny in Christ! Man! I have been a whiner so many times in my life! Recently by the way. Today I'm making a decision to not whine about my circumstances but I'm focusing on the goodness of God in my life! Will you join me?

Stuck In A Room With You, How To Deal With Manipulative People

This past week we continued our series called, "Stuck In A Room With You." – We talked about how to deal with manipulative people. It one of our most requested messages in recent history and must have struck a chord with many. You can listen to the message podcast through our website at www.freedomlife.tv or click here to download

Webster's Dictionary defines manipulation as the desire... 2 to control by unfair or insidious means especially to one’s own advantage 3 : to change by artful or unfair means so as to serve one's purpose. In other words, God has a plan for your life and so does other people (including Satan). The root of manipulation is the desire to control which ultimately stems from insecurity. Read the story in Luke chapter 4 about how Jesus dealt with

MANIPULATORS’ GREATEST WEAPONS:

1. Threats

• JEZEBEL MANIPULATED ELIJAH WITH FEAR.
“Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, ‘May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.’ Elijah was afraid [a] and ran for his life.” 1 Kings 19:1-3

• Threats:
o If you want to work here, you’ll do this.
o If you don’t do this, I’m leaving you.
o If you don’t tell me, I’m hanging up.
o If you don’t pay more attention to me, I’m taking you out of my will.
o If you don’t do this, you are not getting any of that.

Key Scripture--Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe. Proverbs 29:25

2. GUILT

DELILAH MANIPULATED SAMSON WITH THIS.
Then she said to him, "How can you say, 'I love you,' when you won't confide in me?...16 With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was tired to death. Judg 16:15-16

o If you love me, you’d do what I ask.
o After all I’ve done for you; you won’t do this one thing.
o Silent treatment: I’m not talking to you right now.
o Thought we were close; obviously I can’t count on you.
o If you don’t do this, you’re not good person.
o If you don’t meet my needs, I’ll find another way to get them met.

Key scripture-- “…there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
God uses conviction to free us, Satan uses condemnation to control us. Don't allow yourself to stay condemned, confess the Word Of God over your life and rise up and be free!

HOW TO BREAK THE POWER OF MANIPULATION OVER YOUR LIFE

1) RECOGNIZE WHEN SOMEONE IS TRYING TO CONTROL YOU.

…Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem…and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!" Matt 16:21-22

HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU ARE BEING MANIPULATED?
• You can’t say “no” to a certain person.
• You always feel guilty.
• You feel ultimately responsible.
• You compromise your values to please others.

It may be a parent, a spouse, a friend, a boss... others normally recognize before we do when we are being controlled by someone. Instead of discounting someone's observations, ask God to reveal to you if that is occurring in your life today.

2) RESOLVE THAT YOU WILL NOT PLAY THE GAME!

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6And he said to him, "I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7So if you worship me, it will all be yours." 8Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'" Luke 4:5-8

• If someone else has control, you are committing the sin of idolatry. God is the only one that should have control over our lives because He alone is good. Jesus responded to Satan's desire for control with the Word of God. Make a decision to digest daily the Word Of God into your Spirit so that you can be strong in God's power and walk in victory and freedom!

3) REPOSITION THE RELATIONSHIP.

Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." Matt 16:21-23

I would not encourage you to tell someone that they are Satan, but I do want to encourage you to establish healthy boundaries in relationships. Your relationships should not be marked by fear, threats & guilt. Break free from that today in Jesus name!
Don't ever forget that the truth sets us free! Here are 2 scriptures that I would like to encourage you to memorize and confess over your life this week!

Obviously, I'm not trying to be a people pleaser! No, I am trying to please God. If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ's servant. Gal 1:10 NLT

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

Break free from unhealthy control over you and follow God's plan for your life this week!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"'Right With God' But Not Churchgoer

"'Right With God' But Not Churchgoer Says Thompson" in a recent headline about the popular presidential hopeful. I like Fred and he seems to share the view and value of an increasingly large amount of Americans. Here are a few reasons that I believe everyone should have a church family, not simply hop around like a consumer looking for the perfect sale or meeting with your friends on occasion to read a verse or 2. Being a part of a church family (not simply going to church although that's a start) whether it's a big church, small church or even a small group church in the backwoods somewhere is Biblical and vital to our spiritual lives. You can love Jesus but I wouldn't recommend hating his wife (the church). Here are a few reasons that I think everyone should love Christ's church (not just Freedom Life) and be a part of it. Remember, virtually every reference in the New Testament church was to an active and visible local church body.
1. It shows whether or not you are a genuine or true believer. (John 13:35 says, Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.)
2. A church family keeps you from being isolated and self-centered. (1 Corinthians 12:26, If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.)
3. A church family helps you grow spiritually. (Ephesians 4:16, He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.)
4. The church (body of Christ) needs you. (1 Corinthians 12:7, A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.)
5. It helps us be a part of what God is doing around the world. (Ephesians 2:10)
6. A church family helps you to stay 'right with God' so that you don't fall away. (James 5:19,20; Hebrews 13:17; Acts 2:42)

Churches are not perfect, they are a beautiful mess! Commit to a church family wherever it may be and however messy it may be and let's make Jesus famous again in our generation! Thoughts?

If you missed last weekends message...

Last week we talked about how to deal with overly needy people. If you are a Christ-follower, we are called to help the needs of others so this always creates a tension within us. Scripture shows us that Jesus modeled compassion and always helped the needy. "…when (Jesus) saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd." Matthew 9:36 NKJV So how do we help people without simply being taken advantage of or enabling them to stay dependent on you rather than God? Here are a few things to remember.

1) OFFER WHAT THEY NEED NOT WHAT THEY WANT.
Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up…
Acts 3:6-7

• Identify the real need.
• Pay attention to the show, not just the tell.

2) REMEMBER THAT YOU CAN HELP BUT YOU ARE NOT THEIR SAVIOR.
By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see. Acts. 3:16

• You must remember that you are called to be Jesus with skin on.

• You must remember that Jesus is the savior, not you.

3) KEEP THE FENCE UP BY SETTING HEALTHY BOUNDARIES.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: "Everyone is looking for you!" Mark 1:35-37
• Time boundaries
• Resource boundaries

4) ALLOW THEM TO FACE THEIR CONSEQUENCES.
Don't be misled. Remember that you can't ignore God and get away with it. You will always reap what you sow! Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful desires will harvest the consequences of decay and death. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. Galatians 6:7-8 NLT
• Rescuing isn’t always helping.

The number one issue is compassion and having the heart of God. Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” Luke 5:31 When helping chronically needy people love is most important, but you need wisdom so that you don't enable people to stay needy. God wants us to become healthy and whole & to help others to do the same.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

How To Keep Your Head From Exploding, Part 4

As we conclude our look at dealing with stress, let's take a gander at the following scripture...
Philippians 4:4-8, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

The 4th step that you need to take is to THINK ABOUT THE RIGHT THINGS
In an article written by Rick Warren, he said, "To reduce stress in your life you must change the way your think. The stress is in yourself not outside. Your mind is a special gift from God. Your mind is capable of storing over 100 trillion thoughts. It can handle enormous things. You hve been given by God the freedom to choose what you think about. V. 8 "finally brothers, whatever is true ... noble .. right .. pure ... lovely ... admirable -- If anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things." You need to chosoe what you think about and think about the right things. What we put into our minds affects our lives."

If you are stressed today, the question you need to ask yourself is, "What am I allowing into my mind?" The things that you look at, read about & listen to can cause you to have joy or discouragement. What you think about will determine how you feel and ultimately determine how you act. Paul is saying this involves a deliberate, conscious choice. Change the channels of your mind. When a thought comes into your mind, ask "Is this true, noble, right...?" If it's not, reject it. These eight words are eight filters. If the thoughts is not right, true, pure, lovely, etc. don't think about them. Don't allow them to get into your mind, because it's going to create stress. Proverbs 23:7 "As a man thinks in his heart, so he is." What dominates your mind? What do you think about the most? The root cause of stress is the way I choose to think. The simple truth is, whhatever I think about is what I am becoming. If you don't like the way you're headed, change what you think about. Change the direction of your thought life. Here is the result."If you do this you will experience God's Peace which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your heart quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus." v. 7. There is a promise of guaranteed peace of mind. People are looking everywhere for peace of mind and we know we can find it by following the advice of the Apostle Paul and ultimately by trusting in Jesus Christ.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Unlikely Friendships


When I was a teenager I was in the jock crowd, but my closest friends were a bunch of skaters with multi-colored hair. It was an odd grouping, I would not have naturally made those friendships. But we were Christ-followers and we had more in common than we initially thought. I was reminded of that when I read an article about the picture above. It's about a monkey that was abandoned by his mom and ultimately became close friends with a pigeon. Sounds like those 'after-school' movie specials they used to have on ABC. Anyway, moving along. Without going into details, use google for that, the 3 week old monkey became healthy once he made this unlikely friendship. He is eating and doing great. Friendships are important! Take a risk this week, go out on a limb (bad pun), and pursue other godly people to do life together with. You'll find that your life will be healthier and more enjoyable than 'going it alone.'

How To Keep Your Head From Exploding, Part 3

This week we are looking at the following scripture...
Philippians 4:4-8, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Paul reminds us that the keys to de-stressing our lives are very clear.
First, we much make a decision to no longer worry or be anxious.
Second, we need turn our worry into prayer requests and give it to God.
The next step is very simply to THANK GOD FOR ALL THINGS.
v. 6 "... in everything ... with thanksgiving ..."
Good News says, "...always asking Him with a thankful heart." In an article that read recently by Rick Warren, he said,
"The attitude of gratitude. The healthiest human emotion is the attitude of gratitude, having a
grateful heart, being thankful. It actually increases your immunities. It is a physical benefit to express the attitude of gratitude. Ungrateful people also tend to be unhappy people. Nothing every satisfies them, it's never good enough. They are "when... and then" people -- "when such and such happens then I'll be happy". If you're depressed, make a list of fifty things you can be grateful for. When you're grateful, it gets the focus off your problems and gets the focus on the benefits in your life. We have so much that we take for granted."

It makes sense! Develop the attitude of gratitude and watch the stress level in your life go down. It gets your eyes off the problem and focused on the goodness of God in your life.
I Thes. 5:18 "Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." One part of God's will for your life is "in all things give thanks." Remember, there is always something to be grateful for.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

How To Keep Your Head From Exploding, Part 2

Here is the second step that you can take this week in order to keep your head from exploding!
2. PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING (START BY THANKING GOD)
Philippians 4:4-8, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
God never ends anything on a negative, He ends everything on a positive. Paul encourages us to thank God (rejoice) and have joy as we present our requests to God. If you stopped worrying today, just think of all of the extra time you would have. You can replace that time with prayer. Take that time that you normally would worry and begin to thank God for every blessing in your life. Don't be anxious, but give God a detailed list of everything that you have need of in your life. God is interested in everything in your life. Be specific about your needs. Most people pray doubt-filled general prayers. Make a decision today to pray faith-filled specific prayers. If you are nervous today, ask God for peace. If you need money, ask God for what you need. Remember, if it's big enough to worry about, it's big enough to pray about. I Peter 5:7: "Unload all your worries on Him since He is looking after you!" Unload your problems onto the Lord today! Listen to this last thing... there is no problem that is too big for God's power or too small for God's concern. James 4:2 "You have not because you ask not." Twenty times in the New Testament we are told
"ask". So go ahead and get started today! God is waiting to hear from you!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

How To Keep Your Head From Exploding, Part 1

This week on my blog I'm going to share 4 steps that you can take to de-stress your life. Stress is something that can really make you feel like your head is about to explode! It can cause you to believe that your life is falling apart. Lots of stress is not only dangerous for your health, it is toxic for your relationships. All of us deal with stress. Maybe it's your job, finances, school, friends, kids...the list goes on in regards to what can stress you out. The question is, "how will you deal with it?" I recently went through these steps to help me deal with the boat load of stress that I've been dealing with and I think it may help you also. Philippians 4:6 says, "Do not be anxious (or worry) about anything..." When Paul wrote Philippians he was in prison waiting to be executed by Nero. His words were not simply fluff, he was living it daily. The 1st step you need to take is to worry about nothing. Worry is a huge source of stress. In a message I read from Rick Warren recently, he shared... "We tend to expect the worst in life. Smithsonian magazine calls this the Age of Anxiety. There are macro worries that every body on the planet worries about. There are micro worries that are personal, that you have everyday. Worry is assuming responsibility that God never intended for me to have. It's playing God, trying to control the uncontrollable. Dr. Walter Cavert has done studies on your worries. He has discovered that:
40% of our worries never happen
30% of our worries concern the past
12% of our worries are needless worries about your health
10% of our worries are insignificant or petty concerns
8% of our worries are really legitimate concerns
Worry is worthless.
" Worry is worthless because it cannot change the past or control the future. It only seems to mess up the present. It sucks the energy out of you to enjoy life. When we worry about things, they seem get bigger and more insurmountable.
The Bible says, "Do not worry about anything." I have found this to be a difficult command to obey. Sometimes I have the annoying ability to find a problem in every solution. I can look only at the negative, the bad. Worry is not natural, Jesus said, in Matthew 6:6. It is something you learn; you have to practice to get good at it. If it is something you learn, you can unlearn it also. Jesus said in Matthew 6:34 "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own."
Here's one big decision you can make to de-stress your life today. Choose to relieve stress by living one day at a time.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

What An Awesome Day!

Yesterday was an awesome day! After not sleeping well the last few nights in prep for our big kick-off and the opening of our newly redesigned children's wing, last night was heavenly. Everything was so good yesterday. Jon & Kate Gosselin did an excellent job telling their story. The kid's ministry team kicked it into high gear! The worship was incredible and God's presence was so sweet. We had our largest fall kick-off ever with about 500 people in attendance. Almost 5 years ago when I became the Lead Pastor at our church, I dreamed of days like yesterday. It's so much fun to see God put a dream in your heart, then surround you with an incredible team to make it become reality. It is fun to be a part of what God is doing! I'm not sure what today holds, but yesterday was a great day!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Just Hours Away!

I am totally exhausted from a busy week but I'm sure that I'll have trouble sleeping tonight! We are just hours away from the grand opening of our newly redesigned children's wing and fall kick-off with special guests Jon & Kate Plus 8. I am so overwhelmed and thankful for the incredible giving of time, talent & treasure from our church family over these last few months. So many people have worked so hard and given so much to make this day happen. It's always exciting to see a vision become reality. Tomorrow is going to be one of the great days of our church and I am thankful to be a part of it. We have an awesome church family and we serve an awesome God!

Friday, September 7, 2007

7 Ways To Know That God Is Leading You, Part 3

Today is the final installment of this particular topic. 3 more things to consider when trying to be led by God.

5. MAKE SURE TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT GOD'S WILL FOR YOUR LIFE, NOT EVERYONE ELSE'S.

"We will all be judged one day, not by each other's standards, or even our own, but by the
judgment of God. . . it is to God alone that we shall have to answer for our actions." Rom.14:10, 13 (Ph)


This is important especially in the stream of faith that I swim. The prophetic is important but sometimes people can be focused on what everyone else should be doing. When God does speak a word to us for someone else we would do well to remember that God will mostly use you or I to confirm what He's already said to them. Many times God will use you and speak through you even without you knowing it which is pretty cool. Moving on...

6. IT IS CONVICTING RATHER THAN CONDEMNING.

"If we confess our sins to him, God can be depended on to forgive us and cleanse us from every wrong." 1 John 1:9 (LB)

"Satan is the accuser of believers." Rev. 12;10


The differences between CONVICTION & CONDEMNATION is... conviction is from God and it let's you know when you have sinned, condemnation is from Satan and it tells you that you are worthless.

7. YOU SHOULD SENSE PEACE ABOUT IT.

"God is not the author of confusion." 1 Cor. 14:33

"Let the peace of God rule in your hearts..." Col. 3:15


These 7 ways I believe will be helpful to you as you make important decisions in your life. If you get it wrong and make a bad decision, relax! God' grace is enough and you never know how God will use even our screw-ups for His glory. You can't lose so go and do something great for God! You're on your way...!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

7 Ways To Know That God Is Leading You, Part 2

Yesterday I shared 2 ways to know that God is leading you. Today I'd like to share 2 more, so here we go...When making decisions...

MAKE SURE YOUR CHURCH FAMILY (GODLY FRIENDS) CONFIRM IT?

"God's intent is that through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known." Eph. 3:10

"The wisdom of the righteous can save you." Pr. 11:9 (GN)


MAKE SURE IT’S CONSISTENT WITH HOW GOD HAS WIRED YOU.

"We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do." Eph. 2:10

"God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. . ." Rom. 12:6 (LB)



Take a few moments and use these 4 principles to evaluate the big and small decisions that you are facing today and make sure that God really is leading you!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

7 Ways To Know That God Is Leading You



What if we could 'sniff out' with K-9 like ability the path that God is leading our lives each day? So many times I have made dumb decisions and filed it under the "I feel like God is leading me" excuse that we as Christians revere so deeply. Since the Bible teaches us that God does lead us, how do we know for sure that it is Him and not our own selfish desires or creative imagination? I recently read an article by Rick Warren on this very topic and He shared some great stuff that I'd like to share with you. The 7 ways that God leads us can be used as a filter to help us make sure that we are on the path that God is leading and not simply following our own desires.

The first way that we can know that God is leading us is to test whether or not our decision, feelings or even someone else's opinion is from; ourselves (Proverbs 14:12), God (Job 33:14), or Satan (2 Cor. 11:14). 1 John 4:1 says, "Don't always believe everything you hear just because someone says it is a message from God; test it first to see if it really is!"

Here are the first 2 ways to be sure that God is leading you and you are not misleading you!

1. MAKE SURE YOUR DECISION AGREES WITH GOD'S WORD.


"Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will never pass away." Lk. 21:33

"Even if an angel should preach a different `gospel' than this let him be eternally condemned!" Gal. 1:8


We need to be careful to interpret scripture correctly when using this evaluation. We can read anything we want into scripture if we are desperate enough. We need to let God place what He wants into our hearts through His Word. Keep everything in context.

2. MAKE SURE YOUR DECISION MAKES YOU MORE LIKE JESUS CHRIST

"In your lives you must think and act like Christ Jesus." Phil 2:5 (NCV)

"If you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition. . . such `wisdom' doesn't come from heaven... but is of the devil. The wisdom that comes from God is... pure, peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy, impartial and sincere." James 3:14-17


God's desire is not merely for our temporary happiness. That is painful to read I know! I want God to want what I want. It is important to remember that God doesn't always lead us to the path of least resistance.

Tune in this week for the remaining 5 ways to be sure that God is leading you!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Jon & Kate Plus 8 are coming next week!

I just got off of the phone from talking with The Gosselin's who are the stars of the hit reality show called, "Jon & Kate Plus 8." They are a great couple with an extremely interesting story. They have a passion for God and I believe they will be a huge encouragement to everyone that attends Sept. 9th. They will be joining us for our fall kick-off and the opening of our newly designed children's wing. Make sure that you spread the word and invite someone (to the table) for our special day next Sunday. We will be updating our website and sending out e-mails in the coming days. If you'd like to check out more about this couple you can google them and see their story on Discovery Health which has video or their personal website.

Have You Seen This Video?

Bless her heart, I'm glad every dumb thing that I say is not uploaded for millions of people to laugh at. Remember, we are not laughing at her, but with her. Enjoy! This is the stuff that video announcements are made of and you may just see it again this weekend!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Life Isn't Static

There is one thing about life, it's not static. There is constant change, seasons come and go and so do friends. Today I dropped my son (Caleb) off for his first day of Kindergarten and Mikayla for 2nd grade. It's hard to believe that my little babies are growing up. It is such a blessing to be able to watch them grow but I still feel a tinge of sadness as they do. That's life I guess. Things change. Friends move on. Kids grow up. Loved ones pass away. I don't know that all of these types of things should be sad as much as they should be a reminder. A reminder that life is not static and the only thing that doesn't change in life is God's love. So through all the changes that you may be experiencing in your life (good and bad), enjoy the day because life goes and doesn't stop. Breathe deep of God's love because at the end of it all, that's all we have. Life may not be static, but it is eternal, live wisely and enjoy the day. It's all that we have.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Friends

Every few months I meet with a group of Pastors from the Pittsburgh & Philly area. They are a great bunch of guys that I am privileged to enjoy life together with. We always have a blast and life shaping experiences all in about 48 hours. I am fortunate to have great friends that really care about me. I am just thinking of the many friends that I have, some I am closer to than others, but each one brings a huge blessing to my life. Life is so short and we need to be wise about the kind of friends that we allow to speak into our lives and influence our daily actions. We need to allow people into our lives that will encourage us toward the greatness that God has reserved for us. Do you have friends like that? If so, thank God for them and make sure you show them some appreciation. If not, pray and ask God for some friends that will love you and take care of you. Make sure you begin to carve out time for those relationships because God is already sending them your way. Enjoy your friends this week!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

More John Daker...

This YouTube sensation reminds me of myself when I sing every week. I don't know what half of the words are to the songs are but I will not be stopped. His facial expressions are priceless! He has given me some joy this week, God bless John Daker!

My name is John Daker

If you were in church this morning than you witnessed why it is important to find a good small group of friends that will be honest with you. Funny Stuff!