Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Double Mercy

The past couple of days have been INTENSE!  Together, we've praised, worshipped, cried, laughed, prayed & repented during our New Year's Revival with Evangelist Sandi Burris.

Today, my heart is beating with expectancy for the new year. Last evening, Sister Sandi preached about BLIND BARTIMAEUS.  There were many incredible points that she referenced in this passage. (Mark 10:46-52)

While she was preaching, I envisioned Bartimaeus sitting outside the city of Jericho, begging, when Jesus passed by. He HEARD (he couldn't see) that Jesus was near and CRIED out "Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me!"

Many tried to silence him...but he CRIED out the more "Thou Son of David, have mercy on me!" 

He CRIED out for DOUBLE MERCY!  Jesus STOOD STILL and called for him! (Jesus will wait for you to get to where He is!)

Bartimaeus cast aside his garments, rose and came to Jesus! (What do we need to cast aside today?)

Bartimaeus was FRAIL...but NOT DISQUALIFIED.
  • Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
The word INFIRMITIES is plural, meaning we each have several.  Yet many of us struggle to admit to even one.  A well-known writer said: "We have carefully hidden our struggles and paraded only our victories, but the whole country is falling asleep at the parade." 

The Greek word for INFIRMITIES means "malady" or "frailty."  All of us have some malady or frailty that incapacitates us to the degree that we need His mercies newly bestowed on us every morning.  David succeeded on the battlefield, but failed in the bedroom, yet no man was more used of God.  This should encourage you today, for God's not only sympathetic, but He also uses people like you and me, who are affected with life's struggles.

Paul spelled it out clearly: "We also are men of like passions with you" (Acts 14:15). Only a fool would refuse to lift a diamond out of a drain, and God is no fool.  Sadly, the Church has thrown away thousands of valuable diamonds by casting away her wounded. If God is able to sympathize with our weaknesses, shouldn't we be willing to do at least that much for each other?

Bartimaeus received DOUBLE MERCY from Jesus.  His VISION (Sight, Insight & Revelation) RESTORED! The Scriptures say that Bartimaeus followed Jesus from that moment forward.  Is it possible that he followed Him all the way to Calvary?  QUITE POSSIBLE. 

We are believing for an exceptional 2014.  Join us tonight at 7 PM for our NEW YEAR'S EVE service!  If you're unable to come...catch us on our LIVE stream at www.bfwc.net

Friday, December 27, 2013

All Ears

Who do you give your ear to? Whose voice do you listen to? If you're in leadership (especially church leadership) you've probably already figured out that everyone else has a plan for your life.

We all make decisions and it's a great comfort when you can make those decisions with the help of a trusted mentor, leader, etc.  In fact, the Bible tells us that we should not lead alone...

Proverbs 15:22 "Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established."

Realistically, you cannot listen to every voice.  There are so many opinions that will be thrown your way via, facebook, email, twitter, and other avenues that if you were to try and focus on the opinion of everyone you would simply lose your mind trying to make everyone happy.

So...who do you listen to?  Who is it that should always have access to us?  Whose ideas and thoughts should we always consider?

  1. Those who know you, have spent time with you and understand that there is a person behind your personality.

  2. Those who have seen you at your best and worst...and love you anyway.

  3. Those who do not automatically assume the worst about you and always give you the benefit of the doubt.  (Always steer clear of people who seek to pounce on you as soon as they hear something bad!)

  4. Those who talk WITH you and not about you.

  5. Those who are willing to stand with you in the easy times and the tough times.  (Honestly...those who BLEED with you can LEAD with you.)

  6. Those who offer correction for the purpose of building up rather than tearing down (People who always seek to tear you down should be ignored!  If they do not correct/confront in love then they are nothing more than a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal - see 1 Corinthians 13:1).

  7. Those who are willing to take a confrontation straight to the person rather to an online audience or to a disgruntled spirit.

  8. Those who are not always looking for a reason to attack/hate you.

  9. Those who have the goal of covenant relationship and see themselves attached to you for life.

  10. Those who walk in Biblical authority, graced with understanding, wisdom, impartiality, proven confidentiality, unconditional love and integrity.
I believe we can know in advance the lessons that only hindsight seems to teach us by accessing the wisdom of those who have walked the road before us. 
  • James 5:10 MSG "Take the old prophets as your mentors. They put up with anything, went through everything, and never once quit, all the time honouring God."
Moses embraced the VOICE of his father-in-law, Jethro, in Exodus 18 and it helped him see past his own leadership blind spots.  

The years have shown me that mentorship is not something you have to demand; it often comes supernaturally.  It's amazing how God has brought people into my life at different seasons, and I believe it's because I had an openness or receptivity to hearing it.   What attracts mentorship? (Look at Moses - his story is a classic tale of attracting mentorship.)

1. Teachability - (Exodus 18:17-18
  • Moses took his father-in-law's wisdom.  Leaders who are insecure or too sensitive, will often struggle to receive advice or instruction. It's not difficult to receive instruction from someone who you know loves you and is more concerned about your welfare then they are about their own welfare.
2. Listening - (Exodus 18:19, 24
  • It's one thing to listen but entirely different to heed the good advice we hear. To heed literally means to listen with a commitment to change.  Moses not only listened to Jethro, but he applied his counsel to the situation and changed the way he managed those he was leading.  It's not about how many sermons we hear preached, or how many counseling sessions we go to; it's what we do with what we hear that counts.
3. Prayer - (Exodus 18:19
  • Jethro's advice pointed Moses to God not away from Him. Mentors do not replace God in our lives.  They propel us toward a greater dependency on God, not man. Yes, we have to sow spiritual seed, and God uses other people to water that seed, but only God brings the increase into our life.
4. Reader - (Exodus 18:21
  • More than reading books...we must be good at "reading" life, people or situations. Moses knew how to read people.  When choosing leaders he didn't look at their resume, instead he looked at their heart, their motives, their character and integrity.  He had to find the kind of people who had an ear that would help him do what God called him to do.  This is where we must be careful when "reading" people and resist the temptation of making surface judgements based on external appearances. Jesus said, "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgement." (John 7:24)  Using discernment and focusing on internal heart issues will cause us to listen to the right voices.
5. Releaser - (Exodus 18:27)  
  • I've learned to live life with an open hand; not a closed fist. We have the tendency to want to pull things in and holding on tight.  But mentorship is not all about our needs and us.  We need to release our mentors to live their own lives, just like Moses did Jethro.  If we come to expect our mentors to be on hand whenever we need them, we can potentially risk cutting ourselves off from the spirit of mentorship.
I believe the right spirit will attract the kind of people who care about you and point you to a greater dependency on God.  

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Peace

During the Holidays, many people can get frustrated and just plain aggravated.  We've probably all seen someone at the mall who just just looked like they wanted to scream because things weren't going their way or perhaps because they were frustrated with the crowd, the lines, the prices or even their kids.

We've all felt that way, from time to time.  It IS possible that we live our lives FREE of frustration and aggravation.  At least that's the way God wants us to live.

  • John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Jesus said He would leave His PEACE with us.  The PEACE of Jesus has no origination from the world...therefore when you receive it your heart will not be TROUBLED or AFRAID by worldly things.

In fact, Jesus tells us to STOP allowing ourselves to be agitated, disturbed, fearful, intimidated, cowardly or unsettled.


Worldly peace is found ONLY when everything is going our way.  But the peace Jesus gives is a totally different quality of peace than what the world gives.  It's a PEACE that passes our understanding; it makes us PEACEFUL when all natural reasoning says we should be upset.


We can make the decision to stop allowing ourselves to get upset, aggravated and frustrated.  Although we may think, "I can't help it," according to Jesus, we can help it.  He offers us peace that can KEEP us from getting this way.

It's MY RESPONSIBILITY to not let my heart be troubled or afraid.  We will never break loose from anything we're struggling with until we take personal responsibility for where we are now.

Most people just want to blame someone or something else for their problems - a bad childhood, their lack of education, their nationality, their personality - and make excuses for the way they are.  But we can't let the things from our past, or present, become an excuse to stay there.  

I've met people who grew up in a home full of turmoil.  An environment that was unstable, unpleasant, filled with alcohol, anger and all kinds of abuse.  However, they learned that they had to take responsibility for their actions if their life would ever be different than what they experienced throughout their childhood.

Living with FRUSTRATION, AGGRAVATION and WORRY really does you no good at all. All you'll ever get from being this way is a headache, a back ache, a grouchy attitude and regret for saying things you never should have said.

The moment we cry out to God and say, "HELP ME do something about this," things begin to change.  It's not easy and it might not happen overnight, but as you trust God more and more to help you, make right choices to act like Christ instead of the way you feel like acting when you're upset or don't get your way...YOU WILL CHANGE.  It's then that you learn to live with the PEACE Jesus gives.


We can have anything God says we can have.  He is no respecter of persons.  The promises of God are for "whoseover will" (see Acts 10:34-35).  We're all "WHOSOEVERS," but not all of us are willing to do what we need to do to inherit the promises of God.  We may be willing to hear the truth, but are we willing to DO what it says?

Today, I challenge you to decide to be DETERMINED and PERSISTENT in seeking God and being obedient to what He's telling you to do.  Our enemy, the devil, is persistent and will do whatever he can to wear us out and keep us from God's will.  But we need to have the same tenacity in Christ to never give up - by God's grace - and make him sorry he ever bothered us.

Remember, as a born-again Christian, you are full of the Spirit of the living God, who makes us more than conquerors.  We should plan ahead to stay peaceful during trials.  Everything is not going to go our way all the time, and when it doesn't, we can be prepared to STAY IN PEACE in the midst of it all.

Our confession should be "WITH GOD'S HELP, I don't have to be aggravated or frustrated.  I can stay CALM and hold my PEACE."

The ability to display STABILITY and remain calm in troubled times can be one of our greatest testimonies to a troubled world.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Does that word stir up some strong emotions in you?

I remember in the 2nd grade a kid named Richard who was always getting in trouble.  In fact, his desk was either at the front of the class next to the chalkboard or right next to the teachers desk.

One day, we had spaghetti and meatballs for school lunch. After lunch was over, our teacher, Mrs. Henderson turned the lights off and started a film - I believe it was "Curious George." 

That's when the great injustice happened!  Richard (who apparently had hung onto a meatball) threw a meatball across the room and hit me in the side of the face.  It really hurt! I was so startled and in pain that I yelled out loud and stood to my feet.  Mrs. Henderson told me to sit down and gave me a stern warning to be quiet.  I raised my hand and tried to explain to her that Richard had threw a meatball and hit me in the face.  It's as if she didn't care.  

I was so upset!  Richard just sat there laughing!  It made me so angry!  I shot him the dirtiest look that I could and envisioned beating him up after school that day.  However, after the bell rang, Mrs. Henderson told me to stay in my seat so she could speak with me.  Richard was out the door and long gone by the time I got done cleaning the chalkboards.

From that point forward I literally daydreamed about how I could get even with Richard.  He had hurt me...someone needed to make him pay...and that someone was going to be me!  I found myself HATING him because he had caused me some pain and he OWED me big time!

I never got the chance to get even!  Richard and his family moved away that summer and I haven't seen him since!  I look back on this and LAUGH now!  I was so focused on getting revenge.  I wanted him to HURT because he HURT me...and because of that I wasted a lot of time.

How about you?  Is there a "Richard" in your life?  Is there someone who has caused you pain, someone who hurt you and all you can think about is hurting them back?  Seriously, is there someone you just hope you can see coming towards you on their knees one day, begging your forgiveness and you just laugh at them?  Is there someone who you actually want to see suffer?

If so...then you are way off base and definitely not Christlike.  If you claim to be a Christian then this is an attitude that you and I simply cannot have.  Check out this passage...

  • Matthew 6:14-15 "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:  But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

Have you ever had a conversation in your mind where you see yourself winning and your enemies losing and you're feeling better about yourself?  Is that what a walk with Christ is all about?  NO!

We are called to FORGIVE!!  I know the argument, "Hey...they don't deserve to be forgiven!" Well, neither did you!!!  We don't EARN God's forgiveness...He gives it to us...it's called GRACE...and just as we are quick to receive God's grace - we need to be quick to extend it as well.

Perhaps this is hard for you to hear right now.  You have some serious situations in your past in which someone caused you some SERIOUS pain...but you can't continue to hold onto bitterness and anger because it's KILLING your JOY!

Being mad at someone and expecting it to hurt THEM is the same as drinking poison and expecting it to kill someone else!!!

How do you let go of anger?  It's a daily decision!  I have had people in my past that I have had to forgive...and the enemy will often bring that person back up in my mind - and so there are times when I literally have to say out loud, "That person does not owe me...I have forgiven them."

As long as you feel like someone owes you something due to the pain in your past - you will always be frustrated and miserable in your walk with Christ.  

Jesus said in John 19:30, "It is FINISHED!"  We need to follow His example by saying the same thing about those who have hurt us - "It is finished, you don't owe me anymore...I am letting the debt of wrongdoing go!!!"

Anyone you need to forgive?

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Culture of Outreach

What excites you?  What pumps you up?  What makes you want to do backward handsprings? Well, I'll tell you what does that for me...it's seeing people COME TO JESUS!

The GREAT COMMISSION, for many, has become the GREAT OMISSION.  I'm not trying to bash anyone or any church, however, we've become so obsessed with the INTERNAL MACHINERY of POLITICS, TITLES, TALENT, POSITIONS and SELF-FOCUS that we've seemingly forgotten about the people who are DYING and GOING TO HELL!

That bothers me.

I'm thankful for the culture of BFWC and the environment where people can meet JESUS, instead of meeting the pastor.  It's more important that people know about SCRIPTURE than they know about Robert's Rules of Order. I care more about someone's HEART than I do their wardrobe. I care more about UNITY of the team than I do about superstars.

Remember in Matthew 4:19 when Jesus said, "Come follow me and I will make you..."  He said, "I'm going to make you FISHERS of MEN."  Notice what He didn't say..."Come follow me and we will boycott Disney, blast other Christians, plan a fish fry or talk about people's position."  NOPE...His focus was on reaching PEOPLE. Because that is the example He set, the church should do the same!

What if the church is nothing more than a COUNTRY CLUB with a cross and a steeple? (You'll only be offended by that statement if it describes your church.)


God wants us to get outside of our world and into the worlds of people who do not know Christ.  That means we are to LIKE the people who are nothing LIKE us.

What kind of church do you want to have?  For me, I want BFWC to be place where you don't have to be PERFECT to walk through the doors.  Honestly, our church isn't perfect and I'm not a perfect pastor.  If someone who is perfect walks in, they're going to feel out of place real quick.

We want people to meet JESUS and be CHANGED.  That's why we VALUE a CULTURE of OUTREACH.  We've seen nearly 100 people receive Christ this year, and we're hoping to exceed that before 2014!

Creating a culture of outreach starts with teaching our people that evangelism IS inviting people to church!  While you're reading this, I hope you become extremely aware that you need to invite people to church!  DO IT!  People will come and hear about JESUS and their lives CAN BE transformed!  It takes all of us working together to make evangelism work.

When Beverly and I greet first time guests, we ask them "How did you hear about BFWC?" Nearly 99% of the time they say they were personally invited by a family member or friend...in other words, they were "EVANGELIZED!"

Isn't that God's goal?  YES!  He desires for people to reach people.  Today, I want you to know that you don't have to be embarrassed to invite a friend or family member...we are going to talk about JESUS...and through this process JESUS will change lives!

FOUND people...FIND people! 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Run At Your Own Pace

Earlier this year I ran in the Patriot Challenge Race.  This race is dedicated to honoring America's heroes, our military, the police, firemen, all first responders and especially the heroes of 9-11.  All proceeds were donated to the Wish For Our Heroes organization.

There were many obstacles, each designed to be challenging.  I had to CRAWL, CLIMB, SLIDE and SPLASH through this rigorous course.

I was the oldest of our group and probably the most out of shape! (Actually, the most out of shape!)  When we started the race, I was able to keep up with the group until we reached "Capitol Hill"...where I had to climb on my hands and knees up a steep hill.  I quickly fell to the back of the pack and struggled to breathe as I finally reached the summit. Fortunately, my team didn't give up on me and were cheering me on as I crest the top of the hill gasping for air. 

With everything in me, I wanted to say, "ya'll just go ahead and I'll catch up."  However, they wouldn't leave my side...and their strength, stamina and support made me reach down within my core and find an extra burst of energy to keep on going.

After that first obstacle, I was able to get my bearings and find my own pace in the race.

There's an interesting story in Genesis 33 about Jacob and Esau that illustrates finding your own pace.

Jacob had an encounter with his brother, Esau, after they had been separated over an extended period of time.  Their relationship had been a strained one, and Jacob's discomfort in this relationship is evident.

(Genesis 33:12-14 NLT) "Well, let's be going," Esau said. "I will stay with you and lead the way." But Jacob replied, "You can see, my lord, that some of the children are very young, and the flocks and herds have their young, too.  If they are driven too hard, they may die.  So go on ahead of us.  We will follow at our own pace and meet you at Seir."

Esau wanted to travel side-by-side with Jacob.  However, Jacob knew the strength and stamina of his people and didn't feel obligated to "keep up" with Esau.  He knew that he had to do what was best for those under his care and supervision.  He had a responsibility toward his children and toward the young in his flock.

As a good "pastor" and father, Jacob knew he couldn't drive his flock and his children just to keep up with the expectations of Esau. Jacob wasn't given over to comparison and competitiveness to dictate the way he discharged his responsibilities as a leader.

Who is setting the pace for you?  Do you feel compelled to "keep up" with another ministry, pastor, etc.?  Don't be tempted to yield to that pressure.

We must lead within the scope of our own abilities.  Peter said to the lame man at the Beautiful Gate, "...such as I have give I thee" (Acts 3:6).  You can only give what you have.

Each of us have a unique calling, a unique set of gifts and a unique assignment from God. We will always be able to replicate principle but we must deliver our gifts through our own set of skills and abilities.

Running at your own pace is more enjoyable when you RECOGNIZE YOUR OWN LIMITS.  God hasn't called you to be T.D. Jakes, Rick Warren or Joel Osteen.  He has called you to be you!  We give honor to others in the body of Christ who minister and we learn incredible principles from their ministries that help us carry out our own Kingdom assignment. However, we must run our own race at our own pace.

God has called you to serve Him, and as you seek Him, He will give you the wisdom to set the RIGHT PACE for your ministry.  The pace He sets for you will not only be best for you, but it will also be what's best for all those on your team.

Run your own RACE at your own PACE!

LR - Brian Murphy, Tristan Colgrove, Cameron Woolf,
Russell Hylton, Nate Canales, Cross Colgrove

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Go Ahead & Laugh!

Go ahead and LAUGH!  The Bible says, "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." (Proverbs 17:22)

We all know people who are always down in the mouth, negative, critical and marinating in venom.  It seems they're always griping about something.

Life isn't always easy, kind or fair but HAPPINESS is a disposition we choose.  We choose to be HAPPY WHEREVER we are and in WHATEVER we're doing.  

I've found in my own life, if I'm FOCUSED on what God has called me to do, I won't have any extra ENERGY meddling in the lives of others.  Some people aren't happy with themselves, therefore they consume their time discrediting others. If they were truly content where they were and in their own assignment they would be so focused on what they're doing for Jesus they wouldn't have time to be discontent with themselves or others.

Solomon says, "a crushed spirit dries up the bones."  When I read this passage it reminds me of the 2009 movie "UP" where Carl Fredricksen stops living due to the death of his wife.  He goes into hiding, whittling away his days until he can no longer escape the changing world around him. 

In a lot of ways, we're like Carl.  We will all be disappointed by something.  In fact, there's not a day that goes by that you won't eventually be disappointed.  Perhaps it's a lack of employment, a sour relationship, financial hardship, etc.  We are all going to face disappointment...however THROUGH JESUS there is HOPE!

People may fail us...but Jesus never will.  Our hearts will only ever be satisfied by God's perfect, selfless love.  God knew we could never experience His love while sin was separating us, so He sent Jesus to earth to pay for our sin and created a way for us to enjoy relationship with Him.

KNOWING Jesus and EXPERIENCING His love brings LASTING FULFILLMENT, JOY and PEACE!  It's the PERFECT LOVE of God that holds us steady and reminds us of God's ALL-POWERFUL and ALL-KNOWING power that always has our best in mind!

God will never LEAVE us or ABANDON us!  Knowing this...enables me to approach each day with confidence because HIS LOVE NEVER FAILS!

When we understand God's CHARACTER and TRUST Him with our lives, we find that we can experience JOY and THANKSGIVING even in the toughest of times!  Our circumstances are not always easy, but our RESPONSE to those circumstances is marked by the INNER JOY that comes from knowing JESUS!

Like good medicine, JOY heals the soul!

Today, go ahead and LAUGH!  Jesus is your JOY!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Coffee Isn't Enough

There are many factors that attribute to church growth.  I believe RELATIONSHIPS are probably one of the most foundational reasons we've experienced growth.  

There must be intentionality to what we do as a church each week, if we hope to see people coming back each week.  Relationships have to start in the parking lotlead to the lobby, connections cafĂ© and the Worship Center. Our members should be shaking hands, hugging and just talking with people.

Coffee and doughnuts aren't enough to retain new members.  Churches are constantly looking for ways to “close the backdoor” and create an atmosphere where families, singles, etc., will want to come back! 

We use connection cards to gather pertinent information of each person.  Our goal is to do intentional follow-up with each person/family by Monday of each week.  We’re bombarding people will emails, text messages, phone calls, etc.  But honestly…when it really comes down to it, the top reason people come and stay is because of FRIENDSHIPS!

Friends Invite Friends
Regardless of what happens at the church with staff changes or whatever, people keep coming back because of the relationships they have with each other.

This is where we are constantly being challenged!  With growth, it remains an increased challenge to make sure people get CONNECTED to other people, whether that’s through small groups, volunteerism, Bible studies or whatever.

Starting Point Lunch
Every quarter, we have a starting point luncheon immediately after our morning service for new or unconnected people.  We have a catered meal, and Beverly and I are able to share for a few minutes about the church’s history and future.  We give people an opportunity to tell what brought them to BFWC and what made them stay. 

It’s very INSPIRING to watch people declare what makes them want to belong to BFWC.  We hear words like “friendly” and “real” and “I feel like family here.”

It’s important for us to be available in the lobby after each service.  It does make us vulnerable – because you never know what someone will say to you or if they might cling to you.  But it’s POWERFUL to be there to make that CONNECTION!  

Jesus was approachable!  At the end of the day…we’re all doing what we’re doing because we’re trying to CONNECT people to CHRIST!

Our sincere desire is to bring people into the LIFE of our covenant family as fast as possible.  We invite everyone to “take the climb” with us!  CONNECT, LEARN, INVEST, MINISTER, BEGIN!  We are always pushing people to get PLUGGED IN as soon as possible.

Our Climb Classes are designed to answer questions about WHO we are as a congregation, WHERE we’re going and WHY we do WHAT we do.  We believe that if we will sustain the right CLIMATE long enough, we’ll produce a CULTURE of believers, servant leaders, disciplemakers, etc., who are excited about JESUS and His mission!

Belong and Believe
When you love people, you have to love them where they are and allow the Holy Spirit to do the drawing, cleaning and shaping.  If we will provide a place of LOVE – people will fall into that love! And guess what?  They’ll be “Red, Yellow, Black & White…Precious in His sight!”

In the culture of LOVE - racial boundaries are destroyed, rich and poor get a long...simply because they see themselves working for the same goal - LOVING PEOPLE!  

We've witnessed incredible diversity within our covenant family...it's pretty unique!  Honestly, you don't see this everywhere.  However...that's what LOVE does!  It DRAWS people. It's INCLUSIVE not EXCLUSIVE!

In the culture of BELONGING before BELIEVING, I've discovered that sometimes people will want to belong to what we're doing before they ever believe in Christ.  We have learned to make room for those who are newly discovering a relationship with Jesus and are skeptical of churches and Christians.  Over time, they'll eventually place their faith in Christ and discover a NEW LIFE in Christ for themselves.  When that happens...all you can do is SMILE!

The future is BRIGHTER because of the LOVE of Jesus in our lives!  Share Him with someone today and allow the Holy Spirit to position you in the RIGHT PLACE with the RIGHT PEOPLE at the RIGHT TIME!

God Owns Everything

Everything we have comes from the Lord!

1 Corinthians 1:4 "For in him you have been enriched in every way - in all your speaking and in all your knowledge..."

There is not a single thing we own, nor a single thing about who we are that has not been given to us.  From the tiniest detail of our appearance to the house we live in; from each and every single breath to our salvation. Even in our greatest offerings and sacrifices, we can't out-give God!

Today, give THANKS for all that you have the privilege of being a steward of!

Monday, November 25, 2013

God Desires Our Thanks

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite Holidays!  It feels good to have an ATTITUDE of GRATITUDE...not only on Thanksgiving but all year round.

Sadly, we don't always give thanks on a consistent basis.  Giving thanks should be something we do 365 days a year.

The Apostle Paul started most of his letters THANKING his readers for their faith.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 "...give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
  • God wants to be THANKED for His providence and sovereignty.
  • Jesus wants to be THANKED for taking our sin and making us clean.
  • The Holy Spirit wants to be THANKED for His guidance and comfort.
God understands our EMOTIONS because He created us in His image and after His likeness.  That means...we have emotions because He has emotions.  He desires PRAISE! He is WORTHY and He deserves it!

If you remember, He was angered by the grievances and complaints of the Israelites.  In the same way, He is grieved when we complain and carry an ungrateful attitude.

Choose to give GOD THANKS!
Choose to PRAISE GOD!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Wounds Produce Experience

Isaiah 53:5 "And with his stripes we are healed."

Because Jesus was wounded, He received authority to bring healing to you and me.  Out of His brokenness, others were made whole.

There is a PURPOSE for your PAIN!

Only the broken become masters at MENDING. Paul said that God "comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God" (2 Corinthians 1:4).

Find God's purpose in the REVERSALS of your life, and you'll turn them into STEPPING-STONES of blessing. God doesn't waste the EXPERIENCE!

All of us have gone through things that we never imagined could have happened to us - but they did. The problem is, the same sunshine that melts the butter hardens the clay.  

EXPERIENCE can make us hard and cold, or it can drive us into the arms of Jesus where we find answers and compassion.

Today, you're going to meet people who are hurting.  They will relate to your EXPERIENCE; not your THEORIES.  

Let God use your WOUNDS and your PAIN to make you an instrument of HEALING wherever you go.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Keep Your Covenant

Genesis 6:18 "with thee will I establish my covenant."

A COVENANT is the strongest promise two people can make.  Covenant means, “to bind together.”  Sometimes in the making of a covenant there would be an exchange of SWORDS, signifying that both parties would always DEFEND each other.  Other times, they would pass a SANDAL between them, pledging to go to any lengths for each other.  Again, they would take an ANIMAL sacrifice, split it down the middle, and walk between the halves, signifying they were ONE, and each was incomplete without the other.

God has entered into a COVENANT to bless you. 

Deuteronomy 12:7 “There, in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the Lord your God has blessed you.”

Promises of our Covenant…if we obey:
  • Health
  • Safety
  • Prosperity
  • Guidance
  • Victory
God put a list of rules into the Ark of the COVENANT and when Israel went to war and the Ark went before them, nobody could withstand them.  The COVENANT was their power source; God Himself was their ally in battle.  And He is your ally, too!
  • The covenant SWORD is God’s promise to fight for you!
  • The covenant SANDAL says no matter how far gone you may feel, just call and He’ll come.
  • The covenant SACRIFICE means you’re an heir to all that He has promised! 

Keep your COVENANT with Him…
He has every intention to keep His with you!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Nothing Shall Offend Them

Psalms 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

Do you know someone who is easily offended?  Does it seem like every time you turn around you hear them complaining about what they don't like about this person and that person, who hurt their feelings, who didn't include them, who didn't give them opportunity or what they didn't like about this and that, etc.?  Are they highly opinionated and have something to say about everything and everyone?

When people become offended, they often POUT and let you know that they're unhappy through their body language, facial expressions and mannerisms. 

You can usually tell they're offended, because they're no longer smiling, participating, eager, zealous or pleasant.

I've watched the spirit of offense move through entire families.  Even when that spirit is RECOGNIZED and they confess that they know it is something they struggle with, because they've seen it in their parents, their grandparents, etc...unless it's REPENTED of and RENOUNCED, it passes from generation to the next as a NORMALCY and it keeps cropping it's head up generationally. 

Cain became OFFENDED at God and manifested his anger upon his brother Able.  
  • Genesis 4:5 "But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect.  And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell."
  • Genesis 4:6-7God said to Cain, "Why are thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen?  If thou does well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.  And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him." 
God clearly told Cain that if he "DID RIGHT" his sacrifice would be accepted too.  He was correcting Cain and showing him how to get over this offense.  God said, "If you will master this thing, great joy will follow!"  God was pushing Cain toward the RIGHT ATTITUDE, which would yield the RIGHT ACTIONHowever, Cain did not receive the instruction the way God intended, and thus he allowed offense to build in him to the point that he yielded to his flesh and murdered his own brother.  We can murder people with dirty looks, words and actions.

What does it mean to DO RIGHT?  

For example, imagine you have a desire to be part of a particular ministry in the church.  You envision yourself serving there, giving a 100% and really giving it your all.  You sign up, show up and start serving.  You know what the protocols and requirements are and are willing to keep them, because it's your heart to serve in this area.  

However, if the spirit of offense is still in you, it isn't long until it crops its head up and begins to war within you because you feel you aren't being given the opportunity you envisioned, or you feel you're more qualified than someone else and you should have been given the lead, etc.  

You recognize this spirit...and you don't want to yield to it again...but it's badgering becomes such a battle in your mind that it begins to affect your DESIRE, ATTITUDE and COMMITMENT.

Before you know it, you allow yourself to WITHDRAW from the very thing you said you wanted to be part of.

A: The spirit of offense.

Once the spirit of offense has manifested, it's easy to move in to the mindset of being the VICTIM.  When you see yourself as a victim, you'll blame those whom you think hurt you, and you'll try to justify your resentment.  However, when you do...you lose.

When God is trying to bring you to another level, sometimes it's painful.  However, promotion often comes from pain.  God is ultimately trying to do a work IN US, so He can do a work THROUGH US.  In my own experience, I've found that it's easier to LEAVE a difficult situation than to STAY and grow in grace.
  • Listen to these words: "For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with PEACE. Isaiah 55:12
  • God is a God of PEACE.  Listen again to Psalms 119:65 "GREAT PEACE have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them."
Ultimately, the PEACE of God will keep your feet from running when you fall head over heels in love with His Word!  

Churches aren't like cafeterias; you can't pick and choose what you like!  Paul says, "But now God has set the members...in the body just as He pleases." (1 Corinthians 12:18). You are not the one who chooses where you go to church - GOD does.

Satan will try to offend you and get you out of the place where God wants to bless you and make you spiritually FRUITFUL.  David says, "Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God" (Psalms 92:13).

If God plants you, He's the only
one who should uproot you!

Take authority over the Spirit of offense!  Don't allow it rob you one more day of the JOY that God has intended for your life.