The Power of Perfect Love

imagesJohn 14:15-17 “If ye love me, keep my  commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”

Jesus said, ‘You’re asking me, What does it take?’ The only way to get into Jesus is to be born of the water. You’ve got to wash all the hurt, the pain, the disappointments.

If you love Me, you’ll keep My commandments. Perfect love will take you to a place you’ve never been before.

Love causes you to do whatever it takes to make that other person happy. The Bible reminds us that we can’t come to Him with our own agenda in the way. Get rid of the stuff that keeps you from what God wants to do in your life. What matters is today, keep His commandments.

What personal ‘agendas’ keep you from seeking to do God’s will God’s way?

What is the purpose of repentance? You can’t come to somebody holy and righteous without it.  Repentance is simply turning from your way and will and doing things God’s way instead. Repentance says, ‘God, I’ve got all this stuff, all this weight.’ As you worship, you’ll feel lightness on your shoulders. As you repent, you’ll say, ‘God, You’re the One in control. I trust You.’

You love God. You wouldn’t read this if you didn’t love Him. You may not fully understand Him, but you love Him. If you love Him, you’ll keep His commandments. You’ve got to repent.

In the Old Testament, before the priest could enter into the holy place, there was a place of repentance to go through first (that altar of sacrifice).

What things are in your life you need to get rid of? What habits, actions, and/or attitudes are contrary to God’s will and way?

How do you get into God? How do you get into Christ? It’s through baptism. ‘As many of us have put Christ on, you are a new creature.’ Baptism cleanses all that junk out. Jesus went on further to say to Nicodemus that he needed to be born of the Spirit.

You know Jesus, He’s with you and dwells in you through baptism into His Spirit.

The reason you carry stuff for far too long is you haven’t fully grasped Perfect Love.

God will do a perfect work in you if you let Him. It doesn’t matter where you’ve come from or your religion or language or color, Christ wants to be inside of you to comfort you, to love you, and show you His pureness and purpose.

Mat 8:2-3 “And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”

That’s the power of Jesus Christ, when you come with your heaviness and burdens and filthiness, Jesus changes you, transform you. You may not understand life, but know Jesus can help you. Jesus will do a miraculous work in your life.

What miracle do you need right now? Do you need healing, physically, emotionally, in your relationships? He can and will give you that miracle, if you ask Him and trust Him and choose to obey Him, doing things His way.

The leper came and worshipped. Worship will open the door to the miraculous power of Jesus Christ. It’s raising your hands and surrendering everything to God right now. It’s an act of surrender and trust (faith) and hope. It says, ‘God, You’re in control, You’re the One who does the work, the miraculous.’

God will do something different when we worship. It’s the key. When you let go and worship, things happen.

The love of God will always lead us to repentance, baptism, and the Holy Ghost. If we really love Him, we’ll do exactly what He wants us to do.

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Evangelist Nathan Hulsman. 

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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Faith Forward

Prov 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

2 Cor 5:7 “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)” (KJV) “For we live by believing and not by seeing.” (NLT)

Pastor Michael is terrified of open heights. If there’s a chance of slipping off of an open edge or a railing, he wants nothing to do with it. Enclosed, he’s okay, an airplane is fine or inside of an office building.

He started a new job 10 weeks ago, testing fire alarm systems. He’s been testing hospitals recently. To test one of the alarms, he has to climb a fixed access ladder, which goes up about 25-30 feet, then going onto a catwalk. A safety cage around the ladder didn’t make him feel any better. He had three options, ask his crew leader to remotely activate the device (frowned upon because it’s not actually testing the device), ask the crew leader to climb the ladder for him, or just climb the ladder himself. After a brief mental battle, he chose option three. In order to be successful in this job, he needed to push past his comfort zone. He alternated each rung and prayed, quoted Scripture, and tried not to look down. At the 3/4 mark, he looked down and froze. No one would come to his rescue. Does he go back down? What would happen if he doesn’t finish the climb? What did he have to lose by giving up? What did he have to gain if he finished the climb? He climbed the ladder, got onto the catwalk and tested the device. Victory! Then, he realized something very important, he had to get back down. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, praying, quoting Scripture, and began the climb downward. He made it to the bottom.

His faith was tested. Fear and anxiety were tested. He had to push past that in order to do his job. So it is in your walk with God. You’ve got to push past your fear and anxiety and walk in faith with God. If you can’t push past your flesh, God will find someone else. He wants to use you, though. You’ve got to push past yourself and your limits.

Has your faith been tested recently? How did you handle it? How much faith do you have?

Rom 12:3 “Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.”

You can build on your faith or stop using it. You’ve got to exercise your faith or it will atrophy.

Jesus had a conversation with a Roman centurion. This man trusted Jesus to heal his servant even from a distance.

Luke 7:2-9 “At that time the highly valued slave of a Roman officer was sick and near death. 3 When the officer heard about Jesus, he sent some respected Jewish elders to ask him to come and heal his slave. 4 So they earnestly begged Jesus to help the man. ‘If anyone deserves your help, he does,’ they said, 5 ‘for he loves the Jewish people and even built a synagogue for us.’ 6 So Jesus went with them. But just before they arrived at the house, the officer sent some friends to say, ‘Lord, don’t trouble yourself by coming to my home, for I am not worthy of such an honor. 7 I am not even worthy to come and meet you. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. 8 I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.’ 9 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to the crowd that was following him, he said, ‘I tell you, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!’ 10 And when the officer’s friends returned to his house, they found the slave completely healed.”

This man had great faith.

How can you have great faith? What does that look like?

Peter had little faith.

Mat 14:28-31 “Then Peter called to him, ‘Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.’ 29 ‘Yes, come,’ Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. ‘Save me, Lord!’ he shouted. 31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. ‘You have so little faith,’ Jesus said. ‘Why did you doubt me?’”

Another time, all Jesus’ disciples were on a boat when a storm came up.

Luke 8:24-25 “The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, ‘Master, Master, we’re going to drown!’ When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. Suddenly the storm stopped and all was calm. 25 Then he asked them, ‘Where is your faith?’ The disciples were terrified and amazed. ‘Who is this man?’ they asked each other. ‘When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!’”

Why do you sometimes doubt God? How can you change your thinking so that you don’t doubt?

Logic is faith’s worst enemy. It is the opposite of faith. Overthinking is a bad idea. During Jesus’ earthly ministry, many people believed Jesus could heal. The woman with the issue of blood was healed because of her faith. Jesus said over and over again, ‘Your faith has made you well.’ Their faith was properly placed. Jesus physically healed and forgave sins. It was a complete restoration. It was a result of faith in the right place.

Level of faith and placement of faith taken together enables you to ‘faith forward’. What you can’t see can impact what you can see.

Heb 11:1,3,6 “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” 3 “By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.” 6 “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.”

What is your level of faith and what do you place your faith in? Does that need to change?

David’s faith enabled him to fight an enemy that terrified better, more experienced warriors (Goliath). The faith of the three Hebrew boys protected them from the flames. The Apostles’ faith allowed them to complete the work of Jesus even in the face of torture and death.

These are all people who could ‘faith forward.’ Take faith today as an action. Let it empower you to do something. If you’re ready to faith forward, mountains will move, lost loved ones will be saved, miracles will happen, diseases will be healed. If you are willing to ‘faith forward’ when no one else will, broken hearts will be mended, broken homes will be healed and set right, bonds of addictions will be broken, and hope will be renewed. Resurrection and Restoration are possible through faith forward. The promises of God will be fulfilled in your life. Apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists will rise up and souls will be reached and new disciples will be created and lives will be forever changed.

Are you willing? Will you take that first step? Even though solid ground is not beneath your feet, will you trust anyway?

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Michael Lagle. 

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 Tree and the Twig

trees and twigs2 Tim 1:5 “I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you.”

True discipleship is reproducing what you are. We become who we follow and then help others to become like us. Help us to follow Christ, to put on the mind of Christ, every day, every hour, every moment of every day.

Raise your children versus training your children. When you raise animals, all you have to do is feed them and protect them. You have to train up a child which is more than merely raising.

Prov 22:6 “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”

Just as the twig is bent, so grows the tree. As a child is trained, so will he or she mature.

How do you reproduce Jesus in yourself? How do you work to reproduce Him in others?

As a child, Pastor remembers a pear tree that grew wrong. It was planted wrong and ended up growing crooked. He tried to fix it but realized that he would kill it if he continued.

As an adult, we need to be conformed to the image of Jesus, rather than the way we were raised.

Good or bad, there is an influence and impact of programming habits and thought patterns of thinking. It’s wired into the soul of a person. When it comes down to it, it’s the teaching of our children, to leave that not to politicians or schools. We must be responsible to teach our children.

It is in the understanding and lifestyle of the character of Jesus Christ. It is in the possession and cultivation of the fruit of the Spirit. Some things are caught, but this is taught.

CHILDREN LEARN WHAT THEY LIVE

Dorothy Law Nolte

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn. If children live with hostility, they learn to fight. If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive. If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves. If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy. If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy. If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty. If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence. If children live with tolerance, they learn patience. If children live with praise, they learn appreciation. If children live with acceptance, they learn to love. If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves. If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal. If children live with sharing, they learn generosity. If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness. If children live with fairness, they learn justice. If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect. If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them. If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

Why is it that children catch bad words instead of good words? Why is it that children are more likely to repeat what they see you do rather than what you say? Why are attitudes so infectious? Knowing this, how can you be part of changing the atmosphere around you for good, rather than merely reacting to the bad? 

The world is trying to portray God’s rules and submission to His authority as bondage rather than His blessing and protection. Children need parents that teach that God is faithful and able and ‘that all things work together for good.’ Whose report will you believe? Faith must be taught in a child.

You must realize what kind of power you have in Jesus. While the rest of the world suffers, our God is a provider. God can multiply two loaves and fish. He can turn stones into bread. Your mentality must have confidence not in stocks or education, but in Jesus. God is the one we lean on and trust in.

Work hard and learn well, but know that this world will disappear someday. Store up treasure for yourself in heaven.

The Bible teaches us that we have spiritual things to deal with. There are philosophies and principles of this world. Don’t wrestle with flesh and blood. Our battle is a celestial battle, supernatural, spiritual. The battleground is between your ears. War declarations are Egypt trying to put you into bondage again.

Spiritual wickedness is being presented to you and your children. It’s organized, an agenda to enslave the hearts and minds of you and your children. It’s so subtle that you might not even realize it.

However, the weapons of our warfare are not natural.

2 Cor 10:4-6 “We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. 6 And after you have become fully obedient, we will punish everyone who remains disobedient.”

Every barrier between you and Jesus must be torn down. Every barrier between you and obeying Jesus must be destroyed.

It’s time to dream. What is your dream, your vision? What do you want to do to glorify Jesus with your life?

Never stop being a disciple maker. If you have a teenager who is having a difficult time, you still have time to break down barriers between them and Jesus. You can still influence them in Jesus.

Strongholds, the Bible says to tear down, cast down, pull down strongholds. A stronghold is a fortified place. Extra care has been put into this, an extreme protection. The stronghold is the final, the thought is the entry. Satan starts with a thought. Thoughts come from other people, the media, the enemy of your soul. Thoughts need to come from parents, church leaders, God, the Bible. Your thoughts need to come from godly sources. Thoughts gathered together become knowledge, knowledge becomes images, images become a way of thinking, patterns are habits and cycles of thinking.

You make choices based on knowledge and bring action to these things. If your thinking is based on lies, disaster happens. Strongholds must be removed.

Prov 23:7 “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…”

You can imagine all kinds of false things. You might imagine that someone doesn’t like you because that person had a funny look on his or her face. Reality might be that the person has gas, but you might build a stronghold and decide you don’t like them because of a lie you chose to believe. Satan comes in and brings disunity and division.

Thoughts become intentions and then actions and words. What’s inside your heart will spread to your attitudes and words and actions.

If you have something against someone, go to that person. Let the Word of God keep you from building strongholds. The devil wants to enslave you, but you belong to God. You can have the blessings of God. If you do things God’s way, you will enjoy the things of God, peace, love, joy, hope.

What lies have you believed and acted upon? How did you mend things when you realized the truth? How can you guard against that happening in the future?

God answers prayer.

If you are deceived into thinking that the Egyptians are stronger, you will be enslaved. Your mentality will dictate your actions. Don’t allow your children to serve in the plans of the devil. Eve was deceived and acted in disobedience and paid the price.

The world says, ‘truth is relative and absolute truth is a bad thing.’ This is a lie! The world says it’s foolish to believe God created the world. Yet, the world has few morals and has forgotten to value one another as precious souls. The church is portrayed as the bad guy. The church is not the world’s problem. The church is the world’s answer to the problem. Children will be confused unless mom and dad remove that confusion. Being Apostolic is not a punishment, it’s a privilege.

Knowing that God’s way is best, how does that change your thinking, your attitudes, and your 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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TLC Celebrating Nine Years!

tlc-welcome-logo

Believe  Belong  Become

Helping you believe in, belong to and become more like Jesus.

Testimonies from Various Members

Pastor Michael Lagle (Youth Pastor):

Sometimes, change is difficult. Sometimes, people don’t handle it well. Just because you’re raised in truth, there is no guarantee you’re going to heaven. Your parents can’t get you into heaven. Someone else’s relationship with the Lord is not your relationship with the Lord. It’s easy to ride other people’s coattails, rather than personally drawing close to Jesus. Just showing up isn’t a guarantee of receiving or engaging in anything.

Why are you here? Why have you decided to follow Jesus? How has your life changed?

Jesus made a way, ‘when our backs were against the wall and it looked as if it were over,’ Jesus made a way. God will break down your walls.

There is something really special in the leadership here at this church. They love Jesus and seek after His leading and obey Him. God is using them to reach souls and change lives.

To see a thousand souls will take the entire church, not just the leadership. This is not a spectator sport. We need workers. It is so much easier if we have help.

Minister used to be a verb. It meant ‘to attend to the needs of someone.’ It was not a title or position, it was an act. Everybody in the early church ministered to people.

Today, there is no need for a title, you are called to minister. Go and preach the gospel to every creature. We are all called to fulfill Jesus’ Great Commission! Here I am, send me! 

Jesus is calling us to deeper waters. ‘We’ve toiled all night, but at Thy Word, we will obey You, Jesus.’ We may not understand, but we will obey. And, there was so many fish, the nets nearly broke. It took a team effort and other boats.

Send us into deeper waters. We will follow our leaders and see Jesus do mighty things.

What ‘deeper waters’ is Jesus calling you into?

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Pastor Anthony LoCascio:

Unity enables us to do anything. Love at the highest level is trust. God wants to set you free from lack of trust. He loves you. He is worthy of your trust. The truth really will set you free!

Are you willing to trust and obey Jesus and the leadership He has placed over you? How is your life changing as you choose to do this?

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Becca Lagle: The promises of the Lord are yes and so be it. God promised her a husband. He promised that her family would be saved. Today, her mom is in church and she is very happily married.

What has God promised you? What has already happened and what is still left to happen? What is your part in seeing those promises happen?

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Everton Wellington:

Pastor Anthony is transparent. He’s a prayer warrior. Stay with Him. He’s going with God. We have not seen all that God is going to do through this man. God will tell Pastor things that He doesn’t tell everybody else. If you get in line with the man of God, then everything else will fall in line. The secret is submission and unity. Set aside your opinion and take hold of your Leader’s opinion and follow that! Love is action.

The fire is still there. Don’t let that fire go out. God is looking for a man to build up the hedge and stand in the gap. God expects you to rise up with power in your hands and to do His will. He has put it in us.

2 Tim 1:7 “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and a sound mind.”

What are you afraid of? Will you choose to trust God (Perfect Love) instead?

Note: The opposite of fear is not faith. The opposite of fear is Perfect Love. 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”

What is God asking you to do? Is it too big for you? Will you trust Him to lead you and guide you in this?

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Psalm 34:3-8 “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. 3 O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. 4 I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. 5 They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed. 6 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. 8 O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”

Are you willing to set aside your feelings and emotions and praise the Lord instead? Are you willing to seek the Lord, trusting and knowing that He hears you and will deliver you from all your fears? Will you ‘taste and see that the Lord is good?’ How does that change your life?

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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Captain Caveman

caveJesus is familiar with the pit, that downtrodden, lonely place. Jesus died like a sinner. He went down into the pit, the belly of the earth, the judgment of God, the absence of God. What happens when God enters hell? They hand Him the keys! He can go in and out of your situation anytime He wants. He is not far at all. He’s familiar with the pit. If you shut Him out, don’t. Let Him in.

If you make the declaration that you are in a pit right now, that honesty allows God to work a miracle in your life. You can be transformed. He is an on-time, ever-present, all-knowing God. He has been in the fire. Those three Hebrew children (they were men, really) and went into the fire of judgment because they refused to bow to another god. Not only did they not get burned, their bonds fell off and a fourth man appeared in the fire with them. Jesus is still in the fire. The flame won’t burn you.

Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.”

When have you been honest with God and got the victory?

The thing that He wants to do for you is to bring you out of that situation a mighty man or woman of God.

Joel 3:9 “Proclaim this among the nations: ‘Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men, Let all the men of war draw near, Let them come up.’ 10 ‘Beat your plowshares into swords And your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, ‘I am strong.’”

2 Sam 23:9-16 “And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle, and the men of Israel had retreated. 10 He arose and attacked the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand stuck to the sword. The Lord brought about a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to plunder. 11 And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines had gathered together into a troop where there was a piece of ground full of lentils. So the people fled from the Philistines. 12 But he stationed himself in the middle of the field, defended it, and killed the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory. 13 Then three of the thirty chief men went down at harvest time and came to David at the cave of Adullam. And the troop of Philistines encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. 14 David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem. 15 And David said with longing, “Oh, that someone would give me a drink of the water from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!” 16 So the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David. Nevertheless he would not drink it, but poured it out to the Lord.” 

The mighty men of David were extraordinary in all ways in terms of war, probably the greatest, strongest warriors of all time, the one thing they have in common is they all did not start that way.

They didn’t start out mighty. They were in debt, distressed, castaways, cavemen. Can you imagine a cave full of grumpy men? They had no help, no family, rejects of society. They had no hope, they were discontented, distressed. Then, a man named David went into that cave and God did a work.

They became David’s mighty men. They were credited with mighty feats that seemed almost story-tale like. Abishai killed three hundred men all by himself. Another went into a pit and killed a lion. Another man killed a leader of the Egyptians with the Egyptian’s own weapon. These men served as a special elite group. There were 37 total.

Among David’s mighty men, there were three standouts, special ops. God used these men to bless Israel. The three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines just to get a glass of water.

David thought that this act was so holy that it needed to be remembered. It was a sacrifice unto the King of kings, not just for David, the future king. So, he poured it out as a drink offering unto the Lord.

If you had a nickname for David it would be Captain Caveman. He was a king without a throne. He hung out with those rejected by society. Yet, Captain Caveman formed a band of mighty men. His followers were loyal.

Have you ever been in a cave (spiritually, emotionally, rough circumstances)? How did you handle it?

David was different from these men. He was of great character and faith. He knew that he was guided by the Lord. David understood God’s anointing.

These men in the cave weren’t hiding out of fear. It was rejection. He began to talk to those men and invited them to be a part of his kingdom. He promised to make warriors out of them. They got ahold of something and faced off gruesome enemies and won the victory.

These guys didn’t start out as winners. They started out as losers. David invited them to be part of a team. These men on their own accord went after that cup of water, not on instructions from their Captain. They wanted to please their king.

The fact that David refused to drink that water caused those men to see his character. He refused to usurp Saul. He wouldn’t let his men kill Saul. ‘If God is big enough to make him king, God is big enough to remove him as king.’ David’s character rubbed off on those other cave dwellers, in the cave, the pit, in their darkest place. Their moment came when they learned how to be warriors by watching David.

David could’ve killed Saul many times. Yet, he refused. He refused to force the will of God.

What has God promised you that you don’t see yet? Have you tried to force God’s will? How did that turn out? What has God promised you that has happened in your life?

Now, David made mistakes. This is more about a type of Christ. Jesus is in your cave. If you will listen to Him in the cave, you will emerge mighty and useful to God.

There are things you can learn while you’re suffering. Captain Caveman will teach you if you let Him.

David taught them submission through his own example.

Shammah is another of David’s mighty men. The Philistines were coming to attack. He was advised to run, but he refused because he trusted God to help him defend the land and beans that God had given him. This was God’s Promised Land and Shammah had a right to it. He held onto those promises of God.

Whatever God has given you, where do you learn to fight for what God has given you? It’s in the cave.

There is an enemy that isn’t flesh and blood. A battle is all around you right now.

Where do you learn to fight that battle? Where’s the Bootcamp? Where do you learn how to fight as a Christian? How do you build resistance? It’s in the cave!

When the battle comes, you don’t run.

Learn from Jesus, watch that King, open up for the transmission from Him. He will teach you how to war.

2 Sam 22:35 “He teaches my hands to make war, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.”

Joel 3:10 “Beat your plowshares into swords And your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, ‘I am strong.’”

How do you handle the cave? Knowing what you know now, has that changed your thinking and/or attitude if you’re in a cave right now? Why or why not?

There was a shift, a change, in their thinking. God is calling you to victory. Will you answer that call?

You that are in the pit feel like you’re worthless, like you have no value, not good enough, not cool, not sweet, not right. So, you refuse to trust the people in the church. Lies come at you. They weave a web that keeps you down in the pit. Understand and learn some stuff in that cave. Soon, a sword will be put in your hand and fuse to your hand. God will give you a weapon and you will have the opportunity to use it.

If you see a twelve-fingered giant, run, unless God has called you to fight him.

These mighty men were not born that way. Go to the cave and dwell there awhile so you can learn of Him.

Mat 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Elijah was a tough dude. He killed many prophets of Baal. Jezebel wrote him a note and he got scared. He ran to a cave. Nobody was there with him—except a voice. God wasn’t in the displays of power. A still, small voice came to him saying, ‘You’re not alone.’

In a cave when you go hide out, Captain Caveman is in there. You may have gotten yourself in your situation, but in the cave, the place of despair and disgust and discouragement, Jesus is there talking to you, explaining to you, that this is just basic training. When you emerge and war breaks out, you will be ready.

When you stand up on the pedestal and get the roses, you can say, ‘It’s not me, it was God who did the work.’

Zach 4:6 “Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.”

How do you handle the victory? Do you give Jesus the glory?

The greatest testimony in the Bible is Lazarus. Jesus raised the dead. He can’t help it. It’s what He does.

There is something about the cave, the pit. He is a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.

Isaiah 53:3 “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”

Jesus knows what it’s like to deal with kids who are afraid. He knows what it’s like to be hungry, to be rejected.

Jesus doesn’t do the stuff that we can do. He does the things we can’t do.

Jesus was frustrated at Lazarus’ death because Mary and Martha had faith for healing, but not for resurrection. He told the people to roll away the stone. He could’ve rolled it away, but He wanted the people to be a part of the miracle.

If you will trust Jesus, and do whatever He asks you to do, He will give you a mighty testimony, even now!

You may be in a pit, but God is greater.

Jesus wants you to be involved in the victory. He will give you a sword, but you must learn to use it. He will take you from sin, but you must learn to walk in faith and victory and obedience.

What are you doing to grow in your pit? What have you learned so far? What do you still need to do?

You are a man or a woman of valor! You are called to be part of the Army of the End Time!

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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Stick with What You’ve Got

laying on of handsHeb 6:1-3 “So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. 2 You don

 

’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding.”

1 Tim 4:13-14 “Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them. 14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you.” 

God told Moses to lay hands on people. Something about that touch of a hand, something flows from one person to another. Something about the right hand, particularly, was understood by the patriarchs. Isaac, half blind, touched Jacob, laying hands on him, and he was blessed, even though it was stolen.

2 Tim 1:6 “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.”

You receive something when people lay hands on you. Keep it, stir it up.

Why is touch so important? Why do you think God instituted the ministry of laying on of hands?

In Acts 8, Philip was preaching to the Samaritans. Nobody had received the Holy Ghost yet. For accountability, Philip called Peter and John to come. When they laid hands on them, the Holy Ghost fell. It was so amazing that Simon the Sorcerer offered money for this same ability. Peter told him that even though he’d been baptized in Jesus’ Name, he needed to go back and repent. ‘Freely you have received, freely give.’ You can’t buy the Holy Ghost!

Acts 19:6 “Then when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in other tongues and prophesied.”

Lev 16:21 “He will lay both of his hands on the goat’s head and confess over it all the wickedness, rebellion, and sins of the people of Israel. In this way, he will transfer the people’s sins to the head of the goat. Then a man specially chosen for the task will drive the goat into the wilderness.”

This scape goat is a type and shadow of casting our sins as far as the East is from the West. How do you cast these sins out? You lay hands and speak.

You transmit things through touch.

What things are transmitted through touch? What have you received through the ministry of laying on of hands?

If you pray with doubt or fear, don’t touch people! Pray with boldness and faith.

When people respect the man of God, it liberates the power of God. If you can’t receive, if you doubt, you can stop the flow of God.

God wants to use you to transmit something to somebody else. He doesn’t use angels. He goes through the church.

Mark 16:18 “They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”

Picking up a snake will be by accident or drinking poison by accident, anything that tries to harm you, it will not harm you. They will lay hands on the sick and be healed!

There is power in the name of Jesus, when a man of faith lays hands on the sick, they will be healed!

If you want to keep that faith, you’ve got to stir it up and give it away. The principle of laying on of hands, the doctrine of laying on of hands is where impartation takes place, something from one spirit to another is transferred. Proximity and sort of mixing what you have with the faith of someone else, influence in the spirit, the connection is made through the laying on of hands.

(Be careful who you hang with because something is transmitted for good or for bad. You can influence one another spiritually for good or for bad. This can be anything from gossip to doubt to outright rebellion.)

Have you laid hands on others to pray for them? What were the results?

Cornelius was visited by an angel who told him to call for Peter. Why not the angel tell him? The church must tell you things an angel cannot tell you. Gospel messages, healing virtues flow through the church. His Words have to come through the church.

If pastor can influence spiritually, pray for you and lay hands on you, God will flow and do the supernatural.

Something about the hands! We pray for God to lay His hands on us.

Elijah passed his mantle to Elisha.

1 Kings 19:19 “So Elijah went and found Elisha son of Shaphat plowing a field. There were twelve teams of oxen in the field, and Elisha was plowing with the twelfth team. Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak across his shoulders and then walked away.”

There was a transmission that took place when Elijah laid something on Elisha that he had touched and breathed on and sweated in.

You need the church. You can’t get something on a yoga mat on a mountain all by yourself. God wants to give you something through the church. There is a doctrine of the laying on of hands, God is going to transmit something to you. God will get the devil off your back once and for all.

Why is physical touch so necessary for unity? Why is it so important for us as God’s church to minister to one another and be in community with one another in unity with our Pastor and our God?

Num 27:18-23 “The Lord replied, ‘Take Joshua son of Nun, who has the Spirit in him, and lay your hands on him. 19 Present him to Eleazar the priest before the whole community, and publicly commission him to lead the people. 20 Transfer some of your authority to him so the whole community of Israel will obey him. 21 When direction from the Lord is needed, Joshua will stand before Eleazar the priest, who will use the Urim—one of the sacred lots cast before the Lord—to determine his will. This is how Joshua and the rest of the community of Israel will determine everything they should do.’ 22 So Moses did as the Lord commanded. He presented Joshua to Eleazar the priest and the whole community. 23 Moses laid his hands on him and commissioned him to lead the people, just as the Lord had commanded through Moses.”

1 Tim 5:22 “Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.”

Don’t be too quick to lay hands on somebody. Yet, Jesus touched the man with leprosy (a very contagious and deadly disease). The woman with an issue of blood touched the hem of Jesus’ garments.

It’s dangerous to look a brother in the face and cut him off from your life, especially if that dude taught you Bible studies. If God wants to bless you, He might have somebody lay hands on you.

There are some places you don’t touch people, (head or wrist is usually safest). When God gives you something, stick to what you’ve been given.

Why is it important to not be too quick in laying hands on people? Why is faith so important in the ministry of laying on of hands?

Jer 6:16 “This is what theLord says: ‘Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.’ But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’”

Col 2:6-10 “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:”

Stick to what you’ve got. Persevere. Be what God has called you to be.

A prophetic Word can fall on deaf ears and nothing change. Words can come and go and aren’t received, but something powerful happens through the laying on of hands. Somebody who has been in contact with God, who has been praying and fasting and living the way God wants them to live, can share what they’ve been given from God through the laying on of hands. Someone who is hungry for it can receive this.

What Spiritual gifts have you received that you need to ‘stir up’? What do you need to persevere in? What have you been given that you need to hold tightly to and share?

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

The Scales of Faith

balance-154516_960_720Prov 11:1 “The Lord detests the use of dishonest scales, but he delights in accurate weights.”

Just being falsely balanced gives abomination to the Lord. He is happier when the scale is right.

Prov 16:11 “The Lord demands accurate scales and balances; he sets the standards for fairness.”

A scale in Bible times was used to dictate how much was owed. A false balance cheated people, they paid more than they were supposed to. An accurate scale delights the Lord. When you are properly balanced, God is delighted. He is a God of order.

It’s important at times to take Spiritual inventory. At the doctor’s office, he checks you out physically. He evaluates your health based on various indicators. The scale will give a reflection or indication of your health. There is a scale in the Spirit that will also dictate to you what your walk with God is. This is like a dipstick to measure the oil content in your car. You might find some adjustments are necessary. You might need to do something to get into shape. This will show you whether or not you’re in balance.

What aspects of your life are out of balance, physically, work-related, relationships, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually? 

When God created the universe, it was perfect. The digital clocks aren’t as accurate as the stars. All of the stars, the planets, the universe itself is spinning in perfect order.

Isa 40:12-15 “Who else has held the oceans in his hand? Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers? Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale? 13 Who is able to advise the Spirit of the Lord? Who knows enough to give him advice or teach him? 14 Has the Lord ever needed anyone’s advice? Does he need instruction about what is good? Did someone teach him what is right or show him the path of justice? 15 No, for all the nations of the world are but a drop in the bucket. They are nothing more than dust on the scales. He picks up the whole earth as though it were a grain of sand.”

You have a relationship with God and the Spirit world and each other that needs to be checked every once in a while. Are you in balance with God?

If you have offense in your heart, you need to balance that with forgiveness. You’ve got to let it go. There must be balance in your walk with God.

Do you have offense in your heart? Are you willing to forgive? What else might be out of balance in your walk with God?

Skinner’s box was a science experiment using rats, studying instinct. Animals seek comfort and avoid pain simultaneously. Human nature is seeking comfort and avoiding pain.

The underside of the box (part of it) had electrodes on it and hurt when the rat touched it. So, the rat went to the other side of the box, but hunger caused the rat to go the side with the electrodes.

When there is pain in your life, you will try to run from the pain. When the pain is gone, the natural tendency is to seek comfort. This is an absolute contradiction to being Christian!

Jesus didn’t need to learn these experimental things, He already knew what man was all about, avoiding pain and seeking comfort.

His very first lesson was to: Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me (do what I do). Learn how to deal with discomfort and pain.

Balance is necessary in your walk with God. Faith is the substance of things not seen. Faith is the evidence of what you can’t see. The promises of God can’t be seen, but we trust God to make them happen. Your faith dictates what happens in the Spirit realm. We don’t walk by sight, we walk by faith.

There were more experiments. Those rats tried to seek comfort and avoid pain. All of a sudden the whole box was electrified. When the rats couldn’t find comfort and relief from the pain, they turned on each other and attacked.

People do the same thing, when we’re all in pain, we seek to hurt each other. Something is off balance.

When you have a bad day at work, there’s a tendency to want to kick the dog. You’re looking for comfort and yell at your husband or wife. You’ll attack and claw because that’s all you have on the inside. The balance needed is dealing with seeking comfort and avoiding pain.

Off balance people attack people.

Have you attacked the people who love you because of something else wrong in your life?    Did you repent and apologize? Have you ever been attacked by people because of something wrong in their lives? How did you handle this? Did you act with patience and in a godly way or did you react to their attack with anger?

James 5:5-11 “You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every desire. You have fattened yourselves for the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and killed innocent people, who do not resist you. 7 Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. 8 You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door! 10 For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.”

There is a need to learn the virtue of patience. James said, ‘I know stuff hurts, but I serve a God of order and balance. Endure, your day is coming and He will straighten things out for you. Don’t eat the other rats in the box!’

Endure, seek to bring balance.

People make the silliest promises when their finances are off balance, ‘Lord, let me win the lottery and after my bills are paid, I’ll give You all the rest!’

James 5:12-15 “But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned. 13 Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.”

Notice that James isn’t saying to pray for healing. Pray for patience and endurance. Can you imagine how Mrs. James (not the author of the book of James) felt, whose husband got his head cut off, and yet Mrs. Peter’s husband is still alive? Is God a deliverer or not?

How do you take your faith and believe when God doesn’t do what you want Him to? Will you believe in spite of things going against you?

Job was willing to bless the Lord even on the Dark Side of Faith.

The Scales of Faith need to speak to us.

Heb 11 is the Faith chapter, yet these are stories of people who died, some horrible deaths.

Heb 11:1 “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. 2 Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. 3 By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen. 4 It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith. 5 It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—‘he disappeared, because God took him.’ For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God. 6 And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. 13 All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. 21 It was by faith that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons and bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff. 22 It was by faith that Joseph, when he was about to die, said confidently that the people of Israel would leave Egypt. He even commanded them to take his bones with them when they left. 23 It was by faith that Moses’ parents hid him for three months when he was born. They saw that God had given them an unusual child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king’s command. 24 It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. 32 How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. 33 By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. 35 Women received their loved ones back again from death. But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. 36 Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. 37 Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. 38 They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. 39 All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. 40 For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.”

God will show you how to deal with situations and circumstances that are contrary to His promises. Praise Him. Speak out the promises even though you can’t see them. Have faith on both sides of the scale. Of course, you want comfort and no pain, but learn to be Christian and have joy in spite of pain and lack of comfort.

‘But others’ can teach us more about faith. They wandered in desserts and obtained a good report through faith. They didn’t even receive the promise. That was faith on the other side of the scale.

We’ve got to learn to lay aside weights that cause us to be off balance. Right before a fall, you get off balance. If you’re hearing warning signs, it’s something inside of you that if you don’t get rid of it, you will end up in sin.

Unforgiveness is like saying, ‘I’m going to get back at you by me drinking poison.’ This is self-destruction and off balance. You have got to look at the scales of your life and see if your situation is because of lack of balance.

There’s a story of a man who owed so much money, he couldn’t pay it. He begged for mercy and forgiveness and the king forgave him everything. The man went home rejoicing. Then, he saw a guy who owed him a little bit. He didn’t forgive the other man the way he had been forgiven.

You have received mercy, why can’t you give it out? God has forgiven you. Look at the scales of your life.

I owe God so much. I have a debt that I can never repay to Jesus. This is off balance. What do you want me to do, God? The Lord smiles because He wants His nature in me. You don’t earn your salvation or love. If things are off balance in your life, maybe there are some things that you need to remove from one side to the other. Decrease yourself and let Him increase.

God will send an anti-comfort and painful issues and situations, not delivered. You’re afflicted, learn to pray.

Are you willing to walk by faith like Job did, enduring physical pain, the loss of his children, rejection and derision of his friends, and the ungodly advice of his wife? Will you praise and bless God even from the Dark Side of Faith?

Judges 3. People who didn’t know the wars of Canaan or the walls falling down. They had all the blessings and comfort and saw they were off balance. They needed courage and faith. They took their comfort and blessing for granted. Find a way to learn how to pray desperate prayers without being in a desperate situation.

If you remain flexible you’ll never get bent out of shape.

If you can see with the eyes of Jesus, you will see there’s something off balance in your life. You can catch things before they get off balance and keep things in balance.

We need more than converts. Jesus wants disciples. God isn’t trying to destroy you. He’s trying to build you.

Don’t bow to the things of this world. The three Hebrews refused to bow to an idol. They chose to trust God whether He delivered them from the fire or not. ‘O King, we’re not going to bow. Our God can deliver us from the fire, but if He doesn’t we will still trust Him.’

People first started calling Jesus Messiah when He first calmed the storm. If you have faith on both sides, that’s real faith. Will you praise Him no matter what? God is still good in the desert or the mountaintop, in the valley or the meadow.

Do you believe God is still good even from the view of the valley or the hospital bed or the sick loved one or messed up finances and/or families? Do you trust Him with your life? Are you willing to be balanced on both sides of the scale, the Light Side and the Dark Side of Faith? Will you trust God when He says, ‘yes’ AND when He says, ‘No’ or ‘Wait’?

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!

Posted in Excerpts from Sermons by Pastor Anthony LoCascio, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s GO Time!

151114-D-BN624-418Matthew 28 – 16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them… 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach [making disciples of] all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Mark 16 – 14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat…15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. 20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

In 1903, Elizabeth J. Magie first created “The Landlord’s Game,” “a practical demonstration of the present system of land grabbing with all its usual outcomes and consequences”. She based the game on economic principles of Georgism, a system proposed by Henry George, with the object of demonstrating how renting made property owners rich and made tenants poor. She knew that some people could find it hard to understand why this happened and what might be done about it, and she thought that if Georgist ideas were put into the concrete form of a game, they might be easier to demonstrate. Magie also hoped that when played by children the game would provoke their natural suspicion of unfairness, and that they might carry this awareness into adulthood.

What things in your life are not ‘fair?’ What can you do about it? Is sin fair? What did Jesus already do about it? What is your response to Him?

In 1935, the Landlord’s game would be published by Parker Brothers as what we now know as Monopoly, which as of two years ago, has been published in 47 languages and sold in 114 countries.  As of January 2017, there have been 300 different versions of the game.

One of the most iconic spaces on the Monopoly Board is GO.  Official rules state that whether you pass or land directly on GO, you receive $200.  Many play with house rules that award $400 for landing directly on GO.  While this space is the starting point of a game, it does not have a predetermined space on which to end the game.  There is a $200 incentive to keep going around the board, $400 if playing by house rules.

In Monopoly, your movement is at the mercy of the dice.  In order to reach GO (or any other space, for that matter) you must roll the right number on the dice.  If you’re playing by house rules, it’s even more crucial to roll the exact number to land on GO and collect your doubled salary.

In reality, your movement is not governed by chance.  You are not a pawn at the mercy of dice, forever moving in the same exact pattern.  You are a child of a merciful and loving God, who, like a proud father, thinks enough of you to commission you to GO into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

How does the fact that your life is not left to chance affect the way you view your current circumstances? What can you do to change yourself and/or your circumstance? What does Jesus want you to do? What has He called you to do?

All throughout the bible, we see the Lord telling people to GO:

  • He told Abram to GO from his country (name change, made father of many nations)
  • He told Moses to GO to Pharaoh (deliver the Israelites)
  • He told Joshua to GO over the Jordan river (en route to the promised land)
  • He told Gideon to “GO in this thy might”(deliver the Israelites)
  • He told Samuel to fill his horn with oil and GO (anoint the next king of Israel in David)
  • He told Isaiah to GO and tell the people (deliver the word of the Lord)
  • He told Jermiah to GO down to the potter’s house (receive the word of the Lord)
      • Necessity for receiving, not just ministering.  Ministering without receiving will leave you dry and empty (Isaiah was to GO and tell, Jeremiah was to GO and hear).
  • He told Hosea to GO marry a prostitute/GO back for her post-adultery (God’s relationship w/ Israel)
  • He told Jonah to GO to Nineveh (preach repentance)

All of those people who obeyed (however reluctantly) the Lord’s commands to GO, and the impact of that obedience, shaped the course of history, and led to the most relevant, most revelatory, most challenging, most impactful of the His commands to GO; we know it as The Great Commission.

What excuses have you given to God to try to avoid your calling? How has He responded? What happened when you obeyed God? How has your world changed by your obedience? How has the world changed by your disobedience?

“Preach the word,” literally.  GO is defined as:

Verb

  • Move from one point to another
    • Travel a specified distance
      • “GO ye therefore,” “GO ye into all the world”
        • Didn’t say GO until you get tired.  No cap.  No limit.  GO into all the world.  GO until you can’t GO no mo’.
    • Travel or move in order to engage in a specified activity or course of action
    • Attend or visit for a particular purpose
      • ”Teach all nations, baptizing,” “Preach the gospel”
        • God does not send people without a particular purpose
    • Begin motion
      • “GO”
    • Used to indicate how a resource is sufficient for or how much can be achieved using it
      • When Jesus is with you/in you and signs follow, that will GO a long way in spreading the gospel
  • Leave, depart
  • Leave or resign from a post
    • Before Jesus’ followers could become disciples, and later apostles, they had to leave their families and resign their posts at their jobs.  They had to GO from their previous lives before they could GO into all the world. 
      • Luke 9 – 57As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head. 59 He said to another person, “Come, follow me.” The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” 60 But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead![l]Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.” 61 Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.” 62 But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”
      • You cannot call yourself a follower of Jesus (or anyone else for that matter) if you stay where you are comfortable.  You cannot, will not progress if you are stuck in your past.  James says a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.  God says he spits out the lukewarm – He’d rather you be cold or hot.
  • Be harmonious, complementary, or matching
  • Be found in the same place or situation; be associated
      • “These signs shall follow (or GO after) them that believe”
  • Function
  • Continue in operation or existence
    • “And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.”

Noun

  • An attempt or trial at something
  • A project or undertaking that has been approved
    • “That building site is approved.  The construction project is a GO.”
      • Matthew 9 – 35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
      • The Great Commission is literally a “GO!”

Adjective

  • Functioning properly
    • “All systems go.”  All miracles, signs, and wonders are a go.  Baptisms are a go.  It wasn’t too long after that, infilling of the Spirit was a GO.

Are you going? Are you following God’s leading?

John 4 – 30 Then they went out of the city, and came unto him. 31 In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. 32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. 33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? 34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. 35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. 36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. 37 And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. 38 I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.

1 Corinthians 3 – For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God:

Galatians 6 – So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

The harvest is ready. The fields are white, ready to harvest. The question is, ‘What are you waiting for?’ What more will it take? What more pushing and prodding will it take to get you to go? The harvest is ready.

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Michael Lagle. 

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!

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Walk in Mercy

walkingJohn 5:2-9 “Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. 5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?’ 7 The sick man answered Him, ‘Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.’ 8 Jesus said to him, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk.’ 9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath.”

The book of John talks about the Pool of Bethesda. There are all sorts of sick folk. Artists have depicted this scene as beautiful, but the reality is it wasn’t at all. This was a pool by the sheep market, used for washing the sheep and getting them ready for sale. It was gross and stinky. Stuff probably floated in the water. Nobody wanted to hang out there.

The Bible doesn’t say the angel actually came. It may have been only a superstition. The people had faith that it would happen. Often the people outside of the church exercise greater faith than those inside the church. Everyone has been given a measure of faith.

How have your preconceived ideas been different from reality? What are you superstitious about? What or who is your faith in?

You don’t need some beautiful place for God to show His mercy. Sometimes, it is the worst places that we see the greatest mercies. If you want to see the mercy of God truly at work, you’d better get comfortable in some uncomfortable places. God will meet us there and make us perfect in our weakness. 

You can find grace in a prison cell. Give it to God. Mercy leads you where God wants you to be. You don’t have to be worthy. Where sin does abound, grace does much more abound.

Some of the worst filth sits in our churches. It’s not the people, it’s the worst sins, the worst attitudes. It’s not about the nice places or the nice clothes. We go to church because we need Jesus.

God wants to reach the world, but first He wants to reach the church. He wants to save the world, but first He wants to save the church. Your blessing is here. The fact that you come week in and week out is grace in itself. Your drive doesn’t come from yourself. God gives you that drive. God has opened your eyes. You go to church because God calls you to church. God chose you. He has ordered your steps. He has put grace and mercy into your life. Mercy causes you to get up, knowing you are imperfect, but still an apostolic believer. You’re a  believer. It is mercy!

Minus mercy, sick folk will never get better hanging out with sick folk. That’s why we can say forsake those old relationships and attitudes that cause you to be dragged down. Go to church and hang out with folks that struggle with the same stuff. It’s mercy that makes this work.

How has God shown His mercy in the worst times of your life? How has God led you to show mercy to others? What friends have you had to give up in order to get rid of bad habits and/or sin in your life?   

Jesus gave the man the choice, ‘Wilt thou be made whole?’ ‘Do you want to be healed?’

It’s not a physical manifestation that will change the way you live in your spirit. Don’t wait for some confirmation. It’s already in the Word, the Bible. The Word is enough. God is calling this church to something deeper. It ain’t going to happen if something happens. No, it’s mercy that keeps this going. You can’t reach this world because of you, it’s only through mercy.

You can’t do this on your own strength. It’s mercy. You need the hand of God. You’re not perfect and you’re never going to be. Stop using your faults as a crutch. You’re not perfect, but do you walk in mercy? If you walk in mercy, your imperfections won’t stop you. Your flaws will not stop mercy, but you must walk in mercy. Mercy keeps you and propels you and drives you and forgives you and cleanses you and uses you and illuminates you.

Quit trying to be perfect. Walk after mercy and it will all fall into place. You can’t help but melt at the forgiveness of God. When you know you’re flawed and have issues, but you still experience God’s Spirit, His mercy wraps His arms around you. Stop making a list for soul-winning or being holy. Just walk in mercy.

How have you tried to live up to an impossible goal (being perfect)? What does the Bible have to say about our weaknesses? How does walking in God’s mercy change the way you look at your faults and imperfections? What is the role of personal responsibility in this?

Don’t get rid of the list, but don’t beat yourself up every time you mess up. There’s mercy. Those failures teach you to walk in mercy. How would you know what grace abounding looks like if sin never tried to abound?

It’s not about complacency. Pursue mercy. God, I’m flawed, but You need me. He wouldn’t have left you here if He didn’t need you. He has called you. He could’ve used somebody else besides Esther, but He called Esther.

I don’t want God to call somebody else. I want mercy. Don’t be afraid to allow God to touch you, to forgive you, to cleanse you, to use you. God’s mercy will drive you to do great things for Him.

You can’t do powerful exploits without Him. It’s not by might or by power, but by His Spirit, says the Lord. The Spirit of the Lord is God. It’s not about jumping or by shouting. It’s by God’s nature, character, Person that things happen. It’s by Who He is that you will be able to do anything in the first place. It’s not because of some energy that flows around the church. It’s because of Who He is.

Mercy and Love and Forgiveness are the center of Who Jesus is, the reason He came to seek and to save the lost.

It’s not about what you do. It’s not about you stirring it up enough, it’s about hiding yourself in His character and characteristics and Who He is and being hidden in Mercy, then the work will get done.

You can’t see you if you’re hidden!

What does hiding in His mercy look like? How do you walk in His mercy every day, day in, day out? How does this truth play out in your life?

Don’t operate in ‘if God will fix this, then…’ NO! Hide in mercy! God will put things in you and do great things in your life, but there are things that God is not going to fix.

Jesus asked, ‘Do you want to be healed?’ What was the guy’s answer? He had no idea Who Jesus was. People look for miracles, but not for Jesus. Don’t desire blessing if it doesn’t come with Jesus. The people weren’t looking for the Messiah, they were looking for something that would fix them, not for an opportunity to serve Him.

Sometimes, you’re talking to God and don’t realize it’s Him because you’re looking for something else, some natural way to fix your problems. So, when God shows up, you don’t recognize Him. It’s not till after that you realize Who showed up.

Some people aren’t looking for God, but they still have God walking into their lives ready to give a solution. God in His mercy does it anyway, just like with this man. He isn’t just ‘sir,’ He is Master, Teacher. Recognize Him. Recognize the presence before the miracle.

Jesus is here, do you recognize Him? Is He your Master? Are you looking for opportunities to spend time with Jesus and just be with Him and serve Him? Or are you looking for a ‘quick fix’ for your problems? Why is it so hard to trust Him in the midst of problems?

Jesus looked at him and said, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk.’ Why take up the bed? If he isn’t sick anymore, why did he need it anymore? It’s because so many have God do a mighty miracle and don’t burn their bridge. Healing or not, strengthened legs or not, brand new legs will get tired. He’d never done it before.

You are experiencing mercy and grace. You will realize that the pastor and people aren’t perfect. You will get tired, that fire will start to dim. You go from, ‘It’s Sunday, let’s go to church!’ to ‘That takes the whole afternoon.’ The legs will get tired and the bed is still there, why not lay down? You need to get rid of that thing!

Jesus didn’t say, ‘Keep it.’ He said, ‘Take it.’ He didn’t want him to leave it where it was for the man to come back to. The healing was done when He said, ‘Rise.’ But, the healing stayed when he took up his bed.

How many times have you had something wrong in your life and then it was gone, but you picked it back up? Why? 

Imagine the compassion of Jesus, knowing what you know now, the mercy of God. Jesus walked through that crowd at Bethesda. Jesus had His eyes fixed on that one man, but He walked right past the others. He stepped over them. Nobody else got healed as He walked to a man who didn’t deserve anything.

There will be times when you come to church when it’s not your day of healing. It’s your day of continuance, you add another stone to the pillar. Jesus will pass by people He loves and adores to get to the one man. Don’t think that because that Jesus walked past them they didn’t have a purpose. They were supposed to be there. Sometimes, it’s just your time to gather, but one day it will be your turn.

If it’s just one that God is here for today, you don’t know that the prayers of the body together in faith are what cause that moment to come to pass. His moment might not come to pass without you.

How do you continue to trust God in spite of the fact that you haven’t received your miracle yet? What does that look like? Do you choose to walk in His mercy in spite of your circumstances?

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Joe Giunta. 

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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Ready for Eternity

Henry_Ossawa_Tanner_-_Jesus_and_nicodemusThe book of Revelation is known as the book of prophecy, the Revelation of Jesus Christ, something that is unveiled, something that is made known. John was banished to the Isle of Patmos where he was given this revelation. He was there for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. He had an experience where he saw God Himself in the personality of Jesus Christ. He said, ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega. I am the beginning and the end. I am He which was dead and is now alive.’

John said, ‘When I saw this, I fell down as I was dead.’ He was slain in the Spirit.

When you come into contact with Jesus Christ, something happens. It’s different since Jesus saved my soul since He cleansed and made me whole. Your very walk, your very talk changes.

John said, ‘I was dead.’ He became a different person. He had a new revelation of who Jesus was.

How has your life changed since you came into contact with Jesus?

A lot of people say, ‘God, God, God.’ You can talk about God and know about Him without knowing Him. They have a form of godliness but deny the true power thereof. A form will not do. That’s why it’s important to know that you must be a possessor of the Holy Ghost. When you have the Holy Ghost, you have the revelation of Jesus Christ, Who He is.

You can’t live any way you want to because the Bible declares you to be a royal priesthood, a holy nation. You are different. This is what God says you are. You can’t act as the world acts or speak as the world speaks. You have had an encounter with God.

There was a young man that I taught in Sunday School. He is now backslidden and just has a form. It will not work.

Isaiah the prophet had an encounter with God.

Isaiah 6:1,5 “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.” 5 “So I said: ‘Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.’”

John 5:39 “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.”

The Word of God is like a mirror, but a mirror isn’t there to condemn you. It is there to help you get cleaned up what needs to be cleaned up.

How does the Word of God help you to get cleaned up? How can it change your life?

In order to travel, you must have many checks, I.D, passport, etc. Are you ready for eternity? Why are you questioning your salvation? Why are you doubting? You need to get right. The devil wants to play around, but you need to stop playing. What does the Word say? Be ready!

2 Chron 32:7 “Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him.”

God has given us the power over fear.

2 Tim 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

James 1:8 “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”

You can’t have your way and God’s way at the same time. You’ve got to give Him all. It’s Jesus or nothing.

Are you double minded in your thinking? What do you need to do to change that? How does knowing what God’s Word says change the way you think?

As long as you’re alive, you’re going to have trouble.

Job 14:1 “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.”

You have trouble, but you have Jesus!

Sometimes, you can see only one step at a time. Yet, Jesus is still there. Jesus will relieve your troubled mind. Only Jesus can truly help and deliver you.

Get out of selfish. There is no need for strife. Strife deprives you of the blessing that God wants to give you. Some people have nice things, but they’re not better than you. God wants you to be unified with the body of Christ. If the devil can keep us divided, revival can’t happen.

What thinking patterns do you have in your life that you need to change? Is there strife in your life? What can you do to change that?

John 14:12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”

It’s very significant that we are called to start 7 churches. There are 7 pastors, but they are asleep. In order to see who you are, rise up and do what God is calling you to do. Get up. Don’t wait for someone else to carry the burden. You do your part.

God said, ‘I know your works.’ (Rev 2:2)

God has good plans for you, but will you pursue what He wants you to pursue? Do you know what He wants you to do? What is holding you back from doing it?

Beware that you don’t lie to the Holy Ghost. Ananias and Sapphira lied not only to Peter but to the Holy Ghost. Be careful of who you’re hooked up with, who you’re close to. Why be in agreement with lies? God is a consuming fire. He is dreadful and terrible. You don’t want to see that side of Him! He is the same God that burned up Sodom and Gomorrah. 

What are your motives and agenda when you come to the house of God? When we come together, we must come to worship Him, not with any hidden agenda of your own. Don’t undermine the progress of the ministry with your own agenda.

The Bible says, ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the church.’

If you are here today as a visitor and God has spoken to your heart, give your life to Him before it’s too late. If you are here today and you’re not sure that you possess the Holy Ghost, wake up, trim your lamp, get enough oil because the Bridegroom is going to come. The ten women were all virgins, but you must have enough oil to meet the Bridegroom. No one can check it for you. No one can give you theirs. You have to go get your own. Get it now before it’s too late or the Bridegroom might come while you’re seeking your oil.

Heaven is for everybody, whosoever will. Live for Jesus and you’ll get there. Do what you need to do to get there. If you’re afraid you won’t make it, do what you need to do to get there. Hell was not made for man. It is for the fallen angels and the devil. Because of the sinfulness of man, hell has opened her mouth a little wider. You don’t have to go to hell.

If you want to be blessed, start loving somebody. Pray for one another. Bless somebody.

Be specific in your prayers. Don’t just say, ‘Pray for me.’ Be specific in your requests. Tell Him what you need, what you want. Stop complaining. Ask, seek, knock. Prayer must be specific. Tell God what you need and He will provide. Don’t tell people, tell Jesus. Tell Him all of your trials. You weren’t meant to bear all these burdens alone.

This year, you will be bigger and better. Get everything you need in Jesus name! He is your Father and He is rich.

What changes would you like to see in your life this year? What changes would you like to see in yourself this year? What are you going to do to make that happen? What disciplines do you need in order to see those changes take place?

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Everton Wellington.

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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