What Is the Church and Why Do We Need It? Bible Study

church-2464883_960_720Acts 2:1-4, 46-47 “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.” (46) “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

What is your favorite part about a church service? What do you look for in a church? Have you attended other churches when on vacation? How was the church different? the same?

Mat 16:14-18 “And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

God wants you to do what you can do, then He steps in and does what only He can do. God is the one who gives the increase, but we are the ones who still have to plant, pull up weeds, and care for that garden.

The church is called His Bride, the city set on a hill, the light of the world, etc.

If the world will see Jesus, they will see Him through you. The church is His body, the fulness of Him that fills all in all, the physical representation of Jesus here on earth. You and I as members of His body, born again into this, will act as His representatives to a world that is desperate.

We are His body, we become His hands and feet, His mouth, to bring hope to a lost world. We are to help, giving them physical and spiritual hope.

How have you ‘seen Jesus’ in others? How has Jesus shown Himself through you?

Heb 12:22 “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,”

1 Pet 5:2 “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;”

Eph 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;”

You’ve got to come out of the world, surrender to Him and pray the same prayer that Jesus prayed, ‘Not my will, but thine be done.’ It’s not truly Him walking with you, but you walking with Him. When you choose to do this, He will lead you and bless you more than you can imagine. Seek Him first.

There are many commandments in the Word of the Lord about operating in the church. You need a local church and a local pastor.

The Bible refers to several churches in Revelation. The church exists on three levels right now.

First is the universal church, everyone, worldwide who has that Acts 2:38 experience. We are all baptized into one body. You have brothers and sisters of every color, tribe, tongue (language), and nation. The church may have different colors and sizes and accents, but we all belong together. We serve the same God. That same Name has been called over us. This is an organism, a spiritual body.

Second is the local church. We need local churches, where people gather together in an assembly where we meet regularly together and learn. It’s Biblical to be involved in one. What a blessing to have brothers and sisters that you can see face to face and talk to and help and receive help and hope from.

Third are organizations that are a kind of intermediate level, groups of churches that bond together in districts to bless one another and communities. It’s a wonderful thing to be involved in something to work collectively together to bless souls. Over 40,000 youth from all over the world met this past summer for North American Youth Congress to praise and worship Jesus. This is for a shared purpose and cause to do more to reach the world for Jesus.

Why do you think Jesus chose to operate through people and the church?

The church is not meant to be exclusive or exclude people. The church is meant to include people and to show them the way. It’s the personal choice for the people to decide whether or not they want to be included. We need the church and we need the New Testament pattern.

Heb 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

Rom 12:10 “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;”

Rom 15:7 “Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.”

Gal 5:13 “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”

As Christians, why is it so important how we choose to treat others? Why does our attitude matter so much?

The church provides training for the children. Thank God for the church. We need the church. Jesus said, ‘I will build my church and the devil will not prevail against it.’ If you want to be safe, get into church.

There have been studies done on human needs. Every human has 7 needs: comfort, variety, significance, love, growth, contribution, and belonging. Only one organization provides for all of these and that’s the church. The church will comfort you. The Holy Ghost is our Comforter. If you’re hurting, go to church.

The church has variety, ages, sizes, colors, variety in so many ways. Share that with others. Thank God the church is multicultural, multi status, multi aged!

The church gives significance and value, each soul is precious and wanted. You find significance and importance. There is a place for you to be involved, to serve and give of your gifts.

The church gives so much love and appreciation. When the world is so abusive and cruel, thank God for the church. In His presence, there is peace and hope and life. You can get lost in His presence and it’s so good. ‘In His presence, there is fulness of joy.’

The church provides growth.

The church provides opportunities for belonging. Even people who have been lost in so many ways, unwanted by most can find love in the church.

How has your church answered your needs (comfort, variety, significance, love, growth, contribution, and belonging)? What can you do to increase your churches effectiveness in these areas?

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

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

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

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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Consider the Miracle of the Loaves

loaf of breadMark 6:37-44 “He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat? 38 He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. 39 And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. 40 And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties. 41 And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. 42 And they did all eat, and were filled. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes. 44 And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men.”

Have you ever been overwhelmed by a situation? How did you handle it? What did you learn?

Notice Jesus didn’t answer the disciples’ question. He will never answer the voice of unbelief.

The woman with the issue of blood interrupted Jesus’ walk to heal Jairus’ daughter. She humbled herself and got down on her knees and crawled to Him. She pressed through and touched His garment and got healed.

Meanwhile, Jairus got the message, ‘His daughter has died, don’t bother the Master.’ He decided to not listen.

Shut the mouth of unbelief. Don’t listen to that. Shut the mouth of Zacharias, who said his wife couldn’t be pregnant (this was John the Baptizer’s mother and father).

How have you handled unbelief in others? In yourself?

Challenges can cause you to lose to faith. Demonstrate faith or become depressed. Demonstrate or take a detour. When you choose to demonstrate, the Holy Ghost will move and stuff you couldn’t do will happen.

There is a thin veil between the natural and the supernatural. You can be dancing (supernatural), but feel pain (natural). Will you keep dancing?

Mark 6:52 “because they had not understood [the miracle of] the loaves [how it revealed the power and deity of Jesus]; but [in fact] their heart was hardened [being oblivious and indifferent to His amazing works].” (AMP)

He is God in our plenty and in our want, in our confusion and in our clarity, when everything is going wrong and when everything is going right.

When you get into His presence, He is the same God, you are the one who changes.

Consider the miracle of the loaves!

How can you be more open to understanding the power and deity of Jesus? How does that change the way you perceive your circumstances?

Mark 4:35-37 “And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. 36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. 37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.”

It is not God’s will for you to be destroyed going to the next level, that other side. However, getting there, sometimes there is a great, intimidating storm, but don’t forget Jesus is on that boat.

Mark 4:38 “And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow…”

The boat was rocking, but Jesus was steady. In your storm, Jesus is steady. Jesus isn’t up and down, you are. Know and be the way Jesus is, Calm Trust. Jesus doesn’t get nervous in your vessel. Jesus is a very present help in a time of trouble.

Mark 4:38-39 “…and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? 39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”

When they woke Him up, He calmed the storm. In the challenge and the testing, God can be God and show you His power and glory, but He can’t if you won’t surrender control.

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

In the midst of craziness, how can you apply these Scriptures to your life? How do these Words change your perspective?

Mark 6:33-34 “And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him. 34 And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.”

The people ran to Him. When you know Jesus, you want to run to Him. If you’re hungry, Jesus will fill you.

Mark 6:37-38 “He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat? 38 He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes.”

Rebuke that unbelief in your life. If Jesus tells you to do something you can’t do in your own power, He will make it possible.

Mark 6:45-50 “And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people. 46 And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray. 47 And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land. 48 And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them. 49 But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out: 50 For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.”

Jesus is steady on the waves. As long as you are with Him, everything is steady. Keep your focus on the supernatural. The natural will test you and scare you and challenge you and distract you, but choose instead to trust Jesus. He’s there, but He will walk right by unbelief. He will keep on walking until you say, ‘Lord, help my unbelief.’ See through God’s eyes. Then, He can come in and do a work.

There is a natural part of man that resists this, that can’t comprehend this. So, the first reaction is, ‘How?’

Mary, the mother of Jesus, when she was told that she would have Jesus, she said, ‘How can this be?’ or ‘How is this going to come into being?’ She didn’t ask in fear and unbelief, she was just wondering how the process would happen. This was different from Zacharias, who asked in unbelief and doubt. Mary got this promise and it came to pass.

Those promises you have from God will come to pass.

What are some promises God has given you? What has He called you to do that seems impossible?

Mary got the promise and got ready for the promise. She carried that promise for nine months. She waddled and changed. She started to have symptoms. Her back hurt and she probably had the munchies and maybe even got a little cranky, but she still had that promise.

Though you don’t feel like it, you’ve got a promise. Hang onto that loaf, that promise.

Mary began to write a song in her heart. Praise is birthed out of your testing, out of your pain, out of your wanting, out of your desires. If you’ve got a praise, it came out of pain.

Mary had a lot of explaining to do, but she held onto that promise from God and He sent an angel to Joseph to explain the promise too. Sometimes, you have to come to terms with the promise God has given you even though it hasn’t happened yet.

Yet!

Have you had dreams and visions and a word spoken over you? Grab it and hold onto it. Someday, this WILL happen.

There is an end time anointing falling upon this earth. He is making His Spirit accessible anywhere and everywhere. He will use you in ways you never dreamed.

What hinders you from trusting God to fulfill those promises He made to you? What keeps you from trusting God to help you realize what He has called you to do? Will you choose to consider that loaf? Will you choose to hang onto His Word in spite of the storm?

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Dave Gardner. 

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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Everything Is Going to Be All Right

embracing the rainEcc 8:11-14 “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. 12 Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him: 13 But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God. 14 There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there be just men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there be wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous: I said that this also is vanity.”

Why is it easy to trust God when things are going well and hard to trust Him when things are going badly?

Even if bad stuff happens, still worship Jesus, because the end is good. Celebrate the end. In the celebration is the path to the end.

God is talking to you. This is not designed to destroy you. This is designed to develop you and push you into your destiny.

Several years ago there was an accident on an Amtrak train because the guy driving was doing drugs. Innocent people died. The train engineer served five years prison and is now free. Horrible stuff happens. The most innocent people suffer the greatest trials.

The writer of Ecclesiastes struggled with the question, ‘Why do good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people?’ Those ‘why’ questions aren’t really searching for an answer. They’re just an excuse to complain.

It’s a struggle, but if you continue to focus on this, you will end up fully set on evil. If you say, ‘It’s not fair!’ it’s the same as saying, ‘God’s not really righteous.’ The end of that is you becoming bitter and evil.

Everything is going to be all right.

In the end, everything will be made right.

How has Jesus used hard circumstances to help you grow and mature?

Asaf wrote Psalm 73. He was almost lost because of the good things that happened to bad people. He was nearly disillusioned by these circumstances.

Serving the Lord does have many benefits: salvation, forgiveness, God’s presence, promises, help, hope, provision, love, security, and the list goes on and on.

God’s promises are in the Spirit, but the problems are in the natural.

The tough stuff is not a waste of time. Everything is done on purpose. God will cause all things to work together for good. The circumstances are not accidents. Walking with God, life will be troublesome, but be of good cheer, Jesus has overcome the world.

There is a happy ending. Walk in that Truth!

It’s not on accident, it’s on God-cident.

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

Mat 10:22 “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”

How can you change your focus so that you might encourage someone else? How can you use some of the bad things that have happened to you to encourage someone else?

Jer 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

Rom 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Things that happen don’t seem to fit, but we see only in part. Just like a ship with all its individual parts, take a single situation and it will sink, but put it all together and it will float. With Jesus, you become unsinkable.

God has a way of working things out.

How many times has the devil tried to convince you that you weren’t saved? What lies have you recognized and dismissed from your mind and heart? What lies/situations do you still struggle with?

If you repented of your sins and were baptized in Jesus’ beautiful name and you’ve received God’s precious Holy Spirit and you’re walking in a relationship with Jesus and you endure to the end, you belong to Him. He is able to save them to the uttermost.

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.”

John 5:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

Jesus rebuked the storm. The disciples feared, but Jesus had already spoken. He said they were going to the other side of that water. There should have been no ‘but, but, but.’ Hold onto what Jesus already spoke. Don’t let go.

Don’t listen to what the world is telling you. Shut that Constant Negative News (CNN) off.

The eclipse of the sun is a great example of short term circumstances. The moon can’t cover the sun! It’s so much smaller. It’s just a tiny rock, smaller than the earth! Your circumstances can’t cover the Son. Those circumstances are so much smaller, a tiny thing compared to Jesus and His power.

What are some of your favorite Bible verses (promises) and why? How have you applied them to your life?

Heaven will be eternal, wonderful, great food, no dieting, just love and joy and peace and goodness. Jesus will light it.

There will be valleys in this life, but there will also be blessings and victory.

Through it all, learn to trust Jesus, learn to depend on His Word. He will always come through. He will make it all work out. 

God is already in your future.

Heb 13:5 “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

Just knowing that Jesus is always here is comforting. How can you remind yourself of that truth throughout your day?

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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The Roaring Lion Bible Study

Antoine-Louis_Barye_-_Lion_and_Serpent_-_Walters_378291 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

Has the devil ever tried to use your past against you?

You don’t even try to ask God to help you because you got into this mess, you’re going to have to get yourself out. This is coming from the devil. Satan is the accuser, a finger-pointer.

The roar of a lion strikes fear into smaller animals, into larger animals, because they know what comes next. That roar stuns its prey.

In the Bible verse, Peter said to be sober (thought process), be vigilant (to be on your guard, watchful, attentive). Be on the lookout to make sure there is no enemy that can gain entry into your residence, the residence of your mind.

Don’t ignore this or let your guard down. Don’t assume everything is all right. Be careful in all things, in what you do, what you think, what you say. Always be on high alert.

Be continually, perpetually vigilant.

That is not a one-time thing. You must be a person with an unwavering commitment to vigilance. The devil can be very sneaky. He lurks, he’s subtle, he wants to sneak up on you when you are unaware.

How can you be continually, perpetually vigilant? What changes in your thinking do you need to make in order to be always on high alert? What does this look like to you?

Jesus calls prayer watching.

Jesus likens prayer unto being vigilant. Prayer is being awake and watchful. Thieves know no law except one that’s enforced.

Keep your guard up at all times. When lions get hungry, they roar. If you hear the roaring of a lion, an attack is on its way.

The word ‘Adversary’ can also be translated ‘A prosecuting lawyer who argues against you in a court of law and sends you off to prison with laughter and joy.’ The devil tries to overtake you. He makes a case against you to influence the jury to sway their thinking and cast you away.

Don’t point out the faults in your brother in judgement. That is being like the adversary.

The devil is a liar and knows how to twist the truth. The Lord loves imperfect people, that’s why He gave His blood for you and me. Jesus loves you and cares for you even though you are imperfect.

The devil will even drag up facts, truths even, and twist them to condemn you. Poison doesn’t need much to kill you. You’ve got to catch it and be aware. Shut it down. The only way to fight the devil is through the Word of God.

God is the one in charge. It must be His will, not yours.

How do you use the weapons of prayer and God’s Word and faith against the devil?

Deut 6:16 “Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.”

Don’t expect God to give you whatever you want or whatever you think you need. He’s in charge. You are not. He knows best. You cannot.

You must be vigilant. Satan will say all kinds of things, like you’re a mess as a parent or you’ll never get a job or you’ll never be ‘good enough.’ Your current situation may be your fault, but God will help you if you ask Him. He will save you. Satan says you deserve the mess. God says, ‘I’ve got a promise for you.’

Psalm 103:4 “Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;”

Satan is also called a serpent. The Bible calls the devil ‘that old serpent.’ Besides venom, a serpent can also squeeze and choke to kill you.

The serpent was cursed above all animals to slither on his belly and eat the dust of the earth. God created Adam from the dust of the world. As it concerns the serpent, his appetite will be for man.

1 Peter 5:9 “Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”

Have you ever felt squeezed? God has given you the weapons you need to get free (His Word, Prayer, Faith). How will you use them?

If you are stedfast, the devil won’t get you. If you stick to it, have grit, don’t give up, you will see God do great things. Be stedfast in the faith.

Be planted like a tree with strong roots and you’ll make it through the storm.

You will win if you remain stedfast in the faith. ‘Sted’ means to ‘have a fixed position.’ ‘Fast’ means to ‘fasten your seatbelt or like a fastener.’ Stedfast is a position that you’re stuck to.

If you are going to fight the devil, you must have stickability.

Listen to the voice that has the truth, 100%. Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.’

Notice that these weapons are what you must choose to use. The Adversary will attack, no choice there, but you choose whether you will fight back. You choose what you listen to. What are you listening to? What will you choose to NOT listen to? What distractions do you need to avoid?

2 Things the devil can’t do:

  1. He can’t read your mind. Other people can’t read your mind either. When you are discouraged, shut your mouth. When you’re lacking in faith, shut your mouth. The devil can’t understand your tongues either. You can pray no matter what crazy is going on. Calm yourself and trust Him.
  2. He can’t fight for a long time. He has a time limit on any attack he might throw. It doesn’t come to stay, it comes to pass! Hang on and it will end. So, in the midst of crazy, be stedfast. Keep coming to church, praying, reading your Bible, coming to Life Group, tithing.

Be still and know that God is God. That’s when He fights for you.

You can win the victory by being stedfast. Don’t allow yourself to freak out. Say nothing and do nothing and watch God give you the victory. You have the real Lion of the Tribe of Judah who will fight for you! Be stedfast in the faith.

Micah 7:8 “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.”

What specific Bible verses will you memorize/use to combat the Adversary’s lies? Will you commit to praying for others to help them fight too? Have you decided to be unwavering in your commitment to be stedfast in the Faith? What does that look like?

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

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

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

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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

Complete in Him

Heart Pic (labeled for reuse)1 Thes 5:23-24 “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”

What does it mean to you to be whole or complete in God?

The word ‘whole’ means, ‘all, entire, complete, or completeness, the essence of being whole or complete.’ Paul prayed that we would be complete or sanctified, well in spirit, emotions, thoughts, and bodies.

God is faithful and He will do it.

To be whole is ‘containing all components, complete, not divided, wounded or impaired, to be sound or unhurt.’ It is ‘a system of interrelated parts.’

Jesus has made you whole or complete. But, what does that mean?

The Biblical meaning is this: ‘complete sanctification or restoration in body, soul, and spirit, God’s original design for man.’ God wants to make you whole and complete in this life.

What keeps you from being complete in Him?

We are born into a world that is broken. We are conceived in sin.

Our Pathway to Wholeness: 

First Birth -> Salvation/New Birth (Cross) -> Sanctification -> Glorification

God’s desire is to completely make you whole in spirit, soul, and body. All of your situations and problems are due to not being complete in Him.

Salvation is your second birth. This is where you are introduced to the Spirit of God. This is where your spirit is born again. This is that new birth experience, you are redeemed and your sins forgiven. This is a wonderful time, but you are not yet complete in Him.

On the way to glorification, wholeness with God is a process.

At salvation, you are clean, the sin has been washed away, but deep inside, there are still things that need to change. You are still not complete.

Col 2:9-10 “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:”

How is your faith? Do you believe you can be complete in Him?

Who is Jesus? He is God, Almighty. All of God dwelt in Jesus. You can’t divide or separate God from His Spirit. All of the Father, Spirit, and Son is in Jesus. You can’t divide God, then you shouldn’t be able to divide a child of God.

God wants us to be complete in Him. He is completely in control. You can be complete in Him. He will do it.

Understand the mighty God in Christ AND the mighty God in you. You have been given His Spirit. This is the way to never give up, never lose hope, never walk away from God.

There is a process to go through to be complete in Him. But, you’ve got to believe that it is possible.

Somehow, we have the idea that bad things are supposed to happen to us. We think that because God uses bad circumstances to grow our faith, we think we deserve bad things to happen to us. That thinking is warped. Jesus wants you to be complete in Him. Start from chaos and go towards order. Start from sin and go towards righteousness. Start from disorder and go towards wisdom and health and healing and wholeness.

Don’t reject the gospel! It’s good news! 

It is not God’s will for you to experience trouble all the time! You are supposed to be blessed!

1 Cor 13:11 “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

Children speak first before they understand or even bother to think. Maturity is thinking first, then understanding, then speaking or doing.

The price of maturity is brokenness, but it doesn’t end there.

Heb 4:12 “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

The bones have a deeper part called marrow where blood cells are produced. It’s soft in there. The bones are hard and frame the body. In order to get to the marrow, the bones must be broken.

God has made you both flesh and spirit. You are a spirit that has given life to a body. It wasn’t until God breathed into Adam that he came alive. You are made of dust and spirit, the breath of God. You can’t find spirit on an x-ray. When you have a spiritual problem, medication won’t work.

Step one to overcome is to declare to never be depressed again (or whatever) and begin your walk towards and with God.

The soul is connected to both spirit and body. In order to get to the spirit, the soul must be broken. The soul is your mind, your emotions, your urges, your will, etc. Stress and depression and emotions and beliefs can affect your body. Your attitude is affected by a lack of sleep.

God has a remedy for spirit, soul, and body, but you must understand that it is His will. You can get yourself on the path of completeness and wholeness, but you must discipline yourself to live and do according to His will, His way.

What is holding back your wholeness in God? Do you believe what His Word says about you? That you are precious, you are loved, you are forgiven? Do you actually apply it to your life, especially your thought life? What habits or beliefs do you still hold onto that keeps you from experiencing all that God has for you?

Prov 17:22 “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”

Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”

God will never reject a broken spirit. It is through an understanding of God’s will and way that you will get in communication with God and prayers are answered. If you want to be whole and pure and righteous and complete, then you must do what the Owner, the Creator, says for your body and soul and spirit to do.

There are things that are connected to your healing that you are responsible for. Divine health has to flow through obedience. You can’t ask your body to do things it was not created to do. Of course, He gives miracles, but if you abuse your body, don’t expect His blessings.

Eat right, get rest, cast your cares on Him (give your stress to Him).

Understand that there is something you need in your inward parts. Your soul swings into your body and your spirit. Your soul, your decisions, thoughts, habits, affect both your body and spirit. The mind is a good servant, but a horrible master!

The Adversary wants to make you unholy, unspiritual, unhealthy. It is the soul that is attached to your spirit. It is the soul that sins. God knows the difference between soul and spirit. The devil is after your thought life. That soul is the prize of heaven and hell. That’s what the battle is all about.

Your soul is what God is trying to break and remake. If God can talk to your mind and you surrender your thoughts to God, you will start to become complete in Him. Choosing Jesus is surrendering your ability to think for yourself and instead seek God’s will and way first.

Rom 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 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 new disciplines do you need to put into place in order to be complete in Jesus? What thoughts do you need to capture and change? What urges do you need to say ‘no’ to? (If you call yourself stupid in your mind, that does NOT line up with God’s thoughts for you and it needs to go!)

Choosing to obey and surrender to God’s will causes you to be transformed and you will be complete in Him. Not bothering to think about what you think about hinders that transformation and completeness in Jesus.

Jesus set His mind to seek and save the lost. He set His mind like a flint. He refused to let emotions or circumstances hinder His mission.

Isaiah 50:7 “For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.”

God wants you to be complete. Do you believe that? Do you believe that He will help you? Do you trust Him to help you do whatever He has called you to do?

2 Cor 10:4 “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)”

Eph 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

The secret is a disciplined body, mind, and spirit. This is why we come to church, pray, fast, and read God’s Word.

‘The undisciplined life is an insane life,’ —Socrates.

God wants to bless you and prosper you, but it’s not a ‘name it and claim it’ thing. It’s a commitment to discipline and working towards God’s will and way in YOUR life.

There is no such thing as perfect people, but there is such a thing as being complete.

Walk towards completeness with God.

It takes discipline in your mind and body and spirit. Discipline the choices you make.

Think the way God wants you to think. Jesus died so you could think His way, a way of life and light and love. He has made a way for you to be whole, but you need discipline.

Jesus healed 10 lepers and 9 ran away thankful, but 1 came back and actually said, ‘Thank-you.’ He was the only one who was made whole, not just in his body. He had the discipline to come back to the One who made Him healthy in body and he got wholeness for his whole being. You’ve got to give Him the glory. You need to thank Him.

Before you can be healed or made whole, you’ve got to believe you can. Believe Jesus and obey Him. Make that decision and be complete in Him.

There are strongholds you need to fight.

2 Cor 10:5-6 “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.”

The prize of hell is that knowledge of God. The devil wants to take that away from you and get you to think his way, not God’s way. Tear down those imaginations. It matters that you clap your hands and lift your hands to God. If Jesus said you must, you must! If it will affect your mind and your soul, it matters. Holiness matters. Choosing God’s will and way affects every part of your life, mind, body, soul, spirit.

You can’t have blessing until you’re in alignment with God.

What thoughts does Jesus think about you? What is His will in your life in whatever situation you find yourself in? How does Jesus think? How does that differ from the way you think? What do you need to change in order to get into alignment with God?

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

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

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

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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

God Sized Vision

Stairs to Success by suphakit732 Kings 2:9-10 “And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. 10 And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.”

It was a hard thing Elisha asked, but Elijah’s reply, ‘If you see me when I’m taken…’ Another translation of that is, ‘If you can see the way I see…’

How does Elijah (and Elisha) ‘see’? Does that differ from the way you see? How? 

Eph 3:20 “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”

Faith is like a muscle. It can be strengthened and grow. It can also deteriorate. It depends on how often you use it and how you exercise it. Faith is a buildable, expandable, measurable muscle.

There is a predictable pattern God uses to build your faith. If you understand it, you can cooperate with God to grow your faith.

In Mark there’s a story where a man asks, ‘If you will…’

If you want to bother Jesus, question His ability. Don’t ask God if He remembers you. That is a doubt-centered prayer.

Anything is possible if a person believes.

What is ‘faith’? Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” How would you define faith in your own words?

It starts in the vision. The first thing God does is give you is a vision or a dream of how He wants to use you to affect the world. That’s how you begin to believe. You see yourself in a better place and trust God to bring you there and you pursue after it. You must have a God-sized vision. He has a plan and a dream He wants to give you.

God gave Noah a word about rain and told him to build a boat. Noah had never seen rain before. God gave Abraham a dream of children using sand and stars. These were God-sized visions.

How do you know your dream came from God? If what God has given you is too big for you, then it’s probably from God.

Do you have any God-sized dreams? Are you pursuing them? What, if anything, is standing in your way?

Learn to see yourself as God sees you. Joy comes from God. You need God-sized vision to see the crazy plans He has for you. Whatever stands in the way is not going to end the dream. It strengthens it instead, and builds faith.

The Bible says, Ephesians 1:19And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,”

Joseph knew God had sent those dreams to him. He continued to trust God even from prison. Nehemiah knew he would be strengthened to build a wall around Jerusalem. When you see what God wants to do for you and through you, you will see the circumstances around you in a different way.

Begin with the end in mind. If you start with the end in mind, you’ll have the mindset to work towards that.

What is in your future that God wants to do in your life? If you don’t know that, you are living beneath your privileges God has for you.

God always had a plan with the end in mind. It didn’t frustrate His plans that Cain killed Able. God already knew the end from the beginning. ‘When you see like I see, then you can have a double portion.’

When you start to expand your vision, you will expand the amount of miraculous activity in your life.

How is your faith? Do you see yourself the way God sees you?

If God gives you a vision, you have to have faith and push and press toward that vision. ‘They that sit in darkness will suddenly have a great light.’ It’s hard to walk, to run, to fly, but God gives you strength. ‘Thy word is a light unto my feet and a light unto my path.’ Your God-sized vision affects everything in your life. Peter said, ‘This is that…’ Acts 2:17 “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:”

In receiving the Life of God, you’ve got to see things as God sees them. We believe in Jesus, we belong to Jesus, we become like Jesus. You must have VISION, goals, grit. God loves you just as you are, but He wants to take you where you’re not.

Sometimes, God leads us in spite of us. God spoke to Samson and his parents and gave them a vision. Samson messed up what God had for him. When God looked at the distress of Samson’s parents, they didn’t know that this was of the Lord to deliver Israel. God can use disaster to work His plan. Open your eyes that even now He has a plan.

Jesus wept not because He loved Lazarus so much. He wept because of the people’s lack of faith. He didn’t have a problem with the people asking for things, He had a problem with their lack of faith. ‘God if you have just done it differently….’ That is not pleasing to God.

Belonging to Jesus is not just an action, it’s a mentality.

If you can touch someone’s mind, you can touch their actions. You’ve got to have your mind renewed. A different person (a new creation) thinks differently.

The pinky toe realizes, ‘Hey, I’m the body.’ The wave realizes, ‘Hey, I’m the ocean.’

When you see that for yourself, you can walk and apply those Scriptures to your life.

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

There is a disconnect in what we read in Scripture and how we live our lives. Read Scripture and realize, ‘Hey, that’s mine!’ ‘Hey, that promise is for me!’ ‘Hey, God is speaking about me!’

What does that ‘new creature’ (new you) look like? How does God see you? How is that different from the way you see yourself? What God-sized dream has He given you?

Let go of those things that seem so important, but aren’t really. You don’t need to have a bad day because of bad circumstances.

Rev 7:9 “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;”

God showed John a great multitude. It was amazing. They were all mixed together. That is a picture of the end right there. The end of the story is standing around the throne of God worshipping.

Rev 7:10-12 “And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. 11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.”

Nehemiah’s vision started with bad news. But, bad news for a dreamer is not a barrier or obstacle. It’s more like a springboard.

Bad news is like a tiny tissue all up in your face (your situation). You can’t see around it because it covers your eyes. Blow it off. God is greater and has a plan.

God gave Nehemiah resources and made a way and the wall got built. God led him every step of the way. He had timber, stone, everything he needed. Nehemiah even had favor from the king of Babylon.

Obstacles have a purpose. God will use them to work out His way. If you want provision, you need vision. You need a God-sized vision. Stretch your faith. Talk about your vision and write about it. Practice living it. No part of the journey is wasted once you taste even the possibility of the meaning enfolded in your life. There’s no going back. Learning cannot be undone.

What obstacles are standing in the way of the dream God has given you? What do you need to do to overcome them?

Eph 1:18-19 “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,”

When you realize the Spiritual vision, you’ll never be the same.

You must have the discipline to walk in what God has for you. Don’t let your lack of faith keep you away from the vision He has for you.

What God-sized vision or dream do you have? What is holding you back from pursuing it?

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

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

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

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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

How Do You See Jesus?

guy-roberts-101158Titus 2:13 “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;”

How do you see Jesus?

As much as you see the love, the tenderness, the kindness, Jesus is not just a lamb. He is also a lion.

We don’t talk about the lion.

Rev 19:11-21 “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords. 17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; 18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. 19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. 20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.”

How often do you think about the Jesus who judges and has fire in His eyes?

As much as His character says He is the Lamb of God, He is also the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. Sometimes, kings have to take severe action.

John 2:15-16 “And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; 16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.”

It is more than possible that Jesus hit a few people with those whips. As much as you read about Jesus’ tenderness and mercy, He is also the Righteous Judge.

Luke 23:27-31 “And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him. 28 But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. 29 For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. 30 Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. 31 For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?”

There is a day coming when there will be such judgment and such wrath that those who are left will cry out to the mountains and hills, but there will be nowhere to run and hide.

There is a side to Jesus that no one wants to talk about because He is the Lion. He’s the Wonderful Counselor, the Wonderful Advocate, Defender. But, He is also your Judge.

Works won’t save you, but they do matter. Works define your walk with God.

2 Cor 5:10-11 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.”

How do works define your walk with God?

Jesus is called the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. A real lion is not comforting. You don’t feel peaceful around a lion. Instead, you see power, jaws that can rip flesh, majesty. This is just a small hint at the power of Jesus.

The first time Jesus robed Himself in flesh, He came as a Lamb, the Lamb of God. He came to give grace and to give His life for your sake. He came to save.

The second time Jesus comes, He will come to judge. When Jesus comes back, if you are right with Him, you will join Him. If you are not right with Him, you will mourn.

How does this change your view of Jesus? Why do you think it’s important to understand this about Jesus?

Rev 21:8 “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Isn’t it interesting that the ‘fearful and unbelieving’ are lumped in with murderers and idolaters? ‘Fearful’ means ‘faithless’ and ‘Unbelieving’ means ‘Without trust.’ They don’t trust God. They give way when pressures and persecutions come.

Why talk about these things? Because Jesus made a way that you will not have to experience His wrath. It is not the will of God that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. As much as He has to judge and follow through with the consequences of disobedience, He doesn’t enjoy it.

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.”

Luke 24:47 “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

Jesus didn’t come to give you license to sin. He came to deliver you from it.

Repentance is the first step to God. It is a lifestyle. The Apostle Paul said, ’I die daily.’ This is a mindset to do as God wants and what pleases Him, rather than following your own will and way.

As you walk with the Lord, you’ll see that doing what’s right with the Lord makes you feel better than doing what’s wrong. Even when it means sacrifice, submitting your will to being one with Jesus brings the greatest reward.

What is the difference between love and acceptance?

Rom 12:1-2 “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (NLT)

When Jesus called the tax collectors, they changed. When He forgave the adulteress, He said, ‘Go and sin no more.’ Examine yourself to see if there is any wrong in you. Check yourself. 

Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Prov 13:15 “Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.”

It’s hard to live the way of sin. It ends in despair.

Mat 11:28-30 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Jesus’ way is the way of rest and peace. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He doesn’t stress you out! In the Name of Jesus, there is forgiveness and cleansing. Repent, turn away from and let go of your sin, and change your life, your world, your future.

How does recognizing both sides of Jesus’ character change you? What changes do you need to make in your thinking, your actions, and in your life?

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

Continue to Be That Person

tim-wright-174124Gal 5:25 “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

Rom 8:14 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”

What does it mean to ‘walk in the Spirit?’ What will happen when you are that person?

Photo by Tim Wright on Unsplash

When you ‘become that person,’ The Lord works with us, with signs following.

Mark 16:17-20 “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. 19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.”

There is a distinction between being given new life (born again), and walking in the Spirit (continuing in the Spirit). You become the sons of God. AND you act like it. (Sons and daughters, but I like sons, sons got the inheritance, so you are someone who inherits something.)

When you act like a son or daughter of God, you are letting that river flow, that river that touches others, nourishes them so they can bear fruit and bring healing to the nations through their leaves, you become that person that people feel the Lord around. When you don’t, you act like a child of this world. (When you don’t “continue” in the Spirit, but in your own thoughts, and your own ways.)

Ez 47:11 miry places and marshes, (swamps, and places where water collects but doesn’t drain).

What are the things in your life, the thoughts that fester, that plague you, that remain, that get worse and worse, thoughts of how people treated you unfairly, the hurt, the drama, the poor me, the world is against me, things are out of control, the places that you don’t trust God?

What areas of your life lack faith? That God doesn’t control? Miracles won’t follow you in there.

There are 2 kinds of people. People who you feel God around, and people who you don’t.  God is calling everyone into the first category.

Parable of the Sower (Matt 13) gives great examples. (Good soil, people you feel God around. God flows through them and they feed others 100 times over. The rest, wayside, stony, and weed-choked, something stops the flow).

  1. Good soil: People who you feel God around. They have the river flowing constantly and consistently in their lives. That’s what I am asking you to become. (good soil, bearing fruit 100 fold, Matt 13)
  2. Stony, weed choked, wayside. If you are this kind, you all have the seed. But it fails to take root, or the roots are shallow and when something doesn’t go your way, (some hardship comes), you wither. Or you grow and the cares of this world choke you from growing. One way or the other, you are not bearing fruit, you are not affecting people the way the Lord wants you to, people don’t feel God when they are around you. 

Which kind of soil are you?

It is possible you have the flow of the Spirit, but it is not consistent. When you are squeezed in life, sometimes the ugly, the rotten marshy water, stagnant, yuck comes out. You need to let the river flow every day, in the valley, and bear fruit and grow leaves and affect others around you supernaturally. You have a tendency to bounce back and forth from mountain top to valley to mountain top, when your faith is high, the gifts and anointing flow, but when situations get tough, the drama comes out of you. You need to learn to walk with Him and have peace in every situation.

Mark 4:35-41 “And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. 36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. 37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? 39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Are you like Jesus, asleep in the boat (a person who has the river constantly and consistently flowing)? Or are you like one of the disciples, (Don’t you care about me? I’m going to die!)?

Your ability to make and keep friends is just like this. Many people make friends, but don’t keep friends. Or those friendship stagnate, stalemate, people bump heads, and they can’t resolve things in a way that is best for everyone. Ever bump heads with God? Or how about someone in the Body of Christ? You hanging on to your rights will keep the Spirit from flowing out of you to bless others. What do people feel around you? The Spirit working in you? Or Agitation? Drama? Negativity? Defensiveness?

1 Cor 12:7 Gifts are for the building up of the Body.

Again, the operation of the Spirit is not for you. It is for them.

Luk 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

This anointing is not for you, it is to affect others around you.

Acts 2:42-47 “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

  • Continued. Signs followed them after they continued.

Are you continuing? OR does something weigh you down? Stop you in your tracks?

Some of us need to let the Lord pull some stones or trim back some thorns. Lay somethings at the altar. And be the people that others feel God around. And all of us need to commit to tomorrow, in every new situation, to let that river of living water flow, and see Him work with us, signs and wonders following.

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Charles Li. 

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 Charles Li, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

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

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

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