Christianity, Life

Echoes of the Garden

Many, many years ago in the garden, Adam and Eve were faced with a choice. God had let Adam and Eve know early on that there was a tree they were not to choose. The serpent, also known as the enemy, who is wise, deceitful and manipulative made Eve believe that God was withholding something good from her and husband.

Still to this day, we believe the same lie.

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Breaking Bad Habits, Christianity

Sayings Jesus Never Said

There are many sayings out there that “Christians” tend to use that aren’t true. These sayings are misinterpretations of Scripture and a misunderstanding of God. I hope this post clears some of these sayings up. Check them out:

“God gives his hardest battles to his toughest soldiers.” Where did this come from? It’s not true. We all have hard battles. Life is hard. Who decides who God’s “toughest soldiers” are and why would God handpick certain individuals to carry the hard battles? Will certain people in this world not carry hard battles?

“God will never give you more than you can bear.” Things Jesus never said. There are going to be in fact many burdens that you cannot bear. There are going to be many storms in life that completely break you, make you feel desperate and of no power to move forward. It’s not about what you can bear anyways. May we get to a point that we begin to say, “I have some burdens that I cannot bear and I need to hand them over to You Lord.” – See Matthew 11:28-30

The sufferings that we face are not apart from God nor were we created to suffer alone. Our sufferings help us encounter God and place our hope and trust in Him.

Continue reading “Sayings Jesus Never Said”

Christianity

The Power Within

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This past Sunday I preached on the Holy Spirit. My sermon points were: Who or what is the Holy Spirit? The Role(s) and Work(s) of the Holy Spirit and the Commissioning and Receiving of the Holy Spirit. I wanted to share the teaching with you. Maybe you have had questions about the Holy Spirit or wondered why we need the Holy Spirit to live a life for God.

If you want, you can listen to the sermon here by clicking this link: The Power Within

If you would like to do a devotional with the sermon you can do so by going through what we call our Grow Sheet. This Devotional Sheet was produced by one of our leaders at Overflow Church

Grow Sheet:

PASSAGES FOR STUDY:
John 14:13-14: John 16:7-8; John 14:16-18; John 16:13-15;
Romans 8:11; John 20:19-22; Acts 1:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:3-11
OTHER SCRIPTURE REFERENCES:
Hebrews 13:5; Genesis 2:7; John 1:1; Ephesians 1:13;
Acts 4:31; Acts 9:7; Acts 11:24; Acts 13:9
SERMON RECAP:
The Holy Spirit is the third person in the triune God. The characteristics of the Holy Spirit are eternal, omnipresent, omnipotent and ever-present and without the Holy Spirit in our lives we cannot live for Jesus. When defining the roles and works of the Holy Spirit in our lives, He is our comforter, guide and conviction. He intercedes for us, draws us into relationship with Christ, transforms our lives, testifies on our behalf and dwells within us. Jesus breathed on His disciples and commissioned them to receive the Holy Spirit thus giving us His power within.

DIGGING DEEPER
1. Read John 14:13-14. Jesus tells us that He will do whatever we ask in His name. Do you
need more deliverance, healing, comfort, wisdom, understanding, or strength? Ask Him and
He will do it!
2. Read John 14:18. Jesus promised that He would not leave us alone. Look at Hebrews 13:5.
In both of these verses, we are promised to never be alone. He will not leave you broken or
lost but will adopt you and dwell within you. What can this mean for you when you feel
broken, grieved, hurting or lost? Refer back to John 14:13-14.
3. Read John 16:13-15. The Holy Spirit is alive and active. Again, the Holy Spirit is ALIVE and
ACTIVE! He is your comforter, guide, truth-teller and conviction. The Holy Spirit intercedes
on your behalf, draws you into closer relationship with Christ, testifies on your behalf,
transforms lives and dwells within you. He brings spiritual life to the dead.
a. How can you increase the role of the Holy Spirit in your life?
b. How aware are you of the Holy Spirit’s guidance in your life?
c. How can you be more fully present with Him to see His guidance?
4. Read John 20:19-22. Imagine how shocked the disciples were when Jesus stood in front of
them in physical and spiritual presence after having been dead. Read John 20:22 again. As
God had done in Genesis 2:7, Jesus breathed on His disciples and commissioned them to
receive the Holy Spirit. What do you need to let Him breathe life into in your life?
BRINGING IT HOME
Read Ephesians 1:13 and ask yourself what steps can you take this week to respond to what the
Holy Spirit wants to do in your life?

Christianity, Holiness

Sanctify Yourself in Holiness

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And to all who were written in the genealogy—their little ones and their wives, their sons and daughters, the whole company of them—for in their faithfulness they sanctified themselves in holiness.

– 2 Chronicles 31:18

Imagine being apart of a genealogy that is remembered for their faithfulness to their God, to their family, and to their work? This is what we see here in this passage. A people group, whose lives were centered around a Holy God. Everything flowed from the God they worshiped, loved and served.

The question now becomes: Can the same be said about you and I?

Do the work of God with all of your heart. Labor with all of your might and you will prosper in the Lord. Set aside each day, time and moments to rest in holiness… In God’s Holiness. As we spend time with our Holy God, He goes out of His way to make us look more like Him, think like Him, act like Him and talk like Him. God wants His people to be a Holy people. That is His desire for you and I.

Holiness requires a great sacrifice of time and energy. Our holiness requires resting in God. In return, God expects us to exert a lot of time and energy towards Him. We as Christ followers are to sanctify ourselves in Holiness. In other words, through the power of our Holy God we serve, we are to be set apart and focused on God daily. Our lives should be a reflection of the Bible we read and the God we serve. Our language, actions and thoughts should reflect Holiness. Our holiness should not be questioned for bad but it should be commended for the great God Who is in our lives.

We should be grateful and thankful for the God who sets us apart and calls us to Holiness. We as Christ followers no longer have to follow the sinful patterns of this world. We can be apart of this world and no longer be slaves to the lustful entices, as well as devices the world throws at us. We now get the wonderful privilege and opportunity to follow the patterns of Christ, which is, liberty, freedom, social justice and love. How beautiful is that? Our lives and our rhythms should stem out of our relationship with the Father. Think about the life Christ lived. Everything flowed from the time He spent with His Abba Father!

May we live according to the Gospel that has been imparted to us. May we love according to the love that God has shown us through His Son Jesus. May others take notice and follow in our footsteps. May others get inspired to desire after the Holy God we follow and serve. May they want the God that is in us. May they notice the sanctity of our holiness.

P.S. Here is a question for you to ponder on. Is living Holy something I am capable and willing of doing?

Christianity

I am A Christian and I Still Struggle

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It is often thought of, when a person comes to Christ all of their pain, struggles, doubts, worries, and troubles are over but this my friend is not usually the case. In fact, sometimes the struggles intensifies. The question you may be thinking… How is it, when a person has found salvation and freedom in Christ, they continue to have some of the same struggles they had before Christ?

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, He/She is a new creation. Old things have passed away, behold the new has come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17

When Christ finds a person in their mess, in their sin, in their darkness, He awakens them. In other words, when God calls/brings a person to Him, He is opening their eyes and their hearts to confess of their sins, repent of their sins and seek forgiveness for their sins. God is saving their soul. He is giving birth to a new spirit in them. The person who was once dead to the wicked works of this world is now made alive in Christ. The old sins, the old soul, the old bad decisions, the old mistakes are now dead and behold the newness of God has now come. The question I want to direct our attention to; what is the new that has now come?

Many confuse the new with a brand new life. This is true in a sense. You have a new life in Christ, a new perspective on life, a new hope and a new power inside of you (Holy Spirit). But let us not confuse a new life in Christ for a new life in the day to day. What I mean by this is… For example, and I hope this doesn’t seem extreme. Say a person has been a part of a gang, selling drugs, running the streets tough and then he/she finds Christ. This person has found a new life but at the same time they have to struggle through with their consequences of their former life before Christ. Although we find Christ and we are made anew we still have to deal with the consequences of sin before we found Christ.

That is one example. A familiar example that speaks for the general. Each person that God grants salvation to is redeemed and apart of God’s Kingdom. However, some of the struggles the person was living with before Christ may continue on once the person is with Christ. However, 🙂 the person that has found Christ now has a power in them to keep them, to sustain them, and help them with these struggles. The argument here is, Christians do struggle. However, 🙂 🙂 struggling is not a sin!

Paul, who was once called Saul was a murderer of Christians. When Christ found Him, he was a fierce man, brutal in all of his ways that Christians feared. God gave Saul a mission to go teach and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Many knew Saul and even after God saved him, he was still feared. Christians did not want to be around him and did not trust him. Even as a follower of God, Saul still had to deal with the consequences of his former life before Christ. This was not an over night process for Saul to walk away from the reputation of being a murderer. The same stands for you and I and all those who come to Christ.

Alright, let me bring this to a close. To struggle means to fight, to continue, to strive and to achieve. I may have struggles, they may be hard but this does not mean I am giving into my struggles. The struggles may bring pressure, the struggles may make my life a bit harder but this does not mean I am still living in sin or am I not a Christian. If you remember what Paul talked about in 2 Corinthians 12. He mentioned how God had given him a thorn to keep him from boasting, to keep him weak so that He can lean on the power of God. I believe God grants some struggles in our lives so that we can depend on the power of God. My struggles keep me crying out to God, my struggles keep me humble, my struggles remind me of how weak I really am and my struggles remind me God has me in His hand. He will not leave me nor forsake me. His grace is sufficient in my time of weakness! His grace is sufficient in my struggles!

P.S. Christ can deliver people from their struggles when they come to Christ. God works according to His will. The hope of this blog was to address the fact Christians do have struggles and can still struggle once they have come to Christ.

A person in Christ will have struggles. There is no way around it. Our salvation is still in Christ and Christ is greater than our struggles. Amen!?

Please push back. I would love to hear from you. God bless!

Uncategorized

The Gospel Became All About Me

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Me – ology, although this is not a real word we will use it anyway to make a point. Ology, is a branch of knowledge or better known as the study of something. So, putting “Me” in front of “Ology” life becomes all about oneself. Now, lets bring in the Gospel. The Gospel, the good news about Jesus Christ, how God sacrificed His only begotten son, so that you and I can be freed from our sin, enter into right standing with God, and one day join Him in Heaven is not just about me, nor is it just about you. In fact, the Gospel is about God’s redemptive work through His Son Jesus. Somehow, we have taken the Gospel message and made it all about ourselves. We have made it all about “me.” And this I am guilty of.

The question now becomes, how does this beautiful Gospel message about love, grace, transformation, sacrifice, serving others, helping others, worshiping God, become bottled up into a self centered perspective? I believe and would suggest it starts with you and I having a self centered world view that my relationship with God is all about me. I am going to be brutally honest with you, it’s not about you. The Gospel is about God’s working through His Son Jesus. I know you may be thinking, I have these problems, I need God for this and that, and I hear you but again the Gospel is more than that.

I will lay this out there. I’ve been passionately walking with God for 10 years now. I have moments and I would say days where it is as though I have my hand out to God. I am sure you remember when you needed money from your parents, you would go, ask and put your hand out. Our relationships with our parents was more of a need based relationship. Meaning what can my parents do for me? At times I believe we treat God and His Gospel the same way. What can God do for me?

Here’s the deal. God’s Gospel transcends past our finite minds, enters into our wicked, sinful and dead hearts and gives us life. Why? It is because God desires to love and choose a certain people to be in relationship with Him. Therefore, let us not forget, God does not have to choose us to be with Him. Let us not turn His passionate Gospel into a “me” gospel. The Gospel should empower us to live out His Name, the Gospel should empower us to represent Him daily in our lives, the Gospel should empower us to share with others about this great love, the Gospel should empower us to stop making God all about us, when it is all about Him.

Let us kill off this me-ology worldview and turn back to our love-ology worldview with God. Let us turn back to the Gospel that is all about God’s great love being poured into His Son Jesus. The Gospel should not stop and be focused on us.

God bless!

Uncategorized

“We Must Bleed to Bless!”

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When I was around the age of 7, my friends and I, along with my older brother decided we were going to race on our bikes from my house to the park. The park was about a half of a block down the road from my house. On this particular day, just like any other day, racing on our bikes seemed to be a great idea! With great anticipation and excitement bursting inside of me to race, I was ready to petal hard and burn some road. On the count of three we would all take off streaming down the road. Little did I know, what I would experience next would be my first encounter with a lot of blood.

“One, two, three, go!!”

And we were off! As we got to the dirt road that led to the park, my bike did something that never happened before. When I went to turn, my front wheel ran over a big rock. Let me just say this: My bike was really cheap. My tire was made of hard rubber so when I hit the rock, my bike some how managed to go under me. As the bike went under me, I fell off the bike and slid face first into the gravel. That’s not the worst part. After I fell off, several of my friends ran me over with their bike. Tragic right?

There I was with a mouth full of blood and rocks. There happened to be a house right next to where I was lying on the ground in shock. With blood pouring out of my mouth, a man came out of his house, picked me up and carried me to his porch. I can remember crying and asking him, “Am I going to die?” Why did I think I was going to die? I was bleeding…

About a year or so after my fall.
About a year or so after my fall. Thank God for healing. 🙂

John Henry Jowett coined the phrase, “we must bleed to bless.”  I cannot help but to think this phrase has something to do with Jesus. To bleed means to lose something internally, to then, begin to leak externally. What Jowett is trying to help you and I understand is when our hearts are full of love, peace, compassion, joy and faith; when others come into contact with us, they should take notice and experience what we are full of. On the flip side, if our hearts are full of anger, hatred, jealously and envy, when people come into contact with us they should notice a negative aura. In other words, what’s inside of a person will make it’s way to the outside.

We can sum up Jesus life with this statement: “He bled and He blessed all!” Jesus understood, in order for sinners to be saved from sin, He had to bleed. Jesus bleeding was so much more than a physical bleeding. His bleeding represented Him standing in the gap; a gap that was so big, that it separated us from God. Jesus pouring out His life allows sinners like you and I to become one with God. Jesus bleeding, brings us into right relationship with Him! Hallelujah!

God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin.

– 1 Corinthians 1:30

Moments before Jesus went to the cross, we find Him with His disciples at the Last Passover teaching them to remember Him and honor Him forever. He tells the disciples, the wine represents His blood that was going to be shed and the bread represents His body that would be broken. This act of love from Jesus creates the covering you and I need for our sins. 1 Peter 4:8 says, “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” Because of Jesus deep love for us we get to one day spend eternity with Him!

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Two questions I want to leave you with: Who will you bleed for and how will you allow your life to bleed so that others can be blessed?

God’s gifts that He placed inside of you, your purpose and your calling in life has nothing to do with you and it has everything to do with others. God doesn’t just bless us so that we can say we are blessed. No, God blesses us so we can go and be a blessing to this world. We are blessed to be a blessing! We must pour out our lives to those around us. You and I have the greatest example to follow after and model: Jesus! And Jesus teaches us how to bleed.

Bleed to bless, brothers and sisters, bleed to bless!

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