Description One Encounter with Jesus Can Change Everything Two times in Scripture we are told Jesus was amazed. Faith was the focus of His amazement. Faith simply put, is trust. It's an action word. We place our faith or trust in Jesus. Our faith is based on God's character, God's track record, and God's Word.
The Story of the Roman Centurion Let's look at why Jesus was amazed. The Centurion was one of the most unlikely people you would ever expect to amaze Jesus. The Centurion's servant is sick and near death, but he can't heal him.The elders of the Jews try to convince Jesus that because of how good this man is...he deserves a miracle. The Centurion wanted Jesus to heal his slave...he just didn't want Jesus to come. This man has a clear understanding of who Jesus is. He recognizes that Jesus has authority in the spirit world to heal. Jesus was amazed at his faith. Then Jesus healed the servant without saying a word.
You Don't Need A Word Faith is all that is needed. By faith possess what God has already provided. John 19:30 says, "It is finished." According to Ephesians Jesus is seated at the right hand of God. He has blessed us with every blessing in heaven because we belong to Christ.
God Honors Simple Trust Faith honors God and God honors faith. You can pray here and miracles can happen there!
Description Jesus said, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me." Mark 8:34 NLT These words of Jesus demand our full commitment to Him. To really follow Jesus in ALL (words, deeds, actions), we need to put aside our selfish desires and give our lives to Him.
Nothing is more important than our eternal soul. Make the decision now. The Good News is Jesus paid the price for our sin. But when we accept Jesus as Lord, we can no longer live however we want. Ask God to empower us with the Holy Spirit to take up our cross.
Have you taken up your cross? It is only when we crucify self that we live in genuine repentance. Repentance is a change of mind. When we change our mind, we also change our attitude, then we are likely to change our actions.We we change our minds about sinful behavior, we make the promise to God to stop loving only self, we promise to consider the needs of others, and we promise to serve Him placing His will and purpose above our own. It's a change of mind and attitude evident in our actions. Not just outward behavior modification, but deep inward transformation of the heart.
There is a cost involved in following Jesus. True discipleship is demanding. Place Him first. Christ gave everything for our salvation. Are you willing to take up your cross for Him?
The Old Covenant It was a system of laws, codes, rituals, and observances. Every time the people failed to live by the standards, they had to offer a sacrifice to God. It was impossible to completely follow the rules. Everyone was guilty. The purpose was to show people that they were guilty before God and needed a Savior.
The New Covenant Jesus became the only sacrifice that could pay the price for our sin! It is finished! No other sacrifices were required. It is finished!
The New Covenant between God and you Forgiveness for our sins. Promise of eternal life. Assurance of heaven. It is finished. What is our part of the covenant? To believe and receive by faith what Jesus did for us! Then in His strength and power live for Him and tell others about Him.
Description There is a basic fact of life - we are going to be hurt by someone. There's nothing complicated about forgiveness. It's in the application that we find difficulty.
Why should we forgive?
Because God has forgiven us. Ephesians 4:32
Resentment doesn't work. Resentment always hurts us more than the person we are resenting. Resentment is unreasonable, unhelpful, and is unhealthy. It never changes what has happened and is the single most destructive emotion we can have.
Because we need forgiveness. Forgiveness is a two-way street. What we sow is what we are going to reap.
Forgiveness does not and is not:
Minimize the offense. It doesn't pretend the offense never happened. It really did hurt.
Immediately restore trust. Trust is earned and therefore takes time.
Mean there won't be changes. Once harm has been done, things will never return to normal. Forgiveness is the starting point that will allow for a new beginning, a new normal.
Forgetting. It is choosing to no longery remember the offense against them. Forgivness is choosing to love.
How can we experience freedom that comes through offering forgiveness?
Recognize we are imperfect. We all have intentionally and unintentionally wronged people. Unforgiveness is a sin. When we confess our sin, God is faithful to forgive.
Relinquish our right to get even. Offering forgiveness is an ongoing process. How many times should we forgive? An infinite amount of times until the job of forgiveness is done. When is that? When we reach the point that it doesn't eat our guts out every time we think about it. Release our right to get even and let God settle the score His way.
Respond to evil with good. Love, do good, bless, and pray for those who hurt us.
Refocus on God's plan. Refocus on God's purpose for your life. We become exactly like what we focus on. Put our hearts right with God. Reach out to God. Face life again. The Holy Spirit will empower us to be overcomers.
Forgiveness calls for a decision. We choose to forgive. When we forgive, we'll receive the fullness of God's forgiveness in our lives.
Description The Great Commission Today let's look at Matthew's account of what Jesus said before he ascends to heaven. The New Testament was originally written in Greek, which is very different from the English language. Because of the Greek words used in the Great Commission, I think it can be summed up by saying, "Go and Make".
The Greek word for "make." It's only used four times in the New Testament. It has a very specific focus on instructing and teaching a person. Each one of us is called to "go and make." We go, but I'm not sure we are doing a good job of making. Jesus recreated Himself in people. He was relational with His disciples. Jesus is our model.
Are you "going and making"? We are constantly going, but are we constantly making? Are we living a lifestyle where we are teaching others to following Christ. Jesus gave correction with those He taught. He could only do that because of relationship. There can be no discipleship without relationship. Where are you in your relationships? Plant seeds and show people the love of God that has been shown to you. Offer something that people will follow. Love people the way you are called to.
Let's love, relate, and disciple differently in the coming year. Let's GO and MAKE!
Description Our identity in Christ implies influence for Christ. "You ARE the salt of the earth...you ARE the light of the world." Christians must permeate society as agents of redemption.
We are the Salt of the Earth Christians delay decay. The purpose of salt is to fight deterioration, and therefore it must not itself deteriorate. "Loses its saltiness" reads literally "is defiled." Believers who fail to arrest corruption become worthless as agents of change and redemption.
We are the Light of the World Lights is visible. There is no excuse for secret discipleship. "A city set on a hill cannot be hid."
We must remain active preservative agents in calling the world to listen to God. How are we to be salt and light? We have the power of Christ to be an influence for Christ.
We have the power of prayer.
We have the power of truth.
We have the power of example.
We have the power of group.
We have a a part to play and the power to play it.
Description To fast or not to fast? That's the question. Let me begin by sharing with you three reasons not to fast. Be careful not to conclude that I am saying fasting is not a valid practice for today.
To be noticed by men.
To get whatever you want from your deep-pocketed God.
If you don't understand it.
Having covered the reasons not to fast, let me give you six reasons why you should fast.
Fasting is feasting on God.
You are giving yourself to prayer over an urgent matter.
Your food is to do the will of the Fasther.
You want to express sorrow for your sin.
You want to express a desire to share in Christ's suffering for men.
You want to express a desire for Christ to come back.
Now, to fast or not to fast. What will your answer be?
The Gift Exchange: Give God Your Worry and He Will Give You Peace
Description Jesus addresses worry in the Sermon on the Mount. Worry is allowing our mind to dwell on potentially negative outcomes beyond our actual control. Jesus says several things about worry: It is unatural, unhelpful and unchristian.
How do we give God our worry and experience His peace?
Let Jesus be King. Make God's kingdom purpose your primary concern.
Live a day at a time.
Lean on the faithfulness of God. Talk to him about it.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
Philippians 4:6 NLT
Two things Paul says to do with worry:
Tell God about it
Thank God for what He has done - Gratifude refocuses the mind
Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7 NLT
Dwell on God's promises, not your problems. Let Jesus be King, live a day at a time, and lean on God's faithfulness. He will guard your heart and your mind with peace.
Philippians - Joy in Thankfulness
Description Session 1 of a 4-week study in Philippians. Paul writes from jail to believers in Philippi. He encourages unity through love and the result is joy. Do we need to check our level of joy? Listen to our own voices and our own thoughts.
Description Five Goals for Growing Deeper with God:
Forget the Past
Secure a Hold
Choose Your Influencers
Philippians - Joy in Harmony
Session 4 of a 4-week study in Philippians. Remember joy comes from unity. Unity is living in and at peace with one another. What does peace do? Through Christ it watches over our heart, mind, body and soul.
Pray, Don't Panic
After clicking "play", the video will download and then display.
Description Pray, don't panic. Be anxious for nothing. Since time has begun the world has faced illness and disease, tragedies and catastrophies. We always want to be in control, but sometimes things get out of control.
What are the things we can not control? Crises, our country, our citizens, our critics, and our circumstances.
What are the things we can control? Our time in the Word and prayer, our thoughts, our tongue, our unrest, our time and our treasure. We can only control these with the power of the Holy Spirit active in our lives.
What are the things only Jesus can control? The kings heart is in the hand of the Lord. He controls it all. All things were made through Him and He is working on our behalf.
Three things to think about: Trouble, we can help others. Truth, not the media hype. Fear, if you have been panicked, repent and remember His Word. Be anxious for nothing, but by prayer let your requests be known to God. Run to Jesus.
What To Do On the Bad Days
Description When all that is good falls apart, what can good people do? It is a relevant question and we can find answers from a story of David as we study Psalm 11. There are some things we must determine and choose. Then we must let God handle it. What to do on the bad days…trust a faithful God.
Grace - God's Gift
Description Grace is like a diamond. It has so many facets. We are saved by the grace of God. Focus on five aspects of Saving Grace. How is it you know for sure you are going to heaven when you die?
The Gift Exchange: Give God Your Grief and He'll Give You Joy
Description This side of eternity, grief is a reality. If you have not already, at some point you will experience grief. Our normal plan for dealing with our grief is to wait silently. We deny our losses. We delay our pain. We distract ourselves.
God's plan for our grief is to talk to Him about it. To acknowledge the reality of our pain. To tell Him about our pain and losses. And to hear from Him about His comfort.
When we give God our grief, He gives us His joy. God comforts us now by reminding us that He has walked through grief Himself. God comforts us later by removing every reason for grieving for all of eternity.
Description If you suffer from depression, you are not alone. Many deeply spiritual men and women have experienced depression. Can anything good come out of these dark times of depression? God can use all of our life experiences. Psalm 42 gives us insights in how to deal with our own seasons of darkness.
Description God is everything we will ever need, but do we believe it? That will determine our path. Realize God is our provider, no matter how things appear. Don't be anxious about anything. Stand firm with Jesus.
Description Are you a football fan? We are in the second half of NFL season right now. One of the marks of a successful football team is the ability to change their game plan as needed at half time. Life can be a lot like football. So, let's imagine for a moment that you are in the game of life. The clock is winding down in the second quarter and you are entering half time. It's time to reassess. Let's talk about how to refocus your life and finish strong.
The Old Testament Saul In 1 Samuel 10 King Saul was at the top of his game. Only a few minutes before hale time, everything was good. Until Samuel, their spiritual leader, was late for an appointment. God used Samuel's late arrival to test Saul's heart. Saul took matters into his own hands. King Saul lost focus and edged out God. When EGO takes over it leads to trouble. Pride comes before a fall. King Saul set himself up at the authority. As a result the second half of his life was vastly different than the first. He went into battle without God's blessing. Three of his four sons were killed. His decisions affected his family. In grief, he fell on his sword and committed suicide. It was a tragic end to a life that started out strong.
The New Testament Saul He did not start off right. He hated Christians and sought to persecute them. In Acts 9:4-5, God got his attention. This was half time - a defining moment for Saul. Your response to God's promptings will determine the direction of your life. In that moment, Saul chose wisely. As a result Saul was changed from the inside out. His name was changed to Paul. He entered the second half with a new game plan. Paul wrote letters that later became books of the Bible. Allow God to transform you.
Today is Half Time Which Saul do you want to become. New life starts with a decision. You will need to say "No" to sin and "Yes" to a new way of living. It's time to refocus. God wants you life - ALL OF YOU. Give yourself completely to god. It will be worth it. God wants you to take a spiritual step towards Him. Now is the time.