WEEKLY BLOG

We are called to honor our parents every day of our lives. In fact, it is one of the Ten Commandments. In Exodus 20:12, God tells His people, “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” This weekend is Mother’s Day, a holiday we’ve celebrated in the United States since 1914, and we have the opportunity to love and honor our mothers by dedicating a whole day to her! This year, take time to thank your mother for all she’s done for you. Thank her: For the sacrifices she’s made. For allowing you to make mistakes, but always being there after. For making you do chores and teaching you responsibility. For always being your biggest cheerleader. For always listening. For showing you what love is. Your mother is a precious gift from God. So call the mothers in your life, or if you can go visit them. Take this opportunity to tell your mom how grateful you are for everything she’s taught you, and how she helped shaped you into the person you are!  ...

You have a purpose, a God-given purpose. And God has given you the gifts you need to fulfill that purpose! Not sure what your purpose is? We’re not put on this earth without guidance, and we are not left to wander around lost. God has given us a manual explaining why He created us, what our lives should look like, what we should absolutely avoid, and what our future holds! Turn to God’s Word. Build your life on eternal truths. Ready to live your God-given purpose? Ask these five questions, pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance as you answer them, then live your life with purpose!   What is the center of my life? Is it yourself or God? Your center determines your strength, and God is your unshakable center! Keep Him there on a daily basis.   What does the character of my life look like? What kind of person do you want to be? Do you recognize the fruits of the Spirit in your life and use them for God’s work? Your character is a testimony to others of God’s work in your life!   What contribution do I want my life to make?  How will you use your spiritual gifts and abilities to make a difference? Are you serving in both the church and the world? We are created to serve others. That is our leadership!   What does my life say? God’s purpose in your life gives you a unique voice and message to share. As we are instructed in Philippians 1:27, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit,[a] striving together as one for the faith of the gospel.”   Where is my community? Are you active in fellowship? Are you committed to other Followers of Jesus? Ephesians 5:25 says, “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Can we love our brothers and sisters any less?   Your purpose isn’t shaped by other people or their opinions. Listen for God’s voice. Follow the promptings of the Spirit. And follow the examples Jesus gives us in Scripture. By doing those three things, you will have the answers to the questions you’ve just asked. You will discover your purpose and learn to use your gifts fully for God’s master plan! I am Positive you will!  ...

Wait On Jesus Today And Find New Strength! Slow down, you move too fast. You may be thinking you have to push forward to stay in the race, but waiting helps you move with positivity and direction. That .. .will keep you STRONG! I’m totally positive about that!! The Word says, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength!” (Isaiah 40:31)...

Peter told the members of the fledging Church, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession” (1 Peter 2:9). Just as they were, you are one of God’s CHOSEN. So what does being Chosen mean? 1. God does not choose you because of your faith, your faith is the result of His choosing you! “You did not choose me, but I chose you.” (John 15:16) Your faith, and all of the blessing that come from that faith, are God’s eternal gift to you. 2. God chose you, so no charge against you can stick. God sent Jesus to cancel ALL the debts of His chosen ones. Christ Jesus died, was raised, and is now at the right hand of God interceding for you (Rom. 8:31–34). If God is for you, who can be against you?! 3. Being chosen brings humility. “Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” (1 Cor. 1:26-39) 4. God chose you and that means you are destined for everlasting, all-satisfying praise. “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” (Eph. 1:4-6) God chose each of us because He loves us. We are His children, His beloved. And He is ready to spend eternity with us! I am Positive that God Chose You!...

What is the Lord telling you to do today? Is it something He has been whispering in your ear for months? Have you not stepped out because of fear, uncertainty, or is it because you are comfortable where you are? I want you to read these next words carefully: Obedience Makes Things Happen! I’ve watched people OBEY the message preached and come back with testimonies of what they saw happen with their own eyes. People come and sit in my office, telling me they feel called to take a different path, but they are afraid. When they step out in faith, God is there working in miraculous ways! Others rarely have a testimony and then say, “I’m not sure if this stuff works.” Let me make this as clear as I possibly can. When we obey Jesus, when we follow His Word and listen for His voice, stuff happens. Good stuff. Great stuff. Miraculous stuff. When we don’t obey … well, the opposite happens. Take a look at the disciples. When they doubted, when they didn’t do what Jesus said, their attempts fell flat. When they obeyed, they were “healing people everywhere” (Luke 9:6). Abraham is another great example. In Genesis, God tells Abram to leave everything: his family, his country, everything he knows. And he tells him that if he obeys, God will make Abram into a mighty nation, give him a great name, and make him a blessing. Genesis 12:4 tells us, “So Abram went, as the Lord had told him.”  Abram later became known as Abraham. A great name indeed. There is no Christian history without the Nation of Israel. And there’s no Israel without Abraham. This one man started a line of winning and hope for the rest of history, because he OBEYED. The truth is, He could’ve said NO to God’s offer. Instead, Abraham was moved by faith to leave a guaranteed life of normalcy. The reason: HE BELIEVED GOD’S PROMISES. Because Abraham said yes to God some 4,000 years ago, you and I are still saying yes to God today. Today, I want to encourage you to step out in faith. Be obedient to what Jesus is asking of you. Be POSITIVE that great things are going to happen in your life. WHY? Because obedience makes things happen!...

Do you ever really think about obedience as part of your life? We often look at Jesus’ leadership lessons, His building of His Church, how He treated those around Him, and His wondrous miracles, but all of those things came from His obedience and desire to do the will of His Father. Obedience to His Father’s will was so important to Him that He called it His FOOD (John 4:34). He literally could not live without obedience. This week we remember the sacrifice Jesus made for each of us. We celebrate His Resurrection with our friends and family and are grateful for the free gift of grace it allows. What I want us to remember, also, is that Jesus didn’t come down from heaven to accomplish a personal agenda of wiping out sin. He came to earth, lived and died as a human, to carry out the will of the One who had sent Him (John 6:38). He was intent on being obedient “to the point of death” (Phil. 2:8). In His incarnation, He chose to submit Himself to the plan of redemption, even though His obedience to His Father meant increasing opposition and hatred from his enemies. The mighty Lamb of God “humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” In those days, nobody wore a cross on their necklace and they certainly weren’t in churches. The cross meant one thing in Jesus’ time—it was the most horrific and shameful kind of death any human could face. Cicero, a famous Roman philosopher, called crucifixion “a most cruel and disgusting punishment,” “the worst extreme of the tortures inflicted upon the slaves.” And there, on Golgotha, over 2,000 years ago, the innocent, righteous Son of God died that death. On a cross. A cross made from a tree. Deuteronomy 21:23 states that anyone hanged on a tree is “under God’s curse.” Paul quotes this verse in Galatians 3:13 when he says, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.” Along with the painful, humiliating death, crucifixion brought with it a Divine curse. This Good Friday, as you think about the Lord’s sacrifice for sinners, take a moment to dwell on what it meant for God the Son to be cursed by God the Father. He'd done nothing to cause His Father’s wrath. He only ever deserved to know His Father’s delight and love. Because of His obedient sacrifice, He was cut off from the joy of His heart. For the first time in all of eternity, He felt what it was to know His Father’s displeasure. No wonder He cried, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Our sin did that.  He endured wrath meant for us.  He endured so we might be saved. He lived in obedience so we might have the opportunity to live with Him for eternity. As Followers of Jesus, we know the joy of having accepted Christ by grace through faith alone. We know of His sacrifice and we can rest in it, knowing that we are saved. We share this Good News with others so that many come to know Him, too! This weekend, don’t just go through the motions. Worship Him as the Lamb of God who was slain. Know that with His blood He purchased you, snatching you from the jaws of the enemy. Thank and praise Him because He became sin on your behalf so you might become the righteousness of God in Him. Think on these things, and on what obedience looks like in your own life, as you shout to the heavens: Worthy is the Lamb!...

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” (1 Timothy 1:15)   These are the words of the Apostle Paul, and we know from Scripture that he did indeed do some truly horrible things before Jesus entered his life. But what I want you to understand is that Paul was living in a time of complete depravity, under the authority of an emperor who was truly insane. And yet he still thought his sin was the worst. He was right. Just as my sin is the worst, and so is yours. All sin is created equal, just as all sinners are created equal. The act itself may seem minor, or truly horrible, but it is the decision behind that act that matters to Jesus.   When a person sins, he or she CHOSE to sin. Jesus doesn’t love that person any less, but He does hate the sin. That is why He came to earth and gave His life to save all of us from the consequences of our sin. He didn’t come just to save the murderers, the drug addicts, and the thieves who have repented. He also came to save the boy who stole a candy bar, the girl who talked back to her mother, and the person in church who judged another. Sin is sin. Without Jesus, the person who judged another is just as guilty and damned as the person who killed another. Luckily, we also know that JESUS is LOVE and SALVATION.   We should each be amazed by the LOVE and GRACE of our Lord every day! He came to wash our sins away and make us whole and new! We are a little over a week out from Easter now, and I would like to take a moment to encourage you to spend some time thinking about what Jesus has done for you, and then think about how you are passing that Love on to everyone around you.   Take these thoughts to heart as we approach the day of Jesus’ great sacrifice and His miraculous resurrection. As I celebrate the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection, I recognize His MIRACLES in my own life! Rebirth and renewal ignite new HOPE in my life! The JOY of Jesus’ miracles lives in my heart today! God’s LOVE flows through my body and soul each and every moment all day long! Jesus is my ROCK! God is ALWAYS there for me!   Today, acknowledge that ALL sin is the enemy of our Savior, but He has already won the battle! Never cease believing in miracles, both great and small. Remember to see them around you and in your life today and every day. And don’t forget to share those miracles with your friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers!...

Humans have developed a very bad habit. That of underestimating our Lord. Most of the time that habit starts because you and I underestimate ourselves and those around us, and that doubt directly reflects how we view God’s ability to work in and through our lives. We aren’t the first to let this happen in our lives. Look at how some of our Bible heroes underestimated themselves and others. Moses continually underestimated his abilities because he doubted. He felt he couldn’t talk right. God gave him the words he needed to secure the freedom of the people of Israel. He underestimated God when he was told to part the waters with his walking stick. God used that simple walking stick to part the waters of an entire sea so the people could cross to safety. Samuel underestimated David when God said David was the one who would one day rule Israel. Samuel actually doubted the choice so much he argued that surely God didn’t want David. “He’s too young. He’s just a shepherd boy. He can’t possibly be the ruler You describe.” God did in fact raise young David from shepherd boy to giant slayer, and then on to be a great warrior and king. He saw the potential Samuel couldn’t even imagine. The disciples underestimated Jesus’ ability to keep them safe through trials. When a storm blows up while they are at sea, they are afraid for their lives. Then they are even more terrified to see Jesus walking across the water toward them, thinking Him to be a ghost. Jesus corrected them when He called out three phrases … tharseō, egō eimi, mē phobeō … “Be encouraged, I Am, Don’t fear.” He calls them to recognize Him, to not run from Him in fear, then He steps into the boat with them. The storm immediately ceases, the trial is over, their faith is restored.  What situation are you facing today? Are you underestimating your own abilities to do what God is calling you to do? Are you doubting someone else and God’s ability to raise them above their challenges? Maybe you are struggling through your own storm and your faith is not keeping you on top of the water. Break that habit of underestimating today! Keep Jesus’ words in your heart: tharseō, egō eimi, mē phobeō … “Be encouraged, I Am, Don’t fear.” Know that through Him, anything is possible....

God tells us in His word that having faith in Him will see us through even the greatest of trails. He doesn’t promise there will be no trails. In fact, a study of Scripture gives examples of the troubles we may face, shows how others have responded to those trials, and most importantly gives us HOPE that God will faithfully walk with us through even the darkest times. When we respond in faith, accepting the Hope and Peace only He can give us, we become an example to others of God’s Love for all humankind. Scripture promises us certain rewards when we accept His Hope and share it with others. • We are promised the perseverance, character, and hope that comes from the indwelling Holy Spirit. (Rom. 5:3-5). • We are able to witness the greatness of Christ’s glory as He walks with us and shields us, resulting in a joy that shines out from us like a beacon, drawing others close to Him. (1 Peter 4:12-13) • We become stronger because we have allowed God to work through our weaknesses. (2 Cor. 12:9-10) • Through our faith, we are promised a heavenly reward. (Matt. 5:11–12) • Most amazing of all is the promise of abiding with Jesus forever! (2 Tim. 2:11–12a) Jesus has told us that He will not permit us to be overwhelmed. He will grant us grace to be overcomers! That is the power of HOPE!  ...

What is a Jesus Follower to do when faced with disappointment, disaster, and despair? We know from Scripture “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). Yet when we encounter difficulties and tragedy we often ask “Why?” The truth is we may never understand why something bad happens. Sin and free will are not caused by God, but the results of sin and free will can still be used by God for good. As we choose to trust God and accept the grace He gives us in these situations, the Holy Spirit will work in us and we will gain Hope. Here are ways you can endure tragedy and trials through God’s grace:   Give thanks. Being thankful in a difficult situation is sometimes the most difficult thing you can do. Scripture is very clear about this, though: “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (I Thess. 5:18). To be thankful rather than to complain takes a conscious act of the will, but it opens the door for God to directly act in your life.   Rejoice! We are instructed to rejoice in all things: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4). Rejoicing is a response of the spirit. You cannot escape the pain of a difficult situation, but you must not let it overwhelm you. Even in times of intense sadness and despair, we will find peace if we can learn to rejoice in God.   Believe and act on the Word of God. Jesus, when tested in the wilderness, responded to each temptation by quoting Scripture. You can follow His example and successfully engage in spiritual warfare by proclaiming truth in the face of tests and temptations. Ephesians 6:17 describes the Word of God as “the sword of the Spirit”—the only offensive weapon in our spiritual armor. Use it!   Cry out to God. God desires to work powerfully through your life; therefore, you must learn to depend on Him. He alone must become your source of strength, provision, protection, and direction. Psalm 50:15 says, “Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”   Overcome evil with good. Jesus gave His disciples instructions about responding to those who made their lives miserable (Matt. 5:44). These directions are completely opposite to our natural reaction. Jesus says you must: Love your enemies, Bless those who curse you, Do good to those who hate you, and Pray for those who use you and persecute you. These responses reflect the heart of God: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21).   When you respond to every difficult situation in these five ways, God will faithfully pour out His grace upon you in the midst of your trial, giving you a sense of Hope and Peace that will see you through. You can endure hardships and overcome the enemy in God’s strength!  ...

Partnership is a concept we usually think of in worldly terms like business partners, two or more people undertaking a venture together that features risk and/or profit. Partnership from a biblical standpoint is different. It isn’t based on potential profit, or a risk/reward analysis. Biblical partnership is based on love. In fact, Jesus says love relationships/partnerships are of extreme significance (Mark 12:28-34). The greatest example of partnership in the Bible is that of The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who provide a perfect model of partnership for us. They exist in complete harmony, each supporting the others in all ways. We see examples of their relationship throughout the entirety of Scripture (Gen. 1:26-27; Matt. 28:19; John 14:26; 15:26; 1 Pet. 1:2; Rev. 1:4-5). What makes their relationship significant to our understanding of partnership is that God also calls us, His children, into a relationship with Him, He calls us to partner with Him to fulfill His plan for redemption, and He mandates that we watch over His creation (Gen. 1:28; Ps. 8:3-8). Jesus reaffirmed our relationship when He said, “All authority in heaven and earth is given to me. Therefore (you) go and make disciple of all nations … and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20). Our partnership with God is our first and most important partnership, and our relationship with Him should guide us as we approach others to partner with them. As you form and maintain partnerships: Remember that all of your skills and talents are given to you by God. “But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.” (Deut. 8:18a) Never try to be like everyone else. God created you to be uniquely you, as He did those you are in partnership with. Respect that uniqueness, and never stop learning, so you can always live up to the potential God gave you! “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Rom. 12:2) Know that ego will kill a relationship. Fast. Never be afraid to say you don’t know, that you need help, and be okay with deferring to your partner in areas where they are stronger. “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Prov. 16:18) Learn that prayer is the key to getting through those sticky relationship situations. It will help you on those days when things do not go your way. Remember to thank God even when something doesn’t go your way. And always be grateful. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:16-18) Don’t be timid. God has given you the power and self-discipline you need to succeed. Approach every partnership with love and that God-given power will strengthen you both. “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Tim. 1:7) Embrace the fact that God believes in you, even when others don’t. Not every partnership will succeed, but He is prepared to support you in every situation! “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:13) If your earthly partnership doesn’t work out, don’t despair! Partnerships can be risky and messy. Moses chose twelve leaders to spy out the Promised Land; ten succumbed to unbelief (Num. 13:1-14:45). Jesus trusted Judas Iscariot, and Judas betrayed Him. In both cases, even those who followed and believed got sidetracked (Peter, the sons of Zebedee, Philip, Thomas, Aaron, and Miriam). None of that stopped God from working for the good of His people! We are called to serve and persevere in love and discernment, and when we do so we allow God, our ultimate PARTNER to step in and make the best of every part of our lives. Now that is the ultimate in partnership!  ...