The God of the Valleys

jakob-owens-286972 (1)How do people ‘put God in a box’ or ‘limit’ God? How have you limited God in your own life?

1 Kings 20:23 “And the servants of the king of Syria said unto him, Their gods are gods of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we; but let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.”

The enemy of Israel thought their God was a God of the mountains and didn’t know how to fight in the valley.

1 Kings 20:24-28 “And do this thing, Take the kings away, every man out of his place, and put captains in their rooms: 25 And number thee an army, like the army that thou hast lost, horse for horse, and chariot for chariot: and we will fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they. And he hearkened unto their voice, and did so. 26 And it came to pass at the return of the year, that Benhadad numbered the Syrians, and went up to Aphek, to fight against Israel. 27 And the children of Israel were numbered, and were all present, and went against them: and the children of Israel pitched before them like two little flocks of kids; but the Syrians filled the country. 28 And there came a man of God, and spake unto the king of Israel, and said, Thus saith the Lord, Because the Syrians have said, The Lord is God of the hills, but he is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall know that I am the Lord.”

He is the God of the valley as well as the God of the mountains. You may feel like two little flocks of goats, but God is still in control. The enemy always thinks he can get victory over us when he attacks us in the valley. He makes you feel that God is so far away and great. He makes you think you’re alone. But, he’s a liar. God is in the valley of despair, debt, failure, hardship, sickness, etc, etc. When you’re weak, tired, sick, empty, and feeling all alone, God is there. You will be strengthened by being calm and trusting God.

How have you experienced victory in your personal valleys?

1 Peter 1:6-7 “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”

Psalm 84:5-6 “Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. 6 Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.”

Know this about valleys:

  1. Valleys are a part of normal life. You don’t experience valleys because you are a bad person, you experience valleys because you are a person! Duet. 11:11 “But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven:”
  2. Valleys happen to everyone. All go through valleys. Psalm 34:19 “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” Many, many, many afflictions happen to the righteous, BUT GOD!!! Mat 5:45 “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Everyone goes through hills and valleys.
  3. Valleys are not predictable. They come at an inconvenient time. You can’t know when you’re going to go through trouble. Tragedies happen all of a sudden. You don’t know when, but you do know they will happen. Prov 27:1 “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” You may forget you’re not alone. Psalm 23:4 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” You can’t choose your valleys, but you can choose how you will respond to them and what you will believe during that trial. The further down you go in the ocean, the darker it gets, the greater the pressure. It’s the same in life. You may say and think things that aren’t godly. Erase that stinkin’ thinking!

How is knowing valleys are part of normal life, they happen to everyone, and they are unpredictable comforting? How can that change your attitude toward going through a valley?

4. There is a purpose for that valley. God will show you things in the valley. Job 12:22 “He discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death.” You can learn more in the silence and sadness than in times of laughter. Some people have a ‘victim mentality.’ These people enjoy the valleys and the attention they get. They set up camp in the valley. Get up! You don’t have to stay in the valley! Don’t ask how to wallow in your misery. Instead ask, ‘What do You want me to learn here?’ Jesus will take you to the other side, but you’ve got to walk with Him. Don’t be negative in the valley. It’s through the valley of the shadow of death that you must go. This will be a witness to the world. When you come out of the valley, people will recognize you have a God. Rom 5:3-5 “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” ‘Knowing’ is the operative word in vs 3. Experience is something you have right after you need it. When stuff starts happening, remember what you know about God. Remember what you’ve already been through and that you went through it. You’re not still there!

What do you know about God? What does His Word say about Him and what He will do for you? How does that change your experience in that valley?

5. God’s presence AND power are with you in the valley. If God did it for you once, He will do it again. God will always win. Nothing is ever too hard for Him. Hope! Col 1:11 “Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;” Don’t complain. Trust. Jesus took three of His disciples to a mountain and showed them His glory. Then, they all went down into the valley and found the disciples unable to deliver a possessed boy. Jesus got a little frustrated by their lack of faith and commanded the devil out. The boy was instantly delivered. The answer to your valley is to keep walking through with Jesus. Hide under His shadow, under His wings. All of a sudden victory will come. For every valley, there is a hill. God is not only with you, He is with you in power.

6. Valleys are temporary. Valleys are working for us an eternal weight of glory, beauty, and greatness. 2 Cor 4:17 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;” Paul’s affliction seemed anything but ‘light,’ yet, he praised and trusted God anyway. Paul suffered shipwreck, was imprisoned, chased, beaten, stoned, bore many, many burdens. He was pressed down, but not destroyed. Yet, Paul called it all ‘light’ because of the hope that he refused to let go of. Those afflictions were temporary.

How does knowing there is purpose in that valley, God’s presence and power are with you in the valley, and that valleys are temporary change your attitude?

When you are in the valley, something is working for an eternal great reward. If you fall, fall back and look up. If you can look up, you’ll get up. And, when you get up, the devil gets nervous.

The Teacher is always silent when you’re taking a test. That doesn’t mean the Teacher is not in the room. Of course, He’s still there.

When you fail the test, you have to take it again.

Jesus knows about valleys. After all of the valleys, Peter had a revelation. Jesus got so frustrated because the people saw the miracles and chose to leave Him anyway. Jesus asked if His disciples would leave Him too. But, Peter had the revelation, ‘Where else can we go for the words of eternal life?’ 

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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Between Ancestors and Descendants

danielle-macinnes-88493Think of someone you consider godly. Why? What is it about that person’s character that makes him or her godly?

Josh 24:15 “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

You’re either going to do what your ancestors have done, what the people around you are doing, or serve the Lord. But, YOU need to choose.

1 Tim 3:4-5 “One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)”

Children matter to the Lord. He not only cares about you, but also about who comes after you.

God needed somebody who would pass on righteousness.

Why is it so important to God to pass on righteousness?

Deut 6:4-7 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: 5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”

Deut 11:19 “And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”

If you don’t parent on purpose, many mistakes will be made. You’ve got to know when to shift your parenting style and the message you give. The first five years of children’s lives need a different message than their last five years at home.

As you read these ten things to teach your kids, try to come up with your own Scriptures to go along with each. How you will apply each concept to your own life? How will you teach them to your children?

The first five years (0-5) of your child’s life:

  1. A kid ought to be taught ‘You are loved.’ Jer 31:3 “The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”
  2. You are safe. Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
  3. You are provided for. Phil 4:19 “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
  4. You are special. Psalm 139:14 “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”
  5. You have a God. Deut 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:”

Teach this the last five years your children are at home (approx. 14-18):

  1. Life is not all about you. Selfishness must die and sacrifice must be embraced. Gal 5:13“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.” (NLT)
  2. Life is challenging. You need mental toughness in order to tackle life or it will run you over. Eph 6:10 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”
  3. Life is not fair. God is in control, not you. Heb 13:5 “Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.’” (NLT)
  4. You are nothing without Jesus. It doesn’t matter how successful you are, without Jesus it doesn’t matter. Acts 17:28 “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.”
  5. Prepare for your own death. What kind of a legacy will you leave? What do you want said at your funeral? Rom 1:17 “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”

Peter said, ‘For the promise is unto you and your children…

Judges 2:10 “And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.”

God wants it to not end in one generation. Children are our apprentices. In Bible times, Fathers were expected to train their children in whatever trade they had. They learned by watching, by observation. Children learn by what they see more than by what their parents say.

You may not be able to change your past, but you can change your present and thus, your future. 

What are you planting? What are you reproducing? What are your children seeing? How is your example to those watching you?

Don’t allow anything in your life that you don’t want reproduced in your children!

Paul is a major character in the New Testament. There is some debate that he was never married. Yet, he was certainly a father figure. In the books of 1st and 2nd Timothy, it is clear that his father was not a believer. His mother and grandmother brought him to church and Paul filled that missing father role.

2 Tim 1:5 “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.”

It was through Timothy’s mom and grandmother that he had faith. Paul stepped in and guided Timothy in becoming a godly man. God makes things complete. He will fill any voids in your life. Choose to obey Him and live a better way than before.

2 Tim 3:14-15 “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

You can be what has been handed to you and pass it on or you can choose something different. But, you have to do this on purpose.

It’s like a relay race. The father runs his race and at the right moment passes the baton (gospel, faith, prayer) on to his sons and daughters. Then, his sons and daughters run their own races and eventually pass that baton on to their own children.

Prov 20:7 “The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.”

How will you apply these principles in your own life and in your own parenting?

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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Forty Years of Faithfulness

zed-kolk-43128Do you remember a time when you couldn’t wait to grow up so you could drive a car? Did Mom or Dad let you sit on the lawn mower and ‘help’ drive? Did you ever get into the car and pretend to drive?

Acts 3:2 “And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;”

As Jews, Peter and John had been taught that going to the temple was the most important thing in their lives. The temple represents the presence of God. You’re to breathe it. You will experience majesty, and glory, and power.

This lame man had been sitting at this temple every day begging. Once in a while, he turned and looked inside to see what was happening. The problem was any diseased or crippled could not enter into the temple.

Is there something in your life that keeps you from fully experiencing God’s presence in your life? It’s important to regularly (daily) take a look at yourself and see if there is anything that you might be allowing into your life (beliefs or actions) that is not in agreement with God’s Word. Then, change! This is what it means to ‘renew your mind.’

Mark 16:17 “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;”

In the military, back during the time of the Viet Nam war, men went into the military and the first thing done was a haircut. This was part of the transformation process, going from whatever these men were before to a fighting machine who followed orders and was capable of doing the job. Your teammates were depending on you. You were trained to respond automatically. It was a part of life.

This crippled man was fixing to have a transformation. He was a few steps from a miracle. He didn’t know, but the church came down the road that day. For forty years, he sat and waited. Then, all of a sudden, the Bible says, ‘Silver and Gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee.’

Acts 3:8 “And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.”

Finally, he could go into the presence of God! He was whole.

This man had a reason to rejoice and praise God. He went from lame to whole. The church has come down the road this day to reach the lost and give hope and healing and deliverance for hungry souls. God wants to do a work in souls’ lives.

Besides Sunday and Wednesday church services, do you have a place where you can daily meet with God? A place where you can experience His presence and be transformed? 

All things have become new. Keep that dead man buried and become that man that Christ wants you to become.

Psalm 16:11 “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

People need to know you’re a Christian, not just by the way you dress, but there should be a smile on your face. People ought to want what you have.

Do people want what you have? If not, why? What do you need to change? What still needs to be transformed (and surrendered, let go of)?

Humanity has been separated from the presence of God.

Rom 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”

Sin is an inward condition. You must be washed clean. It is through repentance and baptism in Jesus’ Name that sins are remitted. The Holy Spirit is given. You are justified like you’ve never done anything wrong. God is so merciful.

You become His child, a sheep of His pasture. Enter into the presence of God like that man who’d been healed. You can have your own miracle right now.

What can come against you?! Have a made-up mind. Nothing can stand against a soul who wants to praise the Lord! Nothing will stand against a soul that glorifies Jesus no matter what.

Just as when a child finally hits that age when they can get their own drivers’ license, there is nothing hindering you now to enter into the presence of God. He forgives all sins and makes you new. It’s for you today!

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

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

What in your life is still conformed to this world? What still needs to be transformed ‘by the renewing of your mind’? How do you go about daily proving ‘what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God’?

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor John Holguin. 

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 Breath of Life

fernando-brasil-103271What is one decision you’ve made that has forever changed your life? How?

Gen 1:1,3 “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. 3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”

Is 46:9 “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:”

Rev 13:8 “…the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”

That means that God saw eternity before time began. No matter how bad things got, how bad He knew things would be, He still said, ‘Let there be Light!’

It broke His heart that His own didn’t even know Him. Yet He still said, Let there be Light. He saw all of his people cry out, ‘Crucify Him!’ The emotional and mental anguish that came upon Him. Why would He still do it?

Knowing the fact that man would sin and all the pain necessary in order to save man from himself, why do you think God chose to become a man and die?

He loves you! His love goes beyond anything we can understand, that reaches to the highest heights and the lowest depths. He looks at our inadequacies and sins and still says, ‘I love her. I can work with him. I can change him.’ No matter what you bring and no matter how bad it is, He still says, ‘I love you. I’ll take you.’

Rom 5:8 “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”

The kind of love man has is a taking kind of love. For us, there has to be something we get in return, but not God’s love.

Isaiah 64:6 “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…”

Genesis 2:7 “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

He wanted someone like Him. We are not in His image because of hands and face or eyes. God is a Spirit. The thing that separates us from the animals is His breath. God formed man of the dust of the ground. Man wasn’t just spoken into existence. God took man personally, like a potter with his clay. He formed us with His own hands. 98% of our DNA is the same as monkeys. We have the same chemical composition as dirt. But, we’ve got God’s Spirit in us. We have His breath. The man became a living soul when God breathed on Him. We were called His sons and daughters.

God’s breath took a physical life and made it eternal. Through Adam and Eve, God had someone like Him that He loved and spent time with, connected with.

How is having God’s Spirit like a marriage? Why is this a good comparison, i.e. ‘the bride of Christ’? How is having God’s Spirit like a family relationship, i.e. parent-child, ‘we are His offspring’?

Then, tragedy struck…

Genesis 2:17 “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not

eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

Even though God saw it ahead of time, even though He knew this would happen, there was pain in His voice when He said, ‘Where art thou, Adam?’ Do you really think God didn’t know where Adam and Eve were in the garden when He came looking for them? His Spirit came back to Him and departed from Adam and Eve after their sin.

The devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy. There is nothing this world has to offer that comes even close to what God offers. The devil doesn’t come and tell you the truth, ‘Hi, I’m the devil and I’ve come to destroy you.’ Instead, he lies to you, gets you to believe him, and then steals from you, kills you, destroys your life.

You may try for fame and even achieve great acclaim, power, and riches, but even the president of the US will be forgotten 30 years from now. Do you know who Gerald Ford is? He was the 38th president of the US, most powerful man in the world, leader of the free world. What kid even knows his name? How many presidents do you know?

Satan came to make people beneath him.

1 John 3:8 “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”

Why is sin so bad? How does it affect relationships? Why is doing things God’s way so much better? How does submitting to and following after God’s way and will free us? 

Man was out of fellowship with God after that first sin. They could only cry out to God and hope for help. So many people today don’t even look for Him. They make gods of other things that they can see and touch. They look for help and hope from things that aren’t real.

The Cross: All that pain, all that sorrow, all that sacrifice—for you! Jesus allowed Himself to be mocked, spit on, beaten, accused unjustly, and brutally killed.

Hebrews 9:22 “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”

Acts 2:2-4 “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

The same way God breathed into Adam, He once again breathed into normal men to have fellowship and to bring them to Life.

Luke 11:13 “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”

Eph 2:1 “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;”

It’s not about physical death. It’s about Spiritual death and life. The Word of God will judge and condemn, but mixed with God’s Spirit, it gives Life. That ‘quickening’ is Life. God loves you. He wants to connect with you, to walk with you, to talk with you.

In marriage, Spiritually, the man and woman become one flesh. God wants more than to just know you or merely talk to you. He wants more than to provide for you. He wants to be one with you. He wants to connect with you. He wants to be in a deep relationship with you. He wants to fill you with His Spirit, His presence.

Acts 1:8 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

Do you have that Spirit? It’s the same experience and evidence as on the Day of Pentecost, you’ll hear yourself speaking in a language unknown to you. If you have received that gift of God’s Holy Spirit, how is your relationship with Him? Are you changing and being transformed into becoming more and more like Him? (He does the transforming, we do the submitting and obeying.) Do others see this transformation? What can you do to improve your connection with Him?

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Skip Christo. 

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 Skip Christo, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

7 Things to Know About Pentecost

Paintbrush fireWho is your favorite superhero? Why?

Acts 2:1-4 “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

1. Pentecost is a holiday for the Jews. It is a celebration of a feast.

Lev 23:15-17 “And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: 16 Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the Lord. 17 Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals; they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the Lord.”

Moses brought down two tables of stone, the Law. The Word of God, like bread, gives us life. This was the first covenant. The Feast of Pentecost allows yeast or leaven, unlike Passover, which did not allow leaven (symbolic of sin) and was a separation of the Jews and the Egyptians (those who belonged to God and those who didn’t). God is trying to tell us something about Pentecost.

The Apostolic roots were started in an upper room and it spread unto the uttermost parts of the earth. Gentiles, those who not God’s people, have been grafted into the family of God. This is a fresh revelation because of Pentecost.

2. Pentecost is the Birthday of the Church, the 2nd Covenant.

Gal 4:4 “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,”

Our Bibles start the New Testament with Matthew, but the New Covenant didn’t start until the Holy Ghost was poured out on the Day of Pentecost. This is what gave birth to the Second Covenant.

Ez 36:26-27 “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”

Jer 31:31-34 “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

This is the beginning of the New Covenant. The New Covenant comes as the Law is written on hearts individually. On Mt. Sinai, only Moses had fire on his head. It was so glorious, Moses’ face reflected it and the people asked him to cover it. Now, it’s not just Moses who will teach everybody. The Old Covenant will vanish away.

Heb 12:24 “And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.”

Acts 2:41 “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”

3. Pentecost is the Outpouring of God’s Power for Obedient Believers.

Acts 1:8 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai, he came down to a party, where the people were worshipping something other than God.

Ex 32:26-28 “Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord’s side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. 27 And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour. 28 And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.”

Just as the dagger went in that day, so the Word of God spoken by Peter, pricked their hearts.

Acts 2:37 “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

Why is obedience so important? What does it mean to be an obedient believer?

Luke 24:49 “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”

They had already been given authority. They’d already healed the sick and cast out devils, but they didn’t have power. This is the ability and abundance and might of miraculous power on the Day of Pentecost.

When you come in contact with Pentecost, you are in contact with something that has the power to heal the sick and raise the dead, more powerful than the forces of an army, clothing from on high with that power. It’s the same power that Jesus felt left Him when the woman touched the hem of His garment. That woman was walking in obedient faith and received her healing. When you touch Jesus with obedient faith, there will be power that will fall on you.

It’s not a one-time experience. 

The difference between somebody who has been in that upper room versus the person who walks in Christian character is lack of power. Peter raised the dead through the power of the Spirit. It’s not by might, or by (human) power, but by God’s Spirit. Miracles come by God’s power.

Pentecost means that people are transformed. Power from another world.

4. The Spirit of Pentecost is literally the Voice of the Church, the Teacher. ‘Your sons and daughters shall prophesy. You will be witnesses and testify of what you’ve seen and heard of Jesus.’

The one who denied the Lord three times, suddenly on the Day of Pentecost, got up and got his voice back. The preacher today is not a human man or a woman, it is the Spirit that sat on Pentecost. It’s the rivers of Living Water that are flowing. Spirit is speaking to spirit.

Have you experienced this?

Jesus is the bishop and shepherd of our souls and we have returned to Him.

Everybody is a two-part person, spirit and body. When your soul partners with the Spirit and makes a decision to pray, you tell your body what to do.

Mat 10:20 “For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.”

5. Pentecost is the Restoration of the Lost Relationship.

Gen 2:7 “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

You must eat and drink to live. When you take something out of the dirt, it is dead. Cut flowers are beautiful, but they are dead. In the same way, when Adam took himself out of the presence of God, he died. As humans, you are born into that death. But, Pentecost is a restoration of that relationship back into the presence of God.

John 20:22 “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:”

How would you describe yourself? Do you see yourself as valuable to God? Does your perception of yourself line up with what the Bible says?

Because of Pentecost, God no longer identifies you by your mistakes or your sin. You are redefined by Pentecost. You are given a whole fresh start, a whole new identity. You are no longer that sick person, that failure, that messed up person. You are given a new life and redefined by Jesus. Pentecost gives you a different identity. Even if you have a felony, when you come to Pentecost, God says you are forgiven.

Pentecost gives you value. It’s no longer about the Law of God, it’s about the Love of God. Pentecost is now ‘Treasures in Earthly Values.’

“Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost.” You are now the house of the Holy of Holies. Jesus paid a dear price to give you value.

6. Pentecost is God’s mercy on display instead of His judgment. It is the grace and forgiveness of God.

Pentecost is not a religion. Instead of guilt, it’s grace. It’s the showcase of God’s mercy. It’s something given value, from darkness to light, from filth to treasure.

How do you see God? As Judge? Or Merciful, Loving Father? Why? Does your perception line up with the Bible?

7. Pentecost is the essentiality of which we are saved.

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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Game Changer

downloadWhat is your favorite productivity app or gadget? Why?

Game Changer, definition: ‘an event, idea, or procedure that effects a significant shift in the current manner of doing or thinking about something.’

A revolutionary product is a game changer. Sometimes, it’s a book that changes how you think and live and act. Some element takes you a higher place of victory and growth is a game changer. When God steps in a special way, that can be a game changer.

Gen 32:24-28 “And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. 25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. 26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. 27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. 28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.”

Jacob came from a dysfunctional home. There was favoritism and competition between siblings. The name ‘Jacob’ literally means ‘heal grabber.’ Esau means ‘red and hairy.’ Jacob was trying to supplant where he was, trying to get ahead, even from the womb. Early on, Jacob conned Esau out of his birthright as the oldest son and had to flee for his life because of it. So, he went to live with his uncle.

Jacob got a taste of his own conniving when his uncle conned him into marrying the wrong girl. He did marry the right girl, but it was trouble. His father-in-law tried to cheat him over and over again.

Has anyone every tried to cheat you? How did you respond?

Sometimes, God puts you into a holding pattern and you get frustrated. Instead of turning to God, you turn away. However, God allows you to go through situations and circumstances, not to torture you, but to develop you. He wants to get you to a place of total, perfect reliance on Him.

Open your heart to God’s will and God’s timing.

Jacob finally left his father-in-law and decided to return home and try to make things right with his brother. It had been about twenty years, but he found out his brother was coming to meet him with 300 men (an army). So, Jacob sent out gifts to appease his brother. He sent everyone else ahead to meet Esau. Then, Jacob was by himself with everything familiar stripped away.

There Jacob wrestled with a man until the breaking of day. This was no doubt a physical manifestation of God working in his life. Jacob had a physical change and never walked the same way again.

God will make you a new creature as well. He can find you wherever you are. You can’t hide from Him. But, when you get into that place with God, He can change everything for good.

How has either knowing God or even knowing about God changed your life?

Jacob wouldn’t let go in that ‘wrestling match’ until he was blessed. God asked, ‘What is thy name?’

Your name defines you. Jacob was a liar, a deceiver, a trickster. Culture, social groups, family status, financial status, all these things try to define you.

But, God can change your name. He can give you a new identity. He can take what you are and what you have been and change everything about you.

God caused Jacob to become His fighter. He became a prince among men. He caused Jacob to become powerful in the things of God.

How has God changed your identity?

Jacob (the old name, old nature) was carnal and selfish, but Israel (the new name, new nature) was spiritual and godly.

You don’t have to be the same anymore.

Isn’t it interesting that the game changers Jesus picked for his twelve closest followers were tax collectors no one wanted and a man who would cut off your ear rather than talk things (or think things) through? On the Day of Pentecost, it was none other than the former ear-cutter-offer, the one who denied Jesus three times, who preached, ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.’ (Acts 2:38)

It doesn’t stop there with God changing you. He can use you to be a game changer for somebody else’s life.

This Bible study excerpted from a sermon preached by evangelist Jacob Tapia.

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 Mother of Us All (Bible Study for Life Groups)

les-anderson-189376.jpgWhat is a good mom?

2 Tim 1:5 “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.”

Rom 16:13 “Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.”

There is more to these lists of names than you can see at first glance. There are 26 names mentioned in Rom 16. 6 of these names are women. In a male-oriented society, Paul could not mention the church without mentioning the significant role of women in that church.

In verse 13, Paul mentioned Rufus’ mother who he ascribes as a mother figure to him. We’re not sure if she helped him through sickness or she opened her home to him, but we can be sure she was very dear to him.

Mark tells us of Simon of Cyrene who carried Jesus’ cross. He had two sons, and one was named Rufus. This man’s wife might have been this same Rufus’ mother. This man, Simon, was the first who touched Jesus’ blood.

The Bible lists many mothers held in great, high, noble esteem, Rufus’ mom, Moses’ mom to name a few.

Being a parent, particularly for a woman, changes everything in his or her life.

There is a love that overwhelms all the difficulties of having babies. A mother continues to love and work even though there is little thanks. At times, she wants to give up, but she can’t. It’s an investment into a child’s life. It’s a picture of selfless love in its truest form.

Does the church, the mother of us all, do and feel the same way about new babes in the Lord?

Gal 4:26 “But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.”

Not the Jerusalem on earth, but heaven’s city, is free. That city is the mother of us all.

We know Who our Father is. But a child needs a father and a mother. The church is the mother. She gives that, ‘sincere milk of the Word.’

Prov 28:24 “Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no transgression; the same is the companion of a destroyer.”

This is not only a biological father or mother, but this verse speaks of spiritual parents as well. Don’t rob from God (our Father) or the church (our Spiritual Mother).

We get our identity from our Father and Mother. There really is a mother—the church.

What kind of an identity are we passing on as a church body?

Luke 8:21 “And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.”

Jesus wasn’t being disrespectful to His mother. He was making the point that those who hear the Word of God, and do it, are His mother and family.

The mother is like a city of refuge.

Psalm 46:1-11 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. 4 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. 5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. 6 The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. 7 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. 8 Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth. 9 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. 10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. 11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.”

Both God and the Church are meant to be our refuge.

A mother, heavy and burdened in love can flow like no other to their child. When adversity takes place, you’ve got a safe place in your mom. Friends desert in trials, but mom won’t desert you. The church is the mother of us all and will be there for you in every place of your life. There is power and refreshing and something about being in the house of God that fills you up! It’s momma’s arms, it’s the love of God that flows through.

How can we as a church fulfill that calling to be a ‘city of refuge’? What are we doing right? What could we improve? How do we need to change the way we think?

Isa 25:4 “For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.”

Psalm 27:1-5 “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. 3 Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. 4 One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple. 5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.”

In the crazy storms of life, seek for shelter. The church is your shelter. There is peace that passes understanding.

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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Called By His Name

http:::www.freedigitalphotos.net:images:Business_people_g201-Delegate_Badge_p67791.htmlDo you know the meaning of your name? If so, can you share it? Do you like your name? Why or why not?

2 Chron 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

God never just says something. He’s always trying to take us somewhere, to teach us something.

In this passage, He’s calling them His people, called by ‘My’ name. He’s not saying, the Jews or the Hebrews. He’s saying, ‘Called by My Name.’

At the burning bush, God told Moses to go, not with an army or some great military force behind him, but to tell Pharaoh, ‘Let my people go.’

Moses said, ‘Who shall I say sent me?’ God answered, ‘I am that I am. Tell them I AM sent you.’ It’s really very simple. ‘He is.’ In the Old Testament in reference to God, they would say, ‘He is,’ that simple, ‘the eternal, self-existent one.’ He has no beginning or ending. He is the eternal One.

The Jews called Him ‘He Is my Healer,’ ‘He Is my Banner,’ ‘He Is my Provider,’ (Jehovah-Jirah, etc).  They referred to God concerning His attributes, His deeds. They didn’t have a personal Name that specifically identified Him.

Isa 52:6 “Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I.”

God didn’t want them to know Him only by His power or His attributes or His blessings. He wanted them to know Him in a personal way.

Names matter to God.

Isa 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

Phil 2:9-11 “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

There is nothing more powerful than that name of Jesus! There is no weapon that can stand against Him. The only thing, the mightiest thing there is Jesus. Anything that opposes the will of God will fall at the name of Jesus.

Yeshua (Greek) literally means, ‘He Is my Salvation.’

Acts 4:12 “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

John 14:14 “If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”

Acts 3:6 “Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.”

Apostolic believers know the One-Who-Made-All-Things hears you when you cry out to Him. He answers prayers.

Rev 3:8 “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.”

Today, there is an attack, not on faith, not on religion, not on believing in a god. There is an attack targeted at the name of Jesus.

There is so much today that compromises and calls for conforming. The gospel of Jesus Christ is confrontational. It not only calls for change, it makes that change possible.

  1. What difference does it make to know someone by name, not just knowing about them, but knowing them on a personal level? (As in being able to call the president by his first name)
  2. Why do you think the name of Jesus is so controversial?
  3. Can you tell of a time when calling on Jesus by His name changed your life?
  4. How do you call on Jesus’ Name? (How do you walk in His authority in your own life?)

For further study see Acts 19:13-17

This Bible study excerpted from a sermon preached by Skip Christo.

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 Skip Christo, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Second Chance God

Give a Key to Prisoner by sakhorn38How do you handle your mistakes?

1 John 1:7-10 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

When David committed adultery with Bathsheba and then had her husband, Uriah, murdered, Nathan the prophet confronted him. David deserved death for his sin, but he repented and instead of judging him, the Lord showed mercy and forgave his sin.

Many people ask the question, What is truth? Today, absolute truth has been watered down. It’s more about tolerance than absolute truth these days. If there is no true, there is no false.

Biblically speaking, truth does not care what you’re feeling. Truth brings forth judging. Judgment must be established upon immutable truth. It was the law that exposed sin.

Truth does not waver. Truth brings light. Truth is precise. Truth reveals things to you.

Judgment ought to come when a violation of truth comes. In Scripture, we find judgment coming when truth is violated. However, mercy is also present throughout the Bible, even more than judgment.

Eph 2:4 “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,”

2 Cor 1:3 “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;”

There is a difference between grace and mercy. Grace is getting something you don’t deserve. Mercy is not getting something you do deserve.

David deserved to die, but God gave him a second chance. The hand of judgment was stayed by the hand of God. David not only didn’t die, he didn’t lose his crown. Judgment said David will always be in a battle, but mercy said he would always get the victory in the battle.

Psalm 51:7 “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”

Purge means ‘un-sin me’. Hyssop is used to apply the blood.

Heb 9:22 “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”

Rom 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

The apostle Paul had a choice on the road to Damascus. He could choose to die and be judged or take that second chance and serve Jesus.

The woman at the well got another chance. The woman caught in the act of adultery got another chance.

1 Peter 2:10 “Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”

Truth reveals sin, but mercy conceals it. Truth is black and white, but mercy is a prism.

James 2:13 “For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” (KJV) “For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; but [to the one who has shown mercy] mercy triumphs [victoriously] over judgment.” (AMP)

Isa 55:7 “Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.”

There is another chance. You may be filled with guilt and shame, but Jesus’ shed blood covers all of that. Of course, you have to repent, be baptized in Jesus’ name, and be filled with His Spirit. After that, confess, trust God to forgive and cleanse. (I John 1:9)

These things deactivate mercy: Feeling Unworthy, Pride, Worldly Tendencies, and Unforgiveness.

These things activate mercy: Confess, Worship, Exercise Faith, and Show Mercy.

Don’t be defined by your mistakes, instead, let mercy define you.

  1. Why do people try to hide their mistakes?
  2. Why do you think people refuse to receive mercy?
  3. How have you experienced mercy in your life?
  4. Describe a time where you witnessed someone showing mercy.

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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Power of His Resurrection

002-jesus-aliveMat 28:6-7 “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.”

Phil 3:10 “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;”

Without the resurrection, there is no hope.

Recently, Pastor Anthony preached about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. To be honest, as a practicing Christian, I don’t wonder whether or not this event really happened. My study and personal experience with God have made it easy to believe. He is God after all. Isn’t God supposed to be able to do whatever He wants? Including rise from the dead?

However, of course, not everyone finds it easy to believe. In fact, many dispute the resurrection. My goal isn’t to argue. That tends to be a waste of time. People who argue don’t really want to believe even if you can prove it to them. On the other hand, addressing this issue is good in that it helps answer people with honest questions.

Pastor began with, “The good news is there really was a resurrection. What sets Christianity apart from other religions is the empty tomb.

“On Easter, you typically have people at church simply because it’s Easter. Church is a religious activity, but not really a part of everyday life. There are those who are not fully convinced about the resurrection. Many see Christianity as a list of rules.”

“There are documented facts about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In any library, you can find in secular books in which Jesus is mentioned as a documented historical figure. He claimed to be the Messiah and lived about 2000 years ago. A host of hostile witnesses testifies of His life and where He lived. Jewish and Roman scholars wrote about His life. It is a fact that He was crucified under Pontius Pilot and His followers claimed that He rose from the dead. There are thousands of historical finds that confirm these things.”

At least there’s no doubt that Jesus actually existed. It’s the miracles and resurrection that are questioned.

Pastor continued, “There is factual evidence in history that He was crucified as stated in the Bible. It is a fact that they could not produce the body after they buried Him. It is documented that there was a rumor circulated that the disciples stole His body. Now, there was a lot of guards surrounding that tomb. How could the disciples have done it?”

“Not only was Jesus a man of God, a man of healing, He lived and was falsely accused and shed innocent blood. He rose from the dead!”

“Why is the resurrection such a big deal? All you need to do to debunk the myth is produce the body, yet no one could do it. Jesus Christ’s body could not be produced. The apostles not only preached that Jesus rose from the dead, but they died for their assertion.”

I don’t know about you, but I would not be willing to die for a lie.

Pastor said, “It’s not just a fact that Jesus was raised up, there is a power in His resurrection. God became a man, and in that flesh, He became a sacrifice to pay the penalty for your sin. He allowed His body to be whipped and by His stripes we are healed!”

The fact that He could raise Himself up from the dead shows that He chose to sacrifice Himself.

I loved this next part. Apparently, when a person was buried in a tomb, it wasn’t a simple thing of pushing a big rock in front of the entrance. It was actually sealed shut. One or two people couldn’t push the big rock out of the way. To open the tomb back up, you needed tools and ten to twenty strong men.

“When the women went to anoint His body, they talked about how they were going to move the stone out of the way. When they got there they were surprised.” 

The stone wasn’t rolled away so Jesus could walk out. The stone was rolled away so people could see in. 

Jesus laid down His life for you and me. He rolled that stone away to give proof of his resurrection and to show that He did all that He said He would do.

“Peter and John came to a point that they no longer doubted Jesus. They no longer questioned His ways and chose instead to simply do what He said to do.” 

Acts 1:8 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

“Peter no longer was the crazy guy who put his foot in his mouth, he had a lot of wisdom in his letters (1, 2, 3 Peter). He went from denying even knowing Jesus to standing up in front of thousands with boldness preached how to be saved (Acts 2:38).”

“If you’re dealing with doubt or are troubled about whether or not you know God, there is a cross that you need to visit. There is a tomb that you need to visit.”

In a world that so obviously does not have all the answers, there is One who does. There is One who wants to know you and show you His heart, His love, His forgiveness, His hope. God is real. He kept every promise. He really did put on flesh, come as a man, lead and teach a group of 12 and others. He really did die on a cross as a substitute for the sins of you and me. He paid the price we owe. And, He rose from the dead.

You can experience that power.  

Rom 8:11 “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

Come and see for yourself. It’s real. And you can experience and know Jesus for yourself.

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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