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."