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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Intentional Growth


Being a Christian is about believing in Jesus as Savior, and belonging to His family (the church). Peter said, Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1 Peter 1:3 We’re talking about two important relationships here. The first is vital: accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Redeemer from your sins. What you do with Jesus determines your eternity. Christ followers spend a lot of time on this. It’s called evangelism and witnessing. It’s how people hear God’s truth and are saved. That's how the second relationship happens - believers make up the church!
Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved ... (but) how can they believe if they've never heard? And how can they hear unless someone tells them? - Romans 10:13-14

Thank you God for my wonderful family – the church. Time for the family to grow. Let's be intentional about it.  Amen?

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Intentional Start


The story of Jesus doesn’t end with Jesus. It continues in the lives of those who believe in him. The supernatural does not stop with Jesus. Luke makes it clear that these Christians he wrote about were no more spectators of Jesus than Jesus was a spectator of God—they are in on the action of God, God acting in them, God living in them. Which also means, of course, in us? - Peterson

Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” - Acts 1:6-8
People since the beginning of the church have been questioning God’s methods and timing. Don’t worry about things that you have no control in, but trust in God (make Jesus Lord). 
Here’s the plan:
1. When you accept Jesus as Savior then God comes to live in with you and empower you (use it!).
2. We are to be witnesses of what we have seen and experienced (Jesus coming out of you!).
3. Who and where? A. Jerusalem represents where you live and the people that you know.
B. Judea is the state you live and people who you have things in common.
C. Samaria represents the United States and those who you may not agree with/dislike.
D. Ends are the rest of the countries of the world with different customs, language, and lifestyles.
Verses 9-11 reminds us that Jesus is with us and He’s coming back soon!  Amen?

Friday, January 29, 2016

In Fellowship


The third “IN” relationship is vital to the believer – becoming part of God’s family, In Fellowship with the church. Acts chapter talks about the “behavior” of Christ followers. (They) were baptized(1) ... and joined the other believers ... they worshiped together regularly at the Temple (2)... and met in small groups in the homes (3) for communion... Acts 2
Our spiritual family should be important to us. The Bible uses words like “they continued to meet”. They remained “IN” connection! The word connect literally means fused together.
We all need encouragement, prayers, guidance, and help in various ways in this life. My church family helps me with facing life and all its challenges. Keeps me “IN” Christ…

Magnify (Honor) the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! Ps 34:3

Let us go on ... and become mature in our understanding, as strong Christians ought to be. - Hebrews 6:1

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

Are You In?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Obedience In

The second point from Sunday's message on the Three Intentional Steps to be “In” is Obedience. We are told by Jesus that we show our love for Him by obedience to His Word.

The impact of Jesus’ ministry on people is found in Mark 1:27-28, The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.”  News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee. People reacted in three ways: They were amazed.  questioned. They spread the news everywhere.

The impact should be the same on us. All three responses should characterize us as we witness the power of God in changing and healing lives. Have we become gospel-hardened? Have you allowed Jesus to have full control (Inside) of your life? Do you want to grow?

Remember these three rhyming words. Attend (church and study groups)  Begin (apply your learning) – Jump in (serve and lead).

 Just Don’t pretend! Amen?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

In Christ


In this Sunday's message  I gave Three Intentional Steps to be "In". The first one is that we have to be: In Christ. Here are four Scriptures in dealing with this all important step.

  1. God assures me of my salvation, "That if you confess with your mouth that, "Jesus is Lord", and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9). Salvation is "in Christ" alone.
  2. God assures me of staying saved, "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand." (John 10:28). Jesus gives us assurance that we are permanently "in" His family.
  3. God assures me of forgiveness, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9). This is part of the "in process" of maturing in our faith.
  4. God assures me that He will never leave me, "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:20). He is "in" our lives for eternity.
Praise God that all believers are "in" Christ? Amen?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

In Step


Genesis 1:1 – is where it (or in) all starts! The first verse in the Bible starts with the word in! How you respond to those first four words "In the Beginning God" will show your world view. It will be worldly or through the filter of Scripture.  Let's break down this critical verse.
In – “are you in or out”, “for me or against me”, My will or your will”, “walk by sight or faith”, and it boils down to are you a “My way or God’s way person”?
The beginning – onset, a starting time or place, the first part, starts where you are, and a change can start right now.
God – created-destroyed-saved-promised-conquered-punished-was quiet-sent Jesus-lived-died-rose-coming back. Are you ready?
Created – came in to being, formed, changed, brought forth, originated, and made happen. God spoke everything in to being.
The Heavens – destination, glory, perfection, holiness, light, and the Revelation.
And the Earth – where we are, we have a purpose, and our current life. We must live in it but are not to be confirmed or shaped by it.
Intentionally live for God's purposes. Amen?

Monday, January 25, 2016

In

The first part of the word intentionality and in the journey of purposeful living for Christ is the word "In". A simple definition of the word says: "it is used to indicate location or position within something; belongs to or is included as part of something." So when it comes to your relationship with Jesus, Are you in? Better yet are you "all in"?

You see, the Gospel costs nothing, but demands everything. If Jesus is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all. It's all or nothing. It's now or never. It's time to ante up and go all in with God. No one has ever sacrificed anything for God. If you always get back more than you gave up, have you sacrificed anything at all? The eternal reward always outweighs the temporal sacrifice.

At the end of the day, our greatest regret will be whatever we didn't give back to God. What we didn't push back across the table to Him. Eternity will reveal that holding out is losing out.

Mark Batterson, author of the book, All In, writes, 'For many years, I thought I was following Jesus. I wasn't. I had invited Jesus to follow me. I call it inverted Christianity. And it's a subtle form of selfishness that masquerades as spirituality. That's when I sold out and bought in. When did we start believing that the gospel is an insurance plan? It's a daring plan. Jesus did not die just to keep us safe. He died to make us dangerous.'

Today declare that you are "all in" with Jesus. Amen?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

God Promises

Knowing God's promises is the first intentional step to using, embracing, and trusting in them. Peter knew the importance of claiming God's Word. "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.-" 2 Peter 1:4 (KJV)

Peter uses three words to describe the promises of God. Consider the impact they could have on your life.
1. Exceeding = beyond natural limits of supernatural.
2. Great = large, surpassing all others.
3. Precious= of such great value that a suitable price is hard to estimate.

The great and mighty promises of’ God mean nothing because most people do not know what they are.

How can you ever have faith in His promise of peace, power, provisions, and all needful things unless you know the promises?

How many promises of the bible do you really know?
How many can you name?

Today count and claim God's promises. Amen?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Our Good


The same dependable guidelines that were given to Joshua and the Israelites, are for us as well. We must be deliberate and intentional in following them.

We must intentionally rely on God’s Provision (And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. - Joshua 3:7) God was with Moses and is now with Joshua. He has not changed, doesn’t forget, slow down, or need time off! Jesus knows perfectly well what we need even before we ask.

We also must intentionally rely God’s Prescriptions (Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river. - Joshua 3:8) God makes no mistakes. He gives us exactly what we need.

We need to follow directions and take our medicine! The priests moved – stood – then the people followed. Life would be so much simpler and richer if we would just do what God says. – like Israel we must Follow directions, take a step, stand, and encourage movement within the body of Christ. God means what He says and says what He means, and it’s always for our good. Remember to listen intently and follow intentionally!
Amen?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Power


The same dependable guidelines that were given to Joshua and the Israelites, are for us as well. We must be deliberate and intentional in following them.

We must intentionally rely on God’s Power (Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people.” So they took it up and went ahead of them. - Joshua 3:5-6)

The Lord allowed them for 3 Days to see the impossibility of mission Everything from a flooded river, fortified cities, and the enemy armies awaited them. God was with them and would bring victory, but required a step of faith!

God’s power is evident and His presence real today as well. You should have no need to fear when your hand is in His, but God is calling us to take intentional steps of faith. Remember He will provide the strength to do all things in His Name. Amen?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Presence

The same dependable guidelines that were given to Joshua and the Israelites, are for us as well. We must be deliberate and intentional in following them.
We must intentionally rely on God’s Presence (Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over.  After three days the officers went throughout the camp, giving orders to the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it.  Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about two thousand cubits between you and the ark; do not go near it.” - Joshua 3:1-4)

The Lord said keep your eyes on the Ark! In other words - follow God! The same is true for us today. The problem is that we forget He is always with us. A consciousness of God’s presence will produce a life without fear and dread. Watch for God sightings and join Him where He is at work. Be intentional about this. Amen?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Intentional Faith


If we spend too much time looking at our circumstances and culture, it can be disheartening. If you are not careful your faith will become weak. We must intentionally be focused on the things of God and not this world.We need to rely on God's power and promises.

Abraham was one who relied on God’s promises. "
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.  By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.  For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.  And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth." - Hebrews 11:8-13

A promise was given to Abraham and yet we do not find that God gave any other information whatsoever. God did not identify the country nor tell Abraham where he was to go. Neither did God tell Abraham when his wife (Sarah) would bear the seed (the male child) from whom the promised nation would be born.

God made a simple promise, and all Abraham had to go on was that simple promise, that is, the sheer Word of God. Only one condition was attached to the promise. Abraham had to have faith and believe God. So  should we. Amen?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Intentionality Defined


I believed I had an original thought that would rock the Christian world, but sadly no. Many Christ followers have been exploring the word “Intentional” for years. In fact, there are; intentional ministries, churches, youth groups, bloggers, devotions, and Bible studies all over the world (and the internet). That still didn’t dissuade me because I also thought I came up with a new word: Intentionality. Sadly, I wasn’t the first on that boat, but I do believe I am taking a totally different look and definition of the word.

According to Oxford dictionary the word is defined as - the fact of being deliberate or purposive. In philosophy it is the quality of mental states (e.g., thoughts, beliefs, desires, hopes) that consists in their being directed toward some object or state of affairs.

I am not questioning the existence of God or engaging in that “philosophical conversation”. I am starting at the position of being a born again believer through the power of Jesus Christ. God is intentional and He desires us to be the same. We need to have the same focus as Paul who wrote, I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. - Galatians 2:20

God’s Word gives us all we need to intentionally live for Him. Amen?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Intentionality

We have all had those ah-ha moments. It's when we've heard something that brought clarity and direction to our lives. Maybe it was at a conference, a church service, on TV, or you read it somewhere. If your like me you wanted to write it down so you wouldn't forget. Sometimes this moment occurs with a thought that you speak yourself.


This happened to me a few months ago when I was speaking at a conference. My topic was on breaking down barriers that separate God's people. It was not in my notes but it came out like this, "Don't wait for something to happen. Be intentional! ". It was quoted by the rest of the speakers - Be intentional about what God is calling you and His church to do. 


Since October that thought has been on my mind. It raises a serious question: How much Godly intentionality is there in my life, family, or church?
For the next 6 weeks I will be preaching, blogging, and teaching (Wednesday nights) on the subject. May we be like the psalmist who asked God to: Open my eyes to see wonderful things in your Word.  I am but a pilgrim here on earth: how I need a map—and your commands are my chart and guide.  I long for your instructions more than I can tell. - Psalm 119:18-20

I invite you to join me on this "intentional" discovery journey. Let's find what we're called to and put a smile on God's face. Amen?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Intentional Disciple


All Christians are confronted with the command of Jesus found in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) that says, “Go and make disciples of all nations.”, Have you thought through this verse? There are three questions presented whose answers provide the framework for the task to which Jesus has called us to. The questions are:



1. What is a disciple?  Jesus calls us to “make” them. So, we must first understand what their characteristics are. A simple definition is found in Pastor Rick Warren’s book, “The Purpose Driven Life.” A life of discipleship is understood in terms of living out the five purposes.

 A disciple is one who:

• Is pleasing God every day, this is true Worship. They realize that they are planned for God’s pleasure.
• Is an active member of a local body of believers, which is Fellowship. They understand that they are formed for a family.
• Is learning to be more Christ-like in their behavior every day, which is Discipleship. They realize they are created to become like Christ.
• Is serving sacrificially within the local body of believers, which is Ministry. They know how they have been shaped for service and live it out continually.
• Is sharing God’s love, forgiveness and hope with people who do not know Christ, which is Mission. They declare openly and confidently, “I was made for a mission.”


2. How does one make disciples?
If we use the purpose definition of a disciple, then it follows that we must be about inserting these purposes into our lives, and of the people whom God has entrusted us to us. This is the work of the church. We must set up an environment that leads people along a developmental path such that these purposes become fully integrated into their lives. We preach the purposes from the pulpit, teach them in small groups, we model them in our lives, we provide opportunities for our people to live them out individually and in fellowship with others, and we expect them to mature and envision and equip others to this same life of obedience. This is how we become a Purpose Driven people and church.


How does living like a Christ Follower look like? What steps do you need to take?



3. How are disciples sent to all nations? The third question infers that the “go” requires the church to “send.” It is our task to be strategic and intentional about infusing the five purposes into the lives of our people so they can truly be disciples. For the purpose of mission, and if we are to be obedient to Jesus, we must strategically and intentionally send people into the world, locally and globally, to carry the Good News to a hurting world. The best way to do mission is to do church, and the best way to do church is to do mission.



Insanity has been defined as, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I heard a different slant recently, Doing the same old things and expecting a different outcome.



Is the church guilty of insanity? - Doing the same old things and expecting a different outcome. How can we change that rut or routine and become a true Christ follower?



If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got! Amen or Oh-Me?

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Starting Out

The Bible is very specific on how we are to conduct our lives. We need to build intentionality in to our minds, hearts, words, and actions. We see this throughout the Word but it is especially pointed out in John 8:31-32 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

We should accept and live out the truth of Christ's teaching. Believers are to:
- Learn the Bible and apply it to their lives.
- Be a life long student and an intentional follower of it’s truths.
- Know what it says.
- Be set free by the truth.

Are you ready to commit to the authority of the Word of God?  

Let’s start living life Not as the world instructs, but as the Word of God instructs. Amen?

Friday, January 15, 2016

Praying

Consider this prayer in Ephesians 1:15-23:

For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people,  I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.  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 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,  and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength  he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,  far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.  And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church,  which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

 Praying God's Word helps keep us focused in the right direction. 

Amen?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Changing God



WHERE IS GOD IN CHANGE? (Here are 3 Ways)

1. God does not change. “I Am the Lord, I change not” (Malachi 3:6).

2. God allows us to change. “He changes the times and the seasons” (Daniel 2:21).

3. The crucial change is inward. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
 
a. Some are changed by sin. “For even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature” (Romans 1:26, KJV).

b. Some are changed by God. “We all, with open face . . . are changed into (His) same image” (II Corinthians 3:18).

How has God changed you?

He has so much more in store for us. Amen?