The Blessed Life Pt.4

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The Blessed Life – Part 4
1 Chron. 4: 9-10 NIV – Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother
had named him Jabez, [a] saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” 10 Jabez cried out
to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let
your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.”
And God granted his request.

What a great proclamation!…

We’re finishing a series called The blessed life, and we’ve been seeking to answer
the question: What is a blessed life? What does a life of blessing look like? Is there
anything that God has done to bless me? What can I do to receive the blessings of
God? Does God expect me to be a blessing to others?

Regardless of your background, most of you have the heard the word “bless” for
years. When somebody sneezes, we hear, ”God bless you”, but how many people
saying that even know what it really means? Most believers have heard Psalm 1:
“Blessed is the man who does not walk….” They’ve heard one of the beatitudes of
Jesus, “Blessed are the poor in spirit…”

The word bless, or blessing, appears over 700 times in the scriptures and its’
meaning carries profound importance in our lives today.

Blessed – Happy, Fortunate, to be envied. To endue with power for success,
prosperity, abundant, (profuse, excessive, super, overflowing, extraordinary)
supply, long life, as to live in health, To invoke divine favor and good upon. peace.
To be blessed means to have supernatural power working for you.

MISTAKEN IDEAS OF A BLESSED LIFE

Mistake – to think that your life is not blessed because you’re still in debt, or that
your life is a blessed success because you have lots of stuff and bling-bling to go
w/it. (What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?)

Mistake– to think that you have to give away everything you have, and have
nothing, be nothing, and do nothing. Jesus did not tell all of His followers to give it
all away. He told all of us to live a life of giving, but only told a few to give it all
away.(It’s not what we possess that’s important, but what possesses us)
The best thing you can do for the poor, is to not be one. We need to give people a
hand up, not just a handout.

Margaret Thatcher said, “Nobody would have remembered the good Samaritan if
he only had good intentions, he had money as well.”

Mistake – to think that we all have to think, drink, live, look and dress like
everyone else in order to have a blessed life. Not everyone is going to make the
same amount of money, drive the same kind of car, and live in the same kind of
house. Some are not interested, others are not qualified, some are not ready.

FIRST THINGS FIRST

1) IT IS GOD’S NATURE TO BLESS HIS PEOPLE.

To simply hear this is not important… but to think it and believe it will change what
you experience in your life.

If the blessing of God becomes part of your psyche… your belief system… it will
influence how you live life and what you experience in your life.

Most people live unaware of God’s nature as a God of blessing… they may know
him as a God of judgment or consider him a God of 10 commandments… But few
recognize his extravagant over the top eagerness to bless his people.

Eph. 1:3 NIV “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has
blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”

1. God is good
a. The Bible connects the name of the Lord or God or Jesus or the Spirit
with “good” or “goodness” 370 Times.
b. Psalm 31:19 – How abundant are the good things that you have stored
up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those
who take refuge in you

c. Psalm 34:8 – Taste and See that the Lord is GOOD…(food exp)
d. God is like 100% Florida Orange Juice – He is 100% Good
God’s very nature is goodness

2. God does good things for His people

a. God’s very nature is goodness.
b. Psalm 72:18 – Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel,
who alone does marvelous deeds.

c. Jeremiah (31:14) prophesied that God ‘s people will be “satisfied”
with His goodness. He kept on saying that God will not turn away
from doing them good. (Jer. 32:40-42)
d. Psalm 103:4-5 – 4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires
with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

e. When God gives He always exceeds our expectations
f. God loves us; not because we are lovable but because He is love, not
because He needs to receive but because He delights to give.”- C.S.
Lewis

3. His Nature has never changed
g. HE has no need for improvement. He can’t get any better, stronger,
more loving, and kind than He already is.
h. Hebrews 13:8 – “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and
forever.”

i. Malachi 3:6 tells us that the Lord does not change and that is why we
are not consumed!
j. When He created the world, He saw that everything He made was
“very good” (Genesis 1)
k. God cannot cease from doing good, because HE is GOOD!

> IN THE PLACE OF BLESSING, A PERSON WILL EXPERIENCE
PROTECTION, PEACE, FAVOR, PROMOTIONS, PROSPERITY… A
FRUITFUL AND FLOURISHING LIFE!

> God has something better for us… a life that is rich in every way… focused on
serving him, loving him, walking in his purpose…

Prov. 10:22-The blessing of the Lord brings wealth and he adds no trouble to it!

Ps.1:3 -Blessed is the man… he is like a tree planted by streams of water, which
yields fruit in its season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers

2) BLESSINGS FOLLOW BLESSED PEOPLE.

When the blessing of the Lord is on a person’s life… the blessing on them extends
into what they do… wherever they go… their house, business, their communities,
their churches… EVEN WHEN THEY ARE IN DIFFICULT
SITUATIONS…..BLESSINGS FOLLOW THEM.

EX: JACOB WHO WORKED FOR A MAN WHO WAS UNFAIR AND SOUGHT
TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF HIM.

Genesis 30:27 But Laban said to him, “If I have found favor in your eyes, please
stay. I have learned by divination that the LORD has blessed me because of you.”

Genesis 30:30 (Jacob to Laban)The little you had before I came has increased
greatly, and the LORD has blessed you wherever I have been. But now, when may I
do something for my own household?”

EX: JOSEPH WHO WAS BETRAYED BY HS BROTHERS AND ENDED UP IN
A FOREIGN LAND AS A SLAVE

Genesis 39:5 From the time he (Potiphor) put him (Joseph) in charge of his
household and of all that he owned, the LORD blessed the household of the
Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the LORD was on everything
Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field.

THE BLESSING OF GOD FLOWS IN OUR LIFE THROUGH OUR
“POSITIONING”. IT’S THE POSITIONING OF OUR HEARTS, MINDS,
ATTITUDES AND ACTION THAT PUTS US IN A PLACE OF CONTINUED
BLESSING.

POSITIONING YOURSELF FOR GOD BLESSINGS
1) THE POSITION OF DOMINION.

Gen. 1:28- And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful, and
multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of
the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon
the earth.

THE POSITION OF BLESSING IS NOT THE SIT BACK AND DO NOTHING
POSITION!! GOD’S BLESSING IS NOT TO REPLACE MAN’S INITIATIVE
TO WORK BUT TO EMPOWER HIM TO WORK.

A) God’s blessing is not a heavenly handout program. This is why when the work
ethic is replaced by charity… individuals experience poverty… nations
experience poverty…

Ex: the welfare programs in America have not worked. The welfare programs
which began in 1964 actually increased social need and the amount of people who
are poor and dependent has increased rather than decreased. After billions has been
spent, poverty has grown in America. God never intended welfare to be a way of
life…..when we feed and clothe the poor without requiring and empowering them
to work we enable them to remain poor… and miss out on God’s blessings. God’s
blessing is not found where people are visionless, idle…indifferent to
work…lazy….God’s blessing is not a heavenly handout—-God’s blessing is on
the place of vision, usefullness, ambition, initiative… God’s blessings is not
intended to replace mans initiative to work and take dominion in the earth

B) The earth is and always has been a place of abundance. There is no shortage on
natural resources. There is no good reason for poverty, homelessness and
deprivation to exist on a planet that has an abundance of everything we need.
When you see poverty it’s because of man’s ideology… corrupt government… A
violation of God’s principles…

•Random House Dictionary defines “WORK” as – “Exertion or effort
directed to produce or accomplish something.” It can be Physical,
mental, or both. The purpose of work is to produce an item or
accomplish a goal.

The world is full of willing people; some willing to work, the rest willing to let them.”-
Robert Frost

C. Work is God’s Gift (Blessing), not punishment (Curse) –

Eccl. 5:19 NIV – Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and
possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in
his toil—this is the gift of God.

1. Our work is to give us a sense of purpose to create the
wealth that God intended us to have.
2. Many people see WORK as an inconvenience, drudgery,
or unimportant. Some say it is a part of the fall therefore it is a curse.
3. Folks the Marketplace (your place of employment) is
more than a job, it is a place to serve and glorify God.

Deuteronomy 28:8 NIV – The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on
everything you put your hand to. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is
giving you.

“The highest reward for man’s toil is not what he gets for it but what he becomes
by it.”- John Ruskin

Ephesians 2:10 NIV – For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do
good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
God’s growing grace(in me), gives purpose/meaning to my present life. (we build
on our foundation of Christ w/good works/actions that will be rewarded.) !
Our salvation is a product of God’s love and the work of Christ on our behalf,
but God’s blessings are a product of our growth and obedience.

Nobody will argue the fact that the greatest blessing is our salvation, but God’s
design for His people includes growth and becoming fully obedient, to experience
all the blessings He has for them.

2. The Position of Obedience

God offers rewards and blessings as incentives for obedience

Deuteronomy 28:1-2, 13 ESV – And if you faithfully obey the voice of the
Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command
you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the
earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you
obey the voice of the Lord your God.

13 – And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall only
go up and not down, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God,
which I command you today, being careful to do them,

A) When you live your life submitted to God… careful to know and obey his plan,
you can expect him to be with you and bless you in what you do…

**Once you experience God’s blessing on your life you don’t want to settle for a
life without it… Its there for you in city, field, house, work… visions, oppositions,
challenges, adversity

The strength of a man consists in finding out the way in which God is going, and
going in that way too.” – Henry Ward Beecher

“The golden rule for understanding in spiritual matters is not intellect, but
obedience.” – Oswald Chambers

God wants us to Obey Him in order to produce good seasons of blessings
and reward in our lives

•Isa. 1:19 NIV – If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good
things of the land;

When the seeds of disobedience are planted, The blessings of God begin to
shut down.

Obedience is the only thing God will ever require of you. When you ask God
for blessings He will always give you an instruction. Your obedience is the
only proof that you truly believed His instructions to you.

3. The Position of Right Words – GOD INSTRUCTED HIS PRIEST/PASTORS
TO DECLARE BLESSINGS OVER HIS PEOPL
E

Proverbs 11:11 NIV – Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted,
but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroy
ed.

Words are what carry and extend blessings… or hinder and stop blessings…
This is why God told Moses what he wanted the priest to say over the people… Its
not just for the priest… Its for everyone… the congregation, parents… !
Numbers 6:22-27 “The Lord said to Moses, Tell Aaron and his sons, this is
how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: The Lord bless you and keep
you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord
turn his face toward you and give you peace. So they will put My name on
the Israelites and I will bless them.”

In 40 of the 68 NT uses of the word blessing, the word used is “eulogia”, a word
which means: To speak well of, and to praise. This is where we get our English
word eulogy, which is looking to speak well of another person who has passed
away; like at a funeral.

A) Our words serve as conduits of life’s struggles or Gods goodness &
Blessings…

Proverbs 18:21 NIV – The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who
love it will eat its fruit.

You wont experience victory talking defeat… you’ve got to talk victory.
You won’t experience joy talking sadness… singing sadness… you’ve got to talk
joy.

You wont experience peace talking about the chaos… confusion… you’ve got to
talk about peace.

If you want to experience more blessing talk about your blessings, elaborate and
celebrate your blessings… magnify your blessings and minimize your
disappointments…

To live a life of blessing means to not only realize that God has spoken well of us,
but to realize that we should speak well of others also.

I Peter 3:9 NIV “Do not repay evil with evil, or insult with insult, but with
blessing, because to this you were called, so that you may inherit a blessing.”

WRAP UP
I want to encourage you to position yourself for God’s blessings to flow
unhindered in your life… Don’t leave openings for the enemy to enter your life.
Live in the protection and favor of God.

The Blessed Life Pt.3

Tithing
The Blessed Life Part 3
(Proverbs 10:22 NIV) “The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, without painful toil
for it.”

Proverbs 11:24-25 NLT – Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose
everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be
refreshed.

Introduction:
•The Bible doesn’t ignore this subject. In fact, it speaks to the subject head on, with
eyes open and no holds barred. The Bible claims to be the single best guidebook on
Finances ever written. Some 2000 passages in the Bible refer to the use of money.
Two Thirds of Jesus’ parables make some reference to it. Because it reveals a
major area of our lives. What we do with $ reveals our hearts.

We are not talking about this subject today because we want to get something from
you, we want to get something to you! I’m hesitant of talking about it because of
how some preachers perverted the subject. But you can’t talk about “The Blessed
Life” with out talking about wealth, money, riches, & generosity.
This principal I am going to talk to you about has radically changed our lives!

The Key to the Blessed Life is DEDICATE IT ALL TO GOD.
Proverbs 3:6 says “In everything you do, put God first and He will direct you and
crown your efforts with success.”

How many of you would like to be Blessed? There it is! In everything you do put
God first and He will direct you and crown your efforts with success.
Here’s the principle: whatever you want God to bless in your life dedicate it to
Him. If you want God to bless your marriage, dedicate your marriage to God. If
you want God to bless your kids, dedicate your kids to God. If you want God to
bless your career, dedicate your career to God. If you want God to bless your
finances, your money, dedicate your money to God. Whatever is dedicated to
God, He blesses. It’s simple.

Rom. 12:1 (Mes)“Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, goingto-
work, and walking-around life- and place it before God as an offering.”

(Matthew 6:21 NIV) “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Notice what most people do with their money.
1. they spend it. Actually they overspend it.
2. they worry about it.
3. they start repaying it.
4. if they’ve got any left over they save a little.
5. Finally they give it.

God says no, this is the order that I will bless.
1. dedicate it all to Me.
2. tithe it.
3. save it.
4. repay it.
5. enjoy it.

I. The Blessed Test – If God is going to BLESS us, He’s first going to TEST us.
Why?
Luke 16:10-11 NIV – Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted
with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with
much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will
trust you with true riches?

1. God must be first.
(Genesis 4:2-5 NIV) “Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the
course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord.
And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his
flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his
offering he did not look with favor.”

(Exodus 20:2-3 NIV) “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out
of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.”

2. We put God first by giving Him the first of everything.
(Leviticus 27:30 NIV) “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the
soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.”

A. Tithe – means returning a tenth (10%) to the Lord- It’s God’s idea.

•Tithe puts us all on the same level of sacrifice. It is worship to God.
It must be returned to God. Returning not Giving.

Tithing is not a mosaic innovation, but it is a legalization of what
Abraham had done VOLUNTARILY 400 years before the Law came. He tithed to
the Lord as a lifestyle principle, not a ritual or rule.

-A commandment is something you obey as long as it is in effect.
-A principal is something that you live by on a constant basis.
-The duration of a commandment is subject to change, but a principal
is unchangeable.

Years ago John D. Rockefeller was the Bill Gates of America. He was the
wealthiest man in the world, president of Standard Oil. He was asked, “What is
the secret of your prosperity?” He said this. “Tithe ten-percent, save ten-percent
and live on the rest.” That’s the 10-10-80 principle.

John G McCoy, Banker of Banc One told Les Wexner when he was a young man
and just starting out, that he should start Tithing financially and with his time and
he did. Les said he was so nervous he thought they were calling in his loan and he
was on the verge of passing out. 🙂

(Exodus 23:19 NIV) “Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the
Lord your God.”

(Deuteronomy 14:23 LB) “The purpose of tithing is to teach you to always put God
in first place in your life.”

3. The first blesses the rest.

Tithing is giving God my first and best so He can bless the rest
How much can God bless you with?

It requires Faith to give first. If you give last, it doesn’t require faith.

(Proverbs 3:9-10 NIV) “Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of
all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will
brim over with new wine.”

(Malachi 3:98-12 NIV) “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How
do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse because you are
robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in
my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw
open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be
room enough to store it. Then all the nations will call you blessed.”

•Tithing Provides & funds for God’s Work through the Church (Our Budget)

Benefits:
Builds my Faith in God , The Lord will prove himself to you.
The windows of heaven will open for you, The Lord will pour you out a blessing
The blessing will be larger than you can contain, God will rebuke the devourer for
you, You will be fruitful and have increase, All people will call you blessed
You will be a delightful household, You will be in the Book of Remembrance
before the Lord, The Lord will give you power to get wealth
The Lord will delight in your prosperity, Your house will be filled with plenty
You will be given the opportunity to declare your independence from the world’s
economic system

(Matthew 6:24-33 NIV) “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the
one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You
cannot serve both God and money. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your
life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life
more than food, and the body more than clothes?…If that is how God clothes the
grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he
not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall
we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run
after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But
seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to
you as well

As Christians we don’t serve money, We serve God.
Remember: What you do with what you have reveals what you believe about God!
What steps will you take this week to pass the blessed test?

The Blessed Life Part 1

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The Blessed Life – Part 1

I have the responsibility to preach and teach God’s Word. To talk to you about things that are difficult, but beneficial. Many times The Bible opposes our opinions

You can often tell what you need to hear by what you don’t want to hear 🙂

Here’s what I do know: We all want to live a Blessed Life

Psalm 112:1-5 NIV – Praise the Lord. Blessed are those who fear the Lord, who find great delight in his commands.Their children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in their houses, and their righteousness endures forever. Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous. Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice.

Blessed – Happy, Fortunate, to be envied. To endue with power for success, prosperity, abundant, (profuse, excessive, super, overflowing, extraordinary) supply, longevity, as to live in health, To invoke divine favor and good upon. peace

John 10:10 ESV – The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Life – Zoe (The God Kind of Life) Not only duration of life but Quality of Life. Eternal life is the nature of God.

Our reception of God’s Blessing depends upon our choices that we make

Deuteronomy 30:19 NIV – This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live

When you choose life with God, you choose a Blessed Life

(Philippians 3:7-8) “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ…”

Augustine said: “God is more anxious to bestow his blessings on us than we are to receive them.”
(1 John 2:17) “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”

“I have found God to be cordial and generous and in every way easy to live with.”
- A.W. Tozer

1. Blessing begins with Praise….”Praise the Lord”

Psalm 100:4 NIV – Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.

“The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.” Henry Ward Beecher

Praise is the foundation of a blessed life. “God says He inhabits the praises of His people. So if you want God present & active in your home, praise Him!

Praise – the expression of approval or admiration for someone or something. In the Hebrew, “praise” is yadah, which means to praise, give thanks, or confess.

There are two different Hebrew words for “praise” in Psalm 149:3: “Let them praise [halal] His name with the dance; Let them sing praises [zamar] to Him with the timbrel and harp.” Halal means to praise, glorify, boast, commend, etc., and zamar means to make music or sing praises.

We can also praise God in song, singing, dance, prayer, proclamations, studying God’s Word, and the list goes on.

The big idea: when we praise God, we should exalt Him above all else. In order to properly give God praise, ask God to help you put Him first in your life.

Psalm 96:4 For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.
•No matter how we praise God, we must be sure to lift up His name above all else.

Everybody Praises something. It is the response of what you value most.
In every heart there is an altar and a throne. Follow the trail of your time, your affection, your energy, your money, your loyalty, your thoughts, dreams & ambitions, & your priorities. You will find who or what is sitting on the throne of your heart!

(Mark 12:30 NIV) “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
Ephesians 1:3 NIV –  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

Fear the Lord

To say we “fear” God does not mean we’re afraid of Him…

II Timothy 1:7 clarifies this, explaining that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-discipline”.

Definition – The fear of God is an awesome respect or reverence growing out of the greatness and power of God. To revere God as we ought, it is critical that we understand His nature.

Deuteronomy 10:12, 20-21 records, “And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Fear the LORD your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. He is your praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.”

The fear of God is the basis for our walking in His ways, serving Him, loving Him, and being blessed by Him.

•Fearing God means having such a reverence for Him that it has a great impact on the way we live our lives. The fear of God is respecting Him, obeying Him, submitting to His discipline, and worshipping Him in awe.

Deuteronomy 5:29 NIV – Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!

Job 37:22-24 NIV Out of the north he comes in golden splendor; God comes in awesome majesty.The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power; in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress.Therefore, people revere him, for does he not have regard for all the wise in heart?

Perhaps no one has captured the character of God better than C.S. Lewis in his Chronicles of Narnia, a series of 7 fantasy novels in which he portrays the Lord Jesus Christ as a lion, as John does in Revelation chapter 5. The lion is a figure fierce and powerful, yet tender. His splendor is dazzling. His wrath is terrible, yet His love and tenderness are infinite. To be in His presence was awesome. Quoting Lewis:

“As the Lion passed by they were terribly afraid He would turn and look at them, yet in some queer way they wished He would.” Naturally one would be nervous meeting a lion! The question was asked to one who knew this Lion well, “Is He safe?” I find the answer both wise and startling: “Safe? Who said anything about safe? Of course He isn’t safe. But He’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Our motivation for fear grows out of an understanding of Who God is, because an understanding of the character and attributes of God motivates respect and reverence.

Deut 10:12 ESV, “What does the Lord require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord with all your heart and all your soul.”

Eccl 12:13 NIV, “Now all has been heard; Here is the conclusion of the matter:Fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the duty of all mankind.”

Psalm 33:8 NKJV, “Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.”

God’s Nature is to Bless YOU

God is good
The Bible connects the name of the Lord or God or Jesus or the Spirit with “good” or “goodness” 370 Times.
Psalm 31:19 – How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you,that you bestow in the sight of all,
 on those who take refuge in you
Psalm 34:8 – Taste and See that the Lord is GOOD…(food exp)
God is like 100% Florida Orange Juice – He is 100% Good

God does good things for His people
God’s very nature is goodness.
Psalm 72:18 – Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel,
who alone does marvelous deeds.
Psalm 103:4-5 – 4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

“However many blessings we expect from God, His infinite liberality will always exceed all our wishes and our thoughts.”
- John Calvin

I Am the Church Part 2

iamthechurch3
“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Matthew 16:18

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2: 42-47

GraceTown Church purpose statement

“Connecting Seekers to God and to a Community of Christ Followers”

PEOPLE MATTER TO GOD!

People who matter the most:

1. The un-churched (spiritually disconnected)

“”For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
John 3:16-17

2. The hurting and wounded

Luke 10: 25-37 (Story of the Good Samaritan)

3. The Children

“Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:13-14

4. Those who cannot help themselves

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25: 35-40

The poor, the stranger, the sick and elderly, and the condemned

FOUR KEYS TO WINNING WITH PEOPLE

1. Caring for people should always precede confronting people.

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? Matthew 5:13

Salt adds something rather than take away something!

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14-16

Light doesn’t attack darkness; it replaces it!

2. Do for others what they can’t do for themselves.

“But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.”
Matthew 9:36

“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” 1 John 3:17

3. Be the first to help.

Give with no strings attached!

Giving tests the sincerity of my love for God.

Since you excel in so many ways–you have so much faith, such gifted speakers, such knowledge, such enthusiasm, and such love for us–now I want you to excel also in this gracious ministry of giving…This is one way to prove your love is real. 2 Cor. 8:7-8 NLT

4. Common Ground is the best “platform” to preach from.

(Paul) “I have been all things to all sorts of people that by every possible means I might win some to God.
I do all of this for the sake of the Good News.” 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 (Ph)

“…Yes, whatever a person is like, I try to find common ground with him so he will let me tell him about Christ and let Christ save him.” (Living Bible)

FOR PERSONAL REFLECTION THIS WEEK:

WHO WE ARE DETERMINES HOW WE SEE OTHERS

FOUR QUESTIONS WE MUST ASK OURSELVES IF WE WANT TO REACH PEOPLE:

1. Readiness: Am I prepared for relationships?

2. Connection: Am I willing to focus on others?

3. Trust: Can I build mutual trust with others?

4. Investment: Am I willing to invest in others?

I Am the Church Part 1

iamthechurch3
Ephesians 2:17-22 NIV He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Matthew 16:18

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2: 42-47

What does a fully devoted follower of Christ look like?

“So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.” Acts 11:26

Disciple: a student (pupil)
Christian: a follower of Christ or an imitation of Christ

Our goal is to move from being a student or pupil of Christ to a fully devoted follower of Christ. From Going to Church to Being the Church!

We seek to achieve our goal by focusing on six key priorities in our lives:

A priority is something that is given our attention before competing alternatives.
1. Worshipping God weekly

Definition of Worship: Expressing love to God

“Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.” Mat. 4:10

“…the Father seeks worshippers…and His worshippers must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”John 4:23-24

Worship Checkup

(Mark 12:30) “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your
soul, all your mind, and all your strength.”

1. Expressing my affection to God. •What do I love most?
2. Focus my attention on God •What do I think about most?
3. Use my abilities for God. •What do I do most?

2. Connecting with the church regularly

not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25 NIV

God has given us the privilege of being born again so that we are now members of God’s own family…1 Pet 1:3 TLB

“By this shall all men know that you are my disciples – that you have love for one another. John 13:35

“As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures” Acts 17:2

3. Growing in maturity daily

“Let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity…” Heb 6:1

“Grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Pet 3:18

3 things needed for spiritual growth:
a. The Word of God (Bible study, devotion, etc.)
b. The Holy Spirit (intimate relationship in prayer)
c. Time (Spiritual growth is a process)

4. Serving other people unselfishly

“Now God gives us many kinds of special abilities…and there are different kinds of service to God (ministry)…All of you together form the one Body of Christ and each of you is a separate and necessary part of it.” 1 Cor 12:4-5, 27 (LB)

At GraceTown Church…
…every member is a minister
…every ministry is important
…every member is a “10” in some area

Definition of ministry: Using your gifts and talents without thought of reward

God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessings. 1 Pet 4:10 TLB

5. Sharing our faith effectively

Definition of Evangelism: Sharing the Good News

“His intent was that through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known…” Eph 3:10

“Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But who can ask them to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells him?” Rom 10:13-14 (LB)

Evangelism Can Be as Natural as Conversation

The Living Bible translates 1 Corinthians 9:22, “… whatever a person is like, I try to find common ground with him so that he will let me tell him about Christ and let Christ save him.”

• Be natural. Normal conversation is fluid and respectful, allows for humor and invites response.
• Be open and willing to admit your struggles and failures.
• Be respectful, look at people for what they are as well as what they can become.
• Be simple. Communication increases as simplicity does. Don’t let Christian jargon get in the way.
• Don’t forget what it was like to be a non-Christian.
• Look forward to hindsight. Unbelievers will understand some things only after looking back on them.

6. Giving our resources consistently

Giving tests the sincerity of my love for God.

Since you excel in so many ways–you have so much faith, such gifted speakers, such knowledge, such enthusiasm, and such love for us–now I want you to excel also in this gracious ministry of giving…This is one way to prove your love is real. 2 Cor. 8:7-8 NLT

Acts 20:35 – There is more happiness in giving than receiving

Committed believers tithe of their income to God

“A tithe of everything you produce belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.” Lev 26:30

Heaven Isn’t To Far Away

heaven_wellbeingcomau1

Heaven Isn’t To Far Away

However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” 1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV

A GLIMPSE OF HEAVEN

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:1-4 NIV

Heaven According to Huck Finn
In Mark Twain’s famous story, Miss Watson, a rather stodgy old fuddy-duddy, is telling Huck about heaven. “She said … she was going to live so as to go to the good place. I made up my mind I shouldn’t try for it. But I never said so, because it would only make trouble and wouldn’t do no good. Now she had got a start, and she went on and told me all about the good place. She said all a body would have to do there was to go around all day long with a harp and sing, forever and ever. So I didn’t think much of it. But I never said so. I asked her if she reckoned Tom Sawyer would go there, and, she said, not by a considerable sight. I was glad about that, because I wanted him and me to be together.” Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Time Magazine Article (3/24/97) people were asked questions about heaven, here are their responses:

Do you believe in the existence of heaven, where people live forever with God after they die? 81% said Yes, 13% said No
Where do you believe you will go when you die? 68% Heaven, 3% Hell
Which of the following do you believe are in heaven? 93% Angels, 79% St. Peter, 43% Harps, 36% Halos

The word heaven occurs over 500 times in the Bible: describes 3 different types of heavens:
First heaven – the atmospheric heaven (the sky)
Second heaven – stellar or celestial heaven (outer space)
Third Heaven – the divine heaven (the abode of God)

Why we should spend time thinking and talking about Heaven
•It has been said some Christians are so heavenly minded they’re no earthly good. But perhaps more believers are so earthly minded they’re no heavenly good.

•Colossians 3:2 –“Set you mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”

•Apostle John recognized this and exhorted believers to be mindful that this world is fatally flawed and incapable of providing ultimate satisfaction to the believer

•I John 2:15-17 NIV – 15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[a] is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

•C.S. LEWIS said, “Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
•C.S. Lewis also said, “ If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world”

What About Heaven?

•Heaven is a real place.

(John 14:2-3) “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were
not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place
for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back
and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

(Revelation 21:14) “The city was laid out like a square, as long as it
was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be
12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long.”

What will Heaven Be Like?

The Splendor of Heaven – Heaven will be a glorious place both because of what is there and what is not there. There are 11 things that won’t be there: sea, sin, death, mourning, crying, pain, night, temple, curse, sun, or moon. The main thing that will be there will be the glory of God. (Rev. 21:11, 23)

The Sights of Heaven: A city called the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:9-22:5) No shag carpet, no cinder blocks
The Walls – is 216 ft thick and 1,500 miles high (seven million ft) Security. 12 foundation stones on which are written the names of the 12 apostles of the lamb (21:14) The walls are made of jasper (21:18), and the foundation stones of the wall are inlaid with 12 different types of precious gems (21:19,20)
The gates – 12 gates, 3 on each side, and an angel guards each gate. The names of the 12 tribes of Israel are written on the gates (21:12-13). Each of the 12 gates is made from a single pearl (21:21). The gates never close at the end of the day, because there is no night (21:21) and nothing evil will be allowed to enter (21:27)
21:18,21, “says the city was pure gold, as clear as glass….the main street was pure gold as clear as glass.”
21:23, “the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the lamb is the light.”
The Size of Heaven – 1500 miles on each side. To give you an understanding: the moon is 2160 miles in diameter. It is a perfect cube it contains 2.25 million square miles or 3,375,000,000 cubic miles of space – it has enough room to accommodate 100,000 billion people.

•Heaven is a right place.

(Revelation 21:4) “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There
will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old
order of things has passed away.”

•Heaven is a relational place.

(1 Thessalonians 4:17-18) “After that, we who are still alive and
are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet
the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
Therefore encourage each other with these words.”

(Revelation 21:3) “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them.
They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be
their God.”

(Revelation 22:2) “On each side of the river stood the tree of life,
bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the
leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”

Perfect Reunion – We will be reunited with loved ones, friends, and other believers who have gone before us. I Thess. 4:13-17

•Heaven is a rewarding place.

(Revelation 22:12) “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with
me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.”

Matthew 16:27 … Son of Man…will reward each person according to what he has done.

What will we experience in Heaven?

Perfect Transformation – I John 3:2
Perfect Comfort – “Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal” Thomas More. Revelation 7:15-17
Perfect rejoicing, Gladness, and Joy – It won’t be quiet. Rev, 19:6,7
Perfect fellowship and feasting – Matthew 8:11/Rev. 19:9
Perfect Rest – Rev. 14:13
Perfect Satisfaction – Rev. 21:6, 22:17
Perfect Victory – Rev. 3:21, 22:5
The absence of All things Undesirable – nothing of evil or nothing of sorrow in heaven. Revelation 7:16, 21:4, 25, 27

No evil, no wickedness, no ungodliness, no sin. A place without crime, without corruption, without pain, sorrows and tears. No sirens, no deadbolts, no alarm systems, no barbed wire, no adversity, no trials, and no tribulations. No ambulances, hospitals cemeteries or prisons. No plagues, no funerals. No one will be hungry or homeless, and earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and raging fires will no longer exist to ravage mankind.

No hateful words, misunderstandings, slander or gossip. No envy, jealousy grudges, suspicions will be there. There will be NO abuse, exploitation, or violence in heaven. No strife, no broken hearts. No one will suffer from physical maladies, emotional disturbances, chemical imbalances, addictions, or handicaps of anykind.

No weariness, worry, fear, and anxiety will be there in heaven. No more cancers, aids, tumors, diseases, etc…

Until then…
(Titus 2:13) “…while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious
appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

1.Refocus your energies.

(Matthew 6:19-20) “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on
earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and
steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…”

2. Reach people.

(Revelation 22:17) The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let
him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and
whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.

(Jude 1:22-23) “Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from
the fire and save them; to others show mercy…”

3. Renew your relationship with God.

(2 Peter 3:13-14) “But in keeping with his promise we are looking
forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of
righteousness. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward
to this, make every effort

Call to Salvation
The most important issue you will ever face in life pertains to where you will spend eternity

God wants everyone to be saved.

(1 Timothy 2:4) “(God)…wants all men to be saved and to come to
a knowledge of the truth.”

God provided a way of escape.

(Romans 6:23) “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God
is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

John 14:6 – Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

(Acts 4:12) “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other
name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

God invites you to receive salvation. (God’s RSVP)

(Revelation 3:20) “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If
anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat
with him, and he with me.”

(Romans 10:9-10) “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is
Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,
you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are
justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are
saved.”

Choosing Heaven means choosing to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Such a relationship brings a foretaste of Heaven in this life, and an eternity of happiness. You can make your decision today!

THE CURSE OF TERRITORIALISM

This is a recent post from Mark Batterson’s blog and it is worth reading and repeating. We’ve recently moved to Columbus, Ohio with the call and passion to plant a brand new life giving church called, GraceTown Church. GraceTown is being partnered with a dynamic Church planting network called ARC (The Association of Related Churches). It has been amazing the amount of support and connection that we’ve received from local pastors who have encouraged us in our endeavor. Pastor Bennett Smith of The Church at Polaris has allowed us to use their church for all our launch meetings on Sunday nights. I’ve met with other great pastors in the city who have extended their help, support, and encouragement. Let’s reach our city by encouraging each other not competing with each other. There is no room for Intimidation and insecurity in ministry. Columbus is a city of over 2.5 million people and 82% do not attend church and I’ve already heard it said, “Columbus already has to many churches”. This is amazing to me. I feel there is a need for 500 more churches in Central Ohio to reach the amount of people who don’t know Christ. Thank you Mark Batterson for your blog article.