Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last Year's New Year's Resolutions

Last year I closed 2008 with a message called, "Miracles." Within the message I shared a few observations from the story that I thought would be great for everyone to live out all year long. Below are just a few thoughts that I believe will transform the way that you live if you put them into practice. I know that they have made a huge difference in my life!

1. Be A Person That BELIEVES The Best In Others.
We all have a tendency to look for and believe the worst in others. Read any news story, gossip magazine and they are full of snap judgements that we read and take as gospel. What would happen if we refused to judge the motives of others and simply believed the best? It's not easy, but it's worth a try.

2. Be A Person of HUMILITY & HONOR.
Do you honor the authority that God has placed in your life? Do you humble yourself in order to serve others. You may serve, but if you don't do so without an honorable and humble spirit, you won't get the reward your expecting when you stand before God. Remember, humility isn't thinking less of yourself, it's not thinking of yourself at all and simply serving.
He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble. Proverbs 3:34

3. Be A Person With A Good REPORT.
Choose to be a positive, life-giving person. Don't grow offended or pick up the offense of others. It truly is the bait of Satan. 10 spies came back with a negative report after scouting out the promised land that God set apart for the Israelites. Only 2 came back with a good report. Joshua & Caleb were world changers, the other 10 stole an entire generations promise by sowing a bad report. Think twice before you go negative. Nobody remembers a critic, they are forgettable people. Don't believe me, what were the names of the 10 spies that were negative?

4. Be A Person That Understands That BELIEVING is SEEING
It's easy to have faith when everything is going great. Faith isn't faith until it's faith. Stepping into the unknown and trusting God with the issues of life is what gets God to move on our behalf. Take a step of faith and believe, even if you can't see.
Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." John 20:29

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Final 2009 Year End Update- The Lion Has Been Caught!

This year out theme was, "chasing the lion!" It has been all about taking risks and pursuing the dreams that God has given each of us. One of our dreams is to create an environment that connects with our community locally and to help others do that globally. Our goal is to help plant 25 churches over 5 years. As of today, we have reached our goal for $100,000 for this year!!!!! To date we have assisted planting 5 churches and we will be sending $7,000 towards our 6th church plant that will be established in India. Thank each of you who have given over this last year in tithes & offerings! It takes mo’ money for mo’ ministry and your investment has been absolutely amazing! This past year our church has grown in every aspect even in the midst of a recession! 215 people have made decisions to follow Jesus, 66 people have been water baptized and well over 600 people have made Freedom Life their church home! The numbers don’t tell all of the stories though. Marriages have been restored, people have been healed & set free from what has kept them bound for years! Many of you have grown significantly in your relationship with God this year! This coming weekend I’ll be talking about this past year and where we are headed next year in 2010! God has given me and our team big vision for this next year and I believe that the best is yet to come! Strap on your seat belts and get ready because 2010 is going to be one of the most thrilling and challenging years that we’ve ever lived! Thanks again for your generosity! I can’t wait to see you this Sunday for our Baptism celebration and vision casting day! Happy New Year’s! -Sam

P.S. Just a reminder, all year-end giving needs to be done by December 31st, 11:59 p.m. to be counted towards your 2009 giving statement.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Year-End Giving & Chase The Lion Update

Wow! Thanks to each and every one of you for your generous spirit! Individually we can make a small difference, but together we can do so much more! As of today we have collected $90,779.53 toward our $100,000 Chase the Lion goal!!! That is absolutely fantastic and means we only have $9,121.47 to go this week! For those of you who have given already, thank you so much!! Together we have begun much needed upgrades to portions of our aging facility, sent missionaries around the world and have helped plant 5 churches! If you haven’t yet given to this important work or would still like to make a year-end donation, you can give online by clicking here. The last $7,000 will go toward our 6th church plant to be located in the nation of India. Also, please don’t give what you don’t have, by this I mean, DON’T go into debt to give! Give sacrificially or out of your abundance and God will provide for your needs. All giving needs to be done by by 11:59 p.m. on December 31st to be counted toward your 2009 giving statement. Your giving statement will be mailed to you by the end of January and/or is accessible online via your CCB account. E-mail our finance secretary, Freda Saunders, at freda@freedomlife.tv with any questions that you may have in relation to your statement Thanks again for your generosity! Together we are reaching our World with the good news of Jesus Christ!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Eve 2009 Re-cap

This year we decided to go big & have 3 services for our Christmas Eve Celebration! The day started out great as I broke in my brand new wedding/funeral suit with a... wedding. After running around like crazy leading up to the services, I was feeling a little stressed to be quite honest. I got pumped when I walked through the doors and witnessed all of our leaders (people that serve) stepp'in it up big time. So many people took time out of their day to either prepare the table (the local church) or bring people to it! Almost 700 people filled our 3 services with 4 people making decisions to follow Christ! So thankful for a great team and a great church family that is passionate about doing whatever it takes to help people hear the good news of Jesus Christ! In all honesty, I'm pretty tired from this year, it's been full of a variety of challenges. It's been full because of another precious baby in our family! Even though I'm pretty tired, I'm also feeling really inspired from this year because we've witnessed 210 people make decisions to follow Jesus and 66 of them take a step of obedience and become water baptized! Absolutely incredible! What a privilege and honor to serve Jesus!
Back to Christmas Eve... if you missed our Christmas Eve service, here are the notes from my message that I adapted from Rick Warren's fantastic book, "The Purpose Of Christmas." Take some time to read through the scriptures as you spend time studying God's Word this week! Merry Christmas!

The Second Purpose Of Christmas Is SALVATION.
“For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11 (NASB)

1. JESUS CAME TO SAVE YOU FROM SIN.
 “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Rom. 3:23
“Your sins are the roadblock between you and your God. That’s why He doesn’t answer your prayers or let you see His face.” Isaiah 59:2 (CEV)
“I’ve tried everything, nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me?... The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does.” Romans 7:24-25 (MSG)

2. JESUS CAME TO SAVE YOU FOR A PURPOSE.
 “(GOD) saved us and called us to be His own people, not because of what we have done, but because of His own purpose and grace.” 2 Timothy 1:9 (TEV) *see also Ephesians 1:11-12

3. JESUS CAME TO SAVE US BY HIS GRACE.
“It is by grace you have been saved, through faith-- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so no one can boast” Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)

Remember this... Grace is very simply God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What Do You Need This Christmas?

"…"For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder, and He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6)

Lists seem to be synonymous with Christmas these days. In fact, I've been asking my kids about their Christmas wish lists for the last few months in preparation for the big day. They want so many different gifts that it's hard to keep up. The onslaught of advertising is a big reason that the lists continue to grow & grow & grow. T.V., Internet, Billboards & Radio reminding us all about the latest & greatest. Most of us are in full shopping mode attempting to get everything that we 'need' for this special holiday. For the record, I have no problem buying gifts & sharing them with loved ones. In fact, I would like for you to think about buying me one today... teasing! Seriously though, consider your list today and ask yourself, "what do I need this Christmas?" I'm not referring to underwear, socks or the vast amount of life changing trinkets for $19.99 or less. I'm talking about your deepest needs, things that you can't go another day without.

So many times our wish lists are crowded with things that ultimately never meet our deepest needs. The truth about every single one of us this Christmas is that we have real needs. Needs that can't be met by spending more money or scheduling more parties. Maybe you're in the midst of a job transition & you need some wise counsel. Maybe you're facing intense loneliness due to the loss of a loved one. It could be that you're facing difficulties & stress that seem absolutely insurmountable?

Whatever circumstance you may be facing today, know that you don't need to face it alone. Jesus is God's perfect gift for you & I today! He is Immanuel, God with us! This Christmas you can receive wonderful counsel, mighty strength & supernatural peace from your heavenly Father. Take your list to God today & receive every answer that you need through the gift of God's son, Jesus! Then you will truly have a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

4 p.m. Service Canceled... get ready for Christmas Eve!

Hey Everyone,
The roads surrounding the church and our glorious parking lot will not be cleared enough to be considered safe for you and your family tonight, so we are canceling our attempt at a 4 pm service! I can barely get out of the parking lot right now & the sun hasn’t even gone down to cause it to freeze again yet. It’s a bummer but the wisest thing to do for our church family. We will have this weeks experience next week, complete with our kids singing, so don’t miss it! Also, plan on coming to one or more of our 3 Christmas Eve services @ 4 pm, 5:15 pm & 6:30 pm this week! You can still give your tithes & offerings by going online to our website at www.freedomlife.tv. We have collected over $73,000 towards our Chase The Lion goal & we are believing that we will reach our goal! Pray about what you can do to help us spread the good news! Thanks for your generous Spirit & faithful giving that enables us to reach around the corner & around the World! Have a great snow day & I can’t wait to see you Christmas eve!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Special Announcement for this Weekend!

Hey everyone,

I hope that you’re enjoying some serious snow fall! Wow! Here’s the deal. We are canceling our morning services, BUT we are going to do something that we’ve never done before. We are going to have one service at 4 p.m., unless we still can’t get out of our driveways! :) We purposely chose 4 p.m. so that it would be late enough for the roads to clear, the kids to nap (& the eagles to lose… or win :) & early enough so that you can still keep all of your evening plans. Our guest saxophonist will be in the house, the children will still be singing & the worship team will be leading us. Also, I will be sharing part 2 of our series, "The purpose of Christmas!" We need all of our workers & children to arrive by 3:30 p.m. We will be spending some serious time & money making sure that our parking lot is ready so here’s how you can help…
1. Email everyone you know & encourage them to come out & experience God with us rather than shopping at Walmart with 10,000 other people that can’t bear to stay in their houses any longer. Push back those evening plans an extra hour so that someone can experience the true meaning of Christmas!
2. Facebook, Twitter, call and/or smoke signal everyone that you can think of to let them know about our change.
3. Remember that all of Sunday is God’s (even the evening) so come with a guest, prayed up & ready to experience God! We’ve had over 200 people make decisions to follow Christ so far this year (6 teens this past Wed.) & this is the season when people go to church that normally don’t. (even @ 4 p.m.) Come ready!


I hope to see you tomorrow! Enjoy sleeping in! -Sam

Friday, December 11, 2009

Great devotional, "Exceedingly Abundantly"

Today I read a great devotional from Joel Osteen Ministries that I thought would be an encouragement to you. To often we settle for mediocrity & second best in our lives. Many times I trust God for so little when He really wants to bless me big! I want to challenge you today to remember that God can do more in & through your life than what your currently believing for! Take a step & believe big today!

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE
"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever"
(Ephesians 3:20-21, NKJ)

TODAY'S WORD from Joel and Victoria
God wants to do exceedingly abundantly above all you can ever ask, think, or imagine. In another place, it says that no person has ever seen, heard, or even imagined the wonderful things that God has in store for those who love the Lord. But notice that it's according to the power working in us. God's power works in us by our faith or how we believe. Do you believe today that God wants to work in your life exceedingly abundantly above all you could ask or think? Do you believe He wants to overwhelm you with His goodness and blessing?

The Bible says that if we have faith the size of a tiny mustard seed, we can move mountains. And no matter how much faith we have, faith can grow in us by hearing, studying, and receiving the Word of God.

I encourage you today, make God's Word a priority. Believe that He will do exceedingly abundantly above all you can ask or think. He is faithful to His Word, and He will be faithful to fulfill every promise He's made to you!

A PRAYER FOR TODAY
"Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness in my life. Thank You for blessing me and for doing exceedingly abundantly above all I can ask or think. Thank You for increasing my faith as I focus on Your Word. In Jesus' Name. Amen."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The House Rules


This past weekend I shared the final part in our latest series, "The House Rules." Below are the notes that go along with the podcast which is available via iTunes. (search Freedom Life Christian Center)

Build Your House On God’s Wisdom! (wisdom knowing what God wants you to do & choosing to do it)
“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established...” Proverbs 24:3

Make a decision to build your house on agreement with God’s Word!
“If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” Mark 3:25
"Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. Matt. 18:19

1. You TEACH what you know, but you REPRODUCE who you are.
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. [a] 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.
2. Keep it REAL. (authentic)
7 Impress (diligently teach- means to sharpen) them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home (DINNERTIME) and when you walk along the road (DRIVETIME), when you lie down (BEDTIME) and when you get up (BREAKFAST TIME).
3. Don’t just talk about GOD’S WORD, live it. (Post-it note ilus.)
8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
4. Lots of money without lots of HARD WORK leads to lots of problems.
10 When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
5. Your responsibility is not to be POPULAR or ACCEPTED, but to be FAITHFUL to God & His Word.
13 Fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. 14 Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; 15 for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land.
6. Mercy brought us OUT, Grace brings us IN, but obedience gives us SUCCESS.
23 But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land that he promised on oath to our forefathers. 24 The LORD commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the LORD our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today.

Closing Thought- Love The Lord, Take Good Care Of Your Family, Live Peacefully With Others!

The Antidote to Whine Flu- Praise Continually

Here is a great devotional from Joel Osteen ministries that I believe will encourage you. The antidote to the whine flu in our lives is to live lives of praise to God. Gratitude and thankfulness need to rule in our hearts as we acknowledge God's goodness to each of us. So go ahead and offer God your praise continually!

Offer Praise Continually

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 a powerful weapon. Many times in the Old Testament when God's people would go into battle, they would send the worshipers out first. That's because praise precedes the victory. When you live a life that offers Him continual praise, you are setting yourself up to see continual victory.

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 will prompt singing, but it can also manifest in many different ways. You can give Him praise in your words, your actions, and the way you live your daily life. Every time you obey His Word, when you 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.

As you go throughout your day, take time to acknowledge Him. Remember to put Him first and continually offer Him praise. As your praise goes up, His blessings come down. His peace comes down. His joy, His strength, and His victory will overtake every area of your life!

A PRAYER FOR TODAY
"Father in heaven, today I choose to offer You continual praise. I choose to follow Your Word so that You may be glorified through me. Let everything within me honor and glorify You. In Jesus' Name. Amen."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Whine Flu- Part 4


The 5th & final way to vaccinate ourselves from the negative effects of the Whine Flu is this...

5. Don’t strike the rock, speak in faith.
Numbers 20:7-12, "God spoke to Moses: "Take the staff. Assemble the community, you and your brother Aaron. Speak to that rock that's right in front of them and it will give water. You will bring water out of the rock for them; congregation and cattle will both drink." Moses took the staff away from God's presence, as commanded. He and Aaron rounded up the whole congregation in front of the rock. Moses spoke: "Listen, rebels! Do we have to bring water out of this rock for you?" With that Moses raised his arm and slammed his staff against the rock—once, twice. Water poured out. Congregation and cattle drank. God said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you didn't trust me, didn't treat me with holy reverence in front of the People of Israel, you two aren't going to lead this company into the land that I am giving them."

The Israelites were God's chosen people who were miraculously led out of slavery in Egypt to the land that was promised to their forefathers. God wanted them to have a place where He could bless them, a land that had all that they would ever need. The story moved along great until the Israelites failed to learn a very simple lesson along the way. What began as a 2-3 week journey toward the promised land, ended up taking 40 years. The sin that hindered an entire generation was that of complaining. They had a serious case of the whine flu. In the context of this story, the million plus Israelites were busy complaining because they were in the middle of the desert with no water. Though God had miraculously provided food & water just a short time before, they began to complain once again and badger Moses. Moses, their leader, responded in a way that many of us do towards life's circumstances. He responded with fear, anxiety & anger. God told Moses to walk up to a rock & command water to come out, but Moses chose to strike the rock instead. Moses determined to follow his own path instead of obeying God in faith. He allowed his bottled up anxiety, fear & anger to dictate his actions. God wanted to teach Him to speak in faith, but instead he struck the rock in anger. I want to challenge you to make a decision to fill your mind & heart with faith (God's Word)! Make a decision right now that regardless of your circumstance, that you will speak in faith. Don't strike the rock in the midst of your circumstance! Make a decision to speak positive words of life & faith, regardless of the whining around you!

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Eph. 4:29

From our mid-week service- "How To Affair Proof Your Marriage."

When I first got married I read a book by Dr. Willard Harley, a counselor in Minnesota, called, "His Needs, Her Needs." He has identified through thousands of couples what he thinks are the top 5 needs of most men and the top 5 needs of most women. I also read a book by Dr. Gary Chapman called, "The 5 Love Languages." Both of these books have been incredibly helpful in my marriage because they teach you what the needs of your spouse are & how you can meet them. I encourage you to take the time to click on the book titles above & discover more about them when you are finished reading the post below. The thoughts below are from a our mid-week series that we have adapted from Rick Warren based on the 10 commandments. Great stuff!

THE PREVENTION: SIX STEPS

1. MAKE A COMMITMENT TO GOD'S STANDARDS.
"How can a (person) keep his way pure? By living according to your Word." Ps. 119:9
"Be faithful to your own wife and give your love to her alone." Pr. 5:15 (GN)
2. MAGNIFY THE CONSEQUENCES.
"The one who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys his own soul." Pr. 6:32 (GN) "...adultery will cost a man all he has." Pr. 6:26 (GN)
"God will judge those who are immoral and those who commit adultery." Heb. 13:4b
3. MAINTAIN MY MARRIAGE
"A man should fulfill his duty as a husband and a woman should fulfill her duty as a wife, and each should satisfy the other's needs." I Cor. 7:3 (GN)
"Do not cheat each other of normal sexual intercourse ... or you will expose yourselves to the obvious temptation of Satan." I Cor. 7:5 (Ph)
4. MANAGE MY MIND
How Affairs Develop
1st Accepting sinful thoughts in my mind
2nd Emotional, non-physical involvement
3rd Physical involvement
4th Rationalizing the affair
"Temptation is the pull of a person's own evil thoughts and wishes. These evil thoughts lead to evil actions and afterwards to death." James 1:14-15 (LB)
"Turn your back on lustful desires and give your positive attention to goodness, integrity, love, and peace..." 2 Tim. 2:22 (Ph)
"I want you to be wise about what is good and innocent about evil." Rom 16:19
5. MAINTAIN PROPER RELATIONSHIPS
"But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality." Eph. 5:3
6. MINIMIZE THE OPPORTUNITY
"So be careful! If you are thinking, `Oh, I would never behave like that - let this be a warning to you. For you too may fall into sin." I Cor. 10:12 (LB)
"Bad company corrupts good character." I Cor. 15:33
"Guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with your wife." Mal. 2:15

THE PATHWAY BACK TO PURITY
1. Acknowledge the SIN. (Ps. 51:1-4)
2. End the relationship IMMEDIATELY!
3. Avoid ALL contact with the person from now on. Do whatever it takes to do this!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Whine Flu- Part 3


HOW TO CONQUER THE WHINE FLU
Below are 4 thoughts about how you can vaccinate yourself against the whine flu once and for all.

1. ADMIT THAT YOU HAVE A PROBLEM.
"A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance." Prov. 28:13 (LB)
Admit it is a problem for you, not for other people, but for you. Often the most difficult part in learning how to handle complaining is recognizing it in yourself. If someone recorded you for a week, what would it reveal about your speech. How much time do you spend griping, grumping, complaining, arguing, and saying "life stinks." You've got to admit it's a problem for me.

2. ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY.
"Some people ruin themselves by their own stupid mistakes and then blame the Lord." Prov. 19:3 (GN)
When I bring problems into my life, I have no legitimate right to complain. Many times complaining is just an excuse to be irresponsible and to not accept the fact that I caused this situation. We reap what we sow. When I reap what I sow I have no legitimate right to complain about the results.

3. DEVELOP AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE.
"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." I Thess. 5:18
I develop the attitude of gratitude and when I learn to be grateful for what I have. It's a tremendous antidote for complaining. Whenever we are complaining, we are usually being ungrateful. You can focus on either the negative or the positive.

4. LOOK FOR GOD'S HAND IN THE CIRCUMSTANCE
"This small and temporary trouble we suffer will bring us a tremendous and eternal glory, much greater than the trouble. So we fix our attention, not on the things that are seen, but on the things that are unseen. What is seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever." 2 Cor. 4:17-18 (GN)
The reason why over and over in the Bible we are told not to complain is this, complaining is, in essence, rebellion against God. When I complain about my circumstances that are beyond my control I'm really saying "If I were God things would be different. If I were in charge the whole human race would be much better." That's rebellion and that's why it's so serious. God says don't do it.

Tomorrow I'm going to share the 5th thought about overcoming the whine flu. It is the most powerful of the 5, so don't miss it!

The Whine Flu- Part 2

Take your temperature today & determine if you are coming down with the whine flu! Are you...

1. THE "COMPLAINER": Favorite saying, "It's not fair."
(David) "Have I been wasting my time Why take all the trouble to be pure? All I get out of it is trouble and woe." Psalm 73:13 (LB)
These people wake up negative. They rise and whine. David whines all through the Psalms. Life is not fair. God never said it is going to be fair. In fact, fairness ended in the garden of Eden & will not return until Heaven. As long as you complain about the fact that life is not fair it only makes you more miserable. But it will never change the fact that life is not always fair. Complaining does not work.

2. THE "MARTYR": Favorite saying, "No one appreciates me."
"Moses said to the Lord, `Why pick on me, to give me 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!" Numbers 11:11-15 (LB)
These people are pros at having pity parties. 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? If you aren't sure, check your facebook & twitter posts!

3. THE "CYNIC": Favorite saying, "Nothing will ever change."
(Solomon) "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." Eccl. 1:2-4,9 (GN)
This kind of attitude is the kiss of death and will destroy the possibility of hope and change. What's the use?

4. THE "PERFECTIONIST": Favorite saying, "Is that the best you can do?"
"A nagging wife is like water going drip, drip, drip on a rainy day." Prov. 27:15 (GN)
"Better to live out in the desert than with a nagging, complaining wife." Prov. 21:19 (GN)
Nothing is ever right for this person. It is never good enough. This refers to husbands, too! Are you a nagging perfectionist? Nothing is ever right. Always arguing. Nothing destroys the 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.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Whine Flu- Part 1



This weekend I shared a message that was challenging and hopefully encouraging to our church family. This week I want to talk about a very important topic. I'm using the imagery of the whine flu to help us think about our words & our future. God has given every person incredible power through the use of our words. Maybe you aren't where you want to be in life today. The truth is that the words that you've spoken in the past are directly tied to your present & your future. The Bible teaches us that our words are simply the overflow from what is in our hearts. What we say is ultimately what we believe. What you believe is where your faith is established. If you're mouth is full of negativity & complaining, your heart is full of doubt. The Apostle Paul reminds us in PHILIPPIANS 2:14-15 "Do everything without complaining or arguing (WHINING), 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." Tomorrow I'll be giving you the 4 indicators of whether or not you have the whine flu!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Real Pandemic- The Whine Flu

According to Wikipedia, "A pandemic is an epidemic of infectious disease that is spreading through human populations across a large region; for instance a continent, or even worldwide... Throughout history there have been a number of pandemics, such as smallpox and tuberculosis. More recent pandemics include the HIV pandemic and the 2009 flu pandemic." These pandemics are serious and cause much harm to those whom become infected. But there is a more serious pandemic that affects our lives even when it isn't flu season. It can harm you regardless of how healthy your human body may be. Right now, Swine Flu is all the rage! Throughout history though, the most potent and destructive pandemic has been, "the whine flu!" It cannot be treated with drugs, it cannot be overcome by simply eating healthy or exercising. The only way to fight it is with faith.

How do you know if you have the whine flu? Here are some tell tale signs:
-Fever, you're still red-hot over what was done to you yesterday or even 25 years ago.
-Shaking your fist at God always asking why?
-Vomiting out negative words that are destroying your relationships & your future


Let's be honest, most of us are bilingual and are very fluent in "whinese." We have a proclivity towards saying & believing negative things. In other words, we like to whine. Did you know that the Bible teaches us that, "The tongue has the power of life and death…" (Proverbs 18:21, NIV) Over the next few days I'll be posting some thoughts about this important topic & how we can vaccinate ourselves against the spread of the vicious sickness of negativity.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Supernatural- Week 4

This past weekend we finished a great series that we adapted from Lifechurch.tv called, "Supernatural." I talked about who angels are and what they do in our world. There is so much misinformation in regards to angels and what they do. Well meaning people say lots of silly things that are simply nonsensical from a Biblical perspective. Angels are created spiritual beings that serve the desires and purpose of God. Check out some of the scriptures and thoughts about these important beings that are all around you! To hear this important message in it's entirety you can subscribe to our podcast via iTunes. (Freedom Life Christian Center)

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2

WHO ARE ANGELS?

ANGELS ARE WORSHIPPERS.
"And then, when he presented his honored Son to the world, God said, "Let all the angels of God worship him." Hebrews 1:6 NLT
Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne...In a loud voice they sang: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!" Revelation 5:11-12

ANGELS ARE WARRIORS.  
"That night the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp." 2 Kings 19:35
"And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back." Revelation 12:7

ANGELS ARE MESSENGERS.
"When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior." Judges 6:12
"But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus." Luke 1:30-31     
                           
WHAT DO ANGELS DO?

ANGELS GIVE YOU DIRECTION.
"…an angel of the Lord appeared to (Joseph) in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit." Matthew 1:20       
"Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab. But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road into a field…" Numbers 22:21-23

ANGELS PROTECT YOU FROM DANGER.
"For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone." Psalms 91:11-12
"Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. "Quick, get up!" he said, and the chains fell off Peter's wrists. Then the angel said to him, "Put on your clothes and sandals." And Peter did so. "Wrap your cloak around you and follow me," the angel told him…Then Peter came to himself and said, "Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod's clutches…" Acts 12:7-8, 11

ANGELS MINISTER TO YOU.
Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? Hebrews 1:14
"Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him." Matthew 4:11
"An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him." Luke 22:43

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Supernatural- Week 3

Last weekend we celebrated some of the answers to prayer that we have received due to our prayer & fasting emphasis. We also celebrated that fact that 172 people have made decisions to follow Jesus Christ this past year! God is truly doing supernatural things in this house. Whenever God moves, you know that the enemy is at work. Below are the message notes that we adapted from lifechurch.tv in regards to demons & the devil. Check it out...

WHERE DID SATAN COME FROM?

And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down-that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Revelation 12:7-9 See also Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezek 28:12-17

WHAT DO DEMONS DO?

1. DEMONS INFLUENCE THE LEADERS OF NATIONS.
But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Daniel 10:13
2. DEMONS DESIRE TO INFLICT SUFFERING ON YOU.
"Lord, have mercy on my son," he said. "He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water… [Jesus said], “Bring the boy here to me." Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment. Matthew 17:15, 17-18
3. DEMONS SCHEME TO LURE YOU AWAY FROM GOD.
The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 1 Timothy 4:1
4. DEMONS WANT TO PARALYZE YOU WITH FEAR.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:6-7 NKJV

Our key story came from Acts 19:1-20. Our key thought was that it is not enough to know about God, if you want His power & authority, you must get to know Him. Click here to read the story in it's entirety. Click here to read the historical background of where the event took place.

BATTLING THE DARKNESS

1. WE DON’T TREAT OUR ENEMY LIGHTLY.
But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"  Jude 9-10
2. WE DON’T FLIRT WITH DARKNESS.
Let no one be found among you who…practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD… Deuteronomy 18:10-12
3. WE DON’T FIGHT WITH OUR POWER BUT WITH GOD’S AUTHORITY.
(Jesus) called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. Matthew 10:1 see also James 4:7-8

Monday, October 12, 2009

Get Your Fire Back

I just read another great devotional from Joel Osteen ministries that I thought would be an encouragement to you. If you are feeling down & discouraged today, I challenge you to get with God & to get your fire back!

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE
"For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you…" (II Timothy 1:6, NIV)

TODAY'S WORD from Joel and Victoria
I believe that God has planted seeds of greatness on the inside of every one of us. We all have dreams and desires, things we want to accomplish; things we want to see changed. But so many times, life has a way of stealing our dreams. We go through disappointments, face adversity, things don't turn out as we would like. Too often, we just end up settling for second best. But God doesn't want us to settle for second best. He wants us to be determined, press on, and pursue the greatness that's on the inside. We should never let "good enough" be good enough!

I want to encourage you today to stir yourself up and get your fire back. Start speaking victory over your future. If one dream has died, dream another dream. Put yourself in a positive, faith-filled environment. Get around people of excellence who live passionately. Fan the flame that is in you so you can move forward into all God has in store for you!

A PRAYER FOR TODAY
"Father in heaven, I come to You today giving You my disappointments, setbacks, hurts, and broken dreams. I ask that You restore my passion and vision for the future. Let Your flame burn brightly in me now and forevermore. In Jesus' Name. Amen."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Supernatural- Week 2

Today we talked about the importance of the Holy Spirit in our lives. I gave some of the background regarding the feast of the passover and the feast of pentecost. The day of pentecost was the fulfillment of God's promise to send His Spirit and mirrored the events that occurred 1,200 years prior. To study more about this incredible event, click here. Jesus said in John 16:7, "But it is actually best for you that I go away, because if I don't, the Counselor won't come. If I do go away, he will come because I will send him to you." Below, I'm posting some of the notes from the message today that talks about the importance of the Holy Spirit. Also, we are challenging our entire church to step it up and make tomorrow (10/12/09) a day of prayer and fasting! For more information on prayer and fasting, click here

THE HOLY SPIRIT GIVES YOU THE POWER

1) OF SALVATION.
Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. John 3:5-6 (Romans 8:16)
2) TO WALK IN GOD’S WILL.
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. John 16:13 (John 14:26)
3) TO SHARE CHRIST BOLDLY.
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. Acts 4:31 (1 Cor. 2:4-5)
4) TO LIVE A HOLY LIFE.
Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace. Romans 8:5-6 NLT (Gal. 5:16-17)
5) TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE WITH SPIRITUAL GIFTS.
A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church. 1 Corinthians 12:7 NLT (Hebrews 2:4)

SPIRIT-FILLED ADVICE

• DON’T RESIST THE SPIRIT.
"You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!" Acts 7:51
• BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT.
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18

GOD’S PROMISE TO YOU!
Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all whom the Lord our God will call." Acts 2:38-39

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Supernatural- Week 1

This past week we kicked off our new series that we're adapting from Lifechurch.tv. One of the key thoughts that I shared was this...GOD WANTS TO BLESS YOUR NATURAL WITH HIS SUPER.

I shared a story the story found in Luke 5:1-11, "One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee,[a] great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. 2 He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. 3 Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon,[b] its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”5 “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” 6 And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! 7 A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.
8 When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.” 9 For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. 10 His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed. Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” 11 And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus."


They made a decision to obey him & they watched God's super be added to their natural. Because their hearts were loyal to Jesus, it was easy for them to obey even when they didn't understand. Their loyalty and obedience to the words of Jesus positioned them for a supernatural blessing. The Bible says in 2 Chron. 16:9, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him...” The key to God adding his super natural power to your natural situation is to have a heart that is steadfast and loyal. God's desire is to supernaturally bless your life, but it begin with your loyalty to Him.

In Ephesians 1:19-20, it says, “I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.” Don't ever forget that God's super will be added to our natural when we walk in obedience and simply believe!

Hold On To Your Dream!

Here is a great devotional that I received this past week! Enjoy & keep holding on to your dream!

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful"
(Hebrews 10:23, NIV)

TODAY'S WORD from Joel and Victoria (joelosteen.com)
At some point in life we all face hardships. It may be something physically or emotionally challenging. Or it may be a dream or an opportunity that we missed out on. Whatever your difficulty is, don't let it discourage you from believing in God's best. The enemy wants to keep you focused on everything negative that's happened, but don't let him steal the dreams God has given you. He knows that if he can deceive you into thinking things won't get better, you'll lose hope and give up.

There will always be obstacles trying to keep you from becoming all God's created you to be, but God has given you a promise for good and not harm. He has plans for better things ahead. It's important to believe God and keep an attitude of faith despite your circumstances.

Choose today to hold on to God's promises no matter what your situation looks like. Refuse to give up on the plans He has made for your life. God knows what challenges you've faced, and He has a way to turn things around for your good. Start thanking and praising Him for what He's already done and what He will do.

A PRAYER FOR TODAY
"Heavenly Father, today I choose to believe in Your promises instead of what I see around me. I will not give up on the dreams You have given me because I know they will come true. Thank You for Your goodness and faithfulness. In Jesus' Name. Amen."

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Blog Message, Part 3- How Can I Change My Life?



3. God's Part In Changing Me: He Uses Circumstances
"To those who love God and are called according to his plans, everything that happens fits into a pattern for good. For God chose us to bear the family likeness of his Son." Rom. 8:28-29 (Ph)
"Sometimes it takes a painful situation to make us change our ways." Prov. 20:30

My Part In Changing Me: I can choose my response to My Circumstances.
"When all kinds of trials crowd into your lives, don't resent them as intruders but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed and you become people of mature character, people of integrity, with no weak spots." James 1:2-4
"We can be full of joy here and now, even in our trials and troubles. These very things will give us patient endurance; this in turn will develop a mature character ... " Romans 5:3-4

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Great devotional- Resist Fear

Here is a great devotional that I read this week from Joel Osteen ministries. I know that it will encourage you resist the temptation to have fear. Remember, fear is simply false evidence appearing real! Keep living a life that is focused on having faith for your future, hope in the midst of your circumstance & love for those around you!

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE
"Withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset—rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined]…"(I Peter 5:9, AMP)

TODAY'S WORD from Joel and Victoria
The very moment you first feel fear, you have to resist it and act against it. If you make the mistake of dwelling on your fears and start thinking about all the reasons why you can't do what God is telling you to do, then it won't be long before you develop a negative mindset that will make it much more difficult to overcome.

When God told David to go fight Goliath, the Bible says that David moved quickly toward the battlefield. In other words, he didn't think about it. He didn't allow fear to grip his heart and talk him out of it. He just did what God wanted him to do.

So many people today are just sitting on the sidelines of life. They have tremendous potential on the inside, but they keep letting the enemy talk them out of doing what God wants them to do. Every time they get a vision of victory for their life, the enemy brings fear; and they just swallow his lies hook, line, and sinker. Don't let that be you! Instead, obey quickly. Resist fear and boldly embrace everything the Lord has in store for you!

A PRAYER FOR TODAY
"Father God, today I choose to resist fear. I choose Your Word. I choose Your love. I believe that with You, all things are possible. Thank You for giving me the power to live in victory in every area of my life. In Jesus' Name. Amen."

Monday, September 28, 2009

Blog Message, Part 2- How Can I Change My Life?



2. God's Part In Changing Me: He Uses The Holy Spirit.
"Once the Spirit ... lives within you, He will bring to your whole being ... new strength and vitality." Romans 8:11
"As the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him." I Cor. 3:18

My Part In Changing Me: I Can Depend On The Holy Spirit.
"Take care to live in Me and let Me live in you. For a branch can't produce fruit when severed from the vine. Nor can you be fruitful apart from Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him shall produce a large crop of fruit." John 15:4-5

“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" Luke 11:13

Blog Message, Part 1- How Can I Change My Life?



PHILIPPIANS 2:12- " ... Continue to WORK OUT your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who WORKS IN you to will and to act according to his good purpose." ("work out": "your salvation": "God works in you": )

GOD'S PART & MY PART IN CHANGING ME

1. God's Part In Changing Us: His Word, The Bible
"The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right. It is God's way of making us well prepared at every point ..." 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (LB)

Our Part In Changing Us: We Choose What We Think About.
"Be careful how you think. Your life is shaped by your thoughts." Prov. 4:23
"Your mind must be renewed by a spiritual revolution so that you can put on the `new self' that has been created in God's way ..." Eph 4:23-25

Rom. 12:2 Think > Feel > Act

Proverbs 23:7, "As a man thinks in his heart, so he is."
Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true ... noble ... right... pure ... lovely ... admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things." "... fill your mind with those things ..." (GN) "...fix your mind on them ..."
Verses for Bible Meditation: Psalm 1:1-3, Phil. 4:8, Col. 3:16, Ps. 119:9 & 11, Joshua 1:8

How To Deal With Discouragement- Part 4

We've dealt with the issues that produce discouragement, but how do we overcome it? Here are some thoughts below that you can use to put into action today! I've heard it said that great coaches not only have a great game plan to defeat their enemy, but they also have the ability to adjust to the battle. Many times our initial plans, regardless of how great they are, simply don't work! When that happens, we cannot quit & give up. We need to do what Nehemiah did and reorganize our efforts. You may need to change your game plan. Nehemiah 4:13, says, "Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows." Nehemiah did not quit building the wall, he simply reorganized the people so that they could be more effective in the face of danger. We can apply that very same principle to our lives. You may need to reorganize your family, finances or your future. The dreams for your life may not need to change, but your strategy will. Reorganize & refocus. The story continues in verse 14, "After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, "Don't be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes." Nehemiah challenged the people to fight against discouragement! Don't give in to fear & discouragement by focusing on it. Encourage yourself by redirecting your attention to the Lord. Nehemiah said, "Remember the Lord...". Remember, God is for you & by His power you will rebuild your life & have success. You don't need to live discourage the rest of your life. Today, remember the Lord & His mighty power! Make a decision to resist the temptation to b paralyzed by fear & choose to reorganize your life for victory & you'll have success. It only took 52 days for the Jews to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem that had laid in ruins for years. Remember, your situation will change, stay in faith & in hope because God is with you!
Meditate on these scriptures today:
"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." Phil. 4:13
"If God is for us, who can be against us." Rom. 8:31
"Everything is possible for Him who believes." Mark 9:23

How To Deal With Discouragement- Part 3

When we look at the story of the rebuilding of the wall, we see that the Israelites were full of fatigue & frustration. Many times our biggest battles have nothing to do with the size of the battle but the state of our hearts. The root of our discouragement is the fear of failure. Nehemiah 4:10 says, "Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, "The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall." The Israelites believed that failure was inevitable & it affected their attitude & perspective. How we handle failure in our lives is vital to our future success. When you fail, do you blame others or have a pity party? We need to fail forward by learning from our mistakes & problems. They are only temporary, success is in your future! The #1 issue that causes discouragement is fear. Nehemiah 4:11-12 states, " 11 Also our enemies said, "Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work."12 Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, "Wherever you turn, they will attack us." Fear produces anxiety, fatigue, frustration & a sense of impending failure. You'll notice in the story that their was a group that came & spread fear to the workers. They were negative people. Negative people & negative speech will always keep you from the promises of God because it takes away your faith. You may need to choose some new friends today! Make a decision right now that you are not going to be full of fear because of your current circumstance. The Message paraphrase of Romans 8:15-17, "This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike "What's next, Papa?" God's Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what's coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we're certainly going to go through the good times with him!" Be encouraged!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

How To Deal With Discouragement- Baby #5




Today I witnessed the birth of my 5TH child! A girl! Her name is Makenna Faith. She was born (9/19/09) at 8:32 a.m. & weighed in at 7 lbs. 2 oz. & 19 1/4 inches long. As far as the eye can see, she is perfect. A perfect gift! The Bible teaches us in the book of James that every good & perfect gift comes from heaven above. I've been blessed to have 5 little blessings in my life with the first one coming 9 & 1/2 years ago. As I look at my little girl, I remember the birth of my first child, a little girl. (Mikayla) I'm thankful for God's goodness & favor in my life! I have so much to be thankful for. The truth is, we all do. Today I praise God for His faithfulness to me & the gift of another child. What do you have to praise God for today? When you focus on the 'good & perfect gifts,' you will develop a heart of praise & gratitude. Your discouragement will dissipate as you focus on God's goodness. Make a decision to focus on the 'little blessings' & God's goodness today! It will give you the courage to face another day!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

How To Deal With Discouragement- Part 2

Yesterday I talked about how fatigue is the best friend of discouragement. There are some other elements to the story found in Nehemiah chapter 4 and to our lives that can contribute to discouragement. Verse 10 says, "Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, "The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall." I guess you could say that they were in some rubble trouble. They were frustrated! They looked at what they were trying to accomplish and all that they could see was the rubble that was keeping them from fulfilling their dream. Many times we look at our lives all we see are mountains of rubble. We see mountains of unfinished tasks and misplaced priorities that cause intense frustration! These things ultimately steal our courage to live out God's purposes through our lives. Maybe it is time to take out the trash today? Every thursday morning I take out the trash. It only takes a few moments & it causes everything to smell so much better! Get rid of the waste that is in your life today. Stop doing everything. Stop going out every night. Stop saying yes to everything. Stop trying to please everyone! Take the unnecessary things out of your life & get out of rubble trouble today! Put God first in your life and daily agenda by allowing His Spirit to guide you in your choices and commitments. Take out the trash today & let the aroma of your life change today!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

How To Deal With Discouragement- Part 1

Discouragement is a big issue because it is something that we all deal with. There are no exceptions. If you live long enough, you will face discouragement. It doesn't matter how positive you are or whether or not you're a Christian. Unlike many diseases, you never really grow an immunity to discouragement. It can come back over & over again. It is also highly contagious, which means you need to be careful with whom you associate. Although discouragement is universal & contagious, it is also very curable. I've personally been through many stretches of discouragement in my life & ministry. Life doesn't always go according to plan & when that happens, you need a new perspective.
This week we will look at the life of Nehemiah. Nehemiah was a leader of the Jewish group that had returned to Israel from Babylon to rebuild the wall round Jerusalem. When they began rebuilding the wall, everyone was real excited & had a lot of passion & zeal. Because of a series of events, everyone became discouraged & wanted to give up. Have you been there? I know that I sure have! Nehemiah led the people of God to some early victories & everything was going phenomenal. Chapter 4 & verse 6 of the book of Nehemiah says, "So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart." Things were great & moving along just fine until verse 10, "Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, "The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall." It is true that fatigue makes cowards of us all. I've found that fatigue & discouragement go hand in hand. Maybe the most spiritual thing that you can do right now is go & take a nap. Take a moment & rest. Take a sabbath, reflect & reenergize for the days ahead. As I've heard Rick Warren say, "You should always divert daily, withdraw weekly & abandon annually." God has called you burn bright for Him, not burn out! Take a break & be encouraged! Your greatest days are still ahead!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Seven Secrets of Stress Management by Rick Warren

Then Jesus said, “Let’s get away from the crowds for a while and rest.” There were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. Mark 6:31 (NLT)
Jesus experienced enormous stress and pressure, yet it didn’t seem to disturb his peace of mind. In spite of opposition, constant demands, and little privacy, his life reflected a calm sense of balance.
What was his secret?

1. Identification – Know who you are (John 8:12)
 Eighteen times Jesus publicly defined himself. There was no doubt in his mind as to who he was. If you are unsure of your identity, you’ll allow others to pressure you into their molds. Trying to be someone you’re not causes stress!
2. Dedication – Know who you want (John 5:30)
You can’t please everyone. Even God can’t! Just about the time you get “Crowd A” happy, then “Crowd B” willbe upset with you. Jesus never let the fear of rejection manipulate him. No one can pressure you without your permission.
3. Organization – Set clear goals (John 8:14)
 Jesus said, “I know where I came from and where I am going.” (NIV) Preparation prevents pressure, but procrastination produces it. You work by either priorities or pressures.
4. Concentration – Focus on one thing at a time (Luke 4:42-44) 
You can’t chase two rabbits at the same time! Jesus knew how to handle interruptions without being distracted from his primary goal.
5. Delegation – Don’t try to do everything yourself (Mark 3:14)
 We get tense when we feel it all depends on us. Jesus enlisted twelve disciples. Don’t allow perfectionism, or the fear that others may do a better job, to keep you from involving others in the task.
6. Meditation – Make a habit of prayer (Mark 1:35)
 No matter how busy Jesus got, he found time to get alone to pray everyday. A daily quiet time is a great stress decompression chamber. Use this time to talk to God about your pressures and problems, evaluate your priorities, and discover the rules for successful living by reading the Bible.
7. Relaxation – Take time to enjoy life (Mark 6:30-31)
 Balance is the key to stress management. Work must be balanced with fun and worship.
© 2008 Purpose Driven Life. All rights reserved.

FRIDAY- A STRATEGY FOR REDUCING STRESS, by Rick Warren

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. They try pills, fads, therapy, rock crystals, stress reduction seminars and listen to tapes, books -- anything to give just a little peace of mind. Paul says, God's peace is a gift to you. It is a gift that cannot be explained, duplicated, fabricated or understood. It is the sense of peace that comes over your life.

How do I maintain that kind of peace?
"... as you trust in Christ Jesus." Paul is not taking about a religion; he's talking about a relationship with God's Son Jesus Christ. You were made with a God-shaped vacuum in your life and when you try to fill that with anything else it's tlike trying to put a square into a round hole -- it doesn't fit. We try to fill our lives with popularity, power, pleasure, possessions or prestige and they don't fit. God made you to know Him. Nobody is here on the earth by accienet. He made you for a purpose. The starting point of that purpose is to understand that He made you for a relationship. He wants you to know Him. And when you know Him there is a sense of peace that comes into your life.

This passage also says, "His peace will keep your thoughts..." The word "keep" in the Greek is a military term. It means a sentry guard, a garrison, or a detachment of soldiers. The book of Philippians was written to a group of people who lived in the city of Philippi in Greece. The city of Philippi was a Roman colony that was protected by the Roman legion. The people knew this word very well for they knew the Roman legion kept the peace in Philippi. Paul used the word that he knew everybody would know and says, that's the way God will guard your mind and heart when you have a relationship with Jesus Christ and trust Him moment by moment. Instead of worrying about everything, you pray about everything. And you thank God for all things and keep your mind on the right things. God will put a garrison, a sentry guard, around your heart and when worry comes knocking at the door He will protect you with His peace. What's got you worried? Finances? the economy? your health? your marriage relationship? your kids? your career? What makes you anxious, that raises the stress level in your life? How do you normally respond to stress? What is your favorite pattern? This is God's alternative to dealing with stress. I Peter 5:7 "Throw the whole weight of your concern on God because He considers you His personal concern." He carried your sins on the cross, He will carry your stress in the present. Give it to Him.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Thursday- A STRATEGY FOR REDUCING STRESS, by Rick Warren

STEP FOUR: THINK ABOUT THE RIGHT THINGS
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. What I see that some people allow to enter their minds, no wonder they are under stress. Many people, even Christians, are totally indescriminate about what they allow to enter their minds. They are allowing all kinds of trasy garbage and reading material and movies and songs that are downers. Then they wonder why they are depressed. What you think affects the way you feel; the way you feel affects the way you act. Guard your mind. Keep your mind on the right things. Jerusalem Bible says, "Fill your mind with those things." Good News says, "Fix your mind on them..." 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.
Insight: Whatever 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.
Click here for a list of scriptures that will help you change the way that you think!

Wednesday- A STRATEGY FOR REDUCING STRESS, by Rick Warren

STEP THREE: THANK GOD FOR ALL THINGS
v. 6 "... in everything ... with thanksgiving ..."
Good News says, "...always asking Him with a thankful heart."
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. Develop the attitude of gratitude and watch the stress level in your life go down. It gets your eyes off the problem and onto the many things we do have to be grateful for. 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."

Insight: There is always something to be grateful for.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Tuesday- A STRATEGY FOR REDUCING STRESS, by Rick Warren

STEP TWO: PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING

Whenever God tells you to eliminate something He always has something superior. He always replaces a negative with a positive. V. 6b "In everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Paul is saying, don't panic -- pray. If you stopped worrying, realize how much free time you'd have. It would create a great vacuum, a void in your life to stop worrying. Pray during that time. If those people who say "I don't hve time to pray" would spend their time praying instead of worrying, they'd have a whole lot less to worry about. "In everything..." Some people think that God is only interested in you praying about "religious" matters. God is interested in everything in your life. "petition" is a specific, detailed request. Get specific with God. Tell Him exactly what you want and what you need. Most people pray too vague, too general. "God, bless my life." What is a blessing? Sometimes blessings are problems. Don't pray general, vague prayers but be specific. "God, I'm under stress. I'm tense, I'm nervous." Be specific about it. Phillips: "When you pray tell God every detail of your needs." 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!" Take our problems to the Lord, pray about everything instead of worrying. Unload them! Pray is a tremendous safety valvue release of pressure. A life insurance company did a study. They learned that people who attend church once a week, they live on the average, 5.7 years longer than the general public. Why? Perhaps, people who attend church every week are more likely to pray than worry. Worry destroys your system. God says unload all your worries on Him. The God who made every thumbprint in the world different and the God who made every snowflake in the world different and the God who made every voice print in the world different is a big enough God to handle all the details in your life. He is a God of details. He can handle anything you give Him. Phillips: "You can throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon Him, for you are His personal concern!" James 4:2 "You have not because you ask not." Twenty times in the New Testament we are told "ask".

Insight: There is no problem that is too big for God's power or too small for God's concern.

Monday- A STRATEGY FOR REDUCING STRESS, by Rick Warren

This week I want to share with you some great thoughts about reducing stress & focusing your life by Rick Warren. Each day I'll be posting some great advice that I believe will be very helpful to you this fall. I know that you'll be encouraged & I pray that you'll be able to take some of these thoughts to help simplify & de-stress your life. Enjoy the thought below from His message entitled, "A STRATEGY FOR REDUCING STRESS."

Philippians 4:6-8, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. ...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.”

I. STEP ONE: WORRY ABOUT NOTHING
V. 6: "Do not be anxious about anything." "Do not fret of have any anxiety." (Amplified) "Be careful for nothing" (KJV)
Worry is a kill joy and source of stress. 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. Thee 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. It cannot change the past or control the future. It only messes you up right now. It is an incredable waste of energy. It is stewing without doing. It is a waste of creativity. When we worry about things, they get bigger and bigger. We are very creative about worry. The Bible says, "Do not worry about anything." Probably this is the hardest command to obey. Some people are born worriers; they have the ability to find a problem in every solution. They look 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 learned it can also be unlearned. 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."

Insight: In order to relieve stress live one day at a time.

Friday, September 4, 2009

THE POWER OF ENCOURAGEMENT

Are you an encourager? My life's mission is to help encourage people to greatness in God. Giving courage to others is such an incredible privilege. God can use each of us in releasing the power of encouragement to others. The devotional below is courtesy of Jentezen Franklin ministries. To read more, click here.

Pleasant words are...health to the bones. Pr 16:24 NKJV

Everybody needs encouragement. None of us achieves anything without help. The great achievers in history became all that they were because of the people in their lives. We’ve seen The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings. But did you know that their authors, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, were professors at Oxford University and maintained a close friendship? Every week they’d meet to eat, talk about their fiction-writing endeavors and read passages of their yet unpublished works. It was Tolkien who encouraged Lewis, an avowed atheist, to explore Christianity, ultimately leading to his conversion. And it was Lewis who encouraged Tolkien to continue writing fiction and to seek publication. Were it not for their friendship and mutual encouragement, the world wouldn’t have received the finest writing in apologetics of the twentieth century, nor one of the finest fantasy works ever written.

Everyone young and old, successful and less-than-successful, famous and unknown who receives encouragement is changed by it. Mark Twain said, "One compliment can keep me going for a whole month." A word of encouragement from a teacher can change a child’s life. A word of encouragement from a spouse can strengthen or even save a marriage. A word of encouragement from a leader can inspire a person to reach his or her potential. Zig Ziglar says, "You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life." The Bible says, "Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones" (Pr 16:24 NKJV).

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Kingdom Culture- Faith, Hope & Love

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then you have Kingdom DNA (culture) running through every fiber of your existence. The essence of the culture of the kingdom of heaven can be found in the Apostle Paul's writings to the church in Corinth. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:13, "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." That simply means that because you have submitted your life to God, you have FAITH for your future, HOPE in the midst of your circumstance & LOVE for everyone around you.
So what are you going through today that requires some faith, hope and/or love? If you are a follower of Jesus, a Kingdom person, then you are equipped with every ounce of those three that you need. Stay encouraged today & keep spreading the King (Jesus) & the culture of His Kingdom to everyone that you meet!

Great Devotional for this Week!

Here is a great devotional that I read this past week! Stay encouraged & stay in faith this fall because God is able & is faithful!

Your Appointed Time

"For the vision is yet for an appointed time…though it tarry, wait for it" (Habakkuk 2:3 KJV)

TODAY'S WORD from Joel and Victoria

God has an appointed time to fulfill the visions, dreams, and desires in your heart. Just because it has taken a long time or because you've tried and failed, doesn't mean it's not going to happen. Don't give up on those dreams! Don't be complacent about pursuing what God has placed in your heart. Our God is a faithful God. No matter how long it's been, no matter how impossible things looks, if you'll stay in faith, your appointed time is coming.

Remember, every dream that's in your heart, every promise that has taken root, God put it in there. And not only that, but He has every intention of bringing it to pass. Hold on to that vision today by declaring, "My time is coming. God is working behind the scenes on my behalf. I will fulfill my destiny!" As you continue to hold on to that vision and speak life over your dreams, you'll see them begin to take shape. You'll see your faith grow, you'll see your hope strengthen, and you'll see yourself step into the destiny God has prepared for you!

A PRAYER FOR TODAY

"Father in heaven, I receive Your truth today. I receive Your promises today. I ask that You ignite my heart with Your holy fire so that I can pursue Your perfect plan for my life. Make my thoughts and words agreeable to Your will. In Jesus' Name. Amen."