Monday, December 27, 2010

Looking Back at Freedom Life! BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN, 2010!

You can listen to this message right now by clicking here
Our church is all about loving God, loving people & loving life! This year was an incredible year as we set our faith & goals high to impact our church family and the surrounding community. Our theme was "Believe That You Can," based on the scripture found in Phillipians 4:13, that says, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."

Lost People Matter To God So They Matter To Us-  This year we have witnessed over 300 people make decisions to follow Jesus & we have baptized 70 in obedience to Christ!  We have supported 17 different missions organizations at both home & abroad with over $52,000.  We have assisted in planting churches in Cuba (4), India (1), Dominican Republic (1), Tulsa, Ok (1) & we are currently raising funds for Bridge Community in Downingtown, Pa.  This is the heart beat of our church.

Investing Into The Next Generation-  We have, on average, over 300 students and children involved in our ministry programs.  We are planting seeds into the next generation because they are the engine of our church.

Fellowship Through Small Groups-  As a church this past year, we have hosted more than 25 different ministries and small groups, involving hundreds of people! We introduced Life Training Classes (“Fresh Start With God” and Classes 101-401) in 2010, with 115 participants and 62 individuals committed to Freedom Life through membership. 

Encouragement Through Relevant Biblical Ministry-  A few statistics about our growth:  Our average weekend attendance is 600-700;  April was our biggest month with an average of 734 people attending.  Our highest attended service was Mafia Church, with 1,050 people here. The MidWeek attendance averages over 300. And, we welcomed hundreds of guests and launched into three services to accommodate our growth this past year.

God is doing awesome things in the life of our church & the best is yet to come!

If you'd like to help us finish 2010 strong or be a part of reaching our year-end "Believe That You Can" goal of $150,000, towards our church & Downingtown church plant click here!

Priceless- WEEK 3 Gifts You Can’t Afford Not To Give

You can listen to this message right now by clicking here

Definition of GRATITUDE: the state of being grateful : thankfulness
“After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.”  Matthew 2:9-12

“Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?"  Luke 17:11-18

UNGRATEFUL MINDSETS 
•   I WANT IT NOW!
There was a man who had two sons.12The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.'  Luke 15:11-12
 
•   I DESERVE EVERYTHING!
…Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. Luke 15:29
 
IS THERE ANY UNGRATEFULNESS IN YOUR HEART TODAY? 
_____ MATERIAL & FINANCIAL
_____ RELATIONAL
_____ CIRCUMSTANCIAL
 
WHAT HAS YOUR RESPONSE TO THE BLESSINGS (GIFTS) THAT HAVE BEEN GIVEN TO YOU? 
"The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told."  Luke 2:20

• EVERY BLESSING SOMEONE POURS INTO YOUR LIFE,  TURN BACK TO GRATITUDE.
• EVERY BLESSING COMES GOD POURS INTO YOUR LIFE,  TURN BACK TO PRAISE.  (James 1:17)
• EVERY BLESSING YOU DON’T TURN BACK TO PRAISE TURNS INTO PRIDE.


…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation… 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13
Better what the eye sees than the roving of the appetite. Ecclesiastes 6:9
…the cheerful heart has a continual feast. 16Better a little with the fear of the LORD than great wealth with turmoil. Proverbs 15:15-16

THINK ABOUT IT
• What are you most grateful for? To whom do you need to express gratitude?
• In each of the three areas—material/financial, relational, and circumstantial—what’s feeding your feelings of entitlement? How will you pursue an attitude of gratitude?
• List your blessings out loud. Take some time together to turn those back to God as praise. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

PRICELESS- WEEK 2 Gifts You Can’t Afford Not To Give

You can listen to this message right now by clicking here

Priceless Gifts- Part 2- INTEGRITY 

WHAT IS INTEGRITY?
Definition of Integrity – in the Hebrew, the word integrity meant completeness, moral innocence, or perfection. The exact opposite of compromise. IN OTHER WORDS, INTEGRITY IS WHEN YOUR BEHAVIOR MATCHES YOUR BELIEFS. Dishonor & disloyalty are born out of a divided heart.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF INTEGRITY?

• YOU CAN WALK CLOSELY WITH GOD.

“Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary?... 2 He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart...” Psalm 15:1-5 (see also Psalm 41:12)


• YOU HAVE GUIDANCE & MAKE BETTER DECISIONS.
“The integrity of the honest keeps them on track; the deviousness of crooks brings them to ruin.” Proverbs 11:3


• YOU HAVE CONSTANT SECURITY IN YOUR HEART & PROTECTION OVER YOUR LIFE.

“May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, LORD, is in you.” Psalm 25:21
“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.” Proverbs 10:9
• YOU GAIN TRUST, RESPECT, HONOR & INFLUENCE. Matthew 23:25-28

HOW DO YOU BUILD INTEGRITY INTO YOUR LIFE?
Speak HONESTLY.
“...speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Ephesians 4:15
“God-loyal people, living honest lives, make it much easier for their children.” Proverbs 20:7
Confess REGULARLY.
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” Matt. 5:23-24
Live CONSISTENTLY. (*see Matthew 7:21-23) 
Public life as well as our private life. 
Jesus said, "Take care and do not do your public deeds to be admired." What it means very simply is this: I am the same at home as I am here. That’s what it means. In fact, my definition of success is, "Those who are the closest to me, love and respect me the most."


 WHAT’S YOUR INTEGRITY WORTH?

 EVERYTHING!
…I will not deny my integrity. 6 I will maintain my righteousness and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live. Job 27:5-6


Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. Matt. 5:37

Sunday, December 12, 2010

PRICELESS- WEEK 1 Gifts You Can’t Afford Not To Give

You can listen to this message right now by clicking here

*Read Matthew 1:18-24; Luke 2:1-6
PRICELESS GIFT #1- HONOR 
without honor: atimos (at'-ee-mos); to dishonor; to treat as common or ordinary.
honor: time (tim-may’); to value, respect, or highly esteem; to treat as precious, weighty or valuable.

• RESPECT IS EARNED. HONOR IS GIVEN.

The Bible is a book about honoring God & His instruction. The 10 commandments teach us how to honor. The first 4 are a warning about dishonoring God & the next 6 warn us about dishonoring others. The law of honor flourishes in every season & in every environment. Honor is the willingness to reward someone for their difference. It is not flattery. HONOR QUALIFIES YOU TO ENTER ANY FUTURE THAT GOD HAS FOR YOU! Honor bring power to your life & to the lives of others. (see Mark 6:4-6)

WHO ARE WE CALLED TO HONOR?

• OUR HEAVENLY FATHER.
THIS IS THE UNDERLYING REASON THAT OUR CULTURE IS DISHONORING.
The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me…” Isaiah 29:13 (see also Psalm 22:23)
• OUR PARENTS, SPOUSE, GRANDPARENTS, ELDERLY.
Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12 (see also Ephesians 6:2-3)
“In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together... Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.” 1 Peter 3:7
“Stand up in the presence of the elderly, and show respect for the aged. Fear your God. I am the Lord." Leviticus 19:32 (see also 1 Timothy 5:3-4)

• THOSE IN AUTHORITY.
“Honor all men; love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.” 1 Peter 2:17
Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe…respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Romans 13:7
 (*see also 1 Timothy 5:17)
• EVERYONE YOU CAN.

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10


PRICELESS GIFT #2- LOYALTY
loyalty: aman (aw-man'); to wholly trust or believe in, to be permanent, unwaveringly faithful.
What does the Bible have to say about loyalty and being loyal?
Loyalty is unwavering in good times and bad. (Proverbs 17:17)
Loyalty is what you do, not what you say. (Matthew 26:33-35 and 26:69-75)
Loyalty is in your heart. It is willing and not reluctant. (Psalm 78:8)
Loyalty can be demanding. (Exodus 17:8-13)
Loyalty may involve sacrifice. (2 Chronicles 11:13-16)

LOYALTY IS PROVEN IN ACTIONS, NOT SIMPLY WORDS.

Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable? Proverbs 20:6 NLT
• DISLOYALTY IS BORN OUT OF A DIVIDED HEART.

“The man of many friends [a friend of all the world] will prove himself a bad friend...” Proverbs 18:24 (see also James 4:8-9)

• TO YOUR SPOUSE.

"Didn't the Lord make you one with your wife… So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth... do not be unfaithful to your wife." Malachi 2:15-16 NLT

• TO YOUR FRIENDS.

A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need. Proverbs 17:17

• TO CHRIST’S CHURCH.
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer… Acts 2:42, 44-46

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN GIVE THESES GIFTS?
“Give, and you will receive. You will be given much. Pressed down, shaken together, and running over, it will spill into your lap. The way you give to others is the way God will give to you." Luke 6:38
“You will always harvest what you plant.” Galatians 6:7

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Blessed Life- Week 4

You can listen to this message right now by clicking here

Week 1- “The Foundation Of A Blessed Life- Generosity”
"A generous man himself will be blessed." Prov. 22:9
"A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." Prov. 11:25

Week 2- “The Blessed Test- The Power Of Tithing”
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matt 6:21
"The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives." Deuteronomy 14:23 TLB

Week 3- “Blessed To Be A Blessing- Giving”
“After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.” Job 42:10
“And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” 2 Corinthians 9:8

Week 4- “Self Serve" Are you serving others or serving your self?

THE WIDOW- Turn to Luke 21:1-4
Jesus taught us that real giving is not simply when we have enough left over. Real giving is when we give of our time, talent & treasure even at our own expense.
"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly; and whoever sows generously will reap generously." 2 Cor. 9:6

God Thoughts:
-Have a need, plant a seed.
-See a need, plant a seed. You can't harvest without planting seed.
-God's love is unconditional but His promises are conditional upon faith & obedience to His commands.

THE WASHING- Turn to John 13:3-16
Jesus demonstrated that if you want to be like Him, you must become a servant. We become more like Jesus when we choose to serve one another. Serving others is the path to the blessed life!
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” Eccl.9:10
“...just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Matt 20:28
“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name…” Phil 2:9

God Thoughts:
-Jesus separated the difference between knowing and doing.
-You believe the parts of the Bible that you do
-Serving leads to the path of blessing.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Make A Difference!

Don't miss a great opportunity to make a difference by supporting the adoption of 2 precious boys from Haiti. Jake & Kim Wood, our family life pastors, are in the process of raising funds to bring home their boys in the next few months. To help raise the funds, people from our church & community are putting together a spaghetti dinner on Sunday, November 21st. It all takes place at the Christiana Fire Hall from 1 to 6 p.m. If you don't live in the area & would like to make a donation, you can give online at www.freedomlife.tv & specify your donation!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Week 2- THE BLESSED LIFE- “The Blessed Test”

You can listen to this message right now by clicking here

MONEY PROMISES WHAT ONLY GOD CAN PROVIDE... SECURITY, FREEDOM, POWER, SIGNIFICANCE
“No one can serve two masters...You cannot serve both God and Money.” Matthew 6:24 (see also Ecclesiastes 5:10)
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

"The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives." Deuteronomy 14:23 TLB

WHAT IS TITHING? "Tithe" means "a 10th part" & is an act of WORSHIP.
WHERE SHOULD I TITHE? WHERE I WORSHIP
"Bring your whole tithe to My Storehouse (Temple) ..." Mal. 3:10
WHEN SHOULD I TITHE? CONSISTENTLY
"On the first day of every week, set aside some of what you have earned and give it as an offering. The amount depends on how much the Lord has helped you earn." 1 Cor. 16:2 (LB)
WHY SHOULD I TITHE? TITHING TEACHES YOU TO PUT GOD FIRST.
"The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives." Deuteronomy 14:23 TLB
Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits (first part) of all your crops (income); then your barns will be filled to overflowing…”. Proverbs 3:9-10
"A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD." Leviticus 27:30

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

Tithing releases the work of God through His CHURCH.
“10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.” Malachi 3:10

Tithing teaches you to TRUST God.
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse... Test me in this...” Malachi 3:10
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much... if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” Luke 16:10-11 (see also Matthew 6:24, Ecclesiastes 5:10)

Tithing releases all of HEAVENS provision into your HOUSE.
 “... Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it." Malachi 3:8-10 (NIV)

Are you ready to trust?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Special Announcement Update!

Huge announcement last week at Freedom Life! No, my wife is not pregnant but we're giving birth to some dreams & visions in the life of our church!
Last week I announced our new staff transitions as we prepare to plant a church in the Downingtown area. The new church is called Bridge Community & will be led by our former Familly Life Pastor, Bob Hulett. 4 years ago God put a desire in my heart to plant a church in this community & that day has finally come. Very exciting stuff! For more information about the church plant & their 1st preview service, you can go to their website at www.bridgecommunity.tv!
The Leadership team & I have been praying for some time about what this transition would ultimately look like after the church plant. God has led us to restructure our staff & put some incredible people over key areas in the life of our church. I'm so excited for the kids of our church & community in these different environments to have some of the best godly leaders on the planet! Here's the breakdown:

Family Life Pastor- Jacob Wood
Jake joined the Freedom Life staff in 2006 as Youth Pastor. He is the primary leader of Twentyfourseven Student Ministries . Jake along with his wife Kim have been a youth pastors for 12 years. Jake is our newly appointed Family Life Pastor & will oversee all areas from Nursery to Young Adults. He is passionate about seeing the lives of children, youth and young adults experience the freedom & life that only God can offer so they can become life long followers of Jesus Christ. For more information about these environments & how you can be involved, please contact jake@freedomlife.tv!

Preschool Director- Kim Wood
Kim Wood serves as the Nursery and Preschool director and is excited to see how God will work in and through the youngest generation of Freedom Life. Kim, along with her husband Jake, are the proud parents of 2 beautiful daughters and are in the process of adopting their 2 sons from Haiti. She can be contacted at kim@freedomlife.tv.

Elementary Director- Valerie Englerth
Valerie Englerth has been a part of the Freedom Life family since she was in high school. Vale, along with her husband Casey, have 2 amazing daughters. Valerie is the director over the Elementary kids at Freedom Life. She is passionate about seeing them grow into life long followers of Jesus Christ. Valerie can be contact at valerie@freedomlife.tv.

Jr. High Director- Christopher Fry
Christopher is currently a student at Valley Forge Christian College and has been studying under the youth ministry at Freedom Life for 2 years. He has a deep passion for the youth of this generation and desires to see them become world changers. Christopher spends his time studying for his Pastoral degree with a minor in Youth Ministry and investing in the lives of the students. He can be contacted at christopher@freedomlife.tv.

Pray for each of these fantastic leaders as they are committed to the success of our church & those entrusted to their care. I'm so excited about the future of our church & all that God is doing! God is good!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Me I Want To Be- Part 5

“... I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

HOW TO KEEP HOLY MOMENTUM!
"So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites..." Exodus 1:11-12

The more that the devil comes against you, the more God wants to establish & prosper you! Below are 5 momentum builders that will help you become what God has called you to be!

1. Life giving FRIENDSHIPS & PARTNERSHIPS.
“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.” Psalm 1:1
“He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.” Proverbs 13:20 (NKJV)
2. Positive WORDS & Positive PERSPECTIVE.
“But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.” Psalm 1:2
“There must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes.” Eph. 4:23
“Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.” Proverbs 12:25 (NKJV)
Remember, negativity is nothing more than looking at life from the devil’s perspective. Choose your words & the way that you view life with faith!
3. A Commitment To Being PLANTED In God’s House.
The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13 Those who are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing...” Psalm 92:12-14

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE PLANTED:

-Making Church a custom (habit) in your life
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25
Even in the early Church there were people who started out in the House of God, but whose commitment slipped. Are you in the habit of being positioned in God’s House, or in the habit of forsaking God’s House? One of the keys reasons you need to be planted in the House is so that you can impact the lives of others, by exhorting & encouraging one another.
-Making a contribution to the local church
1 Corinthians 3:9-15 “For we are God's fellow workers...”
Paul understood the importance of partnering with heaven and being a builder of God’s House on earth. God is the architect, the plans have been drawn up, the foundation is laid and now you have been commissioned to labour with God in seeing His purpose fulfilled in the earth. There is no greater privilege than building the one organization that Jesus has promised to build. He is constructing a victorious Church that is strong and magnificent in the earth.
-Being committed to the Church
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her." Ephesians 5:25
Jesus loved the Church to the extent that He was prepared to die for the Church. His love was evidenced by a passion and a commitment to the Church. His commitment was total. To be planted in the House means to give radically, and unreservedly contribute to the purpose of God. Give your time, your treasure and your talent to the House of God.
-A willingness to confront people’s attitudes toward the Church ( see John 2:13-17)
Jesus passionately confronted wrong attitudes about His church. When people begin to criticise or speak negatively about the House of God then be prepared to confront their attitude. Do not allow people who are more interested in building their own business, their own ministry or their own kingdom to detract from your commitment to the House of God.

4. A Commitment To A GENEROUS Spirit.
“...Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” 1 Timothy 6:17-19
“The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.” Proverbs 11:24
5. A Commitment To CHRIST & His CAUSE.
“...For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” John 18:37
“The Son of God came for this purpose: to destroy the devil's work.” 1 John 3:8

Monday, October 25, 2010

THE ME I WANT TO BE- PART 4

You can listen to this message right now by clicking here

“A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” Proverbs 12:26

DO YOUR FRIENDS PULL YOU FROM FROM YOUR DESTINY? JOHN 5:1-13 (Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man)
DO YOUR FRIENDS PULL YOU TOWARD YOUR DESTINY? MARK 2:1-12 (Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man)

5 THINGS THAT YOU NEED FROM YOUR FRIENDS

1. FULL OF WISDOM FROM GOD.
 “BLESSED (HAPPY, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes],
“He who walks with the wise will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.” Proverbs 13:20
2. FULL OF PASSION FOR GOD.
“...nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk,...”
“Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character." 1 Cor. 15:33
3. FULL OF ENCOURAGEMENT FOR YOU.
“...nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather. 2But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night.” Psalm 1:1-2
“Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.” Philemon 1:7
4. FULL OF LOYALTY FOR YOU.
“Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.” Proverbs 18:24 (MSG)
5. FULL OF LOVE FOR YOU.
 “A friend loves at all times...” Proverbs 17:17
“This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends.” John 15:13 (MSG)

The Me I Want To Be- Part 3

You can listen to this message right now by clicking here

We all make declarations over our lives. Often times we allow what others have called us to get on the inside of us & determine how we view ourselves. It is true that, ”The tongue has the power of life and death...” Proverbs 18:21 (GWT)

Regardless of what others have named you over the years or what has been said about you, your heavenly Father has declared good things over your life & your future!

DON’T LET THE WRONG PEOPLE NAME YOU
God chose to alter the future of Abram because of his faith & name him Abraham, the father of many nations. Abraham's name reflected the declaration that was made over his life in faith. God called his one & only son Jesus, declaring him to be the salvation of the world. His name declared what his destiny would be. Whatever God names you, you are!

KNOWING WHAT GOD CALLS YOU WILL SET YOU FREE.
“But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12 (NLT)
“... you have a full and true life (complete) in Christ, who is ruler over all rulers and powers.” Colossians 2:9-10 NCV
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Cor. 5:17 (NKJV)
“God made him who had no sin (Jesus) to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37
“For we are God’s masterpiece...” Eph. 2:10
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Speak what Heaven says about you... DECLARE IT OVER YOUR LIFE!
  Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies. Psalm 107:2

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Me I Want To Be- Part 2

You can listen to this message right now by clicking here

THE ME I WANT TO BE- PART 2, Renewing Your Mind
"Be careful how you think. Your life is shaped by your thoughts." Prov. 4:23 (GN)
"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 (Jer)

God Has Given You A New Spirit, But You Must Renew Your Mind
When you believe, you become born again! John 3:3
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Cor. 5:17 (NKJV)
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Rom. 12:2 (NLT)
Proverbs 23:7, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”

Preprogrammed Thoughts Control Our Lives More Than We Realize
SPIES RESPONSE TO THEIR GIANT- “We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!” Numbers 13:33 (NLT)
DAVID’S RESPONSE TO HIS GIANT- “...For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”... 29 And David said... Is there not a cause?” 1 Samuel 17:26-29

All behavior is based on a BELIEF.
“Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.” Prov. 4:23 (TEV)
 Behind every sin is a LIE that I’m believing.
“At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived, and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.” Titus 3:3
Changing your life requires changing your beliefs which begins with your THOUGHTS.(Think -> Feel -> Act)
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:23-24 NLT “... the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

DAVID’S REMEDY- PSALM 1
“There must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes.” Eph. 4:23

1. Meditating on God's Word will give you spiritual SUCCESS.
God told Joshua, "Study this Book of the Law continually. Meditate on it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it. Only then will you succeed" Joshua 1:8, NLT
2. Meditating on God's Word will help you keep a right HEART.
"The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" Hebrews 4:12, NIV
3. Meditating on God's Word will give you WISDOM that will guide you.
“I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes" Psalm 119:99 NIV
4. Meditating on God’s Word will fill your mind with God’s THOUGHTS.
"Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about" Philippians 4:8, TLB

Change is a matter of CHOICE and I can CHOOSE what I think about.
"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" 2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV
Think the same way that Christ Jesus thought. Phil. 2:5

Friday, October 8, 2010

Leadership Summit- Oct. 8, 2010


We had a good night with some of the greatest leaders on the planet! God is doing so many awesome things in & through our church. Here are the notes that I shared which were taken from Pastor Brian Houston of Hillsong church. Jason Rising & I served up some pretty sweet outfits that were part friar, part don king. Below are some key principles & scriptures that will help you keep holy momentum in your every day life!

HOW TO KEEP HOLY MOMENTUM!

"So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites..." Exodus 1:11-12
“The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.” Proverbs 11:24

1. Positive WORDS & Positive PERSPECTIVE.
“Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.” Proverbs 12:25 (NKJV)
2. Life giving FRIENDSHIPS & PARTNERSHIPS.
“He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.” Proverbs 13:20 (NKJV)
3. A commitment to COMMUNITY & PEOPLE.
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25
4. A sacrificial COMMITMENT & VOLUNTARY spirit.
“Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” 1 Timothy 6:17-19
5. Belief in the CAUSE.
“Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” John 18:37
6. Youthful DREAMS & VISIONS.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Me I Want To Be- Part 1

You can listen to this message right now by clicking here

Your life is a gift waiting to happen!
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

Understand this about you!
-You have been created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27)
- God breathed the breath His life into you (Genesis 2:7)
-God formed you from the beginning (Jer. 1:5) & you are fearfully & wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

“God knew- what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the SAME lines - as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. - We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him.” Romans 8:29 (MSG)

We all struggle with...
The me I don’t want to be
The me I pretend to be
The me I think that I should be
The me that other people want me to be
The me that I’m afraid God wants me to be
The me that fails to be
The me that I am meant to be


1 Samuel 16 & 17- The Story of David & Goliath

1. Understand that you are called by God.
Instead of being ruled by the circumstances of your birth or the limitations of your background, you can move forward into God’s amazing plan for your life. 1 Samuel 16:1-13 God doesn't look at the outward appearance, He looks at our hearts.
2. Know that daily obedience is the path to your destiny.
The greatest concern in your life should be whether or not you’re becoming what God has called you to be each day!
1 Samuel 17:12-32- It is obedience to God in the seemingly mundane things of life that position us for God's purposes!
3. Remember the Holy Spirit has gifted & empowered you for the purposes of God.
Set aside other peoples expectations & simply be who God has already called you to be! 1 Samuel 17:32-51- Every Goliath that you won’t conquer in your life will live to terrorize you, your friends & future generations after you. Face your greatest fears with great faith!

“Spiritual greatness has nothing to do with being greater than others. It has everything to do with being as great as each of us can be.” Henry Nouwen

 “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Eph. 2:10
"For when David had served God's purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers...” Acts 13:36 (NLT)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mafiachurch.com Update- Team Work Makes The Dream Work!



Wow! What an incredible weekend we had in the life of our church! It was the biggest in the history of our church. (that I'm aware of at least) Here are some of the highlights...

-Michael Franzese did a fantastic job sharing his story. He's a such a genuine follower of Jesus with a crazy pill story that is really inspiring. The podcast will be up tomorrow & you can listen to the message by clicking here I also posted Michael's promo video & our promo video right below.

-The house was packed with over 1,000 people. 79 people watched online & 23 first-time visitors signed in (most normally don't so that was cool). Our church really stepped up & cared enough about their friends & family to bring them to the house to hear the good news of Jesus Christ!

-The new stage lighting was very cool, the worship team was tight & really created an atmosphere of excellence. Most importantly, they led us into the presence of God in a real & powerful way!

-We know that a number of people responded to receive the forgiveness & grace that only Jesus can provide! I don't have a definite count as of yet but many people responded & everyone heard a powerful message. I know that God is at work in the lives of so many. INCREDIBLE!

-Our teams of leaders that volunteer each & every week were absolutely FANTASTIC!! I was so proud of the passion & maturity of each & every one that served this past weekend. They represented our church & Jesus so well. Such an honor to serve alongside them.

It really does make teamwork to make the dream work! This weekend was a testimony of what can happen when a church unifies together around a vision & sacrifices to see it come to pass! The best is yet to come, we've only just begun! Way to go Freedom Lifers! It was so much fun... let's do it again this week!



mafiachurch.com from Freedom Life Christian Center on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Who's Kidding Who? Pt. 2- The Kid Lid

You can listen to this message right now by clicking here

Part 2- The Kid Lid
“What’s Pouring Into Your Child’s Heart & Life?”
“…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…But as for me and
my household, we will serve the LORD.”
Joshua 24:15

“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 6:6-17

*Click here to read PROVERBS 24:30-34- This passage is a reminder that if you're lazy, you'll experience poverty. This translates into parenting as well. If you're to busy to parent your child, there is a great chance that they will not become all that God has called them to be.

LEAD YOUR FAMILY. In the book of 1 Samuel we learn that Eli was a priest that did not lead his home. His children would follow his lead in stealing from God and not honoring Him with their whole heart. They had no fear of God which means they had no wisdom. They died early on in life & Eli’s family would be the only family in all of Israel that would not be blessed.

“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established.” Proverbs 24:3

... TO HAVE A HEART FOR GOD- You teach what you know, but reproduce who you are.
“He (God) will give you all you need from day to day if you live for Him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.” Matt. 6:33

...TO HAVE A HEART FOR GOD’S HOUSE
"Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her" Eph. 5:25-- Do you have a heart for God's House?
God, talking about His House (the church) "My Name is stamped on it forever; my eyes are on it and my heart in it always."1 King 9:3-4 (MSG)
“I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD.” Psalm 122:1
 “The righteous will flourish... planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God.” Psalm 92:12-13

INFLUENCE INTENTIONALLY. (KEEP THE KID LID ON)
Influencers in your home include:
GOVERNMENT- enough said. (redefining the home)
EDUCATION- Sex Ed Guidelines (Sexual Information And Education Council):
• Ages 5-8 Taught Feels Good To Touch And Rub Body Parts
Ages 9-12 Taught Homosexuality Just As Satisfying
Ages 15-18 Taught Pornography Will Enhance Sexual Fantasies
MUSIC- Average teen Listens To 10,500 Hours Of Music From 7th To 12th Grade (Equivalent To 437.5 Days)
T.V. & MOVIES- Kids & Teens watch an average of 22 hours of T.V. per week.
“… children who watch a lot of TV with sexual content were twice as likely to start having intercourse during the subsequent year as those with little exposure to televised sex.” -Pediatrics Magazine
INTERNET- The largest consumers of internet porn are children between 12-17 years of age. 90% of kids ages 8-16 have viewed porn online while doing homework. 80% accidentally. (internetfilterreview.com) *If you love your kid, filter their internet!

HOW YOU THINK WILL DETERMINE HOW YOU LIVE.
Beliefs determine behavior. ----> Thoughts result in actions.
“For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” Prov. 23:7
“Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:8

3. DETERMINE THE ATMOSPHERE OF YOUR HOME.
DO THE ENTERTAINMENT CHOICES OF MY FAMILY MEET THE GUIDELINES OF PHIL. 4:8?
“…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
“I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me.” Psalm 101:3
*see Col. 3:5, Rom. 8:6, 2 Tim. 2:22, 1 Cor. 6:18-20, Prov. 5:3-5, Prov. 13:20
DO THEIR RELATIONSHIP CHOICES ENCOURAGE THE RIGHT SPIRIT?
“So David decided not to move the Ark of the Lord... to the house of Obed-edom of Gath. 11 The Ark of the Lord remained there in Obed-edom’s house for 3 months, & the Lord blessed Obed-edom & his entire household. 12 Then King David was told,“The Lord has blessed Obed-edom’s household & everything he has because of the Ark of God...” 2 Sam. 6:10-12

APP- Invite the presence of God into your House & you’ll experience the blessing & favor of God!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

How To Move From Kid CEO to Parent CEO, Pt.4

You can listen to this message right now by clicking here

Yesterday we learned that having consistent discipline is God's design for the family. One last time, the flow of the home looks like this: God --> Husband/Wife --> Child. We discovered that real parental love is present only where there is consistent discipline. The Bible teaches us in Proverbs 26:12, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Today, you need to develop a vision for your family with structure that is strategic! The final letter in the K.I.D.S. acrostic is "S" & it stands for...

Structure that’s STRATEGIC.

“He (God) will give you all you need from day to day if you live for Him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.” Matt. 6:33


Children scream for structure! According to family expert Gary Smalley, "Study after study has demonstrated that children need boundaries in order to grow up with a healthy sense of stability and security." In other words, good old fashioned rules still rule the house. When parents provide structure, they follow God's example and offer one of the greatest gifts they can give to their child.

Here's the deal, Parent-driven homes set the priorities PRIOR to activities. So how do you do that?
1. Give Your Kids Downtime. (Psalm 46:10) You must schedule your family/down time together. Free time is always free for others to take so be sure to put it on your calendar!
2. Give Your Kids A Set Bed-time. Here are some stats that Ed Young gives in regard to bed time that you don't want to be present in your home!
51% of kids 10-18 go to bed after 10pm
60% of kids 7-12 feel tired during the day
15% of kids fall asleep at school

3. Don’t OD on options. Consider not allowing more than 1 activity per child, per season. Don't put your family at risk by being overcommitted! (Luke 10:41-42) In this Biblical story, Mary ran around cramming and trying to get everything done, Martha sat at Jesus feet. Jesus told her that she did what was right.

The question is, are you choosing what is right for your family?

Remember, the Parent CEO driven household isn't a military academy masquerading as a home! It is a home that follows God's flow chart for the family and is based on structure and routine, a strong marriage (single parent- strong relationships), and a heart for God & His House!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How To Move From Kid CEO to Parent CEO, Pt.3

You can listen to this message right now by clicking here

As we discovered yesterday, having a parent-centric household with intentional intimacy is God's design. Remember, the flow of the home looks like this: God --> Husband/Wife --> Child. We discovered that we must keep doing the things that won our spouses heart in order to keep our spouses heart. This week we're using the ever-clever acrostic, K.I.D.S., to learn how to do just that. The Bible teaches us in Proverbs 26:12, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” You need to have a vision for your family which means you need to have a plan for DISCIPLINE! The next letter in the acrostic is "D" & it stands for...

3. Discipline that’s CONSISTENT.
Discipline is simply correction driven by love. When it comes to discipline, it needs to be consistent and parents must be in agreement. The Bible stresses the importance of discipline over and over again. Here are two examples:

“Discipline your children while there is hope.  Otherwise you will ruin their lives.” Proverbs 19:18
“If you love your children, you will correct them; if you don't love them, you won't correct them. Proverbs 13:24

Here's the deal, if you won’t discipline your kids, the world will. Love your kids by disciplining consistently. Please understand that discipline does not mean humiliating them. In Ed Young's book, "Kid CEO," he shares 5 essentials for discipline. They are:

1. Draw Clear Lines. (they understand the rules)
2. Maintain Consistent Boundaries. (you enforce the rules consistently)
3. Present a Unified Front. (you stay in agreement as parents in front of your child)
4. Consider the Personality Factor. (you understand each kid is different and needs different things)
5. Build the Parental Portfolio. (consistent personal investment into parenting skills)


Keep winning the daily battles by giving love and appropriate discipline that is firm and under control. As you depend on God in prayer, He will give you the strength you need to eventually win the war of wills. Remember, the goal is an obedient heart, not a perfect child!

Question- Which of the 5 essentials for discipline do you do well with as a parent?

Monday, September 6, 2010

How To Move From Kid CEO to Parent CEO, Pt.2

You can listen to this message right now by clicking here

As we discovered yesterday, having a kid-centric household is not God's design. In God's design, the flow of the home looks like this: God --> Husband/Wife --> Child. We discovered that the foundation of the home is to keep our lives grounded in God's Word & His House. This week we're using the ever-clever acrostic, K.I.D.S., to learn how to do just that. The Bible teaches us in Proverbs 26:12, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” You need to have a vision for your family which means you need a vision for your marriage! The next letter in the acrostic is "I" & it stands for...

I- Intimacy that’s INTENTIONAL.

Revelations 2:4-5 says, "But I do have something against you! And it is this: You don't have as much love as you used to. Think about where you have fallen from, and then turn back and do as you did at first.” While this scripture is in reference to a church that had fallen away from God, it is also an accurate depiction of what can happen in a marriage. With people divorcing at a 50% clip, couples need to be more intentional about keeping the relational fires stoked.

Here are 2 commandments for marital intimacy that you should consider introducing into your life this week.

1. Thou shall date your mate.
Dating teaches your kids that the marriage relationship is important. This breeds security for them and greater intimacy for you and your spouse. You can spend $40 every week or 2 on a date or $200 an hour to an attorney.
2. Thou shall keep your kids & technology out of your bed.
God's desire is that the marriage bed would be pure & active! That's difficult to accomplish if little Jimmy, your computer & T.V. are there night after night. Put your children to bed, in their own beds, and spend time together! Turn off the T.V., put down the computer and pay attention to each other, ALONE!

Remember, the best thing that you can ever do for your children is have a great marriage! If you're a single parent, the best thing you can do is have a healthy house and a heart for God's House.

Question- What are you going to do this week to be more intentional about intimacy in your home?

How To Move From Kid CEO to Parent CEO, Pt.1

You can listen to this message right now by clicking here


How to move from Kid CEO to Parent CEO, Part 1

Have you ever stuck your head out of the car window while driving 55mph? If you have, you now know that you were in for a really bad hair day! Not only that, you would be sucking in more oxygen than you could possibly handle all at once. You need oxygen, but too much can be bad and potentially suffocating! Parents, we need to give our kids attention, love, and care. In doing so, we need to make sure that they aren't the focus of the entire house. Having a kid-centric household is not God's design. In God's design, the flow of the home is God --> Husband/Wife --> Child.

The Bible teaches us in Proverbs 26:12, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” You need to have a vision for your family. If you don't, you'll never experience all that God has for you & your children! One of my favorite leaders in all the Bible declared this, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15) I want my kids to grow up and live big and expansive lives for the Kingdom of God. If our children are going to succeed, they need to be centered around God's plan and His purposes. Like Joshua, it is the parents responsibility to LEAD the family in the ways of God. This week we'll use the ever-clever acrostic, K.I.D.S., to learn how to do just that. Here are some tips to help you keep your kids from running your lives. Remember, if you allow your kids to run your life, you will ruin theirs. The essence of parenting is training and preparing your kids to LEAVE. That's a good thing! In order to help prepare them for their future, here's what they will need from you in the present...

1. Knowledge that’s GROUNDED.
“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established.” Proverbs 24:3
“Whoever walks with the wise will become wise; whoever walks with fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs 13:20
“Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:8
 “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;13 planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God.” Psalm 92:12-13

The scriptures above point to the way that we can help our kids become grounded. When they spend time in God's Word and with God's House (His people) they will acquire wisdom. Simply stated, wisdom is knowing what God wants you to do and choosing to do it. Much like you, I want my children to flourish & live purpose-driven lives. I desire that they will grow in the greatness that God has planned for them in Christ Jesus! (Jeremiah 29:11) If that is to ever occur, they will need large levels of wisdom. Children must understand that the universe doesn't revolve around them and that they were born for the purposes of God. I want to challenge you to help your kids live purpose-driven lives!

Listen, your children will grow up and face the issues of this life, such as: discouragement, job loss, sickness, relationship issues. Their knowledge of sports & culture will not help them make it through those days. If they are grounded in God's Word and His House, they will have the foundation that they need to succeed.

Question- What changes do you intend to make to your House this week so that your kids can receive the knowledge they need to stay grounded?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Who's Kidding Who? Pt. 1- Who's In Charge?


Who's Kidding Who? Pt. 1- Who's In Charge?
You can listen to this message right now by clicking here

“The thing that impresses me most about America is the way that parents obey their children.”
Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor

This week we kicked off our new 3-part series on all things parental. This week I'll be posting a series of blogs in relation to that message. If you missed the message, I'll be posting all about it this week as we discover how to keep the right people in charge of your home. Who's in charge of your home? The Bible teaches us that God's family flow chart looks like this:

GOD’S FAMILY FLOW CHART
GOD- “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children.” Eph. 5:1
Husband-Wife- “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” Eph. 5:25
Children- “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Eph. 6:1

God's the owner of everything & He calls the parents to be the CEO of the family. Unfortunately in today's culture, the family flow chart has been flipped upside down & the little guys have been left to call the shots & to set the agenda. The children have become the CEO of the family & whenever kids are at the wheel, you can guarantee the results are not good. How do you know if your children are the CEO of your home? How do you know if life revolves around them versus God's flow? Take this quick test to find out!

THE BALANCED FAMILY TEST

NEVER =1
SOMETIMES =2
ALWAYS =3


1. Do you go on a date with your spouse at least twice a month?

2. Do you eat dinner as a family around the dinner table at least three times
per week?

3. Do your children sleep in their own beds (not your bed) every night?

4. Do you and your spouse have TLC (touch, look, conversation) on a daily
basis?

5. Do you get away for a weekend alone as a couple (without your kids) at
least twice a year?

6. Do you have sexual intimacy with your spouse at least two times a week?

7. Do you and your spouse present a unified front when your children
question your authority?

8. Do you have a set bedtime for your kids/teens that is consistently
enforced?

9. Do you regularly evaluate your calendar to prevent ECA-itis (over-
scheduling extra-curricular activities)?

10. Is weekly church attendance a priority for you and your children?

This is a test, it's only a test! But, it can also help you see if your family flow is functioning the way God has designed. Join me tomorrow as we discover how to become parent CEO's of the household. Your marriage & your kids depend on it!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wanna Go Deep?

I recently rediscovered this devotional that I had received from CreativePastors.com a number of years ago called- Deeper.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22

Have you ever heard the following statement: “I wish the sermons at church would be deeper?” Maybe you have even said it yourself. Many times we feel like our study of God’s word is too superficial and that we need to study “deeper” material. But the question that we should really ask ourselves is, “What is deeper?”

This is an excellent question for those of us who seek to truly know the Bible and follow Christ. Too many times we simply don’t know how to articulate what or where “deeper” is. Often, we are really just looking for an emotional fix to our current life situation. The problem with emotional fixes is their inherent inconsistency. What does it for us one day may not do it for us the next. Our emotional responses change right along with life’s circumstances. What we need to remember when we start looking for something new is that we are often following a shift in our emotions, not necessarily our spirit.

This shift is very important to recognize because Satan can use it as a tool to drag you away from where God wants you to be. If you spend your life looking for a certain emotion, you will merely drift from one place to another, like a ship without a rudder. Eventually you will run up on dry land, trapped by the very shallowness you were trying to avoid.

To avoid drifting we need to follow the true “deeper” journey that is presented to us in the Bible. One of the greatest examples is the command that Jesus gives us in Matthew 22:39, “'Love your neighbor as yourself.'” This command calls us to accept another person, regardless of how we feel about them. Jesus was calling us to get outside of our comfort zone and to do life the way that he did. Jesus didn’t spend all of his time with his closest friends. He ate with prostitutes and tax collectors while others disapproved. He touched the untouchable and loved the unlovable. It wasn’t easy, but it was deep.

The Bible and all of its lessons can take you as deep as you are willing to go – and beyond. But it takes work. You have to take the leap. Don’t follow your emotional tide. Put the lessons into practice – then try it somewhere other than your comfort zone. Take what you already know and apply it to your life. God will take you on a “deeper” journey than you ever knew was possible.

Unstoppable, Part 5

You can listen to this message right now by clicking here

Key Thought- Do not let the storms of life stop you from your destiny! Read Acts chapters 26-28.

Understand, like the NT martyrs, faith can get you into trouble but don't let the storms of life define your life. Below are a few things that we can learn from the storm that the Apostle Paul encountered, as well as the storms of life.

1. In a storm you find out what a PRIORITY is.
Acts 27:18-20, “We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. 19On the third day, they threw the ship's tackle overboard with their own hands. 20When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved."

The economic downturn has forced many make difficult choices in their spending. Many of us have had to choose necessities over luxuries. The storms of life teach us to hold onto the most precious cargo & throw everything else overboard.

2. Don’t let storms determine your DESTINATION.  
Acts 27:22-25, “But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me 24and said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar..."

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Some storms you didn't start & some storms you can't stop.  God is with us in the midst of both. Don't let the things of life keep you from doing the thing that God has called you to do! If you have a plan B for God's call on your life, a storm will always push you to it.

3. Your destiny is always connected to OTHERS.
Acts 27:24-37, “ and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.' 25So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. ...34Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head...36They were all encouraged... 37Altogether there were 276 of us on board. (NIV)

God is passionate about reaching others through YOU! (Matthew 28:18-20, 2 Peter 3:9, Acts 1:8) Just like Paul, you have a Rome to get to & a Caesar to stand before.  You must live with a sense of mission & purpose.  If you don't go, others may perish!

4. If you have unfulfilled DESTINY, you can't be stopped.
Acts 28:30-31, “For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31Boldly and without hindrance (UNSTOPPED) he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.” (NIV)

If You’re In The Midst Of A Storm Today, Stay Anchored

1st Anchor- The Word of God.
“16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

2nd Anchor- Prayer
“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16

3rd Anchor- The House of God.
“The righteous will flourish... 13 planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God.” Psalm 92:12-13

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Unstoppable, Part 3


You can listen to this message right now by clicking here
Luke 1:32-34, says, "He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
God has a Kingdom that will never end, it is UNSTOPPABLE! He invites you & I to be a part of that Kingdom.

Key Thought- WHEN YOU ARE ALIGNED WITH THE KING (Jesus), YOU HAVE AN ASSIGNMENT FOR THE KINGDOM, & YOU ARE UNSTOPPABLE. (Phil. 4:13, Matthew 6:33)

From time to time we get discouraged & face difficulties in life. In those moments we need to remember our alignment & our assignment. We are aligned with the king & have an assignment for His kingdom! WE NEED TO KEEP A KINGDOM SPIRIT so that we will fulfill our destiny!

1. KINGDOM SPIRITED PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE WHO GIVE ALL & NEVER GIVE UP!
Peter & the early disciples left everything to follow Jesus. Jesus when he was dying on the cross, gave up his Spirit, but he never gave up. Stephen followed in his Savior's footsteps & gave up his spirit but he never gave up! He had an unstoppable Spirit & shared the message of Jesus even as he was being put to death!

Peter said to him, "We have left everything to follow you!" Mark 10:28
Acts 6, says, "57At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him (Speaking of Stephen), 58dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." 60Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep."

2. KINGDOM SPIRITED PEOPLE GIVE LOVE TO THE UNLOVEABLE

Ananias was called by God to reach out to a man that was hurting & killing his friends! God calls us to love the unloveable!
Acts 9:1-18, says,"...In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, "Ananias!" "Yes, Lord," he answered.  11The Lord told him, "Go to... Saul, for he is praying. 12In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight." 13"Lord," Ananias answered, "I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. 14And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name." 15But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go!... Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit."... He got up and was baptized, 19and after taking some food, he regained his strength."

3. KINGDOM SPIRITED PEOPLE FOLLOW GOD’S SPIRIT, NOT THEIR OWN.
People normally ask questions of graduates like, “what do you want to do when you graduate?” Those kinds of questions are common but they are the wrong question. The question is, “what does God want you to do?” Paul's had a vision of a man from Macedonia needing help. He changed his life plans immediately to travel to this region & share the good news of Jesus!

Acts 16:6- 15, says, "Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." 10After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them..."

4. KINGDOM SPIRITED PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE WHO PRAISE PAST THEIR PROBLEMS
Paul and Silas were unfairly & unjustly beaten & thrown in prison. They responded differently that we normally do when we encounter difficulties. They praised in spite of their circumstance & God brought the breakthrough!

Acts 16:16-34 says, "...The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them."

THIS WEEK, KEEP A KINGDOM SPIRIT & REPRESENT GOD WELL WITH YOUR LIFE!

Unstoppable, Part 2

You can listen to this message right now by clicking here
UNSTOPPABLE-- If you have unfulfilled destiny, you are unstoppable for the purposes of God.
Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God." Acts 5:38-39

KEY THOUGHT- Understand that the end of an era does not mean the completion of your destiny. Peter & the entire Church was stopped & unable to move forward. The end of an era was complete & Jesus went to Heaven. They were all alone. In that moment, they did what each of us should do when we are stopped, THEY PRAYED!

Peter, the Apostle, became an unstoppable force in the New Testament church despite his past problems! Maybe you can relate...

1. Peter Had A Problem With Fear & Failure.
"Come," he said.Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" 31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" Matthew 14:29-31
Key thought- You may be stopped by fear & failure today, but all you need to do is reach out to Jesus!

2. Peter Had A Problem Aligning His Will With God’s Will.
"Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!" 23Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." 24Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Matthew 16:22-24  (see also, Luke 22:47-52)
Key thought- You can realign your will with God's will today & receive God's Holy Spirit. The Bible shows us that Peter responded to God by receiving forgiveness for his past, rising up in faith in his present, & seizing hold of the destiny God had for his life.

Closing thought- Why not ask God for that same power today? God is able to unstop whatever is holding you back so that you can become unstoppable for His plans & purposes! You can't achieve it, just receive it! Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit for His plans & His purposes! You won't regret it!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Thoughts from Wave Conference 2010

I went with a team of about 20 people from our church to the 2010 Wave Conference in Virginia Beach last week & it was awesome! Every single one of us left with God encounters that significantly changed & challenged us. It's much like going to an awesome youth camp, but for adults. :-) Pastors Steve & Sharon Kelly & their team (wavechurch.com) always do a tremendous job in creating environments that produce life changing experiences. Wave Conference, much like Hillsong Conference, is designed for the entire family which is an awesome blessing. I'd recommend anyone wanting to grow their church or grow their lives attend next year. (waveconference.com) I wanted to share a few thoughts that stood out to me from the various speakers. Most of these quotes are without context, so keep that in mind. Words can't describe what God deposited into my heart & our team in those few days... but I'll give it a shot.

WAVE NETWORK PRE-CONFERENCE
Speaker- Gary Clarke, Lead Pastor of Hillsong Church (London)
Key Quotes- "Wherever you find disorder, chaos or trouble in an organization you'll find a heart filled with selfish ambition" (James 3)
"Be an attractive person. Attractiveness is about doing the best with what God has given you."

Speaker- Scott Wilson, Eurolead.net (His, 'The G Factor' book is worth a read)
Key Quotes- "Your destiny is determined by your connections. Give thought to your life long relationships" He said so many good things but I couldn't write them all down because he had me laughing so hard. Hilarious!

WAVE CONFERENCE 2010 HIGHLIGHTS
Speaker- Pastor Brian Houston, Hillsong Church (Australia)
Key Quotes- "The theme of your heart will determine the story of your life."
"The end of an era is not the same as the completion of your destiny."
"Leaders live with the belief that the best is yet to come"
"Your alignment (who you partner with) is just as important as your assignment (what you're called to do) because it will determine whether or not you fulfill your assignment."
"Never develop a wounded Spirit."
"Don't bring your theology down to the level of your experience."

Speaker- Pastor Steve Kelly, Wave Church (Virginia Beach)
Key Quotes- "You may need to chew on mediocrity for a season, but don't develop a taste for it."
"Your self-esteem will attract a certain type of person. What you respect you will attract."
"Don't sabotage the good things in your life by expecting bad things."
"Don't make important decisions in isolation or in anger. Resist being a compulsive or reactionary person & leader."

Speaker- Pastor Judah Smith, The City Church (Seattle, WA)
Key Quotes- "God is not a pinata & prayer is not a stick."
"Don't try to 'fix' it when you really need to 'faith' it."
"We should pray each day not because it's the right thing to do but because we need to do it to make it each day"

Click here to listen to or watch a version of the message that he shared at the conference. Fantastic!
Speaker- Pastor Casey Treat, Christian Faith Center (Seattle area, WA)
Key Quotes- "The Spirit of a man or woman decides whether or not they will overcome & will sustain them through tough times."
"Who's in your life & how are they affecting your spirit?"
"There may be bad stuff going on around you, but don't let it get in you."
"Have an excellent Spirit like Daniel (the prophet) & rise up anyway (despite your circumstance)"
"You can say the right thing but have the wrong spirit."


Those are a few of the quotes from the life changing sessions that I had the privilege to be a part of. The environment was life giving, the worship was phenomenal & I had an absolute blast. Looking forward to 2011 already!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Urban Legends, Part 4

This past weekend I shared a variety of Urban Legends, some true, some false. Two of the more popular ones are the ones below. Both are true! :-)

Paul Karason puts a whole new spin on "feeling blue.” For more than a decade, the 57-year-old has been living with a blue face. (read more by clicking here)

While most folks today are too squeamish to take more than a glance into the casket during a funeral, in the late 19th through early 20th centuries someone dying meant it was time to break out the camera for a family photo. The practice was known as memorial photography. (read more by clicking here)

Crazy pill stuff but totally true. The point of the message was to tackle the Urban Legend that God wants you to be poor. I talked about the FACT that God wants to prosper you & bless you to be a blessing. You can listen to the podcast by clicking here & the notes are below!

Urban Legends II- Part 4
FICTION- GOD WANTS YOU TO BE POOR/ FACT- GOD WANTS YOU TO PROSPER
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 (NKJV)
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers." 3 John 1:3 (KJV)

The Greek word "prosper" here is euodoo (yoo-od-o'-o)
which means "to have a successful journey through life."

DO YOU HAVE A POVERTY OR PROSPERITY MENTALITY?
The Hebrew words for prosper are:
sakal (saw-kal') Definition: consider, expert, instruct, prosper- in other words, to experience prosperity as a result of wise decision making.
tsalach (tsaw-lakh') Definition: prosper, success, to break out & come mightily- in other words, to experience sudden supernatural prosperity.
shalom (shaw-lome') Definition: favor, To make amends, happiness, restore, Peace, Prosperity, Wellness, Wholeness- In other words, all your needs are being met, Spirit, soul and body.

YOU WILL PROSPER BECAUSE OF GOD’S PRESENCE

"The LORD was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 When his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did..." GENESIS 39:1-6

GOD’S GREATEST DESIRE IS TO TAKE YOU FROM THE PIT TO THE PALACE FOR HIS PURPOSE!

THE PROCESS OF PROSPERITY (TURN TO JOSHUA 1:6-9)
1. Be strong and of a good courage.
2. Be strong and VERY courageous.
3. Observe
4. Don't turn to the right or the left.
5. Prosper
6. Mouth
7. Meditate
8. Only then!

sakal--tsalach--shalom (wisdom, supernatural breakthrough, peace & wholeness)
Joseph's master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king's prisoners were confined. But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23 The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph's care, because the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did. GENESIS 39:20-23

 39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. 40 You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you...” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.." GENESIS 41:39-44

PROSPERITY ISN’T MERELY FOR OUR PLEASURE, BUT FOR GOD’S PURPOSES
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” GENESIS 50:20 (NLT) *see also LUKE 19:10, 2 PETER 3:9

This Week’s APP-
Change your perspective from one of poverty, to one of prosperity. Know that you are blessed to be a blessing & that God has good things in store for your life. Prosperity is for the purposes of God, not merely pleasure! Take time to meditate & think about Joshua 1, Psalm 1 & Psalm 112 this week & get ready to prosper!