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Showing posts from 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…

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…

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 y…

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 fe…

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 yoursel…

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…

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 Walm…

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 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. (au…

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 attitud…

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 …

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 he…

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…

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 th…

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 generat…

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 ove…

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 …

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 …

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 encou…

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…

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 pa…

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'…

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

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,…

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 > …

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 fu…

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 t…

New pic of my new baby girl!

Makenna Faith Masteller

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 t…

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 c…

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. …

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 g…

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 …

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 thi…

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…

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, bles…

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.…

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…

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, &q…