REDEFINE NORMAL

I want to talk about a common lie that the enemy tries to tell you. “Christians are weird,” is probably a statement you have heard more than once. He also tries to make you feel weird for being a Christian as well. This, however, is a hugely false statement. 

John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

If we look a little closer at this sentence we see that the “Word” translated in Greek means “logos.” Logos means the “divine reason.” This word is used in the old testament a lot to explain God’s revelation. A lot of theologians refer to the logos word as the entire word of God (meaning the whole Bible). This scripture is also referring to Jesus being the Word. He is our revelation and our divine reason. 

This scripture states that “In the beginning was the Word,” and, “the Word was God.” So this means that the word of God has always been with us. Jesus and his word have always been with us. There literally was nothing before God and His word. So what this means is that everything in His word is the original norm. Everything in His word is how things are supposed to be. 

Have you ever heard the term that God is omniscient. The omniscience of God is the principle that God is all-knowing; that He encompasses all knowledge of the universe past, present, and future. In the beginning, God created the world and everything in it, including knowledge. This means that everything that has ever happened on this earth, God knew it would happen. God knew that we would not be able to live a holy life without sin, so that is why He sent Jesus. Jesus is not only our pardon for sin, He is also our “logos.” He is the Word that has been here since the beginning. 

So just to pull it all together here, Jesus is the norm. Everything Jesus did and said is what we are supposed to try and model our lives after. This means that Jesus is the original normal. Jesus is not weird.  Weird means to be unnatural and abnormal. Yes you could say that things like miraculous healings seem unnatural or abnormal, but the point I am trying to make is that it was never meant to be! The things we read about that Jesus did, that is how the normal Christian life should look. Jesus even tells us that we will do things even greater than He did!

John 14:12: “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”

The other thing you have to remember here is what I stated before. The term “logos” means the entire word of God. We cannot just read the Bible and pick and choose the things that we want to be true. We have to stop only believing and reading the scriptures that make us feel comfortable. I believe that this is one reason that we do not see the things that Jesus did as normal in the world today. We have chosen our comfort over truth. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” John 14:6 This means that every single thing in the Bible is true. 

When you read about the life of Jesus you saw Him do many signs and wonders. When these signs and wonders are attempted to be done in today’s world, people tend to think it is too strange for them and some people even think it is demonic. I must point at that when Jesus walked on the earth the people also thought that He was working with demonic powers. 

When you read in the Gospels you will find Jesus healing people, prophesying to people, walking on water, calming the storms, and turning water into wine. In Acts, you read about Paul and the church speaking in tongues. In the old testament you read about David dancing naked before the Lord because He was so undone by who God is. 

I encourage you next time that you see someone at church kneeling or dancing in worship, hear someone speaking in tongues, hear someone prophesying, or even hear a testimony of a miraculous healing, reject the lie from the enemy that comes to tell you that it is weird. With God, this stuff is normal. This is who He is and this is who He always has been and who He always will be. We have to stop thinking with a worldly perspective and start thinking with a heavenly perspective. If we really want to bring heaven to earth, we have to redefine normal. 

PASTOR APRIL GADDIS

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LEARNING TO REST

Almost 13 years ago I was diagnosed with an incurable autoimmune disorder.  It was a very  challenging time in my life, but at the same time I had never felt closer to Jesus.  It was so bad there for awhile that my wife had to help me out of bed.  Everything hurt and things seemed very hopeless.  

In this blog today I would like to focus on one of the main things that Jesus taught me during this time and that is to rest.  The Holy Spirit gave me this Scripture here in Matthew when Jesus was asleep in the middle of the storm.

Mark 4:35-41
That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”  NIV

Out of this the Holy Spirit told me, “You can overcome any storm that you can rest in.” Jesus was not overwhelmed by the storm the storm was overwhelmed by the Prince of Peace.  Jesus had authority over the storm because He was resting in the Word of God. He really believed that they were going to the other side so He simply rested in that truth.

When we are trying to believe, we haven’t entered God’s rest.  Jesus wants to move us from trying to trusting because when we believe we are completely at rest in Him.  Living by faith is not a struggle -it’s rest

Jesus started really changing my life as He was teaching me about rest.  

There are so many benefits to resting in Jesus. One benefit is revelation. 

“Revelation is given to those who are in rest.”  James Jordon

Jesus wants to give us a revelation of Him in the middle of our storms and circumstances.  Check out this promise…

Matthew 11:28-30 
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  NIV

Rest comes into our lives when we come to Jesus.  He wants to give us His rest.  A “yoke” was considered a rabbi’s teaching.  Jesus is saying, take my teaching to heart and apply it to your life.  Learn how to live like Me.”  When we do, we will find rest for our souls (mind, will, and emotions).  How would you like some rest in your thoughts, the decisions you make, and in your emotions?  How would our lives be different if we had this kind of revelation?

No matter what you are going through today you can find rest in Jesus.  My prayer for you today is that you find supernatural peace and rest that comes from knowing Jesus.

Jesus teach us to pray and rest in your perfect love.  We come to You today to find rest for our souls. Bring rest to our thoughts and the decisions that we need to make. We speak peace to our emotions.  Jesus help us to live by faith and the Holy Spirit.  We put You first in our lives today.  We worship You Prince of Peace.
 
PASTOR RANDY HENDERSON

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SEASONS

These last few days have been a Spiritual training ground for me – a unique opportunity to “understand,” if you will. The Lord has been showing me things that I’ve never seen before, and He’s taking me on a journey that’s growing my endurance. 

Last night I had the urge to find out what season I’m in. I looked online this morning & found a lot of opinions. The Lord reminded me of His Word, and I remembered this specific Verse: “For everything there is a season” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

I believe it is vitally important that ALL believers know what season they are in; for their sanity and for the enhancement of The Kingdom of Heaven. 

Example: If someone’s truly in a season of sowing, yet he “thinketh” he’s in a season of harvest, that person will see an overwhelming growth of frustration, confusion and pain. And the opposite, if a man is in a season of Harvest, yet he thinks he’s in a season of planting, he will miss out on the fruits of his labor, therefore rendering his work to be in vain. Let’s get a little more practical. When you’re at the beach, you wouldn’t wear a fur coat, a face mask and warm winter gloves. When you’re snow skiing in Colorado, you wouldn’t wear a bikini and swim shorts. You would dress accordingly (I hope).

So what exactly are the Biblical seasons? I’d love for you to take a moment to put this article down, pick up your Bible and turn to Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. There you will find a few different seasons. An article I read on different Biblical seasons quotes, “In the Bible we have no reference to spring or autumn; the only seasons mentioned are “summer and winter” (Genesis 8:22; Psalms 74:17; Zechariah 14:8). Winter is the season of rain lasting from November to May. “The winter is past; the rain is over” (Song of Solomon 2:11). Summer is very hot and rainless. “(When) the fig tree …. putteth forth its leaves, ye know that the summer is nigh” (Mark 13:28); “The harvest is past, the summer is ended” (Jeremiah 8:20).” These two points should make it easier to understand what Season we’re in. 

How long should you expect to be in a season? (Those of you reading this in a winter season are probably anxious to hear this answer). The allotted time due to each season is totally dependent on The Lord. Let’s put this into perspective. In the book of Genesis 37 we first see Jospeh, Jacobs 2nd to youngest son. Joseph was sold into slavery around age 17. He became 2nd in command over Egypt around age 30, some scholars say. During a span of 13 years, give or take, Joseph was in and out of prison. Genesis 39:4 tells us, “…he soon made Joseph his personal attendant. He put him in charge of his entire household and everything he owned.” A few verses later, we see Joseph thrown right back into prison: “…So he took Joseph and threw him into the prison where the king’s prisoners were held, and there he remained.” Jospehs “winter” season lasted a lot longer than we’d like ours to be. Each individual season depends on The Lords Purpose and our obedience to the Lord. 

Each and every one of us is in a specific season. Prepare yourselves, but most importantly, trust The Lord in EVERY season!
 
PASTOR ZACH GADDIS

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WHAT DO I HAVE TO GIVE?

I love bold faith. I earnestly pray for it. I suppose that is why I love the story of Peter and John in Acts 3. Jesus had told His disciples that it was good that He was going because when He did He would send Holy Spirit. We see in Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit came that the disciples were filled with boldness and power. They went from hiding out, to bolding proclaiming Jesus Christ. The power of God was evident! People were healed, saved and delivered! 

“Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money. Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” The lame man looked at them eagerly expecting some money. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them. All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God. When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded! They all rushed out in amazement to Solomon’s Colonnade, where the man was holding tightly to Peter and John. Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd. “People of Israel,” he said, “what is so surprising about this? And why stare at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or godliness? For it is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God of all our ancestors—who has brought glory to his servant Jesus by doing this. This is the same Jesus whom you handed over and rejected before Pilate, despite Pilate’s decision to release him.” Acts of the Apostles 3:1-13 NLT

Few key things Holy Spirit Highlighted to me about Peter and John:

  1. Fully devoted, consistent in prayer. 3x a day was the custom. Battles are won in prayer prior to the actual encounter. 
  2. They were sensitive to Holy Spirit. They had passed this guy everyday 3x a day but this day was different. As they were going through the daily routines they were listening to Holy Spirit. 
  3. They Knew who they were and what the had to give! 
  4. They walked in confidence because they had faith knowing and believing that Holy Spirit was with them, in them and would flow through them! Peter said “Look on us” When you know who and whose you are you will know what your called to do. 

God is a rewarder of those who seek His presence! (Hebrews 11:6)

The presence of God does not rest on ministries it rests on fully devoted followers surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Yes, there is favor on ministries, but the presence, the anointing is on the believer, not the title of a ministry but a person, and John and Peter knew this, that is why we they said look on us! Allow God to plant this deep inside. To be aware of Him, wherever I am He is there with me. Acknowledging this truth awakens me to the reality of the present presence of the Spirit of God inside of me. Now with confidence I can say to those in need “I will give you what I have” 
 
PASTOR TONYA PAYNE

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ADAPTING TO YOUR ENVIRONMENT

Recently I have been reading in Genesis about the story of Joseph, and I want to talk about what God has been teaching me through this story. For those of you who are not familiar with the story, I encourage you to go read in Genesis 37-47. In part of this story, Joseph is sold into slavery by his brothers because of their jealousy. Joseph then finds himself in several different situations that eventually promote him to being ruler of the entire land of Egypt. Let’s look at a few scriptures here that show us how Joseph was promoted. 

Genesis 39: 1-4

“Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there. The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant.”

After this, Joseph is falsely accused of committing adultery with Potiphar’s wife, so he is thrown in prison. 

Genesis 39:20-23

“But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there.”

What happens next is, God works it out for Joseph to interpret the dreams of two people that were close in position to the Pharaoh, and he interpreted each dream correctly. So when the Pharaoh had a dream that he needed interpreted, he was told about Joseph, and Joseph interpreted the Pharaoh’s dreams correctly as well. This impressed the Pharaoh, and he put him in charge over the land of Egypt. 

Genesis 42:46-47

“Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout Egypt. During the seven years of abundance the land produced plentifully.”

Here we see that everywhere Joseph went he prospered. It didn’t matter his circumstance; the Lord was with him and promoted him. Even in a place as lowly as a slave or as lowly as prison, Joseph relied on the Lord and found a way to succeed wherever he was.

Today our society tells us that if you are not succeeding somewhere then  just go find somewhere that you can succeed. Society tells us that we are always right, our truth is our truth, and if we cannot prosper in a specific environment, then it is the environment’s fault and not our own. In my own personal life, I can tell you that this is almost never the case. Majority of the time, God is calling me into places that are not only difficult for me to be in, but also to change myself in order to succeed. I think that this is also what we are seeing here with the story of Joseph. His environment didn’t affect him, he affected his environment. The scripture doesn’t say it, but I have a hard time believing that Joseph was able to succeed while being prideful and not feeling like there was anything about him that he needed to change. 

I do need to point out that you should never compromise your righteousness to fit in to an environment. If a specific environment has authority figures that are asking you to sin, then you definitely need to move out of that environment. 2 Timothy 2:22-14 says “Run from temptations that capture young people. Always do the right thing. Be faithful, loving, and easy to get along with. Worship with people whose hearts are pure. Stay away from stupid and senseless arguments. These only lead to trouble, and God’s servants must not be troublemakers. They must be kind to everyone, and they must be good teachers and very patient.” 

We have to realize that we don’t have everything right, that we don’t have the answers to all, and that sometimes we are wrong. Once we can accept these truths it is then easier to receive what God has for us in specific places and situations. 

I encourage you to go to the Lord and ask Him to be your guide, ask Him if you are in the place where you are supposed to be, even if it might be a hard situation. If He says yes, then ask Him what you need to change to succeed!

Here is a short clip I saw from Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church that is a perfect summary of what we have discussed here. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
 
 
PASTOR APRIL GADDIS
 

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WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?

Today’s society is consumed with achieving “success”. I put “success” in quotes because it is a whole other topic on how one should define success. Is success a bad thing for a Christian to desire and strive for?  No, if your heart is in the right place and the success you desire is honoring to God, it is not a bad thing. But, success can look very different to two people, so let’s agree to keep the definition of success very general for this discussion.  

 

The difference between those who are successful and those who aren’t is often just the way they think. Wrong thinking will never lead to solving problems!

 

God wants us to change the way we think. Isaiah 55: 8-9 reads: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

 

It was once shared with me that true success is guarded by difficulty and complexity.  Most people when faced with adversity or a difficult situation either give up or simply choose to ignore the situation hoping it will go away (hint: it never does). All successful people or businesses have fought their way through difficulty and complexity at some point.  Matthew 7:14 reads: “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” So, don’t ever give up! As Pastor Terry says “Grow Forward!”

 

Here are a couple of wrong ways of thinking that are prevalent in today’s world: 

 

  1. “If I only had more money”….I could solve this problem or that problem.

 

Jesus never said that more money was the solution to a problem. Although the topic of money was mentioned in the bible more than the topic of prayer (seriously) Jesus never claimed more money to be the answer. 

 

  1. “I don’t have enough experience”…to start a new business or to pursue my dream job/passion.  

 

It is often said that experience is the best teacher. I disagree with this statement. I believe that other people’s experience is the best teacher! Learn from others successes and failures. 

 

We need to change how we think and what we think. The power of our mind is an awesome thing. We must protect what we allow into our minds through our eyes (what we watch/read) and through our ears (what we listen to). If what we watch, read and listen to is not honoring to God there is a good chance that we ultimately make poor decisions. 

 

Proverbs 13:20 reads: Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.

Protect your mind and your heart against the ways of this world.  Place into your mind those things which are holy and righteous and you will make better decisions.   

 

– Read the bible! It has all the answers and will never lead you astray.  

– Read and watch good media. Ask yourself, “Will this take me closer to God? If not, why watch it?  

– Listen to good worship music. Our God loves it when we worship him. We were built for worship. It allows us to truly connect to our Creator and honor him. Don’t fill your mind and your heart with impure and unholy media/music. It leads to bad thinking. 

 

You get revelation when you spend time with God through reading his word, time in prayer and through worship.  It enables you to think properly and make good decisions. Information moves people, but revelation changes people.

 

Don’t just seek God’s hand, seek His face. A personal, intimate relationship with God allows you to think properly, make good decisions and achieve the ultimate success. 
 
ELDER JUSTIN MECKLENBERG

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WAITING

Have you been praying for something and it just hasn’t happened yet? Are you in a season of waiting? I want to encourage you today to let the frustration and the spirit of defeat of an immediate breakthrough go. In today’s culture, we don’t have to wait for much. I mean you can have whatever you want practically delivered to your door in two days with amazon prime.  

I have a friend that I call Nana, now she’s not actually my biological nana but everyone calls her nana because well, she is nana. Nana prayed for her brother’s salvation for over 30 years. 30 YEARS!! That is a long time in today’s society. Nana’s brother accepted Jesus, was baptized and the angels rejoiced! Prayer answered!!! I can imagine that Nana got frustrated sometimes and began to doubt if her brother would ever accept his eternal salvation that Jesus had for him. I can also imagine that Nana’s faith overpowered that frustration and doubt and made her press in even more for her brother. 30 years was a long season of waiting, but I know Nana would’ve prayed until the day she met Jesus for her brother, because that’s who she is, she is a solid pillar, full of faith in our Heavenly Father!

Abraham and Sarah endured a season of waiting. God had promised them a son but Sarah was past the child bearing age and very old. But God! 

Genesis 18:9-19

They said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “She is in the tent.” The Lord said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time, I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. He said, “No, but you did laugh.” Then the men set out from there, and they looked down toward Sodom. And Abraham went with them to set them on their way. The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.

What Abraham and Sarah didn’t know at the time was that God was going to not only give them a son but a nation. We are all decedents of Abraham. Do you remember the old song, “Father Abraham, had many sons, and many sons had Father Abraham” In their season of waiting God was setting them up for something they couldn’t even imagine. They simply asked for a Son. God said, I won’t only give you a son, I’m going to give you an entire nation. Is there anything too hard for the Lord? 

I have a sweet family member, named Avery Mae, that was in a car wreck almost two years ago. God saved Avery Mae, but she is still not completely whole. She suffered a TBI and is still in a semi-conscious state. She has had many prayer warriors rally around her. We have prayed that she would be completely healed from the top of her head all the way to the bottom of her feet. We believe Jesus will completely heal her and we are in a season of waiting for this prayer to be answered. 

Maybe today finds you in a season of waiting. I encourage you to renew your mind and continue to press in to the Father with all you’ve got. 

2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 

We have been given authority through Jesus, when doubt, worry, fear, and anxiety rises, demolish it in the name of Jesus! 

 There is a chorus from one of my favorite songs by Kristene DiMarco that says. Listen here!

Take courage my heart, stay steadfast my soul
He’s in the waiting, He’s in the waiting
Hold onto your hope, as your triumph unfolds
He’s never failing, He’s never failing

Take courage my friends, he is in the waiting, don’t give up! 

Is there anything too hard for the Lord?
 
 

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DUDE YOU ARE RIGHTEOUS

Imagine officers walking you down a long hallway and they open the doors and you realize you are in a huge court.  You are about to stand trial for every sin that you have committed.

As you look up you notice that God is the Judge. You know that you are not gonna be able to lie about anything and get away with it anyway.

Charge after charge is being made against you.  Most of them true and some are huge exaggerations.  But never the less it seems like forever and the charges keep coming.

Finally the Judge asks what do you plead, guilty or not guilty?  

You can’t say guilty because you don’t want to go to hell and you can’t say not guilty because that’s not true.

So what do you do? Do you plead guilty or not guilty?

Do you know what Jesus wants us to do?  After all He is your lawyer.  The legal advice He gives you is to plead His blood.  Only His blood can wash away ALL our sins and make us righteous.  

2 Corinthians 5:21

21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.  NIV

Righteousness is a free gift given to us when we believe. The moment that you asked Jesus to be Lord of your life, He made you righteous. It’s WHO you are now!

We can’t earn righteousness….  salvation… healing… or anything from God for that matter.

Ephesians 2:8,9

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 

9 not by works, so that no one can boast.  NIV

Putting our faith in what Jesus has already done on the cross for us is what saves us and makes us righteous.

You might be wondering right now, “Pastor Randy, if I’m righteous then why do I keep on sinning?”

That’s a really good question.  There could be several reasons for that but let’s just focus in on a few of them.

One of the reasons why Christians keep on sinning after they are saved is because they still believe they are sinners.

Have you ever heard someone say, “I am just a sinner saved by grace?” Or something like that.

That’s not true.  We used to be sinners saved by grace.  Now we are saints saved by grace.  Why is that important?  It’s important because if we believe that we are sinners, guess what we are going to do…  sin.  If you believe that you are righteous what will you do… the right thing.

The devil wants you to focus on everything that is wrong with you…  He wants you to live in the past…  Think about what could have been if you hadn’t done this or that…  But the righteous live by faith…  Romans 1:16-17

Jesus wants you to focus on what He has made right…  You are a new creation when you give your life to Jesus.  You are brand new!  You are righteous!  You see the Bible teaches us that we were all born sinners because of Adam and Eve. They messed it up for all of us. Sound a little unfair?  I understand… but there is good news (the gospel)…  The good news is this…

Jesus became like us so that we could become like Him.

Everything we lost because of Adam, we gained because of Jesus. Jesus took ALL of our sin so that we could have ALL of His righteousness.  So when God the Father sees us He sees Jesus.  He sees His Son’s righteousness. Jesus sacrificed everything for us, so that we don’t have to live in darkness any more… doubt… worry… fear…  Because we live by faith…

This is what I want you to do this week… Confess what God says about you.  I am the righteousness of God in Christ. Don’t confess what you feel or what you think about you.  Start saying what Jesus says about you. He has the right to define you…  He created you and died on a cross for you…

Jesus doesn’t want us to focus on what’s wrong with us, sin conscious…  

He wants us to be focused on Jesus and what He says about us, Christ conscious…

Let’s open up the free gift of righteousness that Jesus gives to all of us who simply believe in Him.

Each time Jesus hears us confess, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ,” it brings much pleasure to His heart, because we are laying hold of what He suffered and died to give us.
 
PASTOR RANDY HENDERSON

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YOU CAN WORSHIP EVEN IF YOU CANNOT SING!

I have often asked God why He did not bless me with a pretty voice to sing. I say to God, “You know how much I love to worship and praise you.” I know this may sound funny but its true, I have said this more than once. I love to sing my heart and lungs out to God. When I sing I sense things just breaking off of me that had weighed me down minutes before. I can sense breakthrough for loved ones as I began to proclaim praises to God and thank Him for victory in situations. But the most amazing, and my very favorite thing that happens when I worship Him in this uninhibited manor is, I feel Him so very close. I begin to see the throne room of God and I see myself bowing before the King of Kings. The encounters change but one thing stays the same and that Is God! His love, His presence, provision and vision began to fill me like at no other time. This place I am describing is the best place and my very favorite. My prayer and desire is that every believer experiences this worship I am writing about today. 

“ Worship transcends our weakness while acknowledging Gods power.” Jack Hayford

What a great definition of worship by Jack Hayford, it resonated with me because this is what happens in my prayer and worship time with Him. The Word of God says in Revelations 12:11 , “And they defeated him by the blood of the lamb and by their testimony,” so with that being my backdrop I want to share a personal testimony of a time I overcame through the amazing gift of worship. Because of what Jesus has done for me I have this connection, this gift to be in relationship and worship Him! 

My husband and I got married my senior year of High School, his freshman year of college. We were young, poor and had the most beautiful baby boy! We lived in low incoming housing in Corona, California. It was a rough neighborhood but it was what we could afford. Terry traveled for his football games and so some weekends I was there alone with our son Garrett. I remember one night being awakened to a sound and then shadows I could see an outline of people walking by my window. I was alone and terrified. My mind raced as I thought why would people be lurking around back windows late at night. I began to pray softly in my bed as they went by. Although they were gone I could not shake the fear that had rocked me to the core. I sat there in my bed with my arms locked around my legs and I began to sing; “Whenever I am afraid I will trust in You. You are my hiding place, whenever I am afraid I will trust in You.” Then the coolest thing happened as I was singing I started to pray too and then this beautiful sound started coming from me! My spirit began to pray but it came out as a song and it was beautiful, peace filled every part of me. I felt as though I was being held and I had no fear at all. I remember being amazed and thankful for the encounter. 

So I want to encourage you today to get into Gods presence with worship and praise. It doesn’t matter how good you sound, what matters is your heart, that your passion is for Him! Experience the power of worship that transcend weakness while acknowledging Gods power!
 
PASTOR TONYA PAYNE

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WHO ARE YOU FIGHTING?

A couple of Sunday’s ago at LifeWay Church we heard a sermon from Pastor Robert Morris of GateWay Church titled “under attack.” His message was about what to do when you are under attack from the enemy. There was one point that He gave that really stood out to me. He said that you have to first recognize that you are in a battle. I think this is the hardest thing for us to do at times. We now live in a time where everything is paganize and things are no longer spiritualized. We walk around with a worldly mindset instead of a heavenly mindset.

I think we first have to hit the topic of “over-spiritualized.” This statement has never quite made sense to me. Colossians 1:16 says “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.” If we believe this scripture then I am not sure how there is anything on this earth that is not “spiritual.” It is all about God, ALWAYS! Another scripture to consider when you feel that you or someone else might be making things too “spiritual” is Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” If finding “life,” which is Jesus, is difficult, then I would say I need to set my mind on things that are spiritual way more often than not. We tend to think people that “over-spiritualize” things are weird. They do and say strange things, but the reality is that God is not weird. He is the creator of the universe! I don’t think you can get much cooler than that. We cannot let the way different people respond to God affect the way we respond to Him. 

The next thing I want to cover is, remember who you are fighting when you recognize you are in battle. Ephesians 6:12 says “For our battle 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.” Long answer short, you are fighting the devil. I believe there are three other people we blame instead of Him. 

1.We blame ourselves 

         The devil is really good at making you feel like everything is your fault. He is good at isolating you and he is best at making you feel ashamed. This shame causes us to not want to turn to God or other people. When you are struggling do not beat yourself up. God would not do that to you, so you know it is not from Him. It is important, however, that you recognize in the battle how and what God wants to change in you. If you have done wrong then confess it, and ask God how He wants you to move on from there. 

2.We blame others

        The enemy’s number one tactic is to cause division. If you have not read the book The Bait of Satan by John Bevere I encourage you to read it. This book shows how the devil pits us against one another through taking offense, instead of recognizing that it is the enemy that is trying to separate us. God created ALL people, and He created us for Him and for each other. We are here to help each other not hurt each other. Even if you have had several people hurt you in your life, God can and will bless you with people that will love and help you. We can’t play the enemy’s game by allowing us to turn against our brothers and sisters. 

3.We blame God 

        James 1:17 says “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Your Father loves you and He only wants good for you. I think this aspect is easier for people that have children to understand. You discipline your kids, and you allow them to make their own decisions, even if they are bad, so they can grow. That is the same thing God does for us. If we are in a battle it is because God will use it for good and will use it to grow us. When the enemy causes evil things to happen against us, God only uses it for good, and for us to draw closer to Him, because He knows that being close to Him is the only way we survive. 

I encourage you today to think with a heavenly mindset. Pray that you would be fully and completely aware of God at all times. Learn His voice. Then you will be able to recognize when you are in a battle and who you are fighting.
 
PASTOR APRIL GADDIS

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