fbpx

Sunday Sermon Reflections

Because Sunday is the starting line, not the finish line.
Watch past sermons

February 28, 2021 | Agape, part 4

Sermon by Pastor Travis Hall, Reflections by Carlie Watt

Focus on Jesus. He is good and you are loved.
No, really. God is eternally good and you are unconditionally loved. Moments and times have nothing to do with God’s love for you. He has not deserted you, He loves you, and He is forever with you.

 

Pastor Tina’s Words of Practical Wisdom 

The battle or the struggle you are going through is not an indicator of God’s love. He uses every moment for us. Even through our Christian Journey, we go through battles. God is with us and uses it for us.

Eph

Pastor Tina encouraged us to be supernaturally infused with strength. We can stand victorious with the force of His explosive power, in and through us.
If we embrace His power, we are able to receive His deliverance. When we walk with Holy Spirit, we walk with the same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead!

Then she gave an example that if you visualize it, it might help you understand this concept a little bit more. The Bible says that if we put on the Helmet of Salvation, our mind is protected by the Word of God and that Salvation is a helmet to protect your thought from the lies of the enemy. It’s not too late!!! The enemy is relentless in his attacks, but when we have the Word of God in our hearts, it is easier for us to Speak truth. Jesus fought the devil in the wilderness with the Word and we need to do the same thing.

Declare the Word of God.
It really Is that simple. When the enemy attacks your thoughts, we need to respond that “I am more than a conqueror, I am victorious, I am the righteousness of Christ.” The strongest counterattack is the Word of God that overcomes every lie the enemy throws at us.

Message Prelude:
Pastor Travis

Did you know that you can survive but it is hard to thrive without small groups? It is there that you grow, when you can talk out and process, and laugh, and question, and pull from one another’s strengths and knowledge… In your Life Group you should be able to question and get help to stand against the attacks of the relentless enemy.

We all will face a time when we hear whispered into our ear, “Did God really say?”
The enemy still presents that thought to us. It’s the same tactic as the one he used thousands of years ago when he addressed Eve in the garden.

Pastor Travis used an illustration about seeds to explain about a harvest.
When you plant a seed, you will receive a harvest. Cause and effect.
Farmers plant seeds and say – “I will reap a harvest that is greater than the seed.” The explanation is a simple math problem. An apple seed = an apple tree. One apple tree = many apples. Each apple having many seeds will produce many more trees with many more apples. Are you beginning to see the cycle?

Jesus came in an agricultural time in history. He used what the people around Him understood to illustrate Heavenly principals. We can understand a harvest through the illustration of the apple tree, but what does that have to do with People?

The Harvest is not things … The Harvest is souls.
The #1 purpose of the church is to bring souls to a flourishing relationship with Jesus Christ. And this is not only for the House of God, but this should also be a goal in your own home. Are you treating each other with the love that would show Christ to your family and your friends?

 

 

Tithes and Offerings
Why am I including this for this post? Well, many people in the church are afraid to talk about money. Everyone is fine as long as the message is about what God does for Me, but when the moment the offering is spoken of, many find that the most convenient time to get up and go to the restroom, or they roll their eyes, and think of this as a necessary evil. The tithe is not evil. It is a biblical principal. Did you know that the tithe is a commandment that comes with a blessing? It is also a time where God challenges us to test Him. Really!

Genesis 26:12-13
Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the Lord blessed him. And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great:

Isaac is in the middle of famine. When there is no water it is hard for seeds to grow. Isaac sowed seeds anyways, and he received a large harvest. How is that possible? Because the Lord blessed Him.

The problem is churches have Hypersensitive to use the word offering, because of there are those who have abused the word.
Isaac sowed and he got a 100 fold return. The Bible says that he became really rich. The blessing of God was on him.

Biblical principal of farming.
There was a farmer in field on knees weeping. He spent time doing what he did and the field was empty. There was no harvest to be found. Nothing grew that season.
His wife said, “I don’t get it. Was something wrong with the seeds?”
The farmer turned questioning, “What seed? I just prayed.”
There are consequences, if we don’t sow. He did not sow any seeds, he just prayed to God for the harvest. He skipped his part of the promise and expected something from God instead.  Now, don’t get fooled, God still loved the farmer, and God will still love you. God will love you in the middle of an empty field. There are consequences for our actions, or lack of. If I don’t sow the seeds that I have, keeping them for myself, or saving them for later, all I will have is seeds, without a harvest. Even when there is no rain, like He did with Isaac, God supernaturally blesses what you have sown. Your seed is blessed. It multiplies when it is sown. It reproduces in the soil.

Here is the soil you are planting into when you give an offering in this church. Hungry people are being fed and needs are being met. 2020 has been rough, and 2021 isn’t starting off with an economic bang either. What we are encouraged is to Don’t stop sowing. Yes, there’s a famine. But there is a principal where when we sow we will reap. When we hold back our tithes, we are holding back the harvest.

Money is not evil. The love of money is.
We can do more for the kingdom, if we have more resources. You can send missionaries, feed people, help people.

What happens if we don’t? God will not curse you if you don’t. He will love you.
He gave man the ability of creativity and wisdom to produce wealth.

Deuteronomy

Jesus tells His followers a parable of a master who was leaving his house to travel, and, before leaving he entrusted his property to his servants. Each servant was given a different amount and each servant did something different with the money. One buried it and returned the same amount of money to the master as he was given, another earned some extra money with his, and a third earned a lot with his. On the master’s return, he scolded the one who buried his talents and praised the one who made a large return. (Mathew 25:12-30) God wants us to trust Him, and to sow what He has entrusted us with. The good servant multiplied what this master gave him.
When we talk about tithes and offerings in church, the pastor is not using the Word, he’s submitting to it.
Right now, many of us are living in a form of famine. For Isaac, was there rain? Nope. But God still blessed him. I encourage you to trust Him during this time. Test Him and see if He is good.

Main Message
Love according to a parable. The Good Samaritan.
Luke 10:25-37
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” He replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’, and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

What you need to do is to pay close attention to the original question. “What must I DO to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus answers the law question with another law question. “What does the law say, and how do you read it?”
The expert answer correctly. Jesus agrees. “Do this and you will live.”
Here, the expert tries to justify his actions by asking, “Who is my neighbor?” See, the expert in the law wanted to be able to be kind to those who he chose to be kind to. We can often choose our neighbors by choosing to live in certain places. The expert would most likely live by and surround himself with other people who are like him.
The man who was attacked by robbers was half dead. Who is the one who went to help him?
The expert replied, the one who had Mercy on him.
Jesus tells him to “Go and do likewise.”
God, help us today to understand love. – Amen.

Agape love in Action.
At that time, the Law of Moses was still the law of the land and this expert came to trap Jesus into contradicting the law. He was trying to trap the author with his own work. Jesus wrote the law, and the Bible says He didn’t come to do away with it, He came to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17).

What must I DO? This question summarizes the old testament, (To be good enough in the sight of God.)
The answer is simple: Love God, Love your neighbor. Go and do that – and you will live. The rest of the old testament is pointing out that we cannot do it.
That seems a little steep doesn’t it, God? Believe this; God will tell us to do what we do not have the ability to do. For instance, you can’t love God right without God’s help.

Love your neighbor, love your God, Love yourself. Honestly, have you ever been able to do all this at the same time on the same day?
It took the expert in the Law all of 3 seconds to look for a loophole. “Really Jesus, who’s my neighbor?”
He was an expert, which means that he had boiled the law down to something manageable. They had made the law into something they could keep. What Jesus was exposing to them was that they couldn’t get to God without a savior.
What Jesus was saying is that what you think you do well, you don’t do at all. You only love who you like, not who is inconvenient to like. Even my enemy, God? Yes, Even our enemy!

Masterfully, Jesus replies: Let me tell you a story.

He then proceeds to tell the story of what has become known as the Good Samaritan. In this parable Jesus teaches us three things.

  1. Religion can’t heal your wounds that were caused by religion.
    The religious men crossed the road to stay away from the beaten man. Religion cannot heal, and often won’t heal you. Only grace can do that.
    Here is another visual. Picture a Self-righteousness man who is a half-dead one. He is alive on the outside while being desperately broken on the inside. This kind of man does not understand the cross.
    He has been inflicted by religion with more religion. When this occurred, his wounds did not get better, just deeper.

This is just speculation but think about this. If the priest had looked at the man’s eyes, he could have seen a reflection of himself. He was afraid to see himself as wounded, broken, and sinful. The wounded many was a reminder of own brokenness.
The priest and Levite bowed up and internally exclaimed, “I am self-righteous!”

On the contrary, we gain salvation by learning how to believe. The more we fight this internal battle of desperately needed God, and proclaiming our own self-righteousness, we will end up exactly where this man is, broken and wounded on the side of a bad road.
Robbers and bandits attacked this man. The enemy robs intimacy, abundant life, innocence, joy and good things.
Those who strive to climb religious ladders are often the ones who are half-dead. Something is still missing inside. Those who place their faith in Christ will be promoted. (Psalm 75:6)

Ephesians 2:5
Even when we were dead in sins, (Jesus) hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved:)

Those who have placed your faith in Jesus have died with Christ and have been made alive in Christ through His resurrection.

Ephesians 2:8
It is by grace you are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.

Faith by grace = saved.
Which was the neighbor? = Mercy.
Are you beginning to understand the concept?

  1. Love moves toward pain.
    Religion moved away from the hurting man. Love was drawn toward him.
    The best the priest and the Levite did was to point out, call out, walk away. In contrast, the Samaritan walked to him, bind his wounds, and take him to a safe place.

Love doesn’t move past pain. When love sees pain, it is compelled to move towards the pain.
That’s a defining separation of Religion vs. Grace. Religion says, “You’ve made your bed”, Grace says, “I laid in it for you.” God is not indifferent towards you. He is present, walking with you as you heal from pain. He was with you when it happened, as He is with you while you heal.

In the book of Genesis, God is hovering over deep, He is hovering over you now. In fact, the Bible says that He dances over you.
Zephaniah 3:16-17
In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear you not: and to Zion, Let not your hands be slack. The Lord your God in the midst of you is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over you with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over you with singing.

God doesn’t want you to run from the pain. He will allow moments in your life that annoy you to remind you that He will heal it if you just stop running. He is telling us, “I want you to trust me, and have a healthy healed perspective. Let me heal your heart.” Is it the only shovel deep enough to get to the pain? See, God loves you too much to let it go.
The temptation is for us to treat the symptom and to avoid the root.

When we treat ourselves, we usually try to take what we consider, the easy way out. We get the high of a new relationship, to help us forget the pain of the old one. Oh! Here’s one that is even worse, we chose to become more Religious. Pastor Travis says that can be an even harder addiction to break than street drugs. We tell ourselves, “I can do this, I can do it right, I can be righteous!” But the problem is, those are pie crust promises, easily made, easily broken, as Mary Poppins says.
What you need to realize is, that you Will fail. You cannot strive to become more righteous aside from having a relationship with Jesus Christ. And it is through Him that you will understand that You already ARE loved by God!

The religious leaders moved away from the hurting man because they didn’t know what to do with him. When you are hiding pain your own pain, you have nothing left to help others with.

In contrast, Jesus says, “Look at MY wounds. Look what they did to me, and I still rose. That same resurrection power, lives inside of you.” Through the love of Jesus, all of your hurts, wounds, pains, failures, even though you are wounded, you can still rise again.

Love moves toward pain. Historically, the road Jesus was talking about was a Real road, a dangerous road, because of thieves and bandits. The question is, why would the man have been traveling alone on that road to begin with? It was known to be a dangerous road! If he was on that road alone, it could be that he was on that road alone because he was in pain before he even started.

The pain in you will cause you to push away who God is bringing to you. The walls we put up to protect ourselves with, will be the same walls that keep us in a prison. They will cause us to stay out of relationship with anyone. They lie to us and remind us that “they” hurt me and convince us that that “I just want to be alone.”

Are you Married? Did you have a tiff?
When we are angry, we isolate, to self-protect. That’s not safe, it makes us an easy target for the enemy. He whispers something in our ears that sounds a lot like our own voice. Ready? Here the Dangerous whisper, “I don’t need anybody. I’m going to do it myself. I Don’t need a man/woman/ life group/ friend. I can do this on my OWN.” The truth is, we need Jesus and we need each other. WE are THE BODY. We are called to cry, laugh, fight, and rejoice, with one another. We Need each other!

The Levite and priest may have had something to do with the broken man’s situation. In his time, they were the ones who commanded self-righteousness. Perhaps he isolated so others couldn’t see that he wasn’t perfect. Just maybe, they walked away, so they wouldn’t be associated with the one they already pushed away.

Jesus = Hope.

Jesus moves toward pain.
Have you ever asked somebody, “Are you OK?” and get the response of “Yeah, I’m fine.” When you know very well that person is Not fine. You can read it all over them that something is Not fine. Have you ever asked again, “No really, how are you doing?” This time you get, “Well, I could be better.” Ahhh! Now you are cracking the surface. See, we have been isolated for so long we won’t open our heart.
Because we believe the lie that says, they will think I am not valuable, I’m not worthy, and I deserve it, I should be rejected.” Lies!!!

  1. Jesus
    Samaritan and Jewish people didn’t get along. In this parable, who was the Samaritan? Pastor Travis suggests that it was Jesus. Watch this, He is half-Jewish and half something else. He was despised and rejected by His own.

Let the Word of God speak for itself.
*John 10:8
All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers …
*Psalm 34
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
*Psalm 46
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in time of trouble.
*Isaiah 27
And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off your shoulder, and his yoke from off your neck, and the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing.
*Luke 22:19
And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
His Blood washed away all of our sins!
*Psalm 147:3
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Jesus binds up the broken hearted.
*Ephesians 2:6
And has raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
He put the man on the back of his own beast.

The Samaritan brought the man to the Inn. Jesus gave us the church.
The Samaritan took care of all the cost of getting the man well. Jesus says, “I paid for his salvation in full.” And then watch this, it’s very important, “I’m trusting you to do for him what I started. I will be back. I paid for salvation. Whatever it costs you to finish. I will pay back.”
It’s going to cost us time, emotional and the love in our hearts. Are you willing to take up that calling? Someone was willing to do it for you.

Scars.

Jesus is good to His Word. Pressed down, shaken together, running over. He said, “Bring this man to completion.” Sure, the bandages will be there a little while. Love covers like those bandages. Jesus promises, “I will protect where you’ve been hurt. There might be a scar – but they will be your testimony!”
Thomas touched Jesus’s side. There will be a time when someone can touch the evidence of an old wound that Jesus has healed, and it will not hurt. What you have been protecting, in fear of reopening an old wound, will no longer have the power over you that it once did.

What the enemy used to take you out – God will use to lift you up. Your scar will be your platform. People do not relate to your perfection. You’ve had the same would and you have recovered. That’s encouraging to people who are still wounded.

Recap:
Oil-healing
Bind wounds – bind brokenhearted
Wine – blood
Put on beasts back, seated with Christ.

Now, You go do the same thing.
Do what?
The anointing lives in you.
New wine is in you.
What’s that? You don’t know what to do?
The one who lives in you is the healer. Go reveal Him to others.

The Bride of Christ looks like Christ.
Pain is messy.
Pain in the heart is harder to deal with than pain in your flesh. Try starting with this and begin to build relationships with others who will lift you up, instead of tear you down.

  1. You can’t heal what you are pretending doesn’t exist.
    Your pain does not determine your value.
    Satan keeps your pain in the dark. Drop Phone, break it. Less valuable.
    God thinks you are so valuable, before you put faith in Him, He put faith in you.
    You value is determined by Christ.
  2. At the cross who can be accepted?
  3. Does not hold your past against you.
    Carrying weight and guilt of shame. Embarrassed, frustrated, no worth, no value. – Hide it.
    God wants to heal you.        -Amen.

February 21, 2021 | Agape, part 3

Sermon by Pastor Travis Hall, Reflections by Carlie Watt

I like the beginning of our services over the past few weeks, as Pastor Travis has led the congregation in moments of meditation. What I mean by this is, we close our eyes, and thank God for different moments where we were able to experience His love over the previous week. Today, we were thanking God for His presence, for His Grace, Healing, Promises, His strength in our weakness, for when He picked us up when we were down, gave us that extra bit so we didn’t quit, and for His faithful love that didn’t quit.

The Apostle Paul explained it to us like this, he said, “I’ve tried to be strong, it’s a waste of time. When I am weak, He is strong.”

When I release what I am weary and tired of holding on to, as scary as it is, and give it to Him, I can see that He had a plan the whole time. See, God has been waiting for you to let your burden go so He can pick it up.
When I find myself worrying, I stop and think; have I been here before?
Yes. I’ve been discouraged. Anxious? Yes. I’ve been discouraged, disappointed, upset, faced contradiction, what I saw was not in line with what I thought I knew. Now, what we need to remember is that God is not surprised at this reaction at all. He is not surprised at the situation either. He knows the end from the beginning. He already knows what is happening and what will happen.
During this time, I need to remember the scripture, “The joy of the Lord is my strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). We can also find sister scriptures in Psalm 28:7-8, and Psalm 73:26.

 

Pastor Tina’s Words of Practical Wisdom

God’s still on plan A

 

Have you been in moments of life where you felt like Plan A left town a while ago and you were now living a Plan B, C, D, or even E?

Psalm 32:8
I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall go: I will guide you with my eye.

Have you faced discouragement this week? If it’s any consolation, if you have, you are not alone.
Pastor Tine told us how she received a text message that just took the wind right out of her sail.

But you know what? That same day she received 2 other messages that were encouraging ones!

There are times we feel like saying, “Just leave me alone. I want to stay in this moment. Let me process this.” You know, you just want to have a pouty day. Its not bad to want to process your thoughts, but it is bad if you let it stew, and keep you in a foul mood.

When Pastor Tina received the other two texts it was if Someone had come by to speak freedom over her and the grip of anger, sadness, and discouragement began to release her. The ones who sent the texts did not know what she was experiencing at the time, they were just obedient to the promptings of God and sent words to encourage her.

What she hopes to accomplish by relating to us this story is to remind somebody that you are loved.
Do not get stuck in that place of discouragement. Don’t get trapped in the false security of supporting the pouty day.

There is Power in the Word of God! He is Alpha and Omega. He is the beginning and the end. I know the end from the beginning.
Do you feel like you are in the middle? Do you feel like your plans started off with a bang, but as you walk along that path, you are to a point where you are walking through the sludge of life?
Believe this: God is good, and He will finish what was started.

Ephesians 3:16-18 TPT
And I pray that He would unveil within you the unlimited riches of his glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with his divine might and explosive power. Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside of you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life. Then you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences – the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding – this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God!

God’s Intimate love transcends understanding and fills to overflowing with the fullness of God.
Never doubt God IN You.  With this assurance You will achieve more than you expect because His love exceeds your wildest imagination. His power constantly energizes you. You are overfilled with power, overflowing with love. Walk in your calling and your purpose that He has for your life.  Amen.

 

Message Prelude:
Pastor Travis

Did you know that you can survive but it is hard to thrive without small groups? It is there that you grow, when you can talk out and process, and laugh, and question, and pull from one another’s strengths and knowledge… In your Life Group you should be able to question and get help to stand against the attacks of the relentless enemy.

We all will face a time when we hear whispered into our ear, “Did God really say?”
The enemy still presents that thought to us. It’s the same tactic as the one he used thousands of years ago when he addressed Eve in the garden.

Pastor Travis used an illustration about seeds to explain about a harvest.
When you plant a seed, you will receive a harvest. Cause and effect.
Farmers plant seeds and say – “I will reap a harvest that is greater than the seed.” The explanation is a simple math problem. An apple seed = an apple tree. One apple tree = many apples. Each apple having many seeds will produce many more trees with many more apples. Are you beginning to see the cycle?

Jesus came in an agricultural time in history. He used what the people around Him understood to illustrate Heavenly principals. We can understand a harvest through the illustration of the apple tree, but what does that have to do with People?

The Harvest is not things … The Harvest is souls.
The #1 purpose of the church is to bring souls to a flourishing relationship with Jesus Christ. And this is not only for the House of God, but this should also be a goal in your own home. Are you treating each other with the love that would show Christ to your family and your friends?


Main Message:
Agape’ Love: Love one Another
Calling out vs. Covering 

Jonathan Rush recently reconciled with his two older brothers. I am not going to butcher the video that was shown by trying to explain their story, but I do encourage you to
go the live sermon archives and watch the video. It is SOOOOO Gooooood!

Recapping what agape’ love is.
A choice. An act of will, it is not a feeling. To love even when I don’t feel like loving.
This sets the church apart.

1 Peter 4:8 NIV
Above all, love each other deeply. It covers sins. Above All.

God’s love is Unconditional. He tells us “The world will know you love because you love by the way I love you. I empower you to do this.”

Echo – It’s a Greek word – God’s love given to me, echoes through me into your life echoing back to the one who originally sent it.
Define Echo:  Are you a Believer? If you are, then Jesus lives in you. God’s Word tells us “The love I (God) give you, echoes off of you and reverberates back to me.” Back to the origin. Back to Jesus.

Peter jumps all over in Chapter 4. While studying it, Pastor had to search for a common thread. What he found that Peter is addressing relationships. Peter is addressing how we relate to each other. How are we to relate to other people? We are commanded to Love each other and to love deeply.

Practically speaking, what does that even mean? It means that we grow in faith, serve, and suffer together. We are created to live alone. Mostly, above all else, we are to love agape style. We must choose to love.

Let me try to explain what I think I was hearing Pastor say. Love covers sins. So, we are to Love even when they mess up. Their Offenses? Their Weaknesses? Even their Bad attitudes:
No, he didn’t say those things. What He specifically said is … SIN.

Even when you sin against each other. Even in those Crazy moments when they are still figuring this out. Love Deeply.

Now, what He didn’t ask us to do was to cover someone’s sin up, in hiding, or sweeping it under the rug. He is not talking about an abusive situation, someone who’ve physically hurt you, attacked you. That is a different situation altogether. So, if someone hurts you, you can’t say, “I didn’t tell because I’m supposed to cover it…”
NO! Love protects.
If you ever have a question, you can call the church to talk to a pastor who can help you through deciphering what sort of situation you are in. The church is a safe place for you. Always remember that.

Imperfection.
What does it look like when we are covering one another in our walk when we make bad decisions? Well, even then we cover each other. We go to them, and say, “I know what you’ve done, but you are not alone. Let’s walk you through this together and get out of this situation.”

1 Cor 13 is the notorious love chapter. In that chapter love is explained like being a canopy, shelter, safe place. The safest place to be imperfect, to admit I was weak this week, is the church. But it hasn’t always been. Unfortunately, the church has been the most dangerous place to be imperfect. Why? Because somewhere down the line, they believed the lie that those who are in the church are already perfect themselves. The truth is, we all need Jesus, that’s why we are here.

Historically, the women in the church have called each other out for wearing too much makeup, or for how their hair is done. If they do too much, they are too carnal. Too little? Not dressing up their best for God’s house.  Women used to get in trouble for wearing pants. Ooooo!

The truth is, we didn’t know how to love well. We made it a dangerous, deadly place. The church was not a loving place. but a condemning one. It was not forgiving but filled with shame.
Pointing to where he was standing, and motioning around the room, Pastor Travis said, “This, for the Bride, should be the safest place to admit and be healed.”

Let me let you in on a little secret. You are never going to be perfect in your humanity.
Jesus took His righteousness and gave it to you. Because of this, God sees you through the blood of Jesus. He does not focus on your shortcomings; He focuses on His son’s sacrifice.

Love covers over a multitude of sins.

This concept is so opposite to the culture we now live in. Right now, we live in a call out, cancel culture society. It points out, reveals our failures. People seem love chomp at the bits to post or to get likes and shares about revealing insider information. It’s truly sad when the more dirt you can post about someone is the catalyst to help you in becoming more liked, that is, until it happens to you.

We, the church, are to be a place of safety. The Old law calls out. The New law covers. Christians are supposed to live in a world of Kingdom culture, not cancel culture. We are supposed to portray a Loving culture, not a condemning one.

Let me give you the example Pastor Travis gave us:
Remember earlier in the series about the woman caught in the act of adultery? The Pharisees called her out. Jesus covered her.
He didn’t deny her sin. He also didn’t fill her with condemnation and shame. No, He acknowledged her sin and extended love and grace.

Here’s another example:
Matthew was a tax collector who extorted money from his fellow Jews. They hated him. Even Jesus’s disciples did too. But what did Jesus Do? He said, “Matthew, let’s have dinner.” Jesus acknowledged the failure, and then He loved anyways.
To do this is not a denial of the sin. It is providing a covering, encouraging, protecting. It’s telling the one needing covering, “While you are making decisions, I will pray for you. I am here for you. You are not alone.”

Do we want Jesus to apply our same standards we extend to others to us?
Everyone knows there is brokenness inside of them. But we don’t know if we will be loved by others when that brokenness is exposed.
Loving others when they think they deserve it the least, shows them that there is still hope that they will not be trapped in that brokenness forever. Jesus knows us and He still loves us. How about that? He transforms our life. Even when we are in blatant sin, He still chooses to love us.

What about when we aren’t in blatant sin, what happens when it is our faith that is shaken? Does he still love us then? I think of the time John the Baptist was in prison. Even he questioned Jesus if He was the one they had been waiting for. Jesus did not condemn John for his question, He sent back a message of the good things, the loving things He was doing, and let John decide for himself.

There are days when our faith is high, and days when our faith is low, and even during those times He says, “I still choose to see the very best in you.”

The need for one another. 

We are told to confess our sins one to another and we will be healed (James 5:16).
Talk to each other.  We need to have an atmosphere where we can open up and be honest with our prayer partners. Only, instead of opening up, we fear. Will they call me out, or will they cover me?

Genesis 9:20-23
Noah farmed a vineyard. He got drunk. Fell asleep uncovered. One son, Ham, saw him and told brothers. The brothers went in backwards and covered their father up. One son chose to call him out, the other two sons chose to cover him while he was still in that drunken state.

Noah made a bad decision. Ham saw him and told the other brothers. He had a decision, to cover or to call out? He chose to call out.
“Guess what guys? Dad is a mess.” Ham threw his father under the bus. Only, when the brothers heard what was happening with dad, they refused to call him out and chose to cover him instead.

Are you prepared to be a covering?
1. Be trusted.
Can you be trusted with someone else’s brokenness?
All the sons knew he messed up, but only the second two didn’t focus on their father’s brokenness. They focused on who he was to them. They didn’t need to remind him how badly he’d messed up because when you mess up, you know what ’ve gotten yourself into, and usually that will be punishment enough.
Have you ever woken up with a hangover? It’s not fun!

I need to focus on the image of God inside of you. You made a bad decision. When someone messes up, you don’t need to be reminded – Your concern is… Can I still be restored?
The answer is Yes! Because of the cross, you can!

In 1 Cor 13, God reminds us that love is a safe place of shelter. It never stops believing the best.
Failure is not defeat. The enemy tries to convince you that when you fail, you might as well give up. Just hang it up. Walk away.
Love never gives up. God always believes the best in you, and you are always provided with a way out and a way up.

Sin

We talk about behavior. We need to get to the core issue of sin = Unbelief. Bad behavior = Unbelief. Ig God who He says He is? Can He do what He says He can do? Does He love you like He claims to? Can you be forgiven?

John 16:8-9
And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me;

Holy Spirit does not condemn the world, He Convicts the world of sin because they do not believe. Conviction draws you closer to God, not push you farther away from Him.
When I stop believing, I am most tempted to stop behaving. WE treat the issue, but not the core, the root. Its like continually wiping away the cobwebs without ever killing the spider. The webs will eventually come back!

You must believe that the war is real. We have a real Enemy fires darts of doubt! When we begin to doubt who God is, we are no longer confident in who we are. If we doubt our identity, we are no longer able to fight with the boldness and confidence that we have when we know that our God is the King of Kings who already has the victory. We walk in defeat instead of power.

The curse of sin is brokenness.
If you don’t believe that Jesus is enough, you won’t believe you are enough.
On the contrary, when faith is building, right believing produces right living.
When you know you are already victorious through the resurrecting power of Jesus Christ, you are unstoppable. What are you believing about God today?

Galatians 3
But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

The law shuts up faith.

Change happens for the inside out, not the outside in.
When you focus on what you look like, you start acting. You dust the cobwebs but learn to be an award-winning actor without ever having to change the heart. The church has taught what people should do to look good, to appear sanctified, without teaching them who they are. We corrected their actions without cleaning and strengthening their inner man.

When we do that, we have taught them about a mean, unloving God, who only cares about what we Do. We place them back into bondage under the old covenant, the old law. The fault in this is, we think fear will produce change when all it produces is coverup.
The Lord does not give fear, but an old covenant preacher sure does!

We have a determined God

He who starts a good work will complete it. He never stops working on you.

When you are discouraged, tempted distracted? Stop and trace it back to the point of unbelief. When did you last have peace, and when was that peace taken from you? When you feel lost, go pack to the Prince of Peace and ask Him to show you where you stopped believing in His goodness, and started putting your eyes on your circumstances.

What is our perception of God? Is He the great clockmaker, who created the world and then left us to our desires? Is He a harsh task master, who gives you a list of things to do to become Holy?
God is not asking you to impress Him. He is asking you to trust Him. If you try to follow God by your own strength, You Will fail – miserably.

It is most likely that you will end up screaming, “I can’t!” And that’s when God responds, “That’s what I’ve been trying to show you.”
Sin – Is when I stop believing that the cross is enough.
Doubt – Is when I question if God will come through. I think, “Why bother? I start to do for myself.” Then, I fail and wonder if God is still with me.
God says, “I’m still here.”

It’s all about our thinking. The battle is in the mind.
Proverbs 10:12
Hatred stirs up strife’s: but love covers all sins.
When we love God, He shows us how to love ourselves and how to love others. Look at the two lists below. Which camp of thinking do you find yourself in?

Old                                 New
Religious                       Jesus
Call out                         Covers
Failure                           Forgives
Condemnation             7×70
sin                                   blots out sin
provokes                       protects

Covering

Like the Pharisee who asked, “Who is my neighbor?” We ask, “Who do we cover?”
This is easy. We Cover the tired, the weak, those who need forgiveness, the one who needs you to hold their arms up in the middle of the battle. God believes the best in you. He says, “I will cover you.” Every time.

When we don’t believe in Him and His promises, it feeds our own insecurity.
Some even have a vindictive side, and think, “I’ll post it, I’ll tell everyone what you did.”
How do You feel when someone talks about who You are covering?
Do you become protective?

Pastor then related a memory from his childhood.
Are you old enough to remember the Buffet at the Big Boy? I admit that I am. Well one day his family was eating at Big Boy after church and some other people from church were there too.

You may know about Spiritual gifts, you may not, but these people seemed to have the gift of nosiness, and gossip. (That’s not an actual gift. In fact, it is the opposite of what an uplifting Spiritual gift would be!) Gossip is Not a gift; it is an abomination.

Well, one of these people were in the buffet life next to dad.
They leaned over and asked Pastor’s dad, “What did you think of the message?”
His response was, “I Loved it.”
The person then made a big mistake. They mistook Pastor Travis’s dad for someone who would join in on the gossip train. They then said, “Well, I just don’t know about that pastor….”
At that moment, something in his Dad’s countenance changed. It was like a switch flipped. Suddenly, Dad had business to take care of. He straightened up, and declared, “That is My pastor, and I love him.” Then he proceeded to tell that person that if they want to talk bad about his pastor, that they would have to go somewhere else to do that. Pastor Travis’s dad was praying for and covering his pastor, so when someone wanted to talk ill of him, the fighting mode became strong, and he was going to protect his pastor in a bold and courageous way.
Have you ever been in this circumstance, when you run into someone who just left church, and they want to eat the pastor for lunch?
I want to be the person who proclaims, “Don’t you dare! Not on My watch!”

This is how it should be in our friendships too. We need to assure our friends that “I’ve got your back. We might have difficult situations, we might have private conversations, but I will always stand up for you and protect you.”

Overcoming

Honesty, overcomes fear, shame, and doubt. We need to make the wrong right. But I will not call you out publicly! When we are in covenant with someone, we need to nurture that intimacy.
What is that?

Intimacy is when I see you at your weakest, most vulnerable moment, and I still love you.
Married folks, marriage will not reach true levels of intimacy until you are able to cover one another in their lowest moments. Stop it – do not call each other out publicly. Cover each other, protect each other, stand with, and strengthen each other.

Jesus doesn’t put you on His InstaStory every time we mess up. Thank God our failures are not posted for the world to examine!

Noah’s sons had a choice. One son called him out in his failures. The other two sons didn’t focus on where he blew it. They chose to cover their father. Focus on who they are not what they did.
You’ll always have an accuser for everyone you wrong, and everything you do.  You will always have a God who will raise up two to cover.

Remember the beginning of the service today? Remember Pastor Tina’s story? She had one person tear her down, and then God sent two to lift her back up!!!

But I really did mess up. Will God send someone to cover me even though I really did mess up?
Yep.
Even when things went a different way than planned?
Yep.

Satan is accuser of the brethren. He is a Liar, most of accusations are truthful. Right? We can look back and see what we did. We don’t need anyone to accuse of it, we did it. So, the question is, if he isn’t lying about what we did, what is he lying about?
He lies about what Jesus did on the cross. He gets you to doubt that what Jesus did on the cross is enough to cover your sins. It is enough to take your shame and your guilt. It is enough to set you free. He gets you to stop believing in who Jesus is, so you will stop believing in who you are. That is his only offence attack. If he can get you to doubt, he can make you believe that you are defeated. And he is mean. He will kick you when you are down and add lie upon lie upon lie.

 

The law vs. the prophets

When Jesus showed up, He says, “I don’t just cover you. I make you New. The accuser is accusing a version of you that died with Me!”
The new you arrived with Jesus from the grave.
Did He do for your Past sins or your Future sins? Yes!!!
He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning, and the end, the first and the last.  Jesus, on the cross, when He died, He had full knowledge of any sin you would ever make. From the foundations of the world the Lamb was slain. Before He even came to earth, Jesus said, “I am committed to you.”
There doesn’t have to be sin to cover, but love covers a multitude of sins.

End with story

Have you ever heard of the situation Jim Baker got himself into?
Jim Baker. Got in trouble for embezzling lots of money from his ministry. When it broke the news, he lost everything. He went to prison. And he was at his lowest of lows. I must admit, that when I was a younger girl, I heard of this happening, and at first, I thought, “Good, he deserves to go to jail.” There was no questioning that what he did was wrong. He still had to pay the consequences of his action. Today, I heard something that made me take a look at myself.
While Jim was sweeping the gym in prison, a guard came up to him to tell him that he had a visitor.
Jim answered that he didn’t want to see anyone.
The guard said, “You will want to see this person.”
Again, he said no, but the guard persisted until finally, Jim consented.
When he went into the visitor’s room, Billy Graham was there with his arms open wide. He then said to him, “Jim, we love you.”
Jim collapsed in his arms and cried.

We are asked to love someone the most when they deserve it the least.
Jesus stretches out His arms and says, “I love you.”
Are you ready to ask Jesus into your heart?

If you aren’t going to church, let me encourage you the way Pastor did.
I cannot go back and undo what’s been done. Do you have church hurt? I stand in representation on their behalf and ask you to forgive them of what they did. And then I want to extend an invitation. You are safe here. You can heal and mature in Christ here. You can come to hear about the love of God. You can come and join a Life Group and be surrounded by others who want to cover you and lift you out of the miry clay. We want to show you the open arms of Jesus Christ. He loves you so, so, so much.
Amen.

February 14, 2021 | Agape, part 2

Sermon by Pastor Travis Hall, Reflections by Carlie Watt

There is something about closing your eyes that helps shut out the distractions of the noise around you. Pastor Travis had us close our eyes and lift our hands again this week. When we lift our hands, it is an international sign posture of surrender. Other things one might consider is that of receiving a gift. Or perhaps you might think of a child lifting their hands asking their father to pick them up.

This morning during worship we sang about God’s love. He encouraged us, right where we are, to take some time to thank God for His unmovable, unshakable love. A love that never walks out on you, never abandons you, a love that will never leave you as an orphan. We can rest in, abide in, and trust in His love. His love is divine, otherworldly and supernatural like Him.

God orders our steps and our stops. Its not just the open doors, but the closed ones. This day will never come again, God brought us together for this day, through His love. My hopes are that as you read this, you are able to feel the love of God.

And that perfect Love loves you.

 

Pastor Tina’s Words of Practical Wisdom


Elijah, her 16 year old son woke up Valentine’s morning and was a bit disturbed. He went to her asking where the Valentine’s chocolate was, because she always gets some for them, and he didn’t see any sitting out.
Pastor Tina: Oh, Elijah, I forgot to get candy this year.
Elijah: “No way!”

He was saddened because he was expecting chocolate, and didn’t get any!
Aren’t you glad that God never forgot you?!

Romans 8:35 TPT
Who could ever separate us from the endless love of God’s Anointed One? Absolutely no one! For nothing in the universe has the power to diminish his love toward us. Troubles, pressures, and problems are unable to come between us and heaven’s love. What about persecutions, deprivations,[a] dangers, and death threats? No, for they are all impotent to hinder omnipotent love,

Do you feel forgotten? Our Father never forgets us. You are fully known and fully loved today. God’s love is unconditional and endless.
What? You’ve read that on here before? My sincere prayer is that you Do read this over and over again dear readers, until you begin to believe it.

 

Message Prelude:
Pastor Travis

You can survive but you will not thrive without the relationship of other people in the sphere where God has placed you. We are designed to read the Word of God together, to worship together, to fellowship with one another. We were designed to be alone.

You are encouraged to stop isolating yourself. You are welcomed to come back to church and to feel a part of the body again. Not only coming to church is important but being a part of a Life Group is essential for our growth. In a Life Group is where real raw emotions surface, and where you truly begin to connect with others. There are many Life Groups that you can choose from, and if you go to the church’s homepage, you can find a place to connect with a group that interests you. I hope you take the time and get connected during this season.


Main Message:
Agape’ Love Part 2
God’s Unconditional Love

1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love suffers long, and is kind: love does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love is large and incredibly patient … refuses to be jealous.

Everyone has Valentine’s story. Some are romantic and others are funny.
Pastor Travis transparently tells us a story that can be funny … now. Now that he can look back and the pressure of the moment is over, he can look back and laugh. (We’ve all been there.)
His story goes a little some like this:
While he was sitting downstairs waiting to go to dinner with his wife, she asks him if they can takes turns watching their daughter, Savannah, while they get ready for dinner.

He perks up, panics, and thinks to himself, “I thought I was ready!” But then his mind began to run 30 miles an hour. He was thinking, “What am I going to wear, what does she want me to wear? “Oh honey, you get ready first. I’ll watch Savannah,” was his answer to her. And then while she is up there, (watch this and take note guys,) he asks, “Tina, what are You wearing? I want to wear something where I can match you.”

Look again at the end of verse 7,  Love never gives up.

Now, it might seem like he changes gears right about here, but please bear with me, and I will do my best to bring the story back together.

Pastor Travis says something that is overlooked, but profoundly true. He says, “We have taken the gifts and made them more important than the fruit.” What gifts? The fruit if the Spirit. What does the fruits and the gifts have to do with today’s message? Let’s read on.

When Pastor Travis was talking to God asking Him what He wanted to tell His people today, He replied, “I want you to talk about patience.”
More than anything else – Love is patient.

No, wait! Don’t turn him off because you think you know what being patient means. God’s Word is life giving. God’s Word is edifying. God’s Word has a different perspective of love than what is commonly believed.

Agape’ is not based on a feeling. It is an act of will, a choice. It means to love when I don’t feel like it. It is a mature love, to love well, beyond our feelings. Literally, Agape’ love is unconditional love. This kind of love is for when you know you should love – but just you don’t feel like it. Let’s talk about this today.

Patience.

Where can we find one of the manifestations of agape’ love in scripture? (Paul in 2 Corinthians 13) explains that true Agape’ love is a choice to show affection and to be patient when all circumstances may show the contrary.
The key to defining the Word is to look at it in its proper context. What did the original people hear when he said this? Yes we can read the Word and get Deep revelations, and we are to search the scriptures to receive Deeper revelations. Just remember when you are receiving this from God, that whatever revelation you discover while studying, that it will never contrast the original meaning. It can enhance it, but the Word will not contradict itself.

We think – Patience is waiting. And if you have to wait, be nice while you are doing it. This mean to be nice others in Traffic. Yep, even in Atlanta traffic. We might even go so far and think that being patient means to be nice to the barista while we are waiting for coffee. And we congratulate ourselves for not snapping about the customer behind us getting our coffee before we did. Then we rebuke the devil and claim that God sent us this tragedy to teach us patience during adversity. But this is not what true Biblical patience is.

When Paul wrote patience, he wrote in Greek and what patience translated really means is: Big temperature.
Agape love, can stand the heat, and not run when it gets hot. When you think you can take it any longer, when the situation just makes you feel like you have jumped from the frying pan into the fire, patience shows you how to overcome the flames.

Galatians 5:22-23 tells us about the fruit of the Spirit.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

God’s love produces in us an ability when all you feel is heat and despite the heat, you refuse to give up.
Patience stays in the heat, and it doesn’t quit because of the heat.

True Biblical patience is Not – Be nice. When he leaves his laundry on the floor. Be nice when you have a minor disagreement with your spouse, or push on despite the disappointment.
Patience Is – When the circumstances are So hot you are tempted to walk out, throw up your hands and say, I can’t take it any more.
Patience is Not – If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen
Patience Is – When we have been so shallow, we quit. We declare, I shouldn’t have to deal with this. I won’t deal with this. And we give up.

Agape’ love, patience, stays in the heat, sees the fire, and walks into it anyway.

Burn the bonds

In the book of Daniel, 3 young Hebrew men refused to bow down to an idol. Because of that, they were thrown into the fire 7x hotter than normal. The furnace was so hot that the soldiers that were putting them in, all died of heat exposure. Something interesting happens. Nebuchadnezzar, the ruler, leaned over to watch them burn. He expected to hear screaming, and anguish. See, these men were bound hand and foot. They should have been screaming to be set free, and that’s what Nebuchadnezzar expected. Instead, what he saw was a miracle. He saw them walking around in the fire. When he saw this he said, (paraphrasing,) “Hey! How many men were thrown in the fire?”
–  3 sir.
“Then how come I see 4? And that 4th one looks like the Son of God!”

What a miracle. Love moves towards the fire. It walks through it with you and never asks you to do it alone. We have a propensity to run from fire when we think something is wrong with us. We definitely don’t want to be in the fire when the problem is with you and not me. Why should I suffer for you?

In Daniel, the young men walked into the fire, because God’s hand was upon them. Maybe, there is nothing wrong with you, maybe there is something right that is about to happen, and god is leading you into the fire to burn off what has been holding you back to push you further into what He has planned for you!

The enemy is trying to kill you before God can work through you. The miracle is, God has and never will leave you or forsaken you. God is using the heat the enemy is trying to kill you with, to release you form your bondage.

Perhaps you feel the heat but not the love?

“Romance” isn’t always present. In some of the most challenging moments in marriage, you feel the heat, without the feel-good emotions. This is not one of the honeymoon moments, but you choose to stay in the fire. You need to look and realize that God is with me, my spouse is choosing to walk with me. WE are not alone.

The fire isn’t the argument, It is the willingness to step into what is causing it. The argument is the consequence of what caused the argument to start with.

Pastor Travis gets one couple to step forward to use them in the object lesson.

The argument happens before you go to the fire. Someone is trying to get to the issue that bound them. The other is unwilling to go there at that time. Whether you want to go in or not, sometimes God will throw you in! Then, you both wake up the next day after an argument, and you are Still in the fire? Choose to stay. Take a step forward.
The couple steps forward.
The next night you go to bed, wake up and you are still in the fire? Choose to stay. Take a step forward.
The couple takes another step forward.
Sometimes it is for days, sometimes for months. Choose to stay, choose to work it out. Choose to fight with each other, not against each other. You might need to get help, you might not be able to walk through this alone.
If you are going through this with your spouse, it’s time to take each other’s hands, take a step forward, and declare, “Devil, you can’t do this, you have no power over me or my marriage/situation. We choose to stay in the heat.”  The fire is temporary. Stay. You will be free.

Pastor Travis asks the couple to “walk with me.”
He exhorts them that as they walk, others are watching. (He points to the other couple sitting at the table near them on the alter.
The couples watching say, “I see them, and it seems like there is a 3rd walking through their situation with them.” This encourages them to walk instead of run.
We never know who is watching us.

Strength

God is our strength in our weakness.
He says, “I will be with you. The fire will not consume you.”

Are you having financial problems? Stay. Are you disappointed, is he on your nerves, have you been dealt fear from an old pain? Stay.
But you don’t know what they brought into this marriage! New flash. You both carried baggage you didn’t know about each other, or even know about yourself. Sometimes things do not surface until the ice has been broken, like an iceberg. You hide the major root of the problem so they will marry you because you fear that if they really knew everything about you, they wouldn’t really love you and they wouldn’t agree to walk through life with you and help you uncover the hidden hurts of your past and recover with you. You need to realize that no matter how good you are covering your hurts, the titanic will set sail eventually, and it will hit that iceberg.

The problem is, we refuse to go backward to step forward. We don’t want to deal with the past.

Ok, what about Couple #2.
Remember they were the ones watching, and now it is their turn to walk through their issues too.
He is ready to face the issue. He’s in the fire waiting for her. She doesn’t want to go. The problem is, she can’t tell the person that is in the fire to get better and work on himself while she refuses to step in. She is impatient with him yet refusing to work at the solution too. She is being impatient.
She says, “Well, you are in the fire. Good for you. Get better. Fix yourself. I’m fine right here. And when you are better, you can come back and apologize about all you did wrong. Its about time.”

We don’t have the right to tell people they have to stand alone. Go to them. We need to do this together.  The problem is, we each fear, we have insecurity, we hold pain. Patience helps us take one another’s hands and says, “Let’s work on this together.”

One person talks more, one has more walls … Like I said earlier, we aren’t made to go through life alone. They might need counselling. But what they must do is to take each other’s hand and say, “Let’ take a step together.”
The man steps out of the fire, goes to his wife, takes her hand, and takes a small step forward. They begin to share their issues. They take another small step forward. They begin to share hurts. They take another small step forward. They ask for help. Another small step forward. The whole time, they are walking closer and closer to the fire. Eventually, the heat will burn the bonds that have been keeping them bound, and they will work on the root issue and eventually get set free.

But you say, “It’s hot!”
Yes it is. Let’s stay in this and keep walking forward together.

You reveal yourself. You are lied to by the enemy that your spouse will hate you.
Only, when that lie is burned off, love blooms because you have become vulnerable. You break past that lie. Next, the devil will tell you there is something wrong with you. Liar! You work on those issues, you deal with the hurts, you tear off the labels, you heal from the pain, and you hear that Jesus gave you His righteousness, and that you are the apple of His eye, and that you are loved, and that with that love, you are able to love others like Christ loves you, and the lie of enemy is pushed away.

Healing Fire

Heat, if concentrated has healing properties.
It is often used to cauterize an open wound.

In Daniel, the men were bound. The fire burned what was holding them back. The enemy says that the fire is evil. Our first instinct is to rebuke the devil. “You lying devil, I’m not going into that fire. It’s Hot in there!”
Don’t bind the devil when God is the one guiding you forth!
Once the young men were no longer bound, they had to make a choice to keep walking into the fire on their own. Remember the Bible says that the guards that were sending them into the fire died! At some point, the men had to make the choice to keep walking!!!

It could be 5, 10, 15, 25 years ago. Past hurts become revealed. They resurface. We scream out, “God! Why can’t I change? Fix this, Lord!”
So God calls us into the fire. We step in, but it’s too hot, so we step away.
Then we cry again to the Lord, “God! What happened, things were going well, things were getting better, then it got, and everything went back to the way it was before!”
So God calls us back into the fire. We step in, this time a little deeper, but it gets too hot, so we run back out. And this cycle repeats several times.
Finally, God says, “Look, I will walk through the fire with you. It will be messy, but you have to go through this.”
I’m not trying to tell you that you are going to be floating on clouds playing a harp looking at your sweetheart saying, “You feel this? Isn’t change wonderful? Glory halleluiah. I just love being in the fire, don’t you?”
It gets you afraid. You will think, “I want to yell, I want to push you away.”
Know that when one is afraid and pushing, the other has to choose to love through the pain.

Hide in the glory of God and face what can only be healed through relationship. The prayer is a catalyst to deal with the hurt. You can’t deal with the hurt, if you aren’t willing to do what it takes to get better.

Agape’ love stays in the pain, even when it is hot. You feel the heat, but you aren’t always able to feel the heart.

Isaiah 43:2
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.


The flames will not consume you.
The flames will not consume you.
The – flames – will – not – consume – you.

The conflict, not the enemy, encourages us with our last ebbing breath to hold onto what we have been hiding or they won’t love us anymore.
Remember? We can’t be fully loved, if we are not fully known.

Tempered Glass

The heat will not consume. You will be like tempered glass, not easily broken.
The process matures us. It is for us.

Romans 8:31
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

Jesus left Heaven to come to a broken Earth.
the sinless, came to a sin-filled world. He chose to live among us, he chose to stay on the cross. They didn’t take His life, He gave it to them.

John 10:18
No man takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

We cannot do it, so His did this for us.
WE are trying to do in our strength what can only be done through Him.

Look at the example in Daniel 3.
1 Corinthians 13:4 says, Love is patient.
1 John 4:8 says, God is love.
1Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient.
1 John 4:8 God is love.
God is love, Love is patient.
God is love, Love is patient.
God is love, God is patient.
God is in you, you hold His love, His love helps you be patient. Enduring the heat, walking through the fire. God is love, Love is patient. Patience Is love, God is patient.
Say it again,
God is love, Love is patient.
God is love, Love is Patient.
God is love, God is Patient.
Wow.

Every time you’ve made a fire, Jesus has a big temperature. He says, “I’ll never leave you or forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5. God is love, love is patient.

The Fire is Temporary

The internal argument you are having with me right now might sound something like this:
But- I’ve screwed up, He can’t love me.
– He descended to the lowest part of the earth. To hell. He has the keys. Jesus went to Hell for you. He chose to love you, through the fire. He didn’t stay there, and neither will you!

God tells us in His Word, “I knew you before I created you. And I created you anyways. I love you anyways.”

In Daniel, for the three men, a time came when they were called out of the fire and they could walk freely.
When you walk through the fire with your spouse, a day will come when you will trust again. You will move forward in God’s calling. You will be intimate again, (not just sexually.) You will be vulnerable again.

Agape’ love: To know and be known, to choose to love anyways.

Stop trying to do it on your own.
Admit you can’t. Realize God can. He can release you. He can burn off what has been holding you back. God is stitching up old open wounds. Somethings can only be mended with heat. Cauterizes the wound to stop the bleeding. You want to trust. You want to be loved. Please listen. What Christ is to you, He will empower you to show to others.

Agape’ patience.

To sum this up:
Holy Spirit Power gives strength to stay in the heat.
The feeling will return. Trust Him in the heat.

Intimacy and love will be stronger than it was before you – together – walked into the fire.

Miracles happen. Healing is a process.

Agape’ love give you the Courage to not quit.
Have you stepped out of the fire? Step back in.

Pastors Tina and Travis again opens up a moment of transparency to us:
They have been married for almost 21 years.
Both had a pain they didn’t know was still there. They brought these pains into their marriage.

Confused, the disfunction for uniqueness. They said that they couldn’t pretend anymore and they had to deal with it. It took years. 2-3 years of waking up in the fire.
Pastor Tina admitted that she was a runner. She didn’t like the heat. Then it flipped, and she wanted to work on the issues, but Travis did not.

Standing here today, is a version of pastors Tina and Travis that did not exist before they submitted to the fire. They are Healed, whole, and confident. God healed them in the fire, not in spite of it. They know the worst about each other and made it through the fire.
Then they encouraged us: God uses you while you are in the fire. Helping others while He is helping you.

The grace of God empowers before, through, and after the fire.

God is for you, not against you. Your fire doesn’t disappoint Him. It moves Him to move toward you. Do not disqualify yourself. God is using this to burn away what has been holding you back.

February 7, 2021 | Agape, part 1

Sermon by Pastor Travis Hall, Reflections by Carlie Watt

Close your eyes. Lift your hands.
Think of a moment during your week when God was shown strong when you were weak. There are moments in time when His strength is perfected in our weakness. What I mean is, when we are weak and are not able to stand, He strengthens our ankles, and sets us on a firm foundation. There are times when we are tired, weary, tapped out, we want to quit … and our Father is there during those times to strengthen us, to lift us up, to encourage us, to throw back in the towel and encourages us to keep fighting.

We often feel this way because we feel defeated or alone. We fear that no one understands how weak we feel, and this causes us to lose our will to fight. That is when Holy Spirit lifts our eyes to God, and we can see where our help comes from. It is then we realize that we are not alone. God never leaves us and when we feel like we cannot take another step, He lifts us up and takes that step for us. He strengthens us and walks by our side. He is our present help in times of trouble. He is our strength!

 

Pastor Tina’s Words of Practical Wisdom.

Advertisements.
She listens to an online radio station but does not pay for the ad free version. Consequently, between the songs, she gets inundated with ads. You know the ones that say, “Sink belly fat in 30 days!” Or, “Are you tired of your New Year’s resolutions? Come eat our Mac-n-cheese and homemade pizza!

Advertisements are everywhere. We see them on billboards, painted on windows, t.v., and hear them on radio. We know that they are lying, as you cannot reduce belly fat in as little as 30 days, yet we buy into what they are saying, and get their products anyways.

Ephesians 1:19 The Passion Translation
19 I pray that you will continually experience the immeasurable greatness of God’s power made available to you through faith. Then your lives will be an advertisement of this immense power as it works through you! This is the mighty power 20 that was released when God raised Christ from the dead and exalted him[a] to the place of highest honor and supreme authority[b] in the heavenly realm!

This scripture speaks of the greatness of God’s power through faith. We, through our lives become an advertisement of His immense power as it works through us; his resurrecting power that raised Christ from the dead. As we read His Word and spend time with Him, it fills us up to overflowing.

After giving us this great analogy, Pastor Tina told us about a conversation she had with a woman once. During the conversation, this woman told Pastor Tina that she was full of shame and guilt. When she heard this, God rose up inside of her and had her tell the woman that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus! (Romans 8:1). As Pastor Tina shared with her about the unending Love that God has for her, it took a little while, but the woman finally began to hear what being said to her, and more importantly her spirit changed as she began to believe it.

Unlike the overpromising advertisements that we hear on the radio, God’s Word is true as it proclaims the living power of God and through our lives and Christ living inside of us, we are able to proclaim to the world that God is good.

Lord, make our lives a living advertisement of your goodness. Amen.

 

Pastor Travis
Pre-Message Exhortation:

John 13:34-35 TPT
34 “So I give you now a new[a] commandment: Love each other just as much as I have loved you. 35 For when you demonstrate the same love I have for you by loving one another, everyone will know that you’re my true followers.”

The church, as a whole, needs to regain its focus on what made the church, The Church.
What is the Spiritual Formation of the Church?
Christ In Us = Spiritual Foundation. Vs Consumer Based principals.

What we need is to see Christ IN us. Why was Pastor Travis bringing this up?
If you haven’t already felt it on your own, we don’t have to look hard to realize that the storms of 2020 challenged us in many ways. In the church, it revealed the depth of Christ in us, or, the lack thereof.

Life Church International is going to spend a few weeks rediscovering what it means to Love.

Oh, I can hear you now moaning that it is February, and so of course we are going to be talking about love. I ask you to stay with me, dear readers, as I guarantee that what you will read will encourage you and even challenge what you think you already know about love.

Main Message:
Agape’ Love

The new law was Love. Jesus had entered the scene teaching us about something new that He had brought us, and this was to Love God, our neighbors, and ourselves.

The old law was about works and striving to prove our worthiness to God. (News flash, that was never going to happen.) Through Jesus, He taught that the new law He brought, the entire law and all they said can be summarized into one word. It is summarized as love.

Love in our modern-day language has many definitions. So when we read the word Love in the bible, we need to look at what the original word was to get a more full understanding of what the author was trying to convey.

John, when he was writing used the word Agape’. In the New Testament they were writing in the Greek language and the word he particularly choses to use to describe the kind of love He was writing about is Agape’. Many of us have heard the term Agape’ love, but we may not have a real understanding of what it means.
No way we can grasp it without the help of the Holy Spirit. To have us see it from God’s view, we need to ask for Holy Spirit’s help. Pastor Travis is trying to help us today by teaching you and I discover or rediscover what is means to truly love.

Love is a Foundational Virtue for every Son and Daughter in the kingdom of God.

Everyone will know you are my True Followers by watching us love one another. The author of Hebrews seems to give us a list of ways we can show what John explains as how others will know that we follow God; by loving one another. But what does he mean? How do we show that we are followers of Christ?

It is certainly Not by church attendance, or how many songs in we have memorized. It’s not the style of worship, your ability to prophesy, speaking in tongues, or how many Amens we shout. It is by our love for one another. The same love in which God first loved us.

People are wanting love; they are starving for it.

1 Corinthians 13:1
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
He is saying that even if I have All of the gifts of the spirit, if I do not have love, I am merely making unimpressive noise.

I can’t speak in the Spirit through tongues and give words of knowledge on Sundays then argue on FaceBook, or gossip at lunch. If I do, I am only making noise. I can’t give an interpretation for tongues on Sunday but treat my spouse bad = noise. Are you beginning to understand the picture?

What Does Agape’ Mean?

Love even when it is hard to love.

Wait, what? Why would I want to do that? Agape’ love is not brotherly love, it not even romantic love. Agape’ love is a different kind of love altogether.
Agape’ Love is faithfulness, commitment, an act of will, a choice to love even when I don’t feel like it.

Don’t make a lot of noise without making an impact!!!
Ok, this is getting confusing. What does that have to do with love? Remember, if I do all these good things with a bad heart, I am only making noise. Let’s look at the example from Pastor Travis.

He used to often go the gym when he was younger. At the gym there was a man who always showed up dressed to workout. He had the muscle shirt, the best workout shoes, he even wore one of those belts that are supposed to help your back while lifting heavy weights. Before he would get started, he would set his scene up perfectly. He would inspect the weights, hang his clothes on the bar to mark the bench as his, and then he would begin to circle it. He would walk around it like a shark, inspecting every corner of the bench. Finally, he would sit down, put his hands on the bar and grunt a lot. Then he would sit up, stretch his arms, make some noise, psych himself up a bit, and do it again. He’d lay down, put his hands on the bar, breath heavy, grunt, and sit up again. He did this several times, but there was something Pastor Travis noticed about him. He looked impressive, he did all the right things, but … he never picked up the weights!!! He made a lot of noise without ever making an impact.

Many of us care more about how we look, than getting results. As long as we have the gifts of the Spirit, does it matter if we use them for their intended purpose?

It is incorrect to Elevate gifts of the Spirit above the fruits of the Spirit. We look impressive, but never make an impact. We are wanting benefits without willing to but in the effort, or to do the work.

What does Paul say about what we need to do to make an impact?
We need to love. IF I elevate Gifts above Fruit, I will never make an impact.
This man at the gym may have looked impressive, but did he have the motivation to follow through with the work it was going to take to get the best results, and will that make an impact in the world? The scripture has something to say about this.

1 Timothy 4:8
For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

That Doesn’t Explain It Yet.

Are you still lost? Hang in there with me, as we introduce a few more principals about true love.

Romans 5:8
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

God’s love is in our hearts. We have Jesus living in us the moment we accept Christ.

Physical training yields some benefits.
Spiritual training yields eternal benefits

We have received loved, and all God is asking us to do is to love others. Love could be overflowing in our heart to others as God loves us. We can no longer say, “God, I just can’t love them. They don’t deserve it. I just don’t have it in me.” You see, God is love. He lives within us, and He loves us when we do not deserve it. All He is asking for us to do, it to take what was is freely given to us and give it to others.

Back to Agape’ love. What does it mean?
Agape love is not a feeling. Agape love is a choice.

Agape’ love is not a version of love based upon how I feel. That is a version of immature love. Mature love means that I love even when I don’t feel like it. I don’t feel like loving you, but I choose to; it is choosing to love when I don’t feel like it.
Immature love says, if I don’t feel like it, then I quit. Immature love demands that you agree with me, feel like me, watch this – vote like me, or I quit.

When feeling right or being right becomes more important than loving people, when I have a drive to prove that I am right, we use our feelings to justify unloving actions. This is a dangerous situation.

Convenience vs. Commitment

Immature love is feeling when it is convenient vs Mature love which is loving from within with commitment. Convenience vs. Commitment.

Pastor Travis illustrates this with a story:

He has a friend he used to run around with. When he turned away from his old life, the friend continued in the same pattern of life, and ended up in prison. Praise God, it was in prison that he found Jesus. Sometimes God is all you need when God is all you have.
While he was in, Pastor Travis saw a post from his friend’s wife on Facebook. Now, normally, he tries to stay out of battles on Facebook, because they usually don’t end up doing good, and almost always makes things worse. Well, below that post, a guy was what Pastor Travis called “creepin’” and said something to the wife that upset Pastor Travis. It was at this moment that he was unable to remain silent and had to say something in her honor.
What could he have said to cause Pastor Travis to rise up to defend this friend? The guy said: “Just remember, you can’t tell your heart who to love.”

This sounds pleasant but the problem is, that it is 100% completely false!

What this statement is, it is a beautified copout for quitting on love. We say, “I just fell out of love.” Truth is, you stopped doing what you used to do, and you want to give up on love.

Married folks, listen closely here. That first honeymoon feeling wanes. It isn’t always going to be there it comes and goes. Marriage is a roller coaster, some days you will be head-over-heals, and other days you don’t want to talk to each other. The thing you must realize at these moments, is that love is a choice. You have to choose to stay committed in those moments and during those seasons. That love will come back. You will remember why you married that person to begin with.

Marriage is a commitment, not a feeling. The temptation to quit is attractive, but you have to choose to love through the frustration. Some people have gotten hurt in church. Church hurt is real. You get offended or let down and you choose to leave. The problem is, you have been hurt to the point that you never go looking for another church or when you do, you cannot commit to one. Because you have been hurt before, you fear of getting hurt again.
What he encourages us to do in these situations is to choose to keep loving even though it’s hard. If you are going to ere, ere on the side of love. When you do this, God will deepen your relationship with Him, and possibly with them.

Embrace the Conflict

Embrace the conflict. When you do, there is a propensity for an even deeper intimacy in that relationship than there was before. God will be there with you. He would not give us a command He would not empower us to fulfill.

For instance, God’s Word tells us to Love one another.
Jesus exemplifies this. When He was in the garden the night before his crucifixion, He prayed, “Father, if there is any other way, don’t make me do this. I’m not feeling it. Nevertheless, not my will, but your will be done.”

Jesus gave us the Greatest demonstration of Agape’ love. He didn’t want to go to the cross. He didn’t feel it. He chose it.

Then the bible gives us this challenge:
Ephesians 5:25
Husbands, love wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it.

He saw the pain before Him, and He chose to love us anyway. Christ embraced the cross and followed through with his resolution to endure until it was finished.

The crazy thing Christ did was to choose to love when He could have walked away. When we embrace the challenge, we feel peace.

Love through difficult moments.
Stop resisting the resistance.

The spirit of God will give you moments to show love to those you do not even like. He will create scenarios to teach you how to love when it is difficult. We will never grow spiritually mature when we turn down the moments God gives me to love the unlikable.

What we need to learn is how to love others.
Unlike the guy in the gym, we need to lift the weight and love others.

Embrace the resistance.

Do you desire to be both emotionally and spiritually buff? = Love when it is hard to love.

We have this guy in our church who obviously goes to the gym. Unlike the guy in the example, Reggie actually lifts weights. Pastor Travis called him up to the stage where a bench and bar have been conveniently set. Then, he makes a joke that Reggie looks like he has been training for this moment all his life.
Let’s say Reggie has an argument with his wife. The temptation is to avoid the bench. The temptation is to be the guy at the gym. He could look like he’s ready to do the work but when he encounters the bench, he is crushed because he can’t lift the bar. When we are tempted to quit, we, like the gym guy could keep walking around it, but never actually lift the weight.

What happens then? If Reggie quits, he’ll be found out. If he is quick to quit, he reveals himself.  He reveals who he is on the inside.

What we need to remember is It was not the Devil that led Jesus into the wilderness. It was Holy Spirit who was His guide. Holy Spirit gave Jesus 40 days of training before He was set out to accomplish His purpose.

We may be called, anointed, gifted, but are spiritually not ready.
(King David was anointed as a boy around 12 years old. He did not become king until God had taken him through some battles of life. He was spiritually maturing until his appointed time.)

God lovingly says to us, “I know the weight that comes with your call. If you are not spiritually, and emotionally ready, the weight of responsibility will crush you. So, I am going to train you to be able to handle the weight, the pressure you will be under when you step into your appointed time.”

Immature love = quits when it gets hard. The devil lies to us and tells us to give up, and many of us do. Why?
We don’t believe that we have the strength to do it. The thing is, he is right. We do not have the strength, because we have submitted to the challenges that God has given us to prepare us as training for our calling. We cannot do it without God.

So far, Reggie has been on stage, but has not sat down at the bench. He appears ready but has not made a move to be in the proper position to take on the task. Pastor continues, “Reggie, you haven’t touched the weights yet. But the enemy convinces you to quit. Maybe you got offended during that argument with you wife. Reggie goes back up to the bench.”

He does. This time, he lays down on the bench and lifts the bar. Pastor continues.

You get offended? – Lift the weight. You get Disappointed, – lift the weight. You need to make it right with your spouse? Lift the weight. You are let down, they voted differently than you, you have unmet needs, you are upset at work? – Lift the weight.

With every new problem, Reggie lifts and lowers the bar. As he does, he gets faster and faster, indicating that he is getting stronger and stronger with each new lift, with each new challenge.

Christ In Us And In Others

When we have accepted Jesus, through this training, we experience the love of Christ coming from within.

More often times than not, we try to do this alone. Once again, we take the reigns back from God, saying, “Thank you God for getting me this far, but I can take it from here.” Remember church hurt? We try to say that we do not need to be a part of a body of believers because we can hear from God on our own. Which is partly true. Yes, God speaks to us individually, but He also speaks to us through other people.
God made us to need other people. We see our friend struggling and see that he needs a spotter. God made us to where we need each other, and we are supposed to spot our brothers when they are struggling. Jesus even sent His disciples out in twos when He sent them out to spread the gospel.

If you have been around a gym, something you may know is that you should Never go for your max by yourself. Rep by yourself, ok. Max is a breakthrough moment to your next level. It can be dangerous if you do not have a spotter or two that can lift the weights just in case you may not be ready to lift the weight by yourself.

Pastor Travis became transparent and shared a moment with us about when he was going to try to show off to himself and push some weight that was beyond any weight he had lifted so far. To himself he thought, “I’ve got it.” He was able to lift the bar off the rack, but after he had lowered the bar to his chest, it was then he found himself having to throw off the bar because he could not lift it by himself. He was being crushed by his pride.

Are we dying under the weight because we won’t admit that we need anybody? We don’t need a church, we don’t need to be a part of a small groups. 0000h!!! Is he stepping on toes now? Do you come to church and hide in the back hoping that nobody will talk to you? Does your pride keep you from connecting with the very ones God has placed you around to be help in your times of need?

Getting the weight down is not the hard part. Getting the weight back up is the hard part. Because Pst. Travis was too prideful to ask for help he was crushed under the weight and had to make it look like it wasn’t his fault.

Satan will tell you that failure to lift the weight is a complete failure, and in doing so, he will try to convince you that you are a failure.
The secret is, you don’t grow until you have pushed to the point of failure. You must push to your limit. When you are with God, His strength is made perfect in your weakness.

Led to Love

God is the Strength inside of you that you never could have by yourself.

Holy Spirit will always 100% of the time lead us to love.
Yes. Establish boundaries, but don’t use it as a copout to opt out of loving.

With God, you are able to Love yourself, love your family, and also love your enemies. Remember, Love is a choice. It’s a decision. There is nothing anyone can say or do to change your value. If you do anything for the kingdom of God, people will talk about you. You know what’s amazing? Their opinion doesn’t change God’s opinion.

Pastor Travis closed with this. “I – Travis – do know! I’ve been there. I must make a choice to love even when I don’t feel like it.”

Emotionally and spiritually, your training reveals strength you didn’t know was there.

Agape love is the only thing that will fix our broken world.
It fixes broken bridges. It repairs what broken, immature love burned down.
Transformation comes from loving through the frustration.

Yes, you have an opinion. Major on the Majors. Walk away from the minors.
Repent of our pride and choose to love.

January 31, 2021 | Labels, part 4, Unlovable

Sermon by Pastor Travis Hall, Reflections by Carlie Watt

From UNLOVABLE to LOVED

Opening the sermon, as Pastor Travis usually does, he ended our time of singing by making a confession, a declaration of truth. The truth he spoke was that the work is finished. There is nothing left to earn or to prove. All we need to do is to receive. Jesus died as us so we could live resurrected lives, not continue striving in darkness and condemnation.

We need to make this declaration as well. I am living under a new covenant. The old era is finished. It is the time the new covenant. I no longer live under the law of works, but under the new life of freedom in Christ Jesus. Amen.

 

Pastor Tina’s Words of Practical Wisdom


Close your eye. Think about this week. Picture a moment where you saw God, where you were aware of His presence. Where did you see God? Through your children, in a stranger’s smile, sunshine on your face, during a conversation with a co-worker … and then thank Him for it.

God has been with you all week. Whether you were aware of it or not, He was with you.

Next, Pastor Tina, in her moment of transparency that has become common during her encouraging talks tell us about what has happened in class to her lately. She was in her Masters Intensive Program class, and exclaims that it is Intense! During class she heard the professor say something that grieved her heart. He said, “We do ‘these things’ because we want to get closer to God.”

Her heart ached for those who think they have to DO to get closer to God. The scripture she uses this week is from the Passion Translation.

Galatians 2:20 The Passion Translation:
My old identity has been co-crucified with Messiah and no longer lives; for the nails of his cross crucified me with him. And now the essence of this new life is no longer mine, for the Anointed One lives his life through me – we live in union as one! My new life is empowered by the faith of the Son of God who loves me so much that he gave himself for me, and dispenses his life into mine!

Christ lives in me. How can we get any closer to God? He has deposited Himself inside of you. The nails of His cross crucified You with Him. We can be aware that God is with us every moment of every day. We don’t have to strive for it.

I do have to mature in Christ as I become more aware of my identity as His child, but He can no closer than He already is. He has given His ALL to us. There is nothing left to earn. He is inside of us and His glory shines through us for the world to see.

Pastor Travis, giggling at his wife’s boldness asked her, what was the Professor’s response? She said he responded like this: “Well yes, Do need to be more Aware of God and that He lives within us.”

God is around and in you all week long!!! You are enough because He is enough. Hopefully, Pastor Tina’s exercise has remained with us this week as we go through our days looking for the God moments. You will be pleasantly surprised when you see this to be true.

Pre Message Exhortation:
1st Service:

When the Bible talks about being lukewarm, it is not meaning our passion for God. To be lukewarm is to take Hot and Cold and mix it together. The cold cools down the Hot and in the process looses its coldness.
There was a river near where Jesus was telling His disciples about being lukewarm which would have helped them understand this principal. Fresh and cold, the water was drinkable. Heated up and hot the water again, was drinkable. But when the water was lukewarm, it became rancid and the drinker would literally have to spew the water from their mouths as it was undrinkable.

Now, to challenge most of our theology, Pastor Travis makes a connection for us. Jesus was not talking about His followers drinking water, He was talking about the Hot/Cold mixture in comparison to the Old and the New covenant. You mix the Law of Moses with the covenant of Grace and you become Lukewarm.

The law vs being saved by grace. Don’t take a new cloth to patch an old. You cannot mix the two! You don’t get the benefit of either one. He brought us a new, a better covenant. It is finished. It is done. Walk in Grace, Amen.

 2nd Service:

Unfortunately, there are many of us who are aware of what we can accomplish.
We are thinking, ”I can’t.” The devil is intimidated and is discouraging you because he knows how close you are to the Promise.
You say, “But I have lost time” – Get up.
“But it has been so long.” – Get up.
Start walking. It is right there in front of you. Don’t give up.

Be and receive. The Father is loving you. He is so encouraging! Holy Spirit is empowering you. Receive it.

Main Message
Labels Pt. 4 = UNLOVABLE

What is required for a person to live a healthy life? Food, water, and oxygen, right? How about we take it a little further and include daily exercise, eating healthy foods, taking your medications and going to the doctor? Don’t forget to lower your stress levels and be aware of your mental health. Others would encourage you to laugh often and remind you to not forget to dance! It would be hard to argue against any of these suggestions. They are easy to accept as truth.

Probably one of the most difficult things in life to receive is pure love. What do I mean by that? I mean, really, it should be included in the basic necessities required for a person to live along with oxygen and food. Yet, it seems the one thing we long for is the one thing that is denied us, or that we are reluctant to extend to others.

The message on Sunday, the last day of January, Pastor Travis hit on a label that too many people carry as their badge of shame, and that is the label of being UNLOVABLE.

John 4:13-19
Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinks of this water shall thirst again:
But whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come here to draw.
Jesus said unto her, Go, call they husband, and come hither.
The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, You have well said, I have no husband:
For you have had five husbands; and he who you now have is not your husband: in that you said truly.
The woman said unto him, Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.

The story is of a Samaritan woman who Jesus found at a well in the heat of the day. His disciples were in town looking for food. While talking with her, he begins to reveal to her that He knows a lot of about who she is, and He does something interesting. He asks her for a drink of water.
She is not used to being talked kindly to, especially by a man who is a Jew. During the conversation He tells her that if she fully knew Him, that She would be asking Him for water instead. He tells her that she would be satisfied forever with living water.

It seems that all was going well, and then Jesus stirs the pot a little bit and tells her, “Go get your husband.”

What does that have to do with water?

The scene kind of goes like this:
– I have no husband.
– Yep, you’ve had 5.
– You are a prophet.
You see, Jesus came to her, not to talk about religion, but to talk about her value.

Before you disqualify this label as something you think cannot relate to you, Pastor Travis asks us to let him show you how that is a lie.

We have established that one of the most Basic of all human needs is to be loved. We long to be known.  It is impossible to be fully loved, but not fully known. The lie is, “I’m not sure you’d love me if you truly knew me.” This lie makes us habitually hide something about ourselves. The question we harbor becomes, “Do they love me, or the me I am allowing them to see?” We become professional chameleons. We are masters of being someone different around every new person, and in every situation, we find ourselves.

Authentic Love

How many of you know you are loved by someone? You can honestly say that they know the worst thing about you and they still love you.

To prove a point, Pastor Travis said that his wife knows all about him and still loves him. She many not like him at the moment, but she loves him despite those things.

To lack authentic love, leaves a void that cannot be fully filled. Love is not compartmentalized to romantic relationships. We have a plethora of opportunities to Love and to be loved. This does not mean that we are!

There are 3 places in our lives that hinder us from knowing we are loved.

#1. Abandonment.
Perhaps a parent left us when we were young. This is usually taken on by the child that causes us to feel unlovable.

#2. Shame.
Decisions, regretfully wish you wouldn’t have made. Why did I do this? Sex, getting high, etc. Again = unlovable.

#3. Rejection.
Screams you are unlovable.

All of these can be really be summed up to rejection. Rejection is a cycle. Abandonment. Someone you trust and loves leaves you. You seek to numb pain. What you do to numb the pain causes shame. You are filled with shame which isolates you. You reject others and become rejected by them. The isolation brands you and in your heart you carry the label of UNLOVABLE, and maybe it even goes as far as you being unable to love.

It is not safe in a Pharasitic environment to admit being in any part of that cycle. They make you feel that you are wrong for how you are dealing with the pain. Yet, they offer no other way to set you free.

That is a Bold-faced lie.

God Is Love

Romans 8:
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
His love is unconditional. He loves you unconditionally. He loves you at your worst. He loves you at your best. When you’re up, when you’re down. God loves you because that’s what He Is. God is love.

Agape Love. (A sneak peak into next month’s message series. 😉)

Nothing in all of creation can separate you from God’s love. Not even you! Nothing you say or do can separate you. Human being cannot love that without His help.

Being loved and believing you are unlovable two different things.

Side effects:
Sabotage of a good friendship.
Reject others before you can be rejected. (15 tinder dates?)
Even with their children they can only get just so close.
This label makes you believe that If anyone will see the brokenness in you and realize what you already believe about yourself. That you are unlovable.

 

Woman at the well.

She is understandably shocked that this Jewish teacher is so kind and speaking so gently. She is not used to being treated as valuable. Given her history we can see that she wants to be loved. We all want to be loved, but the problem is that we cannot or do not know how to receive it.

You don’t believe you are worthy of it. You settle for less than love. We want acceptance, so we settle for abusive relationships. We want love but settle for sex. We want friendships and settle for gossip circles and manipulative, controlling people.

Jesus didn’t come to reject but to accept her.

Why was she married 5 times? This is just speculation, but here are a few guesses.

-Carried shame from 1st marriage and the 2nd and 3rd marriages were paying for the pain the first guy gave her.

It is common when you get hurt by someone, you move as far away from them as you can. The problem is, you can move to a new church, job, city, you, wherever you go, always take you with you. The memories are scars from those hurts are implanted into your heart and your thoughts. The problem is that this makes you feel like the issue is you. You believe the lie that You are cursed! When in actuality, it’s that you just haven’t healed from your hurt.

  • Was she barren? Was she unable to produce an heir? Men in her time wanted an heir, a son to carry on the family name. If she doesn’t produce, the law says that he can divorce her.

All she wanted was to be loved. Being divorced by the first husband was hard enough. When she married again, perhaps she was thinking that it wasn’t her, it was his fault. After she didn’t produce an heir, she could still have the possibility that something was wrong with the man. By the third and the fourth husband, her spirits had to have gotten low. Her self-esteem and her reputation we getting pretty bad. Then by the fifth husband, there could be no denying that she just couldn’t have children and realized that maybe She was the problem. Maybe She was barren. She was unlovable. It’s Her fault.

She tried again and again to Prove something. How many of us are at the point where we aren’t living to achieve we are living to Prove? We aren’t living out our purpose, we are trying to prove we have one.

Culture

We live in a culture that tolerates you but does not celebrate you. If you don’t live up to their standards, they you get shunned. If you say or do something somebody doesn’t like, you get cancelled.

People will often tolerate you as long as they can get something from you and they only do that as long as you do not offend them in any way.  Even her current boyfriend was willing to give her sexual attention but not loving acceptance.

LOOK AT THIS!

What Pastor Travis was describing to us, was not only a story about a man and woman, but the explanation of what Religion is!

Religion only pays attention to your flesh. Cultural acceptance likes how you look on the outside far better than who you are on the inside. So, you try to get it right, you try and try harder, you ask for forgiveness and try again and again, but no matter what you do, you just can’t Produce!

This keeps you begging the Groom not to leave you! You are always at the alter begging God to not leave you and you think you have to get saved again and again, and again.

You say, “One of these days God, I’m going to get this right. I’m going to produce righteousness; I’m going to produce holiness.” And you feel like “One of these days He’s going to be so tired of me that He is going to file for a divorce. He is going to kick me out. He is going to leave me, just like everybody else has!!!”

You sabotage your relationship with God. You walk away from Him before He walks away from you. How many of you have been to church and find judgement instead of love? – We’ll tolerate you as long as you keep paying us. (oooooooooh!)

Come meet a man.

Why was she at the well in the middle of the day? She was rejected by all the townswomen because who she was, because of what she did. Even among the rejected, she was rejected! (see Samaritan.)

Yet, when she was at the well in the middle of the day, trying to stay away from people, it was there that she met a man.

Jesus was there not to give a new religion, but to end religion. To teach her a new concept. He was telling her Not to Produce but to Believe. The Father Produced Jesus, His firstborn Son, because she could not. He did for her, what she could not do for herself. To show her that she was already loved and like the woman at the well, You are already loved. 

She couldn’t produce a son. God did it for her. All she did was want somebody to love her. God did that too.

UNLOVABLE TO LOVED.

Dang Jesus! Why did you call her out like that?
How did the scene go? ‘Jesus -Where is your husband, … Woman -Well, … about that, … I’m not actually married. Jesus -You’re right, you are not in covenant.’

See, you cannot receive the fullness of His love until you know that He fully loves you.
Jesus says, “I have always loved you. Because I created you.” He is saying, “Believe in me, I can produce in you. I can love you. I can show you how to love.”

Trust Him!

How? How do you trust Him? By believing that He’ll never leave you or forsake you. He loves you. He’ll not use your sin against you.

He says, “I live in you. I produce my spirit in you.”
You respond, “I have tried to produce the fruit of the spirit. You know I have tried! I have tried really, really hard!”

If we remain planted in Christ. We bare Holy Spirit fruit. It is not the fruit of you, but the fruit of Him. We have never walked by an orange tree and heard it grunting have we? Because it doesn’t have to produce. It is created for bearing fruit. You were planted for good works. God does for you what you cannot do for yourself. To be righteous, all you have to do is have The Righteous One in you.

John 15:4-5
Abide in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you except you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches: He that abides in me, and I in Him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing.

Without this wisdom, you get more frustrated.

Jesus says, “I produce love, patience, kindness … That meanness while you are driving? Yeah, I can help you produce kindness then too. I know everything about you and am willing to produce for you. All you have to do is to believe.”

It is finished NOW

He won’t love you more tomorrow because you went to church today. He loves you because of the work on the cross.

Religion is what you do for Him.
Relationship is what He did for you.

I am not sure of the numbers but something like 50% of first marriages end in divorce. 67% of the second, and over 80% of third. Once the label is given or received, it is difficult to change it.

Why?
We carry the same label from marriage to marriage, from relationship to relationship.

LOVED = Purpose

Her calling and purpose came alive the moment the label was ripped off of her. She went running to the village, toward the people she was avoiding, to tell them boldly to come meet a man. You have a calling and a purpose buried under that label too.

Remember, the woman was at the well during the heat of the day to avoid people. After her encounter with Jesus, she went back to her town. She did not go back the same woman, full of shame and remorse. She went back telling to everyone, “Come and see a man who knows everything about me, and love me anyway!”

Let me tell you about a man who will love you anyway.

She was emboldened. She was running into her calling, her purpose was unleashed, she found her voice.

Love set her free.
You aren’t free to be successful until you are not bound by the fear of failure. The first Gospel preacher other than Jesus, was a woman! A who had been married 5 times. A woman who had been divorced 5 times. Not even in 2021 could a woman like her get credentialed.

Jesus ordained her. Her past couldn’t keep her from her potential. Jesus sees beyond your past to bring you into your calling.  

Jesus stayed 3 more days in Samaria. She didn’t even go back to tell ‘ol boy to pack his stuff yet. Religion has a timetable. Jesus focused on the heart. Jesus wants to put His glory on display in your life. He wants to use you in the sphere of influence He put you in.

He doesn’t call everyone to speak on the platform on Sunday mornings. Pastors are there to equip you to tell others about Jesus where you have your platform. Be it at work, school, or your Saturday morning book club, He will use you where you are.

Do not put a pastor of a pedestal. The fall is too high for him. He is where God has him, and you are where God has you. Bloom where you are planted!

Remember, working to produce only produces frustration and condemnation.

1John 4:9-10
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

He loved us long before we loved Him. He loved you in the womb. He loved you on your 5th birthday. When you were 15 and foolish. 25 and even more foolish. 50 and foolish. He loves you.

The work is finished.
Be careful that you don’t think of your Prayer life = badge of Honor. Don’t walk around supersticiously thinking “Oh no! I didn’t pray today. Today is going to be a bad day.” That puts the focus right back on you and off of His finished work. Prayer is good, it is great actually, but it is not how many times you pray that makes God love you.

I love to pray and read my Bible. It helps our relationship become more intimate, more personal, more sweet. Because the more I read and spend time with the one who loves me unconditionally, the more I trust Him.

Identity

UNLOVED – Is the Label.
LOVED – Is your Identity. It is who you are.

How many will find their voice this week? Failure is defeated. You are victorious.
When is your awakening moment?
We don’t do because we have to. We do because we get to. WE were created for good works.

Are you ready to put your faith in Jesus?  

 

January 24, 2021 | Labels, part 3, Unforgiveable

Sermon by Pastor Travis Hall, Reflections by Carlie Watt

Pastor Tina’s Words of Practical Wisdom


Pastor Tina hit us with a transparency bomb this morning. Her story today was about when she and her husband experienced a miscarriage. She said it left a painful spot in their hearts and that it was the most difficult time in her life. After that occurred, she had a song, “It Is Well,” that she played every day. When she got pregnant with Savannah, (her youngest daughter,) she began to have complications, which brought back terrible memories. Fear started to take hold again. These emotions led her back to listening to that song again. “It Is Well,” played over and over and over. She had it repeat in her playlist, and once again, it helped calm her spirit like it had before.

Fast forward … Savannah is now two. She listens to music with her mommy as they are getting ready for their day. When the song that Pastor Tina listened to while she was pregnant with Savannah came on, she started singing along! “Through it all, through it all … “ She is two years old! How does she know this song when she does not sing along to any of the others?

Pastor Tina says that the promises of God have a voice. Your promise has a voice! Savannah had heard that song when she was in her mommy’s womb and recognizes the words and can sing along! She encouraged us to have the promises that God has given us on repeat in our hearts. We need to listen to them over and over and over, so we can recognize them and hear the voice of God when He is speaking to us. God will make His promise happen. Your voice has a promise, and it will bring Glory to God!

Pastor Travis
Prelude


Pastor Travis’s book, 7 Deadly Thoughts, is finally ready and will be released to the public soon. He says that people are walking in bondage, and this bondage is in their minds.
He asked us to pray for favor as this book is released.

Main Message

John 8:1-5
Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They said unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what do you say?

Pastor Travis opened the message with a prayer: Father, may we shed labels you did not put upon us, so that we can discover our identity.

There was no question mark on if she was guilty. She was caught in the very act. (One question should bother us – Where was the man? To commit adultery, it takes two.) Now, this woman was caught slippin by Scribes and Pharisees. They were experts in the law of Moses. (Question two: How did they know where to find her? Had they set a trap for her? Had they been watching her?)

To break this commandment, mean death. Everyone there picked up rocks of judgement and brought her before Jesus to question Him. They were prepared to stone her, who they really wanted to trap was Jesus. The Pharisees had been watching Jesus to find something they could hold against him, and the only thing they could count as a weakness was that He couldn’t resist sinners. He has a soft place in His heart for broken people. How is that a weakness? Most people would consider that an attribute to someone’s character. Religion Hates grace. Religion likes to remind you how sinful you are.

Now watch this, they said something very interesting next. They said, “The Law says we should kill her, but Jesus, what do You say?” Pastor Travis encouraged us to do one thing the next time the accuser comes to point out our sins; point them to this question. Jesus, What do You say? He went on to explain what he meant.

UNFORGIVEABLE

Earlier in John Chapter 5 Jesus had healed a man on the sabbath day. In verse 18 it says, “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.” From that point on, they had to set a trap to catch Jesus in blasphemy.

Adultery meant capital punishment. They believed it, and so did the woman caught in the act of adultery. She did not want to die, but she did not expect to be forgiven.

What is hanging over your heart where you also wear this label? Maybe you’ve had a parent, a Sunday school teacher, or someone you trusted tell you that if you ever “that” God will not forgive you. They probably did not do this on purpose, but they were painting an image of God that you were going to carry for the rest of your life. Children believe this and stop doing something very important. They stop believing they are valuable.

When you believe that God will not forgive you, you begin to see God as a harsh being, and are often unable to call Him, Good Father. You begin to expect the Bad and not the Good. You hold judgement on others instead of offering forgiveness. You feel like God is getting back at you for all of evils you have committed. You begin to degrade yourself and say things like, “I deserve that. I had it coming to me.”

Maybe you really did do something wrong. You blew it. You hurt somebody, deeply wounding them. Perhaps you wounded them emotionally. There is no denying it. Your conscious reminds you every day of what you did wrong. Maybe you said or did something that nobody else knows about. What you did was so atrocious that you’ve never told anyone, and deep down inside you are wondering, “Am I forgivable?”

When this thought takes ahold of a person, they begin to make self-destructive decisions. They pick jobs that punish themselves. They form poor relationships. Because, let’s face it, they don’t deserve anything better. They made their bed, its time to lie in it.

Perhaps it got to the point where they mustered up every bit of courage they tried to escape the label and went to church. Their last-ditch effort to search for God’s mercy. And you know what they find? Instead of finding mercy, they find a bunch of Pharisees holding rocks.

Imagine that scene! Broken, lost, alone, you turn to the one place that is supposed to accept you, to help you, to – dare you dream it? – love you. Instead of finding forgiveness, you find more shame. Where do you go to get healing when the church turns you away? When the very place that is supposed to bring freedom, puts you in more bondage?

What does Jesus say?

The Pharisees threw the woman into the middle of the crowd, self-righteous men who were ready to stone her to death. Then they asked a question, that should have never asked. “Jesus, what do You say?”

This question was designed as a trap. When He answered, if Jesus declared something contrary to the Law, they would have forgotten about the woman, and turned their wrath on Jesus. But God is funny. The trap the enemy set, was the trap they fell into. God takes what the enemy throws to destroy you and He turns it to our good.

Genesis 50:20
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good …”

What Pastor Travis contrasted for us was this:
Religion picks up rocks.
Jesus picks of people.

Just Something Different About Him

Jesus is not a normal man. He is God in the flesh. He came not to condemn, but to redeem.

When they asked Jesus that question, the crowd went silent – waiting. But she broke the Law! She should be condemned!

Jesus throws them a curveball. His response: He who is without sin, cast the first stone.

John 8:7
So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

Not surprising, the crowd got quiet again. Jesus was pointing out her sin anymore. He was pointing out theirs.

One by one, they dropped their stones and walked away. To the woman, the sound of those heavy stones was the sound of redemption. (Then Pastor Travis asked the congregation to close their eyes. He repeated, “Those who are without sin, cast the first stone.” There was a silence so loud, we could feel it. Then, he dropped a stone. Boom! On the alter it landed. Boom, he dropped another one. Boom, and another.) The sound of redemption came to our ears. As the rocks dropped onto the alter, the tears began to drop from the eyes of people who’s labels were being ripped away and some for the very first time.

THE UNFORGIVABLE BECOME FORGIVEN.

It only takes one. Each Pharisee began to realize that if they were to cast their stone, at that point they are telling people they are God. The truth is, there is only one person who is sinless, perfect, and that is God Almighty.

Getting into the head of a Pharisee at that moment probably sounded something a bit like this; “To claim divinity is blasphemy. I will get killed. I am not God. I don’t have the right to cast a stone.”

Some of them, some of us need to drop our stones, and forgive. Some of us need to raise hands and say thank you to god for His forgiveness.

A miracle occurred that day. There really was someone there who was without sin. One who was able to cast judgement on the woman. One who was perfect, and blameless before man. One who was equal with God.

He goes to the woman and asks her, “Is there no one left to condemn you?” Jesus did not include Himself in the first question. He said, Is there no one Left? Knowing that He was the only who was able to condemn, He takes that authority and continues, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” John 8:11

The question is not, are you guilty? The question is, have you believed?

John 3:16-17

If anyone has grown up around the church or spent a longer amount of time at one, they are probably familiar with John 3:16.

For God to loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

What needs to be highlighted and memorized just as importantly is John 3:17.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Jesus was saying, there is no sense in you dying for your sins. I am getting ready to die in your place. Jesus did not die for us. Jesus died as us. The Law of Moses said we should die. Jesus took the punishment He did not deserve because we did. What an amazing act of unconditional love. There are several scriptures that highlight this and the need to believe in Jesus, the one who God sent. John 6:29.

2 Corinthians 5:19
God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

Hebrews 8:12
For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

Scandalous Grace

What makes grace so scandalous?
Jesus shed his blood on the cross and sinners are forgiven. Has everyone heard and believed? Are my sins forgiven? Good news! They already were!

Some of us, we are not waiting for God to forgive us. Really, we already know and believe that we have been forgiven by God, but we are holding ourselves captive. Perhaps we are waiting for the ones who we hurt to forgive us. Paul in the book of Romans encourages us that as far as it has to do with you, be at peace with all men. Romans 12:18.

The good new is, you do not have to wait for them because Christ forgave you on the cross! You can forgive you and move on. If they don’t forgive you, that are holding themselves in captivity. Your peace is not held hostage by their unwillingness to forgive.

Forgiven and Forever changed.

Who was this woman? Again, we are not sure. What we can be sure of is that after this moment with Christ, she was never the same.

We think the fear of the rock is what causes people to repent. No. It is the goodness of the Lord that leads people to repentance. Romans 2:4.

Jesus had not died yet on the cross. He extended that right to her. Gave her forgiveness in advance. Chew on this thought this week. Jesus was slain from the beginning of the world. To this woman, He said something like this; “I am going to treat you as if it were already done.” He already forgave you on the cross.

Luke 23:34a
Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

Remember

Yeah, maybe you treated your ex-husband bad, your wife poorly, your kids, college roommates, high school classmates, another church; maybe you caused them pain and you are plagued with the question, “Am I forgivable?”

The question again, is not, are you forgivable? The question is, have you put your faith in the One who purchased your forgiveness? Don’t ask God, “Do I do enough to earn your forgiveness? Ask yourself, “Was the cross enough for me to be set free?

Absolutely. And when we do, He makes His home in us. He lives inside of us. He changes our label.

Do you remember you before Jesus? Focus on Jesus and hear the beautiful sound … drops rock.

 

January 17, 2021 | Labels, part 2, Unchangeable

Sermon by Pastor Travis Hall, Reflections by Carlie Watt

Pastor Travis’s 1st Sermon Prelude

Near the end of our worship time, Pastor Travis is often prompted by Holy Spirit to speak to us what is being revealed to him in his heart. He began by reminding us that ALL of the promises of God are Yes and Amen in Christ. We are 100% guaranteed this promise. The struggle comes in the waiting. The timing of God is perfect. He exhorted that you need to trust that God is doing something to us while He is bringing the promise to you. The outcome of any given situation is not based on our ability, but through faith in His.

Healing for your body, for broken families, provision, answered prayers, marriages restored … Whatever you are going to God about, Lord, we say thank you before we see it because we place our trust in You.

Amen.

2nd Sermon Prelude

Worship creates an atmosphere for our hearts to receive what God is about to do or to say. Often, during worship we hear from the nudging of Holy Spirit something that must be shared to those around us. This can be different for both services because God has something different to say to those who have drawn near to Him.

After worship in 2nd service Pastor Travis exhorted us by telling us that what we were singing is prophetic. God said, “I am getting ready to do it again. There are things the thief has taken during this season.  I have restored before, and I am about to restore again. When it comes back to you, it will not come the way it left. It will come back pressed down, shaken together, and running over. You will not have room enough to receive the way I am going to restore. It will come back in abundance.”

Then Pastor told us that our job is not to analyze the word, it is to believe and receive. God will restore in abundance what the enemy has stolen. Pastor Travis is fully persuaded that God has given Life Church International a message that is to be brought to the world. LCI is a place where the lost are found and the found are set free.

Pastor Tina’s Words of Practical Wisdom
1st Service: Focus you Vision

The external beauty of a person is always heightened by the beauty of their countenance and heart. To our delight, Pastor Tina is one whose beauty shines brightly on the inside and out. We have noticed that on Sunday mornings, our eyes can always get drawn to a shiny object Pastor Tina is wearing. One week a necklace, the next a bracelet, and this week the shine went down the length of her pants. If you happen to be watching online, if your attention was not previously drawn toward the screen, the shine would most certainly grab your attention. What followed this week was another moment of wisdom and transparency that would make you glad you were not otherwise distracted.

Okay, back to Pastor Tina …

Recently, Pastor Tina had to have her eyes dilated and usually, it takes her around 5 hours for her eyes to go back to normal. During this time, she self-admittedly becomes a what she called a “Big Crybaby,” who can’t do this or that. Only, she says this as multiplied by 100x.

After returning from her appointment she decided to leave with her husband to run some errands with him. Big mistake! She could not see the road while he was driving. Pastor Tina kept yelling at him to “Slow down! Stop trailing so closely to that car!” Her husband reassured her that he was not as close to car as it seemed to her. Because of her dilated eyes, her depth perception was off. The lights on the road looked to her like fireworks.

With that realization, she began to be afraid. Perception is reality. It can be influenced by fear and discouragement. You know the saying, “When it rains, it pours?” Our confused minds become focused on what we cannot see. The perceived reality becomes more real to us than our actual circumstances. You see, Pastor Tina was focused on and upset about her husband’s reckless driving, and the fact she wanted to drive, because she thought she could do a better job. (Think about that. The one who’s vision was impaired thought she could do a better job despite her apparent temporary disability.)

The enemy loves getting us focused on things that are not true. When we find ourselves getting riled up about something, take a step back and refocus our minds on things that are true.

Scripture gives us several verses to ponder with this in mind:
2 Corinthians 5:7
(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

John 14:6a
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life:

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Pastor Tina encourages us to change our perspective. No matter what we see with our eyes, God IS Faithful. We need to remember to stand on the truth of God’s Word. It alone is a sure foundation. Our circumstances are not always showing us the truth. God is not bound by our circumstances. God is truth and should be our only measure of truth.

2nd Service: “Shut the Mouths of Lions.”

God is allowed to have an on-time message for one group of people and a different message He wants to speak to another. How wonderful that we have pastors who listen to Holy Spirit and obey His promptings! In the second service Pastor Tina was moved by the song we sand which lyrics are, “You shut the mouths of lions.” Yes! God certainly does shut the mouth of the devourer! He can, He has, and He will do it again.

The enemy is described as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8.) This enemy is an accuser and a liar. He is relentless in his pursuit to accuse, discourage, and frustrate believers. He distorts what you see to not match up with the promise that God has given you. He tells you that you are not good enough, and you do not measure up.

The good new is that Jesus was on the cross so that you are free to live, not according to our flesh which is prone to believing lies, but through the dynamic power of Holy Spirit, and by the truth of God’s Word, we and able to trust and believe in God alone!

Romans 8:5
For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

Pastor Tina encourages you to pursue spiritual realities. What God says is reality. The enemy is a liar! He leads us to death and sadness. God leads us to Life and Peace. This week be still and know that He is God. He is faithful, and His ways are Yes and Amen.

 

Pastor Travis, Main Message: Labels pt.2

Mark 5:25-26
And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spend all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, (KJV)

This is a true story about the woman with the issue of blood. “She was not getting better but worse.” (The Passion Translation.)

Recorded in three of the gospels, this woman had an issue for 12 years. A lot can happen, and a lot can be missed in that span of time. 12 years living a daily issue can feel like 2 lifetimes! She was not allowed to worship or enter the temple for 12 years. This woman is at the end of 12 embarrassing, difficult, unceasing years.

The law was taking life from her. In Leviticus, it describes what life would be like for this woman. She was unclean as long as she had this issue. Everywhere she went, she had to announce herself as Unclean, and people would scatter away from here as to not accidently get touched by her.

When an unclean person touches a clean person, the clean person becomes unclean.

This issue was robbing her spiritually, emotionally, relationally, and financially. It seems that no part of her life was left untouched. She spent all she had. We can only speculate, but did she lose a marriage? Her relationship with her family? Her friends? This issue robber her of any hope of living a normal life. She had spent every dime she had on medical experts when in the end, she did not get better. She only got worse.

She even lost her name! They called her by the issue. It swallowed up her identity. People begin to identify you are the label they have given you, the one of your issue. They no longer see you.

The labels we collect elicit emotions of hopelessness.
When we feel hopeless, it is easy to earn the label:
UNCHANGEABLE.

This woman lived in a self-absorbed culture. It sounds a bit like ours right now. When someone is sick, how long will people actually wait for someone to “get well?” 1 week? 2? Months? Or perhaps a couple of years?

Experts, money, medicines, no one and nothing could help this woman with her issue. This woman was not passive in attempts at healing. In fact, the more she did, the worse she got!

How many of us can relate to this label? What issue makes you believe you cannot change? Everybody has issues. These issues have broken and rebroken and rebroken your heart.
-Are you Angry? Do you wish you didn’t get angry, but you do? Do you ask, “What’s wrong with me?” Do you lose your temper with people you love and people around you?

-Do you have trust issues? You know you need to forgive but don’t, so, you don’t trust anyone? You want to trust, to try to forgive, and instead, you push good relationships away for bad ones. At least you don’t have to pretend to trust them.

-Or do you just plain Sin? Do you lust after someone? Do you look at pornography? When you do it, do you feel remorse? Again, asking yourself, “What is wrong with me? I want to quit. I am just … UNCHANGEABLE.”

What does this mean for the church?

The Bible does not say that this issue was a headache, emotional, or physical so to say. It specifically reads That the issue was one of Blood.

Isaiah 64:6a
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;

Filthy rags here translates from the King James version as – filthy menstrual cloths.

Pastor Travis gives us something to ponder. You might already know that God never includes anything in scripture that doesn’t serve more than one purpose. This particular story tells of one of the miracles Jesus performed, AND it teaches future believers something as well.

This event not only tells us about a woman with a bleeding problem. It also tells about a church with a righteousness problem.

Religion vs. An Encounter

Religious attempts at self-righteousness makes our issues get worse. In fact, it takes everything you’ve got and leaves you empty, worse than when you began. Religion makes promises It cannot keep. It keeps pointing out your issue.

Family could not help her. Priests in the temple would not help her. The Doctors could not heal her. Even the experts knew they could not help her and yet, they continued to take her money. The more she tried, the worse she got.

It wasn’t until she believed in the One whom the Father has sent that things changed. Jesus was walking through a busy crowd with His disciples, and when she touched the hem of His garment, He turned around and asked, “Who touch me?” The disciples were perplexed. Looking at the crowd, and Jesus wondered who touched Him? It could have been anyone! No, no, no … Jesus felt power went out from him.

When the woman revealed herself and what she had done, Jesus replied to her saying, “Your faith has made you whole.” (Mark 5:34 KJV)

She was not healed by completing programs, or attending study groups, (though those things are good.) What made her whole is her faith in Jesus as the One who could heal her.

What happened next was no less miraculous. For the first time in history, when this unclean touched Jesus, instead of the clean becoming unclean, the unclean became clean! For the first time ever, the unclean was healed and made whole.

Jesus shed His blood, to stop our bleeding.

When she ceased trying to make it happen for herself, Jesus made it happen for her. If You could Do enough, You could make yourself well. But that is simply not the case. It is not what God designed. We need Jesus. Self-help is no help at all.

Pastor Travis put it this way – She couldn’t gain or keep righteousness until she went to the One who is righteous.

Labels Lie

Labels lie entirely, or in the least, they give you a half truth. Perhaps you have heard your Momma tell you that a half truth is a whole lie. It is the same with labels.

This woman’s label was – UNCHANGEABLE. That was a half-truth. The Whole truth is – You cannot change You, only Jesus can.

By this point in the message you should begin to understand that the most dangerous labels are not the labels you hear. The most dangerous labels are the ones you believe.

The moment you put your hands in the hand of the One who can transform you, you begin to realize that He isn’t interested in changing you. He is wanting to transform you, and when that happens, there is no going back. You are a new creation.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Matthew 11:28
Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

In other words, come to me, those who are sick and tired of trying to change you, and I will transform you, and give you rest from your self-righteous labors.

Stop Being a Self-help Guru

Is someone you love unchangeable? Have you done all you could think or imagine to do, and all they do is seem to be getting worse? Take your eyes off of them. Stop trying to control them out of fear. We are afraid they will not change. Let go!!! The best thing we can do is point them to Christ. Christ Jesus does the rest.

Think back to your salvation moment. Did someone take your hand and force you to take Jesus, praying a prayer, knowing that you didn’t mean a word of it? No one becomes righteous when someone else makes us do so. What they do is become good a playing the part, with no inner transformation at all.

Yes, the woman touched Jesus’s garment, but it wasn’t the touch that healed her. It was her faith. If it was the touch, we would formulate and try to come up magical ways to touch His garment 2,000 years later. Garments of Jesus’s robe would be ‘found’ and sold around the world as healing objects sold at inconceivable prices. We would try to Do something. No, no, no. Jesus told the woman to go her way, her faith has made her whole.

Victory Over Labels

The woman had to push through the crowd, pushing past what she believed to be true about herself, to get to the One who knew and changed everything about her.

“Who touched me?” he asked. “What? Everyone!” they replied. Jesus explained “It was not the touch. Something went out from me. We made an exchange, a trade.” Jesus gave the woman beauty for ashes. The moment she touched Jesus; she lost the evidence of her accusers. The proof was gone. Her faith in Jesus made her whole, well, healed, righteous.

Isaiah 61:3
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

Now, back to the woman. She had to push through the crowd of people who didn’t want to be touched by her. In 2021 our greatest challenge will be pushing past the ones who gave you your label to get to the one who can take it from you. What Jesus thinks about you is more powerful than what people have said about you.

But what if the opinion originated inside your own mind? What about you? Perhaps you were a street person, now you are a doctor You were an addict, now you are a preacher. You were angry, now you are gentle. You were quiet, now you have something to say! What happened to you? You were transformed! It is time to make a decision to believe in Jesus Christ.

UNCHANGEABLE becomes TRANSFORMED.
The woman was transformed.

TRANSFORMED: metamorphosis.
We first consider the butterfly. The caterpillar goes into its cocoon and after some amount of time, emerges as a beautiful butterfly. But what a transformation is, is much more superior. It is the act of one species becoming something entirely new. It is more like a tiger turning into an eagle.

Philippians 1:6
Being confident of this very thing, that he which has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

He who started the work is faithful to complete it. Jesus make you entirely different. Perhaps you have gone through this transformation, but you think, “When I look at me in the mirror, I look the same.” Here is one major difference between what the Pharisees were doing, and what Jesus does. Pharisees start by giving you a bunch of rules to live up to, therefore changing your appearance on the outside. Jesus is the exact opposite. He makes a home in your heart, works on the renewing of your mind, and transforms your spirit. Jesus works on the Inside!

Romans 12:2
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Our minds are being renewed to think in alignment with this reality.

Paul wrote that his thinking changed by first believing that the only way to God is through his striving. This old thought told us to take lambs and goats to the temple for sacrifice. Jesus says we are to become a living sacrifice.

Romans 12:1
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Pastor Travis then taught us about worship. He said that he loves to worship! The singing part, and the living part. We love singing on Sunday mornings. What about giving tithes and offerings? What about Monday when we have to go to work, and to school? What about our daily dealings with our spouse, children, coworkers, and Oh! Our enemies?

Your life IS worship! Everything you do is an act of worship to God. Whether eating or drinking – do it all to the glory of God!

Colossians 3:17
And whatsoever ye do in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Trust in Jesus

Jesus says, “Trust me. I will live in you and make you entirely a new creation.”
Our response is often, “It’s impossible for me to change. I’VE TRIED.”
In sweet patience and gentleness Jesus replies, “I am not asking you to try. I am asking you to believe.”

The law was there for us to change ourselves, or rather, to show us how far we are from being able to do that. Scripture says the law will not pass away until it is accomplished. (Matthew 5:18.) It shed light on how we are unable to be self-righteous. It showed us our need for a savior.

When you believe in Jesus, you become a new creation. Are you ready to put your faith in Jesus? You’ve tried to change. Jesus is inviting you to stop trying and to place your trust in Him. The minute you stop striving to make changes in yourself, Jesus has free reign to mold you and to transform you, if you let Him.

January 10, 2021 | Labels, part 1, Unusable

Sermon by Pastor Travis Hall, Reflections by Carlie Watt

I have been asked to help the Pastor turn his Sunday sermon into a blog that will possibly help the message of the gospel reach more people. Those who are not attending church in person may watch online, and others who are not doing that, might be reachable in this setting. Some of you may have heard the message already and will find this blog useful in catching something in reading you may have missed in person. My prayer is that you I am able to take what I learned on Sunday morning and relate it to you in an understandable or comprehensible way.   If you find yourself among these groups, I welcome you!

Pastor Tina’s Word of Practical Wisdom

“New Year, New Me.”

The congregation had just sung a song during worship time that says, “You take what the enemy meant for evil and turn it for good.” It couldn’t have been planned any better to go along with the message Pastor Tina wanted to share with us that day. Isn’t it awesome when God does that? (It’s almost as if He knew what she wanted to say!) This is what I took home from her encouraging word –

God takes our past pain and what the enemy used against us and turns it around to change our lives.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things become new.

Once you take Christ into your heart, you become an entirely new person. Everything is fresh and new. Nothing more needs to occur after salvation. The old man has passed away instantly making you a new creation. Instantly, your Spirit is born again. Your mind is renewed daily. Your thought process changes as you mature in Christ. We don’t have to keep trying. We already Are new through Jesus Christ. Striving can end with this revelation.

Pastor Tina became vulnerable and shared with us that she wears hair extensions. She says that Nobody is perfect, and to illustrate that point she admitted to us that one of those extensions fell out while they were at Chick-fil-A. Could you imagine the embarrassment if she had gotten up to preach and part of hair fell out at that moment? Pst Tina shared that many of us carry a lie around, and it’s a pretty heavy one. “I don’t like me. I need a new me.” So, we do everything we can to try to change who we are and that gets pretty frustrating.

The wonderful point she was making is that you already Are a new person in Christ! Our minds need renewing, so our thoughts come into alignment with what Christ thinks about us. God says you are to die for! We can be comforted in the knowledge that even our best is filthy rags. He is our holiness, righteousness, wisdom, and redemption. We can’t “Do” anything else to be saved. Jesus was asked, “What shall we do that we might work the works of God?” and He replied, “This is the work of God, that you believe on him whom he hath sent.” (John 6:28 & 29.)

Rest in the knowledge that God has done it all, and you are His beloved. Amen.

Pastor Travis Sermon Prelude

A divided church cannot minister to a divided nation.

We have a message that brings healing. We cannot do that spew hate. Remember who you are: Sons and daughters of the Most Hight God and we have a message for the Whole world.

Jesus stands before Pontius Pilate, the oppressor. The Hebrew nation had been praying for a savior to set them free. When Jesus stood before him being accused, He opened not His not except to speak of two things; His identity as King, and to reveal His Heavenly kingdom. Politicians cannot figure this out.

Jesus lives in you. Does His same message match our lives? People are watching us. In WWII, everyone thought God was on their side for political gain. We are God’s children, ambassadors of Christ and His Kingdom.

God did not say, “They will know who are mine by how they vote.” No, no, no. What He said is, “They will know who belong to Me by their love for one another.” (John 13:35.)

Pastor Travis Main Message: LABELS

Exodus 4:10-13
Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”

Here is the context of the scripture above. Moses is living in the wilderness as a shepherd after leaving Pharaoh’s palace. God comes to Moses and says, here is your purpose, your destiny. Moses’s responds, no. God rebuttals with the argument that He is Lord of all. Moses still pleads, No. What is wrong with this picture?

Moses is carrying a label:
UNSUABLE.

Many people are successful and still carry this label.

We pick up labels as we go through life. They are given to us by family and people we love, or the enemy gives it to us, or classmates, or perhaps we gave it to ourselves. Oftentimes how the label grows on us is Subtle. Labels can be good, and they can be not so good. Labels impact our relationships, our decisions, they can be pushing, and they can be limiting.

Moses carried many labels:
Poor leader.
Weak leader, with no authority.
Inadequate speaker.
All these which made him feel as if he was Unusable.

Let’s look at it again. God says, “Moses, here is your calling, your destiny, your purpose. Here is what you were created to do!”
Moses responds, “No God. You have the wrong guy.”
This is what Moses had been waiting for all these in the desert, asking God, “Is there more?”
And God responds, “Yes, Moses! Here it is!”
Moses replies in anguish, “I want more God, but Not that!”

You see, people let you down and through pain and damage, we pick up a label, consciously or not. It is not always obvious, but we show it in our decisions. We believe that our limitations in our minds disqualify us for the call on our lives.  We explain to God about our shortcomings.

What limitations have convinced you that you cannot do more than what are doing right now? Here is a list of common limitation lies: You are too young, or too old. You are uneducated, or not talented enough. Your past was too damaging. You are not wealthy, popular, pretty, or charismatic enough. Sound familiar? You have believed the lie that your limitations disqualify you from God’s invitations.

If that were true, there were many people in scripture who would have never been chosen by God to fulfill His plans. Sarah was full of doubt. Abraham was old. Paul was a horrible preacher. Peter was impatient. Noah was not a carpenter. Here is the truth that destroys that lie. If God called you to it, He provides the way for you to do it.

There are two types of limitations, Perceived and Real.

Perceived limitations are based on lies we tell about ourselves. For example, there are people who think they can’t do you something, when you watch them and see that they can! Perceived limitations are often manifestations of spiritual intimidation. The enemy recognizes your gift in you and convinces you to not unwrap your gift, to stop you from walking in that gift, and eventually robbing you of the authority and power you could be walking in if you did!

When you get in the Word and sit under the Word, God begins to heal you and you begin to believe what He says about you, and you are able to walk in the spiritual authority you can only have through Him.

Real limitations are based on unarguable facts. Everybody has them. A good example is seen while watching the outtakes of American Idol where they show the auditions of those who did not make it on the show. They leave the viewers wondering who lied to them and led them to believe that they should try out for the show? Reality is, that singing is not the gift they should give to the world.

These limitations make us feel conflicted. The real limitations conflicts with our calling. Our frustration can be proof that God is calling us to do something beyond our limitations.

Pastor Travis admitted that he cannot play the piano. But that’s OK, because he is not frustrated that he cannot play the piano. It doesn’t make him leap inside. One other thing he was never really good at is writing. If you were to go back and talk to his high school English teacher, they would tell you the same thing.  But, Oh! He wanted too! Or, it was more, God told him to, and all he could feel was – Wait. What? God wanted him to do what? No, no. Writing was his Kryptonite, and yet, god had asked Pastor Travis to write a book. It wasn’t until, out of obedience, he started the process of writing that he discovered the wonderful profession of Editors. And now, Pastor Travis is just 4 weeks away from being a published author! Is our label keeping us away from our calling?

The Gift of Limitations

2 Chronicles 16:9
For the eyes of the lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him …

God is looking to show Himself strong. He is looking for a people with limitations who are willing to say, here am I Lord, send me. The question is not, are you usable? The question is, are you available? You see, God uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. (1 Corinthians 1:27.) God is looking for someone to say, “Yes.”

When Paul wrote to the churches, he was transparent. Your ability to be powerful will never exceed your willingness to be vulnerable. God says, “My grace is sufficient for you. My Power is strong in your weakness.” It just might be that God chose you because of your limitations. Later, Paul wrote favorably about his weakness. He claimed that in his weakness is when God is strong!

You have a divine calling and destiny.

Does this mean that you are perfect? That’s not possible. You are limited, remember?

2 Corinthians 12:9
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for you; for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly there, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Let’s look at another example. The example of the wrong tag. Pastor Travis bought a new shirt. The tag said XL but it looked a little small. Instead of trying it on at the store, like Pastor Tina suggested, he trusted the label and bought the shirt anyway. Once they got home and he tried on the shirt, it was well apparent that the shirt did not fit like an XL should. It fit more like a Medium.

If that had happened to us, many of our first reactions could have been to wonder, what is wrong with Me? The problem was not with person in the shirt, the shirt had been mislabeled. When taking a better look at ourselves, we need to realize that perhaps We have been mislabeled, where we think we don’t fit in, and therefore never step into our magnificent calling. You see, we were too focused on the label.

2000 years ago, Jesus did something incredible. He came to earth when his people were living with extreme limitations. Under the law, we had zero righteousness and holiness. The number of those who could approach God were limited.  People were full of uncertainty, never fully knowing where they stood with God. Then, God sent His son. Jesus died on the cross eliminating those limitations. (Colossians 2:14.) Everything we once were in Adam has been placed onto the Cross of Jesus and nailed permanently there as a public display of cancellation.

UNUSABLE becomes VALUABLE.
Jesus traded our labels. Past, present, and future were nailed to the cross.

Our VALUE is not in our affirmations by people. Our VALUE is in our acceptance of the cross. Realizing this does not make you prideful, if makes you confident in who you are in HIM!

The question is not are you valuable, does God see the best in you, or have a good future for you? The question is, are you available? Can you embrace your limitation as my invitation from God to do something miraculous?

Are you tired of the enemy keeping you from this passion inside of you? Stop waiting for God to take your limitation in you before He uses you. God says, He is the Alpha and the Omega. He has more than enough ability. Insecurities prevent you from your calling. Do not let your inability to overshadow God’s capability. In other words, put your faith in God’s ability and stop focusing on your inability. Our response should be, “Here am I Lord, us me.”

Breakthrough is coming!

Incredibly gifted and simultaneously limited. These may have to live together. God has a will for your life, so that His glory can be manifested.

Your limitation is God’s invitations to manifest in your situation.

Let your Dreams come alive and be revived. What would You do if you stopped believing the lies of the limitations and labels placed on you?