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Stand For Love

In the Church and in the world it has been highly perpetuated and demonstrated that righteousness is about being right. Righteousness is about being better than someone else, it's about being a perfect example of the standard, it's about being right and shoving it in the face of those who are wrong. But this kind of righteousness that has become to common place does not even slightly resemble the love, grace, and transformation that Jesus shows us and all of humanity. What if true righteousness wasn't about being right before 'man' but being right with God. Being right with God doesn't mean being perfect, it means being in 'right relationship'. It means accepting the love that He has for us, it means getting all that we need from Him, it means understanding that through Christ Jesus the requirements of our relationship with God have been fulfilled. The only way to truly love others, the only way to stand for love is to first receive the all fulfilling love of God. So when we walk out into our worlds we aren't trying to 'get', we are ready to give.

Romans 3 : 21 & 22
21 But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. 22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

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Look up to Stand up

In a time where there are so many people "standing" immovable for their beliefs, opinions, and perspectives how as the church are we meant to "stand"? So often what you end up standing for is a direct reflection at what you're looking at. Your eyes determine your stance. So if we are meant to be carriers and builders of the Kingdom of God on earth, if we are meant to have the perspective and eyes of heaven then where should our gaze be fixed? The word of God seems to answer this question for us, our eyes need to be fixed on Jesus. You have to look up, to stand up.

Hebrews 12 : 1 - 2
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.

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Victory Through Worship

Paul, writing to Ephesus in 60 AD, declared that the normal Christian life looked like being part of an unbeatable army advancing an unshakable kingdom. In 700 BC, the prophet Isaiah wrote that when God’s people worship, God dresses himself as a hero and fights their battles for them -- crushing his enemies. The enemies of God are not people but negative mindsets pride, shame, guilt, fear that form barriers between a loving God and His good creation. We advance God’s unshakable kingdom through worship. When we worship, we win.

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Put on Your New Clothes

Pastor Norton Graham of India spoke on the power of God to heal, to restore. From the story of Lazarus in John 11, we see that Jesus brings the dead to life, but we need one another to unwrap the clothes of death. Our grave clothes - what wraps us up from our former selves - is partially described in Colossians 3:8. By living together in community, we remove destructive behavior and help one another live like our truest selves.

Colossians 3: 12-14

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.  Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.

 

 

 

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Unshakeable

How we interact with God's truth determines how unshakable we are in this life. And when it comes to interacting with this truth there are three things we have to remember. The first is that God's truth IS a person and that person is Jesus Christ. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and he is the only way to the Father. The second is we must learn to submit to God's truth and not live by our own. The truth is not what we make it and it is not what we feel, the truth is everlasting and never changing. The third and final thing, is that we must get into the habit of declaring and standing on God's truth. Despite our circumstances and despite what we may see, feel, or encounter God's truth is higher. If we can declare it and begin to stand on God's truth we will truly be unshakable.

Ephesians 1 : 21 - 23
21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. 22 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.

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Just Stand

Because of the victory of Jesus our position is no longer one of striving but of standing. Jesus has won the victory, now we stand in the shadow and triumph of the cross. The enemy can throw tantrums but because of calvary no longer does it have power. We don't have to strive any longer, we have been released to stand, and when all else fails "to stand". 

 

Ephesians 6 : 10 - 15
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

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We weren't created for Fear

Fear has many damaging affects on our lives but one of the most significant is that it stops us from fulfilling our destiny. Fear can be caused by so many different things but they all end up at the same destination. Because of what Jesus has done for us and because of the salvation we have received, our spirits have been renewed and no longer are we bound to a spirit of fear. The life and spirit that God gives is one of power, love, and a sound mind. We were not created for fear, we were created for relationship with our God and purpose through Jesus.

2 Timothy 1 : 7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

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Why Am I Here?

The answer to the question "Why Am I Here?" can feel like a complicated and complex thing. But over and over in God's word we are encouraged by the radically simple truth that we are here on this earth to receive and reveal Jesus. But when it comes to receiving and revealing Jesus in and through our lives there are limitations that we can put on ourselves. As we look at the life of Paul in the bible there are three things that we can take away from who he was and what God was able to do through him when it comes to taking the limits off ourselves. The first is realizing that we are not limited by where we are at. The second is, we are not limited by what we have. And finally, we are not limited by what we have done.

Ephesians 3 : 8 - 11
Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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Created to Create

We have been created by a divinely creative and supreme God! And because we have been made in the image of God we recognize that we have been created to create and we have been created to WIN! But just because we have been created to win, doesn't mean that we will. If we truly want to "win" in life then there are three things that we must have. The first is the right team, the church is meant to be your team in life; there to keep you moving forward and always on your side. The second thing you must have is the right strategy. You can have the intention to win but without the right strategy you never will. In order to win in life we must be constantly listening to God and obeying his word. The last thing we must have is the right driver. Even with the right team and the right strategy, if JESUS is not the one driving you'll never win. Do you know that you were created win? Do you have the right team around you in life? Do you have the right strategy? And is Jesus truly the one driving your life in the direction He wants it to go?

1 Corinthians 9 : 24 - 26
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.

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You Are The Game Changer

Wherever we go, the bible tells us we are carriers of the good news of Christ, ambassadors of the hope found in the glory of our savior. This fact can invoke great faith and passion but it can also cause major confusion and doubt. And the thing that determines our reaction to this information is the security that we have in our own identity. If we feel secure in who we've been created to be then the formula of 'Jesus + Me = Great change in people's lives' makes complete sense. But when we doubt our identity, or minimize the impact that we can have in the world around us we actually remove ourselves from the 'game' entirely. But we are actually destined to be game changers, wherever we are and in every relationship. Christ In you in every situation has the potential to be the catalyst for great change and impact.

Colossians 1:27
"To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."

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Standing In Awe and Wonder

In the book of Genesis we are told that man and woman were created in the image of God, but how often do we try to create God in our image or in in an elevated image of ourselves. We tend to view God as like us only a little big bigger, and a little bit smarter. But what we don't realize is that it's our perspective of God that determines our reaction towards people. My view of God and my understanding of His view of me shapes my view of people. So how do we stand in wonder of God? We go after more of Him in our lives, we desire his presence, we adjust our attitude with praise, we seek his face and not his hand, and we take a learning posture. If we stand in the place of awe and wonder of God we need not "fear" anyone and we set ourselves up to impact everyone.

 

Psalm 27

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.
3 Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident.

4 One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.
5 For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.

6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.

7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
8 When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”
9 Do not hide Your face from me;
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not leave me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation.
10 When my father and my mother forsake me,
Then the Lord will take care of me.

11 Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.
12 Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries;
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

14 Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

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You Are The Bridge

If you've gone for Church for a long period of time or have been following Jesus for many years there is a state of existence that you or I can find ourselves in; it's a place that is easy to get to but dangerous to be in. It's a place of partaking but not participating. Partaking is receiving for yourself , but participating is revealing to others. It's easy for us to partake of God's goodness but not participate in revealing that goodness to the lost. It's easy for us to partake of God's love but not participate in extending that love to the people in our lives. It's easy to partake of God's forgiveness for your own sins but not participate in choosing to forgive the people that have sinned against you. See we were never meant just just partake of God's love but partner with Him and participate in unveiling and unleashing His love to a lost world. We are the bridge for people.


2 Corinthians 1 : 3 - 7
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.

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What Gives You The Right?

There is a story in the bible that recounts a very confrontational moment between Jesus and some religious leaders of the temple. In the interaction Jesus completely challenges what had become acceptable and comfortable to the temple leaders and their general response to him was, "What gives you the right?". As people of faith we may look at this story and the response of the religious leaders and feel very self assured that we wouldn't have responded that way. But the truth is we've all been in similar situations, either within our relationship with Jesus or with others and reacted the exact same way. Relationship was never meant to be convenient, but it is meant to be trans-formative. Jesus doesn't desire to meddle in our lives for his own benefit but for ours. When is the last time you've challenged the things in your life that have become comfortable and acceptable? When is the last time you gave Jesus "the right" and the room to speak to the contents of your life? "It's the child he loves that God corrects; a father's delight is behind it all.".

Romans 6 : 10 - 11
"When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus."

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The Process of Multiplication

I think it's a pretty understood thing that as a society, we love "more". We love excess and extra and often times we want it immediately. And especially when it comes to our needs, when it comes to the things that we're believing God for; we want it now and we want extra. The good news is that we serve of a God of abundance and multiplication but his process may not always be our preference. When it comes to what we're asking God for many times before we see the harvest God asks us to plant our seed. Our seed is that we have in our hands right now, it's the thing no matter how small or little that we're able to give or able to do. It could be money, time, encouragement, it's whatever you have that you are able to "plant". God asks us to do what we can and trust Him with the rest, because the seed was never meant to match the need. We plant our "seed" knowing that God is not moved by perfection or need but he is moved by our faith. 

Matthew 14 : 14-21

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.“Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

   

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The Good Father

The greatest father-child relationship in history that we can learn from is Jesus and his father. The way that Jesus interacted and related to his Father allowed him to live the life he did here on earth. And in the same way we are to imitate the intimacy of that relationship. Knowing we are starts with knowing who we belong to. The truth is that we have been created in the image of Jesus as sons and daughters of our heavenly father. This truth allows us to live life with purpose and freedom, in pursuit of doing "the Father's" will. 

John 8 : 32
"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

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Better Together Because Of Love

We believe that the love that we are meant to walk in with one another truly makes us better together. But what is this love and how does it differ from the kind of love we so often hear about. In Psalm 25 the writer says that 'The lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness' or "kindness" and "faithfulness". These two major aspects make up the love Jesus shows us and the love that we are meant to show to one another. It's a selfless love, one that is committed to the long term best in other, and does't seek reciprocation. These two things, kindness and faithfulness are both equally important and equally required. Because kindness without faithfulness is exploitation, and faithfulness without kindness is judgment. But love is kindness and faithfulness met together. This is true love, this is what makes us better together. 

Psalm 25:10
"The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all who keep his covenant and obey his demands." 

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How's Your Soil?

When it comes to relationships, the benefits and "fruit" of every relationship that we have is determined by the soil of our lives. We all have a perspective and a paradigm in which we live that's determined by our beliefs, our experiences, and our decisions. All of these things make up the soil of our lives that relational seeds are then sown into. So many times we can look at the fruit or status of a relationship and be unhappy or frustrated by it and neglect to address the very thing that is determining those outcomes, our soil. Is your soil bitter from a past hurt? Is your soil fearful or judgemental? Is your soil hopeful and always assuming the best? Is your soil encouraging and full of faith? If we want our relational seeds to flourish then we have to take ownership and responsibility of our soil. God desires for our relationships to grow and flourish and He wants our soil to always be fruitful. 

Mark 4 : 3 - 9
“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed. As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it. Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died. Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” Then he said, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

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God's Glory Is Our Motivation

Motivation is a key factor when it comes to relationships, especially when it comes to the longevity of relationships. One of the most notable attributes of relationships is that they tend to have "highs" and "lows". Whether its family relationships, work relationships, or church relationships; when it comes to relationships there are good moments and moments of challenge. It is in these moments of challenge that our motivation plays a crucial roll. If our ultimate motivation for that relationship isn't so God would get the glory and that person would know him and love him deeper, it makes weathering the challenges difficult. When we decide to love, encourage, and pray for one another despite the challenges that relationships bring, God gets the glory.

 

Romans 6 : 6 - 13

We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.

Do not let sin control the way you live;do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.

Check out the message from this week

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_1yX6bcmCw

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Things That Stay Attached Stay Alive

John 15 : 1 - 17

“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.

9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. 16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.17 This is my command: Love each other.”

Remaining in Jesus is something that we seek to do but we may not know how to actually walk that out in our lives. From this passage of scripture we actually see that Jesus tell us to remain in him by making three points of attachments in our lives. The first point of attachment he asks us to make to remain in him, is to attach out lives to Him. Attaching our lives to Jesus is the first step to "remaining in Jesus". It's so easy to find our identity in the words that other's say about us, the words that we say about ourselves, or the mistakes that we've made in our lives. But our true identity can only be found in the words that God says about us. The second point of attachment is, attaching our lives to The Church. Attaching our lives to the church means attaching our lives to people. Jesus says to love one another the way that He has loved us so to remain in Him we need to remain in relationship with his people. The last point of attachment is, attaching our purpose to people. If Jesus is the vine, if we are the branches, then the fruit that He is asking us to produce is people. We remain in Jesus so that we can reach people. We have been called to be fruit bearers, people who are passionate about reaching people with the love of Jesus. We remain in Jesus to reach people.

Check out the message from this week


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIG1FjZah4E

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