Monday, November 26, 2012

Isolating Insecurity- Book Review

I recently read the book "Isolating Insecurity," and thought that it was fantastic so I wanted to review it and share some of the highlights!  I highly recommend investing into yourself by picking it up.  You can click here to purchase your own copy.  This topic is of great interest to me because I've experienced the effects of insecurity in my life and I have seen the effects that it has on the lives of so many others.  Here are a few thoughts that Pastor Paul de Jong shared in this important book.

Insecurity exists in all of us.  We are all riddled with the limiting power of insecurity.  Consider this:  any unchallenged limitation will always end up producing future restriction.  Only as we understand insecurity can we begin to isolate it.

Here are the 12 ways that you can identify insecurity in your life.  Insecurity:

  • Fosters self-doubt (self-doubt is the voice of insecurity)
  • Focuses on the safe (Insecurity breeds a 'play it safe' gene)
  • Block affirmation (Value is found in a revelation of who God has made us to be)
  • Justifies a lack of personal responsibility (Personal responsibility gives insecurity little room to move)
  • Develops in the dark room of discouragement (Discouragement is usually the outcome of disappointments that have not been handed back to God)
  • Becomes defensive and unteachable (Insecurity resists the acceptance of wise counsel)
  • Keeps you subject to the past (If we don't resist the past we restrict tomorrow)
  • Continues to place judgement (Judgement is our smokescreen to our weakness)
  • Resists relational connection (Insecurity repels the very connection we long for)
  • Constantly finds itself comparing others (Comparison stops you from discovering who you really are)
  • Controls or is controlled (Unrestrained insecurity often expresses itself in domination)
  • Creates a future of compromise (If you don't deal with insecurity today, it will compromise your tomorrow)

You can begin to isolate insecurity by putting into practice these 7 keys:

  1. Acknowledge it's presence (We render insecurity powerless when we stop pretending)
  2. Confront it's dominance (Your loudest voice will dominate your life)
  3. Release your past (We must let go of what we can't change)
  4. Understand your uniqueness (Accept who you are, God does)
  5. Embrace your future (Our greatest failure is expecting never to fail)
  6. Establish effective boundaries (Insecurity grows once we are isolated)
  7. Continue insecurity check -ups (I am a work in progress)
Remember-  If you don't isolate insecurity, it will isolate you!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Christmas Year-End Offering 2012



The Christmas Year End Offering is a year-end giving initiative that focuses on expanding our reach to people who need Jesus. This offering is above our normal tithes and offering. We will be receiving our Christmas offering beginning on Sunday December 16 & continuing the rest of the year. Please pray about being a part of this exciting opportunity as we spread hope into the new year!  

4 Ways That We Will Spread Hope This Christmas Though Our Year-End Offering!

#1 - In conjunction with the Spangler’s, our missionaries to Honduras, we will establish a church plant by providing facilities & support for their community outreach.

#2 - We will continue to help with Hurricane Sandy relief efforts by partnering with Oasis Church in Staten Island, NY to minister to that community.

#3 - We want to continue to expand our amazing youth ministry by providing a new van.  This will enable them to bring more teens to experience Jesus every week.

#4 - It is important that we continue to spread hope in our community at both locations by ending the year strong here at home.


OUR END OF THE YEAR CHRISTMAS OFFERING GOAL IS  $75,000

You can make a pledge or give to our year-end offering by clicking here!



Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Join Our 30 Day Fast From Negative Thinking This Weekend!


Isn’t it time to move forward into the life that God has for you?  This weekend we begin a 30 day challenge that will forever change your mind and your life!  You will never have a positive life with a negative mind. Negative thoughts disrupt God’s plan, and will steal your joy, peace and contentment in life.  Over the next 30 days you will learn how to overcome negative thinking so that you can experience God’s goodness in every area of your life!  Here’s how you can be a part of this life-changing experience.

1.  Be a part of our church each week!  Join us live (Christiana or Coatesville) or online (www.freedomlife.tv) during this series for Bible based messages that will help you keep moving forward in your faith!

2.  We're encouraging each person to wear a rubber band on their wrist.  Why? Well, the rubber band will serve as a visible and physical reminder for you to learn to patrol & control your thoughts.  Pausing and considering the implications of negative and toxic thinking will forever change your life.

3.  We're encouraging each person to follow along with our reading program for the next month.  Together we will read a devotional called, "30 Thoughts For Victorious Living," by Joel Osteen.  We will be giving away this booklet at our weekend experiences as well as posting the daily thought on our facebook/twitter.  We will also be focusing on reading 2 books of Bible over the next 30 days: Ephesians and Philippians. (consider using the online Bible app youversion.com) This will empower you to change your pattern of thinking.  The old way of thinking must be replaced with a new focus.  

4.  A 30 Day Small group will provide an opportunity for you to study deeper as well as develop better relationships within the church family.  You can host a small group together with your friends, or enemies ;-), all you need is a DVD player.  To find out more about hosting or being a part of a small group, email info@freedomlife.tv!

For more information about how to get connected to the life of our church, visit our website at www.freedomlife.tv!

MOVING FORWARD —>>> 30 Day Fast From Negative Thinking


This past weekend I adapted a message from Pastor Rick Warren for the launch of our new series called, Moving Forward!  Below are 5 things that are true about your life whenever you make the decision to follow Jesus.  When you confess Jesus as Lord of your life, you move from being God's creation to God's child and all things become new.  Consider these thoughts and scriptures below...

“You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”  1 Peter 2:9-10

Part 1-  YOUR NEW IDENTITY IN CHRIST

1.  YOU HAVE BEEN CHOSEN BY GOD.
“He chose us in him before the creation of the world, to be holy and blameless in his sight by his love.”  Eph. 1:4
“You have been CHOSEN by God himself!”  1 Pet. 2:9 (LB)

2.  YOU HAVE INCREDIBLE VALUE.
“You are a HOLY nation, a people BELONGING to God!” 1 Peter 2:9
“You are a people holy to the Lord your God… his treasured possession.” Deut. 7:6 (NIV)
“God says, ‘You are precious to me.’”  Isa. 43:4 (TEV)

3.  YOU ARE LOVED BY GOD.
“Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God.” 1 Peter 2:10
“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” Jeremiah 31:3 (NLT)
“God’s love is eternal and his faithfulness lasts forever.”  Psalm 100:5 (TEV)

4.  YOU ARE COMPLETELY FORGIVEN. 
“At one time you did not know God’s mercy, but now you have received his mercy.” 1 Peter 2:10 (TEV)
“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Rom. 8:1
“I am the God who forgives your sins, and I do this because of who I am. I will not hold your sins against you.” Isa. 43:25 (TEV)

5.  YOU ARE FULLY EQUIPPED. 
“You are royal priests … chosen to tell about the wonderful acts of God, who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9 (NCV)
“The capacity we have comes from God; it is he who made us capable of serving the new covenant…” 2 Cor. 3:5-6 (TEV)
“I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” Phil. 4:13

Monday, October 1, 2012

4 Declarations To Jumpstart Your Week


God is given many different names in the Bible.  For example, he is called our Redeemer, a Rebuilder, a strong tower, our healer, a shield and many more.  One I think that often gets overlooked is God as Restorer.  From Genesis to Revelation, God is all about restoration.  Restoration means the following:

Restoration-  re·stored, re·stor·ing, re·stores
1. To bring back into existence or use; reestablish: restore law and order.
2. To bring back to an original condition: restore a building. 
3. To put (someone) back in a former position
4. To make restitution of; give back: restore the stolen funds.

Key Question-  Do you believe that God desires to restore every area of your life?  

What you believe about God will always determine what you believe Him for.  If you believe that He is a restorer, you will believe that he can restore your life.  Faith is the key to receiving anything from God.  Hebrews 11:1 reminds us,"Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see." (see also Romans 4:18, Psalm 119:81)
Why not determine right now to have a “restoration” mentality.  Now is the time to release your faith.  Here are 4 thoughts that you can declare over your life today!

#1  God Is Restoring My Soul

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul...”.  Psalm 23:1-3

Encourage yourself. Don’t settle in the valley of darkness. That is not your destination. Keep moving forward.  The Bible reminds us to speak to our soul and to make a declaration of hope! (Ps. 42:5-6, 11; 43:5).  Regardless of how you feel, why not go ahead say, "God is restoring my soul!"

#2  God Is Restoring My Wasted Years

“Then I will make up to you for the years that the... locust have eaten...”.  Joel 2:25 (NLT)  God is able to restore even wasted years.  Though you may feel down, with God, you're never out! Proverbs 24:16 reminds us that, “The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again...”. (NLT)  God can make the latter greater than the former.  Instead of focusing on what you have been through, begin to focus on what God is bringing to you.

#3  God Is Restoring Double For My Trouble

“Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope. Even today I declare that I will restore double to you.”  Zechariah 9:12  I am sure that you have heard the expression, “When life throws lemons at you, make lemonade!” Today, rest in the understanding that when the devil throws lemons at you, God Himself will make lemonade!  The Bible says that God works all things together for your good. (Romans 8:28) Believe that God can restore double to you, so that you end up having more than before, if not in quantity, then in quality! Remember Job in the Old Testament. When he lost everything, his wife told him to simply curse God and die. Instead, he responded to God in faith, and “the Lord gave to Job twice as much as he had before." (Job 42:10)

#4  God Is Restoring My Dreams.

When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem, it was like a dream! 2 We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy.  And the other nations said,  “What amazing things the Lord has done for them.” 3 Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us!  What joy! 4 Restore our fortunes, Lord, as streams renew the desert. 5 Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. 6 They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.”   Psalm 126:1-6

This powerful Psalm is a reminder that God is a restorer of dreams.  You may find yourself in a season of tears, but today is a new day.  Choose to begin again and prepare for a harvest of joy!

Declare today that God is restoring your soul, your wasted years, your dreams and that He is giving back to you double for everything that the enemy stolen from you!  GOD IS A RESTORER!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What Is This Church About & Why Are So Many Of The Pastors Bald?

As our church family prepares to become 1 church in 2 locations, I've been answering questions about who we are as a church and what we are all about.  Maybe you follow me, or our church, on twitter or Facebook.  Maybe you've received an invite or simply got REALLY lost and happened to walk into one of our services and thought, "What is this church all about and why are so many of the pastors bald?"  I wanted to post some thoughts to help you understand both of these question.  First, the baldness is genetics so we can't help it. Second, the church is the family of God and it exists for very specific Biblical reasons.  
Every church needs to have a purpose statement that answers the question, “why do we exist?”  The answer to that question is simple, the church exists for JESUS!  According to the Bible, the church should be based upon the 5 purposes that God has for the church and for each individual Christian.  These purposes are found in the following 2 verses:
“Love the Lord Your God (Worship) with all your heart…soul…and mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it:  Love Your Neighbor (Ministry) as yourself.  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  Matthew 22:36-40
“Go and Make Disciples (Evangelism) of all nations, Baptizing Them (Fellowship) in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Teaching Them To Do (Discipleship) everything I have commanded you.”  Matthew 28:19-20
These 5 purposes enable us to have a Biblically balanced life and church by doing the following:
  • Worship- worshipping God weekly.
  • Ministry- Serving other people unselfishly.
  • Evangelism- Sharing our faith effectively.
  • Fellowship- Connecting with the church regularly.
  • Discipleship- Growing in maturity daily.  
These purposes have enabled us to define the reason we exist in this one simple purpose statement: “Freedom Life exists to help people experience the freedom and life that only God has to offer!”     
OUR MISSION: Love God, Love People and Love Life!  
OUR CORE VALUES:
Lost people matter to God, so they matter to us
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Investing into the next generation through exciting children and youth ministries
“… We will tell the next generation about the Lord’s power and great deeds and the miraculous things he has done.”  Psalm 78:4
Fellowship through small groups and serving
“We must also consider how to encourage each other to show love and to do good things. We should not stop gathering together with other believers…” Hebrews 10:24-25
Encouragement through relevant Biblical ministry
“… the Scriptures were written to teach and encourage us by giving us hope.” Romans 15:4
In our church we see lots of people come to Jesus... lots of children and teenagers... lots of people in small groups, various ministries and serving... lots of people in our creative services and environments encountering Jesus.... Why?  We believe that if it's important to God, it should be important to us.  If you are interested in making it important to you, consider joining us this fall and making our church family, your spiritual family.  If you have more questions,  email us at info@freedomlife.tv today! 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Don't Miss The Momentum Round Table This September

Attention Church Leaders,    
I wanted to make you aware of a roundtable that I have put together for my friends who are senior pastor's and their key leaders.  I was hoping that you would consider joining me & that you would also help me get the word out to others that would benefit from this gathering! I have the privilege of hosting Pastor Steve Penny this September 14-18.  For many years Steve had been an effective pastor leading a very large multi-site church, as well as a church planter and a key leader in the Australian (AOG) Christian Churches.  This event will be held near our church (Family Center in Gap, Pa) in a more intimate setting and limited to the first 50 registrants.  Steve will be talking about how to keep your church moving forward to the next level.  The topics on that day will include:
  • Seven keys to a growing church 
  • Keys to successful multi-site ministry
  • Creating a winning culture 
  • Servants and stewards 
Pastor Steve has accomplished much of what I hope to do over the next 10 years during the Decade Of Destiny vision that God has given me for my church.  I wanted to create an opportunity for senior leaders to gather and gain wisdom from someone who has been able to have a long-term impact for the kingdom of God. The roundtable will be Monday, September 17, 2012 from 10 a.m.- 2p.m.

Steve will also be speaking that evening to our FaithWorks Evening college (7pm at Freedom Life), which will be open to our church family and the roundtable participants. I would love to have you join us that evening.

*For more information about Steve, click here
*To register for the round table, click here 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Check Out Our New Site (Coatesville location) Update!


TAKE A MOMENT & READ THE LATEST UPDATE FROM  JOSH BLACKMUN (our Coatesville Campus Pastor) IN REGARD TO OUR NEW SITE LAUNCHING OCTOBER 7, 2012!  FIND OUT HOW TO STAY IN THE LOOP & HOW TO GET INVOLVED!  Did you read our summer newsletter?  I give a full update in their as well... you can read it here (click here)!

Hello everyone!

I hope you are doing well.  The time is flying by as we approach the launch of the next Freedom Life Location – Coatesville!

Can I encourage you? We are on to something here and I can tell you the Devil wants to see us fail. I am not one to see the Devil around every corner, but I am telling you there is a spiritual battle going on right now! I have seen it in my own family, and in the lives of others in the church.  If you find yourself or your family under any particular hardship right now, do not be dismayed, do not be persuaded,  and do not lose hope.  Stand on the word:

    PSALM 31:7 - I am overcome with joy because of your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul.

    ROMANS 15:13 - So I pray that God, who gives you hope, will keep you happy and full of peace as you believe in him. May you overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The bible tells us that God is for us not against us, and no weapon formed against us will prosper.  We WILL launch a new location in Coatesville and we WILL bring the Freedom and Life that only GOD can offer to people desperate and longing for something genuine.  Make this your confession:

   2 SAMUEL 8:6 – I have victory wherever I go.

Make no mistake, we are on the right path!  With that said, pray without ceasing, stay in the word daily, and guard your hearts against the enemy who would seek to destroy us from within.  Be sure to let me know what we can be praying for you about!

Here is a look at what lies ahead for the Coatesville site:

THE DETAILS:
  • I am meeting with Pastor Chad this week to place the order for the bulk of our sound, lighting and video equipment.  
  • Keith Kerstetter is busy at work on our new signage for the new location, including a wrap for that rolling billboard we bought (the box truck!).
  • We received the rental contract / agreement from Coatesville Area School District (CASD) and are finalizing a the contract.
OPPORTUNITIES TO SERVE:

We have real needs as we launch this site and there are three ways you can serve to make an eternal kingdom impact:
  1. Time – help us recruit, come along side and join us.  We cannot do it without you!
  2. Talent – serve at Freedom Life!  We have many ministry opportunities where YOU can make a difference.  Worship Team, Children’s Team, CafĂ©, Ushers, Security, Greeters, Tech, Creative, Transportation, Welcome table, Next Steps Table.  If you have not already made a commitment would you consider serving twice a month in one of these capacities at our current or new location?  The bible says in James Chapter 2 that faith without works is dead...it is your hands, your feet, your voice that communicate the gospel here on the earth.  We cannot do it without you!
  3. Treasure – we have an opportunity to change lives forever and we cannot do it if we are not funded.  We are still raising money as part of our Decade of Destiny campaign, part of which includes $100,000 for the Coatesville location.  Would you consider being part of what God is doing and support the expansion of Freedom Life into Coatesville?  We cannot do it without you!
VISION MEETING (aka fiesta):

August 19th @ 6:30pm in the Gym @ Freedom Life. I will be bringing the legendary beef brisket and pulled pork from Something Grilled in Honey Brook.  We are looking for side dishes, nachos, deserts, and drinks from those who can provide.  If you cannot bring something no problem, if you can please let me know what you are bringing. And yes, Nachos is it’s own category!

This is a key meeting, and is our last vision meeting as a group before we go to our preview services.  Please be there and please think of someone within the church or your community who who be blessed to be part of Freedom Life’s Coatesville campus and bring them along!

LEADERSHIP SUMMIT:

August 24th @ 6:30 p.m is our next Leadership Summit at Freedom Life Main Campus!  If you volunteer in any way within the church you are a leader!!  Please plan on attending this important meeting.  (Dinner and Childcare are provided).  As we move forward our leadership summits will be combined at the main campus, as will our First Wednesday Services.

FUTURE UPDATES:

I will be sending out updates every Tuesday so stay tuned for more information.  If you have any questions in the interim reach out to me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/joshblackmun or via email here.

THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR CONTINUED COMMITMENT!

Cheers,

Josh Blackmun
Campus Pastor, Freedom Life 
t. @joshblackmun

Friday, January 6, 2012

How To Live A Joy-Filled Life No Matter What!


Did you know the word "rejoice" is mentioned over 190 times in the Bible? Think about that for a moment. Do you know why it's mentioned so many times? In my own life, when I say something to my 5 children over and over again, it's because I believe that what I'm saying is important.  I want to make sure that they really understand because it's for their good!  The apostle Paul writing from prison in Rome said, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4)  So many people desire to have a joy-filled life but have no idea how to have begin!

 You Must Understand That You Can’t Live A Positive, Joy-filled Life With A Negative Mind.  If your mind is filled with worry, insecurity, guilt, sadness, fearful imaginations & inaccurate assumptions, then your life cannot be filled with joy.  God's Word reminds us to, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8 (NLT)  There are 8 thought provoking & life altering categories listed in that 1 verse that remind you to “... let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” Romans 12:2 (NLT)  The more you think about something, the stronger it takes hold of you, which is why the Bible teaches that we should, "Run from anything that gives you the evil thoughts . . . but stay close to anything that makes you want to do right." (2 Timothy 2:22, LB)

WHEN YOU FILL YOUR MIND WITH THESE 4 THOUGHTS, THEY WILL FILL YOUR LIFE WITH JOY!

THOUGHT #1-  I Have Hope Because Of God.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  Romans 15:13  Depression, discouragement & fear are present when hope is absent.  Jesus has come to give you life (John 10:10) & faith for your future & hope in every circumstance.  The Greek word for "hope" is elpo meaning "to look forward to with pleasurable confidence and expectation." If we have hope, we can have joy!  We're reminded of this in Romans 12:12, which tells us, “Be joyful in hope...”. (NIV)  It has been said that a person can live 40 days without food, 3 days without water, 8 minutes without air, but not 1 minute without hope.  If you're a follower of Christ, no situation is completely hopeless because our hope is in Him! (see also Romans 5:1-2, Hebrews 11:1, Zechariah 9:12)

THOUGHT #2-  God Has A Purpose For My Life & My Problems. 
Matthew Barnett once said, "One day we will all shake hands with our biggest trial and realize it was our best friend." Far to many people have the misconception that when they get rid of their problems, they will be happy. But we are never going to get rid of all our problems as long as we are alive. Joy is learning to enjoy life in spite of problems. That is why Paul says we rejoice in (not because of) suffering: God is always with us. “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”  Romans 5:3-5 (see also Romans 8:28)

Key thought-  Joy is not found in the absence of problems, it’s found in the presence of Jesus!  (Romans 5:11, Matthew 1:23, Isaiah 43:2"


THOUGHT #3-  God Is With Me Every Where That I Go!
You are never truly alone!  We're reminded of this in the story of Jesus' birth in Matthew 1:23, it says, “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” (NLT)  Romans 5:11says this as well, “So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.” (NLT)  We can be joyful in any circumstances because God is always with those who believe in Him! We have become God’s friends/partners, and this friendship will last forever.  Take comfort in the words of Isaiah the prophet who said, “When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through fire, you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you.” (Isaiah 43:2)


THOUGHT #4-  God Loves Me & Doesn’t Condemn Me!
God sent Jesus to save the world (you & I), not to condemn it!  Read these incredible verses & rest & receive His Grace!
“God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation (wrath).”  Romans 5:8-9 (NLT)
“... God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”  John 3:17 (NIV)
There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 (NLT)
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”  Hebrews 13:8 (NLT)

Key Thought-  It's your choice to rejoice.  You can have joy in your life today, no matter what, because of Jesus! “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty,18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!  Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NLT)