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Archive for January, 2014

How You can Live Clean in a Contaminated World

Do you ever feel as if it is impossible to live in a way that is pure in the eyes of God?

What about your soul – does it ever feel lacking or getting dangerously close to empty?

Have you ever felt like God has something more for you but you just can’t seem to get there?

JOIN THE CLUB.

Our soul is so important to who we are yet it is quite possibly the easiest part of ourselves to ignore. A soul ignored is a soul that becomes neglected – a soul neglected is a soul emptying – a soul emptying has no sway over your day to day.

Starting this Sunday we are going to pay direct attention to the condition of our souls as a church. We are going to ask some tough questions and hopefully begin one of the most profitable things you will ever do – a SOUL DETOX.

What is a Soul Detox?

We talk a lot about detoxing and taking care of our bodies, what I hope to do is  talk about detoxing our soul and caring for the essence of who we actually are. The inspiration for this series, along with scripture, is from the book of the same title written by Craig Groeschel. During these next four weeks we are going to cover some different topics of the soul. See if any of these apply to you:

  • The Heavy Soul. So many of us on the outside are smiling but inwardly we are very, very heavy. I wonder if you’ve realized yet that it’s TOO HEAVY for you?
  • We are also going to talk about The Tortured Soul. Through the years I have known people who could be described no other way than that of having a tortured soul. My heart is burdened for the pain they feel. I pray this message will help some of them.
  • On the final week We are going to look at The Seduced Soul.
We will begin this Sunday by talking about having a Restless Soul. This is a powerful message that will set the course for the rest of this series. No kidding, Jesus can use these next four weeks to change your life. I would challenge you to let Him. Invite a friend – you know lots of people who need this as much as you do.

The BIGGEST Difference Maker = YOU

It’s relationships that make the difference… Intentional relationships change people’s eternity.

Years ago as I was studying for a message on the subject of personal responsibility to reach people with the Gospel I discovered an interesting concept – the thought of a person’s individual spiritual world. Now I know that I’m not the 1st to think this way but at the time I had not ever seen anyone teach about this. Here’s what I mean:

Every believer in Jesus has a “world”. Within that world are the people whom God has placed in their life that they have influence over. Relatives, work associates, close friends and acquaintances would all be a part of your “world” – anyone you have any influence over.

I don’t believe any 2 people have the same “world”. For example: Keyna and I have been married for 22 years and as you might imagine our worlds are connected and intersect often. However, our worlds, no matter how connected are not the same – there are people in Keyna’s life that she has influence over that I don’t and likewise on my side. Our worlds may be similar but they aren’t the same.

There are people that God has placed in your world that He intends you to influence towards and share the Gospel of Jesus.

We gave out this worksheet before Sunday’s message, but if you missed it you can download it. We told Vertical that this is your homework. This worksheet will help you to put together a list of the people in your world who aren’t connected to the local church thus giving you a group that you can begin to pray for. The groups consist of your relatives and close friends. Then we bring in our work acquaintances and then acquaintances. The sum total of all of these put together = YOUR WORLD. We did this exercise one evening with Vertical Church leadership and there were immediately over 400 people on the list!!! Imagine if you were able to reach just one of the people/couples from each of these groups – how exciting would that be?

How can we be intentional about leading people to become passionate about Jesus?

  • Pray that God would illuminate people and show you who He wants you to invest in.  “Father, help me see people like you see people, let me have a true passion about their soul.”

  • Begin to pray specifically for the person/people He shows you.

  • Be intentional about building your relationship with them – not for the purpose of getting them in church or saved, but because you truly have compassion for that person.

Remember,  It’s relationships that make the difference… Intentional relationships change people’s eternity. Who are you intentionally praying for to meet your Savior? 

YOU + WHO? The NEXT move belongs to you.

The Follow Fast – Day Five

[14] And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. [15] And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. (Luke 4:14-15 ESV)

Today’s the day

Today’s the day – tonight you will exit fast and enjoy that which you have missed over these 5 days. As you leave your time of fast it is important to take an account of where you’ve been and what you are to do.

After His 40 day fast in the desert, Jesus went back to Galilee filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and driven by the mission that the Father had given Him to do. For you and I to accomplish that which God had called us to it is very important that we too are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, which will work through and in, us. The Father knows that life is challenging and doesn’t expect you to go through life without the power to accomplish all that He has for us to do:

[15] “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. [16] And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, [17] even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.(John 14:15-17 ESV)

[13] When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. [14] He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
(John 16:13-14 ESV)

Prayer and fasting helps us get to the place where, though we are weak from an absence of food, we get strong from His power which is filling us up. We are being prepared by God in fasting for what is ahead. Though you and I don’t know what we may face we can be aware that God does and He is always faithful. One thing is for sure,

…“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” [6] So we can confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”
(Hebrews 13:5-6 ESV)

Today as you worship let the Lord know that you will not go into your future without His power and that you want all that He has for your life.

The Follow Fast – Day Four

But I need something  more ! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t  do  it. I decide to do good, but I don’t  really  do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. (Romans 7:17-20 Msg)

Inside us there is a war happening. You WANT to follow Jesus to do the right thing, the right choices, yet we find that we lack power and fail. The good news is that you DO have the power – but it’s not yours. Thankfully we don’t have to win these battles in our own strength.

You don’t have to be defeated by your sinful nature only to do the things that we know we shouldn’t. The key is giving into God, yielding to Him and relying on the strength of the Holy Spirit within us, not our own strength. When God saves us and we are born again, the Holy Spirit lives in us and puts within us the desire to please God. The Holy Spirit within you ALWAYS wants to do the right thing. The Spirit within you desires to do God’s will in you. It is our job to allow Him to. In prayer we lay down our desires and allow God to have His way in us and in that moment the Holy Spirit will be there for us in our time of need.

Instead of trusting our own strength, let us learn to yield to God and become reliant on the power of the Holy Spirit Who lives within us.

What part of your life is causing struggle? Make the decision, right now, to allow the Holy Spirit to lead you as you rely on His strength instead of your own to overcome your greatest challenges. I dare you to surrender those areas to God believing in faith that He will be with you and be your Helper.

The Follow Fast – Day Three

A lot of times people misunderstand fasting by believing that when we fast God will hear our prayers and do what WE want. Fasting and prayer is not Holy Spirit manipulation forcing God to do what you want because you give up some food and other important things.

We do not pray and fast to change God – fasting and prayer changes us.

It’s like Jesus said to the father who’s son was demon possessed. The disciples tried to cast out the demon but it didn’t work:

[23] And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” [24] Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” …[28] And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” [29] And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” (Mark 9:22-29 ESV)

When we do fast it helps us to get in line with God and as such often times overcomes our doubts. One of the greatest things about fasting and prayer is that the greatest thing that is overcome is our unbelief. When we believe in faith that we can pray to God and know that “nothing is impossible” it brings glory to God. So as you pray you need to ask the Lord to strengthen your belief and overcome your unbelief.

What is it that you need more faith to believe God to do in your life? During this time of fasting lay down your unbelief before the Lord. And today as you pray do so knowing that NOTHING is impossible for God, and He is working in you.