SAVING CHRISTMAS

Christmas Bell, Believe

Opening Scriptures:

Gal. 4:4-5 NKJV  “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”

Mat 1:23-25 NKJV  “”Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.”

This year as I think about Christmas, I realize that Christmas is meant to help us reset, and refocus on what is really important. I feel like every year I need to go back and think about what the real meaning of Christmas is, and I invariably reach the same conclusion, that Christmas is about people, about relationships, about family, and about love.

These are the same things that Jesus Christ came to bring to us 2,000 years ago. He came because of His love for people, for relationships, for family, a for love.

Somehow we must open our hearts this Christmas to the seemingly magical experience of His love, and become like little children again.

We all of us, young and old, must come back to our faith in what Christmas means.

Some of us quit believing in Santa when we grew up. After all, we reasoned as adults, how in the world can this jolly big guy visit every home in the world in one night, from a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer plus Rudolph, slide down ever chimney, eat all those cookies, drink all that milk, and deliver all of those gifts to the exactly as requested.

Somewhere I have a letter I sent to Santa that my parents saved. It has my wish list, and I was quick to tell him I had been a nice little boy.

Isn’t it amazing that not only do we grow up in rational thinking and begin losing our faith in Santa, if we aren’t careful we also begin losing our faith in other mystical and supernatural beliefs, like God sending His Son as a love-gift to this world of lost humanity.

In the outstanding animated movie The Polar Express, by Tom Hanks, the story tells us of a little boy that is losing his faith in Christmas.

ThePolarExpress03F1024612201425946

A doubting boy boards a magical train on Christmas Eve, which is headed for the North Pole. Adventure after adventure befall him and a little girl who becomes his friend as they are guided along by the conductor.

As the train ascends a particularly steep hill, the threesome is climbing from the top of the engine down into the coal car. The conductor is telling them to watch for ice when the boy slips. The conductor grabs him just in time and swings him back on board, which reminds the conductor of his first trip on the Polar Express. As they make their way back in the train, they talk about what it really means to believe.

Conductor: Years ago, on my first Christmas Eve run, I was up on the roof making my rounds when I slipped on the ice myself. I reached out for a hand iron, but it broke off. I slid and fell. And yet, I did not fall off this train.

Girl: Someone saved you?

Conductor: Or something…

Girl: An angel.

Conductor: Maybe! (but said with the conviction of a Yes!)

Boy: Wait, wait! What did he look like? Did you see him?

Conductor: No sir. Sometimes seeing is believing.

And sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.

 

1. Saving Christmas begins by tracing the real Christmas story back a long, long time ago to its very beginning.

Christmas is is really not about Santa Claus, the North Pole, Rudolf the red nosed Reindeer, or Christmas trees, Christmas parties, Christmas gifts and etc. All of these things were added to celebrate (and sometimes commercialize) that one very holy day.

To save Christmas we must learn the real Christmas story, we have to go back a long way…

back beyond the story of Joseph and Mary and their trip to Bethlehem,

back beyond the beginning of God’s chosen people

through Abrahams faith,

back beyond the creation of man and woman in the Garden of Eden,

back to the beginning of time.

 

Gen 1:26-27 NLT “Then God said, “Let us make people in our image, to be like ourselves. They will be masters over all life–the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the livestock, wild animals, and small animals.” {27} So God created people in his own image; God patterned them after himself; male and female he created them.”

Rev 13:8 NKJV  “All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”

 

2. In the beginning God created the first two human beings, Adam and Eve, and they walked with God until the day they broke God’s commandment. When this happened, sin entered the world, and death by sin. This separated humankind from God.

Rom 5:12 NLT  “When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.”

 

3. God already had a plan of redemption in place. Jesus was the plan. Someone had to pay for our sins so we would not have to.

Rom 3:23 NLT  “For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard.”

Gal 4:4-5 NLT  “But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. {5} God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.”

 

4. Christmas is the story of the Father sending His Son to find their lost family. We often say we found God, but God wasn’t lost. We were lost and God sent Jesus to find us.

Mat 1:23 NKJV  “”Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.””

2 Cor 5:19 NKJV  “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”

 

5. The story of Saving Christmas extends beyond the trip God took to earth, and includes the trip He purchased for us to go to Heaven.

Rom. 5:10-11 NLT  “We were restored to friendship with God by the death of His Son while we were still His enemies, and we will be delivered from eternal punishment by His life.  So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God – all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us…”

 

6. How do we imitate God’s love gift of sending Jesus to earth as our Savior?

While visiting in the Philippines, you will find in Manila a garbage dump. There are tens of thousands of people making their homes there! The residents build shacks out of what other people have thrown away. They send their children out early every morning to scavenge family meals from others’ garbage. People have been born, grown up, had their families, and finished out their lives without ever venturing outside the garbage dump.

Missionaries also live in the dump—North American Christians who’ve chosen to go there to communicate the love of Jesus Christ to people who otherwise would never hear of or receive it. I’m amazed that people would leave what we have in America to go live in a garbage dump. Would you think of doing this?

But even more amazing is the fact that our Creator did.  The Son of God made that journey from heaven to earth, and He knew what He was doing. He knew where He was going. He knew what the sacrifice would be. He journeyed from heaven to earth on a mission to save the human race.

 Another Story:

Daniel was born with a degenerative heart condition. It remained in remission during his childhood. He lived a normal kid’s life filled with friends, baseball, and drama. But in his junior year of high school, he had massive heart failure. By late 1980, he had spent several months at Stanford Medical Center, waiting for a heart transplant. On December 22 the doctors sent Daniel home for Christmas, expecting him to die before they could find a heart for him. But he was immediately rushed back to the hospital because they had a heart donor, and at age 17, Daniel had a successful heart-transplant operation.

On Christmas day, his mom read Luke 2 to Daniel while he was in recovery. Then she tackled the get-well cards from people all over the country. In a card from the Midwest, she read the following:

Dear Daniel,

Even though we do not know you, my husband and I feel so close to you and your family. Our only son, Lloyd, was your heart donor. Knowing that you have his heart has made our loss so much easier to bear.

With all our love, Paul and Barbara Chambers

“I couldn’t fight the tears any longer,” Daniel wrote later. “And suddenly I knew more clearly than ever the real reason why I should be celebrating Christmas. In dying, the Chambers’s only son had given me life. In dying, God’s only Son had given life, eternal life. Now I felt like shouting out loud my thanks that Jesus Christ was born!”

—Jim Burns in Devotions on the Run

 

VIDEO – Polar Express, closing scene

 

7. Christmas doesn’t need saving. It is we who need to be saved, which is exactly why Jesus came to earth on Christmas day as God’s Christmas gift of love.

Saving Christmas isn’t about the holiday, it’s about you trusting Him again, believing Him again, and hearing as it were, the bell ring again.

Christmas Bell, Believe2

Jn 3:16-17 NKJV “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

 

GWB

PLEASING GOD, Pt 2

Facebook Notes – Your real-time comments on each point appreciated. www.facebook.com/GoRejoiceChurch

Opening Scripture:  Hebrews 11:5-6 NLT 

“It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—“he disappeared, because God took him.” For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God.

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.”

1. BEGINNINGS. We all begin the Christian life with the desire to please God. This is always the instinct of a child with its parent.

2 Cor 5:17 NLT “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

Matt 3:17 NKJV “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”

2. FAITH. To continue in a life that pleases God we must learn the ways of faith.

Heb 11:1 NLT “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”

3. OBEDIENCE. Abraham pleased God through action. His faith went beyond mental belief to an actionable belief. He obeyed God with action.

Heb 11:8 NLT “It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.

4. TRUST. In order to live a life of faith, we must choose to trust God more than we trust anything or anyone.

Heb 11:7 NLT “It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood.”

Heb 11:17 NLT “It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him.

Heb 11:29 NLT “It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground.

Heb 11:30 NLT “It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down.”

Heb 11:33-34 “By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions,34 quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.

5. DECISION. At some point we must stop giving God our excuses and start giving Him our faith. Faith is a decision. So is unbelief.

Jn 20:24-29 NLT “Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” “So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

6. If you are ready for your life to be fully pleasing to God again, understand that Christ by His Spirit will do the work in your heart, but you must give Him permission.

Heb 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

 

GWB

SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED

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Opening Scripture:

Heb 10:24-26 NKJV “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

as·sem·ble – (of people)  to gather together in one place for a common purpose.

“a crowd had assembled outside the gates”

synonyms: gathercollect, get together, congregateconvenemeetmusterrally

 

Also to fit together the separate component parts of (a machine or other object).

“a factory that assembled parts for trucks”

synonyms: constructbuildfabricatemanufactureerect, set up, put together, piece together, connect, join

 

  1. Every parent remembers a night before Christmas when “Some Assembly Was Required” because some things just don’t go together by themselves.

Bike parts need assembling

You never have to tell yourself to breath, or tell your heart to beat…these types of things are automatic. But not everything is automatic. God sometimes gives us the parts, and then asks us to do something with them. This is called partnership. God gives you the parts, but then some assembly on your part is required.

  1. When the Bible talks about “assembling ourselves together”, it is not just talking about GOING to church, it’s also talking about BEING the church.

1 Cor 12:12 NLT “The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.”

1 Cor 12:14-27 NLT “Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?

18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it.19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21 The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”

22 In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. 23 And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, 24 while the more honorable parts do not require this special care.

So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. 25 This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other.26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. 27 All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.”

 

  1. BEING the Body of Christ is not about everyone doing everything – but everyone doing THEIR thing…that which Christ has called, gifted, and anointed you to do.

Eph 4:16 NLT “ He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”

 

  1. Are you doing what Christ has called, gifted, and anointed you to do? Remember, some assembly is required. Here are some steps to assembly:

A. Read the instructions. Study to show yourself approved unto God.

B. Follow the instructions. Be a doer, not a hearer only. Put God’s Word first in your life.

C. Adjust your schedule according to the instructions. Set priorities. Seek first the Kingdom of God.

Priorities are not what we wish they were, they are what we actually do. We must be intentional about shifting things around to include what is truly important. Adding new things always means subtracting old things. Make the most of the opportunities your church makes available for assembly.

If you can’t go on Sunday, don’t stay home on a “Tuesday” night or any day or night when you can assemble. Take advantage of the opportunities your church offers you. Show up to grow up.

D. Don’t live under condemnation. Repent and receive forgiveness when you fail. Then ask a trusted friend to help you try again.

E. If you have never asked Jesus Christ to be the Lord of your life, then this is the first step. John 3:16

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF – SABBATH REST

sabbath1

Hey pastors and ministry leaders, take care of yourself!!!

The demands of ministry can be draining, so you must refuel. Stress in leadership can ruin your ministry. A stressed minister does not reveal who you really are. But a joyful minister means a joyful ministry.

As my mentor Rev. Rose Gillespie always told me, we minister what we are, not just what we say.

The Sabbath principle teaches us to give six days of hard work every week, but every seventh day is to be a day of rest. Jesus said the Sabbath was made for mankind, not mankind for the Sabbath. This means it’s to our advantage to have a Sabbath rest every week. (Ex 20:8-11)

The word “rest” means to cease or unplug from your regular labor…what you do the other six days of the week. This is so you can refresh and renew your relationship with God. Just having a “day off” is not enough. It’s about hitting the reset button on your relationship with God.

This is why being faithful to worship with your local church on Sunday is so important. Attending church services is one of our reset buttons. But for a minister, Sundays are often not a day we cease from our regular labor. Your “Sabbath” may be another day of the week.

Whenever you “rest”, realize this may mean “fasting” your cell phone, lap top, and social media. Yep, My wife reminds me of this one. 

This may include starting a new book, visiting a friend (not in your ministry), taking a nice ride on a motorcycle (a personal favorite), finishing a household project, a hobby, or sitting in your backyard listening to the wind blow through the trees. Just you and Jesus hanging out, and saying no to the impulse to plunge back into ministry responsibilities. (I am doing better at this, but it does take practice.)

And it may mean getting a little more, well, rest. Sleep in, take a nap. Some people really need to catch up on sleep. A recent study I read said that people who get 8 hours daily live longer than those who only get 6 or 7. Hmmm.

But take time for just you and God, to worship Him sincerely, to wonder at His Word, and to contemplate your place in the cosmos.

I get fresh perspective every time I do this, and I didn’t have to take a vacation to Hawaii (although that would be nice too). What I am saying is that renewal is within everyone’s reach. It just takes doing what Mary did – chosing that which is to your advantage. (Lk 10:38-42 AMP)

You work hard in the ministry serving others. Don’t let it burn you out. Jesus had his disciples come apart before they came apart, and so should you. Remember that His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. (Matt 11:28-30)

The law of diminishing returns catches up to every one of us when we don’t take time for ourselves. It’s not a selfish thing to do. As a matter of fact, it is one of the most sincerely loving things you can give your church or ministry… a refreshed you.

So stop beating yourself up every time you think about doing this. It may be God talking to you.

Give your brain a break. Give your emotions a break. Give your body a break. Take care of yourself as God intends. Remember that a dull ax requires more work. (Ecc 10:10) Keep your edge by taking care of yourself. You will like yourself more, and so will others.

All for Jesus, George W Black

ONE THING IS NEEDED

ONE THING IS NEEDED

Opening Scripture:

Lk 10:38-42 NKJV “Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me. 41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

 

1. If you are a leader you must be led. If you are a feeder, you must be fed.

Pastors, ministers, worship leaders, and all church/ministry leaders exert an enormous amount of mental and emotional energy leading and feeding others. Take time to refuel every day through personal devotions just for you. This is different from preparing to minister to or lead others. We need “me time” that nourishes and strengthens us personally. Jesus told Martha that “one thing is needful.”

“The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.” Luke 10:41-42 Message Translation

The Amplified translation says “Mary has chosen the good portion [that which is to her advantage]…”

 We make this choice every day…to be a Mary who chooses what is needful and to our advantage, or a Martha who neglects what is needful.

 

2. It’s not about chosing between “sitting” like Mary, or “serving” like Martha. God needs us to do both.

But all serving must be preceeded by sitting. We must get our direction from God by waiting on Him, before we try to serve Him.

Don’t get caught up in the work of the Lord before you get caught up in the Lord of the work.

God doesn’t need us to work for Him. He wants us to partner with Him by hearing His heart and getting in the “yoke” of divine fellowship. When we do, His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

When we are stressed, overwhelmed, drained, running on fumes, and generally miserable, we need to make better choices, and it begins with putting Jesus first in our life before anything else.

Matt 6:31-34 NLT “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

 

3. Remember that Christianity is about a relationship with God, not trying harder on our own.

Jesus is the secret to EVERYTHING! We can’t live a Spirit-filled life without spending personal time with God. He is our life, and the One who empowers us to be overcomers.

Song of Solomon 2:10-13 NLT

“My lover said to me,
“Rise up, my darling!
Come away with me, my fair one!
11 Look, the winter is past,
and the rains are over and gone.
12 The flowers are springing up,
the season of singing birds has come,
and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air.
13 The fig trees are forming young fruit,
and the fragrant grapevines are blossoming.
Rise up, my darling!
Come away with me, my fair one!”

 

4. Make a quality decision to seek Him first in His Word and prayer today, and everyday, and watch God fill your spiritual tank and restore your life to one of joy and victory.

Choosing that which is to your advantage is the answer.

Matt 11:28-30 “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Martha or Mary…God loves them both, but which will we be today? Which will I be today? It’s not too late to start again. Let’s choose to be both a Mary and a Martha, but in the right order, with the right priorities, and God will bless us and help us to glorify Him with our lives, which is what we are created for. God bless.

GWB

GOD’S RELAUNCH PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE, Pt. 4

ARE YOU READY FOR JESUS 2ND COMING?

Opening Scripture:

1 Thess 4:15-17 NIV  “According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

 

1. God’s Relaunch Plan for your life includes getting you ready for the second coming of Christ when God takes His obedient children home, and finishes His work on earth.

 

2. The 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ has two parts:

  • the secret coming (rapture) when Jesus returns for His church,
  • and the public coming when He returns with His church to defeat the antichrist, overthrow evil, and establish His millennial reign.

A. The secret second coming is not to the surface of the earth, but only in the air.

1 Thess 5:2 NKJV “For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.”

1 Thess 4:17 NIV “After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.”

“Air” – “Aer” Greek ἀήρ – air, atmosphere

This first coming is often called the “rapture” of the church, a term in English that describes the Greek word used for this event called “harpazo”.

“Caught Up” – “harpazō” Greek ἁρπάζω – to snatch away, take away by force, to catch, steal, carry off, to convey away suddenly, transport hastily.

The “harpazo” is the pre-wrath coming of Christ to take His church home to safety before the coming of the Great Tribulation, which is God’s judgement on the earth for its evil and wickedness. Like the Ark was for Noah’s protection, so the “harpazo” (rapture) will be for the Church.

1 Thess 5:9-10 NIV “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.”

B. The public second coming is to the surface of the earth to set up His Millennial Kingdom. Jesus will rule and reign on earth for a thousand years. Rev 19:11-16

 

3. Our Prophetic Future: Labor pangs / Rapture / 7 Seals / 7 Trumpets / 7 Bowls / 2nd Coming / Millennial Reign / Great White Throne Judgment / New Heaven & Earth

The world today is in the “labor pains” stage of the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. The future is being born just as surely as a mother with child.

1 Thess 5:3 NKJV “For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.”

 

4. How can we know we are ready for the “harpazo” (rapture) of the Second Coming of Christ, and will not be LEFT BEHIND?

Matt 25:1-13 NIV  “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 

The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ 12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ 13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”

A. Am I a virgin? Have I been cleansed in the blood of Jesus and all my sins washed away, leaving me justified – just as if I never sinned.

“the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom”

B. Do I have oil in the lamp of my life? Have I been filled with the Holy Spirit, and am I staying filled (extra oil).

“Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.”

C. Even if Jesus never comes during my lifetime, am I living my life in anticipation of His coming?

“The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’”

Heb 9:28b “To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”

 D. Am I keeping watch for His second coming and telling others about Him?

 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ 12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ 13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”

Amp  “Watch therefore [give strict attention and be cautious and active], for you know neither the day nor the hour when the Son of Man will come.”

GWB

 

 

GOD’S RELAUNCH PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE, Pt. 2

Pt. 2 of 4 – Five MORE Necessary Things For Your Relaunch

Opening Scripture: Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV  “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

 

1. God wants to do a new thing in every one of His children, and help us go on to maturity and grow up spiritually. This is what “Relaunch” is all about.

 Heb 6:1-3 NKJV  “Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, {2} of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. {3} And this we will do if God permits.”

A. Repentance from dead works – principle of separation

B. Faith toward God – principle of justification

C. Doctrine of baptisms – principle of integration

D. Laying on of hands – principle of impartation

E. Resurrection of the dead – principle of glorification

F. Eternal judgement – principle of destination

Mat 28:19-20 NKJV  “”Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, {20} “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”

 

2. A renewed commitment to obedience helps us break the hold of “gravity” and propel us to escape velocity.

 Sometimes Christ-followers get sidelined on their journey and waste precious time.

Heb 5:12-14 NLT  “You have been Christians a long time now, and you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things a beginner must learn about the Scriptures. You are like babies who drink only milk and cannot eat solid food. {13} And a person who is living on milk isn’t very far along in the Christian life and doesn’t know much about doing what is right. {14} Solid food is for those who are mature, who have trained themselves to recognize the difference between right and wrong and then do what is right.”

Heb 12:1 NLT  “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.”

 

3.  Catch a vision of what can be, and you will be inspired to continue the journey God has for your life.

Rom 8:29 NKJV  “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”(2 Cor 3:17-18 NKJV)  “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. {18} But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

Gal 4:19 NKJV  “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you,”

NLT “until Christ is fully developed in your lives.”AMP “until Christ is completely and permanently formed (molded) within you”

MES “until Christ’s life becomes visible in your lives”

 

4. Understand that Relaunch is not about what will make you happy, but what will make you holy, and complete God’s purpose in your life.

Acts 14:21-22 NKJV  “And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, {22} strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.””

Rom 14:17 NKJV  “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

 

5. Our greatest need for a personal Relaunch is humility.

When we humble ourselves to those around us so that we may benefit from their gifts and experience. This relationship is called “submission” and means placing ourselves in a position to receive from the gifts and experience of others the supply we need to continue our journey.

1 Pet 5:5 NKJV  “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.””

Eph 5:18-21 NKJV  “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, {19} speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, {20} giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, {21} submitting to one another in the fear of God.”

GWB

GOD’S RELAUNCH PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE, Pt. 1

GOD’S RELAUNCH PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE

Pt. 1 of 4 – Five Necessary Things For Your Relaunch

 

Opening Scripture: Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV

1“Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.”

 

1. Father God is doing a new thing in His people today around the world, that at Rejoice we are calling “Relaunch.”

2 Cor 3:18 NKJV “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

 Matt 9:17 NKJV “Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and thewineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into newwineskins, and both are preserved.”

 

2. God’s Relaunch for your life means, no matter your past, God has a Great Big Plan for your future.

Is 43:18 NIV “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.”

Phil 3:13-14 NLT “No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

 

3. In order to receive God’s Relaunch in your life, you must take the limits off of God.

Is 43:19a NIV “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”

Mk 11:22-24 NLT “Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. 23 I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. 24 I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.”

 

4. Every Relaunch plan faces challenges, but trust God in the middle of difficult circumstances.

Is 43:19b NIV  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Jer 29:11 NLT “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

 

5. Realize that God is the source of your Relaunch – your new beginning – and that He is also the ultimate purpose for your life as well.

Rom 12:1-2 NLT “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

 

YOU ARE GOD’S TROPHY

YOU ARE GOD’S TROPHY

Opening Scripture: 1 Thess 2:19-20 LB “For what is it we live for, that gives us hope and joy and is our proud reward and crown? It is you! Yes, you will bring us much joy as we stand together before our Lord Jesus Christ when he comes back again. 20 For you are our trophy and joy.

“Trophy” –  (1) trophy is a reward for a specific achievement, and serves as recognition or evidence of merit.  (2) a cup or other decorative object awarded as a prize for a victory or success.

 

1. God gave everything He had to win you as a trophy of His grace.

Jn 3:16 NLT “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

 Rom 8:32 NKJV “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”

 

2. God’s plan for your life is better than anything you can come up with on your own.

Rom 12:1-3 “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

 

3. The Apostle Paul became a trophy of God’s grace.

1 Tim 1:12-16 NLT “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him, 13 even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. 14 Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus.

15 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. 16 But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.”

1 Tim 1:12-14 AMP “ give thanks to Him Who has granted me [the needed] strength and made me able [for this], Christ Jesus our Lord, because He has judged and counted me faithful andtrustworthy, appointing me to [this stewardship of] the ministry.

13 Though I formerly blasphemed and persecuted and was shamefully and outrageouslyand aggressively insulting [to Him], nevertheless, I obtained mercy because I had acted out of ignorance in unbelief.

14 And the grace (unmerited favor and blessing) of our Lord [actually] flowed out superabundantly and beyond measure for me, accompanied by faith and love that are [to be realized] in Christ Jesus.

15 The saying is sure and true and worthy of full and universal acceptance, that Christ Jesus (the Messiah) came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am foremost.

16 But I obtained mercy for the reason that in me, as the foremost [of sinners], Jesus Christ might show forth and display all His perfect long-suffering and patience for an example to [encourage] those who would thereafter believe on Him for [the gaining of] eternal life.”

 

4. Like Paul the apostle, you are becoming a trophy of God’s grace, to be presented to Christ when your assignment on earth is finished.

2 Cor 11:2 NKJV “For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”

 

George W Black

YOUR BREAKTHROUGH TIME HAS COME

YOUR BREAKTHROUGH TIME HAS COME

Understanding The Process

Opening Scripture:Hebrews 1:1-3 NIV  In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”

Definition of breakthrough: The act, result, or place of breaking through against resistance, as in warfare. This means there is a hindrance to overcome. God wants to change us. He wants to break us free.

  • God wants to bring you into your breakthrough on a personal level.
  • God wants to bring your church into a breakthrough on a corporate level.

 

1. God has a process for breakthrough: Promise, Problem, Principle, Purpose, Provision.

Mark 4:35-41 NLT “As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.”36 So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). 37 But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water.38 Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”39 When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!”Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40 Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”41 The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”

A. The promise – let us cross over to the other side

B. The problem – the storm arose

C. The principle – To believe the promise more than the problem.

D. The purpose – To teach them nothing can remove them from their destiny.

E. The provision – The storm stopped, and the boat was immediately at the other side.

 

2. Another Example: The Promised Land.

A. What was the promise? A land flowing with milk and honey.

B. What was the problem? There were giants in the land and walled cities

C. What was the principle? To believe God rather than your circumstances

D. Those that applied the wrong principle died in the wilderness.

E. What was the purpose? To learn obedience

F. What was the provision? To inherit all that God had for them

 

3. DON’T CAST AWAY YOUR CONFIDENCE!

Hebrews 10:35 AMPDo not, therefore, fling away your fearless confidence, for it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward.”

A. Patience is a bridge you are building between the will of God today and the promise you are reaching for in the future.

B. If you are not doing the will of God on this side, you will not receive the promise on the other.

C. Today’s obedience positions you for breakthrough tomorrow.

D. The quickest way to lose out is run out of patience during the process. This blurs our focus and gives us a fragmented vision.

 

4. What you focus on you will determine your breakthrough.

Remember that God has a Process in everything, and keep your eyes on His Promises, as He takes you through the Problem, Principle, and Purpose, and you will reach your Provision.

Hebrews 11:13 AMP “These people all died controlled and sustained by their faith, but not having received the tangible fulfillment of [God’s] promises, only having seen it and greeted it from a great distance by faith, and all the while acknowledging and confessing that they were strangers and temporary residents and exiles upon the earth.”

 

George W Black

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