Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Church Planting Vision '08-

Our goal as a church is to help plant 25 churches over the next 5 years as we do our part in fulfilling the great commission of Jesus Christ! The first church that we have partnered with to help plant is Epic Church in Manayunk, Pa. My good friend Kent & Tiffany Jacobs (and the team from Epic) are doing an incredible job at beginning to impact their community with the message of Jesus Christ! Recently, we were able to give $5,000 to Epic to help them continue this vital ministry in the Philadelphia region. A special thanks to the whole church family at Freedom Life for their generosity and belief in the mission of Jesus Christ! We will continue to reach people in our back yard and around the world! Continue to pray for Epic church! To learn more about them, go to www.epicwired.net.




Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry '2nd Day After' Christmas!



Here is a picture from our Christmas morning! Christmas morning has always been a favorite time for me. I'm sure it started when I was a little kid and it was based upon the expectation of tearing into new gifts. I have always loved the way the presents looked underneath the Christmas tree when you would walk into the living room. It was always & still is a magical experience! Unfortunately, like the picture above, not all of Christmas day is magical. Kid's fighting getting their picture done, kid's fighting one another and so on... You get the picture! Even in the midst of a perfect day, all is not perfect. It reminds me of my life. I love my Jesus, my family and everything that I do, but all is not perfect. I guess a great reminder for us is that we can focus on moments that go wrong in our lives or we can take a snapshot of those that go right. We can choose what memories to replay in our minds and hearts. As we head full throttle into a new year, take a moment and think back over this last year. Think about every good and perfect gift that comes down from our heavenly Father. Re-experience those magical moments from this last year where God loved you, blessed you & took care of you. Put Jesus back into the center of everything, just like Christmas morning!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Tolerance or Intolerant?

A read this great post from my former Pastor's son, whose name is Jon Decker. Jon leads a successful band called, 'The Mint,' and has a beautiful wife and baby. I could write pages of about this topic, but I thought Jon did a great job bringing it all together. For the complete post, visit www.jonathandecker.wordpress.com.

Tolerance: a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one’s own.

Tolerance is a huge buzzword for my generation, especially used by limp wristed, politically correct young people when someone has an opinion different from their own.

For the new wave of social justice Christians tolerance is used to muddy doctrine, in the name of not offending someone with a different set of beliefs. For the generation Y liberal, tolerance is applied to a grab bag of behavior and preference choices that everyone should have to agree with. It seems right now there is a slight uproar over Rick Warren praying at the inaguration. People call him “intolerant” because he actually believes what the bible says, which is becoming more rare for peole in the public eye.

I think he sets a great example of speaking truth in love. At no time has he said anything derogatory about anyone, except state his beliefs. Where is the tolerance for that?

Most disgusting was the interview I watched last night with Ann Curry. The sickness of her bias was so strong I nearly vomited on my televison. I wonder if she would talk to one of the nations Muslim leaders like that? Or the Dali Llama in all of his “holiness”? I would guess not. See my friends, it’s “cool” to be tolerant of everything else, besides Christianity. We use words like “reconciliation” to promote ecumenical-ism, if that’s a word, which in turn distorts our faith. Christianity in an of itself is intolerant by today’s standards. We believe in One God, and that the only path to salvation is through his son, Jesus.

I love honest dialouge, and I have friends of many faiths and sexual orientation, and enjoy talking with them. God calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves regardless of religion or whom they sleep with. The danger is watering down our faith to make it culturally acceptable, because it won’t be. We need to love without faltering in our beliefs at the risk of being called intolerant."

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bummer!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2nd Service Has Been Cancelled!

Because of the ice, freezing temperatures, snow, an adventuresome parking lot & unchanging forecast we are forced to cancel our 2nd service as well! Everyone's safety is to important to take the risk. Enjoy the snow day!

First Service Is Cancelled

For everyone planning on making the trek over the hills and through the woods this morning to gather with the church family, you will need to wait. We have to cancel our 9 a.m. service and we will make the call in regards to the second service @ 8:30 a.m. so stay tuned!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

How Do I Balance Work & Family?

This is a great article about an extremely important topic. My number 1 struggle is balancing family and work. Dr. Chapman offers some critical advice. Check it out!

Balancing Work and Family

Is it possible that we may be working so hard to support our families financially that we end up losing our families? Then money becomes empty compensation. This week we’ll talk about the issue of money and marriage.

What is most important in life? If we are given stark choices, the issue becomes clear. If someone offered you one million dollars for your child or your spouse, would you take it? Any sensible parent or spouse would say, “No”. But do we not sell our families for much less when we spend all of our energy working for money and have no time left to enjoy our relationships?.

Balanace
Work is a noble endeavor. In fact the Bible says that if a man will not work, neither should he eat. But can we work too much? Is vocational success worth losing a marriage? The Scriptures teach that life’s meaning is not found in things, but in relationships. It is found first in a relationship with God, and then with family and others.

Family relationships are always in process. If we want to keep our marriages alive, our families healthy, then we must find ways of balancing work and family. Thousands of men and women are finding that a growing marriage and a healthy family requires readjusting schedules from time to time. The key question is, “How does my work affect my marriage and family?” Once I answer that question, I will know if I need to change my work patterns.

Integration & Time Management
The answer is not always less work. Sometimes it is integrating the family into my work. For example, does your work allow the opportunity for you and your spouse to have lunch together from time to time? Such lunches can be an oasis in the midst of a dry day.

If your work requires travel, could you take your spouse or one of your children with you? This allows a mini-vacation which you might not otherwise be able to afford. It also exposes your family to your vocation and gives them a little more appreciation for what you do.

Less work and more time at home is not necessarily the answer. Better use of time at home may make all the difference. Do something different tonight with your spouse or with a child. Get out of the routine. Minimize the television and maximize activity and conversation. Keep your marriage alive and growing.

Excerpt taken from Dr. Gary Chapman on the Marriage You've Always Wanted by Dr. Gary Chapman. To find out more about Gary Chapman's resources, visit www.fivelovelanguages.com.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The diff between Goliath & Bathsheba

I read a great blog today that I wanted to share with you. Here it is...

By Gina McClain (courtesy of www.swerve.lifechurch.tv)
The diff between Goliath and Bathsheba
Both of these stories are great examples of God’s deliverance in David’s life. But one was orchestrated by God, while the other was not.
We all have deliverance stories where Jesus got our attention, we responded and our lives were changed for eternity. But often I cringe when I listen to someone attempt to explain how God brought them to a point of desperation so they would finally say ‘Yes’ to Him. This doesn’t make sense to me.
Sometimes we can bring too much glory to the circumstances that brought about our obedience. We celebrate the trap we managed to get caught in, as opposed to the work God did to free us. You see, we were created to walk in freedom with God from the time we were young. He didn’t create us for bondage.
Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the Lord: look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. Isaiah 51:1
Believe it or not… you do not require a ‘prodigal son’ moment of sitting in a pig pen eating rotten food in order to know and understand the grace by which you are saved. Simply because we took a path that led us into bondage, doesn’t mean God intended that for us. Just because you waited until you were lying drunk by the side of the road before you listened to His voice, doesn’t mean He wasn’t ‘knocking’ long before that moment.
The beauty is that He will take those dark, desolate moments and use them for His Glory…
For the Lord comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song. Isaiah 51:3

Did He want us to go to those dark places? Did He ask us to leave His side so that we would experience life without Him? Not at all. Will He take these things and use them for His Glory? Absolutely.
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!… I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19
Let’s turn the tide on the attitude that we must sew our wild oats in order to better comprehend His Grace. God does not lack deliverance opportunities in our lives while we walk this earth (Goliath). We don’t need to create them ourselves (Bathsheba).
That’s the diff.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Miracles, Part 2- Love


What a great day we had today! Tony Bilotta rocked the house with some great Christmas jazz & many of people took steps to believe God for a miracle in their lives! We ended with a song from the Hillsong album, 'This Is Our God,' called, 'You Are Stronger,' and it was absolutely incredible. We made a declaration (to ourselves and) to God that His love is stronger than whatever we may be going through. What miracle do you need today? Do you feel separated from God because of your unanswered prayer? I sure have been there myself! Don't forget that God is stronger than whatever you may be facing and that nothing can separate you from His love!

"Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36... 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:35-39

Great quote, Great reminder



"There will always be more people willing to do ‘great’ things for God than there are people willing to do the little things. The race to be a leader is crowded, but the field is wide open for those willing to be servants." - Rick Warren

Thursday, December 11, 2008

On A Lighter Note

Politics are always crazy, whether it is the church or the government. I'm sure all of you have heard about the Governor of Illinois & his potentially criminal behavior. Everyone is talking about his ethics & criminal activities. But I would like to talk, for a moment, about something totally different. What's up with that head (or should I say forehead) of hair? Maybe I'm jealous because I don't have any? Either way, it does appear that it is either a comb over for the forehead or he is being attacked by a beaver. Maybe I am just jealous. Pray for me!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Miracles, Part 1- Peace

Yesterday we launched into our new series called, "Miracles." We talked about how Jesus has come to bring the miracle of peace into the world. He is the Prince of Peace! (Isaiah 9:6-7) One of the areas that we often times lack peace is with ourselves. This morning I read a great devotional that talks about that very thing! If you missed the message on Sunday, it is available via download today! Go ahead & detox your mind today so that you can live at peace with yourself and in peace with others!

Detox Your Mind
Today's Scripture

“Above all else guard your heart for it affects everything you do” (Proverbs 4:23).


Today's Word from Joel and Victoria

These days, we hear a lot about detoxing our physical bodies. Bacteria can build up. Pesticides and chemicals can get into our system. Experts recommend that you go through a deep cleansing periodically and stay away from what is harmful so you can rid yourself of these toxins.

In the same way, there are all kinds of toxins that can build up in our minds. When we go around dwelling on the wrong thoughts, thinking about what we can’t do, how somebody hurt us, or how we’ll never get ahead; those thoughts are toxic. And toxic thoughts left alone become like toxic waste. It gets into your heart, and eventually, contaminates your whole life. It affects your self-image, your attitude, and your level of confidence. That’s why the Bible tells us that we have to guard our hearts and minds above all else because if your mind gets polluted, your whole life is going to be polluted.

Make the decision today to go on a fast from negative, self-defeating thoughts. Cleanse your mind from what is harmful and fill yourself with thoughts of faith and victory. As you do, those good thoughts will strengthen and empower you to live the good life He has planned for you!

A Prayer for Today

Father in heaven, I come to You today willing to let go of anything that would hold me back from Your great promises. I choose to guard my thoughts and fill my heart with Your Word. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

My Little Girl!



Here is a pic of my daughter (Mikayla) and 2 of her little brothers. Yesterday she had her big ballet recital and did a fantastic job. I was impressed with her ability to remember all of the necessary steps for a 30 minute program. Especially in light of the fact that she can't seem to ever remember to do the chores that I ask her to do every week... I digress, it was awesome and there is nothing like watching your child succeed. I understand why God declares over us that He has great plans for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11). Doesn't every Father want their children to succeed and be blessed? I'm thankful for a great day & an amazing daughter!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Very Special Night!




Tonight was a very special night! We had the privilege of investing into the first of 25 church plants over the next 5 years tonight! Our church family gave $5,000 to Kent Jacobs on behalf of Epic Church in Manayunk, Pa. We had the chance to pray over Him and make a great investment. We then went on to baptize 11 people tonight! It was awesome! One of those special people happened to be my daughter. Mikayla approached me a few weeks ago about getting baptized and I joyfully agreed! She is a special little girl with a heart for God. Life doesn't get any more fulfilling then on nights like these. God is good!

Questions About the Bible, Part 1- "Is The Bible Myth?"

This is a great article by CRI's Hank Hanegraaff (equip.org) touching on the topic of taking the Bible literally. Enjoy!

If I've heard it once I've heard it a million times, You can't take the Bible literally. You often hear people say that although it may be inspirational, its also full of myths and fables. Well, is this really true?
If the Bible is really full of myths and fables, it would certainly be appropriate to read it as such. However, the simple fact is that the Bible certainly doesnt fit that category.
For one thing, the biblical writers flatly denied teaching mythology. For example, Peter said, We didnt follow cleverly devised tales when we told you about the power and coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His Majesty (2 Pet. 1:16). In fact, the Apostle Paul urged Timothy to teach his congregation to disregard mythology (1 Tim. 1:4). He warned that a time was coming when people would turn away their ears from the truth and turn aside to mythology (2 Tim. 4:4).
Besides all of this, the myths of the ancient world were never based on solid historical fact. They were stories invented to explain such recurring phenomena like the changing of the seasons or the motion of the stars. The events recorded in the Scripture, on the other hand, are firmly rooted in history. By way of illustration, it is an accepted historical fact that Israel became a nation after the exodus from Egypt. Later, Israel became a monarchy, David and Solomon really lived, and on and on and on. It is also a historical fact that Jesus was a Jew who preached about God the Father, who claimed to be God, worked miracles, and was crucified during Pilates reign. All of this is, in fact, literal history.
In addition, the supernatural aspects of Scripture are presented just as matter-of-factly as the rest. And indeed, the most stupendous miracle recorded in the Bible, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, has been authenticated by numerous scholarly studies including the late great Dr. Simon Greenleaf. Dr. Greenleaf was the Royal Professor of Legal Evidences at Harvard University. He was goaded by his students into looking at the evidences for the resurrection. After a thorough examination he came back and said, There is not a single unbiased juror in the world who would ever look at the evidence and deny it. Dr. Simon Greenleaf became a Christian. The Bible is not mythology and was never meant to be read as such.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Questions About the Bible, Part 1- "Is The Bible Reliable?"

The first question that I would like to hit this week is the question of reliability. We've all heard the skeptics question various aspects about the Bible and it has planted seeds of doubt in our hearts. There are lots of great questions, but don't forget that there are lots of great answers! To help unwrap the answers that we all have about the Bible, I will be linking to some great articles this week that will help establish your faith in God's word. Here is an article from the Christian Research Institute, enjoy!

Have you tried to show someone the historical reliability of the Scriptures, and not known where to start? A quick trip to your local well-stocked Christian bookstore likely will overwhelm you. Where among the dozens of impressive, comprehensive reference books should you start?

Fortunately, while there is a wealth of information available to support the reliability of Scripture, you don’t have to burn, the midnight oil to give a reasonable answer to those who ask, “How can we know the Bible is reliable?” Four basic principles chart your way to understanding basic biblical reliability. To help you remember, I’ve developed the simple acronym “MAPS.” Remember the word MAPS and you will be able to chart Bible reliability.Click here for the rest of the article!

Facebook, How to Read the Bible



Here are the raw facts that I threw at everyone this past week in my message about the Bible and a process that I use when reading the Bible.

All About The Bible
Through 66 separate books, 1,189 chapters, and hundreds of thousands of words, the Bible shares one extraordinary message: God Loves You!
The Bible was written:
• over a 1500 year span (from 1400 B.C to A.D. 100)
• over 40 generations
• over 40 authors from many walks of life (i.e. - kings, peasants, philosophers, fishermen, poets, statesmen, scholars)
• in different places (i.e. - wilderness, dungeon, palaces)
• at different times (i.e. - war, peace)
• in different moods (i.e. - heights of joy, depths of despair)
• on three continents (Asia, Africa, and Europe)
• in three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek)

Bible Facts – The Books of the Bible
The Old Testament has 17 Historical, 5 Poetical, and 17 Prophetic books in it.
• The 17 Historical Books are: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther.
• The 5 Poetical Books are: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon,
• The 17 Prophetic Books are: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.

The New Testament has 4 Gospels, Acts, 21 Epistles (letters), and Revelation in it.
• The 4 Gospels are: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John,
• The 21 Epistles are: Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Jude.

HOW TO GET YOUR FACE IN THE BOOK

SCRIPTURE- Pick a book and begin to read. You can join with me in reading the book of Matthew this Christmas!
OBSERVATION- What is it that is going on in the story? What is the text and the context teaching you ?
APPLICATION- What is God by His Holy Spirit specifically telling you to do about what you just read today?
PRAYER- Pray and ask God to help you to live out His word in your life!

I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word. Psalms 119:16

Friday, November 28, 2008

'tis the season!


I'm not anti-buying stuff, nor am I anti-Walmart, as most of you are aware. I even braved the throngs of people this morning at the local shopping malls with 4 kids in tow & my wife by my side. I am though bothered by tragedies like the one you may have heard about this morning. Check out this headline.

Worker dies at Long Island Wal-Mart after being trampled in Black Friday stampede, click here to read the story.


It's unfortunate that we as humans, not just Americans, get so excited about stuff. 'Tis the season I guess. I like stuff, I enjoy it and appreciate the comforts that come along with it. But I'm not in love with it & I don't have to have it. During this time of year, the monster of more seems to awaken within us. Don't let the monster within overshadow the real reason for this season, Jesus Christ! Jesus takes away our stuff and gives us what we really need, not the discounted flat screen at Walmart. Joy, Hope, Love & Forgiveness. Things that you can't put a price tag on.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

He Still Opens Doors

Great devotional that is a reminder to each of us that our God still works miracles!

Today's Scripture

“I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close” (Revelation 3:8, NLT).

Today's Word from Joel and Victoria
God is ready to present you with new opportunities. He wants to open new doors before you. It doesn’t matter what’s happening in the world around you, in the economy, the housing industry, or with job reports; God’s Word still remains true. He rewards the people who seek after Him. He’s not the least bit concerned about how He’s going to supply your needs. There is no recession in heaven. He has His eye on you, and He still opens doors that no one can shut! In an instant, He can bring the right people into your life, the right opportunities, and the right resources to take you to a new level.

But in order to go to a higher level, you have to have a higher way of thinking. You can’t stay focused on what’s happening in the natural nor allow worry and fear to fill your thoughts. Remember, God’s ways are higher than our ways. He is working on your behalf behind the scenes in the supernatural realm. Choose to keep an attitude of faith and expectancy. As you do, you’ll move forward through the open doors of blessing God has prepared for you.

A Prayer for Today
Father in heaven, I bless Your holy name. Thank You for opening doors for me that no one can close. Fill me with Your peace and joy today as I wait on You. In Jesus’ Name Amen.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What are you planting?



Are you planting the seeds of unforgiveness & bitterness or the seeds of grace & mercy? Here is a story that I shared at the close of today's message that will help you consider what to plant today!

The Daffodil Principle


Several times my daughter had telephoned, "Mother, you must come and see the daffodils before they are over." Finally, I promised, reluctantly. I’d driven only a few miles when the road was covered with wet, gray fog. As I slowly executed the hazardous mountain turns, I was praying to reach the turnoff. When I finally walked into Carolyn’s house, I said, "Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! There is nothing that I want to see bad enough to drive another inch in this weather!" "I’ll drive," Carolyn offered. In a few minutes, we were back on the Mountain road heading over the top. 
We parked in a small parking lot adjoining a little stone church. I saw a pine needle covered path, and an inconspicuous, hand lettered sign "Daffodil Garden." I followed Carolyn down the path. Then we turned a corner. It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it down every crevice and over every rise. Even in the mist, the mountainside was radiant, clothed in massive drifts and waterfalls of daffodils. A charming path wound through the garden with several resting stations, with Victorian wooden benches and great tubs of tulips. It didn’t matter that the sun wasn’t shining. Five acres of flowers!
"But who?" I asked Carolyn. "Just one woman," Carolyn answered. "That’s her home." On the patio we saw a poster. "Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking" was the headline. The first answer was simple. "50,000 bulbs." The second was, "One at a time, by one woman." The third was, "Began in 1958."
There it was. The Daffodil Principle. For me it was a life changing experience. I thought of this woman, who, more than thirty five years before, had begun one bulb at a time to bring beauty and joy to an obscure mountain top. No shortcuts, loving the slow process of planting. She had changed her world. Her daffodil garden taught me about learning to forgive and to offer grace. I can hold onto all of the offenses that people have done to me in my life. Or I can make a decision to forgive each little one, one day at a time. I can plant seeds of bitterness or of grace
"It makes me sad in a way," I admitted. "What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five years ago and worked away at it all those years. My wise daughter responded, "Start today."

Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Hebrews 12:14-15



Grace grows but so do bitter roots.
The difference is in the seed that you plant!

Potluck, Part 4- Baggage



Today was an awesome day in the life of our church! We witnessed hundreds of people in our church family take giant steps in their walk with Christ as they extended forgiveness to someone who has harmed them. We called today's message, "baggage." We all have it! It's is the sin of offense. It is when we carry unforgiveness towards someone that has wronged us. John Bevere calls it, "the bait of Satan." Today we made decisions to not take the bait, to shed the baggage and to walk in freedom & forgiveness. Here are the notes:

ARE YOU AWARE OF YOUR BAGGAGE.
"Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit…. Job 7:11

Give a name to your baggage: THE SIN OF OFFENSE
 “Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come...”
Luke 17:1 (NKJV)


The Greek word for offend in Luke 17:1 comes from the word skandalon. This word originally referred to the part of a trap to which the bait was attached. In the New Testament it often describes an entrapment by the enemy. A trap needs one of two things in order to be successful. Either it must be hidden, in the hope that an animal will stumble upon it, or it must be baited to lure the animal into the trap’s deadly jaws. Satan incorporates both of these strategies as he lays out his traps. They’re hidden and baited. If we’re not trained by the Word of God to rightly divide between good and evil, we won’t recognize his traps for what they are.
(John Bevere, Author of ‘The Bait of Satan’)

The truth about offense is this:

Those you care about the most can offend or hurt you the most.
David laments, For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; then I could bear it. …But it was you, a man my equal, my companion, and my acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked to the house of God in the throng. Psalm 55:12-14 (NKJV).

An offended friend often times seeks protection & retribution
rather than forgiveness.
An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars. Proverbs 18:19 (NLT)

GOD, HELP ME TO BE HONEST ABOUT MY BAGGAGE
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2
You were taught...to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds… Ephesians 4:22-23
A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11


ARE YOU READY TO CHECK YOUR BAGS
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High… Luke 6:35

Who do you need to forgive?______________________
Are you willing to forgive others so that you might receive forgiveness?________

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. 2 Peter 3:18
Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment! James 2:12-13


Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Hebrews 12:14-15


GO AND FORGIVE!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Responding To The Silent Treatment



I just received this e-mail from Gary Chapman, the author of the book, "The Five Love Languages." He has some great resources online that you can check out at www.fivelovelanguages.com. Check out the article below!

Jill had told her husband that she wanted to spend a weekend at the beach with the girls who work in her office. Her husband Mike had responded with silence. No explosions, no loud words, no arguing, no nothing - just silence. He had been silent four days when Jill talked with me.

Reasons
When your spouse gives you the “silent treatment” there are always reasons; usually a historical reason, an emotional reason and a contemporary reason. The contemporary reason is that something has just happened that the spouse finds objectionable. For Mike, it was Jill’s announcement that she was going to spend the weekend at the beach with her girl friends.

The emotional reason was that Mike did not feel secure in Jill’s love. He reasoned, “If she loved me she would want to be with me.”

The historical reason was that Mike had learned the “silent treatment” in his childhood. His parents would not allow him to argue with them, so when he felt hurt or angry, he learned to be silent.

If you have been given the “silent treatment” by your spouse, here are the three questions you need to answer:

1. What have I done or failed to do that my spouse might have found objectionable?
2. Have I been speaking my spouse's love language lately?
3. What do I know about my spouse's childhood that might help me understand his silence?


What to Do

When your spouse gives you the “silent treatment”, you feel helpless. But you’re not! You can help break the silence of your spouse. Think about your spouse's emotional needs. When our emotional needs are not met, we misbehave. Silence is a form of misbehavior. If I can meet the need, the behavior will change.

The “silent treatment” can be very frustrating, but it is not a barrier that cannot be removed. The silent partner really wants to talk, but often fears that talking will escalate the problem into a full fledged war. Sometimes this conclusion is based upon history: marital history, or childhood history. The silent partner usually does not like verbal battle, and silence is a way of avoiding it.

If we create a climate of friendly dialogue, we can discuss our hurts, needs, and desires and then seek for workable solutions. Once the “silent partner” realizes that talking does not lead to battle but to peace, the “silent treatment” will be left behind. The “silent treatment” is never an acceptable way to build an intimate marriage.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Last Week's Message: Potluck, Part 3- BitterSweet

Last weekend we looked at a story found in Exodus 15. The context is that Moses had just led the Israelites out of Egypt and they were miraculously on their way to the promised land. They had traveled for 3 days without water and finally came upon some water which they could not drink because it was bitter. Here's the story...
Exodus 15:23, "Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for
they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah. (which is the Hebrew word for bitterness) 24 And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” 25 So he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet. There He made a statute and an ordinance for them. And there He tested them, 26 and said, “If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you.”


God was trying to teach them some lessons from this experience that I think that we can learn from as well. Here they are:
1. NOTHING IS OVERLOOKED OR UNNOTICED BY GOD.
2. GOD CAN USE UNUSUAL MEANS TO ACCOMPLISH HIS PURPOSES.
3. SOMETIMES GOD’S PEOPLE HAVE A VERY SHORT MEMORY.
4. GOD CAN TURN BITTER THINGS SWEET.


I ended the message by telling the story of MEPHIBOSHETH (which mean shameful thing). He was the forgotten grandson of King Saul who discovered that God can take all of the bitter tragedies from his life and somehow make it sweet. (read 1 Samuel 4:4; 2 Samuel 9) What is it in your life today that may be causing you to become bitter? Don't ever forget that nothing goes unnoticed by God! Remember that He uses different means to accomplish His purposes and that He never forgets about His promises to you. He promises to take everything bitter in our lives and to make it sweet one day. Just like the Israelites and Mephibosheth, you can trust Him!

Offer Continually

I received this devotional in my inbox today and thought that it was great. It's a great reminder of how we need to live our lives everyday!

Today's Scripture
Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name” (Hebrews 13:15, NLT).

Today's Word from Joel and Victoria
Praise is more than just singing songs in church on Sunday. In fact, praise isn’t even about singing songs! Praise is a heart attitude. Praise in your heart prompts singing songs, but it can also be manifest in many different ways. Your words, your actions, your daily life are all ways you give Him praise. Like the verse says, when your actions or words declare your allegiance to His Name, that’s giving God praise. How do your actions declare your allegiance to Him? By simply obeying His Word. When we continually follow His commands, even when it’s uncomfortable, even when we don’t feel like it, even when we are tired, that’s offering a sacrifice of praise to Him.

Remember, praise is a powerful weapon. Many times in the Old Testament, when God’s people would go into battle, they would send the worshipers out first. Praise precedes the victory. When you live a life that offers Him continual praise, you will see continual victory in every area of your life!

A Prayer for Today
Father in heaven, I do offer You continual praise. I choose to follow Your Word so that You may be glorified through me. Let everything within me honor You in all that I do. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Church relevance gone wrong!



This is funny and you will laugh! So go ahead and start your week off right with a good chuckle!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Tomorrow's Message: Potluck, Part 2- Fearless


Tomorrow during our weekend services, we're going to tackle an issue that most of us deal with on a daily basis. That issue is the feeling that you are stuck. Maybe you are stuck in a bad relationship, bad job, bad habit, sin... the list goes on. The question is this, "If I'm stuck, how do I get unstuck?" Here are 3 things you must do!

YOU MUST WANT TO BE UNSTUCK
JOHN 5:1 Afterward Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days. 2 Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda,[a] with five covered porches. 3 Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches.[b] 5 One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?”
Jesus asked this guy a seemingly rude question. He was sick for almost 4 decades! Jesus did so because He knew that we all have a tendency to grow comfortable in our circumstance & condition. We get used to being stuck! I believe that it comes down to fear. Fear of the unknown or maybe fear of losing something. What if I try again and nothing changes? What if I get counseling and it doesn't work? What if I can't find a new job? What if? What if?

YOU MUST STOP SHIFTING THE BLAME & MAKING EXCUSES.
7 “I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.”
Don't be a victim! Don't allow your past to become your future.

YOU MUST CHOOSE TO OBEY JESUS.
8 Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!” 9 Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking!... 15 Then the man went and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had healed him.
You must be obedient even when it scares you. Fear is what paralyzes us from being unstuck. You have to make the decision to be fear-less. God wants us to obey Him & step boldly into the unknown!
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 NKJV



Monday, November 3, 2008

What I learned this weekend...

This weekend we had Robert Cameron from Wave Church in Virginia Beach, Va. Robert oversees wave network, an association of churches that connect in faith and vision with Wave Church. On Saturday he did our fall leadership summit for all of our awesome volunteers. He talked about building a church culture that is excellent and pleasing to God. Here are some of the thoughts that he shared with us.

Building a church culture of excellence.
1. Serve the Lord with Gladness- Not with madness.
2. Honor- Speak right to one another. Prefer one another. (Proverbs 15, Romans 12:10)
3. Favor- Wherever their is favor there is life. Jesus had favor with both God and man and we need the same. (Psalm 35)
4. We need to have a good report- No one remembers the names of the spies who came back with a negative report even though their names are listed. We do remember Joshua & Caleb as being the men who came back with the good report.
5. What you respect, you will attract- Respect positive people and respect souls (people coming to Jesus).
6. Gathering mentality- Be attractive to others. People who do not read the Bible are reading you.
7. Wear the restraints of the vision- Vision for your life & church keeps you focused on what you should be doing.
8. Serve one another- Get along well with others. Even those that you don't care for.
9. Have an effective prayer life- James 5 tells us that the prayer of the righteous is effective.
10. Have the same DNA - Don't come with your own agenda, attach yourself to the vision of the Pastor & leadership.
11. Be planted in the house- Only people with roots survive the storms of life. (Psalm 92)

Anti-church culture
1. Mediocrity- If you can't be on time, be early.
2. Small thinking- Beware of stinking thinking.
3. Vision should always be bigger than your resources.
4. Don't idolize your ministry or position in the church.
5. Don't break the confidence of others by gossiping.
6. Don't be racist.
7. Don't be legalistic.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Activate Strength

Here is a great devotional that I received from Joel Osteen ministries called, "Activate Strength." I challenge you to do that very thing today!

Today's Scripture
“But as for me, I am filled with power— with the Spirit of the Lord. I am filled with justice and strength…” (Micah 3:8).

Micah knew how to encourage himself in the Lord. He understood how to draw courage and purpose into his life. He realized the power in His words and knew that speaking the truth is the most effective way to prepare him to accomplish all God has in store.

Did you know that we activate the blessing of God’s favor by speaking it over our own lives? Romans 10:9-10 tells us that salvation comes when we believe and then declare what we believe. God’s truth is established when we believe and declare it! (Job 22:28). When we declare God’s Word, we invite Him to do what He alone can in our lives.

Your tasks today may not be anything like Micah’s, but we all need God’s help. Activate His strength by declaring that His power is at work by His Spirit in your life. Declare that you are filled with justice and strength as you face the challenges before you because in His strength, you can experience victory in every area of your life.

A Prayer for Today
Father in heaven, I invite You to flood every area of my being. Fill me with Your strength, peace, and joy. I declare that I am strong in You. I am filled with Your power. I walk in Your favor. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How To Deal With A Dark, Rainy, Cold & All Around Cruddy day.


Unfortunately, everyday isn't like the picture of my son & his buddy above. Fun, exciting, warm!!! How do you deal with a dark, rainy, cold & all around cruddy day. Today is one of those kind of days. You know, the kind where you call out of work sick and crawl up beside a warm fireplace with an endless flow of hot chocolate. Sounds good doesn't it. What do you do when you can't call off work, you have no fireplace and are out of hot chocolate. So many times we allow the weather, the news or our circumstances to dictate our feelings. We just have bad days because we feel a certain way. Today I was reading the Psalms during my devotional time. One particular portion stuck out to me that I think will help us deal with our emerging emotions on days or in times like these.

Psalm 5:11-12, "But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because you defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You. For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as a shield."

I challenge you, regardless of your current circumstances, to make a decision to be joyful in who God is and to be thankful for his incredible favor over your life. His favor surrounds you today and remember that He defends you! Put your trust in Him and rejoice today. Go ahead, take the leap& give a shout of praise to God and let His joy flood your soul. It's a lot better than hot chocolate and it will last you all day long!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Why Christianity Isn't Doing Well In America


by Dr. David Foster (www.davidfoster.tv)
Depending on what surveys you read or people you listen to, it becomes hard to assess the impact of Christianity in America.

If you judge our effectiveness by conferences held and churches planted, by sheer activity and money spent, then Christianity is doing very well in America. But here is the problem with measuring our effectiveness that way. We tend to be a small, closed-in industry. We talk to each other and listen to each other and want to be like one another. We judge effectiveness on how well we’re imitating the latest trend, rather than backing up and realizing that following Christ and being the church in the real world is not about forming a Christian ghetto; a Christian market where we write Christian books, Christian songs, and create Christian schools so Christian kids can be saved from the big, bad world.

Our real effectiveness is how we live in the glare of the public spotlight. And it’s not really that difficult to understand that if we go to church and say we believe a certain set of things and then behave in a way that is totally opposite, it stands to reason that it would be difficult to be taken seriously.

One of the reasons Christianity struggles is not because of its truth claims, its historical credibility, or its inability to stand up under the glare of scholarship. It’s simply that those of us who call ourselves Christians haven’t found a way to bring into alignment our beliefs and our behaviors. We understand that the creed must be followed with the deed, but the connection between the two breaks down so easily.

So one way for Christianity to have a greater influence on our country is to realize that our faith is best practiced in public, not in private. Oftentimes people say that your religious preferences are very personal. And they are. But as a Christian, my personal faith is not private. It was Jesus who said we’re a city on a hill, and we are salt and light, that we would be influencers in mainstream culture. Which means that the demise of the Christian booksellers market, music industry, or any other particularly Christian thing labeled with a Christian label shouldn’t be met with too much sorrow. Whatever moves us into the mainstream is the main thing. It’s as simple as loving one another, living at peace, being peacemakers, and bringing people together rather than causing a divide.

American Christianity will be more influential when those of us who believe it with all our hearts practice it with all our lives.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Sweetness of Prayer

Great devotional by Ed Young. During your time with God today, take a moment to reflect and reconnect with the Creator!

May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice. Psalm 141:2

When God gave Moses the instructions for building the tabernacle and for the various forms of worship, one of the things that he ordered was the burning of fragrant incense.
Each morning and evening the priest was to burn incense on an altar, so that "incense will burn regularly before the Lord for the generations to come" (Exodus 30:8).
The incense, which had a sweet-smelling fragrance, was representative of the prayers being lifted to God in worship.
Most of us, when we think of prayer, think that it's our way to communicate with God. And yes, that is part of it. But prayer is also a form of worship.
So as you turn to God through prayer, realize that you are offering that sweet-smelling incense to God. And as you lift your requests, joys, concerns and most of all praise to God prayer, see that holy time as a time of worship.

A Prayer for Today
Dear God, It's so easy for me to turn to you in prayer to ask you for what I need or tell you what I want. Help me realize that every time I turn to you through prayer, I am offering you something. I only pray that each prayer brings with it that sweet-smell of incense. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Wave Conference Thoughts

Here are a few thoughts from the different speakers at the wave conference. Obviously there is a lot of great content from the messages but here are a few thoughts:

From Pastor Mark Crow (www.victorychurch.tv)- from the morning session yesterday.
Thought #1- The ruled of God, submit to the plan of God & become the leader's of God.
Thought #2- A.T.A.T.- Accumulated Time Alone Together. Grow your relationship with God, your spouse and others by spending time together.
From Joel Houston (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel_Houston)- from last night.
Thought #1- When we forsake the lives of others, we forsake our own lives. (1 John 4:7)
Thought #2- God is not asking you to do it all, He's simply asking for you to give your all.
From Bayless Conley (www.cottonwood.org)- from the morning session today.
Thought #1- One wrong thought kept an entire generation out of the promised land & one wrong thought can keep you from your destiny.
Thought #2- Prosperity without an external perspective is dangerous.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wave Conference, Day 1


This week I brought some of my team to Wave Conference in Virginia Beach, VA. Last night we had an awesome night. Joel Houston (Hillsong United) led us in worship and it was fantastic. Also, Judah Smith (generationchurch.org) brought the house down and had a great message. He talked about tasting and seeing that the Lord is good. (Psalm 24) Don't be simply an observer, get in and really experience a relationship with God. If you want to follow along with the conference, go online to wavechurch.com and check it out. Good stuff!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Rock The Vote!

Watch this message from the series, "Politicked." Ed's timely message will help you evaluate your walk with God and connect with the principles of God's word. When it comes to politics, many times we check our principles at the door. Ed does a great job unwrapping this difficult topic. Enjoy!

Politicked - Rock the Vote from Fellowship Church on Vimeo.

Encourage Yourself

Great devotional that reminds us to focus on the Lord. Many times we look to people to be our resource. Whether it's finances, relationships, love or encouragement. I encourage you to look to God and rise up in the power that only He can give. God will do His part as our source and we need to do our part as well. Enjoy!

Encourage Yourself
Today's Scripture


“David was greatly distressed, for the men spoke of stoning him…But David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God”(I Samuel 30:6)

Today's Word from Joel and Victoria

It’s good to have friends and family around to cheer you up when you’re down, but in order to truly live in victory, that encouragement has to come from the inside. When your mind is telling you it’s not worth it, when your circumstances seem difficult, deep down inside, your spirit has to have the resolve that says, “I refuse to settle where I am.”
That’s what David had to do. He was facing a major setback. His family was killed, his city was destroyed, and his own people were now against him, but he still managed to encourage himself in the Lord. How did he do that? He replayed in his mind the victories from the past. He recounted God’s faithfulness. As he rehearsed over and over the goodness of God, strength began to rise in his heart.

There are so many places you can see the hand of God at work. Thank Him for saving you today. Thank Him for the miracle of life. Thank Him for His faithfulness. Focus on the fact that God didn’t bring you this far to leave you now. Stir up that inner strength and encouragement. As you do, you’ll rise higher and higher and live the life of victory the Lord has prepared for you.

A Prayer for Today

Father in heaven, thank You for Your faithfulness today. I choose to focus on You and the good things You have prepared for my future. I thank You for making a way out of no way, and I will bless You always. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

PoliTicked?

One of my favorite pastor's in America is doing a political series called, 'PoliTicked?' As the political race heats up I hope that you will be engaged in the political process. I love politics, the philosophy of it and the questions behind the questions. I love hearing both sides of the story and I have passionate opinions about the entire process. I also think that it is most important to hear God's side of the story. As Christ-followers, we should filter every issue through the truth of God's word so that we can determine who and what we stand for. Here is the description of the series and the link to the message. I'd love to hear your thoughts! I haven't watched it yet but I'm excited to hear what he has to say!

Information about politics is coming to us faster, with more force and from more sources than ever before. And it’s all under the guise of bringing us the truth. But is this information overload really clearing the air? Or is it making us feel even more uncertain about what the future holds?
In this message, Ed Young takes a hard look at the uncertainty we all face in the current political climate. And as he plows through the avalanche of information, he gets down to the truth of who we need to trust, where we need to turn and what we need to do./span>

Click here to watch part 1
http://vimeo.com/1953992

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Teen Shot 3 Times During Toilet Paper Prank

SOLON TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A toilet paper prank has led to the shooting of a 14-year-old by a southwestern Michigan man who believed strangers were trying to break into his home.

The Grand Rapids Press and WZZM-TV report the victim and four other teens were pulling the prank about 1 a.m. Sunday at a home in Solon Township, about 20 miles northeast of Grand Rapids.

Kent County sheriff's Lt. Jerry Miedema said the teens were intent on draping the house in toilet paper, while the homeowner's "intent was to come out shooting."

Police say three shots were fired from a 12-gauge shotgun, striking the 14-year-old in the chest, stomach and leg. He is recovering at a local hospital. The homeowner was not arrested, but a prosecutor is looking into possible charges.

I'm glad that I didn't get shot for all of the pranks I pulled as a teen and young adult. I'm sure the teens needed that toilet paper when the guy came out with a shotgun. Craziness!!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Seemingly Impossible

I received a great e-mail from Ed Young ministries with the devotional below. During these challenging times that we are in, it is a great reminder to look to the one who makes the impossible become possible!

Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven. Daniel 2:17-19

King Nebuchadnezzar had a strange and troubling dream, one that he desperately wanted interpreted. The only problem was that he didn't know who he could trust to interpret it accurately. So he gathered all the wise men and counselors throughout the land. And one by one, they failed to tell the king his dream and what it would mean. Then it was Daniel's turn.

As Daniel stepped up to the seemingly impossible challenge, he knew that he didn't possess the ability to interpret the king's dream. But he did possess the faith to turn to the only one who could—God. So Daniel prayed to God for the ability and discernment to tell the king what he needed to hear. And as a result, God used Daniel in a powerful way to reach the king of a powerful nation.

When you find yourself facing challenges, don't look at them as seemingly impossible. Instead, listen as God says to you, "See me in the impossible." And trust that God's strength, wisdom and power will get you through — no matter how impossible the situation may seem.

A Prayer for Today
Dear Lord — As I go through life and face challenges and opportunities, I pray that you guide me. I know that I can't rely on myself to get through everything that life throws at me. So we I come across any situation, help me to look to you, rely on you and trust in you to get me through. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Politics & Money- Mortgaging Our Future


I rarely talk about politics and even rarer do I post about them. Until today. Most of you have probably never heard of the
x-U.S. Comptroller, David Walker. Basically, he was the financial overseer or the certified public accountant for the United States under President Clinton and Bush. Mr. Walker recently came out and shared his views on the current crisis. His views are particularly interesting and non-partisan. WARNING! His perspective is not comforting, but it is at least genuine and steeped in reality.

: Candidates' Fiscal Plans 'Zip' Friday, October 10, 2008 8:40 PM
By: Dave Eberhart


WASHINGTON — David Walker, the outspoken former U.S. comptroller general, gives failing marks to both presidential candidates so far on their proposals to drag the country out of its economic abyss.

Before an intent crowd at the National Press Club, Walker, the no-nonsense one-time certified public accountant for the nation reviewed the various proposals of Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama and played them off the “numbers — you know, that’s the bottom line.”

Looking at the first of four parameters — what impact the plans would have on projected deficits — he concluded: “Both would make it worse, significantly worse as compared to current law. Primarily because both want to extend major portions of the Bush tax cuts and neither one of them want to pay for it.”

Second, Walker compared how each proposal would affect the bottom line. One would lose more money through tax cuts, both would lose money through tax cuts, and one would lose more money through spending increases, he said.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Cool trip on Monday


This past monday night we had the opportunity to take our kids to see the home of the local medical helicopters that service our area. Some friends of ours that work there invited us to come and take the tour. We had the chance to see how they track the copters on radar and meet one of the pilots for some show-n-tell. We learned some pretty cool facts and the kids had a blast! It's hard to believe that a new medical helicopter costs about 11 million dollars or so. Crazy! Here is a pic...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

We launch in just a few hours!



In just a few hours we launch back to 2 services!!!!!! Two services means twice the opportunity to bring people, to serve and to connect with others. I'm stoked about what is happening and what is about to happen this fall in the life of our church! If you live in the area, come on out to one of our weekend experiences at 9 a.m. or 11 a.m.! The week we start a new series that we have adapted from Life Church called, "Mind Your Own Business." I will be talking about the 2 things that lurk deep in our hearts that can bankrupt our lives and our finances and how you can defeat them! I hope to see you there!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Value Less

Great devotional that I received today! It is from one of my favorite pastors, Ed Young.
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ... Philippians 3:7-8

Value is defined as worth and usefulness. And in today's world, we place value on so many things—possessions, prestige, education, relationships. These are the kinds of things that we want to hold onto. And when someone, anyone, challenges them or their value in our lives, we immediately go on the defensive. We are willing to stand up and fight for them.

Yet, none of these come close to the value of a personal relationship with Christ. In fact, Paul tells us in this passage that these things are actually considered a loss. Not because they are worthless, but because they can distract us from focusing on Jesus.

It's okay to have possessions and prestige and education and relationships. But when these things begin to distract you from your relationship with Christ, they become a detriment. Don't place higher value on the things in your life than you do on the Savior of your life.

A Prayer for Today

Dear God, I know that you have blessed me with so many things. And I thank you for everything you have given to me. But I also ask that you help me remember that those things are not nearly as valuable as my relationship with Christ. Help me to focus on you and to keep your Son and keep him as the true focus of every day. It is through His name that I pray, Amen.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thought of the day

Chad, one of our staff pastors, gave me this quote that he found today. Here is the quote, "There are 5 cent problems and $50,000 problems. Don’t ever spend $50,000 (of money, people,time or energy) on a 5 cent problem. Likewise, don’t apply 5 cents worth of effort to a problem that needs $50,000."
What are the top three problems you're facing? What “size” problem are they? How much woul each solution “cost” you? If you could only solve one problem, which one would move you light years forward?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pretty Excited About Tomorrow!


We are concluding our series called, "Simple," with an emphasis on healing. Our key thought for the morning will be that God never wastes a hurt or a pain. It's an extra- special morning because I have some special guests. John & Theresa Decker, our former Pastors here at Freedom Life, are joining us and will be dedicating my son, Colby. They have dedicated each of my children and are truly wonderful people. My other guest is a great friend by the name of Kent Jacobs. Kent is an awesome man of God and is getting ready to plant a church in Manayunk (Philadelphia), Pa. He will be sharing about his new church and how God is using his past to reach others with the healing power of Jesus Christ. It's going to be a great day and I know God is going to do some great stuff!

Oregon Hospital Tells 71-Year-Old Grandfather: 'We Know You Are Pregnant'

Headline of the day, very funny!

courtesy of FOXNEWS.COM
Oregon Hospital Tells 71-Year-Old Grandfather: 'We Know You Are Pregnant'
Friday, September 26, 2008

PORTLAND, Ore. — John Grady Pippen of Gold Beach doesn't look pregnant. And he's not. But after a hospital visit earlier this month, the staff gave the 71-year-old grandfather pain pills and paperwork explaining his delicate condition. "Based on your visit today," the paperwork told him, "we know you are pregnant."The retired mechanic and logger had sought help for agonizing abdominal pain at Curry General Hospital in Gold Beach. Hospital administrator William McMillan says an errant keystroke caused the hospital's computer to spit out the wrong discharge instructions.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Big Week! (again)

This past week was a big week again with my kids! My wife and I continued the belief that Colby has special power with his long hair (ala samson), or maybe I'm compensating for my lack of hair vicariously. Anyway, Carter is potty training once again. We are hoping by the time he hits Jr. High that everything will be figured out. We wrote on his last diaper (cleverly), "my last diaper." We celebrated his big moment and then realized that pull-ups are more expensive. It may not be his last diaper but the symbolic gesture was meaningful nonetheless. A big week, again.



Detox Your Mind

Great devotional that I received this week. I personally practice confessing (agreeing with) God's word over my life each day. My favorite verses that I have memorized & that I remind myself of daily are: Galatians 2:20, Galatians 5:22-23, 2 Cor. 10:4-5 and a few others. I would encourage you continue to meditate on and confess God's living Word over your heart and mind so that you can keep the toxic thoughts from the enemy from poisoning your life.

Detoxing Your Mind
Today's Scripture

“Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23 AMP).
Today's Word from Joel and Victoria

When something is toxic, it’s poisonous; it can destroy you. When we go around dwelling on the wrong thoughts, thinking about what we can’t do or how we’ll never get ahead, those thoughts are toxic thoughts. Toxic thoughts left alone become like toxic waste that sinks into your heart. It will eventually contaminate your whole life. It affects your self-image. It affects your attitude, your level of confidence, and ultimately, your success. That’s why the scripture says to guard your heart because the condition of your heart and mind determine the condition of your whole life.

Make the decision today to detox any negative, self-defeating thoughts by meditating on God’s promises instead. Make the decision to detox bitterness, detox low self-esteem, detox negative words that may have been spoken over you, detox condemnation. Make the decision to dwell on what God says about you. God says, “You are forgiven.” God says, “Your best days are in front of you.” God says, “I’ll restore the years that the enemy has stolen.” As you detox your mind and fill your thoughts with His promises, you’ll see His hand of blessing on your life. You’ll rise up higher, and you’ll live the abundant life He has for you!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Renovations have begun...




Renovations have begun at Freedom Life. As we head back to 2 service on October 5th we are busy updating our facility. Painting will begin on the exterior of our building and on the interior next week. We donated our pews to a growing hispanic church in Connecticut that were in need of seating. They were very gracious and thankful. The picture above is me with the Pastor. The second picture shows the work that we have gotten done so far this week on the drop ceiling. New drop ceiling, lighting, sound, video, paint and chairs will be in the sanctuary by late October when we move back upstairs. Lots of great stuff going on this fall and I'm excited about what God has for the future of our church!

Simple Series, Part 2- Simple Life- "God's Antidote To Busyness"

Here is the notes from Part 2 of our series, "Simple."

Week 2- Simple Life (God’s answer to busyness)

“28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you (learn from me), because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)

Take these steps

REALIZE MY WORTH
“He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.” James 1:18 (NLT)

ENJOY WHAT I ALREADY HAVE
“...every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.” Eccl. 3:13 (NKJ)

LIMIT MY WORK
“Only someone too stupid to find his way home would wear himself out with work!” Eccl. 10:15

The Bible calls it the Sabbath. Sabbath means a day of rest.
What do you do on the Sabbath? - It may look a little different for everyone!!!
1. Rest my body.
2. Recharge your emotions.
3. Refocus your spirit.

ADJUST MY VALUES

2 Questions to consistently ask yourself as you evaluate your values

How would I live my life in I only had one month to live? (this an issue of priority)
What is the wisest thing to do? (in light of my past experience, my current circumstance and my future hopes and dreams)

eEXCHANGE MY PRESSURE FOR GOD’S REST

God’s antidote and answer to busyness (stress)
1. COME TO ME—the invitation to rest
2. TAKE MY YOKE—the connection to rest
3. LEARN FROM ME—the continuation of rest

1 John 5:12
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hope That Never Lets You Down

Here is a great devo that I got today!

Today's Scripture

“Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:5)

Today's Word from Joel and Victoria

Even Christians can sometimes feel hopeless and powerless to overcome adversities. Maybe you feel trapped in your job, or your marriage is in trouble and there doesn’t seem to be an answer. You may have a child who is on the wrong path. Or maybe you are single and have given up any hope of ever meeting the right person. But no matter where you are, God can turn your situation around—and it could start happening today! If you believe with all your heart that God has something great around the corner for you, then hope will take over.
God’s hope is such a powerful thing that it can keep you going when practically nothing else can. That’s because God’s hope will never fail or let you down, even if everything else does.

A Prayer for Today

A Prayer for Today God, thank You for giving me never-ending hope. I confess today that I will live confidently in Your hope because I know I’ll never be let down. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Facebook is awesome!



I recently began to pay attention to my facebook for the first time. I've had it for about 6 months or so. I"ve had a ton of connections with old friends and that has been a blast. There are some pictures that friends have posted from college. Here is one that proves that I had hair!

Giving Is The Way

Great devotional that I read today from Joel Osteen Ministries.

Giving is the Way
Today's Scripture


“Be easy on people; you'll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity" (Luke 6:38 Message).

Today's Word from Joel and Victoria

God has set up a system to bless you abundantly. He loves you and longs to pour out His favor upon you and increase your resources. In the natural, it’s easy to think that the way to increase is to keep what you have, but in God’s system, it isn’t about what you keep, it’s about what you give. We read about the example that God set for us in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave…” He gave His Son and received many sons and daughters as a result!

When we love others and give out of the overflow of our hearts, God promises that He will repay us; and Luke 6:38 in the Message Bible tells us that He’ll repay us with bonus and blessing! You may not think you have that much to give, but ask the Lord to show you how you can be a blessing to the people around you. As you give of yourself, your time and resources, you’ll see God giving back to you. You’ll see His hand of blessing and provision, and you will live the abundant life He has in store for you!

A Prayer for Today

Father in heaven, thank You for loving me and sending Your Son, Jesus, so that I can be in relationship with You. Help me to love others and find creative ways to be a blessing to the people around me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

great night, busy week

We had a few hundred people come out to our comedy night and we collected a lot of food for our community food bank on Sunday. Bob was hilarious and it was just a great time all around. This week is pretty packed. Lots of meetings and planning. I guess it is a good week to write a message on God's antidote to busyness. Funny that the 2 coincide this week. I must stop typing, lots to do and I must get busy.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Comedy Show Location!

The evening comedy show with Bob Smiley is at Freedom Life Christian Center @ 6 p.m. The doors will open at 5:30 p.m. The address is:
447 Noble Rd.
Christiana, Pa 17509
or you can follow the directions on our website at www.freedomlife.tv!
The event is free but we are asking everyone to give a donation to our community food bank of one non-perishable item per person. For more information about Bob, go online to our www.comedynight.tv website. I hope to see everyone there and don't forget to bring a friend!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

What are you wearing?



A great devotional that I received today. Take a moment and let God speak to you!

Clothed in Righteousness
Today's Scripture

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10).

Today's Word from Joel and Victoria

Have you thought much about what you are wearing today? You probably took time this morning to select the right clothes and shoes in the natural, but have you thought about what are you wearing spiritually and emotionally? Just like wearing a coat, we can take off wrong attitudes, emotional heaviness, guilt and shame. We can exchange our garments of sin and failure for His garments of salvation and righteousness. Notice that this verse doesn’t say you have to make the robe of righteousness before you put it on. It doesn’t say you have to work really hard in order to earn righteousness. No, it’s His righteousness that He gives as a gift to us when we accept what Jesus did for us.

If you are wearing heaviness, guilt, condemnation or shame today, receive His forgiveness and allow Him to cleanse you and clothe you with His garments of salvation and His robe of righteousness. Today is a new day, and you can have a new beginning by simply opening your heart to Him.

A Prayer for Today

Father in heaven, thank You for the gift of salvation through Your Son, Jesus. I open my heart to You and receive all You have for me. I choose to take off my old garments of sin and failure so I can be clothed in Your righteousness. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Don't miss this weekend!



Join us this Sunday morning for our annual fall kick-off at 10 a.m.! We are launching our new series, "Simple, a simple guide to surviving your stressed out life." Our special guest that will be doing a short segment on Sunday morning is Christian comedian, Bob Smiley. (www.bobsmiley.com)
In the evening we are having a special comedy night with Bob that is free and open to the general public. It all begins at 6 p.m. and we are asking each person to bring a donation of one non-perishable item for our community food bank. Childcare will be provided and it's going to be a fun night to de-stress for this fall!

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Great Day...VICTORY!!

Yesterday's service was awesome! A bunch of people made decisions to follow Christ or to recommit themselves to living a life of worship! It was a rock'in day! Today was a blast as well. I loaded up the fam to visit my sister Cheryl in the Pottstown area. It started with loading up the kids and it ended with a very special moment. I CAPTURED THE RESIDENT GROUND HOG THAT HAS BEEN IN MY BACK YARD. CADDYSHACK IS OVER (UNLESS HE HAS FAMILY) AND I HAVE FINALLY TASTED VICTORY!! IT HAS TAKEN ONE YEAR. That was not a typo. I know I'm not a very good trapper but... We ended with eating chocolate cake and putting the kids to bed all sugared up. I am now watching prison break and chill'in out. Lots of details in between, but today was a great day.




Friday, August 29, 2008

Sweatin' To The Oldies


Today was my first day of gym class with my kid's. Mikayla and Caleb are being home schooled this year and I am the P.E. teacher every friday. My wife and I are really looking forward to taking an active role in our children's education this year and have some great plans for them. I hate to admit it this, but because of the rain I was forced to try something inside for gym class. We pulled out "sweatin' to the oldies' and had a blast. I grew up making fun of Richard Simmons and could never have imagined myself using his product to teach my kids how to exercise. Times change (although he is still weird) & we had a great time dancing around and getting wild to oldies. I'm sure it is a memory that my kids will tell to their friends when they are older and get a good laugh. I'm sure if you can picture it in your mind you'll get a good laugh as well.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Great devotional, "Without Wavering"

Today's Scripture

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23 NKJ).
Today's Word from Joel and Victoria


God knew there would be times when we would be tempted to waver in our confession of hope. Maybe you are believing for something and you’re starting to think, “Is this really for me? Will this really ever happen?” If that’s you today, remember, He who promised is faithful! And His faithfulness doesn’t depend on your ability to figure it all out. His faithfulness doesn’t depend on the plans we can make or the scenarios we can come up with; He’s faithfulness depends on His Word which never changes! Declare His Word and hold on to your confession of hope today. Be confident that God can make a way when there seems to be no way. Even when your mind may waver, don’t allow your confession to waver. Declare that God is working behind the scenes on your behalf. Declare that He Who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it. Remember, there is power in your words and power when your words are in agreement with His Word. As you hold on to your confession of hope, you’ll see His faithfulness, and you’ll move forward into victory in every area of your life.

A Prayer for Today


Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness. I choose to guard my confession, and I will declare hope in Your Word. I trust that You are working behind the scenes on my behalf and thank You for victory in every area of my life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.