Thoughts and Testimonies

091116-F-1616C-003Ben Nolan: Story about the Parable of the Sower

We have a little garden at our house and every year we plant stuff and about half of it grows. Finally last year, she said, ‘This is what we’re going to do, we’re going to get peat moss and all kinds of stuff to make this garden grow.’ Our plants grew so well, we couldn’t give it all away.

The Parable of the Sower is in three Gospel accounts. The seed fell on hard ground, thorny soil, rocky soil, and good ground. Distractions, the world chokes the seed out. In every one of those cases, there is good soil. It might be under the thorns, rocks, etc, but it’s there. It’s all about the Sower. He removes the stones, he fertilizes, he pulls those weeds. The birds won’t steal your seed. You are good ground! Let God run off those birds. Let Him pull those weeds and get rid of those rocks.

You are good ground! Is there something you’re holding onto that you need to allow the Lord to pull out and throw away? What do you need to allow the Lord to root out of your life? What do you need to allow the Lord to chase away?

Scott Lane: Our Pastor has a vision of starting seven churches. We’ve got a church in Arlington Heights called TLC Thrift. When I volunteer, I’m doing a service for the pastor and a service for the Lord. I can pass on my testimony and encourage others. I can ‘sow’ hope.

Mat 20:28 “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

You can bless people by your testimony. Just encourage them. Love like you’ve been loved. You can glorify God by your words. It doesn’t have to be loud. It just has to be real.

When you share what God has done for you, you are being a witness. How can you encourage someone today?

Nick Prabha: Monday night in our Life Group, I shared that the last couple of months have been really rough. I let stuff get to me. Instead of leaning on the Lord, I tried to do it all myself. Because I stopped leaning on the Lord, the devil had a way in. I slid into depression. The devil told me I wasn’t good enough. I let frustration get the better of me.

During Christmas, I worked 9 days straight. I barely saw my wife. I’m on the other side of it now.

Psalm 34:4 “I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”

He delivered me from all that. At church, He told me to dance for Him in worship. I will make a fool of myself just like David did when he danced before the Lord in worship because God has chosen me, anointed me.

How has the Lord delivered you from your fears? Will you choose to trust Him more because of that? How does that change your life? How can you encourage someone else by sharing your experience?

Terry Murphy: God will give you the strength to do things you didn’t think you could do, like run. It’s a team effort to see a new soul enter the Kingdom. A young man came to the altar and received forgiveness from God. Our pastor and several men gathered around him and prayed for him. He repented of his sins and received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. He then got baptized in the water in the Name of Jesus.

There is joy in the presence of angels when one sinner repents. 

How has God caused you to do things you thought you couldn’t do? How can you be sure to do your part as part of the team? 

Layna LoCascio (Pastor’s Wife): Sometimes, the Lord unzips things for you so you can understand certain things. The Lord has already taken care of the devil for us. As a Pastor’s wife and pastor, we came here and pastored a church of ten people. But, God had given us a prophecy that we would have explosive growth. It has been very difficult spiritually, sleepless nights, binding and rebuking, and praying.

We’ve been sent to a city that is large and there’s a promise, but you don’t go at it without discipline. Use your spiritual muscle. Fight the enemy and take reign in the Spirit. You must do that in order to gain ground.

There were many nights that I had to pray over my kids. I’d feel something walk into the house and I’d have to pray and say, ‘I don’t think so!’ When you pray for people, you sometimes have to fight in the Spirit and go to battle for them. The stuff you don’t see is what’s most important.

What will happen when you die? The eternal is what really matters. There are two kingdoms, either you’re for God or against Him.

What do you need to be more disciplined about? What do you need to say, ‘yes’ to and what do you need to say, ‘no’ to? When you pray, what is Jesus leading you to pray about?

I have felt the Lord take the waters and part the waters and get rid of the enemy (Isaiah 55 and 54). Then, my husband said, ‘We declare war!’ The Lord opened my eyes.

The first two sermons were about discipline. There are two-fold people here, people have worked hard and been waiting for the fire for a long time. We will see mighty things happen in this church.

The church and the people need discipline. You get discipline through resistance, like building muscles through weightlifting.

We are going somewhere in the Holy Ghost.

The next step is through discipline. You must pray every day. The devil will lie and say you’re not worthy and you’ve messed up. You need to ignore that. Go boldly before the throne. When you ask, God will forgive you! If you feel unforgiven, either you need to repent or you’re believing a lie. You have to keep going.

The people who overcome are the ones who get back up and keep going. Your attitude is not always perfect, but keep going. Unity is of God. Forgive other people and forgive yourself!

If you do those two things, you will overcome!

You will get back up. Discipline will come through prayer every day! If you’re struggling with faith, get in the Word and read and pray. God’s Word gets inside of you and heals you. It is real and powerful. Let God do His work! Read God’s Word and Pray!

The tools to overcome in this war are through God’s Word and prayer. Do not let guilt or offense overcome you.

What lies have you believed? What is the truth? How does that change your life? How will you apply God’s Word to your life? 

The Daniel Fast for this church is different from stuff online. No sugar, no meat. You decide exactly how you want to do that. Create discipline in your life. Read your Bible and Pray every day!

Discipline will cause explosive growth.

This Bible Study excerpted from inspirations and testimonies from various members. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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The Law of the Increase

Camille_Pissarro_-_The_HarvestGal 6:7-8 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”

The Law of the Harvest, Reaping and Sowing, Increase—Spiritually and Naturally, the natural actually mimics the Spirit. All of us want to be disciples of Jesus, but we need to know how.

There is a law of increase or harvest. If you can apply the natural ways of agriculture, there is a concept that’s easy to grasp. The basics of sowing and reaping can be applied to the spirit and discipleship. You have to understand that you won’t get anywhere with God if you don’t give something. You won’t receive if you give nothing.

Have you ever been on a farm? Have you ever grown anything? Why do you think Jesus uses the idea of the harvest to explain Spiritual things?

John 12:24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.”

Hosea 10:12 “Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.”

Something has to break in order for you to be a disciple. You can’t be a Christian without discipline. If you want to be a disciple, you must know what’s in the Word of God, if you’re going to be a Christian, you must be disciplined in the ways and teaching of the Bible.

If something applies to your life spiritually, how will you focus in order to receive the increase? What disciplines do you need to add to your life in order to become more like Jesus?

We need upgrades, but it takes more than ‘belief.’ What does it take to have the anointing? Are you willing to suffer? We want the crown, but not the cross. There is a law of reaping and sowing.

Job 4:8 “Even as I have seen, Those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same.”

If you want to receive great things, you have to give great things.

Prov 9:10-11 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. 11 For by me your days will be multiplied, And years of life will be added to you.”

Discipleship flows from wisdom of a prophetic nature. Wisdom of a prophetic nature causes discipline to happen in your life. Wisdom of a prophetic nature activates a desire to exercise discipline in certain areas of your life.

If you want to get an ‘A’ in a certain class, you must discipline yourself in a certain way.

James 1:12 “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

You can’t just ‘blab it and grab it!’ Now, in the power of your mouth, God can do miracles, but if you sow it, you don’t have to say a word. You don’t have to tell people that you’re holy, you can walk in it and it becomes obvious to everyone around you.

Prov 13:11 “Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, But he who gathers by labor will increase.”

What do you want to happen in your life this year? What will you sow for God to increase this year?

If you sow kindness, you will reap peace and joy. If you sow fasting and prayer, you will reap a devil-casting-out mind. If you do the least that you can do, God will do the least He can do.

You can’t horde something and assume you will increase in that. It doesn’t work that way. The Law of the Harvest is a Spiritual paradox. It doesn’t make sense to give and know that you will receive, but it’s the way God works.

Jacob was a man of God. He lied to his father. Then, his own sons lied to him and broke his heart. David sowed sin in his kingdom (he committed adultery). Because of David’s sin, there was never a time of peace during his reign. He had trouble in his own house, his own son rebelled and another child died.

But, you say, ‘I’ve repented of all that.’ What can you do to avoid and reverse this?

A paradox is a seemingly absurd contradictory statement that will prove to be well-founded and true. It doesn’t sound right, but it works. If you want to be exalted, you have to humble yourself. You can’t be forgiven until you repent. If you want new life, then you must die and lose everything. Transformation in the Spirit doesn’t come from logic, it comes from discipline in God’s laws and ways.

To activate this law of transformation and increase, you must first apply discipline that comes from wisdom. Discipline in the right areas so that God can give the increase.

How does something grow when it gets cut back? It’s just the way God works. You can learn from the natural. How does someone become strong in the Lord? Through weakness, ‘His strength is made perfect in weakness.’

If you want to be His disciple, deny yourself.

Mat 16:24 “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.’”

What things or ways do you need to deny yourself?

Soil that’s good receives seed and then produces some 30, some 60, and some 100-fold. If the seed that God has put inside of you is to be 100-fold, this year, 100-fold is possible.

Lev 19:23-25 “When you come into the land, and have planted all kinds of trees for food, then you shall count their fruit as uncircumcised. Three years it shall be as uncircumcised to you. It shall not be eaten. 24 But in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, a praise to the Lord. 25 And in the fifth year you may eat its fruit, that it may yield to you its increase: I am the Lord your God.”

There is a number thing in that passage, but we’re focusing on the Law of Increase for now. The first fruit shall always be consecrated to God. This time, it’s modified, it’s the fourth year that’s consecrated.

Will you be self-disciplined? Will you eat fruit that God doesn’t want you to because you want to fill your belly? Lack of self-discipline will abort a process God wants for you.

If a tree is harvested too soon, it will kill the tree. God wants you to sustain. It’s time to discipline in an area of increase. Your worship now will be more fruitful than ever before. You have to wait for God’s timing! You will get stickability, but you must sow.

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

Posted in Excerpts from Sermons by Pastor Anthony LoCascio, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jesus is for Kings and Shepherds

Lamb_first_steps_(edited)Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

The Christmas story is so powerful. It’s found in both Matthew and Luke.

Luke 2:8-20 “Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.’ 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!’ 15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.’ 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.”

Have you ever read the Christmas story from the Bible? What are some of the differences between what you grew up hearing versus what is actually written?

Some people think it’s all a myth. Yet, it’s a proven fact of History that Jesus was a real person. You don’t have to be a Christian to know that. You just have to be a good historian. There is so much evidence. Anybody who says it’s a myth doesn’t know what he’s talking about. It’s as crazy as saying Abraham Lincoln was a myth. It’s not just Roman history that documents Jesus’ reality. Even Jewish histories document His life and death. None of them are disputed and none of these were Christian historians.

Jesus was a real person. He had a following. They knew that He did things, miracles. They say His body was stolen, but they verify the fact that He was crucified and died. There are thousands of archeological facts that support Jesus’ life, death, and burial.

Why do you think people want to believe Jesus is a myth? What do people gain by saying that Jesus never existed? What do you believe?

I was born into a Christian family. My dad was military. The worst word growing up was communism. We lived during the cold war. We had bomb drills in school, not just fire drills. At Christmas, my dad wanted all the lights you could get. We loved to drive and look at the lights. We wanted to celebrate Christmas because the atheist and the communist world wanted to get rid of it. 

I think we need to celebrate Christmas. We have Biblical precedent to celebrate it. Even the stars declared it. The angels showed up and told the shepherds. Jesus is for kings and shepherds. Jesus is for the rich and the poor and everybody in between. Thank God He came. So it is that the Lord celebrated Christmas with the angels, stars, announcements, and all that transpired that wonderful night and year.

Note: The Bethlehem Star is a free movie on Youtube. Check it out.

The shepherds, if you study this out, you can see the angels said, ‘this shall be a sign unto you,’ specific signs unto the shepherds, a babe in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

How does knowing that Jesus came both for the rich and the poor, the slave and the free, change your life?

In the Jewish writings, the shepherds in Bethlehem watched special lambs meant to be Passover lambs for the following year. There’s a little clue in there, they were in the fields at night. Normal shepherds brought their sheep in at night, but during lambing season, when the baby lambs are born, they stayed out. They were there to protect those little lambs from wolves, vulnerable times for the yew and the lambs. They were to protect and guard the sheep and help in the birthing process. These lambs had to be without spot or injury. They had to be well protected.

When that little lamb was born, they would wrap those lambs in swaddling clothes to protect them during the first few hours of birth so they wouldn’t fall right after birth. They also laid the baby lambs in a manger, this was a specific sign to them. So, when they went to find Mary and Joseph, they found Jesus wrapped up and lying in a manger, just like their little future Passover lambs.

Just as God protected the promise, He will protect you. He is faithful to do all He has promised. How does this knowledge change your life?

The wise men came to bring gifts for a king—gold for kings, frankincense for priests (a frank incense, frank tree, burned for its smell, very expensive), and myrrh, a spice collected for a whole year used to embalm the dead. Those wise men saw Jesus as king, priest, and sacrifice for our sins.

The shepherds understood something by these signs. They were paid to protect their lambs. Those lambs lived one year and then were sacrificed in the temple as Passover lambs. They understood clearly the mission of Jesus as the Savior—Passover Lamb. There is a Savior born in Bethlehem, Christ, the Lord. Christ is a title, Messiah, Savior. Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ, this was His identity, not his last name. He was God robed in flesh. 

Lord, to the Jews, ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is One Lord.’ Jesus is God, the only God.

Jesus was identified as to Who He was and what His mission was in coming to earth. Those shepherds were overjoyed knowing that here was the Passover Lamb. What a special night that was at His birth. He is savior who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:10)

What is the Biblical Identity of the Jewish Messiah? Who is Jesus, really?

  1. In Gen 3:15 “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” A promise was made in the midst of the curse for Adam and Eve’s disobedience. A child was promised to save us from sin right from the beginning. No one understood that women had a seed until the 19th century when finally the female egg was seen under a microscope. This is the Bible telling us and agreeing with science. Genealogies leave women out except in Scripture. The prophecy says a virgin shall conceive. That’s not possible, but it was a fulfillment of prophecy. We are set free by truth. There is a lot of talk about demons, but the nitty-gritty of spiritual warfare is every demon is linked to a lie, a manmade tradition. Jesus responded every time to the devil, ‘It is written…’ The Bible is true and we can trust it. The devil has to back down at God’s Word. He can’t argue against it. Even the devil has to submit to it. It is the highest authority. Find out the lie and find the truth in the Bible. You will get the victory in that.
  2. Jesus would be the promised seed born of a virgin, Emmanuel—God with us. That should tell us something about His identity. He was more than just human seed, he was also the seed of God. When you literally translate His Word, it means the strong God, or mighty God, with us. He would be humanity and God. Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” God’s name is wonderful. His name is Counsellor, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, all rolled up into one name—Jesus. To be a Muslim, you have to read the Koran in Arabic. Their God speaks only Arabic, even though 80% don’t speak Arabic. Our God speaks every language. He speaks them all because He created them all. This God is for you. The devil speaks lies in all languages too. However, you can say, ‘Jesus’ in any language and the devil trembles. Sin understands it and is washed away, fever understands it and is healed. My God speaks it all. We have a mighty God. So, when we read this verse, it’s so powerful. Isaiah 9:6 brings out that Jesus was a man and the One true God. Stay on the foundation we’ve been given in the Bible. Jesus is both Father and Son. Isaiah 11 says He would be a stem of Jesse, and a branch grows out of his roots. Isaiah 11:2-4 “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. 3 His delight is in the fear of the Lord, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears; 4 But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.” Isaiah 11:10 “And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious.” He is saying that He is the branch of the lineage of David, but also the root. They did not understand.

Luke 20:41-44 “And He said to them, ‘How can they say that the Christ is the Son of David?’ 42 Now David himself said in the Book of Psalms: The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, 43 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’ 44 Therefore David calls Him ‘Lord’; how is He then his Son?”

Who was Jesus, really? If He is God, how does that knowledge change your life?

Jesus responded to their questions with a question. They couldn’t answer. Jesus left them with questions, but somebody heard all that and kept it in his Spirit. Peter couldn’t help himself. On the day of Pentecost, Peter went right there and Acts 2:34-36, he showed that Jesus was both Lord and Christ—Savior and God, Christ the Lord. He is both man and God, seed of woman and seed of God, the very Word of God made flesh. What a powerful declaration of Him! Over and over the prophets speak of Him.

Isaiah 12:1-2 “And in that day you will say: ‘O Lord, I will praise You; Though You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me. 2 Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’”

God is my salvation. That is Hebrew—Jesus means ‘God is my Salvation’.

Isaiah 12:3 “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of [Jesus] salvation.”

Isaiah 40:3-5,9 “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth; 5 The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of theLord has spoken.’ 9 O Zion, You who bring good tidings, Get up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, You who bring good tidings, Lift up your voice with strength, Lift it up, be not afraid; Say to the cities of Judah, ‘Behold your God!’”

This is about John the Baptizer. Every prophecy was fulfilled concerning Jesus’ birth. ‘Behold your God.’

1 Tim 3:16 “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.”

What do you need saving from? Is it drugs, alcohol, sickness, stress, financial troubles, relationship issues? Will you allow Jesus to help you? Will you trust Him? Will you get to know Him and do what He tells you to do (He will never go against what He’s already written in the Bible) and watch a miracle happen in your own life?

How could it be this baby born like you and I could be the very God of heaven wrapped in flesh, to live like you and me? He’d never been human before. He was tempted in all points, yet had no sin. He suffered and knows what suffering and hardship are. He’s been there. He was rejected and made fun of. He understands. You don’t have to be afraid of Jesus. No wonder the world rejoiced when it was declared that Jesus was born in a stable, Christ the Lord.

Over and over again we can go through the prophets, His identity is the Lord God, yet a man. How could this be? Yet, it’s true.

1 Cor 15:47 “The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven.”

Col 2:6 “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,”

Jesus came for shepherds, kings, and you. Will you walk with Him and get to know Him and do things His way? You will never be the same.

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Missionary Evangelist Monty Showalter. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

Posted in Excerpts from Sermons by Evangelist Monty Showalter, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Living in the Overflow

overflowing cupEph 3:20 “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,”

John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

God is a superabundant God. He is superabundant in that if you need water, He doesn’t give you just a glass, He gives you rivers. God is an infinitely resourceful. Giving cannot reduce God in any way. He has an abundance of whatever we need.

Do you believe God is the ultimate in power and abundance? Does He care about you? Do you believe He is able? If your answer to these questions is ‘yes,’ how does that change your life?

God is not only abundant in quantity, He is abundant in quality. He gives and does better than new, He gives brand new, perfect, superior, the best of the best. He does more.

Living in this is the overflow.

Psalm 23:5 “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.”

He causes your cup to run over. He causes your life to run over. David was saying that He had an overflow of God in his life, so much so that he decided to live in that overflow.

Jesus is a Shepherd, the Door, the Life, the Truth. Jesus came to bring life and life more abundantly. Jesus didn’t promise length of days, but a great quality of life. He doesn’t want you to just barely make it, but to have the kind of life that overflows everywhere. Your quality of life is so abundant in life that there is an overflow.

How has God blessed you and/or those around you?

What do you do with the excess? Give it to someone else!

God is able to do not just more than you ask, He is able to exceed more than you ask, and not just exceed more than you ask, but exceedingly abundantly more than you ask.

He doesn’t just barely exceed the more, He does it exceedingly abundantly more. This is through the power that He works in us, through His Spirit. This is an explosive, dynamite-like power in you. This is miraculous, abundant, ability power.

‘Worketh’ is energy, active energy of the Holy Ghost.

Had King Solomon cashed in the amount of gold he had today, he would’ve had $7.7 billion every year. The Queen of Sheba came to visit and brought a gift, five tons of gold and spices. She gave about $52 million. Yet, that wasn’t the half of what he already had.

Solomon didn’t have human bodyguards. He had trained gorillas that would kill anything or anyone that tried to hurt him. His gorillas couldn’t be bribed.

Solomon had so much gold that silver was worthless to him. People paid to hang out with him. When God gets to blessing you, it’s super, abundant, above.

Psalm 36:8 “They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.”

Are you living in the abundance that God wants to give you? Why or why not? What do you need to change in your attitude or actions in order to live in God’s overflow?

‘Fatness’ is blessing, goodness, satisfaction. God isn’t about merely surviving. He wants you to thrive! He overdoes it with the blessing. He never runs out. You can even live in someone else’s overflow.

John 7:38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

The purpose of the overflow is to have so much that you have extra and can bless others.

Do you have God’s joy overflowing in your life? Do you have His peace that passes understanding? God will bless you physically, emotionally, and spiritually if you will allow Him. What can you do to partner with Him more fully so you can have that overflow and abundance to turn around and bless others?

God didn’t need to put pipes in the ground to have water for the children of Israel. He could just speak it and there was water for over a million people.

Overflow with love and joy and peace and wisdom and self-mastery, maturity, and new life.

There were around five thousand people that Jesus was preaching to. Jesus took three days to complete His messages. The disciples said, ‘Lord, the people need food.’ Jesus replied, ‘How much do we have?’ The disciples found enough for just a few people, about five loaves and two fish. Jesus said, ‘Give it to me and I will do my thing with it and I will give it to you and you will do your thing with it and everyone will be satisfied.’

When someone says you are ‘less-than’, you can rise up in the Holy Ghost and say, ‘I am filled with God’s Spirit. I am not enough by myself, but with my God, I am more than enough!’

What kind of power do you have that will ignite God? How do you get there and experience the fatness of a superabundant God? How do you activate this?

Eph 1:18-20 “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,

There is an abundance of air, plenty of oxygen for everyone. God doesn’t run out of resources. The things of the earth will not run short for you and me. Trees are renewable. There are plenty of mountains. His faithfulness will never run out.

The reason why you see lack or insufficiency is because the devil has come to steal or destroy or kill your vision of God. Jesus came to cause you to see quality of life. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

Your lifestyle needs to rise up to the abundantly that you can have and no devil can stop you.

Step 1 is you’ve got to see it. What are your relationships like? What does God want them to be like?

It’s not about lots and lots of money or things. It’s not wrong to have lots of money. It is more blessed to give because you have it to give!

The blessing is living in the overflow of God. Look at how wonderful my life is, my marriage, my relationship with my children, my church, my relationships with my friends.

Your eyes must be opened to the riches that God has for you—not just stuff, but also, love, joy, peace, etc.

Are your eyes open to this? Do you see it? Do you believe it? What can you do to change your beliefs? What are you focusing on, Jesus and His superabundance or your situation?

Step two: Partner with God. You’ve got to do your part. You can have the best car, and you can put the key in the ignition, but not go anywhere without power. That is our partnership with God.

Psalm 36:7 “How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.”

Col 1:29 “To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.”

You have an ability in you to show up and activate the power that works in you. Pray! Just ask God. If you don’t ask, you won’t receive. Show up! Open your mouth and let God speak through you. Tithe. Put God to the test. Just try to out-give God.

How do you partner with God? Are you willing to trust Him enough to partner with Him? What do you need to let go of in order to partner with Him?

Give of your time. When you give time to God, you will have more time for your family. Invite people to your home. Take people out to eat. Let God replenish. He will.

‘What do you more than others?’

Mat 5:46-48 “For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

John 21:5 “Then Jesus said to them, ‘Children, have you any food?’ They answered Him, ‘No.’ 6 And He said to them, ‘Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.”

They went from zero fish to too many fish because they chose to partner with Jesus. Obey God and see miracles. That’s how you partner with Him. Pray and do your part and God will release His miracles and power into your life.

Will you choose to partner with Jesus in this? Will you allow God to work in your life to give you that overflow? What do you need to change/give up? What do you need to add to your life/priorities?

Note: In the Lord’s prayer, it says, ‘Lead us not into temptation’. Turn that around and ask the Lord to ‘Lead us into something else, like love, joy, peace, faith, truth, etc.’

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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Too Little for the Lamb

lamb-2100396_960_720Exo 12:1-4 “Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2 ‘This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. 3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb.’” 

When I was little, we would go to amusement parks and I was a daredevil. Sometimes, I was told I was too little to ride certain rides or play certain games or to carry certain things.

When you were a child, what did you want to do that you were too small for? As an adult, what are you facing today that is too big for you?

Even as an adult, there are situations and circumstances that you’re too small for, that you can’t handle. When it comes to those kinds of things, because we have God, He is big enough for everything. He is able.

If you feel adequate, that is not a good thing. Recognizing that you’re too small is an open door for God to work.

Gideon was approached by an angel, ‘Gideon, thou mighty man of valor.’ He thought of himself as the least. Because he felt inadequate, God was able to use him to do great things for Israel.

We can’t get ourselves to heaven. We must depend on God to take our sins and get us to heaven.

When Israel was in drought and Egypt in famine, God spoke through Moses, ‘Let my people go.’

When God removed the locusts, none were left in the land. When God caused darkness to cover the land, Israel had light.

Why did God do all those mighty miracles? What was His purpose in that?

There is a true Passover Lamb—Jesus.

In Genesis, the prophecy says that the seed of the woman will crush the head of the serpent. Abraham when he was asked to sacrifice his son, Isaac, a ram was given in his place. God provided Himself a sacrifice.

John 1:29 “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’”

Jesus was without sin. There was unleavened bread used in the Passover was pierced and striped, holes in it and cooked on a grill—striped. Jesus was pierced for our sins. He was beaten and His back striped. Jesus had to die in order for us to have eternal life.

When Jesus comes into our lives through repentance, baptism in His name, and filled with His Holy Spirit, He is our Passover Lamb.

Who is Jesus to you? What part does He have in your life?

‘If the house is not big enough for the lamb, invite your neighbors to share in that lamb.’ Others need to partake in the Lamb.

Jesus is too big for just one. He is for everyone.

I can’t forgive you for a wrong you did to another person. Only that person can forgive the wrong you did to them. Only God can forgive the sin that was done to Him.

We serve a great and awesome God.

He is the Lamb, the Shepherd, the door to the sheepfold.

Although Jesus died for all, only those who come to Him can receive that forgiveness. If you don’t partake of the Lamb, you can’t be saved. Jesus died for everyone, but not everyone wants what He has to offer. He is big enough to take away all of their sin. He’s not too small to take care of your situation or your sin. He is big enough for the whole world. This Lamb has to be shared with everyone.

What holds people back from receiving forgiveness and hope that Jesus offers? What holds you back from following Him fully all the time?

If everyone is our neighbor, we need to share the Lamb with our neighbor. The world needs to experience and partake of the Lamb.

Is Jesus just enough to take care of you? Or do you see Him as a Lamb that’s bigger than your house? Is He big enough for all for all of Chicago? There is no one too bad, that He isn’t bigger than.

God doesn’t just save you and then take you. It’s bigger than just you. He saves you for everyone that you come into contact with. He will get glory through you and your mistakes. He loves you and everyone else that much.

God had a plan—the Lamb.

Jesus was born in a manger, born in a stable and placed in a manger. He lived 33 years, died on a cross, and rose again. That is the Lamb given for you and me.

The number 1 reason people don’t become Christians is because no one ever asked.

78% of all non-churched people would come to a church service if a friend asked.

What holds you back from talking about Jesus to the people around you? Will you overcome that and invite them to ‘Come and see’?

It’s not about me, it’s about Jesus and everybody else. If you knew the cure for cancer, wouldn’t you share that? The disease of sin is much worse than cancer. Jesus is the answer.

“Under the shadow of our steeple, With all the lost and lonely people, Searching for the hope that’s tucked away in you and me, Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?” —Mark Hall, lead singer for Casting Crowns

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Mark Blackburn.

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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It’s Not Common

Peter's_vision_of_the_sheet_with_animalsActs 10:9-20 “The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. 10 Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance 11 and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 13 And a voice came to him, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ 14 But Peter said, ‘Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.’ 15 And a voice spoke to him again the second time, ‘What God has cleansed you must not call common.’ 16 This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again. 17 Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate. 18 And they called and asked whether Simon, whose surname was Peter, was lodging there. 19 While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, ‘Behold, three men are seeking you. 20 Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.’”

Peter had been taught to not break God’s laws. He had never broken his kosher diet. A tradition and a belief stood in the way of what God was trying to do.

You have the ability to stop God from what He wants to do because of a way or pattern in your mind.

What patterns in your mind have kept God from what He wants to do in you and through you?

God had to tell Peter three times. God had cleansed these people. There was a mental block in Peter’s mind that had to do with people, not food. Peter was prejudiced. God addressed that through this vision, a distinction between clean and unclean food. This is very Jewish and Apostolic as well. There is a distinction between the holy and the unholy.

Common means ‘pertains to all’. This is opposed to ‘sacred’. The Lord ran against Peter’s previous training. Peter didn’t understand and didn’t want to eat that stuff. It was never really about food. It was about those souls, those people. Salvation came through the Jews, but God always wanted to reach everyone.

Peter had to do the preaching because angels don’t tell the gospel. They aren’t given that authority by God.

The salvation message must be brought by people. The message of salvation has been entrusted into human hands. Peter had something inside of him that God was dealing with.

Turn and shift whatever God is dealing with in you and see something amazing.

What shifts has God made in your mind and life? How has that changed the way you view yourself and everyone around you?

Lev 20:25-26 “You shall therefore distinguish between clean animals and unclean, between unclean birds and clean, and you shall not make yourselves abominable by beast or by bird, or by any kind of living thing that creeps on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean. 26 And you shall be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine.”

Acts 10:28 “Then he said to them, ‘You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.’”

Jesus wanted to make sure that the Gentiles would be received by Peter. He wanted to get rid of that wall in Peter’s mind. Peter’s thought process could literally stop the flow of blessing on an entire family, an entire city, an entire nation.

Col 2:8 “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”

1 Cor 6:9-11 “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

If God has cleansed you, you are not common! You are precious. You belong to Him. God thinks you are worth dying for. You are worth saving!

2 Cor 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

Don’t call it common if God has done something in your life. If you have been baptized in His name, filled with His Spirit, you are cleansed by His blood, not common, no longer unclean, bought and loved and cherished.

How do you look at your own past sin? Do you recognize that God has, indeed, cleansed you and you are washed, sanctified and justified? How can you use this as a witness to others of the joy and freedom you now experience?

The Ark of the Covenant was revered, sacred. Uzzah had seen the Ark every day for a while because it was in his father’s house. He became a little too familiar with the Ark, no longer special. This was never meant to be touched. Instead, it was to be carried on special poles.

What God has called sacred, don’t call it common. You are sacred now, don’t YOU be touching things that are unclean. 

To forget what God has done in your lives is wrong. Treat this as holy.

REMEMBER YOUR SINS…ARE UNDER THE BLOOD!

It’s wrong to take your thoughts and think evil of your brother or even yourself. If God has touched something, don’t you call it dirty.

Never come into the House of God with a common frown. You should look touched by God, because you have been, filled with the joy (calm delight) of salvation.

How is your attitude? Do you live in a way that shows the world that you’ve been touched by God? Are you displaying love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control?

Psalm 21:1 “The king shall have joy in Your strength, O Lord; And in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!”

Rejoice means ‘to spin around under the influence of a violent emotion.’

Psalm 51:12 “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.”

Isaiah 12:3 “Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation.”

Hab 3:18 “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”

Psalm 9:14 “That I may tell of all Your praise In the gates of the daughter of Zion. I will rejoice in Your salvation.”

Rejoice—spin, sing, rescued, delivered.

If you want to see salvation (for someone else), stand still, but if you want to experience it, you’ve got to MOVE!

How is your daily ‘walk’ with Jesus? Do you lean on Him for your strength or try to do the ‘right thing’ in your own strength? Do you invite others to join you in your ‘walk’ with Jesus?

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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Dream Catchers

BelieveGen 28:10-22 “Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. 12 Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: ‘I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. 14 Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.’ 16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it. 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!’ 18 Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. 19 And he called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of that city had been Luz previously. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, ‘If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, 21 so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. 22 And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.’”

God gave a word to a man named Jacob, but it was after he was transformed into ‘Israel,’ that he was able to catch it. He knew what the angels were doing because he’d caught it. Jacob saw a ladder, angels taking prayers going up to Heaven’s Gate and angels bringing the answers back down. A transaction took forth. It was a prophetic dream, a lot of symbolism.

In God’s house, there is stuff happening in heaven and earth. This is the first place in Scripture we find something out about the House of God.

Jesus said, ‘On this rock, I’ll build my house.’ You only need one rock. You need a revelation.

What revelations has God given you and how have they changed your life?

Jacob was in awe at this revelation. He recognized God was speaking directly to him. He was even willing to pay tithes! He took the rock that he’d slept on and poured oil on it (symbolizing God’s Spirit). He called that rock a pillar and set it up on the premise of that dream.

The reason why God gave Jacob a vision, a dream, is because something had to stay inside of him in order to get him through some stuff. He’d been lied on and cheated. He got none of the money he’d earned from his father-in-law. He decided after he’d had children that he needed to go home. He had God’s promises. He had that dream and followed it.

He sent his family on ahead and stayed behind to pray. He grabbed an angel because he needed something. He refused to let him go, wrestling with him all night. He held onto those promises. He wanted that blessing—a new name, a new future, peace with his family, change his past, make him different. This encounter was All. Night. Long.

The word he got was in Jacob, but the answer was in Israel. God gave him a promise in his situation, but the fulfillment was in a new nature, a new identity. No longer was there depression and suicidal thoughts, now there was preaching and love and hope and life.

He caught the dream when he became Israel.

If you want the dream, you may have to have an encounter with God. You may have to wrestle for it. It won’t come because of someone else. YOU have to fight for it.

What dream/s do you feel God is calling you to fight for? How will you do that?

This isn’t for Chicken Littles among us. It’s not about doom and gloom. Don’t give up. Never give up! If you have a little chicken in you—fry it!

It is promised that we will suffer. This kind of faith takes a little bit of crazy! But, we have promises to hold onto in spite of our circumstances.

Micah 7:8 “Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The Lord will be a light to me.”

In the fight, you will grow a little bit, you will learn about yourself, you change when you wrestle.

Luke 13:24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.”

Those who don’t make it are the ones who gave up.

Salvation isn’t free, it cost Jesus His life on a cross. Salvation is free—for YOU.

Blessing requires striving, pressing, work!

You can squeeze a grape and get juice. But, you can’t squeeze an olive to get the oil. It must be pressed. If you want something from God, you’ve got to press. If you want to bust loose, you’ve got to press. If you want to change, you’ve got to push through. Those obstacles are no match for pressing in.

Mat 11:12 “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.”

Suffer doesn’t mean ‘cause hurt,’ it means ‘to allow.’ Violence doesn’t mean ‘hitting and causing damage,’ it means ‘passion’ and ‘pushing forward’ and ‘pressing.’

It’s about seeking after Jesus with everything you’ve got. If you press in, you’ll get in.

You are not entitled to anything at all. You’ve got to want it enough to work for it, fight for it, press in. Say no to some stuff and yes to God. Do you want the Kingdom more? There is no fear in spending too much time with Jesus. There is no such thing as too much God. Get Jesus in every area in your life. Keep pressing until this is your reality.

What have you given up on? What are you afraid of? What do you feel entitled to? Are you willing to seek the Lord and change what you need to change in order to see those dreams fulfilled?

It should have been ‘The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Esau.’ The second born fought for it and we say, ‘The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’

Something happens to you when you want more of God, when you say, ‘God, I want more anointing in my life.’

There are strings attached to you and you’ve got to lay them down, your money, your stuff, your identity. If you want God’s will for you, you must give up some things, entertainment, identity, your will. There is a wrestling match going on in your spirit. Pin down that will and call out to Jesus!

Jesus won’t give out freebies. He’s looking for those who’ll kick down some doors.

Gen 38:27-29 “And so it was, when she was giving birth, that the one put out his hand; and the midwife took a scarlet thread and bound it on his hand, saying, ‘This one came out first.’ 29 Then it happened, as he drew back his hand, that his brother came out unexpectedly; and she said, ‘How did you break through? This breach be upon you!’ Therefore his name was called Perez.”

It’s important who breaks through first. In the womb, there’s a fight going on. All of a sudden, it was the time of labor. The first brother stuck his hand out, then the second brother pulled him back and got there first.

That second/first born child was named Perez, which means ‘the blessings and the breakthrough.’

Sometimes you’ve got to reach out and catch that dream.

Luke 16:16 “The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it.”

You’ve got to press into it.  

You have to be willing to ‘dig deep’ in order to accomplish your God-given dreams. He will help you, but are you willing to give up something good for something better, for something supernatural? What are you going to do to work towards seeing that God-given dream become reality?

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

Posted in Excerpts from Sermons by Pastor Anthony LoCascio, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

An Open Door Bible Study

open doorRev 3:8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.”

1 Cor 16:9 “For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.”

There is an abundant opportunity for usefulness. God opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. They now had an opportunity to express faith.

2 Cor 2:12 “Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord,”

What ‘doors’ have been opened for you? How did the Lord work out the details? Did you have to fight to go through those doors? How was the ‘other side’?

It’s good if you don’t understand Scripture to seek it out. Figure it out. Study to show yourself approved unto God. Don’t just memorize Scripture, seek understanding. Know it. Apply it.

The opportunity for great effectiveness is open. There’s a huge opportunity to do something. You have access to great things from God, but there are adversaries. There is an enemy that will obstruct us.

God has let you in, but there’s an opponent.

Isaiah 22:22 “The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; So he shall open, and no one shall shut; And he shall shut, and no one shall open.”

Rev 3:7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”

Do you understand God’s power in your life? What does it mean ‘He who opens and no one shuts and shuts and no one opens’? How does this apply to your life?

The opportunity that you may not have expected to happen has been granted to you, but there is something in the way. Opportunity granted. Access allowed.

Paul chose to stay in Ephesus because there was an opportunity and Paul wanted to seize the moment before the door shut.

A stronghold is a spot in a wall or gate or a fortress that has fortification, guards, weaponry, a pot of oil over your head. It won’t be easy to break in because of the fortifications.

There is never access given without there being a stronghold. The enemy fortifies any access given to you. You must overcome in order to get in. The opening has an adversary to stir things up against you.

Understand that God’s authority is higher than any other opposition that is trying to stop you from what God has given you.

Abraham was given the land. Isaac, same, Jacob, not Esau, same promise was given. The Israelites were given access to the Promised Land, flowing with milk and honey. The only problem was the big, scary people there and freaked them out. Because the Israelites refused to fight, access was revoked. The occupiers needed to be driven out and God would be with them. Their doubt kept them from what God had for them.

In your life, what doors has God opened, but you had to fight to get through? What hindered you? How did you fight it? Did you eventually get through?

What do you do with the Adversary in front of your Door?

  1. Don’t Quit! Continue to Obey the Lord! This is proof that the enemies are nervous. This is proof that you are in the Lord’s will.
  2. Realize you are doing things right, not wrong. It’s not the absence of God you’re feeling, it’s the presence of the Adversary.
  3. Stay connected. Always understand that you need to be among God’s people to get comfort and strength. In times of distress, you need your brothers and sisters. Regard it as your duty to remain connected.
  4. Be encouraged. You must have mental toughness. This is putting on the mind of Christ and casting down imaginations and every high thing that will come against the will of God. It comes into your heart and comes out your mouth. The power of the enemy is in your mouth.  Don’t speak the devil’s language of negativity and giving up. Instead, speak the heavenly language of victory and overcoming. Take dominion over your mind, heart, and mouth.

David encouraged himself. He looked to others to encourage him and they didn’t. So, David exercised mental toughness. He dealt with rejection from his father and brothers. He could’ve kicked those sheep, but he didn’t. Instead, he recognized that God thought him special and precious and chosen. David chose to worship in the face of rejection. As a teenage boy, he was anointed king. Yet, that was just the beginning. He still had many years of battle before he wore that promised crown. You can run over the devil. Cast down strongholds in your mind.

Knowing the reality of David’s experience, how does that change your perspective on seeing God’s promises come to pass in your life? How does this change your prayer life? Will you fight to go through those doors God has opened for you? What does choosing to encourage yourself look like?

You can walk in only one direction at a time. You can’t think or speak negatively and positively at the same time. One or the other will win out. Don’t speak negative. Choose God’s words for you.

Get excited about the opportunity on the other side of the door!

Fear and confusion and the adversary are in the way, but God wants you to move forward. Go through!

Helen Keller was famous for overcoming blindness and deafness. She said, ‘The marvelous riches of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy without the difficulties to overcome.’

Getting something for nothing loses its value. When you pay for something, you’re more likely to care for and appreciate it.

God knows your heart and how to get deep prayer out of you. He knows how to put you on your knees.

John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

When God opens a door, no man can shut it, but when God shuts a door, no man can open it.

God has opened a door for you, what are you going to do? Will you fight for it? Or will you run away?

These doors are seasonal, timed, temporary.

YOU HAVE AN OPEN DOOR!

Realize it and recognize it. Keep going and get through that door! Fighting!

  1. Position yourself
  2. Fight the opposition
  3. Rejoice on the other side

What doors has God opened for you recently? What does the opposition look like? How have you prayed through and fought to go through? Have you taken the time to rejoice?

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

Posted in Excerpts from Sermons by Pastor Anthony LoCascio, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Stay Connected

Grafted_blossoming_tree_unidentified_white_pinkJohn 15:1-8 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”

What does it mean to you to ‘abide’? How do you do that? What does it mean to be connected and how do you keep those connections?

Jesus affirmed who He was over and over again.

Ex 3:14 “And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And He said, Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

This is the Name God gave to Moses in the wilderness and the one that the Jews hold in highest esteem. They pronounce it either as Jehovah or Yahweh.

John 8:12 “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’”

John 6:35 “And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.’”

John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”

John 10:9 “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”

In John 15, Jesus is saying He is the Savior, Lord, sustainer, creator. He is saying that He is, in fact, the Great I AM.

We are branches, but in order to live, we have to stay connected to Him.

You can’t have any productivity out there on your own. Disconnected branches don’t bear fruit. Without support, you’ll wither away and die. There must be a flow in and out of your being that can only happen by being connected.

The branch that doesn’t produce fruit is only good for one thing, to be thrown in the fire.

Are you a connected branch or a disconnected branch? How can you tell?

Jer 11:6 “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying: Hear the words of this covenant and do them.’”

Jer 21:14 “But I will punish you according to the fruit of your doings,” says the Lord; “I will kindle a fire in its forest, And it shall devour all things around it.”

This is prophetic of what happened to Israel when they rejected their Messiah.

God has taken wild branches and grafted them into the vine.

You graft a branch into a very healthy tree right as it’s beginning to bear fruit. When a branch is grafted in, two different trees come together and are fused together like your skin when it’s been cut, it heals.

Rom 11:17-22 “And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.” 

Fat is good in Scripture. It means you’re getting the Spiritual nourishment in order to live.

The door was opened to people who weren’t Jewish. If you want the blessings, you’ve got to continue in His goodness.

The truth will not make you free if you’re not connected to it. How do you get and/or stay connected to that truth? How do you continue in His goodness? 

Rom 11:23-24 “And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?”

Jesus said on that last day of Creation, ‘This is very good.’ He formed a man from mud. The body of Adam was made out of dirt.

If you grow something out of that dirt, it’s healthy. You can’t eat dirt, but you can grow things from it. It was only after God breathed into Adam that breath of life. That Spiritual part died when Adam and Eve sinned. Disobedience causes death.

The Bible says we are dead in sin, disconnected from God. Jesus is our total sustenance. Without Him we will die.

Gal 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”

What kind of fruit are you producing?

In the book of Nehemiah, it talks about rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. You’re a wall-builder. We are building something as a church in the name of being together with the church, being connected to the Lord.

A sheep has no protection of its own. It needs to be gathered away from the wolves and put inside a place where it’s protected. Sheep simply need to obey the Shepherd.

Psalm 23:1-6 “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.”

Freddy the fish saw all the stuff going on outside of his fishbowl and wanted to be free. As he grew, he got stronger and stronger. One day, he jumped out and realized that this was not free. A boy came along and threw him back into the bowl. He had realized that he cut himself off from his source of Life. Don’t jump out of the bowl!

The church is not a gas station. You can’t just fill up and then go on your way. The church is not just a social club or a movie theater for your entertainment. The church is a wild branch grafted into the true tree. If you’re disconnected, you’re dead. You’ve got to stay connected.

A brick by itself is just a brick, but a brick connected to the wall is of great strength.

Connection gives you strength.

In what do you seek and find your strength?

You must be connected in truth and Spirit.

The power of Staying Connected:

The Bible says, one can chase a thousand. Two can chase ten thousand.

We are connected to the One who has power over sin, power to heal, power to deliver and save.

If you choose to disconnect, you’ll get eaten by a lion.

A single solo cup can’t hold up a man, but many together can hold up a table and several men!

Fear causes you to run away from safety! How many times have you seen this? We can help each other. You can go to someone who is connected and then get connected again.

How do you react to stress? Are you connected? If you’re not connected, what are you going to do about it? How will you keep yourself connected?

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Three Things that Bother the Devil

2000px-Coat_of_Arms_of_Moscow.svgJames 2:19 “You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.”

Mark 6:4-5 “Then Jesus told them, ‘A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.’ 5 And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them.”

v5 KJV: “And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.”

What is it about God that terrifies the devil? Why does our unbelief affect whether or not we’ll experience a miracle?

The first thing that bothers the devil is the revelation of the one true God. Before there ever was a mountain or sea or river, there was God, only one God, the true God, the Creator, the heavens and the earth Maker. There weren’t planets or stars or galaxies. But, still there was a God and that God determined within Himself to create some things.

He began not with earth, but heaven, a spiritual realm. He created angels. They were there at the creation of the earth.

Gen 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

The angels worshipped that one God. It wasn’t until a created being (Lucifer) decided he wanted to be god that there was war in heaven.

Rev 12:7-9 “Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. 8 And the dragon lost the battle, and he and his angels were forced out of heaven. 9 This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels.”

Luke 10:18-20 “Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning! 19 Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. 20 But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.”

This really bothers the devil. There is only one God and His name is Jesus!

You have power over the devil. The serpent bites with the head and the scorpion with the tale. You’ve got power over both.

In place of that dragon, your name has been reserved in that place where an angel has fallen. The devil lost his right that God has now given to YOU!

We will celebrate deliverance from the devil. We will rejoice forever in heaven in the devil’s place.

Why did the angel Lucifer want to be god? Why do we struggle with that same desire? Why do we want power without responsibility?

Satan was always trying to be god, but the true God told him he wasn’t god. So the devil lied and manipulated.

Rev 20:11 “And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide.”

When God reveals His presence in His fullness, everything else gets out of the way. Lucifer will be bound up in fire. Everything will see the glory and presence of God. Everything will bow to Jesus. Everything God has said so far has come to pass, there is no reason that the rest will not happen too! The judgment of God is coming for Satan, not for the church.

2 Peter 2:4 “For God did not spare even the angels who sinned. He threw them into hell, in gloomy pits of darkness, where they are being held until the day of judgment.”

Jude 1:6 “And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment.”

There is an end to the reign of the devil, but there is no end to the reign of Jesus Christ.

Mat 25:41 “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.’”

There is torment waiting for the devil. An end is coming to the havoc and dominion that Satan has had. This hell isn’t for you, it’s for the devil and his minions. The devil doesn’t control hell, that’s his prison, where he’s going. He hates fire. He doesn’t like his judgment. He has no way out, but you have a way out.

Jesus made a way through His blood. We’ve got a way out, but the devil does not!

Sometimes, you feel so guilty because you got tired and you made mistakes and you want to quit. Plead the blood of Christ. That isn’t coming from inside. Recognize the difference. You get discouraged but plead that blood, it will set you free.

What makes you discouraged? What is the remedy? Where is your hope? You can’t make yourself right, but there is Someone who already paid the price for you. Will you trust Him and allow Him control over your life, every day, in every way?

Eph 6:12 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

1 Tim 6:12 “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 

Not only is there no other God, you are one of His children because of His blood.

There is only one gospel. Serve the one true living God, Jesus Christ.

T. W. Barnes in our day was probably the closest thing to Elijah. He asked the Lord to send him to speak to the devil. He wanted to torment them before their time. He told the devil that the devil had never created anything and he ought to be ashamed. He is not anyone’s god, he is just a deceiver.

One time a witch sent a tormenting spirit to him. The spirit came to him to cause him to lose his sleep for a week. He told the spirit to go back to the one who had sent it. A few days later a woman called him and begged for him to call off that spirit, she hadn’t slept for days.

In Jerusalem, the angel Michael greeted him.

He preached nothing new, only the Word of God.

We have all the tools we need. There is no spirit that can stand against God’s people. You have been given authority over the devils.

The second thing that bothers the devil today is the name of Jesus. If it’s used in faith, miracles happen.

Mark 16:17 “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; “

In the name of Jesus Christ devil’s will be cast out. There is deliverance in Jesus’ name. That name bothers the devil.

Isaiah 52:6 “Therefore My people shall know My name; Therefore they shall know in that day That I am He who speaks: ‘Behold, it is I.’”

Zech 14:9 “And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one Lord—his name alone will be worshiped.”

YWYH means ‘I AM.’ He is here always. He heals, provides, victory (banner), makes us holy (sanctifies), gives peace. He is Lord of lords. He is our righteousness. God alone provides righteousness to man. He is our Shepherd. He is there. He is Lord of hosts, God of all. He is highest, the God who sees, the very highest, from everlasting to everlasting, the mighty God.

Psalm 90:1-3 “Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. 2 Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. 3 You turn man to destruction, And say, “Return, O children of men.”

Rev 19:15 “Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”

Isaiah 12:1-6 “And in that day you will say: “O Lord, I will praise You; Though You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me. 2 Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For Yah, theLord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’ 3 Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation. 4 And in that day you will say: “Praise the Lord, call upon His name; Declare His deeds among the peoples, Make mention that His name is exalted. 5 Sing to theLord, For He has done excellent things; This is known in all the earth. 6 Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion, For great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!”

John 7:37-39 “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

Mat 1:21 “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

The name has great significance.

Do you choose to wield the name of Jesus over your life and situations? If not, why not? Do you recognize the power that you’ve been given in that Name? Do you know Jesus? What can you do to build up your faith to work in unity with Him to use His name more effectively in your life?

Zech 3:1-4 “Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” 3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel. 4 Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.”

Jesus was to be the commander of all the armies and take the filthy garments off all the people and rebuke the devil. Jesus is the sacrifice and the judge.

There is healing in the name of Jesus.

Luke 10:17 “Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”

Pro 18:10 “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.”

John 14:14 “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

The wisemen understood that He was to be the sacrifice as well as King of kings.

There is only one God and His name is Jesus Christ. This bothers the devil.

When you entertain and engage in spiritual warfare without a revelation, you’re doomed.

Do you understand what Jesus’ sacrifice means for your life? Do you understand the deliverance and forgiveness and cleansing and transformation (spiritual change) you’ve been offered? Do you know that this covers not only the past but the present and the future for you? Do you recognize the hope that you can walk in every day of your life?

Jesus isn’t all that excited about defeating the devil. He is more excited about your deliverance and redemption from the devil’s power. He wants to rescue you. That is what excites Jesus!

And this bugs the devil.

David said, ‘Restore unto me the joy of salvation.’ Joy has got to accompany the reaction of salvation. You can’t be saved without joy. You can’t be delivered without joy. If you’re an intercessor, learn to rejoice in the Lord. Don’t carry that burden. Instead, rejoice at what God has done and is doing and will do.

You don’t have to be worried about saying that the devil is a loser. It’s the truth. He’s a loser and you are not.

I believe in one God. I know His name—Jesus. I’ve got the fire!

The Holy Ghost fell on the Day of Pentecost. This was symbolic of the fire that came down on Mt. Sinai. There was a tempest—fire, and wind when Moses received the Ten Commandments.

On the Day of Pentecost, they saw and heard a supernatural symbol that God was doing something new. Fire was on their heads and the wind was blowing and that fire should never go out.

The prophet Jeremiah simply had to speak. It was like fire shut up in his bones.

Fire bothers the devil!

When you’re on fire, you don’t shut your mouth. Fire burns all that chaff, all those things that are ungodly. Fire brings light and warmth.

John the Baptizer was a hard preacher. He called the people hypocrites. He didn’t go to the crowds, the crowds came to him. He knew the Messiah was on His way. He spoke the truth and there were people who didn’t like it. John knew that he wasn’t the Messiah. He knew Jesus was coming with the Holy Ghost and fire!

When there’s a fire, you want to stop the oxygen, but if you blow on it a little bit, it will spread.

The devil hates the fire, especially when it spreads.

Heb 12:29 “For our God is a consuming fire.”

God wants us to burn up with fire, not hellfire, but Holy Ghost fire. 

The devil doesn’t want you on fire. He hates it.

Moses was instructed to never let the fire burn out. In the tabernacle, that fire was what burned the sacrifice. Repentance fire brings praise fire. Always be ready to burn a sacrifice and everything that needs to go.

All fire, even Holy Ghost fire requires fuel. What needs to be consumed by that Holy Ghost fire in your life? What can you determine in yourself to feed that fire? What benefits are there in continuously feeding that fire? What weights and sins do you get rid of? Do you feel lighter?

That fire breeds love that causes you to reach for souls and love people. Let the fire burn and let your light shine to this world! Don’t let that fire ever burn out!

Besides sin and weights, other ways to feed that Holy Ghost fire are through prayer, Bible study, and simply, actively seeking to hear and obey the voice of God. How hot is your fire burning? What else do you need to feed it to keep it burning bright?

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

Posted in Excerpts from Sermons by Pastor Anthony LoCascio, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment