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YOU MEAN I GOTTA DO THAT?!

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Matthew 5:44 – But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,

Today we are exploring the topic of HONOR.

Honor is nothing unless it is shown.

A powerful way that honor is exemplified is in how you handle your enemies.

Yes, we have enemies. If Christ, who was without sin, had enemies (and He did) then certainly we who were born into sin and battle against the flesh every day….have enemies.

An enemy is someone who is
actively opposed or hostile toward you. The “actively” part is where I believe most of us struggle with our enemies. If they were silent or inactive, we would most likely not know it and certainly wouldn’t worry ourselves with it. It’s when they “show out” that requires us to Lock Down in spiritual humility and love rather than Lower Down 
to their level.

Want me to prove our dilemma? What do you do when someone posts a “passive-aggressive post on your Facebook wall? What should you do?

Look at the verse: 1. LOVE THEM. 2. BLESS THEM. 3. DO SOMETHING GOOD FOR THEM. 4. PRAY FOR THEM.

YES!! YOU GOTTA DO THAT! It’s the God-honoring thing to do!

Pastor Steve.



YOU FIRST! Preferring One Another in Christ

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Text: Romans 12:10

Theme: What does honor look? For married couples, it means waking up in the morning and deciding that our mate is the most valuable person on earth to us…more valuable than ourselves. In friendships, it is seeing the importance of “their” needs before we worry about ours. In business relationships it is being able to enjoy the promotion of a colleague and refusing to step on someone else’s head to advance. On a daily level it is all about relational priority and spiritual service.

Let’s take the societal veneer off….we do not live in a YOU FIRST world. It is quite the opposite. Some Christians agonize over the question: “How can we successfully live in a world that doesn’t play by God’s rules?”

Answer: In Christ!   The Bible says we can “do all things through Christ who strengthens us” (Philippians 4:13).

Now we know that we are “not of this world”. Jesus said as much just before He was crucified (John 17:14-19); but we believers must be careful not to adopt a dangerous attitude of alienation from this revelation.   After revealing we are not of this world and that the world will hate us…..JESUS PRAYS TO THE FATHER THAT WE BE “SENT INTO” THIS WORLD.

Jesus needs us to be  “YOU FIRST”  disciples. This is not natural in the flesh but very natural in The Spirit. In the flesh, it’s a sacrifice…but Scripture says to present our bodies a “living sacrifice”!

 

Can giving preferential treatment be a good thing, even Godly? And if it can, how do we extend it?
 
This Sunday’s message unlocks the spiritual beauty, power and anointing that comes by living a  YOU FIRST life.
 
–Pastor Steve


Happy Father’s Day!

steve and beth for blogHappy Father’s Day!

 Saying or hearing this phrase is one thing…experiencing it is quite another.  
Today’s message speaks to Holy Spirit TRANSFER.  GOD created a powerful flow of love between TWO:  from the father “2″ his child.  Dad, you are it! You can create a conduit of God’s love that connects directly to the heart and soul of your child. 
 
One of the most powerful influences in a person’s life, specifically designed by God, is their Father.  A Father who is strong in faith and desires to partner with God to shape their child’s life is one of God’s strongest witness tools. Conversely, when a Father doesn’t chase after God and neglects or abuses his child, He becomes one of God’s greatest barriers:  damaging the child’s trust and faith in God Himself.
 
That’s the POWER OF TRANSFER.  For a transfer of any kind to be successful it takes 2 points of connection:  a Giver and a Receiver.  There has to be a successful output and input.  
 

The Giver:  Dad must invest, deposit, instill, teach, instruct, model.

The Receiver: A Child must store, save, accept, learn, practice and take ownership.
 
TRANSFER takes 2!  A father who parents and models his life consistently and faithfully can either experience the joy of His child’s acceptance or the pain of rejection.  A child who seeks dad’s love and guidance can experience the loving validation and of a “present father” or the loveless void of a dad who’s “never there”.
 

C’mon dad….you can partner with God and use THE POWER OF TRANSFER.

Happy Father’s Day – Pastor Steve



LOOK UP!

steve and beth for blogLOOK UP!

Luke 21:27-28

27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

 These verses have a dual prophetic reference.

  1. It pointed to the imminent deliverance of Jerusalem and to the RESCUE from the bitter hostility of Jewish authority in New Testament times.
  2. It declares that every Christian should be watching for the imminent coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Obviously, the scriptures now reference our Redemption..the Rapture or Christ’s Coming for His Church. JESUS IS RETURNING…LOOK UP!

The phrase “Look Up” carries a very literal meaning that was not used in any other scripture. It means to bend up or turn up (your neck) so that your gaze is on the skies. This indicates  a command to be always and anxiously anticipating Jesus’ return
by constantly looking for Him.
 
You will look at what captures your attention. If you hear a siren, you turn to look at what you believe to be an  imminent emergency. If you hear the crack of a bat at a ballgame, you turn to see the imminent  outcome of the hit.
As you’ve noticed, I purposefully highlighted the word  “imminent”.
 
It’s an adjective the means “about to happen”. I want you to focus on this today and everyday. The Return of Christ is “about to happen”. It’s not wishful thinking and there is nothing prophetically that has to happen before Christ comes back. The Rapture could happen right now!
 
So Yes, Jesus’ Return is  Imminent! LOOK UP!!

Pastor Steve



DELIGHT IN DESPAIR

steve and beth for blogDELIGHT IN DESPAIR

In the past few weeks I have witnessed a specific battle that satan has engaged the family of God in. It is a combination of fear and anxiety that the devil hopes will lead us into DESPAIR.

Despair defined is: the complete loss or absence of hope. In 2 Corinthians the Apostle Paul shared his fight in this battle when he said:

“For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.” (2 Cor 1:8 ESV)

 But, praise God, we have a great promise of relief during these times of utter, often unexplainable fear. 2 Corinthians 4:8 declares:

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

 HOW DO WE GET FROM UTTERLY BURDENED TO NOT IN DESPAIR? What does it take to get from the battle of 2 Corinthians 1:8 to the victory of 4:8? A sure-fire answer is:

A Fresh Experience With The Majesty Of God!

Oswald Chambers shared this type of GOD EXPERIENCE when he wrote:

In the midst of His awesomeness, a touch comes, and you know it is the right hand of Jesus Christ. You know it is not the hand of restraint, correction, nor chastisement, but the right hand of the Everlasting Father. Whenever His hand is laid upon you, it gives inexpressible peace and comfort, and the sense that “underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27), full of support, provision, comfort, and strength. And once His touch comes, nothing at all can throw you into fear again. In the midst of all His ascended glory, the Lord Jesus comes to speak to an insignificant disciple, saying, “Do not be afraid” (Revelation 1:17). His tenderness is inexpressibly sweet.

You can win this battle and DELIGHT IN YOUR DESPAIR! It will come by parking your heart and mind under the majestic presence of Almighty God!

Pastor Steve



THERE IS SAFETY IN BEING TRUSTWORTHY

steve and beth for blogTHERE IS SAFETY IN BEING TRUSTWORTHY

1 Corinthians 4:1-2 – Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful (trustworthy). 

Let’s break this down:

  1. We believers are all held accountable as ministers of Christ.
  2. God entrusts us with certain revelations about Himself and His Gospel.
  3. He demands we safeguard His Gospel by faithful living and true speech.
Verse 5 of our text chapter reveals a clear message to each follower of Christ that has a three-fold tone: an incentive, a warning and a blessing. The scripture begins with this message:

“Don’t go around passing judgment prematurely; God will bring to light all hidden things when its time.”

 You see, God will uncover the secret acts of every person and expose our true thoughts and motives, both good and bad. The inner life of everyone will be revealed exactly as it was; nothing will be left hidden.

Tone #1: I think we can all agree that verse 5 is incentive enough to live a  trustworthy live before God and man.

Tone #2: We hear in this verse a stern warning that trying to live a “double life”                before God will lead us to ruin. And finally….

Tone #3: It is a blessing to know that if we live faithful and honest lives that we               don’t have to fear having our true motives be scrutinized or revealed.

Trustworthy people invite spiritual and moral investigation into their lives so that God can be praised by every person who studies them. Living right is safer than living well.

Pastor Steve

 



CONSIDER TWO MOTHERS: MARY & ELIZABETH

steve and beth for blogCONSIDER TWO MOTHERS: MARY & ELIZABETH
 
Luke Chapter 1:39-56 shares the encounter of these two “soon to be” mothers with each other. Some pretty miraculous things had already happened to them both…but when they met it was confirmed that their miracles were not just for them but for all!
 

Their miracles:

Elizabeth: became pregnant for the first time at an old age. (gave birth to John)

Mary: became pregnant while remaining a virgin. (gave birth to Jesus)

 

Their purpose:

Elizabeth: be mom to a son chosen to “prepare the way” for the Son of God.

Mary: be mom to a son who WAS the Son of God, Savior of the World.

Their Holy Spirit Encounter :

Elizabeth: her son was filled with the Holy Ghost while in her womb.

Mary: her son was conceived by the Holy Ghost.

 

Their Response:

Elizabeth: As soon as she heard Mary’s voice, her son leaped in her womb and

                 Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost and loudly blessed Mary.

Mary: As soon as she heard Elizabeth publicly confess Mary to be the “Mother of

           my Lord”; she instantly wrote and sang a song of praise to God called “The

           Magnificat”.

 

It’s always amazed me how connected a mother is to her children. A mother knows exactly how to love, sacrifice and present her children to God. On this Mother’s Day, let your mom know who much you love her.

Proverbs 23:25- “Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice.”

Pastor Steve



TRUSTING GOD IS EASIER THAN YOU THINK!

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A child can trust God. An older person can trust God. The rich and the poor can trust God.  A sick or healthy person can trust God. An individual or a nation can trust God.  I could go on but I think you get the picture.

Trusting God is essential and it’s attainable regardless of what position in life you find yourself.  Here are five ways to strengthen your trust in God. I’ve included scripture for you to study on each point.

  1. Have child-like faith. Believe that if God said it..it is true!  No explanation necessary.  Matthew 18:3
  2. Be content. Believe that whatever era or circumstance you find yourself that God is ordering it or allowing because He loves you!  Philippians 4:11-13
  3. Don’t believe everything you think. Unhelpful and even unholy thoughts will pop into your head. It may come from the world, or from your mind, or from something you encounter. But that doesn’t mean you have to believe it. Kick that thought to the curb and move on to wholesome thoughts.  Our thoughts need to be filtered by the Holy Spirit!   2 Corinthians 10:5
  4. Spend more time with God. The more you know someone the more you will trust them…if they’re trustworthy. GOD HAS PROVEN HE CAN BE TRUSTED so pursue your relationship with Him and trust will grow.  Psalm 25:4-5
  5. Improve you spiritual and mental focus. Philippians 4:8

 

Pastor Steve

 



INTERCESSORY PRAYER…ARE YOU READY?

steve and beth for blog1 Timothy 2:2 – I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
 
Intercessory Prayer : the base definition is praying to God on the behalf of others. However, there is so much more to the discipline of interceding in prayer. Below is an excerpt from a devotion book I highly recommend: “My Utmost For His Highest.” Let it speak to your heart on the all important prayer discipline called intercession.
 
PastorsBlog419“You cannot truly intercede through prayer if you do not believe in the reality of  redemption. Instead, you will simply be turning intercession into useless sympathy for others, which will serve only to increase the contentment they have for remaining out of touch with God. True intercession involves bringing the person, or the circumstance that seems to be crashing in on you, before God, until YOU are changed by His attitude toward that person or circumstance. Intercession means to “fill up…[with] what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ” (Colossians 1:24), and this is precisely why there are so few intercessors. People describe intercession by saying, “It is putting yourself in someone else’s place.” That is not true! Intercession is putting yourself in Gods place; it is having His mind and His perspective.”
 

Pastor Steve



GOD IS ALL IN…“THE FAMILY”

steve and beth for blog“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.”

– Exodus 20:12
 
It has been said that a family can survive without a nation, but a nation cannot survive without the family. God established the family by bringing a man and a woman together in marriage. Then came children and grandchildren. That is His order.
 
God instituted the sanctity of the family before He did the church. Our verse above is a great example that when it comes to “family”…God’s all in! To honor our parents is the first commandment with a promise attached to it.
 

Dad, mom and child all have an important role to play in God’s plan for the family and how it leads in our community. In this case it’s how a family models HONOR. For the Israelites to live in peace in the Promised Land, they needed to:

  1. maintain respect for authority.
  2. build strong families.

 

It’s interesting that these two ideals are under attack today. There is a prevalent disregard for authority and our individualistic, self-aggrandizing society is working hard to “re-define” what God’s Word says a family is. Unfortunately, and no less destructive, is that fact that people of today’s generation (including many people of faith) are not teaching or modeling “respect” and “honor” for the next generation.
 
God’s promise concerning honor is actually two-fold: your days will be long…and..I’m giving you a home (that’s why He called it the land). It’s one thing to live a long time and quite another to live a long time in a place you can call your own!
 
When it comes to your family…God’s All In! Are you?
 

Pastor Steve