Saturday, January 31, 2009

Busting The Myths Of A Christian Marriage


I'm doing some research for our upcoming series on sex, dating & marriage next month & I came across a pretty good article. It will take a few minutes to read, but it's excellent! It is called, "Busting The Myths Of A Christian Marriage," by Judy Bodmer. You can find it on www.marriagepartnership.com via this link, click here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Non-Politically Correct Son



My son made this picture for a (home) school project this past week! Like his father, he doesn't waste time being concerned about being politically correct. If you can't read the picture, here is the translation, pretty stink'in funny! I love kids!
"One day there was an ice cream shop. There was a bad bird. One day he threw ice cream on a girl and they shot it. The End."

How could you not be proud of that :)?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

What I Learned From My 21 Day Fast

Today I ended my 21 day fast with some friends, some pizza and a wicked good chocolate cake! It was an incredible day @ Freedom Life as we witnessed 13 people make decisions to follow Christ. This year we have seen 22 people commit their lives to follow Jesus and become Christians. That just blows my mind!!! Here is what I learned from my 21 day fast that we did as a church to begin this year.

-10 lbs. lighter makes me feel healthier.
-I connect with God better when I'm not full of food & the distractions of this world.
-I'm more sensitive to & able to hear God when I'm actually trying to.
-I can grow so much deeper in my walk with God if I'm willing to continually make myself uncomfortable.
-Prayer & fasting works exactly like God said that it would.
-I (& our church) have a long way to grow in our Spiritual journey, but we've come a long way in a short period of time.
-I want to fast more than I ever have before.
-Did I mention that 22 people have made decisions to follow Christ already this year? Prayer & fasting works!


I'm more desperate for God to use my life and use our church family than ever before! I encourage you to disrupt your life and go ahead & fast & pray this week! Make a decision to draw close to God & He will draw close to you! (James 4:7-10)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

5 Requirements For Every Leader...(Pt. 4,5)

Here are the last two of the requirements. You need to be clear and you need to have character. I have struggled with clarity on many occasions and it has hurt my leadership. The most important of all of these requirements though is that of character. If you have no foundation, there is nothing for God to build on. You can restore clarity easily, but not character. Check out these leadership thoughts below.

4. CLARITY

Uncertain times require clear directives from those in leadership. Yet the temptation for young & immature leaders is to allow uncertainty to leave them paralyzed.

“The secret to concentration is elimination.” Dr. Howard Hendricks

Develop Clarity by determining your priorities. Here are some questions to ask yourself...
-What are my values?
-What are my dreams?
-What are my burdens?
-What are my convictions?
-What are my passions?


You may not be certain about each next step, but you need to be clear about the direction that you are heading.

“Our quarters and one-dollar bills serve as a constant reminder that an occasional bad decision will not disqualify you as a leader. People will follow you if you are wrong. They will not follow if you are clear.”

“Saying “I don’t know” when you don’t know is a sign of good leadership. Pretending to know when you don’t know is a sign of insecurity. The only person a pretender deceives is himself.”

5. CHARACTER

You can lead without character, but your won’t be a leader worth following. Character provides next generation leaders with the moral authority necessary to bring together the people and resources needed to further the Kingdom.

“Character is the will to do what’s right even when it’s hard.” Key thought- All Leadership is built on trust!.

Make a vow to maintain your integrity
“Make every effort to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with him” (2 Peter 3:14).
Make a vow to forgive those who hurt you.
“Make every effort to live in peace with all men. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up” (Hebrews 12:14-15).
Make a vow to relax and trust God.
Anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us therefore make every effort to enter into God’s rest” (Hebrews 4:11).
Make a vow to be an encourager. 
“Let us make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification” (Romans 14:19).
Make a vow to be a peacemaker. 
“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).
Make a vow to never stop growing.
“Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive…” (2 Peter 1: 5-8).

Character is not made in crisis, it is only exhibited.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

5 Requirements For Every Leader... (Part 3)

I tell people often that it would be much easier for me to stay in shape if I had a coach that was encouraging (screaming at the top of his lungs) at me to workout more regularly. My wife is much less intimidating then my basketball coaches growing up so that doesn't seem to work. Anyway, this year I have begun to make coaching a much more regular part of my schedule. You have to have great people encouraging you to go to the next level, not simply people complaining that you are not there. Being a positive person on my team is a requirement & you should make that one for your team as well. Here are a few tidbits from yesterdays teaching that I did with a great group of leaders

3. Coaching

You may be good. You may even be better than everyone else. But without a coach you will never be as good as you could be.

Questions you need to be asking in determining your “inner circle” ...

-Who prays for me?
-Who encourages me?
-Who teaches me?
-Who stretches me?
-Who adds value to me?
-Who unconditionally loves me?


Select your Inner circle carefully because the will determine if you reach your potential. (Law of the Inner Circle-Maxwell)

“A poker will only stay hot if you keep it near the fire.” Elmer Towns

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

5 Requirements For Every Leader... (Part 2)

2. COURAGE

The leader isn’t necessarily the first to identify an opportunity. The leader is the one who has the courage to seize it, initiate, to set things in motion, to move ahead.

“Leaders are not always the first to see the need for change, but they are the first to act. And once they move away from the pack, they are positioned to lead.”

Courage establishes leadership. The average person fears stepping into the uncertainty & risk of a new opportunity, the leader fears missing out on that opportunity.

Three expressions of courage

1. The courage to say NO.
-Often the reason that we will not say no is because we are afraid... of disappointing people, being passed by, missing out on an opportunity.
-The ability to identify and focus on the few necessary things is a hallmark of great leadership.

2. Courage to face current reality.
-Thou shalt not... pretend, turn a blind eye, exaggerate, shoot the bearer of bad news, hide behind the numbers, ignore constructive criticism, isolate thyself.
“An accurate, insightful view of current reality is as important as a clear vision. Unfortunately, most of us are in the habit of imposing biases on our perceptions of current reality.” -The Fifth Discipline

3. Courage to dream.
Dream big and dream often. “Dream no small dreams for they stir not the hearts of men”
Our fear to dream usually stems from our fear to fail.

Monday, January 19, 2009

5 Requirements For Every Leader Worth Following (Pt. 1)

I've been working on some seminar material for some upcoming speaking engagements as of late. This week I'm going to blog about a leadership lesson that I am giving tomorrow. All of the material has been taken from various sources and heavily taken from Andy Stanley's book, "Next Generation Leader." I'm enjoying going through all of the material because it is helping me reconsider each 5 of these important requirements. The first one is vital and is a reminder that leaders are lifelong leaders.

1. COMPETENCY
Leaders must channel their energies toward those arenas of leadership in which they are most likely to excel.

DISCOVER YOUR COMPETENCIES
What do others do that is almost effortless from your perspective but seems like a daunting task to others?
In what arenas do people consider you the ‘go to’ person?
What do you enjoy about your job?
What do you wish you could delegate?
What do you do that elicits the most praise & recognition from others?
What kind of advice to people seek from you?
If you could focus more of your time and attention on one or two aspects

GUIDING PRINCIPLES IN REGARD TO COMPETENCIES
-The less you do, the more you accomplish.
-The less you do, the more you enable others to accomplish.
-Make it your goal to only do what you can do.

LEADERSHIP MISTAKES WHEN TRYING TO BE COMPETENT
-The quest for balance.
-Failure to distinguish between authority and competence.
-Inability to distinguish between competencies and noncompetencies.
-Guilt.
-Unwillingness to develop other leaders.

WARNING: BE CAREFUL TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN PASSIONS & COMPETENCIES. ENJOY YOUR PASSIONS, BUT FOCUS ON WHAT YOU ARE GOOD AT TO BECOME TRULY COMPETENT. REMEMBER, PEOPLE DON'T PAY FOR AVERAGE & INCOMPETENCY UNLESS YOU'RE THE U.S. GOVERNMENT. HAD TO ADD THAT IN THERE.

Friday, January 16, 2009

What I'm learning through fasting

As I finish up my 2nd week of fasting, there are a few thoughts that I'd like to share about what I'm learning.

1. I'm learning that I will make every lame, wussified, sissified, pansy-like excuse in the book not to fast. I've personally thought of a few hundred myself today.
2. I'm learning that I get bored easily because I think at times I'm on a diet instead of remembering that I'm believing God for completely desperate and hopeless situations to turn around. I lose focus easily.
3. I'm learning that it is really easy for me to compromise. I can find any reason in the world to not follow through on my fast. Enough said.
4. I'm learning that fasting really is an incredible spiritual practice that connects us with our creator like nothing else.
5. I'm learning that I can fast and starve myself, yet still ignore God & His Word. Which really ticks me off at myself because if I'm going to take part of a day & go prayer-less & not read God's Word, I should do so with cheese steak in hand.


I'm learning! I'm sure that you are too. In fact, I bet that many of you that are fasting right now relate to my thoughts completely. If you've blown it, ate Ben & Jerry's or gorged yourself at some amish smorgasbord today, don't give up! Buckle down, suck it up and focus on those things that you are believing God for. Your unbelieving friend, sick family member or financial challenges are well worth the effort. God still responds to prayer & fasting! Make a decision to stop complaining about your issues and choose to do something about it today! Get fasting!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fasting Week #2- Mid-Week Update

I'm hungry! I really want to eat pizza, steak, anything chocolate and ... You get the picture! I don't particularly enjoy every aspect of fasting. In fact, tonight I will probably dream about all of the food that I miss eating. The truth is that fasting is not simply dieting and it is not an optional exercise for Christians that desire to live in victory in every area of their lives. In fact, Jesus taught us in Matthew 6 that it is one of the 3 duties of every Christian: Verse 2 When you give... Verse 7 When you pray... Verse 16 And when you fast... . Ecclesiastes 4:12 reminds us that, "A threefold cord is not quickly broken." There is something powerful that occurs in our lives when we put that threefold cord into practice. When you deal with the dictator within (your stomach), it enables you to live a life of freedom. If you are not fasting, do it today! If you've given up, start again! Fasting is great for your body and even better for your Spirit!

Nintendo Wii, bruised forehead & change

On Sunday night I had some friends over to watch the opening night of the hit series, "24." Prior to the show starting, I set up the Nintendo Wii that we have been borrowing and I allowed my kids to play some games with our guests. I sat on the couch directly in front of the television set and my son was about 4 feet in front of me playing his heart out. Just for the record, I told him to put the little wrist band that keeps the controller connected to his body around his wrist more than once. Problem, I never showed him exactly how, nor did I force him to do so. I now force him to do so! He was playing Wii bowling & accidentally threw a strike at my head with the controller as it escaped his hand. Before I knew what hit me, it hit me. Dead center in the forehead and exploded into many pieces. So what does change have to do with getting hit by a Nintendo Wii game controller in the head. Everything! Not really, but it does help with this point.
We as Christians, become very comfortable in our routine. We go through the week, work, enjoy our favorite t.v. shows, friends & family and that's it. We go to a church service, find our favorite seat and enjoy the service & move on. We know that many times we aren't reaching people & we say that we would like to do so. We often don't pray, read the Bible or make any attempt to share the good news of Jesus Christ with someone in need, but we say that we would like to do so. Just as I didn't force my son to hold the controller properly until it hit me square in the head, we won't change things in our lives & churches until the pain forces change.
To help people experience the transformative power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, what are you willing to change in your life? It is the natural bent of each of to resist the necessary changes as long as possible. I pray that we would realize that the pain of people not being reached with the incredible message of Jesus Christ is already too great not to change.
If you are a Pastor or church leader, stop living in fear of the potential grumbling of a few people because of a change that you need to make. Follow God's Spirit & be willing take a step. The Israelites would have chosen the chains of Egypt over the splendor of the Promised Land if Moses wouldn't have led them.LEAD!!!
If you a Christ-follower, re-evaluate & make changes in your life as if you had one month to live, because you may! Pray, fast, read the Word & share your faith. Shake up the routine and step out into the unknown as God leads you! FOLLOW!!!
If you don't want to do any of those things, GET OUT OF THE WAY of those who do and make sure to watch your head!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Fasting & Praying to leave a legacy

I read this post today over at evotional.com by Mark Batterson. We are using one of Mark's books this year as the focus & theme of our church. As I am fasting and praying during these 21 days, I am believing God for great things! There is no greater thing that I desire than what God did in and through Jonathan Edward's life! I want to leave a legacy like that, how about you?!

"On January 12, 1723, Jonathan Edwards made a solemn dedication of Himself to God. It was one of the defining moments of His life. And I'll share the written vow in a moment.

Few people have left the kind of legacy that Jonathan Edwards did. He is famous for his sermons, including Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, that helped spark the Great Awakening. He graduated from Yale at 13 as valedictorian. After graduating, he is said to have studied thirteen hours a day. He also served as President of Princeton.

But the thing I find most impressive is that he spent one hour every evening with his eleven children. He prioritized his family and the results speak for themselves. Of his known descendants, more than 300 have become ministers or missionaries; 120 became university professors; over 100 became lawyers; 60 became prominent authors; there are 30 judges, 14 college presidents, 3 members of congress, and 1 vice-president.

How would you like to leave that kind of legacy?

Back to January 12, 1723. Edwards gave himself to God with these words:

I made a solemn dedication of myself to God, and wrote it down; giving up myself, and all that I had to God; to be for the future, in no respect, my own; to act as one that had no right to himself, in any respect. And solemnly vowed, to take God for my whole portion and felicity; looking on nothing else, as any part of my happiness, nor acting as if it were; and his law for the constant rule of my obedience."

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

How Fasting Changed History, Part 2

Written by Jentezen Franklin (www.jentezenfranklin.org)
According to Scripture, Nineveh was in trouble. This city, which was full of wickedness, was headed for destruction (jonah 3:4) . . . but they were not without hope. When Jonah took this message of impending destruction to Nineveh, the people took God seriously. Their only hope was to cry out to God through prayer and fasting. And that is exactly what they did.
“So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and
put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them” (Jonah 3:4).

As a nation they repented before God and fasted. This is what the
king of Nineveh decreed, “Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock,
taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water . . . Who can tell if
God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that
we may not perish?” (Jonah 3:7,9).
And it worked!
“Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way;
and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring
upon them, and He did not do it” (Jonah 3:10).

The people of Nineveh actually changed God’s mind through prayer and fasting! This corporate fast released God’s mercy and
changed history.
Without the fast of repentance, would Nineveh have survived? Absolutely not! We also know that Nineveh was not judged for another 200 years after that.

How Fasting Changed History, Part 1

Fasting can alter & change the very course & history of our lives. Over the holidays I watched a marathon of the old movies, "Back To The Future," with my family. It is an interesting story line that focuses on how one subtle change in a situation, attitude or circumstance can effect history. God wants to change the course of our lives so that they are in step with His plans & purposes. Here is an example from scripture about how history was changed by prayer & fasting. Keep fasting & praying and stay in step with God!

Written by Jentezen Franklin (jentezenfranklin.org)
72 HOURS THAT SAVED THE JEWS
Another time when fasting changed history for a nation is found in the book of esther. The Jews were on the verge of destruction because of the evil conspiracy of Haman, one of the king’s advisors. Haman was “filled” with wrath against a Jew named Mordecai because he did not “bow or pay him homage” (Esther 3:5). “Haman sought to destroy all the Jews who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus — the people of Mordecai” (Esther 3:6). Mordecai sought help from Queen Esther, who was his niece. Mordecai’s request meant Esther would have to literally risk her life for it was very dangerous for her to approach the king without being summoned first. So, Esther called a fast.
“Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law, and if I perish, I perish!” (Esther 4:16).
Those 72 hours of fasting changed the history of the world. When
Esther approached the king on behalf of her people, they became a nation not of defeat, annihilation, suffering and shame, but a nation of favor. They received honor and promotion . . . all because of three days of fasting and prayer. You and I can help change the history of our own nation through prayer and fasting. Yes, we have become a world void of morality and truth. But we don’t have to accept it! I want to challenge you to make a habit of regular prayer and fasting for our nation. Fast and pray for our leaders. Fast and pray for our religious freedoms. Fast and pray for the multitudes who have been deceived by the enemy. When the economy is in trouble . . . when we are worried about wars and hostile nations . . . when natural disasters take homes and lives, we are to call a solemn assembly and fast. We are the ambassadors of Christ and we can affect change.
In the book of Joel, God promises a latter day outpouring of His Spirit. “And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days” (Joel 2:28-29).
But this great end time outpouring can only come through prayer and fasting. Joel 1:14 says, “Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly; Gather the elders And all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, And cry out to the LORD.” Will you join God’s people in crying out for His Spirit? Just like the people of Nineveh and with Esther’s people - your fasting and prayers can change history!

Nine Types of Fasts- Part 2

Five: THE WIDOW’S FAST
“The Widow’s Fast” is about meeting the humanitarian needs of other people while you are fasting. In 1 Kings 17:10-16, we read the vivid story about a woman with very little who helped the man of God, Elijah. It was all part of God’s plan. The widow made a choice to fast so that someone else could eat. The book of Isaiah puts it this way, “. . . is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out . . .” (Isaiah 58:6-7). Today, you can meet the humanitarian needs of other people while you’re fasting by using the money you would normally feed yourself with to help a food bank, support world missions or give to some other ministry that is helping the needy. When you do that, it pleases God and He will meet your needs. In the story of the widow, God multiplied the meal in her barrel to last for THREE AND A HALF YEARS!

Six: THE PAUL FAST
Are you faced with a major life decision and don’t know what to do? Maybe you have a job opportunity . . . a broken relationship or an unfulfilled dream. God has provided a way you can discern His voice—“The Paul Fast.” Saul was going the wrong way in life. He was hunting down followers of Christ and persecuting them when the light of God’s truth knocked him off his path (Acts 9:3-6). Saul headed to Damascus and “was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank” (Acts 9:9). Saul didn’t know what to do. But he fasted for God’s divine direction. Then God sent the disciple Ananias to Saul with guidance (Acts 9:17). Through this process Saul became Paul, one of God’s chosen disciples. Through his fast, Paul got the direction he needed and so can you.

Seven: THE DANIEL FAST
When we look at “The Daniel Fast,” this fast is a partial and a prolonged fast that yields health and healing. Found in Daniel, chapter 10, the Daniel Fast is a fast from meats, sweets, breads and any drink but water for 21 days (Daniel 10:2-3). Daniel and three others refused to eat the king’s meat and they “appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate
the portion of the king’s delicacies” (Daniel 1:15). Daniel and his men were healthier!

Eight: THE JOHN THE BAPTIST FAST
John and his disciples fasted often, according to Matthew 9. He was on the Nazarite diet, which fasted alcohol all the time. He ate little more than locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:1-4). Because of John the Baptist’s constant fasting, I believe he had a greater testimony and influence on the lives of people in his generation than any other man (Matthew 11:1), (John 1:6-7).

Nine: THE ESTHER FAST
“The Esther Fast” is the fast for “protection against danger.” We live in a world full of predators, disasters and evil. But don’t live in fear. God has provided the blessing of protection. Esther was in a very dangerous position. Her uncle Mordecai discovered a plot by Haman, one of the king’s advisors, to destroy her family. When he asked for Esther’s help, she knew it was very dangerous to approach the king without being called for. She could lose her life. So Esther declared a three-day fast for God’s protection (Esther 4:16). Haman wanted to hang Mordecai on the gallows he was building in his courtyard, but God turned it around and the evil conspirator was hanged instead, on his own gallows! When you fast and pray, God will extend His protection to you and your household.

Here is the Recap
THE DISCIPLES FAST — freedom from
addictions to sin.
THE EZRA FAST — for help with financial troubles.
THE SAMuEL FAST — for national revival.
THE ELIJAH FAST — for negative emotional
feelings and habits.
THE WIDoW’S FAST — humanitarian needs of others.
THE PAuL FAST — major life decisions.
THE DANIEL FAST — health and healing.
THE JoHN THE BAPTIST FAST — influence on others.
THE ESTHER FAST — for protection against danger.

9 Types of Fasts- Part 1

Whether you need healing, direction, protection, finances or something else from God today, His Word is full of people that faced similar hardships and overcame them through fasting & prayer. Jentezen Franklin (JentezenFranklin.org) talks about the 9 different types of fasts that believers have done in seeking the miraculous to invade their circumstance. Here are the first 4:

One: THE DISCIPLES FAST
“The Disciples Fast” is a fast that frees you from addictions to sin or besetting sins as referred to in Hebrews 12:1. Besetting sins are those that ensnare us and hinder us from achieving God’s purpose for our lives. In Mark, chapter 9, Christ’s disciples were frustrated because they could not cast out an evil spirit. Jesus said, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:29). Through fasting we can break free from the addictions and habits that are not pleasing to God. “Is this not the fast that I have chosen; To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke?” (Isaiah 58:6).

Two: THE EZRA FAST
“The Ezra Fast” is found in the Book of Ezra, the eighth chapter (Ezra 8:21). Ezra had been given silver and gold to take back to Jerusalem from King Artaxerxes (Ezra 7:14-17). But there was a problem — thieves! Maybe you feel like thieves have stolen what belongs to you financially. When Ezra faced an uncertain financial journey, what did he do? He declared a fast and God answered his prayer! If you will fast, pray and obey God’s commandments, He said you will be blessed (Deuteronomy 28:2).

Three: THE SAMUEL FAST
When the Phillistines were preparing to attack Israel, Samuel declared a fast for national revival, Samuel told the people to fast and seek God to return His presence to the nation (1 Samuel 7:3). our society today critically needs believers who will take “The Samuel Fast” — a fast for national revival. “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). We can return God’s presence and glory to our personal lives and our nation if we fast, pray and seek Him now.

Four: THE ELIJAH FAST
one of the most powerful fasts is “The Elijah Fast.” It breaks negative emotional feelings and habits. When Jezebel sent word
that she wanted to kill Elijah . . . he became so distraught that he was an emotional wreck(1 Kings 19:4). He was depressed . . . even suicidal. That’s when an angel came to Elijah and instructed him to journey back into the presence of God. The Bible says that Elijah fasted for 40 days and 40 nights as he returned to Horeb, the mountain of God. God delivered Elijah from feelings of suicide and fear. He gave Him hope, courage and direction. Whether you suffer from emotional bad habits, a negative self image, fear, insecurities, depression or some other emotional bondage, fasting will help open your heart and mind to hear the still, small voice of God.

Fasting Week #1- Mid-Week Update



Well, we are first way through the first week of our 21-Day Fast! At this point, depending on what type of fast you are doing, you are probably getting a little tired of it. Maybe you really want some coffee, meat or dessert. Maybe you are tired of the type of food that you are eating like I am. Fasting is not an easy endeavor, but it is a deeply Biblical and powerful one. I want to encourage you to not give up! If you've messed up & broke your fast, start again! God wants to do some incredible things in your heart over these remaining days that will set the course of your life for the rest of the year. So go for it! Go hungry and go after God!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Bible Reading Plan for Winter/Spring '09


If you are anything like me, you always have trouble keeping up with the daily readings that are offered from the many "one year bible" reading plans. Here is a Bible reading plan that I will introduce to the church this week and that I plan on using. It enables you to read God's word in story format without following multiple stories at once. You can also do away with the daily checklist for all of you non-melancholy people like me. If you would like more options, go to youversion.com.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Tomorrow Starts Our 21 Day-Fast! Join us!

Michele and I are excited about what will occur over these next 21 days. And we are looking forward to seeing God move in our lives and the life of our church family. We know that He will work in ways we could never imagine. Together, we will take this journey. And together, we will go the distance to discover God’s plan. We wish you all of God’s best during this time! Let’s get ready to Chase The Lion!

Kick-off- Jan. 4, The Chase begins during our morning services!
First Wednesday- Jan. 7 @ 6:30 p.m.
End the fast- Jan. 25th during our morning services with Communion. (*Pastor Adam McCain will be our special guest to conclude this service. You can check out more about Adam at www.globalyouthnet.com.

SIMPLY STATED, BIBLICAL FASTING IS REFRAINING FROM FOOD FOR A SPIRITUAL PURPOSE.
The fast, as explained in the weekend service, is a spiritual discipline designed to better connect us with God. As a church, we are fasting in order to deepen our relationship with God and to walk in step with His plan and purpose. The best way to do this is to redirect our food source or something else of importance to us. This is accomplished through substituting our regular food intake with Bible reading, praying and journaling. The overall goal is to experience a genuine hunger for spending time with God. According to the Bible, there are three duties of every Christian: give, pray, and fast. Fasting takes a lot of discipline and strength – strength which you can only receive from God. Your private discipline will bring you rewards in Heaven, as stated in Matthew 6. When you give God your first through fasting, prayer, and giving at the beginning of the year, you set the course for the entire year.

Why should I fast?

1. Are you in need of healing or a miracle?
2. Do you need the tender touch of God in your life?
3. Is there a dream inside you that only He can make possible?
4. Are you in need of a fresh encounter?
5. Do you desire a deeper, more intimate and powerful relationship with the Lord?
6. Are you ready to have heightened sensitivity to the desires of God?
7. Do you need to break away from bondages that have been holding you hostage?
8. Is there a friend or loved one that needs Salvation?
9. Do you desire to know God's will for your life?


We want to encourage you to target your prayers during the fast. Two specific areas we will be focusing on together are leadership and finances. The Bible instructs us to continually pray for our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-2). When we lift up our leaders, here in the United States and around the world, we can expect God's peace in our lives and in our nation.

Another great promise, from the book of Isaiah, proclaims that the chosen fast will "undo the heavy burdens and let the oppressed go free." We are living in tough economic times and we know that many people are under a financial burden. As we come together to fast and pray, we believe that your burdens will be lifted and that financial blessings will be released!

We encourage you to seek the Lord in prayer for your decisions about your fast. Ask the Lord to show you areas to target during your time of fasting and prayer. We believe that, as we pray and seek God and give Him our best at the first of the year, He will bless our ENTIRE year (Matthew 6:33)!

Fasting Options
Full Fast- Drink only liquids (you establish the number of days).
The Daniel Fast- Eat no meat, no sweets, and no bread. Drink water and juice. Eat fruits and vegetables.
3-Day Fast- This fast can be a Full Fast, a Daniel Fast, or a fast giving up at least one item of food.
Partial Fast- A partial fast is from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm or from sun up to sundown. This fast can be a Full Fast, a Daniel Fast, or a fast giving up at least one item of food.
Media fast- Turn off the computer and TV and focus your thoughts & energies on God's voice & His Word.

For more answers to your questions about fasting click here

Friday, January 2, 2009

Setup For A Comeback!

Here is a great devo that I received today. Joel Osteen provides a great reminder that if we will stay in faith and trust God, every setback can be a stepping stone to the destiny that God has for us! Enjoy!

Setup for a Comeback
Today's Scripture

“For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again…” (Proverbs 24:16a, NIV).

Today's Word from Joel and Victoria

Life is full of things that try to push us down. We all face disappointments and setbacks. Maybe you got some bad news concerning your health or maybe a relationship didn’t work out. That was a setback. It’s easy to get discouraged or lose your enthusiasm or even be tempted to just settle where you are. But if we’re going to see God’s best, we have to have a “bounce back” mentality. That means when you get knocked down, you don’t stay down. You get back up again. You have to know that every time adversity comes against you, it’s a setup for a comeback!

Remember, as a believer, the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives on the inside of you. There is no challenge too difficult, no obstacle too high, no sickness, no disappointment, no person, nothing that can keep you from your God-given destiny. If you stay in faith, then God will turn what was meant to be a stumbling block into a stepping stone, and you’ll move forward as a champion full of faith and victory!

A Prayer for Today

Father in heaven, thank You for setting me up for success in everything I do. I choose to trust and rely on You knowing that Your plans are for my good. I know my best days are ahead of me and look ahead to the blessings You have in store for me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Our theme for 2009 for Freedom Life!


Our theme for 2009 is based on a book by Mark Batterson called, “In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day.” It is an odd title for
a book and it comes from an obscure passage found in 2 Samuel 23:20 that says, “Benaiah chased a lion down into a pit. Then, despite the snow and slippery ground, he caught the lion and killed it.” Our theme for the year is, “Chase The Lion!” The question is, “What will you and I do when opportunity roars?” In 2009, will you grab life by the mane and step into all that God has for you?
I personally equate Lions with fear. If I met one on the street or in my community, I would probably run, hide & cower in fear. Isn’t that what we do all to often when confronted by our fears? As we look forward to another year, we have no idea what this year will hold. We do know, though, that there is fear all around us. Fear because of the economy. Fear of losing something important to us. Fear of change. Fear of tomorrow! The Bible says this in 1 Peter 5:8, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” If we are honest, many of us are waiting expectantly to be devoured by the Lions in our lives! While there is a very real enemy that desires to steal, kill, & destroy our lives, there is a very real God that desires to give us life and life to the fullest! (John 10:10) Fear & Faith take the same amount of energy. One causes us to cower and the other causes us to conquer! This year, I challenge you to follow in the footsteps of Benaiah, lock eyes with your lion & let the chase begin! Decide right now that you will face every fear, every challenge & every regret and conquer it by faith! Your greatest regret at the end of your life will be the lions you didn’t chase. Remind yourself of God’s Word that says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7) Let this reality activate faith in your life so that you can grab life by the mane and experience the promises of God’s provision and His blessings!

To read our full 2009 Winter Newsletter, Click Here