Lavishly Loved By God

lavishlylovedbygod

John wrote out of a relationship with Jesus where he was the one loved by God. He wasn’t always known as a lover of people or anything. He was called a Son of Thunder.

• After spending time with Jesus, he changed from a driving carnality to a whole different person.
 

• He wrote this epistle when he was 90. In his life, he had been tortured, seen friends die, almost died himself, etc. So he’s the last of the 12 disciples—the ones who were actually with Jesus. He was a mentor of people who would build the church in that century. The context of this epistle is that people were preaching false doctrine about earning and doing. John’s message to get everyone right is “the love of God.”

Theres a theme to John’s epistles: God is light. God is life. God is love. If you walk in the light and understand that Jesus is life (not doctrine). It’s about the life of Jesus not just the behaviors of Jesus. 1 Corinthians 13 is for us to learn how to love and how not to love. But 1 John makes some bold statements about love.

How you’ve been loved determines how you will love.

THE LOVE EXPERIENCE:
 
— Unloved: never felt it or had it
 Abusive love: manipulated, controls, teaches you the wrong thing—to close off God and everyone else
  Shallow love: never went anywhere with it
 Selfish love: always about the other person never about you. You end up feeling used
 Broken love: tried to love but got crushed so withdrew
 — Disappointed love: disappointed when you finally open yourself up to someone
 — Unfulfilled love: you can’t find a way to fulfill your love and so turn to unhealthy things

A person can be so messed up that when someone says, “God loves you,” they say, “What do you mean? I don’t buy it. How does He love me?”

1 John 3:1 NKJV

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us,because it did not know Him.

1 John 3:1 MSG

What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to.

1 John 3:1 NIV

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

“What manner…” = What sort of thing could this love be? Come again?

DEFINITION OF LAVISH LOVE:
 
The lavish love of God towards us is an extravagant unrestrained excessive love that holds back nothing; an abundant outpouring of his favor with unexpected surprises and rich provisions.

• When does God’s love come toward us? It comes even when you don’t want it or deserve it. He loved us while we were yet sinners. It doesn’t wait for you to be ready to receive it.

The lavish love of God brings life transformations that start you on the right path for love.

• “Thy kingdom come thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”—not earth earth, but earth heart.

There’s shallow soil/hearts, weedy soil/hearts and good soil/hearts. • Unless you get the kingdom of God in you, it can’t come from you. — You are the earth. If you’ve never experienced the love of God, it can’t come from you.

• If the love of God centers a person, everything else comes out fixed. • The church can be fixed if we understand how God loves us and then turn around and love others that way.

THE LAVISH LOVE OF GOD THAT COMES TO YOU IS:

1) UNCONDITIONAL

• It’s affections that Jesus brings without limitations and you can’t earn anything he brings to your life. It’s unearned territory.
 • Most of what we experience is conditional so it’s hard to understand the agape love of God.
 • There are no conditions that can make God stop loving you.
 • When you receive that kind of love, you want to please the person who loves you so wholly. It will form your mind and your heart.

2) ABSOLUTE & ABSOLUTELY FOCUSED ON INDIVIDUALS (NOT GROUPS)

• Jesus’s whole ministry was about individuals: Jesus talks about going after the one instead of the group. — You see this in the story of the lost sheep, the woman at the well, and the leper at the bottom of the hill, the man with the lost son, etc.
 • Christianity isn’t about the masses; it’s about the church meeting the need of the one.
 • The ripple effect on society is more than what you would get with a track or a sermon.

3) SURPRISING

Deuteronomy 7:7 NIV

The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples.

• There’s no “because” to his love. He doesn’t love you because of anything. He loves you the way you are right now.

4) INEXHAUSTIBLE

Ephesians 3:17-19 MSG

And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.

5) FULL OF SECOND CHANCES

• There are no limits to second chances.
 • God never says you used up all your chances. They’re new every morning.

• Love people because of who they are not what they do.
 • There’s no “fair” with the lavish love of God.
 • The love of God in you will cause you not to become that person who abuses others, takes advantage, et cetera, because we’re approved, not rejected, we’re valuable.



FRANK DAMAZIO

Love Is War

loveiswar

Ezekiel 36:24-28 MSG

“For here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to take you out of these countries, gather you from all over, and bring you back to your own land. I’ll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live in the land I gave your ancestors. You’ll be my people! I’ll be your God!

• NYC is a paradox: it’s dirty and yet charming. • "I <3 NY" could be the mission statement for our church. • God is always working different stories together and we don’t realize that every connection matters. • God has His own way of seeing His kingdom established on this earth.

G. K. Chesterton said:

Paradox is truth standing on her head to attract attention.

Jesus was: • 100% God and 100% man • in the world but not of it • the King of Kings but born in a manger • centerpiece of our religion but everything about Him rages against religion • He did nothing wrong but was considered an outlaw • His death was the beginning of life • He took the cross as the symbol of failure and shame and turned it into love and victory • We abide in Him but He abides in us • His glory was revealed in His humility • His justice was revealed in His compassion • His law is grace

Mark 12:28-31 ESV

And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And your shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

• Jesus is so complex but so simple.

The Bible describes love:

1 John 3:16 ESV

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

1 John 4:8 ESV

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

• Everything at our core wants to be loved which is a perfect fit for a God who is love. • Our fight is simply to surrender. — We distort the longing in our heart for other things we think will satisfy: a job, esteem, etc. — Because we lend ourselves wholeheartedly to things we weren’t created for, we live our lives conflicted. • We’re called to fight to love those in our city.

The battleground is our heart. • The Bible mentions the heart 762 times.

1 Samuel 16:7 ESV

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

Luke 6:45 ESV

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Jeremiah 17:9-10 ESV

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”

Proverbs 4:23 ESV

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

• Everything is affected by the condition of our heart.

How to Guard Your Heart:[Joel tells a story about how he was given the job of disposing of frozen cow hearts at school after a science project was done. He and his friend decided instead to put a heart in each person’s backpack. By the time school was done and people looked in their bags the cow hearts had thawed out. Some of the kids started throwing them at other kids which would leave a bloody mess on the kids’ clothes.]

• Tender hearts leave their mark. — We’re called to leave a mark on people we encounter and on our city. It can’t happen if our hearts are hard and cold.

C. S. Lewis said:

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.

• Way too many of us go through life with a frozen heart. Sometimes it’s easier to be numb than to run the risk of being hurt. — As long as we attach our love to false idols and false identities, then our heart runs the risk of being broken but if we understand who God is and that our heart was created for him, it opens us up to so many possibilities.

Things We Need to Go to War Against in Order to Stop Our Hearts From Being Cold and Hard:

1) SIN • We think of sin in relation to the rules. • Sin means missing the mark and we’ve all missed the mark at one time or other.

Romans 5:18-19 MSG

Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of trouble, he got us into life! One man said no to God and put many people in the wrong; one man said yes to God and put many in the right.

• You are no more sinful now than the day you came into the planet. • Change your perspective from “Is this right? or “Is this wrong?” • Jesus stepped from heaven into earth and bore all our sin and gave us the opportunity to be made right with God. • If we live our lives as prisoners of sin, it hardens our heart. • The shame of our sin keeps us from the promises and plans of God. • It’s not God’s plan for you to live in shame and condemnation that Jesus died to free you from. • We don’t war against sin by trying to be better or do more works. • Our weapon is His mercy.

Romans 5:20-21 MSG

All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that’s the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end.

• It’s not our job to convict or judge anyone. My convictions are my convictions. Our convictions come from the Holy Spirit and the Word. Our job is to love people towards the truth.

Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

• Everything you’ve done or will do was paid for on the cross.

2) PRIDE

Proverbs 16:5 ESV

Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.

Proverbs 16:18 ESV

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

• Pride is us thinking we can do it on our own.

James 4:6 ESV

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

• We get so good at disguising our pride. • We let pride get under the surface. We cover it up with serving and our best version of us but it corrupts. • God opposes the proud is simply because he can’t get in anyway. • Our weapon is His humility not ours.

Philippians 2:1-11 MSG

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion. Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.

3) OFFENSES

Proverbs 18:19 ESV

A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and a quarreling is like the bars of a castle.

Proverbs 17:9 ESV

Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.

• There are a thousand reasons to be offended because we interact with so many people. We’ve been hurt and bitter and in the natural it’s justified. We become critical and lost in our offenses. • Our weapon is His forgiveness. • There’s a power to being quick to forgive. • “Holding unforgiveness in your heart is like eating poison and thinking the other person will die.” • Let’s be so quick to forgive people that we fight voraciously against offense. Keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.

Luke 23:33-34 ESV

And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.

• If anyone had the right to be offended it was Jesus. But He went through with it. • We need to start forgiving ourselves first. We need to let go because it destroys • C. S. Lewis said: “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable in others because God forgave the inexcusable in you. “ • The longer you have to suppress resentment, the harder it is to thaw out your heart. — Thawing out is a painful process but it’s worth it because the alternative is to not be used. — The only way to free yourself is to deal with it.

Colossians 3:12-14 MSG

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it



JOEL HOUSTON

Getting Through

gettingthrough

Life can be predictably unpredictable. It’s the only thing we can predict with accuracy. • It doesn’t matter what class you’re in or where you came from... you can count on the fact that there will be storms in your life.

Matthew 5:45 NKJV

…that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

• Either way, you’re gonna get slammed. • The question isn’t whether or not the storms will come. They’ll come. The question is how do we respond to these storms?

Mark 4:35-40 NKJV

On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!”  And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”

• They were cruising on a day that seemed like any other day. • It was a “destructive” storm. The word used is “seismos” where we get seismology from. • It came suddenly and out of nowhere like the storms we face. • We need to get through the storms. — We try to avoid the storms or get out of them. — We should be looking for the hand of God in the storm.

4 Things We Need To Be Reminded Of In The Storm: 1) the promises of Jesus  • There’s a lot of people who promise things and don’t come through. But Jesus’ promises are yes and amen. • He’s not just faithful to make promises but faithful to keep them. • His promise wasn’t “Let’s go in the middle of the lake and drown.” No. He says, “Let’s cross over to the other side.” It’s a promise. • God has given you promises and vision about what’s on the other side. — Your sails are set with faith. The Word has been confirmed. You’re sailing to your destination. Not only that, Jesus is in your boat. What can go wrong? Then suddenly, something’s not right and you’re in the middle of a storm where you have no idea what just hit you. • You’re just doing what you were told to do and you get the storm. • Did God change his mind? No. • Between your vision and your destination, there’s always a process that prepares us for the other side.

2) the preparation of Jesus • Those He uses mightily, He prepares thoroughly. • Joseph had 20 hard years between his vision and the fulfillment where he needed to be prepared. — Preparation has nothing to do with you messing up or a lack of love on your part, but everything to do with Him preparing you for what He’s called you to do. • Jesus is building faith into the life of these disciples who weren’t the brightest (like us). • He wanted them in a place where they’re forced to trust in Him. • You could be in the storm because he’s preparing you for the best season of your life. • The greatest storm can prepare us for the greatest moments.

3)  the presence of Jesus • Jesus was in the boat the entire time. He never left. • His posture communicates a lot. There’s nothing resembling panic in his posture. — Jesus even had a pillow! • He’s Lord over the storm. • The apostles were thinking the absolute worst. — Panic is what happens when we forget the reality of who’s in the boat with us. Anytime that happens, we might as well jump overboard. • Does Jesus care? Yeah. He went to the cross of calvary. If He doesn’t do another thing for us, He’s done enough. — He hasn’t left you or forsaken you. • If he says He’s gonna get you to the other side, He’ll get you to the other side. • What’s on the other side could be so important for kingdom work, that the devil would send so many things to distract you and keep you from it. • Know that there’s nothing that will be allowed in your life that won’t give you the strength and grace that you will need. • He is with you. • There’s nothing greater than understanding the presence of God.

• Joshua takes the place of Moses:

Joshua 1:6 NKJV

Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.

• Jeremiah was a young prophet and he argued that he was too young:

Jeremiah 1:6-8 NKJV

Then said I: “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.” But the Lord said to me: “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ For you shall go to all to whom I send you, And whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, For I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord.

• Paul seems like he was made of steel but he was afraid, too:

Acts 18:9 NKJV

Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent;

• There’s nothing like understanding and living in the reality of knowing He’s with us.

4) the power of Jesus • When Jesus said, “be still” it’s the same word meaning “to muzzle”. It’s also the same word He used to address demons. He muzzled them like dogs and put them down. • The greatest lesson when we see the power of God, is that it ain’t over until God says it’s over. • No matter how hard the circumstances and the storm, He can turn it around for our good and ultimately His glory.

• If you have any doubt, look to the cross. The greatest injustice in the history of the universe was committed. Yet He made that into the pathway to heaven.



PEDRO GARCIA

Freedom Ain’t Free

freedomaintfree

Exodus 3:7-12 NIV

The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concernedabout their suffering.So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivitesand Jebusites.And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them.So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”

Galatians 5:1 NIV

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Freedom was never talked about when the Israelites were slaves in Egypt. It hurt too much. Generation after generation were born into slavery. • After a while do you accept what is wrong as right? Do you accept what is abnormal as normal?

HOW FREE ARE YOU? • We might not be bound by slavery externally but we can be bound internally: mistakes, guilt, insecurities, surroundings, emotions, mediocrity, your past, failure • God wants to set you free so you can live free and set others free. — If we want to live free and set others free, we’re gonna have to face some pharaohs in our life: a person, a thought pattern, anything that tries to restrict you in life to your fears, doubts, and discouragement, anything that keeps you enslaved.

3 PHARAOHS WE NEED TO OVERCOME: (if we’re going to live free and help set others free) 1) A Pharaoh called SELF. • We need to see ourselves as God sees us. • Until we know whose we are, we don’t know who we are.

Exodus 3:11 NIV

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

• Moses didn’t see himself as much. — We can see ourselves like this when we’re called to defy culture and lead. How you see yourself will influence how you see others and how others see you. • Sometimes it is good to talk to yourself in the mirror like this girl:

• What you see and what God sees can be totally different. • If you don’t see yourself that way in your mirror, then you’re probably looking in the wrong mirror. You need to look in the mirror of the Bible.

• What you see and what God sees can be two totally different things. — Where you see guilt, God sees grace. — Where you see failure, God sees a future. — Where you see a slave, God sees a son/daughter.

• Get over yourself and get beyond yourself. • If you can beat yourself, you can’t be beaten. — Don’t be your worst enemy. • God doesn’t call the equipped; he equips the called. — What we think disqualifies us is often what actually qualifies us. • God says: — You were created in His image — You have a purpose — You’re complete in Him — You’re the light of the world — You’re the salt of the earth — You’re more than a conqueror — You’re a partaker of His divine nature

You don’t need to chase influence in your life. When you see yourself the way God sees you, influence chases you.

2) A Pharaoh called SILENCE. • If you don’t speak up, your Pharaoh will shut you up.

Exodus 8:1 NIV

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me.

• Worship brings perspective in the midst of chaos. • Worship brings passion. It’s powerful. — When you’re a slave to fear, mediocrity, etc the first thing to go is your worship. • For 400 years no one spoke up for the slaves. • Your pharaoh would love you to live a silent life to struggle and suffer in silence.

Proverbs 18:21 NIV

The tongue has the power of life and death,

and those who love it will eat its fruit.

• It’s not time to remain silent. It’s time to speak up and worship through the doubt, feelings, and discouragement. — Speak to your pharaoh. “Let me go so I can worship!” • Don’t live silent about the hope you have in Him. • Don’t get to the end of your life and find that you’ve done more talking than living. — Let your life, generosity, joy, passion, and kindness speak for itself. Let your life speak louder than your lips.

3) A Pharaoh called SETBACK.

Exodus 14:10-12 NIV

As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”

• They’re telling Moses not to give them hope. — The setback stood in the way of God’s promise, provision, peace, purpose, and freedom

Exodus 14:13-14;21-22 NIV

Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never seeagain. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.

When God is in the picture your setback is just a set up for a comeback.

Galatians 5:1 NIV

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

• That freedom was bought with a price.



JOSH KIMES

Turn Up The Heat — PRAY

turnuptheheat

Just as we rush to change the physical thermostat in our life as it gets colder, we need to check where we need to turn up the heat in our spiritual life. • People are dying without the word of God. The responsibility is on us to fuel ourselves.

 

2 Timothy 1:6 NIV

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

 

The best way to change the spiritual temperature of your life is to pray.

• Develop and unlock a life that seeks God.

• No one really wants to do what we need to do to lead the life God wants us to lead

• David prayed constantly:

 

Psalm 84:1-2 NIV

How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

 

— The courts of God are not just when we go to church meetings. That’s just the overflow. They’re actually in your own relationship where you do the work of knowing who Jesus is.

There’s a great need in our lives for the touch and power of God.

• People will settle for the counterfeit form of God.

• There are psychics and palm readers all over the place — they’re counterfeit God.

• There’s a worldwide hunger.

• The world is searching to get into something beyond ourselves.

— Every person is wired for a relationship with God.

— Everything you need, you can find in Jesus.

• There’s no competition. Jesus is the name above every name. Every knee bows and every tongue confesses His name. — Jesus is calling people to salvation every moment and encouraging them.

The living God is waiting to bring victory into your circumstance. 

Prayer is about bringing God into the everyday.

• It’s easy to bring prayer into form instead of a lifeline. It is a lifeline.

• Just come as you are.

• It’s easy to look out in this city and ask, “Do I matter? Does anyone hear my voice?” He hears you and sees you.

• You can take anything to the foot of the cross. It doesn’t matter what you need.

• We serve a faithful, living God.

Do we tap into the supernatural to power our everyday?

Are we looking with spirit eyes to see what He wants us to see?

• There is no way to rise up to be the answer He’s calling us to be without a prayer life.

We need to spend time in His presence.

He wants to put hunger in our hearts.

• Hunger is a physical need; you’re starving without something.

• Appetite is “Hmm maybe I’ll have this or maybe that”; no desperation — It’s as simple as praying, “Jesus help me. Wake me up again. Stir my soul. I want to go to my grave emptied out.”

There’s a measure of electricity we miss in our life without a prayer life.

• We can take authority.

• The greater victory is not waiting for the crisis to talk to God. We need a life in conversation with Him.

• There can be great authority and power in your life if you consciously start to pray.

• We live in a world where we want others to do it for us. There’ll come a day when we stand before God and give an account of our lives and how we used it. No one else will be there with us.

 

2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV

…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

 

• There is a revelation and a response — Revelation: He is a good and faithful God —

Response: we draw near

 

1) PRAY IN THE NAME OF JESUS.

• We need to use the name of Jesus.

• The world has a form of godliness.

 

2 Timothy 3:1-5 NIV

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

 

• The presence of the enemy can’t stand in the name of Jesus.

[Bethany tells a story about a church in Indonesia she visited that bought a beautiful building for about half the price because the people believed it was inhabited by evil spirits. The church decided to take communion and talk about the blood of Jesus in the courtyard when all of a sudden glasses shattered.]

 

Acts 4:12 NIV

 

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.

 

• Speak the name of Jesus and there’s peace, chains fall off, you get healing, et cetera.

 

2) PRAY SPECIFICALLY.

 

Matthew 7:7-11 NIV

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

 

• God wants to give you specific answers to specific prayers.

[Bethany shares a story from a Bible translator who was pregnant while in Papua, New Guinea. She had a bad craving for eggs while there and eggs are precious commodities. Finally, she had enough and gave in, asking God to deliver some eggs to her in any way possible. The next day, someone came with some eggs for her. She was delighted but it wasn’t long before she craved them again. So again, she prayed that God would give her some more eggs. Eggs showed up and from that time on she had eggs once a week until the end of her pregnancy.] • God wants you to ask. He wants to prove Himself and show you how good He is. His heart is toward you.

 

3) PRAY EXPECTING THAT GOD WILL ANSWER.

 

Daniel 10:10-13 NIV

A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling. The he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 

 

• Heaven knows the people who are before the Lord. —Daniel had fasted and prayed for 21 days. —You can be famous in heaven for your prayers.

• No matter the season, don’t stop praying and believing. • Desperation always gets the attention of heaven even when people don’t understand.


BETHANY MURDOCK

Changing Change

changingchange

Intrinsic to the concept of Christianity is change.

• Christianity is all about Jesus and Jesus is all about change.

• Jesus is the only one who’s qualified to change people because He never changes. Another human being can’t truly change you since they need to focus on changing themselves. But Jesus doesn’t have that problem.

Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

The problem is that we have Christians who aren’t changing. Our definition of change is faulty. What if we change the way we change?

Luke 24:36-53 NKJV

Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood In the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” So they gave him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. And He took it and ate in their presence. Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.

• Good news: with our glorified bodies, we can eat!

• The Holy Spirit has to open your understanding.

• Repentance and Remission: these two words exclusively belong to the church.

There’s this pattern: the more you obsess with changing, the less you change. This is the problem with change.

• Within yourself, you have no power to change or transform.

 

God thinks of change in terms of repentance and remission. The first word Jesus used in the beginning of His ministry was, “Repent!”

• People think repent means just to do a 180-degree turn.

• Do you think that the greatest communicator of all time chose to open with, “Change! Just change already!” ?

— This is actually not what the ancient Jews heard. What they heard Jesus say was, “Hey! Look again! I’m here now.”

— The ancient Jews got calloused because every so often there would be someone who popped up claiming to be the Messiah. When Jesus came, He had to tell them to look again.

— We need to look again at Jesus.

 

REPENTANCE IS:

1) Realization

• We think it means remorse.

• Condemnation is the greatest killer on the planet.

• Remorse is not repentance.

• Realize that you have a problem and that the solution is Jesus.

• Realization is a gift from the Holy Spirit.

2) Returning

• Not turning—returning.
— There is no power in just turning from.

• Repentance is not possible until Jesus is preached.

Romans 2:4 NKJV

Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

[Judah demonstrated using microphone and the lights on the stage. You could have someone who loves the microphone, really wants it, and Christians just tell him, “Don’t touch the microphone!” He’s trying to justify it and the Christians tell him that if he touches the microphone, they wouldn’t accept him into their community. So he doesn’t touch it. But it’s nothing has really changed. He still wants it. But he just wants friends. He wants community and he fears they wouldn’t accept him. But when the temptation gets too much and he touches the microphone then he gets condemnation and a whole slew of problems. What then? Instead of preaching against the things that are bad, we should shine the light on Jesus. Instead of telling him don’t touch the microphone, we should tell him, “You could touch the microphone but then you’ll miss out on what’s behind you if you turn around.” Tell him that if he turns around, he gets the light which is way better than what the microphone would give you. There’s beauty, there’s light, and there’s majesty. The microphone leaves you empty and never satisfies but the light (Jesus) never leaves you empty.]

• Repentance is when you realize that there’s more to life than this and you fill the hole in your soul.

• We need to tell people that there’s something better to turn to.

REMISSION IS:

1) Removal.

• It’s forgiveness.

• It’s not temporary relief and it’s not regrouping.

Psalm 103:12 NKJV

As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

• It’s not a cover-up.

• Jesus died for your past, present, and future sins. There’s no, “He loves me. He loves me not.” Don’t doubt His love.

• Quit living like you’re in close proximity to your sins.

• Jesus didn’t die for me. He died as me.

2) Release.

Colossians 3:3 NKJV

For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

• When God sees you, he sees his Son.

• Jesus died once and for all and sat at the right hand of the Father. He sat because it is done.

Proverbs 24:16 NKJV

For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity.

• A righteous man falls and gets back up again.

• We need righteous followers of Jesus to get back up and do what God has called us to do.

Romans 8:1 NKJV

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

• Condemnation is not helping anyone.

• We tend to listen to gospel of sin more than the Gospel of Jesus.

• You are who you are in Christ Jesus.



JUDAH SMITH

Supernatural Turnaround

supernaturalturnaround

What is a supernatural turnaround?

When you touch the supernatural realm, it changes the way you see things, the way you speak, your career goals, and how you go about life.

Mark 8:22-26 MSG

They arrived at Bethsaida. Some people brought a sightless man and begged Jesus to give him a healing touch. Taking him by the hand, He led him out of the village. He put spit in the man’s eyes, laid hands on him, and asked, “Do you see anything?” He looked up. “I see men. They look like walking trees.” So Jesus laid hands on his eyes again. The man looked hard and realized that he had recovered perfect sight, saw everything in bright, twenty-twenty focus. Jesus sent him straight home, telling him, “Don’t enter the village.”

• The man was healed but not totally.
• This is the only time in the Bible where Jesus had to lay hands on a person twice.
• The man had to look hard.
— Look hard through your spirit man. Focus inside of you.

Ephesians 1:17 NKJV

…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him…

— Look through your inner eyes and heart.
• You need to be able to discern, understand, and move in the supernatural realm.

SUPERNATURAL: out of the natural realm; not according to your strength; mind-boggling
• “supra” means “above”: moving to another level
• This is the realm where without the power of God, there would be absolutely nothing happening.

A supernatural turnaround is a divine encounter where God reverses my circumstances, turns around the negative into positive and shifts my thoughts and life toward a new direction.
• What you think is a hurt turns into a God appointment when you see things through the supernatural.
• God works things through His will, not our will.

How does God turn good things out of big messes?
• Literally what happens in a supernatural turnaround is that you start leaning into a new direction that you wouldn’t have if it were up to you.

A supernatural turnaround is when God steps into my world and changes things around.
• The footprint of God is so big that when He steps in, everything else has to move.

Are you willing to say, “Whatever course I’ve been on, send a storm, spit me out, turn me around!”? Are you ready for the vision and dreams? They don’t come without a cost. It comes with pits and prisons.

• God brought Joseph into an unexpected place.
— God can use non-Christians to be part of your destiny.

WHEN GOD MOVES INTO MY WORLD:God steps between me and the situation. God will fight the battle. Otherwise, if we’re not in the realm of the supernatural, we tend to fight our own battles.

• God’s got your battles. He’s coming in between. And not only that, but He also comes in suddenly.
— The thing about “suddenly” is that you can’t get ready for it. There’s nothing you can do to make it happen. It just happens.

• There are times when God puts together something that you could never have put together on your own.
• God interrupts circumstances.
• Divine interruption sometimes causes carnal responses. Sometimes we focus on how much we’ve worked for something to happen, when we get interrupted.

Divine interruption prepares us for divine provision. What we hold onto is not as good as what we’re gonna get. God interrupts for a reason. Let it go.
• All promises in Christ are “yes and amen”.

Isaiah 43:18-19 MSG

Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.

A turnaround attitude is important. An attitude defined who you are. It’s not an emotion or thought. It’s connected to your perspective. With the right perspective, you can have the right attitude.
• It’s a direct result of seeing things properly.
• There are things you need to let go that have defined you in the past. Forget what happened. Don’t keep going over old history.
— As long as you’re married to the past, you can’t move on to the new thing.

Who cares if you don't feel healed yet? You have been healed. Speak to your emotions. Confess that the old history is gone and that something new has arrived.
• Why can’t you see it? Because you’re looking the wrong way.
• Don’t cling to events of the past. Quit dwelling on them. They happened so long ago.

Joseph’s named his sons [You can read the story of Joseph in Genesis 37-50.]
— Manasseh: “the Lord has caused me to forget”
— Ephraim: “oubly fruitful”
— Everyone wants an Ephraim but you need a Manasseh first.

Matthew 8:14-15 MSG

By this time they were in front of Peter’s house. On entering, Jesus found Peter’s mother-in-law sick in bed, burning up with fever. He touched her hand and the fever was gone. No sooner was she up on her feet than she was fixing dinner for him.

• This needs to be you. As soon as you are healed, serve.



FRANK DAMAZIO

The Trust Factor

trustfactor

A lot of times we don’t feel like God is trustworthy. We can trust Him with anything we bring to Him.

2 Timothy 2:11-13 NIV

Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with Him, we will also live with Him; if we endure, we will also reign with Him. If we disown Him, He will also disown us; if we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.

Even in our faithless moments He’s still got us. That's just how life is.. you go through such seasons, but you shouldn’t stay in those seasons — you have to move forward! Trust defines your destiny.

When you make the big steps, He looks after the little things. • In our society, people are deemed untrustworthy. But we’re all untrustworthy, yet we’ve been trusted by God even though He knew we would mess up at times.

WHAT IS TRUST? TRUST: Reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, or surety of a person or thing; a confident expectation of something

The opposite of trust is mistrust. • If you mistrust, you will cause yourself to misstep. You have to trust right to live right.

Psalm 37:3-4 NIV

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delightin the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Proverbs 3:5 AMP

Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.

• So many times we go to God last. We need to learn to go to Him and trust Him first. • The Bible doesn’t say to figure it out. It says over and over again to trust him. • This isn’t something we arrive at. It’s a constant battle.

TRAITS OF MISTRUST: • Lack of confidence • Doubt • Impatience • Need to control • Take unhealthy control of your life — Wait and let God take control of that area of your life.

For some reason we think we know better. But God knows better. God wants us to let go so He can give us the best. • Sometimes we get mad at God as if something bad is His fault. We’re so used to relating our human relationships to our relationship with God. • We allow human failing to rob us of the amazing God dependency we can have in our lives. • People let us down, but God never will.

Replace those human experiences with God experiences by spending time in the Word.

Psalm 20:7 NIV

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

Psalm 37:3 NIV

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

Psalm 56:1-4 MSG

Take my side, God—I’m getting kicked around, stomped on every day. Not a day goes by but somebody beats me up; They make it their duty to beat me up. When I get really afraid I come to you in trust. I’m proud to praise God; fearless now, I trust in God. What can mere mortals do?

• Christians don’t know what’s available to them because they don’t know the Word of God. • Everything can be found in His book. It’ll change your life.

John 4:46-54 AMP

So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee, where He had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son was lying ill in Capernaum. Having heard that Jesus had come back from Judea into Galilee, he went away to meet Him and began to beg Him to come down and cure his son, for he was lying at the point of death. Then Jesus said to him, Unless you see signs and miracles happen, you [people] never will believe (trust, have faith) at all. The king’s officer pleaded with Him, Sir, do come down at once before my little child is dead! Jesus answered him, Go in peace; your son will live! And the man put his trust in what Jesus said and started home. But even as he was on the road going down, his servants met him and reported, saying, Your son lives! So he asked them at what time he had begun to get better. They said, Yesterday during the seventh hour (about one o’clock in the afternoon) the fever left him. Then the father knew that it was at that very hour when Jesus had said to him, Your son will live. And he and his entire household believed (adhered to, trusted in, and relied on Jesus). This is the second sign (wonderwork, miracle) that Jesus performed after He had come out of Judea into Galilee.

3 CHARACTERISTICS OF GOD IN REGARD TO TRUST:

1) YOU CAN TRUST HIS CONSISTENCY. • He’s never let anyone down and He won’t start with you. • Remember when Jesus came through Because He’ll do it again and again. He’s always true to His word.

2) YOU CAN TRUST HIS PURE AGENDA. • His only agenda is to help you. • He’s not trying to make your life miserable. • “Unless you people see signs and wonders…” Jesus was always pushing and challenging people’s beliefs. • Just by the words Jesus spoke, the boy was healed. • Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father praying for you. He’s waiting for you to pray.

John 10:10 AMP

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).

3) YOU CAN TRUST HIS SUPERNATURAL POWER. • His words are powerful. • The official remembered the exact moment Jesus said his son was healed was when he was healed. • You have the same power. • Every word that comes from the Bible is supernatural. • You have access to it. • His power is working right now in your life through the Holy Spirit.

What do you have to lose? Nothing. • God knows every situation you’re going through and has an answer for everything

Isaiah 41:13 NIV

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right handand says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

[Laura Lentz tells a story of a little girl and her dad. The dad tells her to hold his hand. The girl says, “No, you hold my hand.” He asked what the difference was. She said if she held his hand, she might let go. But if he holds her hand, she knows he won’t let go.]

• Give God full access.



LAURA LENTZ

We Are All Witnesses

weareallwitnesses

Acts 4:13-20 NKJV

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, saying, “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.” So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”

Acts 4:13-20 MSG

They couldn’t take their eyes off them—Peter and John standing there so confident, so sure of themselves! Their fascination deepened when they realized these two were laymen with no training in Scripture or formal education. They recognized them as companions of Jesus, but with the man right before them, seeing him standing there so upright—so healed!—what could they say against that? They sent them out of the room so they could work out a plan. They talked it over: “What can we do with these men? By now it’s known all over town that a miracle has occurred, and that they are behind it. There is no way we can refute that. But so that it doesn’t go any further, let’s silence them with threats so they won’t dare to use Jesus’ name ever again with anyone.” They called them back and warned them that they were on no account ever again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John spoke right back, “Whether it’s right in God’s eyes to listen to you rather than to God, you decide. As for us, there’s no question—we can’t keep quiet about what we’ve seen and heard.”

You’ve heard more and seen more than you give yourself credit for.

1) WE NEED PEOPLE WHO ARE CONFIDENT IN CHRIST. Peter and John weren’t cocky and arrogant; their confidence wasn’t in what they could do, BUT! in what Jesus could and did do.

• When you get a revelation of the power of God you will say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” • They had so much confidence because they had seen Jesus have so much success. And success breeds confidence. • We serve a God who has an impeccable track record: people lost will be found, the blind will see, unbelievers will believe, et cetera.

God has NEVER lost a match. • The guy in this story who was healed was sick for 40 years.

2) THE NAME OF JESUS IS IRRESISTIBLE. The world wants to be loud about what’s wrong and quiet on what’s right. • Be loud for Jesus. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so. Don’t be quiet about what’s right. • Our product sells so much so that the pressure is never on you, it was a finished work on the cross.

Peter and John had seen it all and heard it all: blind people see, lame people get up, dead people get up, Jesus hang out with the most notorious of sinners... • In spite of our humanity, we still get another chance. The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. He gives us grace.

• Peter denies Jesus 3 times and goes back to his old lifestyle. Jesus gives him grace. • Acts 1 – Jesus tells them that they will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on them. • Acts 2 – They’re worshipping Jesus and the Holy Spirit comes upon them. The next day, Peter preaches and 3,000 people get saved. • Acts 4 – Peter and John see a lame person outside of church and perform a miracle that heals him.

3) WHAT HAVE YOU SEEN & WHAT HAVE YOU HEARD?

Jeremiah 20:9 NKJV

Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him, Nor speak anymore in His name.” But His word was in my heart like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not.

[Chad tells a story about a friend, Pastor Jude, who he asked to pray for Chris Durso’s son when he was very sick in the hospital. Pastor Jude told Chris a story about his friend’s son who was also deathly ill and got healed by Jesus as well. Then he prayed for Chris’s son.]

The presence of God abides on the ark of the testimony. • Tell your story and other people’s story. Don’t be quiet about what you’ve seen and heard.



CHAD VEACH