The Second Chance God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

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

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The Power of His Resurrection

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

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

Without the resurrection, there is no hope.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can experience that power.  

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

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

Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

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

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What Is the Will of God?

What is the will of God?

Sometimes, God’s will is to stop doing what you already know is NOT His will!

1 Peter 3:9-11 “Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. 10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: 11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.”

Just as you don’t only separate yourself from sin, but you also must consecrate yourself to God, it’s important to not only do the things God does want you to do but also to NOT do the things God doesn’t want you to do.

If you know what you’re doing (or saying) isn’t working, pause and find out if you need to do something different. Maybe you should just stop. Stop doing what you’re doing. Stop talking. Stop pushing your will, your way. If I try to force MY way and MY opinion on someone, it probably won’t be received, but if I don’t hold onto my will or my way, but do God’s will His way, then He (and the other person) is responsible for the consequences.

Of course, He has given us a measure of authority and a structure where we are to be in authority over and under (submitted to) those He put into place. As we let go our own will, He guides with that still, small voice. But you can’t hear His voice if your own carnal will is shouting.

Yes, the other person may be totally off, but arguing in cases like this is like trying to wrestle with a pig. George Bernard Shaw said, “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.”

Perhaps the other person doesn’t particularly ‘like it,’ but in the end, it’s not really a win/win. Often, it’s a lose/lose.

577088_312329688855462_789056673_nWhen you stop fighting for your own way, even if it’s right, and take the time to listen and show genuine care and love to another, whatever the conflict is, the conflict can often be resolved quickly.

What is God’s will?

Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God!”

Excerpted from an inspiration given by Christina 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!

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Knowing the Will of God

liane-metzler-150284Rom 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

In my life, I’ve found that knowing God’s will can be tricky. My flesh tends to get in the way! The truth is, it’s not that difficult at all. Of course, the Bible doesn’t have your specific name in it with the perfect job, spouse, city, etc. that you are supposed to choose, but in those cases, it’s fairly obvious what is not the will of God.

Bro Christo taught on some very specific things we can know about God’s will. If we apply these things to our lives, it’s a lot easier.

His first point was, “The will of God comes with a promise. If God wants you to do something, there is a promise attached.”

1 John 2:17 “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

Heb 10:36 “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”

If you do God’s will, you receive eternal life. That is one of the promises.

Bro Christo made the point that “If you serve in a business, oftentimes there is no promise of benefit. When a soldier obeys a commanding officer, there is not necessarily a ‘big picture’ benefit. It might not benefit him personally.”

In business, there may be no promise at all. However, with Jesus, there is always a promise.

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.”

1 Peter 4:2 “That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.”

Bro Christo’s second point was, If you’re in the will of God, you won’t be fulfilling the lusts of your flesh. The will of God will sanctify you. Don’t think you can sin and somehow justify it as part of the will of God.”

The whole purpose of Jesus coming to die for you and me is to separate us from sin. He did the work on the cross, but we have to choose to live His way. If you want to do something that is sin, you can be sure that is NOT the will of God.

Another point is, “The will of God is an example for ignorant people.”

1 Peter 2:15 “For so is the will of God, that with well-doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:”

“People will see in your life that you have changed for the better,” Bro Christo explained. “When you are in the will of God, it silences the silly things people might say about you. Your life will be a witness to the people around you, to the people that know you.”

Our theme for our church is Transformation. When we have an experience with Jesus, we are forever changed. Staying in the will of God affects the choices we make. We no longer choose to get drunk or do drugs or mess around before marriage. There is a light in the Christian that the world doesn’t understand, but they do see it.

Bro Christo talked about the fact that “Some people want to know the will of God by laying a fleece before the Lord. They get this from the story of Gideon. The pastor is the voice of God in your life. God placed you in this church under him.”

Heb 13:17 “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”

Jesus is a God of order and He placed people over you for a purpose, to bless you and teach you and to cause you to mature in Him. Don’t fight that. Submit. That’s the will of God.

Bro Christo said, ‘The will of God gives you purpose.”

2 Tim 1:1 “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,”

God has a purpose and plan just for you! Being directionless is not His will. Ask Him and He will guide you. If you listen to Him, He will make it very plain.

Another point Bro Christo made is, “The will of God is not selfish.”

2 Cor 8:3-5 “For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; 4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.”

God created us to be the church to minister to one another. Jesus demonstrated serving over and over again when He walked this earth. Now, He walks this earth through His Spirit in you and me, again ministering to one another.

This point by Bro Christo is so precious: “The will of God will make you a child of God.”

Mark 3:35 “For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.”

To be called His child, adopted into His family, bought through His shed blood is priceless. Bro Christo asked the question, ‘What is worth more than Jesus’ blood?’ The answer is: You. 

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!

Posted in Excerpts from sermons by Skip Christo, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

What Drives You? A Tale of 3 Items

Maybach ExceleroLast week, my husband, Charles Li, preached a sermon about what motivates you. What drives you, what do you cling to that causes you to do what you? It’s not bad to cling, just make sure you cling to Jesus and not your own will.

Charles began with, “The church doesn’t exist for the members. The members exist for the church. What makes a drug addict redeemed and set free by the power of Jesus Christ? It’s because of a power that has apprehended him. He has become a servant of righteousness.

A famous missionary once said, ‘I don’t have the gifts, the gifts have me.’ It’s the same with God’s Spirit. You don’t have the Spirit, the Spirit has you! You are not your own, you are bought with a price. God has you. You have a purpose, and your presence in the body of Christ is important.

Taking an honest look at myself, I have to wonder just how well the church has me, how much the Spirit has me. Am I driven by discerning His will and acting on it? Do I take responsibility for checking my own spirit and making sure it lines up with His? The good news is, if not, I can get lined up in an instant.

He continued, “I have three objects that I want to compare tonight. Object number one, the brand new Disney Princess Carriage that arrived suddenly at the LoCascio’s house. Number 2: a common computer printer. And Number 3 will be a surprise. All three of these objects have a specific design. And all three of these need drivers.

The girls recently received a little play jeep that resembles Cinderella’s carriage. It is motorized, it is pink and awfully cute. It has a 24v rechargeable lead-acid battery under the hood, which gives enough power to go from 0-5 mph in less than 2 seconds. It has a 2-speed transmission, plus reverse. It has a cute purple light-up-able steering wheel, sports a carriage top, battery operated side lanterns, a removable tiara, side curtains, and a plastic magic wand that turns the lights on when you wave it. However, as beautiful and wonderfully accessorized as it is, in their splendor and glory integrated into this jeep, without a driver, the thing sits in their garage.

None of the items listed in the description can drive it.  All of these things determine its size, shape, how many passengers it can carry, how fast it can go, they are all a part of the design. But you need a person to drive it.”

Each person is like a car with his or her own unique personality, likes and dislikes, height, weight, hair and eye color, taste. Our God has created mankind as quite wonderful. However, when left to his own devices, man can be terrible. We need a better driver. We need a Savior and a Lord.

Charles said, “You could have a Lamborghini, or a Porsche, or even an S-Class “Maybach” model Mercedes, described as a private jet for the road, starting price of $166,200 without adding more bells and whistles. It won’t matter how great of a car it is if a bad driver takes it and crashes it into a very large tree.

The point is, in the case of The Princess Carriage or the Mercedes, the driver is of utmost importance. If the Carriage or the Mercedes gets crashed and broken, it will not be able to function, and in this case, it will be directly the fault of a bad driver. YOU NEED A GOOD DRIVER.”

My husband talked about a computer printer next. “Everyone knows what a printer looks like, but did you know printers have drivers? Whenever you plug in a new printer to a computer, a little notification pops up on the computer and says, ‘Installing drivers.’ Some printers come with aCD-ROMM that you load into the computer to install the drivers. What does a driver do on a printer? It allows whatever type of computer you have, with whatever type of operating system, to transfer the image to be printed in a way the printer understands, so the digital image can be transcribed onto paper. Without the right driver, you will have a dysfunctional printer. A big mess might come out on paper instead of the beautiful picture or words you are trying to print. Or the printer might not work at all. The driver is made up of multiple lines of code, but if any of these is messed up, the printer might print only partially, or the whole thing might not work.

I don’t know about you, but I would like my life to ‘print out’ the way it’s supposed to, the right way, the way the Creator intended. That involves me submitting to His coding.

Lastly, my husband talked about Exhibit C, a young man named Robby. “Just like the Mercedes (I didn’t think he’d like to be compared to the Disney Princess Carriage), he would be considered a fine specimen of a human being, and quite the eligible bachelor. Robby was a high school wrestler and football player, could probably drop and give me 60 pushups on command, and soon will be off to college. He is feeling a call into ministry, so young ladies, you might want to put Robbie on that mental ‘young eligible bachelors to watch over the next few years list,’ if ya know what I mean.

Now, like the computer printer, this fine specimen of a human being has a driver, with multiple lines of code. Here is the correct driver, with all the instructions, a Bible. How does it get downloaded?”

Ezekiel 36:27 “And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”

“The Holy Spirit is the channel through which the Word of God is downloaded into your heart and activated into your life.”

Heb 8:10-12 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: 11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.”

We have made a covenant with the Lord through baptism in Jesus’ Name. If you have a problem, God will be there. Just as a wife will come get her husband when his car won’t start, even if he doesn’t feel like she will or if he has a headache. She’ll be there because they have a covenant and she loves him. God’s love is the same way.

“But what if this fine specimen of a human being, a very eligible young bachelor, has the wrong drivers installed? Fear, hopelessness, loneliness, etc. There are scars on his arm to prove that even a fine young specimen of a human being with the wrong drivers can lead to varying states of dysfunction.”

Isa 53:4-5 “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

1Co 6:19-20  “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

You are more precious than the blood of Jesus. You are well loved and precious and worth dying for.

My husband closed with, “There’s a lot of good drivers in the Bible to be downloaded into your spirit. Here’s some:”

Gal 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

Instead of trying to force the fruit, let God’s fruit have you. Exchange fear for God’s love and peace. Exchange despair for joy. Exchange frustration for longsuffering and patience. Exchange anger for gentleness and goodness. Exchange arrogance and selfishness for meekness. Exchange selfishness for temperance (self-control). 

Charles added that it is important to truly make the exchange. Don’t try to have both peace and frustration. They don’t co-exist well. Anger and joy don’t go well. Love and fear? Not so much.

Allow Jesus to help you make the exchange fully. He loves you. He is love. Trust Him to get rid of those things completely and follow His lead. Let Him drive. Jesus is the Best Driver. He not only knows the way, He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

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!

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Renew Your Mind

12174933486_5931e9107c_bFaith takes place between your ears and gets walked out by your feet. Even though you’re a sinner, Jesus died for you, He loves you, He changed you.

When you present yourself to God, you get transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Freedom is found in God’s presence, freedom from past mistakes, from current problems, from an uncertain future. However, this freedom takes submission. You have to give up your will and seek the Lord’s will for you. Instead of believing whatever thought comes into your head, take the Word of God, the Bible as your source of truth and live and walk out that.

Pastor LoCascio says, “You are NOT what the devil says you are. You are NOT what you say you are. You are NOT what other people say you are. You are what God says you are!

“Stop listening to foolish lies. God doesn’t want to destroy you. He cares for you. Sometimes, you think He’s asleep on the boat and you say, ‘wake up, don’t you care?’”

The truth is, of course He cares. Things may not work out the way you think they should, but that’s okay, because if you let Him, He’ll work things out even better than you could imagine.

Heb 11:1,6 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Don’t walk by what you see, but walk by what you know! It’s a fight! You may be losing the battle, but the war is not over!

This is tough for most people. We want to believe in what we can see. Faith is hard to develop. Trust is not easily given. Yet, God promises He will reward your faith. He will bless your choice to trust in Him. Of course, God is God and you can’t force Him to do things your way, but you can trust Him to do things better than what you could come up with!

1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

Pastor LoCascio explains further, “Jesus talked about seeds that fell on thorny ground. Thorns are the cares of this life, stuff that gets in your mind. No fruit ever grows.

Peter said to take your worries, your thoughts, the cares and struggles of life, the stuff that you’ve done, the issues that choke the Word of God and deal with it, don’t dwell on it. That is not what faith is about. God is greater than your worries, your thoughts, your cares and struggles, even your past. If you allow your mind to dwell on your these things, you become prey to the devil.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be prey for the devil! To be honest, I’ve allowed it far too often in my life. When your feelings rear up, it’s so easy to believe them and to make really poor decisions based on false assumptions. The solution is faith, trusting God’s way more than my own. How many times have I fallen before I finally let go? Too many, but He never gives up!

1 Peter 5:8-9 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”

This is our work, your work and mine. God won’t think for us. He wants us to learn to be responsible, to grow, to mature. There is a peace that passes all understanding, but that only comes through consistent walking by faith.

Pastor LoCascio says, “The key to resisting the devil is faith! God is more than enough. He will provide all of your needs. He is a healer.

It takes faith to hear God.”

1 John 5:4 “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”

“It’s not a one-time thing, it’s continual overcoming by faith.

Keep fighting! Keep fighting! Keep fighting!

We have victory over serpents and scorpions. Serpents strike with their heads, scorpions with their tales. Heads or tails, we have the victory!”

That is easier to read than to put into practice, but just as consistently practicing any instrument, you will see progress, so it is with walking by faith.

Pastor continues, “You MUST have the mind of Christ! You must put on the Helmet of Salvation. You can’t prevent birds from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building a nest. You can’t prevent crazy thoughts from coming into your head, but you can KICK them out!”

Phil 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Teach yourself, train yourself to fight the good fight of faith and lay hold onto eternal life!

Heb 10:38-39 “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”

“Don’t shrink back like a coward. The fearful will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. You who are cowardly and worrisome, because you’ve allowed the battle to overwhelm you, you can’t please God.”

Your situation may seem hopeless, but God can handle anything. Nothing is too hard for Him and it gives Him glory to work on your behalf. He enjoys doing great things for you!

Heb 13:5-6 “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. 6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”

“Your doubt and worry anger the Lord.”

Be bold! God will never leave you. Believe it!

“Every time the king of Syria planned an attack on Israel, his plans were always revealed by the prophet Elisha. That made the king really angry. So, he sent an army to get Elisha to kill him. Elisha had a servant (not Gehazi). He saw the army coming and got really scared. He shook Elisha and woke him, ‘Look at the enemy approaching! What should we do?’ Elisha said, ‘Fear not. There is more with us than there are against us.’ The servant saw the many and counted only him and the prophet. Elisha asked God to open the eyes of his servant, to walk not by sight, but by faith.”

2 Corinthians 4:18 “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

2 Cor 5:7 “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)”

God will honor faith!

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!

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In the Moment, What Will You Choose?

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

These are some of my favorite verses of Scripture. I love verse 4 especially, but I have to ask myself, are these merely beautiful words or is this something I truly desire and choose to go after? It’s not just a pretty place, to dwell in the house of the Lord and to behold His beauty. This is a way of life, a seeking after His presence and a willingness to let go those things that hinder that.

Pastor Merritt says, “It’s not on the mountain top that true growth takes place. Growth takes place in the valley. It takes place in that pavilion of the secret place of the Most High, in the midst of the storm when God is standing by your side. When there is confusion, hurt, betrayal, pain, in that moment, you have the potential to see genuine growth in your life. You also have the potential to see death or setback. It’s all dependent on your response. You can grow or step back.”

“You can experience great life or debilitating failure. It all depends on how you react in the moment of confusion or brokenness or setbacks.”

Pastor Merritt continues, “As the people of the Name, you must begin to revolutionize your mind, your thinking of how you look at hardships and suffering and confusion and pain. Your reaction must be dictated by what you know in the Lord.”

It is at those times when your children or your coworker or your boss are jumping up and down on your last nerve or you get that surprise bill that you’re not sure how you’ll pay or you make the same mistake…again, that you must choose how you will respond in that moment. Will you yell at your children or simmer at your boss or coworker? Will you freak out at that bill? Will you beat yourself up because of your failings?

“Be lifted up and encouraged,” says Pastor Merritt. “You may be broken, but God sees beautiful. You may feel lonely, but God sees lovely. You may be petrified, but God sees perfection and potential. His view of your setbacks is not governed by emotionalism, but by what He knows. Jesus knows the end from the beginning.”

Psalm 61:1-3 “Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. 2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 3 For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.”

There is a story the prophet Nathan told David about a rich man and a poor man. The rich man had plenty, but the poor man had only a little lamb. The rich man had a visitor and he didn’t want to give of his abundance, so he took the poor man’s lamb. The poor man looked on that lamb as his own child. When David heard what the rich man did, he said he should pay it back and be stoned. Nathan said, ‘You are the man.’

Pastor Merritt explained, “Previously, David had committed several sins. At this moment in pain and confusion David had to choose either life or death. He probably began to recall those sins that brought him to this point. He probably thought about a rebuttal or excuse to get him out of that uncomfortable situation. However, he did not give a rebuttal or an excuse. Instead, he replied, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ Nathan prophesied that the child would not live but die. David neither ate nor drank from that day until several days later when the child died. Then, David went into the temple and worshiped. Theologians believe he wrote the 27th Psalm at that time.”

Because of your poor choices or someone else’s poor choices, your next move will bring either life or death into your situation. Know the sacrifices of God, a broken and a contrite heart He will not despise. Although David sinned and failed, he knew that God would show Himself mighty and strong.

One thing I’m coming to terms with is the fact that conflict is a part of life. God will use it to help me grow to be more like Him, but I have to submit to that. It is up to me how I respond in those situations, whether they are from poor choices or habits I’ve chosen or because of what someone else has done. Truly, I have no control at all. It is only through allowing God to be God in my life that I can experience that ‘peace that passes all understanding’. God WILL show Himself mighty and I WILL grow if I allow Him to do that work in my heart and mind.

When you are broken and confused, it is of the utmost that you do what David did and get into the presence of God and let Him do a work on your heart. Pastor Merritt warns, “It would be the devil’s greatest desire for you to take it upon yourself to try to get out of that pain. If you pull yourself from that surgery too early, you will be a detriment to yourself and no use to anyone else.”

His strength is made perfect in my weakness.

Pastor Merritt received a word picture from the Lord, “this church is like a ‘well-oiled machine.’ God wants to revive and restore. He wants to bring life so you can be a blessing to yourself and everyone around you. A machine’s parts must each do its part, moving together.” 

2 Cor 12:9-10 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

The woman caught in adultery, Jesus refused to condemn. It was in the presence of Jesus that her life was changed. She stopped that sin and allowed His mercy to change her life.

You must allow God to do what He wants to do. Without your willingness, you will not receive your victory. It’s in the moment of brokenness and confusion that (if you choose to trust Him) God will work a miraculous change in your life.

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

It is that awful moment where you must choose either to trust the Lord or attempt to fix it yourself. Attempting to fix it yourself will lead to destruction.

‘Encourage yourself in the Lord.’ David did that. Wrap yourself in God. Seek Him. Your answer is in the Presence of God.

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.”

Liberty (and joy and peace) is available to you, but you must wrap yourself in God.

Isaiah 10:27 “And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.”

If there is suffering and hurt in your life, if there is brokenness, God wants to heal you. Your answer is in His Presence.

It is more than merely believing that God will take of you. You must get into His presence. Seek Him. Listen to Him. Walk with Him. Quiet yourself and reach for Him. Then, you will find that rest, that peace, that leading, that direction, that assurance.

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (emphasis mine).

Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Steven Merritt, missionary to New Zealand.

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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God of Restoration, Revival, and Renewal–More Abundantly

apperson_chummy_restored_by_louie_floyd_appersonEph 3:20-21 “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

John 10:10 “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

We have a God who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think. Jesus will reverse the effects of the thief. The thief comes to steal, kill, and to destroy, but Jesus will not only reverse that but give back more than was taken.

God wants to do something in your life.

Here in America, we have ample evidence of abundance, yet do we really comprehend what that means? Do we understand how that concept applies to our God?

The word abundant means ‘having plenty of something’. Plentiful, copious, ample, large, huge, overflowing, prolific, teaming are synonyms. These are good words to describe our God as well.

Jesus gives abundant restoration.

In my life, there have been things lost. I’ve got regrets, yet Jesus promises restoration and renewal. His word promises that. If I choose to trust Him and follow His leading, I can experience that restoration and renewal, but I can’t keep doing the same things. I must choose God’s will and God’s way. That’s really the only true way.

Joel 2:25-29 “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. 26 And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. 27 And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed. 28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.”

Pastor Michael says, “There have been things that have been taken away in our lives. Happiness might have been taken, mental health, physical health. Depression and hopelessness might come in. Joy might have been taken away over the years.”

He continues with this example, “Job had it all. He lost it all pretty quickly, but it took years before it was all restored. When he finally realized what was going on, he repented. God didn’t just restore all that was lost, but He restored much, much more.”

God will restore to you not only what was taken, but He will give back more, in abundance.

God has something for you. His Word is true. His promises are for you. Will you trust Him to give back more than was taken from you?

“Ezekiel was transported in a vision. He saw dry, dead bones. God asked if those bones could live. Ezekiel answered, ‘God, You know.’ So, God told him to prophesy to the bones. In a short time, an army of mindless zombies stood before him. They are still captive, lifeless. God commanded Ezekiel to prophesy to the wind to breathe life.”

It’s the very same thing in our world today. We look around and see so many people with no life and no hope. Yet, this passage of Scripture can happen to them too. After Ezekiel prophesied to the wind, those lifeless bodies came back. God still gives life today. Let Him breathe into your life. 

Our God is a God of abundant revival. There is nothing that stops him from blessing and doing exceeding abundant.

Pastor Michael used the story of Nehemiah as an example of renewal. “Nehemiah had the temple, but there were no walls, no protection. The walls needed to be rebuilt.

The large majority of the people rebuilding the walls weren’t builders. They were bakers, musicians, etc. Yet, in building the wall, they were renewed. Their hope was renewed. Their city was renewed. Their lives were renewed.”

Our God is a God of abundant restoration, revival, and renewal.

I’ve seen Jesus breathe life back into the lifeless. I’ve seen hope born and light come into eyes right in front of me.

Psalm 34:5 “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”

Change your perspective. Instead of looking at your problem, look to Him. Look to Jesus and you will become radiant. He still has that effect. Let Him do what only He can do in your life and you WILL experience your miracle.

John 14:6 “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'”

This is one of my favorite verses of Scripture. Just as satan is a liar and everything he says is a lie, Jesus IS the truth. Everything He says is truth. Everything He does is life-giving, renewing, transforming, restoring, and reviving. If He said it, you can trust Him to follow through. Look to Him and see.

Excerpted from a sermon preached by Youth 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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Perception in the Storm

clinton-naik-176636Psalm 34:1-2 “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.”

I’ve read that verse so many times, but is His praise continually in my mouth? Do I trust Jesus in the midst of a storm? Do you?

Pastor answers the question, What do you do in the storms of life? “See the Lord as bigger. Take a magnifying glass and change your perception. God doesn’t get bigger, you just see Him differently. Bless Him!”

“How do you see God? There are only two ways to make God bigger. He doesn’t change. He’s immutable. You can’t change God. The will of God is the will of God. You can’t control Him. In order to magnify Him, you can only change your perception of Him and change your perception of yourself.”

John the Baptist said, ‘He must increase and I must decrease.’ I always thought that meant that he knew his followers would leave him to follow Jesus and that he would die. John’s whole job was to announce the coming of Jesus, after all. Yet, that verse means a whole lot more than that.

Am I willing to decrease myself in order to see God’s greatness? Am I willing to surrender my feeble attempts at control? Things may not turn out the way I want, the way I will, but is God my God, or not? If He is, then I must surrender to His will and His way.

How much do you trust Him? Enough to stop worrying about your current situation? Just how great is your God?

Pastor says, “Worship and praise can only flow from your perception of His greatness. Praise is more than hype and stress relief and feeling, especially to those who are ‘going through it.’ The Lord is great and greatly to be praised. He fills all time and space. He Is. I AM. He is He that was and is and is to come. He is from everlasting to everlasting. He is not confined to time like we are. He can reach into your past and wipe away all your mistakes. He is the fulfilling of all time.”

2 Chron 6:18 “But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!”

The universe does not contain God, God contains the universe. Sometimes, it’s easy to see how big He is, but not how personal He is. He is a personal God. What’s so special about you that God would forget about you?”

I never thought of it that way. If God is truly Who He says He Is, then He won’t forget about me. He can’t.

1 Chron 16:25 “For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods.”

Pastor says, “God is God all the time. God doesn’t need you to proclaim Him as God. He is worthy whether you praise Him or not. God doesn’t know another god. ‘Praise Him for His mighty acts. Praise Him according to His excellent greatness,’ Psalm 150:2. He is not a petty deity. Nothing cruel or shallow can be found in Him. Your worship should be infinite because He is infinite. He is to be feared or respected above all gods. Nothing and no-one else can possibly compare. Jesus is our God and no-one can compare! Holy fear is the beginning of wisdom.”

1 John 3:20 “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.”

The Lord’s plan is greater than your pain. Suffering is not designed to destroy you. It is designed to develop you. God trusted Job with suffering. Job said a lot of stuff, but he never rebuked the devil. Why not change your perception? Suffering is not greater than God. Nothing is greater than God’s plan. God’s purpose and plan for you is greater than your suffering.”

I don’t like trials or difficulties or dealing with hard situations. Yet, what other way is there to mature? To finally grow up is to take responsibility for your choices. However, to take it all further into wisdom and maturity is to trust the Lord in every situation, no matter how easy or how difficult. To become mature and wise is to trust God, to hear from Him, to obey Him no matter what. There is a peace that passes all understanding. Worry can be conquered by the Prince of Peace.

You can’t overcome faults, failings, or difficult circumstances you refuse to face. Jesus wants you to overcome. In fact, He’s called you an overcomer! He’ll bring opportunity to you.

Job 23:10 “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”

1 John 4:4 “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

Pastor says, “The world will put you through tribulation. There is no such thing as a pain-free marriage. There is no such thing as a pain-free walk with God, no such thing as a tribulation-free relationship with Jesus. It’s how you respond to that situation.”

Zach 13:9 “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.”

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.”

There’s something about you, it’s what (or WHO) is in you!

Pastor says, “When you put a ball in the water, it won’t stay down under the water. It’s not the ball, it’s the air inside. You can’t keep a righteous man, full of the Holy Ghost, down! Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world!”

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!

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Dream Challengers from Hell

0_rkj9_kw7g-zachary-bedrosianNeh 4:1-9 “But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews. 2 And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned? 3 Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall. 4 Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity: 5 And cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee: for they have provoked thee to anger before the builders. 6 So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work. 7 But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth, 8 And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it. 9 Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them.”

Nehemiah worked as a servant to the king, the royal food-taster. He protected the king from being poisoned. If he weren’t trustworthy, he could kill the king himself. He found out that Jerusalem, the city that he loved, was in ruins. So, he decided to rebuild those walls. He had a dream.

Do you have a dream? It’s a good thing. You aren’t like animals who can’t plan for the future. They operate only by instinct. Humans can think many, many years ahead. You can make a difference. You have a choice. You can dream!

But, there is always a challenge.

Maybe you want a great family or a to be a great Christian or to build a great business or to just make it to college. When your dreams line up with the Lord’s will, He will help make those dreams come true. He will help you do something great.

However, anytime you do something great for God, you will have to deal with adversity. There is an enemy that will try to stop you.

Your spiritual success in fulfilling your dream, will probably not be based on how you handle the good times. Success will be determined by how you respond under pressure.

Sanballat and Tobiah represent those adversaries to the dream. They had no business being there in the first place. They were sticking their wicked noses in Nehemiah’s business.

Satan will try to stick his wicked nose into your business.

The reason it bothered Sanballat and Tobiah and Satan is because they had no inheritance in that city. They had something and lost it.

When you dream for the Kingdom of God, it makes Satan mad, spitting mad, and he will do all that he can to stop that from coming true.

You are an unqualified candidate to worship God, and be called one of His own. Satan hates you for taking his place. He will do all kinds of hateful things.

How will you respond? Will you cry and go home?

This city belongs to who? It belongs to God and you! The Kingdom of God is for you!

Isaiah 14:13-15 “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”

That was Satan speaking and notice how many times he said, ‘I will.’ He said it five times. When your will becomes more important than God’s will in your life, you are thinking like Satan.

The enemy works on your mind.

Satan doesn’t know your future, but he knows it’s better than what he has mind. His tactics are so subtle. Anytime the devil tells you something, know it’s a lie and easier to identify. So instead, he will ask questions. He will cause you to question God and His will and His promises.

If you allow those thoughts to get into your mind, you’re allowing Satan’s thinking into your head. Don’t do it!

When you’ve got an enemy up in your face, it’s a sign that you’re on the right track!

There are five questions that Sanballat asked. Right away Nehemiah encountered challenges to the dream.

1. What are those feeble Jews doing? He wasn’t really asking that because the answer is obvious. The question is, ‘Is what you’re doing worth the price you must pay to get it done?’ Don’t let that evil seed go to work. It’s designed to discourage and bring doubt. It focuses on the difficulty. The dream is worth it! You might be feeble, but it’s worth it! The task is worth all your feeble efforts.

You have got to have a dream! When the challenge comes, respond, ‘It is worth it!’

2. Will they restore their wall? This is designed to create fear of failure. Is success even possible? Is it better to have a dream, a goal, a noble project, but because you are not convinced it will get completed, is it better to not start the project at all or start it and leave it half done? It is a good thing to start on a dream and not finish it in your lifetime! That’s okay because the people coming after you will complete it. Abraham had a dream and never saw the fulfillment of it—nations. Isaac and Jacob didn’t see the fulfillment of that dream, but Israel exists today! It’s okay to fail, to not finish. Nothing ventured, nothing gained! People won’t get healed if you don’t pray. Nehemiah said, ‘Even if I don’t, I’m still going to try.’ God will always fulfill His promises. God is looking here. He has planted promise after promise. He will fulfill them!

Have you ever wanted to give up? I have, but this gives me hope. You know, it’s okay if you don’t ever see the results of your dream. Just working toward it is a victory in itself.

3. Will they offer sacrifices? The undertone there is, ‘You think you’re worthy?’ You’re a sinner, how can you do anything great for Him? The thing that goes through your mind is your past and your imagined future of who you are.

Whew! This one stings. I know I’m not worthy, but I also know this is God’s will and I have to keep going. I could be back in my lost past, but Jesus saved my soul. God thinks I’m worthy and I’m going to keep going! It’s His will. I’m not perfect and neither are you, so let’s keep going and do the will of God.

Get past your past!

God chooses the people we wouldn’t choose. He shows His strength in your weakness. You didn’t choose God, He chose you!

Don’t worry about your past, start dreaming about your future!

Take a package of all your past and put a label on it, ‘To God, From Thankful.’ Your past does not need to dictate where you’re headed. God doesn’t serve the realm of time. He knows and sees the direction you’re headed and changes things to keep you on track. He can go to the future right now. He can even go into the past and change it. Jesus will cause you to walk in a healthy (mind, body, spirit) person’s shoes. God will mess with your mind to cause you to not be the person you used to be! Your past belongs to the Lord. You are worthy!

4. Will they finish in a day? Of course not! This is a lifetime thing. It’s a long-term thing. What they started they will do right. They will do it well. This dream is worth doing right and well. Your dream is worth taking the time necessary to do it right and do it well.

5. Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble? This is designed to cause hopelessness. God is a God of hope. The devil wants you to see the burnt up rocks, the bad. Burned up rocks make the most beautiful islands on earth. God causes new growth in the midst of mess. That destroyed rock becomes much more fertile. Stuff grows on burned up rock. It’s more valuable. You can produce a whole lot more having been through the fire.

You have so much value! You’ve come out of the fire. You may see a burned up mess, but Jesus sees something fertile, something He can use and work with. It is more valuable and precious. God works with fragmented lives and causes them to become kings and nobles and queens and knights of renown.

Your dream will be challenged, but use your mind the way God wants you to use it.

Think His thoughts! Be a Dream-Chaser!

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!

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