Thursday, January 28, 2010

Believe That You Can! Trust Him With Your Dreams

Believe That You Can! I love dreaming big dreams! Life becomes dull and boring unless you're dreaming of what can be and what God can do through you! Below is a great devotional from Joel Osteen ministries that will encourage you to hold onto your dream! Keep believing and trusting because God is able! While you're waiting for those dreams to come to pass, enjoy today! Choose to seize each moment and not simply live for the future. God is the God of the past, present & future. Trust him with your past, in the present, for the future!

"I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives"
(John 12:24, NLT)

TRUST HIM WITH YOUR DREAMS!

It's good to be passionate about your dreams, but did you know a dream can become an idol? If that's all you think about and you're not going to be happy unless it happens your way, that's out of balance. The fact is, sometimes you have to put that dream on the altar.

Are you frustrated because you're trying to force things to happen on your timetable? Sometimes we hold on to things so tightly, but actually, when we let them go, that's when God can bring them to pass. If you'll release that frustration and not let it become the center of your attention, but instead use that same time and energy to thank God that He's directing your steps, you open the door for God to give you the desires of your heart.

We have to remember, God already knows what we want and what we are in need of. He's the One who put those desires in us. We shouldn't be consumed by trying to make things happen. Instead, a greater act of faith is to be happy right where you are; to stay open and trust God because He has good plans in store for your future!

A PRAYER FOR TODAY

Father God, today I release my dreams, my desires, my "wants" like a seed falling to the ground. I know that You have a good plan for my future, and I trust You to bring it to pass in my life. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Believe That You Can, Part 4- Prosperity

Today we had a fantastic day at Freedom Life! The whole team did a great job pulling off the biggest (non-holiday) day that we've ever had! 3 people made decisions to follow Jesus and God's presence was there in a powerful way. I shared the closing message of our series that is based on our theme for 2010, "Believe That You Can." Today's theme was, "Believe That You Can Prosper." Here are the notes below!

Prosperity: the condition of being successful or thriving; especially : economic well-being; a successful, flourishing, or thriving condition, esp. in financial respects; good fortune.
The other Hebrew word that is commonly translated "prosperity" is salom or shalom. This word means "peace and well-being" in every sense: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. So shalom entails health, security, tranquility, success, safety, comfort, and welfare. It also signifies peaceful relationships, relationships among people that are marked by these characteristics.

GOD DESIRES TO PROSPER YOU!
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
No weapon formed against you shall prosper...This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD...". Isaiah 54:17

1. FAITHFUL OBEDIENCE IS THE KEY TO PROSPERITY. (Daniel 6, Deuteronomy 30)
"Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. Job 22:21
Carefully follow the terms of this covenant, so that you may prosper in everything you do. Deuteronomy 29:9
(see also Proverbs 13:21, Proverbs 21:21, Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1, Proverbs 28:13)

2. GENEROSITY IS THE HEART OF GOD & THE REASON FOR PROSPERITY.
 It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35
One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. Proverbs 11:24-25


(see also 
2 Corinthians 9:6-8, 11)

THREE MINDSETS ABOUT PROSPERITY
  1) THE BAG: NOT ENOUGH
.
…You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes. Hag 1:6 NKJV
 

2) THE BASKET: MORE THAN ENOUGH.

The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock…5 Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed. 6 You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out. Deut 28:4-6


3) THE BARN: INFINITELY MORE THAN ENOUGH.

The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to... Deut 8:8           
Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing… Proverbs 3:9-10

HOW MUCH CAN GOD BLESS YOU WITH?
Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? Luke 16:10-11 (see also Luke 12:16-21, Malachi 3)

Which mindset do you have about prosperity? In what area of your life do you need to more generous with God's resources? Have you committed to Biblical principle of tithing and giving? What's stopping you from trusting God?

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Attitude Of An Overcomer

I read a fantastic devotional today that I wanted to pass along. The devotional is all about our attitude. The key to each of us fulfilling our God-ordained destiny is found within our attitude. It is our perspective & the way that we look at life. I challenge you to be a person of faith, hope & expectancy! Develop the attitude of an overcomer and you will overcome!

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE
"For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith"
(I John 5:4, NIV)

TODAY'S WORD from Joel and Victoria
Are you facing some challenges or experiencing some unexpected setbacks? We all have things that come against us, but God didn't create us to be overwhelmed and overcome; He created us to be overcomers!

During those times when we do face challenges, it's our attitude that is really most important. Think about it for a minute. When something isn't going your way month after month, how do you respond? Are you tempted to get sour or start expecting the worst? Does your mind start going "ninety-to-nothing" playing out all the scenarios? It may be easy to get down and discouraged, but if we go around thinking it's never going to work out, our attitude limits what God can do. But when we dig our heels in knowing that God is bigger than our problems and that He already has a way out, when we fight the good fight of faith, that's what allows God to show up and turn negative situations around.

Today, remember, you are created to overcome. There is victory already in store for your future. Stand strong with the attitude of an overcomer and watch what God will do on your behalf!

A PRAYER FOR TODAY
" Father in heaven, thank You for making me an overcomer in Christ Jesus. I trust that You are bigger than my problems and that You are working on my behalf. Thank You for the victory in store for my future! In Jesus' Name. Amen."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

If a 10 year old can hear God's voice, so can you! PART 2

Yesterday I shared 2 ways to know that God is leading you. Today I'd like to share 5 more, so here we go...When making decisions...

3. MAKE SURE YOUR CHURCH FAMILY (GODLY FRIENDS) CONFIRM IT?

"God's intent is that through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known." Eph. 3:10
"The wisdom of the righteous can save you." Pr. 11:9 (GN)

4. MAKE SURE IT’S CONSISTENT WITH HOW GOD HAS WIRED YOU.

"We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do." Eph. 2:10
"God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. . ." Rom. 12:6 (LB)

5. MAKE SURE TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT GOD'S WILL FOR YOUR LIFE, NOT EVERYONE ELSE'S.

"We will all be judged one day, not by each other's standards, or even our own, but by the
judgment of God. . . it is to God alone that we shall have to answer for our actions."
Rom.14:10, 13 (Ph)

This is important especially in the stream of faith that I swim. The prophetic is important but sometimes people can be focused on what everyone else should be doing. When God does speak a word to us for someone else we would do well to remember that God will mostly use you or I to confirm what He's already said to them. Many times God will use you and speak through you even without you knowing it which is pretty cool. Moving on...

6. IT IS CONVICTING RATHER THAN CONDEMNING.

"If we confess our sins to him, God can be depended on to forgive us and cleanse us from every wrong." 1 John 1:9 (LB)
"Satan is the accuser of believers." Rev. 12;10

The differences between CONVICTION & CONDEMNATION is... conviction is from God and it let's you know when you have sinned, condemnation is from Satan and it tells you that you are worthless.

7. YOU SHOULD SENSE PEACE ABOUT IT.

"God is not the author of confusion." 1 Cor. 14:33
"Let the peace of God rule in your hearts..." Col. 3:15

These 7 ways I believe will be helpful to you as you make important decisions in your life. If you get it wrong and make a bad decision, relax! God' grace is enough and you never know how God will use even our screw-ups for His glory. You can't lose so go and do something great for God! This year believe that you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength! (Phil. 4:13)

If a 10 year old can hear God's voice, so can you!

This is my 3rd Daniel Fast in the last 3 years and I must say that it never gets easier! I still prefer dessert over salad any day of the week and I'm pretty sure that that will never change! What is changing though is me. I'm fasting for a spiritual breakthrough and believing that God to move in my life, my family & our church. Fasting also enables us to hear God clearer as we spend more time with Him and in His Word. How do you know that God is speaking to you? That's a great question isn't it? My 10 year old daughter, Mikayla, heard God speak to her this weekend. No, not in an audible James Earl Jones voice. She heard a still small voice encouraging her to raise $365 toward the missions goal of the church for this year. So I guess that begs the question, can a 10 year old really hear from God? It makes me wonder if a 35 year old (that's me) can hear from God. How do you know if God is speaking to you and how do you know if it's legit?

What if we could 'sniff out' with K-9 like ability the path that God is leading our lives each day? So many times I have made dumb decisions and filed it under the "I feel like God is leading me" excuse that we as Christians revere so deeply. Since the Bible teaches us that God does lead us, how do we know for sure that it is Him and not our own selfish desires or creative imagination? I recently read an article by Rick Warren on this very topic and He shared some great stuff that I'd like to share with you. The 7 ways that God leads us can be used as a filter to help us make sure that we are on the path that God is leading and not simply following our own desires.

The first way that we can know that God is leading us is to test whether or not our decision, feelings or even someone else's opinion is from; ourselves (Proverbs 14:12), God (Job 33:14), or Satan (2 Cor. 11:14). 1 John 4:1 says, "Don't always believe everything you hear just because someone says it is a message from God; test it first to see if it really is!"

Here are the first 2 ways to be sure that God is leading you and you are not misleading you!

1. MAKE SURE YOUR DECISION AGREES WITH GOD'S WORD.

"Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will never pass away." Lk. 21:33
"Even if an angel should preach a different `gospel' than this let him be eternally condemned!" Gal. 1:8

We need to be careful to interpret scripture correctly when using this evaluation. We can read anything we want into scripture if we are desperate enough. We need to let God place what He wants into our hearts through His Word. Keep everything in context.

2. MAKE SURE YOUR DECISION MAKES YOU MORE LIKE JESUS CHRIST

"In your lives you must think and act like Christ Jesus." Phil 2:5 (NCV)
"If you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition. . . such `wisdom' doesn't come from heaven... but is of the devil. The wisdom that comes from God is... pure, peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy, impartial and sincere." James 3:14-17

God's desire is not merely for our temporary happiness. That is painful to read I know! I want God to want what I want. It is important to remember that God doesn't always lead us to the path of least resistance.

Tune in this week for the remaining 5 ways to be sure that God is leading you!

Friday, January 8, 2010

21 Days of Prayer & Fasting Starts This Weekend!

It's time to go after it this year and believe that you can accomplish the God given dreams that He has placed in your heart! Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” So many times we limit what God can do in and through our lives because we simply don’t believe! This year we’re taking the limits off. We're going to give, pray & fast as if it's our last year to suck oxygen on this earth! As you join me in fasting this coming weekend, here are a few thoughts...

FASTING OPTIONS
Full Fast- Drink only liquids (you establish the number of days).
The Daniel Fast- Eat no meat, no sweets, and no bread. Drink water and juice. Eat fruits and vegetables.
3-Day Fast- This fast can be a Full Fast, a Daniel Fast, or a fast giving up at least one item of food.
Partial Fast- A partial fast is from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm or from sun up to sundown. This fast can be a Full Fast, a Daniel Fast, or a fast giving up at least one item of food.
Scripture References for Fasting: Matthew 6:16-18, Matthew 9:14-15, Luke 18:9-14
Relation to Prayer & Reading of the Word: 1 Sam. 1:6-8, 17-18, Neh. 1:4, Dan. 9:3, 20, Joel 2:12, Lk. 2:37, Acts 10:30, Acts 13:2
Corporate Fasting: 1 Samuel 7:5-6, Ezra 8:21-23, Nehemiah 9:1-3, Joel 2:15-16, Jonah 3:5-10, Acts 27:33-37
WHAT IS FASTING?
SIMPLY STATED, BIBLICAL FASTING IS REFRAINING FROM FOOD FOR A SPIRITUAL PURPOSE.
The fast, as explained in the weekend service, is a spiritual discipline designed to better connect us with God. As a church, we are fasting in order to deepen our relationship with God and to walk in step with His plan and purpose. The best way to do this is to redirect our food source or something else of importance to us. This is accomplished through substituting our regular food intake with Bible reading, praying and journaling. The overall goal is to experience a genuine hunger for spending time with God.
According to the Bible, there are three duties of every Christian: give, pray, and fast. Fasting takes a lot of discipline and strength – strength which you can only receive from God. Your private discipline will bring you rewards in Heaven, as stated in Matthew 6. When you give God your first through fasting, prayer, and giving at the beginning of the year, you set the course for the entire year.
Why should I fast?
1. Are you in need of healing or a miracle?
2. Do you need the tender touch of God in your life?
3. Is there a dream inside you that only He can make possible?
4. Are you in need of a fresh encounter?
5. Do you desire a deeper, more intimate and powerful relationship with the Lord?
6. Are you ready to have heightened sensitivity to the desires of God?
7. Do you need to break away from a bondage that have been holding you hostage?
8. Is there a friend or loved one that needs Salvation?
9. Do you desire to know God's will for your life?


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

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Believe That You Can, Part 1- Closing Story

A few people asked me about the story that I closed with during the second service, so here it is! Great story, be encouraged & don't ever give up on the dream that God has placed on the inside of you.

"Thomas Edison invented the microphone, the phonograph, the incandescent light, the storage battery, talking movies, and more than 1000 other things. December 1914 he had worked for 10 years on a storage battery. This had greatly strained his finances. This particular evening spontaneous combustion had broken out in the film room. Within minutes all the packing compounds, celluloid for records and film, and other flammable goods were in flames. Fire companies from eight surrounding towns arrived, but the heat was so intense and the water pressure so low that the attempt to douse the flames was futile. Everything was destroyed. Edison was 67.

With all his assets going up in a whoosh (although the damage exceeded two million dollars, the buildings were only insured for $238,000 because they were made of concrete and thought to be fireproof), would his spirit be broken?

The inventor’s 24-year old son, Charles, searched frantically for his father. He finally found him, calmly watching the fire, his face glowing in the reflection, his white hair blowing in the wind. “My heart ached for him,” said Charles. “He was 67—no longer a young man—and everything was going up in flames. When he saw me, he shouted, ‘Charles, where’s your mother?’ When I told him I didn’t know, he said, ‘Find her. Bring her here. She will never see anything like this as long as she lives.’”

The next morning, Edison looked at the ruins and said, “There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew.” Three weeks after the fire, Edison managed to deliver the first phonograph."
Swindoll, Hand Me Another Brick, Thomas Nelson, 1978, pp. 82-3

Believe That You Can, Part 1


Today I shared with our church family some thoughts about where we've been over this past year and where we are headed in 2010. It was exciting to celebrate the stories and stats that point to God's power and His faithfulness. I also shared some of the dreams that we have as a church for this year. If you'd like to read about our upcoming 21 day fast & faith goals for 2010, you can do so by clicking here.

Our theme for this year is something that God had put on my heart about 8 months ago and it is based on this statement, "Believe That You Can." The thought comes from the Biblical passage found in Philippians 4:13, which says, “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” So many times we grow stagnant, accept mediocrity & even quit on our dreams. The truth is that we can do great things with our lives because Jesus Christ lives on the inside of us by His Holy Spirit. This year we can really believe that we can because He (God) can! We don't need to fill our hearts with fear, doubt & disbelief any longer. We can stay full of hope and believe for big dreams from a big God! The Bible reminds us that “God can do anything, you know-- far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!” Eph. 3:20 (MSG) It also tells us that "…No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him" (I Corinthians 2:9, NIV) We can dare to dream big because has big dreams for our lives!

How do you get a God given and driven dream for your life? It all starts with a burden. The Prophet Habakkuk, Moses, & Nehemiah are just some of the Biblical characters that did great things during the time that they sucked oxygen on this earth. For each of them, it began with a deep burden.
1. God inspired dreams are the result of a God given BURDEN.
Every single one of us are unique and called by God to make our mark in this world, for His Kingdom. Your burden will be different than others, but it should be for the same purpose. God's Kingdom.
2. When the burden becomes a dream, write it down.
Talk about your dream, pray about it, right it down and at the appointed time, act on it! God told an Old Testament prophet this, "I will give you my message in the form of a vision. Write it clearly enough to be read at a glance. 3At the time I have decided, my words will come true. You can trust what I say about the future. It may take a long time, but keep on waiting--it will happen!" (Habakkuk 2:2-4 CEV)
3. Don't ever quit on a God given dream!
The Bible reminds us in Hebrews 12:1-2, “Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” Don't give up, don't quit, keep trusting and keep persevering! God finishes everything that He starts!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010 Update & Newsletter


Tomorrow I will be launching our new series & theme for 2010 called, "Believe That You Can!" The Apostle Paul said this very powerful statement to the church in Philippi many years ago, he said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13) So often we look at our difficulties and circumstances and think that there is nothing that we can do. We put our vision and dreams on the back burner and determine to live out our days merely sucking oxygen. This year I want to challenge you to believe in yourself! God made you, He created you and has called you according to His purpose. You were made in His image! You have value, you are called & you are able. This year I want to challenge you to believe that you can because HE can! God has big dreams for your life! It’s time to rise up and fulfill those dreams that He has placed within your heart for His Kingdom! Remember this, "…No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him" (I Corinthians 2:9, NIV) Believe that you can do great things this year through the strength and power of the living Christ! To read our 2010 Winter/Spring newsletter & find out everything that we are believing God for this year, click here.