Miracles Pt.4 – How To Receive a Financial Miracle

Miracles Pt. 4 – How to Receive a Financial Miracle

Today some will “Get this” and others will “Forget this!” Be the person who Get’s It! (Tap yourself on your head and heart and say, “I’m getting This”)

Psalm 77:14 NIV – You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. 

Need a financial miracle?  The wrong place to look for answers and direction is Google Search.I did a search on “how to pray for financial miracles.”

The first reference was an ad offering me a miracle prayer cloth.

I believe in prayer cloths. . .I have given them away in times past and may even do so again because Paul gave them away in the book of Acts when the anointing was strong.  However, I don’t think a prayer cloth is the first key to your miracle.

The second reference began by saying:

“Dear Lord, we pray for a favor that financial miracles may come our way the soonest. We don’t ask for more than what we need Lord.

We just need the right amount we need to clear all our debts as well as my spouse’s. Nothing more than that Lord.”

Ok, I’m good with the prayer cloth. . .but let me tell you I’m going to ask for more than what I need. . .because there’s a world that needs my help as well.  Money is not just about me and mine.

Anyone who would limit or restrict God’s blessing flow needs a check-up from the neck-up. . .and a better understanding of the Word.

Miracle – an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs. A supernatural manifestation of divine power in the external world. a spontaneous expression of God’s elemental power.

No matter what your current economic status is, God can and desires to bring Financial Miracles into your life and family. Expect it!

Luke 1:37 ESV37 “For nothing will be impossible with God.” 

•NIV – For no word from God will ever fail.

Mark 10:27 NIV27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

  1. You can Expect Miracles of Divine Provision for Your Needs

Expectation – is to have a strong desire and be filled with anticipation and confidence in obtaining what is hoped for and expected

Expectation Believes What God says will come to pass

•Expectation sees the invisible, believes the incredible, and receives the impossible

•Expectation is not believing that God can but that God will!

•Expectation is believing in things when common sense tells you not to

•Expectation is the KEY that releases the resources of God into our situation

Have faith in God to provide supernaturally in spite of the natural, physical, and economic situation. I believe God can supply miracles of provision when there seems to be no possible way for the provision to come to us.

Genesis 22:14 NIV – So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

Psalm 78:23-25 NIV – Yet he gave a command to the skies above and opened the doors of the heavens; 24 he rained down manna for the people to eat, he gave them the grain of heaven. 25 Human beings ate the bread of angels; he sent them all the food they could eat

We can move into our financial miracle when all normal resources have been exhausted. My scarcity doesn’t determine God’s capacity for miraculous generosity.

I Kings 17:1-16 NIV – Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe[a] in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.” So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. Then the word of the Lord came to him: “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.” 10 So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.” 12 “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.” 13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’”15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah

So, Don’t Worry

I can assure you that He will supply your financial needs.

You won’t have to worry about having a roof over your head because He will supply. You don’t have to worry about food or clothes because He will supply.

Don’t Worry About Your Finances – God Knows and He Will Supply

Luke 22:22-24 NIV – Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!

Philippians 4:19 NIV – And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

2. Activate Your Faith to Receive a Financial Miracles 

Faith is a spiritual force based on the eternal laws of God that can change things in the natural.

Hebrews 11:6 NIV – “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

You Must Believe who God is

You either have a history of Believing God or a history of Forgetting God!

Jeremiah 24:7 NIV  I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. 

1 Thessalonians 2:13 NIV –  We also thank God continually because, when you received the Word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it, not as the word of men, but actually as it is, the Word of God, which is at work in you who believe. 

Believing is called Faith

“Faith is the art of holding on to things in spite of your changing moods and circumstances” CS Lewis

The Bible says in Matthew 9:29 “According to your faith it will be done unto you.”   What are you expecting God to do in your life?  This is the law that God has established.  It’s called the Law of Faith.  The fact is, we get what we expect out of life.  We see what we expect to see.  We  hear what we expect to hear.  We feel the way we expect to feel.  We inevitably accomplish what we expect what we’re going to accomplish.  This is the law of faith.  God says you get to choose.  Because “According to your faith it will be done unto you.”

Faith is… To have trust or assurance, confidence, conviction, belief, reliance in what God says. Trust that produces actions.

Hebrews 11:1 KJV “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Amplified – Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, [a]the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].

“If you believe”….Numerous times in the Bible we are told that if we only believe THEN God will fulfill His promises. It starts with believing. There is incredible power in belief.

•“Faith is like a light bulb. You turn it on when you can’t see” 

•”Faith is to believe what we do not see; and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe” –Augustine

Ephesians 1:17-19 NIV17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[a] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength

Mark 9:23 NIV – “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

Believing is the process of receiving and manifesting the reality of our hopes into our lives. For Christians, faith in action is believing and obeying the Word of God. Christians are called believers for a reason – they believe.

•The law of believing is the greatest law in the Word of God. Believe and ye shall receive.

•There is no situation in your life too difficult for God to turn around. Only believe! We get what we believe for!

The PRAYER of FAITH – It’s you asking God for a particular outcome, whether its a job, money, a person, whatever.

Mark 11:22-24 ESV22 And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly, I say to you, whoever SAYS to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received[a] it, and it will be yours.

FAITH MOVES GOD TO ACT ON MY BEHALF

Now don’t get me wrong, God is neither a servant nor a slot machine.  He is not there to cater to your every whim

Matthew 9:29 NLT –  Then he touched their eyes and said, “Because of your faith, it will happen.”

God does not bow to pressure or bargaining but He loves to answer requests made in genuine faith.

3. Ask God Specifically for your Financial Miracle 

Do you want a raise?  How much?  When do you want the raise to become effective? Money for a vehicle?

When do you plan to pay off your first debt?  How will you do it?  What’s your plan?  When and how will you pay off your second debt?

Our God is a God of being specific –  which is why you must be specific in your miracle prayer request. Being Specific greatly increases the likelihood of greater results.

Matthew 7:7-8 ESV – 7 “Ask (Not whine or complain), and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

Ask – to want or desire something, to inquire, to request, to crave, to call for, to demand.”

Listen…We don’t ASK too much of God, but far too little

John 14:12-14 ESV – 12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me[a] anything in my name, I will do it.

John 15:7 ESV – If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

Anything: any thing whatever; something, no matter what: a thing of any kind. in any degree; to any extent; in any way; at all:

•If you want to see Extraordinary Results in prayer, then be specific when you ask God for what you want, need, or desire. Clarity is the key.

If you are not clear, Faith cannot bring you what you want, need, or desire. a mixed frequency with your asking may produce no results. Get SPECIFIC with God and ASK Him.

Matthew 21:22, Whatsoever you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.

•“Whatever & Anything” is an Extraordinary promise. What is your Financial Anything?

4. Practice Generosity through Tithes and Offerings 

God wants to bless you and prosper you in your finances and in all areas of your life, but there is a spiritual principle that we must follow in obeying and giving that unleashes God’s supernatural provision!

Malachi 3:10-12 ESV10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. 11 I will rebuke the devourer[a] for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. 12 Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.

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.”

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.  

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

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, Pres/CEO of Bank One told Les Wexner when he was a young man and just starting out, that he should start Tithing financially 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. 🙂

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.”

OfferingsAnything you deem necessary to give over and above your Tithe.

Proverbs 11:24-25 NIV 24 One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. 25 A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

Generosity doesn’t start when you have a lot, it starts when you have little!

  • Your giving and generosity should be directly tied to what God allows to come into your life.

    2 Corinthians 9:6-8, NIV 6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work
  • •••”There’s no reason to be the richest man in the cemetery. You can’t do any business from there” Col. Sanders  (he gave $2 million to the AG missions prior to his death)

•”Generosity is a good criterion of a person’s mental health. Generous people are rarely mentally ill people” Dr. Karl Menninger

Luke 6:38 NIV – Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

When you believe God’s promises and obey His Word, you can activate a season of miracles in your life TODAY!

Declaration – We declare that God’s favor is on your life! That your work, career and company are successful and fulfilling, and your finances are blessed. We declare that your out of debt and your every need is met and You have plenty more to put in store and you will lend and not borrow. And that you will have more than enough for you and your family, able to share with others, and generously sow into God’s Kingdom. My miracles are expanding and accelerating. Today I expect and happily receive financial miracles.”

Prayer – Father, Your Word declares in 3 John 1:2 Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers. It is your desire for us that we would experience prosperity in all that we put our hands to do.

For there is great need in this world, and we desire to be in a position that we can give to every good work, that the Kingdom may advance and lives can be transformed by your amazing love.

We speak forth promotions, business ideas, divine connections and partnerships.

We stir up the same creative spirit that made the heavens and the Earth, to bring forth new ideas and inventions for the betterment of this world, that we can be a blessing to many. In Jesus Name, AMEN.

Winning at Work

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“Winning at Work”

Ecclesiastes 5:9-20 NIVThe increase from the land is taken by all; the king himself profits from the fields.10 Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.This too is meaningless.11 As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owners except to feast their eyes on them? 12 The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether they eat little or much, but as for the rich, their abundance permits them no sleep. 13 I have seen a grievous evil under the sun: wealth hoarded to the harm of its owners,14 or wealth lost through some misfortune, so that when they have children there is nothing left for them to inherit. 15 Everyone comes naked from their mother’s womb, and as everyone comes, so they depart. They take nothing from their toil that they can carry in their hands. 16 This too is a grievous evil: As everyone comes, so they depart, and what do they gain, since they toil for the wind? 17 All their days they eat in darkness,with great frustration, affliction and anger.18 This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. 19 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. 20 They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.

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.

All through the Bible, God commends the value of work. The fourth commandment was about taking a day of rest, but we sometimes miss the point of what we should be doing the other six days. God said, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work.”

Introduction: For most, Labor Day is the official end of summer. The pools have closed. School has started. Soon the leaves will fall and not long after that the snow. But Labor Day started out with a much different meaning.

The Central Labor Union of New York City observed the first Labor Day holiday on Tuesday, September 5, 1882. It was a celebration of working people. Laboring men and women took the day off to march through the city streets in parades and then gather in parks for picnics. Two years later the holiday moved to the first Monday in September. The idea spread quickly to most other industrial cities in the nation. At first, city ordinances announced the holiday. New York and other states soon followed. In 1894, Congress made the day a legal holiday.

In 1956, the Post Office issued the first Labor Day commemorative-stamp. The image on the stamp symbolized the day. It pictured a large muscular man carrying a sledgehammer, a pick, a hoe, and an ax over his shoulder. His wife sat nearby showing a small child how to read. The words of the poet Carlyle in the lower left announced, ”Labor Is Life.’’

Most of us may never have heard that motto ”Labor Is Life.” Instead we heard our parents tell us when we complained about a chore we didn’t like, ”You’re not supposed to like it. That’s why they call it work!” ”Labor is drudgery” sounds more like it to many of us.

1. Work is NOT a Curse

Genesis 2:15 NIV – The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

Work began in the Garden of Eden – Paradise. This work was an activity blessed of God to Provide Adam with a sense of achievement and self worth. The greatest purpose of work is to bring out the full potential of God’s creation. The world was good (Genesis 1:31), but it was not complete. God called humans to help it become everything it could become. He commissioned us to act in his image – as his managers – to rule and subdue the raw materials of creation. For example, we tame livestock, purify raw ore into metal, grow plants to feed people, and much more. This is why God put Adam to work in the Garden of Eden

Some of you graybeards can remember the old television series from the late fifties and early 60’s, ”The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.” Some of you have seen reruns on cable. Remember the teenager Dobie’s good buddy Maynard G. Krebs. Actor Bob Denver played the part of Maynard. Most know Denver better for his later role as ”Gilligan.” In Dobie Gillis, Gilligan played the part of a beatnik, a scruffy teenager, who didn’t want to do anything but loaf. Anytime someone suggested that he find a job, Maynard would react. He would jump back as if frightened by the idea and exclaim with a shiver, ”WORK!”

Some Perspectives – ”I owe, I owe, so it’s off to work I go.” Or as

Tennessee Ernie Ford’s old song put it, ”You load sixteen tons and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt.’’

When Adam sinned, his disobedience turned the perspective of work into a curse

Genesis 3:19 NIV – By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

•That’s why Working can be hard, painful, and anything but fun at times. Many jobs involve long hours, little recognition, and so-so pay

Vince Lombardi said, “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.” 

Thomas Edison said, “We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

•God made man to work. That was a part of his very nature. God didn’t give work as punishment. Working was part of being made in the image of God. The Lord God himself created the heaven and the earth and then ”rested from his work” on the seventh day.

Genesis 2:2-3 NIV – By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

Cleanliness isn’t next to godliness. Working is. Our work, done in the right way and for the right reason, mirrors the character of God!

Recognition and Obedience to the Principles of God reinstate the blessings of Work

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.

2. Accept Work as God’s Gift, not Punishment

Ecclesiastes 5:19 NIV19 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God.

That’s a good reminder for Labor Day. Our work, especially satisfying work, is nothing less than a gift of God! The Marketplace (your place of employment), your company) is more than a job, it is a place to serve and glorify God.

•Releases your God-given talents

•Provides for your family

•Provides a sense of accomplishment that is essential for self-esteem

Ecclesiastes 3:13 NIV – That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.

Work is a gift of God because whatever we do, we do it with the life and breath and resources that God provides. Whether we labor by the sweat of our brow and the strength of our back, the ingenuity of our minds or some exceptional skill, we are stewards of God’s gifts in us. We are not self-made people.

Acts 17:28 NIV – ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’[a] As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.

Puritan Work Ethic – The Protestant Reformation gave birth to many new ideas including a fresh view about the place of work. This happened because the Reformation first rediscovered the Bible. From that, they learned a biblical understanding of work.

This Puritan Work Ethic taught that: 1) all honest work is good regardless of its prestige or compensation; 2) hard work is a blessing because it builds character and inner strength; 3) honest, hard work provides the path to prosperity; and 4) the believer glorifies God in an honest job well done.

Scriptures Affirm these Truths

Proverbs 10:4 NIV – Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.

“Lazy people do not do anything extra, they only do what they need to do to just get by.”

“Diligent” – to make effort, be prompt. Also to endeavor, labor, and study. The diligent worker makes effort to succeed, is prompt to work, endeavors and labors hard and studies to improve his production & efficiency at work

Proverbs 14:23 NIV – All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.

Proverbs 21:25-26 NIV – The craving of a sluggard will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work.26  All day long he craves for more, but the righteous give without sparing.

Jeremiah told the Jewish exiles in Babylon to work hard not just for their own sake but for the sake of their community,

Jeremiah 29:5-7 NIV – “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.

Paul Admonishes the Early Church Concerning Work

2 Thessalonians 3:11-13 NIV – We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. 13 And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good

Ephesians. 4:28 NIV – Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

God’s Standard for Work Success

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 NIV11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

Colossians 3:17 NIV17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Work is God’s Power for you to Create Wealth

Deuteronomy 8:18-19 (ESV) 18 You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. 19 And if you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish.

•Minus the Financial Miracles, inheritances, etc… Most of your finances you will receive in your lifetime will come from your WORK, or your career.

Colossians 3:23-25 NIV 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.

•Reggie McNeal, a church consultant specializing in leadership development, talks about sitting on a bench on a beach boardwalk late one afternoon, resting after an hour long walk. He had passed a woman in a green uniform pushing a broom several times. She came toward his bench doing her meticulous sweeping of the sidewalk. Suddenly she stopped, wiped her forehead, and rested on her broom. Reggie called out to her: “You do a great job.”

“Thank you,” she replied. Then she added something that explained why the sidewalk behind her was spotless. “I just believe people want to walk on a clean sidewalk.”

Reggie says, “I was humbled to be in the presence of a worker who viewed her task with such significance. Whatever the park service was paying her, there’s no way they could have demanded the excellence she brought to her work. That kind of motivation comes from within.”

Ephesians 6:7-8 THE MSG  Servants, respectfully obey your earthly masters but always with an eye to obeying the real master, Christ. Don’t just do what you have to do to get by, but work heartily, as Christ’s servants doing what God wants you to do. And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you’re really serving God. Good work will get you good pay from the Master, regardless of whether you are slave or free.

John Stott was a beloved British pastor and author. He wrote: “The way to serve the Lord in your job is to always imagine that you are working for Jesus instead of your boss. It is possible for the housewife to cook a meal as if Jesus Christ were going to eat it or to clean the house as if Jesus Christ were going to be the honored guest. It is possible for teachers to educate children; for doctors to treat patients; for nurses to care for patients; for lawyers to have clients; for shop assistants to have customers; for accountants to audit books; and secretaries to type letters as if in every case they were serving Jesus Christ.”

Conclusion: It is good and proper for those who worship to give thanks to God for their work. We worship and we work because we know all we have, even the jobs with which we earn our living, are gifts from God.

Shift Pt.5 – Vision

Shift-Series

Shift Pt 5 – Vision 

We’re in a series called “SHIFT” In The book of Exodus is the story of 2 million Israelite slaves who leave Egypt with a dream of freedom…..a promise…a hope. But the Egyptians did not want to let them go and chased them. There’s one point where it looks like they are trapped= the Egyptian army is behind them…..and there’s nothing but a sea in front of them….

Exodus 14:19-20 Message – The angel of God that had been leading the camp of Israel now shifted and got behind them. And the Pillar of Cloud that had been in front also shifted to the rear. The Cloud was now between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel. The Cloud enshrouded one camp in darkness and flooded the other with light. The two camps didn’t come near each other all night.

This Shift created a separation between them and their past. A “visual” separation.

  1. THIS WAS GOD’S WAY OF SAYING I DON’T WANT YOU LOOKING BEHIND YOU… I WANT YOU TO SHIFT YOUR ATTENTION TO WHAT’S IN FRONT OF YOU.

Think about this. How many times have you seen people in your family….people at church…whose attention is constantly pulled into the past?

•Maybe they are living with regrets of what they did or did not do…I could have said this….Why did I do that?….What was he thinking? What was I thinking?

• Maybe they are constantly re-living a season in their life that is over…it

could be a past relationship that ended or it could be an offense that they still carry with them towards someone. It could just be that they have imagined the past as being the best days of their life….so they keep re-living it.

*Whether the past is good or bad…there’s no future in it!!

• When you’re re-living the past, you’re missing out on the present and sabotaging the future! God wants all of us to know the same thing he wanted the people of Israel to know….”I’ll take care of the past—-you

just need to put your attention on the future!

This story is symbolic of how God wants us to see baptism in water…..a place where we create separation of our old life from our new life. Gods saying “I don’t want you to be haunted by your past….hunted by your past….I want to create a separation and as long as we keep looking forward and keep our attention on our new life that’s exactly what happens!

2) THE WRONG PERSPECTIVE CAN KEEP YOU OUT OF YOUR PROMISE LAND BUT A SHIFT IN PERSPECTIVE OPENS UP THE DOORS OF GOD’S PROMISES

While the angel and the cloud got behind them….God started opening the

future out in front of them…..BUT WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IS…that the story of this divine shift started back several verses with Moses telling the people to make a shift in their perspective and the way they were looking at the situation they were in.

Exodus 14:10-14 MSG – As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw them—Egyptians! Coming at them! They were totally afraid. They cried out in terror to God. They told Moses, “Weren’t the cemeteries large enough in Egypt so that you had to take us out here in the wilderness to die? What have you done to us, taking us out of Egypt? Back in Egypt didn’t we tell you this would happen? Didn’t we tell you, ‘Leave us alone here in Egypt—we’re better off as slaves in Egypt than as corpses in the wilderness.’”

•They were so stuck in their perspective of the circumstances. All of their attention was on how bad things were rather than on How Big God is”

13 Moses spoke to the people: “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and watch God do his work of salvation for you today. Take a good look at the Egyptians today for you’re never going to see them again.14 God will fight the battle for you. And you? You keep your mouths shut!”

• Calm your fear • Stand your ground • Shut your mouth

The waters split in front of them…They walked through the sea and into

a new land of freedom…a land of promise. The Egyptians who gave chase were swallowed up when the sea walls came back together Only God can do things like that! Shift Clouds and Angels…..part the waters and close the waters on our enemies!!

The Past has a way of Paralyzing our Present (past mistakes, past problems, past relationships)

(Lamentations 3:19-20 NIV) “I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.” 

“Your past is always going to be the way it was. Stop trying to change it.”

The Remedy

•Release Your Past

Philippians 3:12-14 NIV – Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Take your eyes off your past, because your past is not your potential! Choose to liberate your future!

Isaiah 43:18 NIV – “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 

“Don’t freeze frame a certain time in your life and condemn your future based on that moment. God is not done with you”

You do not move ahead by constantly looking in a rear view mirror. The past is a rudder to guide you, not an anchor to drag you. We must learn from the past but not live in the past.

•Refocus Your Vision for Life

If you want to SHIFT where you’re going in life, then you have to SHIFT what you’re seeing for your future!

Yogi Berra said, “If you don’t know where you are going, your likely to end up someplace else.”

Proverbs 29:18 KJV – Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Helen Keller said, The only thing worse than being blind is the one who has sight but no vision.

Vision is a picture. Anytime there is no VISION, the quality and value of life deteriorates. A marriage, a business, a church, a city, a nation, or a school will fall apart when they lack VISION.

I went to the eye doctor last week for my yearly eye exam and my prescription changed a little. I got my new glasses this week – how do they look?

When it comes to vision – there are 2 common conditions : Farsighted – a focus on things that are distant and Nearsighted – a focus on things that are close

This Got me thinking about vision – parallels for our lives and we need make some SHIFTS. Some have good vision – others don’t. Some are farsighted – you’ve envisioned the future, But lack the day to day disciplines to get you there. Some are nearsighted – know what to do today, But not sure where you’re headed

Life is a journey and every journey has a destination. Everybody ends up somewhere in life. A few people end up somewhere on purpose.

•Read “Oh the places you’ll go” by Dr. Suess

What is vision?

A Vision is born in the soul of a man or woman who is consumed with the tension between what is and what could be. Anyone who is frustrated, or brokenhearted about the way things are, in light of the way they believe things could be, is a candidate for vision.

A vision is a compelling image of an achievable future – Vision brings your world into focus. Vision brings order to chaos. A clear vision enables you to see everything differently.

Webster’s definition – The ability to force or perceive something not actually visible, as though mental or spiritual acuteness.

Get a vision for your life that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning! Why?  Because you will never go beyond where you see yourself going.

The World is just waiting for you to….

Get a VISION of your life that is so big the hair on the back of your neck will stand up!

Get a VISION so awesome that your toes curl!

Get a VISION so big that 100 years from now, future generations birthed from you  will look at your picture and say, “Thank you!”

God wants you to connect with His vision and His VISION is the force that invents your future!

(Ephesians 3:20 Message)  “God can do anything—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!”

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV – For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future

How to manifest the Vision

Psalm 27:4 NIV – Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Ink it don’t just think it! A short pencil is better than a long memory

Habakkuk 2:2-3 NKJV – Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.

3) DON’T LET PROBLEMS OR PAIN DICTATE YOUR PERSPECTIVE. WHEN WE KEEP THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE NOTHING CAN STOP A HOLY SHIFT FROM COMING IN OUR FUTURE.

If you’ve had a setback recently….or suffered the loss of loved one….no one would fault you for having moments of grief or sorrow or discouragement in your life. But I want to encourage you to not let the temporary conditions of your life to dictate a permanent perspective… MOSES WAS SAYING….LET’S KEEP MOVING ON…

13 Moses spoke to the people: “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm…..and watch God do his work of salvation for you today……14 God will fight the battle for you.

Imagine the challenge in this….after years of slavery…Moses is saying “Don’t look back….look forward….keep expecting the answer to your prayers….Gods about to bring you into a new place…new season….greater day of joy and blessing in your life!!

The psalmist said it like this:

Ps 30:5-Weeping may endure for a night….but joy comes in the morning

Ps 30:11-He has turned my mourning into dancing.

SELFIE Pt.2 – Living a Generous Life

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SELFIE Pt 2 – Living a Generous Life

2 Corinthians 9:11 NIV- You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

SELFISHNESS – devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others

There’s 2 types of people: #1 People who are selfish & consume & always want to know what’s in it for them, #2 People who are selfless & contribute & always want to know what they can do for somebody else. We need more #2′s

John D Rockefeller said, “I believe that the rendering of useful service is the common duty of mankind, and that only in purifying fire of sacrifice is the dross of selfishness consumed and the greatness of the human soul set free.”

Mark 8:35 NLT – “If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will find true life.”

•Over 800 verses in the Bible about the subject of Money. It’s addressed more than heaven and hell. 16 of 38 stories Jesus told were about money and man.

The story is told that one day a beggar by the roadside asked for alms from Alexander the Great as he passed by. The man was poor and wretched and had no claim upon the ruler, no right to even life a solicitous hand. Yet the Emperor threw him several gold coins. A courtier was astonished at his generosity and commented, “Sir, copper coins would adequately meet a beggar’s need. Why give him gold?”

Alexander responded in royal fashion “Copper would suit the beggar’s need, but gold coins suit Alexander’s giving.”

Very few people these days, have “the Great” added to their names. When we think of Alexander the Great, most people think of the historical figure, who was young, eccentric, a brilliant military strategist with blond hair and bulging muscles and looks like Colin Farrell. However, one of the secrets of all greatness is revealed through generosity.

He didn’t have to prove anything to anyone. But his way of thinking challenged the thinking of not just the courier, but everyone who had the privilege of being in the presence of greatness. He just didn’t subdued kingdoms with superior military strategy, but conquered mediocrity through his generous life.

“Your standard of giving reflects your standard of living”

•We find meaning by giving our lives away
Acts 20:35 It is more blessed to give than to receive. (God’s concept)

•THE KEY TO A Selfless LIFE IS A HEART OF GENEROSITY.


Proverbs 11:24-25 NIV 24 One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. 25 A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

•Generosity doesn’t start when you have a lot, it starts when you have little!
• Your giving and generosity should be directly tied to what God allows to come into your life.



2 Corinthians 9:6-8, NIV 6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work…

Generosity is quality of heart and mind opposed to meanness

•What is Generosity? It’s literally “Freedom from meanness or smallness of mind and character. Meanness is born out of selfishness and selfishness is born out of self preservation.

•Generosity: A courageous disposition full of the Spirit, that is evidenced by:
•A quality of heart and mind opposed to meanness
•A nobleness of soul that is empowered to bestow favor
•A bountiful disposition that is free to give with bold liberality

When you are generous, you are free from the smallness of your own mind. Smallness of mind is when you are focused on you and what you need, not the needs of others.

Generosity goes against our nature. Andy Stanley said it best when he said, “by nature the concept of generosity is in direct conflict with the concept of self preservation”

Luke 16:9 NLT – 9 Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home. (In this way, your generosity stores up a reward for you in heaven)

•”There’s no reason to be the richest man in the cemetery. You can’t do any business from there” Col. Sanders (he gave $2 million to the AG missions prior to his death)

•”Generosity is a good criterion of a person’s mental health. Generous people are rarely mentally ill people” Dr. Karl Menninger

How can you begin to develop a generous spirit that leads to a generous life?

Philippians 4:8 (NIV) 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Noble – One who because of elevation of mind (think), becomes heroic (be) by doing deeds “uncommonly” well with excellence as the standard (do)

“When you elevate your thinking, you elevate your life”

Generosity is not just meeting the needs of “Beggars” or need people so that we feel better about ourselves. It’s a way of thinking, being, and doing life that becomes heroic by approaching life with an extravagant God-like excellence.

God’s desire for us is to think….be…do life like Him. We elevate our thinking when we put God first with our time, talent, and treasure.

The Result of Generosity

Everything you need will be added unto you
Matthew 6:33 (NIV) But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Your Children will be Blessed
Psalm 37:25-26 NIV- I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging for bread. They are always generous…their children will be blessed.

Good will come to you (The Favor of God)
Psalm 112:5 NIV Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice.

You will prosper and be refreshed
Proverbs 11:24-25 NIV One man gives freely, yet gains even more (gets larger and larger); another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. 25 A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
another translation – “The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed. Those who help others are helped.”

BONUS – Treasures in Heaven
a. I Timothy 6:18-19 “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasures.

God has called us to a generous life, because the world needs to see a generous God! I want to challenge you to be generous. Love generously, give generously and live generously!

Our Generosity is a reflection of the generosity of God!

Love always finds a way: selfishness always finds an excuse!

God calls you to a service far beyond anything you could ever imagine. You were put on Earth to make a contribution.

You weren’t created just to consume resources – to eat, breath, and take up space. God designed you to make a difference with your life. God wants to you to give something back!

•There’s a clever young guy named Somebody Else, There’s nothing this guy cannot do. He is busy from morning till way late at night, Just substituting for you.

You’re asked to do this or you’re asked to do that And what is your reply?
Get Somebody Else to do that job, He’ll do it much better than I.

So much to do in this weary old world, So much and workers so few,
And Somebody Else, all weary and worn, Is still substituting for you.

Are you content to let Somebody Else serve & give?


•”Do all the good you can, In all the ways you can, To all the souls you can, In every place you can, At all the times you can, with all the zeal you can, As long as you can.” John Wesley

Generosity Brings absolute fulfillment

Matthew 25:21 – “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things so; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

Living the Increased Life

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Living The Increased Life

Luke 2:52 ESV – And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature[a] and in favor with God and man.

Increase – become or make greater in size, strength, quality, amount, intensity, or degree.

God wants YOU to increase in every area of your life!

Do dogs like bones? I don’t think so. I think they like steaks and but they settle for bones. We settle for less than what God has for us! God has so much more!

Deuteronomy 1:11 NLT – And may the Lord, the God of your ancestors, multiply you a thousand times more and bless you as he promised!

Psalm 115:14-15 ESV – May the Lord give you increase, you and your children! 15  May you be blessed by the Lord, who made heaven and earth!

The desire for increase and more is not a wrong desire. It comes from God (be fruitful & multiply..)

Jesus intended for you to have an Abundant (Successful) Life

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.

Abundant – existing or available in large quantities; plentiful. profuse, rich, lavish, abounding, liberal, generous, bountiful, large, huge, great, paramount, overflowing, prolific

Back to our text – Luke 2:52 ESV – And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature[a] and in favor with God and man.

Increase or Growth is not automatic

•You’re only young once, but you can be immature indefinitely. Personal growth and increase is our responsibility.

•When you were a child your parents were responsible for your growth, now you are! Robert Browning wrote, “Why stay we on earth except to grow?” That is a great question yet few of us dedicate ourselves to the process. Why? Because growth requires CHANGE and most of us are uncomfortable with change.

“If we don’t change we won’t grow, and if we don’t grow we’re not really living” Gail Sheehy

Jesus grew and increased with

I. Wisdom

Definition – knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.

Proverbs 4:5-8 AMP – Get skillful and godly Wisdom, get understanding (discernment, comprehension, and interpretation); do not forget and do not turn back from the words of my mouth.6 Forsake not [Wisdom], and she will keep, defend, and protect you; love her, and she will guard you. 7 The beginning of Wisdom is: get Wisdom (skillful and godly Wisdom)! [For skillful and godly Wisdom is the principal thing.] And with all you have gotten, get understanding (discernment, comprehension, and interpretation). 8 Prize Wisdom highly and exalt her, and she will exalt and promote you; she will bring you to honor when you embrace her.

We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid. – Benjamin Franklin

•We need to KNOW more than what we already know. The difference to where I am and where I want to be is what I need to know.

1. Cultivate a Teachable Attitude

Proverbs 1:5 NIV – let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance

Proverbs 22:17-18 NIV – Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach,18  for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart and have all of them ready on your lips.

Don’t be a know it all~ Be a learn it all~! Don’t bankrupt your mind~

2. Invest in yourself

2 Timothy 2:15 AMP – Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.

“Empty the money of your wallet into your mind and your mind will fill your wallet with money” Ben Franklin

The greatest value in life is not what you get but what you become! When you improve yourself you improve your life!

When you learn you brome more than you are and then you get more than you got

It’s what you become that adds value in your life that brings – promotion, success, raise, benefits, blessing, etc…
•••Buy the books, Go to the seminars, purchase the audios and videos – GROW GROW GROW!

•Is the products worth it? I don’t know but I AM!~ (money i’ve spend on personal development)

•You always INVEST in what you find Valuable. Invest in Wisdom!

Proverbs 8:11 NIV – for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.

Proverbs 16:16 NIV – How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!

“If you think investing in yourself is expensive, you should try ignorance”

3. Right relationships Increase your Wisdom

Proverbs 13:20 NIV – Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.

Dr. Carl Menger said, “Our environment shapes us more than our heredity”

I Corinthians 15:33 NIV – Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

Proverbs 12:15 NIV – The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.

Relationships will either propel you or sustain you. People are like elevators they take you up or bring you down. So wrong relationships are thieves to your success

Pursue Wise Relationships: Those who build your faith and confidence, value who you are, challenge you to greatness, and are there when down and when your up.

Run from Foolish relationships: those who are critical then complimentary, those who belittle you and your dreams, those who humiliate and embarrass you, those who gossip, bicker, and backbite you.

Wisdom is the Master Key to ALL the Treasures of Life

II Chronicles 1:11-12 NIV – God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, 12 therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.”

II. Favor

Favor is something granted out of goodwill rather than for justice or payment. A gift. To endow, to give support or confirmation, to do a kindness for, willingness to contribute to the success or welfare of a person, group, or cause.

Psalm 84:11 NIV – For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.

Leviticus 26:9 NIV – ‘I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you.

1. Whatever you recognize, you become thankful for. Whatever you are thankful for will INCREASE in your life.

Ephesians 2:7 AMP – He did this that He might clearly demonstrate through the ages to come the immeasurable (limitless, surpassing) riches of His free grace (His unmerited favor) in [His] kindness and goodness of heart toward us in Christ Jesus.

Immeasurable – too large, extensive, or extreme to measure. Not enough room to hold. David said, My cup runneth over.

2. Favor is better than money. Money can’t buy you favor, but favor will bring you money

Exodus 3:21 NIV – “And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed.

One day of favor is worth a thousand days of labor

3. Favor will bring supernatural increase and promotion

Genesis 39:2-5 NIV – The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, 4 Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. 5 From the time he put him 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.

Favor will cause you to rise to the top!

4. When you plant a seed of favor, you can expect to receive a harvest of favor

Galatians 6:7-10 NIV – Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Someone said, “When it comes to giving, some people stop at nothing.”

Ephesians 6:8 Living Bible – Remember, the Lord will pay you for each good thing you do, whether you are slave or free.

Make every effort to show favor in someone’s life today! It will come back to you!

We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give! Winston Churchill

The Result

Luke 6:38 NIV – Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” – Calvin Coolidge

When God gave Christ to this world, He gave the best He had, and He wants us to do the same.” – D.L. Moody

Happy – The Secret to a Satisfying Life

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Happy – The Secret to a Satisfying Life

Happy is defined – delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing: to be happy to see a person. characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment, or joy: favored by fortune; fortunate or lucky, Blessed

The 2nd paragraph of the Declaration of Independence – “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Ecclesiastes 3:12 NIV – I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.

•In Readers Digest (Feb 2007) – “Happy People thrive. They’re more creative & productive, earn more money, attract more friends, enjoy better marriages, stay healthier & even outlive their grumpier peers.”

Ecclesiastes 8:15 NLT – So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.

Remember the song, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.” Years later you still hear that as a
common complaint. All the time you meet people who are unhappy, unfulfilled, and unsatisfied.

If you were to believe what the commercials tell you, you would believe that contentment was something that could be sprayed on, rolled, inhaled, eaten or driven. As if all of these products would give you lasting happiness. They don’t.

What is the secret of a happy satisfying life? If you could bottle contentment you could make a million dollars overnight.

Abraham Lincoln said, “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be”

Philippians 4:11-13 NLT – Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ,[a] who gives me strength.

•When he’s writing this, Paul is old, lonely and he’s in a cold Roman prison.

•Ecclesiastes 6:6 NLT -He might live a thousand years twice over but still not find contentment. And since he must die like everyone else—well, what’s the use?

Ecclesiastes 2:1 NIV- I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless.

Solomon had it all! 700 Wives & 300 concubines, Money, Sex, Power, Fame, Wisdom. his conclusion was that it was meaningless.

What is contentment? It is not apathy, laziness, complacency.

Contentment is independent from circumstances. You do not base your happiness on the situation around you. Happiness comes from within. How do you get that kind of contentment and satisfaction in life?

Paul says contentment is learned. It’s not something that’s instant, in a one time experience. Life is a school of contentment and the problem is most people never learn and they die unfulfilled and unsatisfied and unhappy. How do you learn contentment?

HOW TO EXPERIENCE REAL CONTENTMENT

Paul gives us four lessons to learn that will give us a satisfying, HAPPY abundant life.

1. LEARN TO AVOID COMPARISONS

Comparing yourself to others always leads to discontent.

Philippians 4:11b – “… for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.”

“Nobody really cares if you’re miserable, so you might as well be happy”

2 Cor. 4:18 “We do not look at what we can see right now, the troubles all around us, but we look forward to the joys in heaven … The troubles will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.”

•Paul says, I don’t look around, I look up. I don’t spend my time comparing myself to other people. I keep my eyes on what is to happen.

Three misconceptions about happiness:

1) I must have what others have to be happy. That’s the myth behind all fads and fashions. It’s just not true.

2) I must be liked by everyone in order to be happy. You don’t, you know. Many people
spend so much time trying tto win the approval of others. You cannot go through life
without some disapproval — if you do anything, somebody is not going to like it. Even
Jesus couldn’t please everybody. Only a fool would try to do what Jesus couldn’t do.
You don’t need everybody’s approval to be happy.

3) Having more will make me more happy. Howard Hughes was asked, “How much
money does it take to make a man happy?” He said, “Just a little more.” As your income
goes up, so does your expenses.

I Timothy 6:6-8 NIV – “Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.”

All possessions are temporary. They’re just loaned to us. We use them while we’re here on earth, have a good time with them, enjoy them, use them for God’s glory, but they’re not going to last. Don’t get an obsession with possessions.

2. LEARN TO ADJUST TO CHANGE

Life is full of ups and downs — emotionally, physically, mentally, financially. There’s nothing certain in life except change. Change is certain.

How well do you handle change? How well do you handle when things are shaken up a little? Do you get frightened? Moody? Angry? Uptight? Paul says that one of the secrets of learning to be content in life is the ability to adjust to all kinds of circumstances and change. Paul says you need to learn to adjust to it. Your happiness in life will be largely dependent upon your ability to adapt, adjust, be flexible. Change is going to happen whether you like it or not.

Philippians 4:12 NLT – I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.

Paul says he’s seen good times and bad times. What did experience teach Paul? Berkley translation: “I have learned to be independent of circumstances.” That is the secret of a satisfying life. You don’t get your joys or happiness out of things, people, possessions, pleasures, profits, popularity, prestige… Paul says he’s learned to be independent of circumstances.

Paul continually said, I can handle this, no problem, I can cope. I avoid comparisons and I adjust to change. I am flexible. We must be flexible because circumstances usually aren’t. No matter what I go through I am not a victim. I choose not to be a victim. No matter what people do to me they are not going to control my life. No matter what hurt, experience or difficulty I go through and I have every reason to have bad memories, I will not let it victimize me.

I am independent of circumstances. That is real freedom — when you can say I am not controlled by my circumstances, I am not manipulated by the external things in my life.

People say “I’m OK, under the circumstances.” Circumstances were never meant to be something you get under. Get on top of them. You don’t have to live “under the circumstances” — that’s a choice.

There are three kinds of circumstances in life:

1) Those I can control and I do. Switch TV channels, if you’re hungry you feed yourself.

2) Those I can control and I don’t. This is not excuse for laziness. Contentment is not
laziness or complacency. If you can change a situation you don’t need contentment —
you need to get up and do something about it.

3) Those I cannot control and there are many in life. This is where you need contentment, in uncontrollable circumstances. Things that are beyond your power. You have done the best you could but they are still out of your hands. That’s where you need to learn to relax, trust God, adjust and avoid comparing yourself.

Romans 12:18 NIV- If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Circumstances demand flexibility in life.

3. LEARN TO DRAW ON CHRIST’S POWER

Instead of just depending on my own effort to make it through circumstances and my own energy, I must learn to draw on Christ’s power.

Philippians 4:13 NLT – For I can do everything through Christ,[a] who gives me strength.

Do you know how you know when you’re depending on your own power? You get tired. Fatigue comes from living life on your own resources rather than on the resources of God.

What do you need to control? Do you need to get control of your time? your mouth?
your temper? your weight? a bad habit?

Amplified version: “…I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses inner strength into me, that is I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency.”

The Greek word for “strength” is the word from which we get the word “dynamite” or
“dynamo”. A dynamo is something that gives continual energy. Paul is saying, Jesus Christ is the dynamo of my life. He gives me continuous energy. I don’t run out.

2 Cor. 12:9 NIV – But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

•”Sufficient” is the same word as “contentment” in Philippians. Sufficiency is contentment. Contentment is independent of circumstances. God allows you to go through problems in your life so you can learn contentment and sufficiency and He can show His power

4. LEARN TO TRUST GOD TO MEET MY NEEDS

Philippians 4:19 NLT –  And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

When I buy an insurance policy I read through it to find out what is covered. When I know what’s covered, I don’t worry — it’s covered. The Bible is God’s insurance policy. There are over 6000 promises in the Bible which you can claim. Many of you cannot claim them because you don’t even know they’re there. As you read the policy manual find out what God has guaranteed to do in your life. Once you know those guarantees you don’t have to worry.

Matthew 6:31-33 GNT –  “So do not start worrying: ‘Where will my food come from? or my drink? or my clothes?’ 32 (These are the things the pagans are always concerned about.) Your Father in heaven knows that you need all these things. 33 Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires of you, and he will provide you with all these other things.

The real reason that people are unhappy, unsatisfied, and unfulfilled is because Jesus Christ is not the center of their lives. They are looking for fulfillment in all the wrong places. They run from this to that… looking for something that is going to satisfy them. From relationship to relationship, from job to job, from hobby to sports to recreation … fads, therapy, books, seminar — looking for the key. But God has laid it out very clearly. You were made with a God shaped vacuum in your life and nothing will fill that void except God.

When you try to find satisfaction in life through people, fads, popularity, prestige… they don’t last. Discontent just means that Jesus Christ is not the center of my life. When I’m not contented it means I’m looking for something else.

God wants you to have a happy, fulfilling, satisfying life. He said it. “I have come that you might have life and that you might have it abundantly.”

REMEMBER: Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with God, love, grace, and gratitude!

Living Venti: Small Things That Make a Big Difference

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Living Venti: SMALL THINGS that make a BIG DIFFERENCE

IT’S OFTEN THE SMALL THINGS THAT NO ONE SEES THAT RESULT IN THE BIG THINGS THAT EVERYONE WANTS.

Zech 4:6-10 NLT – This is what the LORD says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by
strength, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 7 Nothing, not even a mighty mountain, will stand in Zerubbabel’s way; it will become a level plain before him! And when Zerubbabel sets the final stone of the Temple in place, the people will shout: ‘May God bless it! May God bless it!’ ” 8 Then another message came to me from the LORD: 9 “Zerubbabel is the one who laid the foundation of this Temple, and he will complete it… 10 Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin…”

•Temple was destroyed and God’s people led into captivity. 537 Zerubbabel led the remnant back from captivity to land of Israel. 18 yrs later—God spoke to King Zerubbabel—Empower to rebuild

“It’s the little things that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” John Wooden—UCLA: Won 10 NCAA championships

I want to talk to about SMALL ADJUSTMENTS THAT WILL MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE

Matthew 25:21-23 NLT – 21 “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together![a]’ 22 “The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’ 23 “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

•Good news: Faithful in small things—God trusts you in big things.
•“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.” ~Vincent Van Gogh

I. Thoughts: You will never change your life until you change the way you think.

•I can tell what kind of person you are by the way you think. You are what you think you are! What you are now and what you will become is the result of what you are thinking

Thoughts are like trains they take you somewhere. Therefore, Life will always move in the direction of your strongest thoughts.

Proverbs 23:7 NKJV “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…”

“You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” James Allen
You’re not what you think you are, but what you think…you are.

Proverbs 4:23 NCV “Be careful what you think because your thoughts run your life.”
Henry Ford said, “If you think you can, you’re right. If you think you can’t, you’re right.”

Why? Because you mind is the drawing room for your tomorrow. What happens in your mind will happen in time.
Our thoughts determine our destiny.

(Romans 8:5-6 NLT) “Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace.”

2 Functions of our mind
Memory – Replay the Past
Imagination – PrePlay the Future
•You can use (Jesus) or misuse (Tower of Babel) your imagination

In your mind, you can go to your past or to your future. You decide. Your mind is not restricted by location. God gave you a MIND so He can give you a picture of where He wants to take you.

Negative thoughts never lead to a positive life.

Romans 12:1-3 NIV –  Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

•Renewing your mind will Transform your life!
•“How you think determines what you become” Zig Ziglar

Ephesians 4:22-24 NLT 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

What to Think: Philippians 4:8-9 NIV “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things… and the God of peace will be with you.

Remember: God paints your future success on the canvas of you mind

Amos 4:13 NIV- He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth— the Lord God Almighty is his name.

Isn’t that awesome? The God who set the mountains in place puts the thoughts in your mind. How you think matters to God!

II. Words: You will never change the way you think until you change the way you talk.

Change the life you have—Change words you speak. Small changes in the words we speak—big difference in the life we live.

Proverbs 18:21 NIV “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit (Moffatt translation – “Determined” by the tongue)

Words were an important element in God’s work of creation. The plan of creation had been set in place, but God had to speak the words before it could become a visible reality. (Genesis 1) – Words carry creative power!

My Words Direct where I go

James 3:3-5 NLT We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. 4 And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. 5 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.

Your future does not respond to anyone’s voice but your own

My Words Produce What I can Have

Mark 11:23 ESV – Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.

We are not missing it in our believing, we are missing it with our words

Start saying things you want to happen in your life, not what you don’t want to happen! Jesus said to speak to the mountain, not about the mountain. Jesus said you can have what you say, but you have been saying what you have

The Words we speak indicate what we believe in our hearts and ultimately determine what we will receive in life.

Luke 6:45 NIV –  A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

My Words can destroy what I have.

James 3:5-6 NIV “Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire…it sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.”

Proverbs 21:23 NLT – Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble.

You never saw a fish on the wall with its mouth shut

Mark Twain said, The right world may be affective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed PAUSE”

Anyone who controls their words is literally protecting their own life

Proverbs 13:2-3 NLT – Wise words will win you a good meal, but treacherous people have an appetite for violence. 3 Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything.

Matthew 12:34-37 The Message – “You have minds like a snake pit! How do you suppose what you say is worth anything when you are so foul-minded? It’s your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is a blight on the orchard. Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation.”

Our Words must please God

Psalm 19:14 NIV May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Salvation

Romans 10:9-12 NLT – If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. 11 As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”[a] 12 Jew and Gentile[b] are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him.

Living Venti: Succeeding in Life

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Living Venti: Succeeding in Life

Philippians 3:12-21 ESV – 12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained. 17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

In Philippians 3 Paul writes about succeeding in life. When I want to learn about success, I want somebody who’s done it. I want to look at somebody who has accomplished what I want to accomplish. We learn much more about success — life — from models than we do from manuals.

So who is our model? The Lord Jesus Christ is, of course. But next to Him, the most successful Christian who ever lived would have to be Paul. He was an incredible man. He lived life to the fullest. He made his life count.

In Philippians 3 we have Paul’s autobiography. In the first eleven verses he deals with his past. In today’s passage he deals with his present and his future. From it we can see the model for successful living. Paul even encourages us to follow his example. V. 17 What is his pattern? In this passage he briefly explains four keys to successful living.

Paul’s Pattern for Living Venti:

EVALUATION: Face my faults.

Philippians 3:12-13 ESV – 12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,

This is where you admit you don’t have it all together, that you still have a long way to grow, that you haven’t arrived, that you’re not perfect. You do an inventory of your life. You’ve got to know where you are before you know where you want to go. You start by looking at where are the areas that need improvement. Paul himself was honest about his faults.

If anybody had the right to claim he had arrived it would be Paul. He wrote most of the New Testament. He single handedly spread Christianity throughout the Roman Empire. He made an incredible impact on the world.

Yet Paul, at the end of his life, says “I don’t have it all together. I haven’t arrived. I’m not perfect. I’m still growing.” The point is, successful people never stop growing. They are always developing, growing, expanding, learning. Even when he gets to be an old man, in prison, he says, “I haven’t arrived.”

“The only person you should strive to be better than, is the person you were yesterday”

Proverbs 28:13 NIV – Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

Good News version says, “You will never succeed in life if you try to hide your sins. Confess them and give them up; then God will show mercy to you.”

Successful people are honest about their faults. Transparency is a mark of emotional maturity. Successful people admit that they have not arrived, that they have a long way to go. A lot of people are afraid to admit their weaknesses because they are more interested in having a reputation than they are in being successful. Sometimes you have to choose between the two — Do I want to look good? Or do I want to be good?

We’re good at inventorying other people and see where they need to change.
The question you ought to ask yourself is, “Where do I need to change?” Take a personal inventory.

2. ELIMINATION: Forget the former; let go of your past.

Philippians 3:13 ESV – 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,

Stop being manipulated by your memories. v. 13 “This one thing I do, forgetting what is behind.” Paul says if he is going to be all God wants him to be he’s not going to waste any more time on yesterday. It’s gone. It’s past. My past is past. I let go of my guilt, grief, grudges. I let go of the past so I can get on with the present. Success involves learning to forget.

Isaiah 43:18 NIV “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing!”

How do you forget? Isn’t it true our brain stores everything you have ever done? Isn’t it true that we never really forget anything? So how do I forget the former?

To forget, actually means, don’t let the past affect you anymore. Don’t let it control you or have power over you or manipulate you. Successful people learn from the past without dwelling on the past.

There’s a big difference. Successful people learn from the past and once they learn, they let it go and move on. They don’t keep hounding themselves about the past.

It’s human nature we tend to remember things we should forget and we tend to forget things we should remember. We hold on to the cruddy, garbage memories we should let go of and we tend to forget the things we should remember, the lessons we learned through it all.

Two things you need to forget if you are going to follow Paul’s pattern:

1.Your failures. So many people are continuing to rehearse things in their heart that God has long since forgiven and forgotten. They won’t forgive themselves. They’re holding on to the past. Satan’s favorite desire is to paralyze us with the past, to manipulate us with the memories.

“Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently” Henry Ford

Paul says “I learn to forget the past.” He doesn’t set around beating himself, filling himself with self-condemnation for mistakes. Everybody here has blown it. We have things in our past that we regret. Paul, of all people, probably had many regrets that could have haunted him. The Bible says in his B.C. days he was a persecutor of the church. He hounded people who were believers. He held the coats of the men who stoned Steven, the first martyr and probably enjoyed it. Paul faced his faults and forgot the former so he could get on with life. Nothing you ever do will change your past. No tears, regrets, self-pity. The past is past, over, dead. You can’t do anything about it. Let it go. Learn from it and let it go.

2) Your successes. Learn from them but let go of them. It’s so easy to rest on your laurels, to live in the past, to base your security on past performance, to think, “I’ve got it made!” “The good old days” are done with. Let it go. The problem with success is that it tends to make you complacent and fills you with pride. Then you stop growing and learning and then you’re going to fail.

Luke 9:62 NIV – Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

You can’t drive a car looking in the rear view mirror. You can’t run a race looking backwards. You’ve got to let it go. Refuse to be held hostage!

The Question becomes: What memory do I need to let go of?

III. CONCENTRATION: Focus on the future.

If all you do is forget the past, you may just have amnesia. That doesn’t make you successful. Successful people are goal oriented. They focus on the future.

Philippians 3:13 ESV – 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,

Successful people are goal oriented. Paul has a single priority: In Greek this is the word “one” with an exclamation point — “ONE!” He’s talking about concentration.

(Scene from City Slickers: “One thing”)

The most common disease we face is Fragmentosis — trying to do 100 different
things at the same time. Jack of all trades; master of none. Most people are spread out too thin.

Paul says, find out what counts. He’s talking about the power of concentration. Light diffused is powerless, weak. If you take power and light and concentrate it you have a laser. It is powerful. That is the power of concentration. Life focusing on one thing.

“You can be anything you want to be, but you can’t be everything”

If you want to live Venti, there is a secret — Concentration. Successful people concentrate on one thing. They specialize. You can’t know everything, be everything, do everything.

Paul says “I face my faults, forget the former and focus on the future and that is the one thing I do. I have my goal clearly in mind.”

Less than 5% of the people in America ever write down a life goal. It is not by accident that the 5% that do are the top leaders in their field. Write it down and focus on specific goals.

I Corinthians 9:24 NIV- Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

What was Paul’s goal?

2 Cor. 5:9 NIV “So we make our goal to please Him. whether we are at home in the body or away from it.”

There is no more rewarding goal in life than to please God. Paul wanted to be able to stand at the end of his life and hear Jesus say, “Well done thou good and faithful servant. You were faithful in a few things. Come into my joy.”

The question we ask ourselves is, What am I living for? What is my goal in life? What’s most important? If you don’t know where you’re going, nobody else does. Focus on the future.

IV. DETERMINATION: Fight to the finish. Persistence.

The principle of determination: Absolutely nothing worthwhile in life happens without effort. The only way you coast is when you’re going downhill. If you’re coasting in life right now you’re headed downhill. Paul said, “I fight to the finish.”

The great people in life are just ordinary people with extraordinary amount of determination. They don’t know how to quit. They keep on keeping on. They never give up.

Philippians 3:12-13 ESV – 12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,

Feel the intensity of Paul here, the determination. “Press on” in the Greek literally means “I over extend myself. — I go for it with all I’ve got. I throw myself into it, straining with every nerve and ounce and muscle to reach the prize.” He’s a man of intensity, maximum effort. No gain without pain. That’s the way to live! Pedal to the medal!

What would happen if Christians would put as much energy into growing as they do into making money or their favorite sport?

Acts 20:24 NIV – However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

This is Paul’s life verse. Paul said he’s not going to stop, to give up, quit. He’s going to keep on keeping on until he’s experienced all that God had for him in life. He wanted to finish the purpose for which God made him. He saved you and me for a purpose. Paul said he was going to finish what he started.

I hate the word “quit”. It sounds like such a loosing word. I don’t like the word “impossible” either. God says all things are possible. Yet the world is full of quitters, people who cop out at the drop of a hat. They give up on their business, their marriage, their kids, relationships, dreams.

Paul said “I am not going to quit. No matter what happens, I’ll never give up.” I want God’s best for my life and I’m going to complete what He’s called me to do.

II Timothy 4:7-8 NIV – I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

More than anything else I want to be able to say this about my life when I die. I finished the race and fought the good fight and kept the faith and as a result there is a crown laid up for me in heaven. Paul’s not talking about salvation here — that’s a free gift. He’s talking about rewards. He’s running for rewards. There’s the crown that’s going to last on that side. I’m going to spend longer on that side of eternity than this side. Paul wanted to be a winner in life, not the winner of the world, but the winning that counts.

Two Promises:

Galatians 6:9 “Let us not grow weary in doing good. For at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Don’t give up. Don’t give up on your marriage, your dream… You will reap a harvest at the proper time if you do not give up.

Philippians 1:6 “Be confident of this very thing. That He [God] who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion unto the day of Christ Jesus.”

What God starts, He finishes. He doesn’t lead you out on a limb and cut you off. You do your part and God will do His part. You do your best and He’ll do the rest.

These are key values in life. The things we’re looking at this morning are foundations of this church. They determine the kind of church we are. This is a church for imperfect people. Like Paul, we say, none of us have arrived. If you’re perfect you’re not welcome here. We don’t need you. We don’t need perfect people in this church. These are people who are on the way, people who are growing, people who admit they don’t have it all together.

This is a church where we don’t care about your past. I’m interested in what direction are you headed right now. That’s what matters. Not yesterday but today. If God only used perfect people nothing would get done. It matters where you’re headed now. What counts now? What’s the direction now?

This is a church that focuses on the future. We have a goal, a mission, to take the good news of Jesus Christ to everybody within this ministry area. As long as there is one person who doesn’t know Christ we will continue to focus on that goal.

This is a church where we do not quit. We do not quit on people and we do not quit on things we know to be the will of God.

The Prayer Series: The Secret to Answered Prayer

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The Secret to Answered Prayer

There are many diverse facets of Prayer that we will be teaching on the series over the next 5 or 6 weeks. I believe it will revolutionize your LIFE. I want to raise the level of your faith to get you to believe God for bigger things. God works in the realm of the impossible.

Our Prayer Life is an important part of our relationship with God. Yet, too often we neglect this communication with our heavenly Father. In many cases, we don’t pray because we don’t know exactly how to pray, or how often, or what to say.

Today I will be teaching you the formula, “The Secret” to answered Prayer. It’s not difficult. It’s quite elementary. It’s crucial to change the way that we pray in order to obtain positive results.

Jesus taught this fundamental formula of Praying that gets results. Answers to our Prayers can be a reality.

The PRAYER of FAITH – It’s you asking God for a particular outcome, whether its a job, money, a person, whatever.

Mark 11:22-24 ESV – 22 And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly, I say to you, whoever SAYS to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received[a] it, and it will be yours.

1. Ask God

Matthew 7:7-8 ESV – 7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

Ask – to want or desire something for which you are willing to sacrifice. Asking helps us bring clarity to our direction and desire.

God Makes Outrageous Promises About What He Does WHEN WE PRAY

John 14:12-14 ESV – 12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me[a] anything in my name, I will do it.

John 15:7 ESV – If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

Anything: any thing whatever; something, no matter what: a thing of any kind. in any degree; to any extent; in any way; at all:

•If you want to see Great Results in prayer, then be specific when you ask God for what you want, need, or desire.

If you are not clear, Faith cannot bring you what you want, need, or desire. a mixed frequency with your asking may produce no results. Get SPECIFIC with God and ASK Him.

James 4:2 ESV – 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.
-In other words, we try everything else but Prayer. Go ahead, I dare you! ASK GOD!

I John 5:14-15 ESV – 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
•Amplified – 14 And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us.15 And if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him.

•“Whatever & Anything” is an Amazing promise. What is your Anything? (Write it down right now, don’t just “think it”, “INK it” )

2. Believe That You Receive

Mark 11:24 ESV – 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received[a] it, and it will be yours.

•You must know what you want is yours the moment you ask!
•The Rule here is “Ask in Prayer” (When you pray) – not after you pray, not when you feel something, not when you see something. The moment you pray believe you receive! NOW! This is very difficult for many people. Why? Because they struggle with their belief.

“I can get more out of God by believing Him for one minute than I can by shouting at Him all night.”- Smith Wigglesworth
The Law of Belief states, “What person believes in their heart with conviction becomes their reality.
•We manifest what we believe. You may or may not be aware of what you truly believe, but basically that is what “issues” are coming to pass in your life.

How do I create a belief system that causes me to receive the answers to my prayers?

Mark 9:23 ESV – 23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”

a. Have FAITH in God

Hebrews 11:1-3 ESV – Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. (Genesis 1:1-3, John 1:3)
•Verse 1 Amplified – Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, [a]the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].

Faith is a spiritual force based on the eternal laws of God that can change things in the natural.

“Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man’s power ends.” George Muller

Faith is: Substance – evidence, title deed, inventory Inventory – a detailed listing of things in one’s present possession. God’s Word contains 7,700 promises that are possessions. Things – Greek word that means “Things already done”, already belongs to us Hoped – anticipated or expected, anxious anticipation, earnest expectation. Evidence – data on which a conclusion is based

•Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible, and receives the impossible
•Faith is not believing that God can but that God will!
•Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to
•Faith is the KEY that releases the resources of God into our situation

“Faith is the bird that sings while it is yet dark.”- Max Lucado

How Faith Comes to Us
When we come to Christ – Romans 12:3
When we hear God’s Word – Romans 10:17

Faith will not work when there is Wrong Thinking, Wrong Believing, Wrong Saying

b. Release your Faith through the Words you say when you Pray

•Faith will not work above the level of the words that we speak. Your heart (mind) listens to your Mouth.

•Proverbs 18:21 NIV – The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
•Proverbs 6:2 NIV – you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth.
•Luke 6:45 NIV – 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full
•Proverbs 4:23 NIV – Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

“Faith is the YES of the heart” – Martin Luther

Doubt says “I’ll believe it when I see it”, FAITH says ,”I believe it and I have it!” (My prayer for Emily every night)

Therefore Faith Believes 1. What God says will come to pass and 2. What I say will come to pass

Don’t Give Up, Get Frustrated, disappointed, or lose hope – Praying is what we do in our time, and the answer manifests in God’s time!

Matthew 24:35 NIV – Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Numbers 23:19 ESV – God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

In summary, the believer through Prayer is promised the following 4 things:
Nothing shall be impossible to you
Ask what you will, and it will be done
Ask anything in Jesus’ name, and He will do it!
Whatsoever things you desire when you pray, You will have them!

Never put a question mark where God has put a period!

Salvation: Romans 10:8-10 ESV – 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

The Modern Family: Bringing Back Honor

Modern Family MAIN SLIDE
The Modern Family: Bringing Back Honor

(Jeremiah 6:16 GW) “Stand at the crossroads and look. Ask which paths are the old, reliable paths. Ask which way leads to blessings. Live that way, and find a resting place for yourselves.”

All right, we’re gonna start a little differently today. Close your eyes, trust me. No need to put your hand on your wallet, you’re safe. Close your eyes. Close your eyes. OK, think of the face of your mother. Think of the face of your mother, and then hear these words: “Honor your mother.” Now think of the face of your father, if you know him, and consider these words: “Honor your father.” In your mind’s eye, see the face of each of your children, if you’re a parent, and ask yourself this question: “Do they honor me?”

You can open your eyes. You feel the complexity of what I’m up against today, teaching on Honoring. For some of you, you smiled when you saw them in your mind, for others your were devastated. For your children, some were concerned, others encouraged.

It’s no secret that families are fragmenting at an alarming rate. The average marriage in America lasts 7 1/2 years. Sixty percent of all second marriages fail. Every thirty seconds there is a divorce in America. Now, kids can divorce their parents.

Exodus 20:12 ESV – “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you
•To some this command is insignificant. “Why do I have too?”
•There is no time limit or age limit on this. No fine print, no exception clause. It just says honor your father and mother.

Why did God give this command? There are no perfect parents.

•All of us have weaknesses and faults and inconsistencies, mistakes. Only God is the perfect parent. Even the best parents have made mistakes and sinned. The Bible says, “We’ve all sinned.” As a result we’re all warped. I saw a book the other day, I’m Dysfunctional, You’re Dysfunctional. That about sums it up! None of us have perfect parents and you’re not a perfect parent either.

There are three sources of authority in life: the home, the church, and the government. Each of them have roles. They are the basis for an orderly society. God wants you to honor the position of authority regardless of the personalities behind it.

Honor begins in the Home – Parents can determine what kind of adult their child will be.

Proverbs 22:6 NLT – Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.

The Lost Art of Honor

Honor is a principle taught in scripture. Its one of those ingredients in God’s recipe of a successful life.

• Some people have never been taught to honor so its an ingredient that’s missing from their life…but they don’t even know its missing

(Malachi 1:6 NIV) “’A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name. But you ask, How have we shown contempt for your name?’”

•Honor – To give value, worth or weight. Respect, to defer, to submit, It means to have love, appreciation, affection for them. Honor is something that begins internally, and then it manifests itself externally. As you have honor in your heart, it comes out in your words. That’s where Jesus says, “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (God, parents, elderly, ministry, leadership, family, others, etc..)

•Dishonor – To take lightly.
•example: Facebook confrontations, cell phones in conversations or at dinner, how we treat our spouses (chivalry is not dead)
•You can disagree and still honor (ex: Me & the President)
•When parents refuse to discipline their children & refuse to love them properly. Kids needs boundaries (determines right & wrong)

(Mark 6:1-5 NIV) “Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. ‘Where did this man get these things?’ they asked. ‘What’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles! Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, ‘Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.’ He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.”

•Familiarity causes dishonor.
•Offenses cause dishonor.

Bringing Honor Back

1.Humble ourselves

(Proverbs 15:33 NIV) “Humility comes before honor.”

(Luke 14:7-11 NIV) “When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

2. Elevate others.

(Romans 12:10 NKJV) “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.”

•Do while they are alive not when they are dead!

It’s not up to us to keep someone humble.
•Some people consider it their mission to make sure everyone around them stays humble. We r not called to downsize people. Lift people up!
•It’s our job to respect people, build up people w/encouraging words & compliments

(Ephesians 6:1-3 NLT) “Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. ‘Honor your father and mother.’ This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, ‘things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.’”

3. Honor God.

How?

With your Worship – Worship is a reliant relationship with God. It is more than singing or lifting our hands. It is how we love Him, how we value Him.

(Psalm 29:2 NLT) “Honor the Lord for the glory of his name. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.”

(Psalm 34:3 NKJV) “Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together”

Honor Him with your Giving – whatever is valuable to us – our treasure, our talents, our touch, our time.

Proverbs 3:9 ESV – Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce

What Honor Will Do For You
• Honor will give you favor.
• Honor opens the door to success.
• Honor will release God’s power.