The Path and the Promise

fire-heart-961194_960_720Jesus came to deliver us from fear, especially fear of death.

Heb 2:14-15 “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. 15 Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.”

Why are we still here?

2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”

There is no greater joy than sharing this hope with someone else. This sets people free. There is nothing more satisfying and more fulfilling and more worthwhile than sharing this precious truth because this has eternal benefits.

What has been your experience in introducing Jesus to other people? How did it make you feel when they received Him for themselves?

Luke 24:49 “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”

Acts 1:1-5 “In my first book I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven after giving his chosen apostles further instructions through the Holy Spirit. 3 During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God. 4 Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. 5 John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

This path to Pentecost is very interesting. There are several post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. He showed Himself alive through many infallible proofs that He had raised from the dead. This point was key to the gospel. (1 Cor 15) Every preaching in the book of Acts always included that Jesus came out of the grave and was alive. They were eyewitnesses of this fact. The requirement for Judas’ replacement was having known Jesus from the beginning of His earthly ministry and being a witness to His resurrection.

A man’s word to what he had seen was as valid as any video back then. It was extremely important, the very crux of the message was not just the cross, but the resurrection. That was their focus. Praise God for what He did for us through His death, but He sealed the deal when He came out of the tomb.

Why was it so important that Jesus died for us? Why was it so important that He rose from the dead (also for us)?

Jesus wanted them to know He was raised from the dead. That’s why He stayed around for 40 days. He was giving them the commands, the Great Commission, found in all four gospels and Acts. To understand the completeness of it, you’ve got to know all of them.

Jesus had already appeared to the women at the tomb, then to some disciples on their way home, then that same day at evening He appeared again to ten of them (minus Thomas) in a locked room. They were still afraid. We always attack Thomas for being a doubter, but they were just as fearful and doubted.

John 20:20-21 “As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! 21 Again he said, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.’”

God never turned His back on Jesus, He was feeling the guilt that everyone else felt for their sins. God was in Christ. God not only spoke the words, He did the works. We have the same promise that the Comforter that was with them would be IN them.

He isn’t just Emmanuel—‘God with us.’ He wants to be the Holy Ghost—‘God IN us.’

2 Cor 3:17 “For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

Why is it so important that God is not merely ‘with’ us, but IN us? How does being (overwhelmed/baptized) filled with His Spirit change your life?

The Kingdom isn’t located here or there, it’s a Spiritual Kingdom. It is IN you. It will make you and me lively stones, part of His body. God does everything. He is not a one dimensional God. He’s beyond even three or four or ten dimensions. He’s all the dimensions. He has a multitude of purpose for us.

1 Cor 15:4-8 “He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. 5 He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. 6 After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7 Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him.”

Paul made a complete turnaround. He went from having a letter to kill all who called themselves Christians to ‘Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?’

There are at least 14 post-resurrection appearances between the gospels and the book of Acts as well as Paul’s explanation in 1 Cor 15.

It’s possible that there were more than 1500 people who saw Jesus after the resurrection. (They counted only the men back then.)

Jesus showed up to Peter on the beach. At the time, Peter hadn’t forgiven himself for denying Jesus and had lost all hope of being able to be used in ministry. So, he went back to fishing. Jesus asked him if he loved Him more than his fishing and what he knew. Peter had a choice and he chose to ‘feed My sheep.’

How has Jesus forgiven and restored you? How has your life been changed as you’ve obeyed Jesus’ call to you?

On May 6, we are at that point, just five weeks away from Pentecost. In the Jewish world, this was a very important time. They were commanded to go to Jerusalem at least once a year. On the day of Pentecost, people from many, many nations were there. It mentions those specific nations because to mention more would fill up chapters. Often, people from far away would come for Passover and stay through Pentecost. So, many of those people saw all that had happened, from Jesus’ death on a cross through to His resurrection and up to the Day of Pentecost. So, at Pentecost, they were given an eye-witness to the purpose of Passover.

We are just one week away from His ascension. We’re thinking about the times He was commanding them and the Great Commission. Jesus didn’t start with ‘Go.’ Matthew 28 and the Great Commission starts with ‘receive.’ It ends with that same thing. You’ve got to receive the Holy Ghost and power in order to have something to give.

He had all power and wanted to give that to us through His Spirit.

Acts 3:6-7 “Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. 7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.”

You’ve got something to give. Freely you have received, freely give! It all began with a commandment to receive the Holy Ghost and then to go. Thank God that the name of Jesus in any language works!

God’s Word has been translated into over 3000 languages. He speaks all languages. His promise is for you and for your children and for all that are afar off!

Jesus commanded His people not to leave Jerusalem until they received that Holy Ghost. It’s the oil that powers the lamp, it’s the fire that lights the lamp, it’s the power that comes from on High!

The people were daily in the temple praising and blessing God. They faithfully were in that temple worshipping, praising, and blessing God. When the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were filled with the Holy Ghost. You can only receive with hands lifted focused on Him, praising and blessing God.

Acts 1:2 “Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting.”

From the front to the back of the house, it was filled.

Acts 1:3-4 “Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.”

Sinai was the birthday of the Jewish people. This was the beginning of the church. God visited in visible signs to fulfill His promises. Everything was prophesied about Jesus. God was showing them ‘this is the fulfillment of the giving of the law.’

Jer 31:33 “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

Acts 2:4 “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

When we come to that place of repentance, like dying on the cross with Him, our lives become just fuel for fire in His presence. When we lay ourselves on the altar, He can consume us with that fire, Holy Ghost fire in our bones.

Are you willing to come to Jesus daily and allow Him to use you as fuel for His Kingdom to see others saved? What will you change today in order for that to happen?

Jesus still comes. Pentecost is not just one feast day per year. Since that day, it has been made available like a river that flows. Every day you can receive the Holy Ghost. We are living in the days of the Latter Rain, the Greater Glory.

The Holy Ghost is for YOU. It’s for EVERYBODY!

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by 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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Identified with Christ

perminder-klair-233786-unsplashGod’s nature never changes. When God’s nature encounters our nature, we’re changed.

Luke 5:36-39 “Then Jesus gave them this illustration: ‘No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and uses it to patch an old garment. For then the new garment would be ruined, and the new patch wouldn’t even match the old garment. 37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. 38 New wine must be stored in new wineskins. 39 But no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine. ‘The old is just fine,’ they say.’”

A patch from a new garment won’t work for an old. Old garments have already shrunk. New wineskins will still stretch for new wine. An old wineskin will not expand.

How does the fact that Jesus never changes comfort you? How have you allowed Him to change you?

Jesus constantly challenged the stale religious practices at that time. He warned them what they were doing wasn’t for God but to be seen a certain way by other people.

Jesus took this opportunity to shift their paradigm from outward actions to a real relationship with God. He was talking about something deeper than the new covenant that was coming. It was about you and me as containers. Something has to take place in us in order to receive it.

You’ve got to change. You can’t put new wine into old skins. Their religious practices caused them to be stuck in a rut. They were stuck in an old philosophy. They didn’t want to let go of their traditions.

Wine gets better with age. The longer it sits, the better it gets. When you get used to it and it gets older, people like it. People are comfortable with the old and can’t receive something new. An old vessel will not receive new wine.

Jesus wanted to employ a truth, external rights and ceremonies and rituals won’t heal the broken parts of your life. You’ve got to embrace and become a new vessel.

New patches on old material won’t work. Paradigms must change in order for lives to be changed and fixed. Take the old garment and transform it. Renew every thread and every hole, old things passed away, all things become new.

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.”

Embrace change in order to receive from Jesus.

How have you resisted change? What happened? How have you embraced change? What happened?

Saul of Tarsus was a very religious man. He was of the tribe of Benjamin, concerning the law, zealous, a Pharisee of Pharisees. If you are not careful, you might end up persecuting everybody who doesn’t think the way you think or act the way you act. Paul was stuck in a rut. God had to knock him down with a bright light and a voice from heaven.

The voice from heaven said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. It’s hard to kick against the pricks.’ This means it is hard for you to resist Me. This phrase is taken from the beasts of burden who were poked and prodded with sharp objects if they weren’t moving fast enough. If they kicked against those sharp objects, they hurt their feet.

Acts 9:6 “And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.”

Saul (known as the Apostle Paul) changed in an instant. Then, God was able to make this man great. He became a new wineskin instantly. No longer opposed to the gospel and the strong evidence of truth, Saul of Tarsus changed. He stopped kicking against the pricks and changed.

God is using a tool poking and prodding you, but you are rebelling against the very thing that is trying to make you become something new. Old skins can’t handle the new wine.

There is no removing of the foundation. However, once you’ve got that firm foundation, you need to be able to receive more from God. If God is trying to speak to you, it’s not the experience of yesterday, it’s ‘he that has ears to hear, let him hear what the Lord is saying to you.’

Are you regularly seeking God’s opinion on issues in your life? Do you seek His will and way and obey Him? If not, why?

Jer 48:11 “Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed.”

This is actually talking about wine. The ‘lees’ are talking about the dregs. It’s about allowing the wine to sit for a long time. Sediment settles on the bottom. The dregs, if they sit too long start to stink and become bitter. The process was to pour the wine into a new barrel and have a strainer get rid of the dregs.

Jeremiah is saying that you haven’t allowed this and you stink.

God is changing you. He wants you to grow and change. If you don’t get dumped out, you’ll settle and stink.

‘Taste and see that the Lord is good.’

The difference between a reservoir and a river is water doesn’t flow in and out of the reservoir. It’s stinky. A river has fish and water flowing in and out, moving. The banks hold up and direct the water. The reason why the Dead Sea is called dead is that nothing flows out.

You’ve got to stir up yourself. You’ve got to allow yourself to be poured out and grow and change.

2 Cor 3:17-18 “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

Are you willing to stir yourself up? Are you willing to be poured out in order to grow and change? How have you resisted or embraced this process in the past? What happened as a result of your choices?

Moses came down from the mountain with two stone tablets. The people were okay with the tablets but got freaked out by his glowing face. They had him put a veil over his face. After a while, that glory faded.

There is a glory you can have that will not fade away. (2 Cor 3:18)

Getting into the presence of God and the Word of God help us get changed from glory to glory to glory. We need to change until we are more and more and more like Jesus.

We call it salvation, He calls it marriage. Spending time together enables people to know each other and become like each other. The whole purpose of Christianity is to know Jesus so well that we resemble and are identified with Jesus. You have got to change and give up who you are until you are no longer you and like Jesus.

If you’re a person who is bipolar or depressed or a loser or a failure, you can break free from that identity in order to become a new creature in Christ! You’re struggling with yesterday’s identity and what God’s destiny for you. You have got to hear a Word from God and let it change you!

1 Cor 6:9-11 “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

You are no longer these things! ‘Such WERE some of you…’

1 John 3:1 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”

You are His child, His son, His daughter!

Let go of yesterday and take a hold of tomorrow! You can’t hold on to yesterday and understand what God has for you.

What do you believe about yourself? Do you believe more what the Bible says about you or what other people (or you) think about you? Are you willing to let go those thoughts/beliefs/attitudes that are contrary to God’s Word? How will you go about doing that?

1 Pet 2:9 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;”

GOD HAS CHOSEN YOU!

When you’re the captain, you get to pick who you want on your team. God chose YOU!

Don’t keep going by what you think you see in the mirror. See what God sees. You can’t receive what God has for you with the same mentality of who you think you are. You are not who you think you are, who the devil says you are, who the world says you are. You are who God says you are!

You are chosen by God! Peculiar means ‘Purchased’ by God. You are purchased and no one else can have you.

Your issues put labels on you. Until you really change, you can’t be identified with Christ. What do you believe about yourself? You are what God says you are, but you’ve got to confront this in order to receive this truth about who and what God says you are.

The person who has issues tries to hide behind their pride. There is so much hurt and shame, but their patch doesn’t help. You try to pour in love. Rebellious people don’t like authority. You may have an attitude and your own wisdom and your own ways and your own agenda. It says, ‘I don’t need you.’

The Kingdom of God has a process, but you won’t be able to receive it until you change.

You’ve got to take off the mask. Be honest. Come as you are, expect to be changed. You’ve got to go home different. Always go home changed. Allow God to pour you out and become new.

It’s not one service that will change you. You are who God says you are, but you get poured out and stirred up and changed. That’s part of the process. Seek the change. Don’t fight the process.

John 3:8 “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

You are God’s child.

The temptation of Christ is when the Spirit led Jesus to the desert to be tempted of the devil. Just before that, He was baptized and the Spirit descended like a dove and said, ‘This is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased.’ Then, Jesus was tempted by the devil. Satan didn’t tempt Him with really with food, it was tempting Him by asking Him about His identity. Is He really the Son of God. Satan challenged His identity.

Every day you will be confronted with that test. Who are you? You’ve got to be willing to change.

How have you tried to hide your issues? Have you been successful in hiding them? Where do they pop out? Are you willing to be honest and allow the Lord to deliver you?

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.”

You can’t be what God has called you to be until you get away from what God has called you out from.

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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Stop Letting Your Issues Speak for You!

freedomMark 5:1-13 “And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. 2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: 4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. 6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, 7 And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. 8 For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. 9 And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. 10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. 11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. 12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. 13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.”

‘Don’t call me out my name’ is an old saying that means ‘Be respectful.’ Sticks and stones may break bones, but words scar the heart. We need to make sure the words that come out our mouths are meaningful and respectful.

When you were a kid, did other kids call you names? How did that make you feel? As an adult, how do you handle such things today? What can you do to change your actions and/or your response?

Regardless of faith, as people, we should respect each other and be kind to one another. It’s the golden rule, ‘Do to others as you would have done to you.’

There’s something about words. There are times when you have said something and then realized too late that it wasn’t good. It is important that your words are meaningful, intentional, and definite. The things you say will guide the things you do.

On top of the human race being respectful to one another regardless of color or gender, just be kind. People are so thin skinned now. How much more should Holy Ghost filled Christians, representatives of Jesus, be kind to one another. Words are powerful. Words not only dictate actions, healing or hurtful, there is serious power in your words. Words shape in the spirit.

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

How do you guard your heart and mind against thoughts and feelings that are contrary to God’s Word? If you don’t, what will you do to start?

Back to the story, the demon possessed man said, ‘What have you to do with us?’ Jesus said nothing.

This man was always, night and day, crying and cutting himself. The dude had issues.

If you really want to do the work of God, you have to recognize there are people with issues. Maybe they aren’t cutting themselves with rocks, but people have issues. As you walk by, knowing who you are in Jesus, people recognize something going on. As a Holy Ghost filled believer, as you walk into the room, you affect the atmosphere.

When you spend time with Jesus, you are effective. Without that time with Jesus, you will not be effective.

If you are unsure, you don’t have the commitment to Jesus that you need to have. Recognize what you can have through your relationship and connection with Jesus.

Jesus walked with full confidence. You can have that as well, but it depends upon your reality with Jesus. This comes through receiving in prayer, Bible reading and fasting.

Phil 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”

This is for YOU! Know who you are, where you’re going in life, and don’t allow any devil to stop you. Know who you are at home. It’s not to be confident in yourself, but being confident in Jesus. You are supposed to be confident in your anointing and your call from Jesus. ‘I know who God has made me to be. I know where I came from and where I’m going. Whatever comes out of my mouth will be from God.’

Do you know who you are in Jesus? Are you confident in that knowledge? How has this changed your life, your thoughts and actions, and your interactions with other people around you?

There was a prophet, Samuel, who never missed. God never let one word fall from his mouth. Yet, you think he never had a bad day? He had a relationship with God at home, beyond whatever everybody else saw. Read his life story. God came through and honored His man.

There will be times that you will make mistakes, but God will have your back. Don’t go for the glory, go for spending time with Jesus. Seek Jesus in the dark and in the community.

No pity act, who cares about you’re not being worth it! Your past need not affect your present! If you dwell on this, you can’t change your world. It’s okay that you had a bad past, but look at what God has done and walk in authority and confidence in HIM!

The disciples went out and tried to cast out devils and had their hinder parts handed to them. The reason it didn’t work was that they didn’t have the prayer and fasting. Those disciples had confidence. It wouldn’t have bothered them if they didn’t have such confidence. Even before they had it all together, they walked with authority.

It is time to plant your feet on who you are as an Apostolic Christian. He is the lifter of your head!

How will your life be different if you walk in the confidence and authority and love that you have in Jesus?

Notice that before Jesus even opened His mouth, those devils were messing around. (Even people with issues have peaceful moments!) The truth is demons are uncomfortable in the presence of God. Issues are uncomfortable in the presence of God. As holiness and perfection and the presence of heaven drew near, demons got uncomfortable. These devils started tormenting again.

Sometimes in the midst of the worst chaos in your life, Jesus is getting closer to you. It’s crazy but good. Keep going through. Don’t stop. Let Him change you. Just because you’re having issues doesn’t mean God has forsaken you.

Sometimes the greatest chaos is issues crying for mercy. Those things can’t be a part of you anymore.

Will you keep drawing near to Jesus and push through the discomfort? Despite the chaos? Or will you withdraw?

Learn that even in the midst of chaos and stuff that shakes you, it’s only time to draw closer and closer to Jesus. When those things move out, Jesus moves in. He brings peace, healing, mentoring, and love.

As you start evicting misery, it gets mad. Issues and chaos are a sign that Jesus is drawing near. It’s the Lord pulling things out of your spirit. He will replace that with ministry and stuff that matters. Those things can’t take root with your issues in the way.

Jesus wasn’t asking for the demons’ name.

Luke 8:30-31 “And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. 31 And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.”

Jesus wasn’t talking to the demons, He was talking to the man. The issues were so deep in the man and so controlling his life that he allowed the demons to speak for him.

When the Lord calls on you, stop letting the issues answer for you. No more, ‘yeah, but’ Don’t let your issues answer for you. Are you available to Jesus? You are called to be right where you are at every moment in your life. You are a witness. When you are at work, at church, at home, you are still called to be a witness. God orders us and steps us into whatever situation. He goes with us and transforms if we allow it.

It’s great when you’re walking in blessing, but when bad things happen, it’s a little harder to trust that God is still ordering your steps. There are situations that will call on you because God has ordered you to be there. You don’t need to jump into the issue, God is calling you to calm and heal and lift and light. You are called to be an example.

Do you trust that God is ordering your steps even when times are difficult? How does that knowledge change your reactions to your situations?

You have a purpose of God in your life. You are here for such a time as this. You are here to walk in purpose and anointing, not wallow in pity. You are called to be part of a great revival. Quit allowing your issues answer for you! Plant your feet and say, ‘I am a man/woman of God and I am going to fulfill my purpose no matter what my past and present look like. None of it will dictate my future!’

It’s time to walk in the purpose and calling of God. Stop trying to hold onto a persona that’s not you. Cling to what Jesus says you’re supposed to be.

Daniel 11:32 “…but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.”

If you stop letting your issues answer for you, they will leave and testify for you!

Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Joe Giunta.

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

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

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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Wimps, Wannabes, Whiners, and Winners in the Kingdom

grain-664740_1280Mark 4:1-12 “And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude,

 so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the la

 

nd. 2 And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine, 3 Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: 4 And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. 5 And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: 6 But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. 8 And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. 9 And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. 10 And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. 11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: 12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.”

In order to understand this parable, you had to ask Jesus to explain it. He still will answer, but you have to ask.

Do you believe Jesus will answer you? Will you seek His answer?

Mark 4:13-20 “And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? 14 The sower soweth the word. 15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. 16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. 18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. 20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.”

God has invested in you. Don’t just sit on it. Jesus is waiting for increase to come back to Him. It’s not so much about the Lord or His Word, but what you do with it. What kind of heart do you have? What kind of Christian are you?

There are four types of Christians: Wimps, Wannabe’s, Whiners, and Winners. Which are you?

A Wimpy Christian is likened to the one on stoney ground. It is shallow. Wimps that know they’re wimpy only pick on people that are weaker than themselves. They can’t overcome things like sin, it’s too competitive. They struggle with temptation. They have no roots. They have trouble leaving the crowds behind. Wimps are afraid of what people think. They are easily offended at preaching, persecution. It’s the pressures that cause that feeling of rejection and causes the wimp to fall away. Wimps don’t think about how much God loves them and approves of them and accepts them, they care about what everybody else thinks.

When God backs you up and you know it, you don’t need to know who else is backing you up.

Are you sometimes afraid because you feel no one else is backing you up? Do you care too much what others think?

Wimps tend to take the easy road of backsliding when the road to be a Christian gets hard. Wimps don’t have commitments that last. They tend to back up and vacillate from their commitments.

The strong dig down and have a resilient life, they have resistance to the pressure. They’ll speak the truth even if it means getting into trouble.

Wimps don’t like to tell the truth because they’re afraid of what’ll happen.

Col 4:14 “Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.” 2 Tim 4:10 “for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica—Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia.” Demas was a wimp. He quit and gave up.

Quitters are losers, not winners. They don’t know how to fight.

Jesus said to the rich young ruler, ‘Sell everything you have, give to the poor, and follow me (serve).’ That guy walked away. He had a personal invitation to be with Jesus and instead he walked away. He knew what he was turning down. He couldn’t handle the kind of commitment involved. If you want to be a real soldier, you’ve got to learn how to do some stuff that will be hard. You challenge yourself.

If you’re a wimp, you’ll hide. King Saul hid from Goliath. They all spent forty days in fear.

It took David about forty minutes. David had a fight inside of him. He had the anointing upon him and he refused to back away.

Today, it’s not about getting into fights with other people. It’s about fear and the things that you’re up against in life. You have this lack of strength and are heavy and fearful.

You’ve got to choose to fight against the spirit of fear and stand on something solid. It’s not easy or fun or something you want to do. You signed up to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. You’ve got to rise up and not be a wimp. You’ve got to endure. You’ve got to be resilient. Be calm. Handle emergencies. Christians are resilient. They are like weeble wobbles, they weeble wobble, but they DON’T fall down.

Do you have a godly fight in you? Are you willing to get back up when you fall and keep on seeking after Jesus and His way?

Dan 11:32 “Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.” (AMP) “With smooth words [of flattery and praise] he will turn to godlessness those who [are willing to] disregard the [Mosaic] covenant, but the people who [are spiritually mature and] know their God will display strength and take action [to resist].”

You’ve got to learn how to get roots. The devil and temptation and the world’s system are not long time fighters. You just have to outlast them in a fight. You want to know how to overcome the devil? Just don’t quit! Keep standing. Hang in there!

You don’t grow when things are easy.

If you are able to do it, you should do it. It’s your job to roll away the stone and Jesus will raise the dead. Pray, go to church, read the Bible. Be like Noah. Keep preaching, keep building. Be like David. He never backed down with the bear, the lion, or the giant.

Don’t be a wimp. God is looking for good soldiers for His kingdom.

2 Tim 2:3 “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”

Fasting, praying, and obedience to the Word of God, even when it’s not going your way. A good soldier just keeps pressing on. If you don’t have that strength, start searching. Learn how to pray and fast. Reach for God in ways you’ve never reached before. Losing is not an option. Get rid of those stones. Don’t be a wimp. Find the want-to.

The second type of soul is a ‘wannabe’. They say one thing and do another. They want the credit, but not do the work, ‘whited grave,’ beautiful on the outside, gross on the inside.

Acts 5:1-2 “Now a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and with his wife’s full knowledge [and complicity] he kept back some of the proceeds, bringing only a portion of it, and set it at the apostles’ feet.” 

You can’t lie to Jesus. Peter called them on their lie, God caused some kind of brain aneurysm and they both died.

God wants a return on His investment. It’s about time you do and act the way you profess. Don’t say one thing and do another. You can’t fool God.

The answer is submitting to the Word of God.

You’ve got to get under the authority and anointing of the Word of God.

Are you willing to work? Do you understand what you’re supposed to do and are you doing it? In what areas of your life are you lazy?

The Sons of Sceva were wannabes. (Acts 19)

You need a genuine old fashioned trip to the altar and submit to the ministry and the Word. Receive it and say, ‘Yes.’

The third kind of soul is the whiners. They are always complaining. They are very negative. They spread negativity like a disease. Whiners were the ones that traveled in the desert for 40 years and then died. Negative people aren’t always mean, they just don’t have faith. Twelve spies went to spy out the Promised Land. Only two didn’t whine.

Complaining and murmuring drive God nuts. Instead, ‘Bless the Lord at all times.’

Two simple words will take care of a whiner: ‘Be Thankful!’ Get your tank full of thankful and you will be fine and won’t whine. Be thankful and you’ll have the fruit God wants in your life.

In what circumstances do you allow yourself to become negative and complain? Are you willing to change that and learn to be thankful instead?

The fourth type of soul is the winners, the good ground. This is the ones who have suffered the loss of all things, but counts it as trash because he knows he’s won Jesus Christ.

Phil 3:8 “But more than that, I count everything as loss compared to the priceless privilege and supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord [and of growing more deeply and thoroughly acquainted with Him—a joy unequaled]. For His sake I have lost everything, and I consider it all garbage, so that I may gain Christ,”

Are you a winner? If not, you can choose to be. Fight the good fight. Trust God. Be thankful. Are you willing to change?

The stuff of this world is going to be destroyed, but the stuff of heaven is eternal. Winners don’t complain. They rejoice. Winners win friends, people, against temptation, the devil and sin. Winners produce fruit and victory. They have faith in the Word of God. They know their God. They keep the Word. They have faith in times of disaster and trouble. They daily practice holiness and separation and consecration. They build altars to God and tear down altars to Baal. They fight doubt and win with faith. They fight depression and win with praise. They fight the things of this world and win by the Word and the Spirit of 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

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The Power of Perfect Love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

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

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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Faith Forward

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This man had great faith.

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

Peter had little faith.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

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

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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The Tree and the Twig

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHILDREN LEARN WHAT THEY LIVE

Dorothy Law Nolte

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

However, the weapons of our warfare are not natural.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God answers prayer.

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

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

Knowing that God’s way is best, how does that change your thinking, your attitudes, and your life?

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

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

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

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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

TLC Celebrating Nine Years!

tlc-welcome-logo

Believe  Belong  Become

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

Testimonies from Various Members

Pastor Michael Lagle (Youth Pastor):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What ‘deeper waters’ is Jesus calling you into?

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Pastor Anthony LoCascio:

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

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

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

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

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Everton Wellington:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

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

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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Captain Caveman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

David taught them submission through his own example.

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

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

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

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

When the battle comes, you don’t run.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

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

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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Stick with What You’ve Got

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You transmit things through touch.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elijah passed his mantle to Elisha.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

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

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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