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.

The Best Year of Your Life Pt.3 – A Focused Future

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The Best Year of Your Life Pt.3 – A Focused Future

Most people share a common curiosity about the future. People want to know:

•What’s going to happen in my life tomorrow, next week, & next year?

•Who am I going to marry?

•What is going to happen in my career?

•Am I going to be Successful?

•Is my marriage going to last?

People often view themselves as victims of fate. Waiting for a “good break” or “to get lucky” in the events of life. (cross your fingers philosophy)

It is God’s plan and His will that you have a great future!

“How you see your future is much more important than what has happened in the past.”– Zig Ziglar

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

I. Get a Vision for your 2017

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

“Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you see and believe.”

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!!

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.

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.

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

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

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. 

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

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

It is vision that moves us forward in God. Without it we have a tendency to get caught up in drifting aimlessly in God not really knowing what we are doing, where we are going nor even what we are all about.

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!”

Ordinary people believe only in the possible. Extraordinary people visualize not what is possible or probable, but rather what is impossible. And by visualizing the impossible, they begin to see it as possible.

Oh the Places You Will Go – Dr. Suess

How to Make the Vision Happen

  1. God Must Be First

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

Give focus and energy to the things that really matter

Exodus 20:1-3 NIV – And God spoke all these words: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before[a] me.

We put God first by giving Him the First of Everything

The problem with the American Church – we make everything about “getting” from God. Church has become about entertaining people instead of worship and devotion to God.

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.

Deuteronomy 14:23 LB – Bring this tithe to eat before the Lord your God at the place he shall choose as his sanctuary; this applies to your tithes of grain, new wine, olive oil, and the firstborn of your flocks and herds. The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives.

The First always has the power to bless the rest

Proverbs 3:6-10 NIV – 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.[a]7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. 9 Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.

How you you handle your finances reveals what is first in your life

First of Your Finances – The Tithe 10% of your Income

•God says money is the number one test of our priorities

Billy Graham said, “Give me 5 minutes with a person’s checkbook, and I will tell you where there heart is.”

Martin Luther said, “There are 3 conversions necessary for every man: the conversion of the heart, the mind, and the wallet.”
Malachi 3:10 NIV –  Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.

•Tithing unleashes God’s Favor and Provision for your life

•Tithing is a witness that you have conquered greed and mastered the love of money.

•Tithing creates a memory in the mind of God that you are Honoring Him first in your life.

•Tithing breaks the back of lack and lifts the financial curse off your life.

•Tithing creates a financial flow in your life. God always prospers and promotes tithers and givers.

How you spend your time reveals what is first in your life

First of Your Week – Sunday Worship and Life Groups

Hebrews 10:25 NLT – And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

You can be committed to Church but not committed to Christ, but you cannot be committed to Christ and not committed to church. – Joel Osteen

First of Your Day – Prayer, Meditation, and Bible Reading

Put God first in your life and day and you will have more time! Don’t allow anything to rob you of your time with God.

God wants to remove the noise of your life and create a space in which He can speak to you

Psalm 5:3 NIV – “In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”

When we spend time in silence, solitude, prayer, reflection, meditation it helps us remain focused on the things that are really important in this life.

“A life lived reflectively is a life lived effectively.” (Creates direction and inner peace)

C.S. Lewis once said, “The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists in shoving it all back, in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.”

Mark 1:35 NIV  Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

First of Your Month – Fasting

“The discipline of fasting releases the anointing, the favor, and the blessing of God in the life of a Christian.” Jentezen Franklin

Matthew 6:16-18 NIV “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” 

“When the Holy Spirit calls your to fast, He is preparing you for what is ahead.”

Fasting confirms our utter dependence upon God by finding in Him a source of sustenance beyond food. Dallas Willard

The RESULT

Romans 12:2 MSG – Fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. 

Closer: Looking UP Living UP

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Closer: Looking UP Living UP

Lovers of the English language might enjoy this. It is yet another example of why people learning English have trouble with the language.  Learning the nuances of English makes it a difficult language. (But then, that’s probably true of many languages.)

There is a two-letter word in English that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that word is ‘UP.’  It is listed in the dictionary as being used as an [adv], [prep], [adj], [n] or [v].

It’s easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP?

At a meeting, why does a topic come UP ? Why do we speak UP, and why are the officers UP for election and why is itI> UP to the secretary to write  UP a report? We call UP our friends and we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.

At other times the little word has a real special meaning. People stir UP  trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.&bsp;

To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special. And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night. We seem to be pretty mixedUP about UP !

To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP  , look the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4 of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions

If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don’t give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.

When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP . When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP. When it rains, it wets UP the earth. When it does not rain for awhile, things dry UP.

One could go on & on, but I’ll wrap it UP , for now  ……..my time is UP , so time to shut UP!  Oh…one more thing: What is the first thing you do in the morning & the last thing you do at night? U      P  Don’t screw UP.   Now I’ll shut UP

Text: Colossians 3:1-4 MSG – So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective. 3-4 Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.

The Definition of worship is trapped in a lot of modern terms. Use examples

It is really what our main focus is in life

I. Don’t Shuffle along, Head down, absorbed with the things Right in front of you

Look UP! When you look down you have limited scope and perspective. When you look down you don’t see the bigger picture.

Do you want a bigger better life? Look Up!

Hebrews 13:15-16 ESV – Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God

What Does Looking Up Mean?

  1. Looking Up Heightens Our Awareness of God in Everyday Life

Don’t be unaware of God and His Presence.

Psalm 121:1 NIV – I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?

Gandhi said, “When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon,, my soul expands in worship of the Creator.”

Psalm 123:1 NIV – I lift up my eyes to you,  to you who sit enthroned in heaven

Time with God: Use to be “Devotion”, “Church”, “Bible Study”, then the rest of our life. Don’t make time for God, DO life with God. No such thing as “a Spiritual Life” in Hebrew. We capartmentalize our lives. Open up your whole life to God!

Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV – Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Since Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith, this means He is also at work right now with our lives. As long as we keep looking to him we will find the sufficiency to move forward in the many areas we are daily being challenged in.

In the midst of temptations, problems, difficulties, sorrows, various tasks and opportunities that will come your way during this coming year, stay focused on Christ, who is the Author and Finisher of your faith. He is there to hope you though any circumstance you may encounter.

Psalm 28:7 NIV – The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him

Secular vs Spiritual examples: Music, marriage, Movies, etc… You can find God outside religious settings

Don’t limit your worship to 20 minutes on Sunday. Worship is for Everyday!

Psalm 34:1 ESV – I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

2. Looking up is presenting your everyday life as an offering to honor and glorify Christ

Colossians 3:17 NIV –  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.

Your Job is Working for God – Your skills, business, talent, etc…. Came from God! You are what you are because of Why you are! It’s Worship to God

God belongs in the context of your everyday life (Ex: Tricia is called to the medical field)

Eric Liddell (1924 Olympics – Chariots of Fire Movie) His father said to him, “Eric you can worship God by peeling a spud if you peel it to perfection. Don’t compromise. Run in God’s name, and let the world stand back and wonder! He honored God with his life! He had 2 great passions: China and Running. When he served both he felt God’s pleasure.

Do what God called you to do! 

Romans 12:1-2 MSG  1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Our Lives Are To Be An Act Of Worship.

Hebrews 12:28 ESV – Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,

3. Looking Up is Constant Communication with God

I Thess 5:16-18 NIV  Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Prayer is our lifeline. Prayer is our communion with God. Prayer is the means by which we speak to God. And whatever it is that God has designed for us to do in praying is what we ought to do and not something else.

Matthew 6:9-10 NIV – This, then, is how you should pray:“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10  your kingdom come,  your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven

Smart Phones – Text messages, Twitter (140 characters or less) = I communicate with u. Distance doesn’t matter

Talk with God through out the day

Psalm 141:2 ESV – Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!

You can engage in life and still be looking up! 

•Adam & Eve walked with God in the cool of the day

•Enoch walked with God and was not for God took him

Philippians 4:6 ESV – do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

As a Result…

We Are in God’s Presence Every Moment of our Lives

Psalm 139:2-12 NLT – You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. 3 You see me when I travel and when I rest at home.You know everything I do. 4 You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. 5 You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. 6  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,too great for me to understand! 7 I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! 8 If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave,[a] you are there. 9 If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans,10  even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. 11 I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night—12 but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.

A New Strength will Come to You! 

Matthew 11:28-30 Message – “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Closer: How Should We Worship?

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Closer: How Should We Worship? 

Psalm 100:1-4 NIV – Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. 3 Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his[a]; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name

Luke 19:37-40 ESV37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

What is worship?

Worship means to “attribute worth to an object”. Worship is not defined in the Bible but its meaning can be determined from the terms employed and the context of the passages. In the New Testament the most common word is ‘proskuneo’ which means to revere and is from two Greek words meaning ‘kiss towards’. Another word often used – ‘sebomai’ – is derived from a word meaning fear or revere.

John 4:23-24 NIV – Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

It doesn’t say we can worship God anyway we want, but we “must worship Him in spirit and in truth”. The word “must” makes it absolute. There is no other way we can worship God and be acceptable to Him. The word “must”, according to Webster, expresses “an obligation, a requirement, a necessity, a certainty, and something that must be done”. When “must” is used it means that it is not optional.

Since God is the object of our worship, He and He alone has the right to determine how we are to worship Him.

Jeremiah 10:23 NIV , Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.

We are not granted the option of directing our own ways in religion. God is the One who we look to for guidance and direction in our lives. The worship God has prescribed is the only way we can be pleasing to Him in this life

example: “You worship God your way, I will worship God my way” – There is NO my way. Only God’s Way

•Worshiping “in spirit” means that you mean it; that you’re worshiping inside out, not just going through the motions.

•Worshiping “in truth” means that you’re worshiping the true God and not some idol you’ve created. And it means you’re being truthful with your words and thoughts that you bring to worship; you’re not trying to put on a religious act to impress someone.

Throughout history, Christians have agreed that several key elements are important in worship:

1) Praise. Giving honor and glory to God with words, songs or art.

2) Confession. Worship means acknowledging who God is (holy and good) and who we are (not so holy and not so good) in relation to him. This means admitting and confessing our sin, and accepting God’s forgiveness.

3) Prayer. In worship, we speak directly to God about what’s on our minds (our needs and the needs of others) and what’s on God’s mind (his desire for love and justice and redemption in the world).

4) Hearing God’s Word. This means reading the Scripture. It also means listening for what God is saying to you through the music, the sermon and everything that happens in worship.

5) Remembering Christ’s sacrifice. This is most clearly done by taking Communion. Thinking about how God saved us from sin is at the very center of our worship.

6) Responding to God’s love. Worship doesn’t end when the service is over. Worship means we leave the service so aware of God’s greatness that we find ways to obey and honor and serve him throughout the week.

How Should We Worship?

Remember: We Must Have a Theocentric View of Worship

Worship is not about us! We are not at the center of worship with our styles, preferences, song choices, etc… It’s not about what we want and what we can get.  Worship is about GOD.

We must be careful that we do not exclude certain forms of worship simply because we are uncomfortable with them.  Rather, we should seek to understand why we are uncomfortable & make adjustments that will challenge our comfort zone

Psalm 103:1 ESV – Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me,  bless his holy name!

Halel – (root for Hallelujah) to rave, boast, to enjoy, celebrate. to audibly praise the Lord, to be clamorously foolish

Psalm 22:26 NIV The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the Lord will praise him—may your hearts live forever!

Psalm 113:1 ESV – Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord!

Yadah – means to worship with raised hands, to throw out the hands. Being active not passive

Psalm 63:4 ESV  So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands

Psalm 134:2 ESV – Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the Lord!

Barak – to bless by kneeling or bowing in a worshipful attitude and declare God as our total source of blessing, prosperity, power, strength, and victory. (an expectation to receive that blessing from God)

Psalm 96:5 ESV – Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

I Chronicles 29:20 ESV– Then David said to all the assembly, “Bless the Lord your God.” And all the assembly blessed the Lord, the God of their fathers, and bowed their heads and paid homage to the Lord and to the king.

Zamar – making music to God with strings.

Psalm 92:1 NIV – “It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High.”

Psalm 33:1-2 ESV – Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright.2 Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!

Shabach – to address in a loud tone, to shout unto the Lord. A loud vocal expression of Victory, crying out to God in a loud praise.

Psalm 35:27 ESV – Let those who delight in my righteousness shout for joy and be glad and say evermore, “Great is the Lord, who delights in the welfare of his servant!

Psalm 47:1 ESV – Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!

Tehillah – exuberant singing. Throughout scriptures we are to celebrate audibly and we can do that by singing. Whether you have a voice of an angel or a bullfrog – SING!

Psalm 34:1 NIV “I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.”

Psalm 30:4 ESV – Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name

One Result of Praise & Worship To God

1. Our Spiritual Enemies (problems) are Silenced

Psalms 8:1-2 NKJV – O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your  name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens! 2  Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength, Because of Your enemies, That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.

Silence – To cause to fail, to put down, to take away. When we Worship God we cause the enemy to fail!

•3 Different Armies had gathered against Judah and Jehoshaphat was faced with insurmountable odds . He receives prophetic strategy from a 14 yr old Musician / Worship Leader

2 Chronicles 20:21-22 ESV  And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say,“Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.” 22 And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed.

God’s Mercy is in the destruction of our spiritual enemies (Problems)

Psalms 143:12 ESV – And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies, and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for I am your servant.

Your Praise To God changes your Position from being under problems to being over them

I Peter 2:1-5, 9 NIV – Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house[a] to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Closer: What Worship is All About

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Closer: What Worship is All About

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. Galileo

Worship is a broad term. Some have said that it defies explanation.

Merriam-Webster defines worship as, “to honor or reverence as a divine being or supernatural power” or “to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion” following up with “to perform or take part in worship or an act of worship.”

Three thesaurus entries for worship include: revere, adore and love.

Rick Warren in The Purpose-Driven Life says, “Anything you do that brings pleasure to God is an act of worship.”

Ralph Martin states, “Worship is the dramatic celebration of God in his supreme worth in such a manner that his worthiness becomes the norm and inspiration of human living.”

Psalm 100:1-4 NIV – Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. 3 Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his[a]; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name

We Must Have a Theocentric View of Worship

Worship is not about us! We are not at the center of worship with our styles, preferences, song choices, etc… It’s not about what we want and what we can get.  Worship is about GOD.

“God sat over the dark nothing and wrote you and me specifically into the story, and He put us in specifically with the sunsets in the rainstorms as though to say, “Enjoy your place in My story, the very beauty of it means it’s not about you, and in time that will give you comfort.” Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life

Psalms 115:1 NIV – Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness

Even when we don’t mean to make it about ourselves, we often do. 2 reasons:

  1. By nature, we are inwardly focused
  2. We’ve never been taught any differently. We are being impeded by the accepted thinking of our day.

Until we understand that Worship was created by God and for God, Worship is never going to make sense.

Revelation 4:11 NIV – “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.

When you walk into a worship service, it’s not about your entertainment. Everything we do at here is toward the singular goal of helping you get outside of yourself and focus completely on God and His Greatness.

When Boston sang “More than a feeling”, back in 1976, they weren’t talking about worship, BUT the truth applies.

We tend to make worship about us and how we feel. We are always looking for a warm fuzzy “feeling”. Of course, God does want us to sense His presence but He wants us to Trust Him more.

•If we measure our worship solely in terms of how we feel, we’ve missed the boat.

•If we approach worship with the attitude, “God, what do you have for me?” You’re always going to walk away empty.

The Revelation of Who God is

Worship is our response to who God is and what He has done!

Psalm 95:1-7 ESV – Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! 2  Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! 3  For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. 4  In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. 5 The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. 6  Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! 7 For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.

1. We Worship God because He is Worthy

I Chronicles 16:24-25 ESV – For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and he is to be feared above all gods. 26 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the Lord made the heavens.

Revelation 4:9-11 ESV – And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,11  “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

2. We Worship God for What He has Done

Isaiah 25:1 NIV – Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.

Psalm 107:8 ESV – Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!

3. We Worship God for His Forgiveness, Healing, and Salvation

Psalm 103:1-12 ESV – Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! 2  Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 3  who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,4  who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 5  who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 6  The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. 7  He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. 8  The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. 9  He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. 10  He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

(Micah 7:18) “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.”

4. We Worship God because He is Sovereign 

The Sovereignty of God simply means that God has a specific plan for this world and for your life and He is in perfect control of that plan.

Isaiah 46:10-11 ESV – declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ 11 calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.

“Our duty is found in the revealed will of God in the Scriptures. Our trust must be in the sovereign will of God as He works in the ordinary circumstances of our daily lives for our good and His glory.”

I Chronicles 29:11 ESV Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.

What Happens When We Worship?

1. We Delight in God and God Delights in Us

Psalm 27:4 ESV – One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire[a] in his temple.

Our Worship brings Joy and Delight to God’s Heart

Zephaniah 3:17 ESV – The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Result Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

2. We Draw Near to God and God Draws Near to Us

Hebrews 10:19-22 ESV Therefore, brothers,[a] since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

When we worship God He meets with us – He ministers to us, He strengthens our faith, He intensifies His presence, He refreshes us.

“Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.” —Saint Augustine

James 4:8 ESV-  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

3. Worship to God Changes us

2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV – And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,[a] are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Whatever we worship we ultimately will end up serving. The more we worship God the more our commitment increases and the more we become like Him.

Romans 12:1-2 ESV – I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[b] Do not be conformed to this world,[c] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

4. Our Spiritual Enemies & Circumstances Flee

3 Different Armies had gathered against Judah and Jehoshaphat was faced with insurmountable odds . He receives prophetic strategy from a 14 yr old Musician / Worship Leader

2 Chronicles 20:21-22 ESV  And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say,“Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.” 22 And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed.

God’s Mercy is in the destruction of our spiritual enemies

Psalms 143:12 ESV – And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies, and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for I am your servant.

Ending: Worship Check Up

God’s Heart is touched by passion and commitment in Worship.

(God is talking about half hearted hypocritical Worship)

Isaiah 29:13 NIV – The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught

God doesn’t want part of you, He wants ALL of YOU

Mark 12:30 ESV – And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

Worship is expressing my Affection to God

Worship is focusing my Attention on God

Worship is using my Abilities for God

RESET: Making your Spiritual Life a Priority

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RESET: Making your Spiritual Life a Priority

The story is told of a young boy who asked his father what his New Year’s resolution was; and, his father told him he was going to do everything possible to make his mother happy in the coming year. The boy, then, asked his mother what her New Year’s resolution was; and, she replied: “To do everything possible to ensure that his father kept his resolution!”

Is your life locked up? Are you on system overload? Panic sets in when our phones, computers, iPods lock up. We call tech support and often it’s simply a matter of a RESET. At different times, many of us take an honest look inside and realize we need our own RESET. How many resolutions and promises do we make that we don’t end up keeping? How can this time be different?

Reset – to move (something) back to an original place or position : to put (a broken bone) back in the correct position for healing; To set again, differently; to press a special button or to make changes so that a machine will work again or work in a different way

Mark 12:30 ESV And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

Revelation 3:15-16 ESV ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.You are as close to God as you chose to be! Spiritual growth happens by choice 

Critical Question

1 Timothy 4:7 ESV – Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness (Phillips) “Take the time and the trouble to keep yourself spiritually fit.”

3 John 1:2 ESV – Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.

What is Unhealthy in your life? Clean up your Spiritual Diet

• In a health screening, the Dr. will run tests & look for symptoms that might indicate ill health.

• Symptoms are red flags or warning signs that a part of your body is not functioning optimally.

• Spotting these symptoms early and making appropriated changes in diet & lifestyle can prevent a minor ailment from ballooning into a serious problem.

Spiritual growth is not determined how you act in church but how you respond to life.

•Hot – You are growing.

(2 Thessalonians 1:3 ESV) We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers,[a] as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing

‎”The soul’s deepest thirst is for God Himself, who has made us so that we can never be satisfied without Him.” FF Bruce

•Cold – You do not know God yet.   

(2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV) In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God

•Lukewarm – You are drifting.

(Hebrews 2:1 ESV) Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.

How to Get There

•Grow yourself daily. 

The Secret to your spiritual success is hidden in the daily routine

Proverbs 23:12 ESV Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge.

Jeremiah 29:13-14 ESV “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile

  1. Make Worship a Priority                                                                                                                                                                            •Psalm 100:4 ESV – Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!Give thanks to him; bless his name!                                                                           •Psalm 103:1 ESV – Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!     
    1. Everybody worships something. It is the response of what you value most.
    2. In every heart there is an altar and a throne. Follow the trail of your time, your affection, your energy, your money, your loyalty, your thoughts, dreams & ambitions, & your priorities. You will find who or what is sitting on the throne of your heart!
    3. •John 4:23 ESV – But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.
    4. Worship is from our heart – Don’t WAR over Worship Styles! It’s about GOD not music style
      1. Expressing my affection to God – Praise
      2. Focusing my attention on God – Prayer & meditation
      3. Using my abilities for God – Serving
      4. Tozer said, without worship, we go about miserable
  1. Value God’s Word 
    1. Hebrews 4:12 ESV For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
    2. The Bible is authoritive not bc it is a manuel for living, but bc it reveals to us JESUS who has the power to CUT through all our BOLONEY.
      1. “The Scriptures were not given to increase our knowledge but to change our lives”
    3. Joshua 1:8 ESV – This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success
    4. Psalm 119:11 ESV – “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

“People do not reject the Bible because it contradicts itself but because it contradicts them.”

    1. Mark Twain said, “It ain’t the those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”

The Bible is not just a book; it is a God breathed, God indwelt, God inspired message. We are to believe what the Bible says, not what we think it says of what someone else says that it says.

It will outlast heaven & earth (Matt. 24:35)

In our pursuit of seeking God, we must become interested in the Word of God.

John Calvin said, “We owe to the scripture the same reverence which we owe God bc it proceeded from Him alone…

Knowing God’s Word is the Pathway to Knowing God   

John 5:39 ESV-   You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,

Decide to start a Daily Bible Reading plan!

Spending time with God should be a lifelong habit, not a passing fancy. Research shows you need to do something for about six weeks straight to build a habit. Make God’s Word part of your life today — and for the rest of your life.

3. Be Faithful in Giving

•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.

“Your standard of giving reflects your standard of living”

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.

•Faithfulness in Giving 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, ESV The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully[a] will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency[b] in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work
  • We Put God first by GIVING Him the first of everything

Leviticus 27:30 ESV “Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord.

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

(Malachi 3:8-12 NIV)  Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10 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.

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

  1. Offerings – Anything you decide to Give                                                                                                                                                             2 Cor. 9:7 ESV – Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
  1. Alms – Giving to the Poor and less fortunate                                                                                                                                      Matthew 6:3-4 ESV – But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you

4. Make Prayer a Priority

PRAYER IS COMMUNICATING WITH GOD.

Psalm 5:1-3  ESV – Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my groaning.2 Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray. 3  O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you[a] and watch

TALK TO GOD

  1. ABOUT EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS TO YOU.

Philippians 4:6  ESV – do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

1 Peter 5:7 ESV –  casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

2. CONTINUTALLY.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  ESV Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Pray, Until, Something, Happens

1 Samuel 1:12-13  ESV As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman.

3. AND LISTEN FOR HIS RESPONSE.

1 Kings 19:12-13  ESV -And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.[a] 13 And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

John 10:27 ESV My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

Release your faith with absolute assurance in God’s Ability

I John 5:14-15 NIV – “This is the confidence we have in approaching God; that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us- whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.”

•The power in prayer is not the person praying BUT God who is hearing.

Remember – Don’t forget to pray today because God didn’t forget to wake you up this morning

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!”

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.

The Modern Family Pt.2 – Values That Build a Strong Family

Modern Family MAIN SLIDE
The Modern Family Pt.2 – Values That Build a Strong Family

Thousands of years ago God gave 10 values for family living, God’s Big Ten. They’re called The Ten Commandments. These are not values that are fads that are going to last only as long as the presidential campaign. These are values that last for a long, long time. In fact, they are the bedrock of western civilization. They are the foundation on which our entire judicial and law system has been built. The Ten Commandments are about the only thing that Jews, Muslims and Christians will agree on. All three religions accept the Ten Commandments as the
commandments from God.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 ESV – And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

He says two things: remember them and teach them. Do your kids know the Ten Commandments? How many of you would say, I try to live by the Ten Commandments? Most of you, if not all of you, would raise your hand. What if I said, name them. How can you live by them if you can’t name them?

Why did God give the Ten Commandments? He gave them not to hurt us but to help us. Not to hamper us but to release us. Not to punish us but to protect us. When I tell a child, “Don’t touch the hot stove” am I doing that for their good or for my good? I’m doing it for theirs. Every time God says, “Don’t” in the Bible it’s always for a positive purpose. Always. The negatives that God gives are always for your own benefit. If you ignore
them, they are to your own hurt.

God has lined up the universe by universal laws. There are certain physical laws that the universe operates by like the law of gravity. If you ignore it you only hurt yourself. You have to cooperate with it. If you jump out a ten story window, and you ignore the law of gravity, you don’t break God’s laws they break you. Likewise there are spiritual laws. God says these are tracks by which to run on.

They are not the ten suggestions; they are the Ten Commandments. They’re not optional. God says, you do these things and things will go fine in your life. If you don’t do them, you’re going to really mess up. Psychiatrists now are saying in the 60s when there were no boundaries and everybody grew up during that time, do whatever you want to, they’re saying we need boundaries for emotional and mental health. We need parameters for people and
children who grow up without boundaries grow up being extremely insecure. We have an extremely insecure generation in the baby boomers. We need to know what’s right and what’s wrong — what are the parameters in life.

THE FOUNDATION FOR A STRONG FAMILY

“You shall have no other gods before me” Ex 20:2

The Principle: Put God First

God says, I demand top priority in your life. I’m not going to play second fiddle to anything. He deserves to be number one in your life because He made you. If He hadn’t made you, you wouldn’t even be around. Everything you have in life is from God because He’s given it to you. He’s allowed you to have it.

What does it mean to “have no other gods before Me”? No other gods? I thought there was only one God. There is. The word “gods” is written with a small “g”. He’s not talking about “the God”; He’s talking about little gods.

What is a god? A god is anything that dominates your life, anything that controls your life. Can a career be a god? You bet it can. Can another person be a god? Yes. Can golf be a god? Even good things that God has created for us to enjoy, become gods when you give them first place in your life. God says, “Wrong. I deserve first place in your life.” This is the foundation — put God first

Today, in America, families are dropping like flies. They’re falling apart faster than we can put them together. Why are so many marriages crumbling? Because they’re built on the wrong foundation.

The Promise:
“In everything you do, put God first, and He will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” Prov. 3:6 (LB)

There’s one of the great promises of success. Do you want to be successful? Put God first. Wherever you want God to bless, you put Him first in that area.

II. HOW DO I PUT GOD FIRST?

How do I do it? What does it mean to put God first? I took the acrostic F-I-R-S-T and I’m going to give you five ways to put God first in your life and your family.

Give God priority in 5 areas

•Finances

“Honor the Lord by giving him the first part of all your income, and he will fill your barns… to overflow…” Prov 3:9-10 (LB)

God says give Me the first part back and I’ll bless all the rest. God has said that money is the number one test of your priorities.

“The purpose of tithing is to teach you to put God first in your lives.” Deut. 14:23 (LB)

What’s tithing? God says that the first10% of all I make goes back to Him. Why 10%? That’s just what He said. The purpose is simply to teach you to put God first.

We’re in sluggish economic times right now. If you’re in a financial mess right now, step one is put God first in your finances. Whatever you want God to bless, you put Him first in it. It teaches you to put Him first.

Why is tithing so important? God says that if I’m not tithing, God is not really first in my life. If He’s not first in your finances He’s really not first in your life.

When?
“On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. I Cor. 16:2 NIV

Tithing is an act of worship and you do it when you worship.

•Interest

If God’s really going to be number one, you put Him first in your interests. That means in my fun times, my play times, my amusements, recreation, hobbies, pass times.

“Whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory.” I Cor. 10:31 (GN)

Westminster Catechism – What is the primary purpose of man? To Glorify God and Enjoy Him forever

How do you do that? In everything you do, you put God first. Do it with an attitude of gratitude.

“Talk with each other much about the Lord.” Ephesians. 5:19 (LB)

What do you talk about the most? I know people who can talk for hours on end bout other people’s lives. But they couldn’t talk three minutes about the Lord.

•Relationships

A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses. Prov. 27:19 (LB)

People are like elevators – take you up or bring you down

The truth is if you really want God first in your life there are some relationships that are dead wrong for you. The truth is if you really want God first in your life there are some relationships that are dead wrong for you.

The Value of Life Groups at GraceTown – community

Prov. 12:26 “A righteous man is careful about his friendships.”

•Schedule

“making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Ephesians. 5:16-17 (NIV)

How do I put God first in my schedule. I ask Him to help me use my time wisely. You get up, make a TO DO list of things you have to do and you say, “God, which of these things do You want me to do? I have 17 things to do today and I only have time for 5.” You do not have time to do everything. Selection is the name of the game. How do you select? You ask God to help you. You have just enough time to do God’s will.

When you start feeling frustrated and hassled and frazzled it’s because you’re trying to do more than God wants you to do.

Make a daily appointment with God. If God is going to be first in your family, in your life, you need a daily appointment with God. It doesn’t matter when you do it. You just need to do it. Ten, fifteen minutes. Maybe you get up fifteen minutes early, drive to work and before you go into the office, you set in your car you read your Bible and pray and talk to God about all the things you’ve got to do and ask, “What do You want me to do?”
Have a quiet time.

Even Jesus felt the need for daily prayer
“Very early in the morning … Jesus got up and went off to a solitary place where he prayed.” Mark 1:35

It doesn’t matter when you do it, but you need a daily time that you check in with God and say, “God let’s review my life. Let’s review my schedule, my goals, my priorities.

Ill.—little boys staying overnight in backyard in a tent. Dad listened to them talk… “my daddy knows the mayor!”/ “governor!”/then he heard the voice of his own little boy say, “that’s nothin’, my daddy knows God!” (top that!) They said, he does not! “does too!” How do you know? “I heard him talkin’ to him just this morning!”

I would encourage you if you are a family or married, when you set down to eat, hold hands as a family and say a brief prayer of thanks that says, “God we just remind ourselves the food came from You in the first place.” Pray aloud together as a family.

•Troubles

When you face unexpected problems and pressures, when you have a crisis, who do you turn to? God says,”Turn to Me first when you’ve got a problem.” Many people, when they’re in a tight situation, prayer is the last resort, not the first option. They do everything they can physically to try to correct the problem then they say, “I guess now all we can do is pray.” Like it must really be hopeless! Prayer should not be your last resort, it
should be your first option.

Make God your first resort in a crisis. He says He is an ever present help a refuge in time of need. God is waiting. He commands us to turn to Him first.

“Call upon Me in your day of trouble and I will deliver you and you will honor Me.” Psalm. 50:15

Some people get embarrassed and think, I don’t talk to God much when times are good and I don’t want to bother him with my problems. God says, “Bother Me. It’s no bother. I can handle your and every other person’s problems at the same time. Bring it to me. Don’t carry it all yourself.”

If you want to build a successful life and a strong family you’ve got to have the right foundation. You’ve got to put God first.

Joshua’s Commitment:
“As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua. 24:15 LB

Moving Forward (A New Season for GraceTown)

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Moving Forward (A New Season for GraceTown)

Genesis 26:12-13 KJV –  Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the Lord blessed him.13 And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great:

One man said this…”If we always do what we’ve always done, we’ll always be what we’ve always been.”

If we desire to become great we must “Move Forward.”

Church’s Focus Must Always Be:

1. The Word of God.
•(2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT) “All Scripture is inspired by God and is
useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is
wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches
us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people
to do every good work.”

•God’s Word is the the primary catalyst for transformation. You will never grow up as fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ on a diet of spiritual twinkies.

2. Worship.
•(Psalm 103:2-5 NIV) “Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not
all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your
diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with
love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

•God is central. We celebrate the sacraments by participating in communion & water baptism

3. Prayer.
•(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT) “Never stop praying.”
•(1 John 5:14-15 NIV) “This is the confidence we have in
approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he
hears us. And if we know that he hears us–whatever we ask–we
know that we have what we asked of him.”

4. People
•(Luke 14:23 LB) “Go out into the country…and urge anyone you find to
come in, so that My house will be full.”
•Acts 5:14 NIV – Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number

•The church is the primary place where people come to faith in Christ and begin to live as Christians. Lost people matter to God & therefore ought to matter to the church.

The apostle Paul understood the principle of Moving Forward when he said…

Phil 3:13 TLB “No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,”

Exodus 14:15 “And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:”

In this passage, God had already given Israel deliverance from the Egyptians.

And now they are headed toward the promise land after leaving Egypt.

Suddenly, they come to the Red Sea.
The enemy is behind.
They can’t go left or right.
They can’t go back.

THERE WAS ONLY ONE DIRECTION FOR THEM TO GO…FORWARD!

Moses began to cry to the Lord.

And God said… “What are you crying to me for? Tell Israel to go forward.”

But there was no apparent way to go forward.
No boats or bridges.
They couldn’t possibly swim across
But God said “Go Forward.”
And when they did, God did something He had never done before, and Israel escaped on dry land.

The unexpected happened when they began to MOVE FORWARD!
What does it take to move forward?

#1. It takes knowing and understanding that we are heading to something better.

A. Where we are now is only temporary. This is not our final destination. Don’t get Stuck.

•Isaiah 43:19 NIV – See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland

•Yesterday’s excellence is today’s mediocrity & tomorrow’s failure.
•God is into moving forward and if you want to experience God in the present you can’t linger in the past!

B.Move out of your place of comfort. They were comfortable in Egypt, they were used to living as slaves, and they were used to settling for the left over. They said; “It would have been better for us to be slaves in Egypt than to die in the dessert.”

I Dream of a Church

Where People are truly loved, valued, and accepted
Where there is safety and security for people to try
Where lives are rescued, restored, and given hope
Where God’s presence flourishes in the simple and non religious
Where fun and laughter are mixed with tears & mourning, expressed with sensitivity
Where truth, honesty, and health are honored and lived out
Where people are deeply connected to God in body, mind, soul, and spirit
Where culture is met, embraced, and transformed
Where beauty, art, and creativity are valued, used, and understood as coming from being connected to the Creator
We value innovation and are willing to take risks in order to bring glory to God
Where performance is replaced by reality and truth
Where our stance is always love, and everything else is a conversation
Where judgement is left to God, who is fair, just, and true
And our place is to build, encourage, and comfort with an attitude of Grace
Where a lost and aimless people want to be, even if they are not sure why
Worship to God is full, vibrant, real, and pleasing to God
Where other churches are valued and supported
and where people’s visions and ideas of ministry come to life;
Where people are equipped for and do ministry in accordance with their gifts
I dream of a church where Jesus truly reigns as King
and His followers are dedicated to making Him the center of their lives, hopes, and dreams
Because He is our hope and the anchor of our souls, He is our security and the firm base of our lives to be built together…That’s my dream for GraceTown Church

Proverbs 3:27-28 Msg – “Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. Never tell your neighbors to wait until tomorrow if you can help them now.”

What Can I Do to Move MY GraceTown Forward?
1. Pray.

(Matthew 9:37-38 NIV) “Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’”
(Ephesians 1:17-18 NIV) I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also 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 the saints.

2. Serve.
(Ephesians 2:10 NIV) “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
(Galatians 6:4 MSG) “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that.”

3. Give.
(Luke 18:29-30 GW) “I guarantee this. Anyone who gives up anything for the kingdom of God will certainly receive many times more in this life and will receive eternal life in the next world to come.”
(Mark 8:35 LB) “If you insist on saving your life, you will lose it. Only those who throw away their lives for My sake and for the sake of the Good News will ever know what it means to really live.”