Monday, December 22, 2014

LET IT GO, Part 3- How To Let Go Of Loneliness

You Can Watch The Message Let It Go!  Part 3-  How To Let Go Of Loneliness At Our Online Experience! (click here

HOW TO LET GO OF LONELINESS
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone…”.  Genesis 2:18

Loneliness is a complex and usually unpleasant emotional response to isolation or lack of companionship.

CAUSES OF LONELINESS
Transitions | Separations | Opposition | Rejection | Unmet Needs

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU’RE STRUGGLING WITH LONELINESS?
"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:8-11

 •  You Feel UNWORTHY
 •  You Feel INADEQUATE
 •  You Feel UNLOVED

YOU CAN LET GO OF LONELINESS BECAUSE:

 1. God is WITH You
 "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.’"  Matthew 1:23 (NLT)

 Key Thought: Choose to turn your loneliness into aloneness with God.

 2. God has Placed PEOPLE Around You
 "So it is with Christ's body. We are all parts of his one body, and each of us has different work to do. And since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other,   and each of us needs all the others.” Romans 12:5

 Key Thought: Mary gave birth to Jesus, and Jesus gave birth to the churchThe first gave us relationship with God, the second relationship with one another.

 Pathway Of Purpose - Inquire at VIP Guest Services or Visit www.freedomlife.tv
 First Steps - Sunday, January 4, 2015 @ FL_CHR & FL_CV
 Baptism - January 7, 2015 @ First Wednesday
 Growth Track - Saturday, Jan 3rd @ FL_CHR | Sunday, Jan 4th at the Blackmun’s
 Dream Team Celebration (formerly Leadership Summit) on Friday, Jan 23rd
 Small groups - Sign-ups begin Sunday, Jan 18th, or email groups@freedomlife.tv

Sunday, December 14, 2014

LET IT GO, Part 2— How To Let Go Of Your Trouble

You Can Watch The Message Let It Go!  Part 2-  How To Let Go Of Your Trouble At Our Online Experience! (click here

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”  Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)

THE TROUBLED HEART OF HEROD   (Matthew 2:1-3, 16)
  • INSECURITY  uncertainty or anxiety about oneself; lack of confidence.  (John 8:14 / 1 Peter 2:9 / Isaiah 54:17 ) 
  • OFFENSE—  (skandalon)  a trap, snare, stumbling block  (Luke 17:1 / Proverbs 18:19 /  Mark 11:25 )
  • UNFORGIVENESS—  a grudge against someone who has offended you  (Matthew 18:21-22  / Luke 23:34 ) 
Key Thought— Forgiveness may not change the past, but it opens up an incredible future.  A future that is unhindered by your past hurt and pain, grudges, or regrets. Let it go and let God do something new!

HOW TO LET GO OF THE TROUBLE IN YOUR HEART

"Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.” John 14:1 (NLT)

1.  Stop Making EXCUSES For Being So Sensitive.  (Ephesians 4:31-32)
2.  Let Go Of Your RIGHTS to be offended. (Proverbs 19:11)
3.  DECLARE Forgiveness Out Loud. (Romans 10:9, 1 John 1:9)
4.  Stop TALKING About It.  (Proverbs 18:21)
5.  BELIEVE That It Is Done And Don’t Look Back. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Key Thought—  Choose To Become Secure, Overcome Offenses And Forgive by FAITH —not be what you FEEL.  

“… but the angel reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior--yes, the Messiah, the Lord--has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!”  Luke 2:10-11 (NLT)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Let It Go! Part 1- How To Let Go Of Fear

You Can Watch The Message Let It Go!  Part 1-  How To Let Go Of Fear Right Now At Our Online Experience! (click here
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)

1.  ADMIT THAT YOU HAVE FEAR.

2.    UNDERSTAND THAT FEAR HAS POWER.

It CONSUMES your mind.  (Psalm 13:2) 
It CLOUDS your judgment. (John 12:42)
 It CONTROLS your life.  (Jeremiah 6:24) 

“I’ve been through some terrible times in my life, a few of which actually happened.” —Mark Twain

3.  RECOGNIZE YOUR GREATEST FEARS

Fear Of What GOD Is ASKING You To Do.  
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”  29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! Luke 1:26-30 (NLT)

"The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.”  1 Thessalonians 5:24 (NIV)

“Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” Luke 1:38 NLT

Key Thought—  When responding to this fear, remember that the outcome is God’s responsibility but OBEDIENCE is yours.  Determine to trust God’s plans.

Fear Of What Other People THINK Of You. 

18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement[a] quietly.  20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus,[b] for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:18-21(NLT)

"Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” Prov. 29:25

Key Thought-  Focusing On Pleasing God Often Means DISAPPOINTING People.  Becoming obsessed with what people think about you is the quickest way to forget what God thinks about you.  

4.   LET IT (FEAR) GO BY FEEDING YOUR FAITH.  

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. Matthew 1:24
“ So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  Romans 10:17 (NKJV)

Key Thought- Fear will not DISAPPEAR but you don’t have to give it attention.  Feed your FAITH.


CLOSING QUESTION-  Have you been feeding your faith or your fear? Which of the fears mentioned today are holding you back from the future that God has for you? Isn’t it time to LET IT GO?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Potluck, Week 2- ONE (One Thought Changes Everything)

“Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.”  Proverbs 4:23 (NCV)
“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”  Proverbs 23:7 (AMP)

1.  One Wrong THOUGHT Can Keep Your  From Your God-Designed FUTURE.

*Read the following verses to discover that the Israelites believed something that was not true and it kept them from the promise of God for 40 years.  
Exodus 14:13 / Numbers 13:1-3; 25-32 / Joshua 2:8-1

The Perception Of Your Life Is Established By The Following:
  • Your Parents  
  • Your Past  
  • Your Physique  
  • Your Performance  
  • Your Peers  
2.  Right Believing Will RELEASE You Into Your Divine Destiny.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  John 10:10 (NIV)

“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

3.  You Have The Divine Power To CHOOSE.

"But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.”  Joshua 24:15

4.  Release The Power Of Right BELIEVING By Choosing God’s THOUGHTS In His Word.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. 9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” ISAIAH 55:8-9 (NIV)

"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." Romans 12:2 (NLT) 
  • The Word says you are WONDERFULLY created. 
“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.” Psalm 139:14 (NKJV) 

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb .… Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”  Psalm 139:13, 16 (NIV)

“People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the circular motion of the stars, and they pass by themselves without ever wondering at all.” Augustine (399 AD)
  • The Word says you are created in the IMAGE of God.
“Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us... 27 So God created human beings[b] in his own image. In the image of God he created them male and female he created them... 28 Then God blessed them...”. Genesis 1:26-28

“... put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” Colossians 3:10 *see also Colossians 1:15, Hebrews 1:3, John 14:9, 1 Corinthians 15:49, Romans 8:29
  • The Word says you were created with PURPOSE and DESTINY.
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. Ephesians 2:10 (NLT) 

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”  Jeremiah 1:5   
  • The Word says that you are more VALUABLE than you can imagine.
“You have been bought and paid for by Christ, so you belong to him—be free now from all these earthly prides and fears” 1 Corinthians 7:23 (LB) *see also 1 Peter 1:18-19, Matthew 6:26; 10:31; 12:2
  •  The Word says that what’s true of JESUS is true of you! 
“Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.” Romans 6:3-4


Key Question-  What Is ONE Thought That You Need To Change To Renew Your Mind?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Potluck Week 1- PUSH (Pray Until Something Happens)

Key Question-  What Have You Stopped Praying About?

13 Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.  16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. 17 Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! 18 Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.  James 5:13-17 (NLT)

• PUSH Thought #1-  To Often We Are Waiting On God When God Is Waiting On Us. (1 Kings 17:1-7) #PrayUntilSomethingHappens

“You do not have, because you do not ask.”  James 4:2 (ESV)

"Now Elijah, who was from Tishbe in Gilead, told King Ahab, “As surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives—the God I serve—there will be no dew or rain during the next few years until I give the word! 1 Kings 17:1 (NLT)

• PUSH Thought #2-  When It Looks Like Nothing Is Happening, Something Is Happening. (1 Kings 18:41-46)  #PrayUntilSomethingHappens

"Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go get something to eat and drink, for I hear a mighty rainstorm coming!”  42 So Ahab went to eat and drink. But Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel and bowed low to the ground and prayed with his face between his knees.  43 Then he said to his servant, “Go and look out toward the sea.” The servant went and looked, then returned to Elijah and said, “I didn’t see anything.”
Seven times Elijah told him to go and look. 44 Finally the seventh time, his servant told him, “I saw a little cloud about the size of a man’s hand rising from the sea.” Then Elijah shouted, “Hurry to Ahab and tell him, ‘Climb into your chariot and go back home. If you don’t hurry, the rain will stop you!’” 45 And soon the sky was black with clouds. A heavy wind brought a terrific rainstorm, and Ahab left quickly for Jezreel. 46 Then the Lord gave special strength to Elijah. He tucked his cloak into his belt[a] and ran ahead of Ahab’s chariot all the way to the entrance of Jezreel.”  1 Kings 18:41-46 (NLT)

• PUSH Thought #3-  Push Past Your Quitting Points.  (Romans 4:18-20)  #PrayUntilSomethingHappens

"18 Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!”[a] 19 And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb.  20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. Romans 4:18-20 (NLT)

PUSH Thought #4-  Pray That God’s Plans Will Happen Through Your Life  (1 Chronicles 4:9-10) #PrayUntilSomethingHappens

“Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, ‘Because I bore him in pain.’ And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!’ So God granted him what he requested” (1 Chronicles 4:9-10, NKJV).

"Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”  Matthew 7:7 (NLT)

Key Question-  What Will You Start Praying About Today?

Our Prayers & God's Promises Have No Expiration Dates.  Don’t Just Pray For, Pray Through.  Never forget what the Bible says in Jeremiah 32:27, "Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?" (NASB)


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Fixing Us- Part 4— How To Get Your Marriage Unstuck


Marriage Myth: Married life is unhappy life.  The truth is that most marriages last.  Married people have more money, are happier, have better sex and live longer than single people.  (here is the link to the positive statistics mentioned, click here)
______________________________________________________

This week we are challenging every married couple in our church to go on a date each week.  Join us as work together to begin, "fixing us!"

Date Night By Design- (click here) *courtesy of MarriedLifeOnline.com  
The 11th commandment of a happy marriage should be, "thou shalt date your spouse."  

Counseling- Going to church is easier than going to a counselor but it's totally fine if you still need to see a counselor!  If that's you, email hope@freedomlife.tv and we will send you some referral options for your area.
                         ______________________________________________________ 

"Homes are built on the foundation of wisdom and understanding."  Proverbs 24:3 
“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”  Psalm 90:12 (NIV)
  • VALUE TODAY BUT VISUALIZE TOMORROW TO GET UNSTUCK IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
“And without vision the people perish. . .” Proverbs 29:18
“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” - Helen Keller 1880-1968 

4 Thoughts That Will Help You Take Your Marriage To A Whole NUTHA Level

1.  ENVISION The End.  

Your life and marriage will be shaped by your vision of what you believe it should be.  You have 5 days in your marriage, what are you believing for?

     5 Days Of Marriage

     1.  The day you meet.
     2.  The day you marry.
     3.  The day you have kids.
     4.  The day you have grandkids.
     5.  The day you bury your spouse or the day they bury you.

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:13-14 (NLT)

The word “goal” (skopos) literally means, “The distant mark looked at, the goal or end one has in view, to look into the distance.”

2.  Stay Full Of FAITH In The Present.   

“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 
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

3.  Remember That You Are On The SAME TEAM.

"And the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." . . . So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, He took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib (side) he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man." Genesis 2:18, 21-22
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church."  Ephesians 5:31-32

4. Take A Step Toward Changing Your Future (marriage) Today
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.”  Hebrews 10:24 (NLT)

Key Question-  Day 5 is approaching!  Remember, momentum begins the moment that you take a step and begin to move forward.  What step do you need to take today?

Some of the stories and thoughts from this message can be found in my new mini-book called, "Momentum:  How To Keep Moving Forward When Life Seems Stuck." It is currently available on kindle (click here).

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Take a moment & check out my first mini-book called, Momentum: How To Keep Moving Forward When Life Seems Stuck!

Need encouragement?  Feel stuck in an area of your life? Not much of a reader?  I'm pretty sure that I just wrote the perfect book for you!  It's a little (power packed) book that I believe can make a big difference in your life.  The title of the book is, "Momentum:  How To Keep Moving Forward When Life Seems Stuck." It is currently available on kindle (click here) or you can pick it up at each of our campuses beginning this weekend.  Within the pages of this little book, I share 5 thoughts that can transform your life and help you get unstuck no matter you may be facing!  Below is the introduction, enjoy!  


   


INTRODUCTION

The Chinese Finger Trap
The brilliant Albert Einstein once said:  “I don’t believe in combs.”  (I kid, I kid. Although he must have been, right? Have you seen his hair?)

What he really said was:

 “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

We all have childhood memories of places we’ve gone on vacation, friends we’ve enjoyed hanging out with, and toys that provided countless hours of fun.
Some of my favorites included Nerf basketball, Atari, Operation, UNO, and G.I. Joe, to name a few. All of those toys were great, but looking back I can only think of one toy that I couldn’t put down, not because it was fun, but because it was so frustrating!

The toy was called the Chinese finger trap, and if you’ve never played with one before, shame on your parents for depriving you!

The Chinese finger trap - pictured on the front of this book - is simple. You place one finger into either end of this oversized, woven tootsie roll and attempt to remove them. When you start to pull away you suddenly realize that you’re trapped!

Funny how this little toy can cause a child, specifically yours truly, an irrational fear of having imprisoned, non-functioning fingers for the rest of his life.

The harder you pull back, the tighter the trap gets. And the tighter the trap gets the more you want to pull back! As a kid I experienced real moments of panic when I first started playing with this thing, wondering just what life would be like living with only eight fingers!

It was only a few years ago that I was studying for a message series on building holy momentum into your life when the Holy Spirit spoke to me in one of those oddly divine moments. I wasn’t quite sure what a Far East-inspired party favor had to do with living a momentum filled life. Then it hit me:

Momentum is all about movement.

The only way to get free from the Chinese finger trap is the only way to get free from whatever may be holding you back.

You have to push forward.

You can’t keep doing the same things over and over again and expect a different outcome. That’s what Einstein called “insanity,” remember?

This simple, yet powerful reminder was emblazoned in my heart in that moment, and it has stuck with me ever since.

Within the rest of the pages of this little book we’ll explore what this idea means because I believe it can make a huge difference in your life.

If you want to experience the freedom and life only God can offer through your one and only life, keep pressing on and never give up!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fixing Us, Part 3- Let's Get Ready To Rumble!


Marriage Myth: Married life is an unhappy life.  The truth is that most marriages last.  Married people have more money, are happier, have better sex and live longer than single people.  (here is the link to the positive statistics mentioned, click here)
______________________________________________________

This week we are challenging every married couple in our church to go on a date each week.  Join us as work together to begin, "fixing us!"

Date Night By Design (click here*courtesy of MarriedLifeOnline.com  
The 11th commandment of a happy marriage should be, "thou shalt date your spouse."  

Counseling- Going to church is easier than going to a counselor but it's totally fine if you still need to see a counselor!  If that's you, email hope@freedomlife.tv and we will send you some referral options for your area.
                         ______________________________________________________ 

(watch this message online now! click here)

"Homes are built on the foundation of wisdom and understanding."  Proverbs 24:3 

WHY DO WE FIGHT?
“For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.”  James 3:16 (NLT)

Fights Within A Marriage Relationship Occur When There Are:
     -Unmet need
     -Unfulfilled expectations
     -Unresolved conflict 
     -Undeveloped self-worth

“What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don't they come from the evil desires at war within you?”  James 4:1 (NLT)

Key Thought- We fight when marriage becomes about “me” instead of “we.” 
“My lover is mine and I am his...”.  Song 2:16
"A man should fulfill his duty as a husband and a woman should fulfill her duty as a wife, and each should satisfy the other's needs.”  I Cor. 7:3 (GN)

Dr. Willard Harley, in his book called "His Needs, Her Needs," identified through thousands of couples what causes failure within marriage.  When we fail to understand and meet one another's needs, unhappiness, affairs and divorce are more likely.  The following are the top 5 needs for men and women according to Harley.

The top five needs of most men are:
1.  Sexual fulfillment   
2. Recreational companionship
3. An attractive spouse
4. Domestic support
5. Admiration

The top five needs of most women are: 
1. Affection
2. Conversation
3. Honesty and openness
4. Financial support
5. Family commitment

HOW TO FIGHT FOR YOUR MARRIAGE

"If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand." Mark 3:25
You are on the same team.  You are not enemies.  Treat one another like best friends and you will be.

Key Thought- We Have A Tendency To Judge Our Spouse By His Or Her Actions And Ourselves By Our Intentions.  Begin To Close The Gap Between Intentions And Actions To Fight For A Happier Marriage.

  • When You Think Something Good, SAY IT.   
“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.” Hebrews 3:13

Key Thought- Pursue her with words of affection. Pursue him with words of affirmation. 

  •  When You Think Something Special, DO IT. 

“Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.” James 4:17

Put into practice The Five Love Languages that were discussed last week. Choose to love them the way that they like to be loved today.  We give & receive love in the following ways: Acts of kindness, Words of affirmation, Physical touch, Gifts, Quality time.  Make the change!

  •  When You Want Something Different, BE IT.  

“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.”  Romans 12:2 (NLT)

Key Thought- To get what you’ve never had, you must do what you’ve never done.  To get what you once had, you must do what you once did. (*see Revelation 2:5)

HOW TO FIGHT FAIR IN YOUR MARRIAGE

  •  Choose To Act And Not React.    

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21

  •  Choose To Focus On The Good And Not The Bad.   

“…whatever is pure…lovely…admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.”  Philippians 4:8

"We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are." ANAïS NIN

  • Choose To Talk And Not Walk. 

"Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold."  Ephesians 4:26-27

Dr. Phil writes in his bestselling book, Relationship Rescue:  "… an interesting statistic shared by David McLaughlin in his wonderful series entitled The Role of the Man in the Family reflects that the divorce rate in America is at a minimum one out of two marriages. But the reported divorce rate among couples that pray together is about one in ten thousand. Pretty impressive statistic, even if you reduce it a thousandfold."  

Final Thought-  Pray for each other, pray over each other, pray with each other.  Prayer produces intimacy.  Prayer gives you the power that you need to love. 

“Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.”  1 Peter 4:8 (NLT)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fixing Us! Week 2- How To Stay A Newlywed Until You're Nearly Dead


Last week we launched our message series on marriages and relationships. We learned that you need to make the choice between weeds or seeds in order to build a lasting marriage.  Here are a few of the thoughts:

Marriage Myth: Married life is unhappy life.  The truth is that most marriages last.  Married people have more money, are happier, have better sex and live longer than single people.  (here is the link to the positive statistics mentioned, click here)

  • WEEDS That Destroy Marriages Are:

Selfish Demands / Disrespectful Judgments / Angry Outbursts / Dishonesty / Annoying habits / Independent Behavior (Solomon 2:15, Proverbs 24:30-34, Matthew 13:24-30)

  • SEEDS That Build Great Marriages Are:   

The Seed of AGREEMENT (Amos 3:3, 2 Corinthians 6:14-15) The Seed of APPRECIATION / The Seed of ATTENTION (1 Cor 7:33-34, Proverbs 18:13, Job 33:14, James 1:19, 1John 3:18, Philippians 2:4, Eph 5:21, Rom 15:5)The Seed of AFFECTION (Rom 12:10, Rev 2:4-5) / The Seed Of AFFIRMATION (Heb 3:13, Proverbs 12:25, 2 Cor 7:4) 

  • Begin SOWING To Begin GROWING.  (Matthew 7:12)
______________________________________________________

This week we are challenging every married couple in our church to go on a date each week.  Join us as work together to begin, "fixing us!"

Date Night By Design (click here*courtesy of MarriedLifeOnline.com  
The 11th commandment of a happy marriage should be, "thou shalt date your spouse."  

Counseling- Going to church is easier than going to a counselor but it's totally fine if you still need to see a counselor!  If that's you, email hope@freedomlife.tv and we will send you some referral options in your area.
______________________________________________________

Fixing Us-  Part 2  How To Stay A Newlywed Until You're Nearly Dead  (watch this message online now! click here)

“Whatever a man sows, he reaps…”  Galatians 6:7

 Jesus told a church: “The love you had at first is gone. Remember how far you have fallenReturn to Me and change the way you think and act, and do what you did at first.”  Revelation 2:4-5 (GW)

1.  REMEMBER How You Used To Feel

“I will (remember) tell of the kindnesses of the LORD, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the LORD has done for us-- yes, the many good things he has done for Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses.”  Isaiah 63:7 (NIV)

Key Thought-  You Choose Your Memories And Your Memories Will Choose Your Future.

2.  Change Your Way Of THINKING  

“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”  Romans 12:10 (NLT) *see also 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV)

“Look out for one another’s interests, not just your own.”  Philippians 2:4 (TEV)
“Honor Christ by submitting to each other.”  Ephesians 5:21 (LB)

Key Thought— Choose To Act Your Way Into A Feeling Instead Of Feel Your Way Into An Action.

3.  Do What Is Needed To Make Your Marriage SUCCEED

“So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”  Ephesians 5:33 (NLT)
“Our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.”  1 John 3:18 (TEV)

5 Love Languages
1.  Words of Affirmation  
2.  Quality Time
3.  Receiving Gifts
4.  Acts of Service
5.  Physical Touch

"Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.”  Matthew 7:12




Saturday, October 4, 2014

Fixing Us! Week 1- Weeds Or Seeds


Over the next few weeks we are focusing our message series on marriages and relationships. Each week will be talking about how to take your marriage and friendships to a whole NUTHA level. We will also be challenging every married couple in our church to go on a date each week.  Join us as work together to begin, "fixing us!"

Date Night By Design (click here) *courtesy of Focus on the family  The 11th commandment of a happy marriage should be, "thou shalt date your spouse."  

Counseling- Going to church is easier than going to a counselor but it's totally fine if you still need to see a counselor!  If that's you, email hope@freedomlife.tv and we will send you some referral options in your area.

Fixing Us-  Part 1  Weeds Or Seeds  (watch this message online now! click here)
“Whatever a man sows, he reaps…”  Galatians 6:7

Marriage Myth: Married life is unhappy life.  The truth is that most marriages last.  Married people have more money, are happier, have better sex and live longer than single people.  (here is the link to the positive statistics mentioned, click here)

WEEDS That Destroy Marriages Are:
Selfish Demands / Disrespectful Judgments / Angry Outbursts / Dishonesty / Annoying habits / Independent Behavior (Solomon 2:15, Proverbs 24:30-34, Matthew 13:24-30)

5 Seeds That Are An Essential Part Of Every Happy & Healthy Relationship. 
  1. The Seed of AGREEMENT (Amos 3:3, 2 Corinthians 6:14-15)
  2. The Seed of APPRECIATION.   Key Thought-  Keep Your Level Of Appreciation Greater Than Your Level Of Expectation.   
  3. The Seed of ATTENTION. (1 Corinthians 7:33-34, Proverbs 18:13, Job 33:14, James 1:19, 1John 3:18, Philippians 2:4, Ephesians 5:21, Romans 15:5 
  4. The Seed of AFFECTION.   (Romans 12:10, Revelation 2:4-5) 
  5. The Seed Of AFFIRMATION.  (Hebrews 3:13, Proverbs 12:25, 2 Corinthians 7:4) Key Thought-  Choose to be your spouses best fan instead of their worst critic.  
  • Begin SOWING To Begin GROWING.  (Matthew 7:12)

Monday, September 1, 2014

FREE Worship Team & Leadership Workshop With Lakewood Church's Cindy Cruse Ratcliff


I wanted to take a moment to invite you to a special evening workshop for worship teams and church leaders that we will be hosting on September 30, 2014.  Cindy Cruse-Ratcliff and her team will be sharing wisdom and insight on how to build and lead an effective worship team. Regardless of the location or size of your church, it will inspire you to dream bigger!  This intimate setting is perfect for teams to gather, learn and grow together.  I believe that this will be well worth your time and will help you take your worship ministry to a whole NUTHA level!

For those who are interested, Cindy, along with her husband Marcus, will also be hosting a Night Of Worship the following evening (Wednesday, October 1st) at our monthly 1st Wednesday service at 7p.m at Freedom Life.  We would love to have you join us for this as well.  If you intend on bringing a group for the service, please email stacey@freedomlife.tv so that we can ensure seating for you.

We look forward to seeing you!

EVENT:
Worship Team And Leadership Workshop With Lakewood Church's Cindy Cruse Ratcliff And Team

LOCATION:
Freedom Life
447 Noble Road
Christiana, Pa  17509
(610-593-5959

SCHEDULE:

6:30-6:45 PM: Worship With The Freedom Life Team
6:45-7:15 PM: Session #1-  Cindy Ratcliff
7:15-7:30 PM: Break
7:30-8:30 PM: Session #2- Panel Discussion/Q&A With Cindy And Her Team

COST:  Free.  Come And Be Encouraged And Grow With Your Whole Team!

REGISTER:  click here  (this event is free but we do ask that you let us know that you are attending so that we can properly host you)


Cindy Ratcliff Bio - GMA Dove Award Winner, Christian music artist and songwriter

Cindy Ratcliff’s music career was launched at the early age of 6 when she began touring with her parents and older siblings as the youngest member of “The Cruse Family”. Not long after, she became the youngest licensed ASCAP songwriter, at the age of nine and went on to sign w/ CBS Records at age 19.

Known to many as America’s Worship Leader, Cindy has served as the Director of music and is the senior worship leader for Joel Osteen & Lakewood church. Through this platform, Cindy enters more than 100 million homes weekly singing and sharing her music with viewers in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Korea, China and Africa. The program was voted the No. 1 most watched inspirational program in America.

Cindy has also recorded several live worship albums with Lakewood, as well as, a collaborative Christmas CD with The Houston Symphony. After the success of her critically acclaimed solo album “Twenty Three”, she released her sophomore project, “Heaven Raining Down” in the spring of 2014 through her label RPM Music, in collaboration with Capitol and L.A. based Dream Records. The new CD climbed to #2 on the Billboard Music Charts and is gaining popularity around the world.

Cindy’s enjoyed performing in such iconic venue’s as Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden, Staples Center, Yankee Stadium, O2 and Wimbley arena’s. In addition to her US events, she’s also enjoyed recent tours to such nations as the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, The Philippines and South Africa.

Cindy is excited to be performing once again in NYC this December, at Carnegie Hall, with award winning composer and conductor Tim Janis to benefit The Golden Hat foundation.

Cindy lives in Houston, Texas with her husband Marcus Ratcliff. Cindy and Marcus have three children, Windsor, Merrick, and Emory, whom they consider to be their greatest treasure.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Special Announcement - Small Church, Big Dreams Roundtable With Zhenya & Vera Kasevich (of Hillsong Kiev)


I wanted to take a moment to invite you to a special round table that my team will be hosting on October 20, 2014 with Pastors Zhenya & Vera Kasevich.  The Kasevich's comes to us with over 17 years of wisdom and from serving as the pastors of Hillsong Church in Kiev (& Moscow).  They will be sharing wisdom and insight on how to build a life giving and flourishing church. Regardless of the location or size of your church, it will inspire you to dream bigger!  This intimate setting is open to the first 50 registrants and I anticipate this filling up quickly.  I believe that this will be well worth your time and will help you take your ministry to a whole NUTHA level! 

For those who are interested, Zhenya & Vera will be speaking at our FaithWorks evening college open house, an initiative of Hillsong International Leadership College, later that evening at 7p.m.  We would love to have you join us that evening as well.  Don't hesitate to email stacey@freedomlife.tv for any other questions that you may have about this day. 

Look forward to seeing you! 

Small Church, Big Dreams Roundtable - October 20, 2014
How To Keep Your Church Moving Forward
Cost:  $25.00
Register:  click here

LOCATION:
Shady Maple Cafe
835 Houston Run Drive
Gap, PA 17527
(717) 442-1500

SCHEDULE:
8:30-9:15AM: Check In
9:15-10:30AM: Session #1 
10:30-10:45AM: Break
10:45-12:00PM: Session #2  
12:00-12:30PM: Lunch
12:30-1:15PM: Q & A with Zhenya & Vera Kesavich

Zhenya & Vera Kasevich BIO:




Pastor Zhenya Kasevich, together with his wife Vera, became Senior Pastor of Hillsong Church in Kiev in 1997, less than 5 years after the couples conversion. Since then, he has seen Hillsong Kiev grow almost to 3,500 members under his leadership, and has also become an internationally recognized preacher and teacher who speaks in churches and at conferences around the world. In 2007, Zhenya fulfilled the vision that God had planted in his heart several years earlier by founding the ministry of Hillsong Church in Moscow.  They are now preparing to launch a brand new church in 2015 called Dynamo Church in Miami, Florida!

Zhenya’s uncompromising, yet always good-humored message inspires and challenges believers to apply all principles of God’s Word to their everyday lives, providing them with practical tools to live out their faith not only on Sundays in church, but throughout the week  as witnesses of Christ to the world. The unrelenting theme of his sermons is the importance of living lives of significance for God’s Kingdom which is possible only with complete reliance on God’s power and faithfulness. His desire to see Christians reach their maximum potential and fulfill their purpose in God.


Zhenya and Vera Kasevich serve God together with their children Roman and Diana. They strongly believe that contemporary Christians can serve God as a family and enjoy life in its fullness.  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

SOLOMON SAYS- 31 Days To A Smarter You! Part 2

SOLOMON SAYS- 31 Days To A Smarter You!
Notes from part 2 of our series

How To Avoid The Trap Of Bad Words

Key Thought- There’s a miracle or a mess in your mouth.  

“The tongue has the power of life and death.” —Proverbs 18:21
“…you are trapped by the words of your own mouth, caught by your own promise.” Proverbs 6:2 (GWT)
“Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil . . .” —Psalms 34:12-13 

The Bible says, “Let the weakling say ‘I am strong’” (2 Corinthians 12:10). 

Avoid The Trap Of Bad Words By Using Them As a Positive Force in Your Life 
Solomon Says that our word have tremendous potential and influence in our everyday lives. 
“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” —Proverbs 16:24 
“Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted.” —Proverbs 11:11 
“From the fruit of his lips a man enjoys good things.” —Proverbs 13:2 
“The tongue of the wise brings healing.” —Proverbs 12:18   

Six Things You Can Do To Use Your Words As A Positive Force 

1. Speak to BUILD others up. 
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” —Ephesians 4:29 

2. Speak without COMPLAINING or ARGUING. 
“Do everything without complaining or arguing . . .” —Philippians 2:14 

3. Don’t talk TOO MUCH. 
“The more the words, the less the meaning and how does that profit anyone?” —Ecclesiastes 6:11 
“Where words are many sin is not absent.”  Proverbs 10:19
  • Excessive talking wearies others
  • Excessive talking will distract you from your responsibilities 
  • Excessive talking can cheapen your words
  • Excessive talking will lead to sin
4. Speak without GOSSIPING. 
“A gossip betrays confidence. . .” “A gossip separates close friends. . .” “Without gossip a quarrel dies down. . .” —Proverbs 11:13; 16:28; 26:20

5. Speak without CRITICIZING others. 
“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment.” Luke 6:37 (MSG) 

6. Speak at the HIGHEST LEVEL of your FAITH. 

“It is written: ‘I believed; therefore I have spoken.’ With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak.” 2 Corinthians 4:13

Monday, July 14, 2014

Solomon Says- 31 Days To A Smarter You!

Solomon Says-  31 Days To A Smarter You!
Notes from part 1 of our series

“Wisdom is supreme, therefore get wisdom.” — Proverbs 4:7

Wisdom-  Is anointed common sense.  It is KNOWING what GOD wants you to do and CHOOSING to do it.

The Consequences Of Not Having Wisdom:  (see Proverbs 24:30-34)
  • You will live a purposeless life. (Prov. 21:16)
  • You will live a life marked by bad and foolish decisions (Prov. 10:21; 14:12) 
  • You will ultimately be destroyed! (Proverbs 1:23)
THE REWARDS OF HAVING WISDOM:
  • Wisdom is the key that unlocks the FAVOR of the Lord in your life. 
“For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord.” — Proverbs 8:35 
  • Wisdom causes a flow of RECOGNITION AND PROMOTION to come into your life. 
“Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.” — Proverbs 4:8 
  • Wisdom makes your ENEMIES helpless against you. 
“For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.” — Luke 21:15 4. 
  • Wisdom brings lasting WEALTH AND PROSPERITY. 
“With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity . . . bestowing wealth on those who love me and making their treasuries full.” — Proverbs 8:18,21

THREE HABITS WISE PEOPLE BUILD THEIR LIVES ON:

1.  The habit of ASKING GOD for more wisdom.  
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” — James 1:5

2.  The habit of MEDITATING on the right things. 
“Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.”  Proverbs 4:23 (NCV)
*see Psalm 1, Joshua 1:6-9

3.  The habit of adding the RIGHT THINGS and subtracting the WRONG THINGS in your life.  2 Peter 1:5-8, Colossians 3:5, Galatians 5:19-25

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Take The Solomon Says Challenge This Month! 31 Days To A Smarter You!

The Bible tells us that Solomon, the writer of the book of Proverbs and son of King David, was the wisest and wealthiest man to ever live.  Within this incredible book (Proverbs) is the wisdom that you and I need to succeed in every area of life!  Consider taking the Solomon Says wisdom challenge with me this month.  You are only 31 days away from a smarter you!  

Solomon Says Challenge:

1.  Read Through The Book Of Proverbs-  There is one chapter for each day of the month.  If you'd like to join via an online reading program, go to youversion.com or simply read through on your own.  I pray that a proverb a day will become a life long (daily) habit for you.  God invites you and I to grow wise each day as we get into His Word, the Bible.

2. Take The Tithe Challenge-  The Bible asks us to give our first and our best back to God and He will bless the rest (Proverbs 3:9-10, Leviticus 27:30, Deuteronomy 14:23). This first is the tithe, or “tenth” of our income. We return to the Lord 10% of what He's given us, because it belongs to Him. The tithe is a very practical and tangible way to put God first.  If you are not tithing already, a great way to start is with the Solomon Says Challenge. Essentially, it's a contract based on the promises of God in Malachi 3:10-11.  It is a step of obedience and guarantees the provision of God. 

3.  Ask Yourself The Best Question Ever-  Learning from your past to embrace your future is vital to becoming wise.  When the Bible doesn't seem clear, the best question that you can ever ask when you are unsure about whether or not God wants you to do something is this: "What’s the wisest thing to do in light of my past experience, my current circumstance, and my future hopes and dreams?"  

4. Pursue Wise Counsel When Making Big Decisions-  Solomon reminds us that “Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counselors there is victory.” (Proverbs 11:14) Pride causes us to go it alone or to find people that will agree with the decisions that we know aren't wise.  Continue growing in wisdom by seeking wise counsel.  

5.  Stay Connected To The Local Church-  God desires that you would flourish in life.  Solomon's father, King David, wrote this Psalm 92:13, "Those who are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God." (NKJV)  Hebrews 10:25 reminds us, "25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching."  Wisdom for your life is connected to God's house.  Stay connected when you are away via our online experience (click here) and get connected when you're here by taking your next step!

I believe that if you will commit to the wisdom challenge this month, you will not only avoid many of life's heartaches, but you will grow stronger and wiser in your faith.  God invites you to grow in wisdom so that you can experience all of His blessings in this life.  Solomon reminds us that, "20 Wisdom shouts in the streets. She cries out in the public square. 21 She calls to the crowds along the main street, to those gathered in front of the city gate: 22 “How long, you simpletons, will you insist on being simpleminded? How long will you mockers relish your mocking? How long will you fools hate knowledge?" Proverbs 1:20-22 (NLT)

Are you ready move forward into the life that God has for you?  Let's grow wiser together!  Take the Solomon says challenge and I'll see you this weekend!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Check Out These 5 Free Resources To Help You Become A Great Man & Father!

In honor of Father's day, here are the top 5 free resources on the internet to help you grow in your faith and become a great Dad!  Take a few minutes to invest into yourself.  You are worth it and you have what it takes!


1.  Pastor Dad- An short e-book with scriptural insights on fatherhood.  click here

2.  Xxxchurch.com-  This website is packed full of resources to protect you and your family from the harmful effects of pornography. Years ago I downloaded their internet filter and accountability software for my smartphone, ipad and computer to guard my mind and heart. The best offense is a great defense. The generations following you and I are worth it! click here

3.  YouVersion.com-  This website has excellent plans to help you read and understand the Bible better.  You can read or listen to the Bible via your smartphone as well as sign up for different devotional plans.  Here's one of my favs... click here

4.  AllProDad.com-  Coach Tony Dungy helped launch this ministry that has excellent wisdom and tips for being a better leader, father & man.  I follow them on twitter/facebook/instagram and browse their website because of their concise articles which are really helpful. I strongly recommend investing into yourself by doing the same! click here

5.  Maximized Manhood-  This book by Dr. Edwin Louis Cole helped me so much as a young man & it's helped dozens of men in the life of our church.  His ministry sparked a generation and I believe will light a fire in your heart to rise up and become a man of God! click here

There it is. I hope that you'll consider investing into yourself. It's free. Takes minutes a day and it will help move your life forward as a man and a father... I know it has for me!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

4 Truths I've Learned In The First 40 Years Of My Life

It's particularly odd getting older because no matter what I see in the mirror each day, I still feel young.  I'm really thankful to be 40 years old and excited about the future.  I'm not scared of dying or scared that I will go through a mid-life crisis.  A mid-life crisis can happens when you wake up one day and realize that you created a life that you hate.  The good news is that you can create a life that you love no matter what your age. You have the power to choose. Age also gives you the gift of perspective.  The realization that your life can make a great impact.  Anyway, since I am a voracious seeker of wisdom, I've learned some things over the years that have helped me become better.  By better, I mean the best version of me that I can be.  I hope that these thoughts will help you, whether you're going up the hill or are already over the hill.

1.  Life Is Short And Life Is Long.  I've married, buried and walked people through a myriad of issues over the years.  Change is constant.  The reality is that you will live about 25,550 days on the planet.  The lie of youth is that you will always have tomorrow.  The truth is that you have the potential for great a future, the other truth is that your future is coming at you fast.  To live effectively, you need wisdom.  Hindsight for perspective, insight for the present and foresight for your future.  Everything that I have ever needed I've found in the Word Of God, the Bible.

"Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."  Psalm 90:12 (NIV)

2.  Your Greatest Power Is Your Power To Choose.  God created you with the power to choose and create the life that you are living today.  The difference between victims and victors is their choice.  Your decisions really do determine your destiny.  A series of wise choices can build your life and you can begin at any time.  God has already given you the permission to succeed and be blessed in this life.  He has great plans for your future, the choice is really up to you.

“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life…”.  Deuteronomy 30:19 (NIV)

3.  What You Give Is Yours Forever.  People are remembered for what they give, they are reviled for what they keep.  When people speak at funerals they simply talk about what their loved one gave them.  Things like time, money and encouragement. People that live with hands out, always wanting to receive, are rarely happy.  People who live life with hands down, ready to give and serve, are always blessed.  The truth is that it's not about the duration of your life, it's about the donation of your life. The only lasting investment is when you give to God's Kingdom for God's purposes.  When you're truly generous, your world will increase, as well as your eternal reward. What you give is yours forever. I cannot think of one act of generosity that I regret.

"The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped."  Proverbs 11:24-26 (MSG)

4.  You Will Never Have A Positive Life With A Negative Mind. Negative thoughts disrupt God’s plan, steal your joy, peace and contentment in life. If your mind is filled with worry, insecurity, guilt, sadness, fearful imaginations and inaccurate assumptions, then your life cannot be filled with joy. Letting go of unrealistic expectations, bitterness and controlling behavior makes you a more positive person. It also empowers you to enjoy the life that God has given you. Negative and critical people are ultimately avoided and forgotten.  When you choose to follow Jesus, you become full of genuine hope and faith because it is rooted in the promises of the living God!  God's Word tells 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)  The more you think about something, the stronger it takes hold of you. Your life really does follows your thoughts.   

"Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT)