Archive for March, 2012

From JO’s sermon tonight:

we all know people that used to be strong in their faith, but somewhere along the way they fell off-course;  now they feel guilty and condemned, like they don’t really belong.  the book of James talks about how we have to go after the prodigals, the people who have fallen away:

James 5:19-20 (NIV)

19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

God is counting on you to go get that person.  we have a responsibility to bring these people back.  you don’t have to tell them what they’re doing wrong, don’t condemn them, just tell them 3 simple things:  we miss you, we need you, we love you.  love heals, love restores;  when people know that you care, that’s what brings prodigals back home.

we can’t help everyone, but we can help someone;  God puts people in our path on purpose;  all they need is to hear you say we miss you, we need you, we love you. when people know you care it lights a new fire on the inside;  the closest thing to the heart of God is helping hurting people.  when you take an interest in someone that’s fallen away, that’s struggling, that’s lost their sense of purpose, God will take an interest in you.  He will make sure that you are well taken care of.

the most important thing in life is helping other people;  Jesus said that if a person causes someone to fall away from the faith, it would be better for that person that caused it to have never born;  when you restore the fallen, when you go after the prodigals, and help get them back on the right path, there is nothing more pleasing to God;  when you reach out to one of His children, and get them back on course,  there’s nothing that God won’t do for you

we have an assignment;  we have to leave the 99 and go after the 1 lost sheep;  you’ve got to be willing to be inconvenienced, to make sacrifices;  you ARE the church;  God is counting on you to bring that sheep back into the fold.  God is counting on each one of us to watch after our own flock

when people know that they’re missed, needed, appreciated, it makes what they’re going through much easier;  they are your business, we have a responsibility to help bring back the people that have fallen away;  at the right time your message will go through.  right now the soil of their heart may be hard and rocky, they won’t listen to you;  the seed you are planting is alive and it will never die, you keep planting those seeds and at some point God will change the condition of their heart and the seeds you have planted will take root and come to life

you’re never wasting time going after a prodigal; the seeds are going in

Matthew 9:12 (NIV)

On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.

make an effort to bring somebody back into the fold

Galatians 6:1

If anyone falls away, you who are mature are to gently restore them.

(Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.)

don’t have a holier than thou attitude;  we’re not supposed to condemn people, belittle people, make a spectacle of them, that’s going to drive them further away;  say “I know you’ve had some setbacks, but God’s mercy is bigger than any mistake;  God wants to give you a new beginning, why don’t you come back home, it’s not the same without you”; that’s what going to draw people back

Romans 2:4 (KJV)

Or despise you the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

today many people have the wrong concept of God; they’ve made mistakes, they’ve gone astray and now they think that God is mad at them, God has a ball bat up in heaven just waiting to push them down further; they live guilty, condemned, feeling wrong on the inside.  the last place they want to go is to church, they think they’ll even feel worse.  they’ve heard all about the judgment of God;  they haven’t heard much about the goodness of God.  in the Old Testament God did get angry with people at certain times, but we live under the New Testament; because of what Jesus has done, God is not mad at us anymore

when you reach out to a prodigal almighty God goes to work;  God begins to deal with the person;  in the natural it may look like they’re never going to change;  they’re so far off, they’re not receptive, I’d be wasting my time.  no, God knows how to soften the soil;  you don’t have to condemn them, love is what never fails.  just sow the seed, we miss you, we need you, we love you, let God do  the work

our job is not to convict people, our job is to sow the seed

the word gospel is literally translated “good news”;  our message is you may have made mistakes but the good news is God has mercy, you may have fallen off course but the good news is God is waiting with open arms to receive you back;  you may have had a setback but the good news is God can turn it into a setup to do something greater

when you go after the prodigals, remember, it’s good news;  don’t be angry, harsh, judgmental, condemning, have a smile on your face, be kind, loving, forgiving, merciful, you’re sharing good news

it’s amazing what happens when people know they’re needed, they’re missed;  when people know you care it breathes new hope back into their spirit

God will use your act of love to ignite something new on the inside

if you’ll make it your business to take care of God’s children, God will make it his business to take care of you and your children; as you help others stay on the right course, God will make sure  you and your family fulfill your destiny, you will become everything God’s created you to be

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The one envelope I had from my father to my mother from back when they were young lovers calling each other pet names had mysteriously disappeared from a sealed box.  The big box of such things that had been at my mother’s house had disappeared as well.  I kept freaking out and losing sleep over it, so I went out there today to look for the box.  There was no sign of it.  There was a big bag in the garage filled with 20 years of saved plastic bags, and I followed my instinct and dug through it.  In the midst of the hundreds of bags I inexplicably found ONE greeting card envelope….  with my father’s pet name for my mother on it.

God is with me every moment, and He has no end of miracles for me.

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(1 AM)

From JO’s sermon tonight:

very often we can see potential in other people that they can’t see in themselves.  when you speak vision into them, when you tell them what they can become, you can help set the direction for their life.  our words have the power to push people into their divine destiny.  the reason some people are not living at their full potential is because nobody has ever spoken faith into them

one of our assignments in life is to call out people’s seeds of greatness;  see what they’re good at, then speak vision into them, don’t just think about it, tell them what they can become;  one word of encouragement can be what ignites the greatness on the  inside; when they know you believe in them they’ll rise up with a new confidence, they’ll believe in themselves in a greater way

there are people in your life right now waiting for your blessing, waiting for your encouragement;  God has given you the ability to see what they cannot see in themselves;  take time to speak vision, tell them what they can become

we all need somebody to believe in us more than we believe in ourselves;  if you’ll be that person for somebody else God will make sure that somebody will be it for you

your words have creative power;  when you speak vision that can be the seed God uses to thrust them to a new level

the most rewarding way to live is to ask “how can I be a blessing”;  be on the lookout to be a blessing

God is saying go further, dream bigger

long before you ever got here, before the world ever existed…   (predestination again;  I still really hesitate over this concept)

people rise to the level of our expectations

Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

people are already beaten down enough by life, they already feel badly enough about themselves, you don’t have to condemn them, the Enemy is doing it, he’s called the accuser of the brethren, don’t get on his side, stay on God’s side, focus on what they’re doing right, help them to figure out what they’re good at and then call out those seeds of greatness

everybody needs somebody to believe in them

with our words we can help set the direction of a person’s life

most people will not reach their full potential without somebody believing in them;  God is counting on us to call out their seeds of greatness;  the seed you sow will come back to you, God will make sure you rise to a new level

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(1 AM)

From JO’s sermon tonight:

before you were born, God knew you and planned out all your days (NB:  this would mean predestination, in which I absolutely do not believe;  God gives us free will for the most part).

John 15:16 (NIV)

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

God will never ask you for something without first putting it in you.

Romans 11:29 (NIV)

for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable

your destiny is not cancelled because of a mistake or a failure;  God will still get you to where He wants you to be, He’ll bring another opportunity across your path, you can still become all God’s created you to be

You will face your greatest attacks when you’re about to give birth to the dreams God places in your heart; the Enemy waits until you’re close to the promotion, until you’re close to the breakthrough, just when you’re about to step into a new level, don’t be surprised if you face opposition, you go through a disappointment, a friend you were counting on is not there, it’s taking longer than you thought, that simply means that you’re about to give birth to what God has placed in your heart.

your destiny cannot be stopped by a bad break, by disappointments, by opposition, by people;  God has the final say.

What God has promised you He will bring to pass;  you may not see a way, but God has a way.  if you’ll be the best that you can be right where you are, God will get you to where He wants you to be.

you’re going to become everything God’s created you to be, and you’re going to have everything God intended for you to have.

What’s interesting is that once again JO has touched on an issue that is looming large in my life;  the wonderful setup for a friend’s kid to move into my mother’s house and start me getting some income fell through at the last minute, and because one of the kids who would have moved in with him did something crappy…  which does kinda look like “Enemy influence,” although the jury is still out on that one.  I don’t see the way to the happy ending, but my faith that God will bring me there is undimmed.

Also interesting was what I saw when I turned off the tape of the sermon to take a break;  it was the guy who’s on after JO apparently conducting a sermon with his wife, who was saying that great sex is about letting God handle it.  Good to know when the time comes.

And:  JO made reference to

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.

Having looked it up, I had the urge to checkout some subsequent lines, which led me to:

2 Timothy 1:9 (NIV)

who has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time

In the sidebar as a cross reference was this one:

Romans 8:29 (NIV)

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

which is one of the quotes pointed out as showing that the Bible says that we have predestination, NOT free will.


In my last email to a friend, I asked him if he wanted to discuss…  guess what.

And on a totally unrelated note;  there were several important items that we need that we knew were somewhere in the many boxes we have stored up.  I had the inexplicable urge to look in one specific box today…  and ALL the items were in there together.  Amazing…

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From JO’s sermon tonight:

the pictures you allow in your mind will determine what kind of life you live;  if your vision is limited your life will be limited

God asks 7 times in the scripture “what do you see?”;  God is interested in our vision

before your dream comes to pass, you have to see yourself accomplishing that dream, you’ve got to get a picture of it;  when you see yourself accomplishing your dreams, all these unseen forces move in your direction

there will be times when it seems that your dream isn’t going to come to pass;  go back to the picture God gave you.  God is saying to us “if you can see it I will do it,” “if you’ll get a vision for it I’ll bring it to pass”

life may not be fair but God IS fair

God’s plan was not cancelled because of a disappointment or an unfair situation…  or even because of a mistake you made.  if you’ll get a new vision, instead being a setback God will turn it into a set up to do something better

your life is going to follow your vision;  if you have a small vision you’re going to have a small life, but if you’ll let the seeds of greatness that God’s planting on the inside take root, if you’ll have a big vision, God will take you places you never thought possible

you don’t have to figure out how it’s going to happen, all you’ve got to do is believe;  one touch of God’s favor can bring any dream to pass

there should be something you’re dreaming about that’s too big for you to accomplish on your own;  have a big vision, that’s your faith being released.  God’s dream for your life is so much bigger, so much more rewarding than you can imagine

you may be in a place that doesn’t seem very good;  what you see on the outside doesn’t match what God has put on the inside. don’t sit around in self-pity, depressed, discouraged, go out and find someplace you can dream;  find someplace that inspires you, someplace where your faith will be elevated.  if you’re going to enlarge your vision you have to get out of a limited environment, put yourself somewhere bigger than you are right now

Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)

18 Where there is no vision, the people perish

if you’re going to enlarge your vision you need to get around other dreamers, get around people that are going places, people that inspire you to rise higher.  God brings people into our life to help expand our vision.  be inspired; the right attitude is, “God, if you did it for them, you can do it for me.”  your vision is going to be greatly impacted by who you choose to associate with.

what you see will become a reality

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