Receive & Give the Gift of Forgiveness This Christmas, December 21, 2014

Isaiah 9:6-7, Isaiah 1:18, Micah 7:18-19, Ephesians 1:7, Hebrews 10:17, Colossians 1:13-14, 2 Corinthians 5:17, I John 3:7, 2 Corinthians 2:5, Matthew 6:9-15, Mark 11:25
Forgiveness
FORGIVENESS IS NOT:
– Saying that what was done is okay.
– Releasing the guilty party from the legal or divine consequences of their behavior.
– Something that you have to achieve on your own.
– Merely words said to satisfy some legal standard.
– Dependent on the perpetrator’s response.
– Easy.
– A feeling.

FORGIVENESS IS:
– An act of God’s grace being poured out through your heart.
– A result of being transformed into His image.
– A removal of a significant part of Satan’s ground.
– An act of the will, not a servant of feelings.

Slay these excuses:
– I can’t forgive
– I can’t forgive, it would be a betrayal.
– I will forgive when they ask me.
– I forgive, but I’ll have nothing to do with them.
– I forgive, but I’ll never trust them.
– I forgive, but they owe me.
– I forgive, but I want justice.
– I forgive, but I want revenge.

Are you willing to come to that place today where you will say from the heart:
– I forgive.
– I forgive and he/she owes me nothing.
– I forgive and I choose to bless them.

Transformed, Part 7: Vocational Health – Facing Giants in Life and Work, Dec 14, 2014

Your ability to dream is a God-given gift! 
Every great achievement began with a dream or thought or imagination.
1 SAMUEL 17:1-7
LESSONS FROM DAVID FACING GOLIATH
FACT: There were other giants David had to face in order to become what God designed him to be.
1st dreambuster: Delay – No dream is fulfilled instantly (1 SAMUEL 17:12-15)
There will people who will hold you back from your dream. Some of you were held back- because of your age, race, gender, looks any kind of discrimination can be a giant.
2nd dreambuster: Discouragement – Everyone was afraid. (1 SAMUEL 17:8-11)
Conventional wisdom is often wrong. Who are you listening to? Who says it can’t be done?
If you listen to negative statements long enough, you get negative (1 SAMUEL 17:23-24)
3rd dreambuster: Disapproval – Many will not go after their dreams because of this. (1 SAMUEL 17:28-29)
Sometimes family doesn’t want your dream to succeed. Sibling rivalry can lead to resentment.
You let the size of your God determine the size of your goal.
You must decide which is more important to you: the approval of God or the approval of man.
4th dreambuster: Doubt – am I capable and up to this task? The expert doubted David’s ability (1 SAMUEL 17:32-33)

So how do you defeat the giants? Do what David did.
1. Remember how God has helped me in the past. (1 Sam. 17:36-37, Ps. 119:11)
2. Use the tools God has given me now. Don’t wait for your ship to come out, swim out to it! (Ecc. 11:4)
3. Ignore the dreambusters. (1 Sam. 30:6 – …when others were speaking against him, David encouraged himself in the Lord.)
4. Expect God to help me for His glory (1 Sam. 17:45-47). It is His battle, not ours. What are you expecting God to do in your life? (Matt. 9:29)

Transformed, Part 6: Financial Health – Transforming How I See & Use Money, Dec 7, 2014

Truth: If you don’t manage your money – it will manage you!
Important to note:
 1. Jesus did not praise the man’s dishonesty!.  He praised his Shrewdness!
 2. You can still learn & benefit from others w/o approving of  everything they do!
2 reasons Jesus told it:
 1. His audience was the Pharisees!  Culture esteems money, possessions, status, power, prestige, things money can buy
 2. Many believers are poor money managers!
WHAT NOT TO DO WITH MONEY
 1. DON’T WASTE  IT
 2. DON’T  LOVE IT OR LIVE FOR IT – LOVE PEOPLE. Use money
 3. DON’T TRUST IT FOR SECURITY – God’s love can never be taken away!
 4. DON’T EXPECT IT TO SATISFY!
5 COUNTER-CULTURE TRUTHS ABOUT MONEY
Everyday, remember…
 1. IT ALL BELONGS TO GOD!
 2. GOD IS USING MONEY TO TEST ME.
 3. MONEY IS A TOOL TO BE USED FOR GOD’S PURPOSES
 4. THE BEST USE IS TO USE IT GETTING PEOPLE TO HEAVEN.
 5. ONE DAY I’LL GIVE AN ACCOUNT TO GOD
Let’s do some honest self-evaluation now.
 * Does God really have first place in my life?.
 * Can God trust me with what he’s has allowed me to have?
 * Is the way I’m using my money show God that I can be trusted with  more?
 * What or how much am I investing for eternity?
 * Who will be in heaven because of me?