Your Way or God’s Way? Bible Study

mordor follow meHeb 11:21 “By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.”

Jacob had faith in God to bless his grandchildren, even on his deathbed.

What kind of faith did Jacob have to trust God, even on his deathbed? What were his priorities in that he was concerned for his children, rather than thinking about himself at his death?

‘Leaning upon the top of his staff.’ Why does Scripture say this?

Gen 25:29-34 “And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: 30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom. 31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. 32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? 33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.”

Yes, Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of beans. But, Jacob knew his brother would be coming home soon and which way he’d be coming. Jacob knew he’d be hungry and set him up.  He had delicious soup that smelled from a ways off. Jacob planned to take what he wanted. Don’t we do the same? Don’t we make plans to get it?

The next time Jacob did this, he had help from Momma.

Gen 27:15-20 “And Rebekah took goodly raiment of her eldest son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son: 16 And she put the skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck: 17 And she gave the savoury meat and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob. 18 And he came unto his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I; who art thou, my son? 19 And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau thy first born; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me. 20 And Isaac said unto his son, How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son? And he said, Because the Lord thy God brought it to me.”

Jacob impersonated his brother. He lied and said God gave it to him! After Jacob brought God into it, Isaac stopped asking questions.

Jacob is a man who epitomizes self-reliance, the ends justified the means. To look at it, we say, morally, you’re wrong. Yet, don’t we do the same? If you rely on yourself, what you can do and what you can accomplish, you are doing the same thing as Jacob.

There are men who rely on their ‘presence’ when they enter a room, very intimidating. Women do the same by relying on their looks.

Where did all this get Jacob?

After he got his daddy’s blessing and his brother’s birthright, it got him the threat of death (from his brother).

Have you ever tried to manipulate things to get your own way? Are you a control freak? How do you handle it when things are not done your way? How do you handle it when you can’t control things? 

God dealt with Jacob while he was on the way to his uncle’s and he had his own encounter with God. He named the place where he saw angels going up and down a ladder Beth-El, House of God. At that moment, he decided to live for God.

When he got to the uncle he had never met before, he saw the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. Instead of trying to con his uncle (Jacob as usual), he agreed to work for seven years. However, after seven years, his uncle conned him into marrying the wrong girl! So, instead of seven years, he worked fourteen years for the woman he loved. Yet, in all this unfairness, he never worked a con to get what he wanted. He was faithful to God.

Even his uncle noticed God’s favor on Jacob.

Have you noticed the favor of God on your own life when you do things His way? What has He done for you?

Gen 30:27-43 “‘Please listen to me,’ Laban replied. ‘I have become wealthy, for the Lord has blessed me because of you. 28 Tell me how much I owe you. Whatever it is, I’ll pay it.’ 29 Jacob replied, ‘You know how hard I’ve worked for you, and how your flocks and herds have grown under my care. 30 You had little indeed before I came, but your wealth has increased enormously. The Lord has blessed you through everything I’ve done. But now, what about me? When can I start providing for my own family?’ 31 ‘What wages do you want?’ Laban asked again. Jacob replied, ‘Don’t give me anything. Just do this one thing, and I’ll continue to tend and watch over your flocks. 32 Let me inspect your flocks today and remove all the sheep and goats that are speckled or spotted, along with all the black sheep. Give these to me as my wages. 33 In the future, when you check on the animals you have given me as my wages, you’ll see that I have been honest. If you find in my flock any goats without speckles or spots, or any sheep that are not black, you will know that I have stolen them from you.’ 34 ‘All right,’ Laban replied. ‘It will be as you say.’ 35 But that very day Laban went out and removed the male goats that were streaked and spotted, all the female goats that were speckled and spotted or had white patches, and all the black sheep. He placed them in the care of his own sons, 36 who took them a three-days’ journey from where Jacob was. Meanwhile, Jacob stayed and cared for the rest of Laban’s flock. 37 Then Jacob took some fresh branches from poplar, almond, and plane trees and peeled off strips of bark, making white streaks on them. 38 Then he placed these peeled branches in the watering troughs where the flocks came to drink, for that was where they mated. 39 And when they mated in front of the white-streaked branches, they gave birth to young that were streaked, speckled, and spotted. 40 Jacob separated those lambs from Laban’s flock. And at mating time he turned the flock to face Laban’s animals that were streaked or black. This is how he built his own flock instead of increasing Laban’s. 41 Whenever the stronger females were ready to mate, Jacob would place the peeled branches in the watering troughs in front of them. Then they would mate in front of the branches. 42 But he didn’t do this with the weaker ones, so the weaker lambs belonged to Laban, and the stronger ones were Jacob’s. 43 As a result, Jacob became very wealthy, with large flocks of sheep and goats, female and male servants, and many camels and donkeys.”

Jacob pulled another con. He got worried and took matters into his own hands to stack the deck. Instead of asking for God’s leading and peace, he did it himself. What did this get him?

Uncle Laban’s sons told him that Jacob had conned him and ran away. Another death threat followed!

Prov 14:12 “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.”

Again, God intervened and Jacob’s life was spared. Uncle Laban wasn’t to curse or bless him, but just let him go.

Now, on the way home, he found out his brother was on the way to meet him with an army. So, he tried to bribe him. He wasn’t sure if it would work so he sent his family off. He still tried to do it his own way, in his own ability and power.

In the middle of the night, he prayed. He knew he conned and swindled and he was afraid. God showed up. Jacob took hold of him and wrestled all night. In this case, ‘wrestled’ means Jacob refused to let go until God blessed him. He held on with everything in him.

Jacob was afraid and knew he needed God to help him. Do you trust that God will help you when you’re at your ‘end?’ Do you think it might be a good idea to do things God’s way from the beginning?

We try in our own power and our own abilities. There’s an epidemic in the world today. People are taking anti-anxiety pills and seeing therapists. They are so messed up, but they don’t see any way out.

They tried to do things their own way, but all they end up with is a mess. It’s never enough, no matter what. Even when they get what they ‘want,’ it’s not really what they wanted, what they needed.

Psalm 37:4 “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.”

The suicide rate among celebrities is ridiculous. They’re not happy.

There is joy and peace available. There is comfort and assurance for you. God desires to give you what you need.

Gen 32:26-30 “Then the man said, ‘Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!’ But Jacob said, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’ 27 ‘What is your name?’ the man asked. He replied, ‘Jacob.’ 28 ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob,’ the man told him. ‘From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.’ 29 ‘Please tell me your name,’ Jacob said. ‘Why do you want to know my name?’ the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there. 30 Jacob named the place Peniel (which means ‘face of God’), for he said, ‘I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.’”

When Jacob refused to let go of God, he was finally able to be blessed. It was all about reaching for God rather than reaching for whatever you think you want. God’s rewards are so much better. Because of that one night, Jacob’s children are known as the people who wouldn’t let go.

Hold on! Check what you’re holding onto. Hold onto Jesus and you’ll get that peace, that joy, that comfort, that assurance that everything is going to be okay.

What are you holding onto? Is it Jesus? Is it Jesus in every part of your life, or only some things? What do you need to let go of? What do you need to stop reaching for? Do you trust God to be that Help that you need?

Mat 11:28-30 “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.’”

Go where Peace surpasses understanding! When you’re hit with trouble, seek the Lord. He wants to lead you. He will tell you what to do. He will take your burdens and cares. Hold onto Him and He will bless you. He will give you that impossible rest for your soul!

God wants to give you a new name. You may see in the mirror, ‘Loser! Failure! Lost!’ Let Him change your name to ‘Loved! Wanted! Forgiven! Cherished!’

What do you believe about yourself? What do you believe about God? Do you trust Him to help you, even with your mess? Will you choose to do things His way?

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

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

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

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Bible Study: Be Not Weary in Well-Doing

work-2005640_960_720Gal 6:7-9 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

Are you tired? Why?

It’s easy to get tired.

There’s a situation called burn-out that comes to those who are exhausted in giving and doing and serving. The joy of service has been replaced with weariness.

2 Thes 3:13 “But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.”

Part of the reason why people grow weary is that we don’t see results quickly enough. If you fish, you see your catch, but not always so in Christian service. There are non-visible results, but that doesn’t mean ‘no results.’

Isaiah and Jeremiah were commissioned by God to preach His Word, but the only thing they ever reaped was despair, ridicule, and fear for their lives. They continued their labor with no observable results.

We’ve read so much from these prophets who have blessed us so much. Yet they never saw it. Centuries later, people are still being blessed by their service. It is the same for you, now. You’ve got children and lost souls depending on you. It’s not time to get weary in well-doing.

There’s a seed that takes about five years to germinate and come out of the soil. Can you imagine waiting five years to see anything happen?

How patient are you? How do you lean on God for strength when you are weary? Do you get disappointed and feel you’ve failed when you don’t see results right away? In light of Isaiah and Jeremiah’s experience, will you change your thinking?

There is life beneath the soil. What God is doing that is not seen, is growing strong. Don’t abort the process. Grow those roots that will give you strength and steadiness in the face of trials.

Any plant that grows requires nurturing.

The Chinese bamboo tree is very interesting. It grows 80 feet tall in six weeks! It needs water, soil, and sunshine. But, it does nothing visible for five years. Then, you can watch it grow before your very eyes, 80 feet!

Developing a root system strong enough to support its growth takes every bit of those five years.

In you, alone, there is no victory, no results, but with Jesus, you will have exponential growth! It’s like watching a miracle. Obeying God is the key.

The farmer doesn’t get the credit for those tall trees. It’s a miracle watching them grow that fifth year, but you see nothing before that.

God looks at you and says, ‘If I bless you, will you take the credit for it?’ God is the One Who does the thing. Let Him get the glory He deserves! The absence of results is not God not working. Instead, it is a process of life beneath the soil.

Are you willing to trust God with your life regardless of whether or not you see results right away? Are you being obedient to Him? Will you continue to be obedient even during times of conflict and disappointment?

If you refuse to get weary, you will see the results.

The Agave Americana takes about ten years to flower. Without flowers, it looks like an aloe plant. It looks like something from a Doctor Seuss book. It is grown for food, antiseptics, and juice.

There are seasons that you go through, growth, fruit-bearing, and pruning. It doesn’t feel good to be pruned. That pruning causes growth back stronger and better than before. If you sow in God, in God you shall reap!

The Himalayas have a ‘magical’ quality about them. There is the Giant Himalayan Lily which, for most of its life, exists as a clump of leaves. After seven long years, mysteriously, it produces beautiful flowers with a lovely scent. This is the Lily of the Mountain. It can grow in all kinds of climates and can grow up to ten feet! But, it takes seven years.

You may be questioning your purpose, but God sees your prayers and your service. God sees and hears it all.

Do you believe that God sees you, hears you? Are you willing to trust His Word regardless of what you see in front of you? What does that look like? How is that different from your attitude and actions right now?

Besides not seeing results, the lethargy of others can be discouraging. 90% of the work is being done by 10% of the people. It can be weary-ing for the ones who do the work.

The problem is arrogance and pride. Who are you to think you deserve a reward from the Lord or the pastor? You will receive your reward if you don’t give up.

Be encouraged in doing good. Encourage yourself!

2 Thes 3:6-13 “But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; 8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, 9 not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us. 10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread. 13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.”

Don’t get discouraged by those who don’t understand holiness and prayer and deliverance. Trek on, pray on and continue on in the work of God. It’s not time to get grumpy.

What attitudes, thoughts, and actions do you need to eliminate in your own life? How can you encourage yourself to keep from growing weary in doing good?

2 Tim 3:1 “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:”

Yes, the world is crazy, but obey Him and you’ll see Him work your good. Noah worked for over 100 years seeing nothing, no rain, and enduring ridicule. But, he kept working and his life and the lives of his family were spared.

God moves on kings and leaders to do His will. God causes favor to fall on whomever He will.

Understand the hour of the visitation of the Lord. Don’t dig up the seed and check on it. You will abort the process. The temptation is to give up, but don’t!

Why not be weary?

  1. There is a reward. Mat 5:12 “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Col 3:24 “knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Heb 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Rev 22:12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.”
  2. There is a need. ‘All that is needed for evil to triumph is for enough good men to do nothing.’ —Edmond Burke. 1 Peter 2:15 “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men” Luke 6:35 “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.” Heb 13:6 “So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” Rom 12:21 “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” 1 Pet 3:8-9 “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.”
  3. You will bring glory to God. 2 Cor 3:16-18 “But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” Heb 13:20-21 “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

What are some of the rewards for not giving up? What are some of the needs that you see around you? How does it change you to know that by your obedience you personally will bring glory to 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!

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‘Let’s Get to the Bottom of It’ Bible Study

397618389_7a5c9fec57_b1 Cor 3:9-13 “For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building. 10 Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. 12 Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. 13 But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value.” 

We must have a revelation of the mighty God in Christ. There is no such thing as two gods or three gods. There is only one.

Deuteronomy 6:4-6 “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. 5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.”

Jesus is our foundation.

Col 1:16-18 “for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. 17 He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. 18 Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything.”

There is no such thing as the eternal son, but there is nobody like Jesus. There is one God and His name is Jesus!

How does a revelation of God change your life? Jesus is the name of that one, true God. What difference does this make in your life?

If we have Apostolic identity and continue in the one God message, the message of separation and modesty, then we have Apostolic unity. We weep together and rejoice together. With Apostolic identity and Apostolic unity, we will experience Apostolic growth.

This world pushes discord like never before. This world uses the things of this world to bring the agenda and message of this world which is discord. But, not one thing in the Word of God will fail. ‘Nation shall rise against nation.’ Ethnicities will fight against ethnicities in the end times. ‘Kingdoms will fight against kingdoms.’ These are speaking of leadership. Leadership will fight against leadership.

If we are not careful, we will allow the discord into the church. When we remove ourselves from the things of this world, we can experience something totally different. One Spirit we follow.

We must have an Apostolic identity and Apostolic unity in order to have Apostolic growth.

Eph 2:20-21 “Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. 21 We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.”

Why is unity so important? How are you unified with your family, your pastor, your church, and Jesus? What do you need to guard against? What can you do to improve? What can you do to encourage others in Apostolic unity?

Deut 6:12-13 “be careful not to forget the Lord, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt.13 You must fear the Lord your God and serve him. When you take an oath, you must use only his name.”

Acts 4:10-12 “Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. 11 For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’ 12 There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

There shall be no unity with other ways that are contrary to the Word of God.

When the storm comes, there must be a strong foundation and that is God’s Word.

What does having a strong foundation involve? What do you need to do to have a strong foundation for your life? How can you help others to have a strong foundation?

Josh 24:15-18 “But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” 16 The people replied, “We would never abandon the Lord and serve other gods. 17 For the Lord our God is the one who rescued us and our ancestors from slavery in the land of Egypt. He performed mighty miracles before our very eyes. As we traveled through the wilderness among our enemies, he preserved us. 18 It was the Lord who drove out the Amorites and the other nations living here in the land. So we, too, will serve the Lord, for he alone is our God.”

Psalm 11:3-4 “‘The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do?’ 4 But the Lord is in his holy Temple; the Lord still rules from heaven. He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth.”

Isaiah 28:16 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem, a firm and tested stone. It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken.’”

Nehemiah refused to compromise, not with their enemies, not with his own people who went contrary to the Word of God. This wasn’t saying divorce is okay. It was saying that you don’t need to worship another god. Divorce yourself from that!

If you want to have the identity of Christ, the identity of the church, you must get rid of those things that pull you away from the ways of God.

What is compromise and why is it so bad? How have you compromised and what do you need to do to change that? What do you need to guard against to keep compromise out?

Ezra 3:10-13 “When the builders completed the foundation of the Lord’s Temple, the priests put on their robes and took their places to blow their trumpets. And the Levites, descendants of Asaph, clashed their cymbals to praise the Lord, just as King David had prescribed. 11 With praise and thanks, they sang this song to the Lord: ‘He is so good! His faithful love for Israel endures forever!’ Then all the people gave a great shout, praising the Lord because the foundation of the Lord’s Temple had been laid. 12 But many of the older priests, Levites, and other leaders who had seen the first Temple wept aloud when they saw the new Temple’s foundation. The others, however, were shouting for joy. 13 The joyful shouting and weeping mingled together in a loud noise that could be heard far in the distance.”

There were weeping and rejoicing. They were looking at a foundation, the beginning, and knew they had a great church. God would speak to them and would be pleased with them. Then, their land would prosper. They knew what it meant to please the Lord. There would be safety and freedom and peace and rest.

When there is a church in a community that has Apostolic identity, Apostolic unity, and Apostolic growth, that community is blessed.

We live in a different era, different culture, but God hasn’t changed. There is a difference between tradition and God’s Word.

1 Tim 6:19 “By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.”

You’ve got to repent. You need the Holy Ghost. You need to be baptized in Jesus’ Name. This is only the beginning. After these things, there must be transformation, the fruit of the Spirit, continuing in the will and way of God as revealed in His Word.

John 3:5 “Jesus replied, ‘I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.’”

Acts 2:38 “Peter replied, ‘Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”

What is the difference between tradition and God’s Word? Is tradition always bad? What traditions contradict the Bible? How will you address those and change so that there is no longer a contradiction?

There is a difference between modesty and holiness. You can look holy, but only be modest. If you are mean, but look modest, you’re just modest, not holy. Modesty isn’t a heaven or hell issue, it’s a growth or no growth issue.

There will be people in heaven that will shock you. Don’t major on sleeve length at the expense of kindness. Soul winning is our foundation, but not compromise. Love for the lost is there. We can reach with love and kindness to all people.

Acts 17:6 “But when they failed to find them, they dragged Jason and some brothers before the city authorities, shouting, ‘These men who have turned the world upside down have come here too;’”

If we can get ahold of our Apostolic identity and Apostolic unity, we can have more revival than the early church did. That’s Bible! Believe for 3000+ people.

How is your Apostolic identity? In your thinking and actions, what needs to change? How is your Apostolic unity? In your thinking and actions, what needs to change? How is your Spiritual fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control)? What needs to change in your thinking in order for your actions to reflect greater, healthier fruit?

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!

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The Disciple’s Call Bible Study

019-lumo-jesus-disciplesLuke 9:23 “Then he said to the crowd, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.’”

Luke 14:27-28 “And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. 28 But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?”

If you’re not a Christian, what habits do you think you need to give up in order to follow Jesus’ way? If you’re a Christian, what habits from your past life did you have to give up in order to become a Christian? What do you still need to get rid of in order to give up your own way?

Jesus said, ‘If you follow Me, I’ll make you fishers of men.’ This is a formula for soul winning.

There were people that came to Him and heard Him, but… They had excuses. Jesus had an answer for every argument. You have to give up everything in order to follow Him. You have to follow the formula that Jesus gave.

In both the Greek and Latin the word ‘disciple’ is translated as ‘learner’ or ‘scholar.’ In all cases, discipleship implies that the learner not only accepts the views of the master but also practices them.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, ‘When Christ calls a man He bids him come and die.’

Gordon McDonald said, ‘True Discipleship is an all-out commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ.’

You can’t make disciples until you are a disciple. You can teach Bible studies and teach and preach and sing, but if you are not a disciple, you will never be able to be a disciple-maker.

Definition of a disciple

The term ‘disciples’ occurs 269 times in the New Testament. The Disciples were first called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11:26).

Disciple… Greek: mathētēs, ‘a learner, pupil,’ ‘a follower of a teacher/master,’ ‘imitators of their teachers’

You don’t come up with your own philosophies when you’re a disciple. You don’t come up with your own methods. You follow His methods, His philosophies. You make His rule of life and conduct your rule of life and conduct.

How do the world’s philosophies and rules of life and conduct conflict with Jesus’? Have you allowed some of the world’s philosophies and rules of life and conduct to influence your own rather than following Jesus’ way? Take some time to search this out in your own life.

As lost people, pagans, out-and-out sinners in the world today, there are three problems in discipling.

  1. Intellectual problem, Science seems to be against the Word of God. The challenge is to decide Who Jesus is. Is He the way, the truth, and the life? The Bible has something to say about intellect. You can’t be a disciple in just your head. It’s got to get in your feet and hands and heart. You’ve got to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind. Phil 2:5 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” You must make a decision to walk towards Him. You must imitate the thoughts and actions of the Master. If you’re going to be a Christian, you can’t just say things. You have to walk away from some stuff. Lesson one is come.
  2. Moral problem, meeting the high standards of Jesus Christ is a problem for some. If you want to be a disciple, you have to pay a price. Are you willing? You can’t take the name without paying. You can’t put Jesus in your life and still have sin. You are going to have to quit lying and sleeping with that person who isn’t your spouse. You must handle and deal with the moral stuff. You can’t cheat in school. Get rid of the things that aren’t right in your life. Morality matters. You’ve got to become something else. You can’t live a clean life today on your own. You can live a clean life with Jesus. “I have been crucified with Christ.” Rom 6:14 “Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.” It’s a lie that you’re never going to be ‘good enough’ for Jesus. You will stumble but make progress. Press forward. Look for that brighter future. Sin no longer has a hold on you when you have Jesus in your life. To come after Jesus, you must deny. You must reject one person—YOU! We want luxury and food and sleep. This isn’t promised. Gal 5:24 “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.” A disciple says, ‘I have no opinion.’ If you have already committed yourself and you make a mistake, if you confess and repent, He is faithful to forgive and cleanse from sin. You don’t have to disqualify yourself when you mess up. Go to Jesus and deny yourself and be forgiven. Lesson two is deny.    
  3. Passion problem, Jesus wants to be Lord over every aspect of your life, connected to every emotion you have. All your emotions must be surrendered. It’s hard in the presence of God to not be emotional. He died for you and made a way in the midst of something impossible. You should have more passion for Jesus than you do for football. Team Jesus wins every time. He never loses. Why not cheer and have joy? Your emotions must be submitted to Jesus.

Disciple’s Call

  1. The Call to Come to Jesus, the person Jesus Christ, He will make your sins white as snow. He calls you to Himself. ‘Whosoever will, come.’ The first call is not to preach or to mission work or to music or some job. The first call is to come to Jesus. Get a hold of Jesus and get ahold of His identity. Seek Him. Put your trust in Jesus. Search for Him, seek for truth. ‘If you search for God, you’ll find any spiritual thing out there, but if you search for truth, you’ll find Jesus every time.’ Jesus IS Truth!
  2. The Call of Consecration, you are called to be a living sacrifice, separated, set apart. John 8:31-32 “Jesus said to the people who believed in him, ‘You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” If you refuse to continue in His Word, you are not a disciple. You might be a believer, but you have to follow Him, His will, His way in order to be a disciple. You can be a believer and be bound. John 8:36 “So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” It’s possible to be a believer and not be consecrated to Jesus. You must give Jesus the keys to every aspect of your life, your home, your family, your spouse, your job, your finances, your free time, your future. Stop thinking you know better than Him and trust Him. Col 2:6 “And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.”
  3. The Call to Serve, you’ve got to work! Servanthood is a part of discipleship. Care about other people. ‘I will gladly spend and be spent if it will profit you.’ What can you do to bless somebody else?

Have you answered these calls to be a disciple? Do you come to Him every day? Do you pray and read His Word? Are you faithful to His way instead of your own? Do you serve others—His way?

A real disciple makes disciples. Jesus said if you do these things, He will make you fishers of men. Built into the program of being a Christian is about caring for people who aren’t Christians yet. You’ve got to love them and see them the way Jesus does, priceless.

Someone told President Lincoln that he shouldn’t make friends with his enemies but destroy them. Lincoln replied, ‘Have I not destroyed my enemies when I make them my friends?’

Are you a disciple that cares about making disciples?

Love will cause you to care, to serve, to consecrate, love for the Word and love for the Lord.

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!

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Love Is Action

Soldier in Action‘When you walk into your true calling, in many cases, within six months, you’ll be stripped of everything but your call.’  —Nona Freeman, missionary

What has God called you to do? What have you given up in order to achieve it?

Get through on the strength of your call. If you’re called, God will supply. Know that God is true. If you are going to call yourself Apostolic, you need to act (and think) the way they did in the book of Acts.

In the story of David and Goliath, Saul tried to persuade David not to fight.

There are men and women who are more qualified than you to do whatever, but when God calls you, it doesn’t matter your qualifications, God will see you through.

1 Sam 17:34-35 “But David persisted. ‘I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,’ he said. ‘When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, 35 I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death.’”

David grabbed the lion by the beard and killed it.

What have you had to battle (your own doubts and flaws, other people, and/or circumstances) in order to fulfill your calling?

If you are going to be Apostolic, there is a lot more you have to do than show up on Sunday.  A lion took one lamb from the flock. David’s mentality was one lamb was worth going after. That means one soul is worth fighting for.

There are lost souls in this city. People are going to die and go to hell. Get a burden in your spirit to do something about those precious souls.

One lost soul is too many. One person dying and going to hell is worth fighting and dying over.

Do you realize God is in control? How do you act out your faith? 

If the devil is fighting you, there’s a reason for it. God is in control.

Jude says to walk into hellfire and pull souls out!

Jude 1:20-23 “But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, 21 and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love. 22 And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. 23 Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.

David didn’t respond with prayer when the lion took the lamb. David didn’t think to protect the ones he had left. His response was to go after that lamb. It doesn’t matter how much you fast and pray, if you’re unwilling to grab the lion by the beard, you will not be doing what God wants you to do. Love is action!

Dying on the cross was love!

Love better drive you to action or it’s not real love.

What is love in action to you? How have people shown you love? How do you show love?

It’s time to go out after those who are lost. Do you want to be a book of Acts church? Or do you want to be a western civilized church? Showing up for a happy-clappy club meeting and call it church doesn’t cut it. Apostolic is more than Acts 2:38. Apostolic is a lifestyle and demonstration of God’s love and power in this world.

What would happen if Apostolics were to get out and demonstrate with miracles and love and reaching out? Fill our cities with that truth that sets us free.

Mark 16:15-17 “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;”

Miracles don’t happen because you don’t go out. In order for signs to follow, there must be a Word to confirm.

God is alive and well. He is able to still do miracles! He loves you!

How are you going to take these truths and apply them to your life? How does this change you?

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

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

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

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Are You Ready for the Storm?

Joseph_Mallord_William_Turner_-_Snow_Storm,_Hannibal_and_his_Army_Crossing_the_Alps_-_WGA23167Job 37:5-13 “God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend. 6 For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength. 7 He sealeth up the hand of every man; that all men may know his work. 8 Then the beasts go into dens, and remain in their places. 9 Out of the south cometh the whirlwind: and cold out of the north. 10 By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened. 11 Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud: 12 And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth. 13 He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy.”

2 Sam 22:11 “And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and he was seen upon the wings of the wind.”

A storm is defined as ‘a violent disturbance of the atmosphere.’

Storms can be seen as negative and destructive. But God uses storms for His purpose. Have you ever considered the possibility that God is using the storm to minister or reach people?

Yet, even David wanted to get away from the storm.

Psalm 55:6-8 “And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. 7 Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah. 8 I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.”

There are those who choose to hunker down and face the storm, but in order to survive, there must be preparation. Very few are willing to stay and discover God’s will in the midst of a storm. It’s not our will to discover, it’s our will to be delivered. Sometimes, God sends storms not for destruction, but for instruction.

What have you learned in the midst of a storm? Usually, people react to deliverance with praise, but in the midst of a storm, do you seek instruction?

Change, alteration, instruction, newness that may not feel comfortable, but if you learned something, growth can come from a storm. Revelation can come through a storm. Looking through rubble in the aftermath of a storm can reveal things. You learn something and make changes so that you never have to deal with it again. God will use a storm to put a mirror in front of your face. If you can’t hear from God, He’ll send a storm.

Endurance in the storm teaches you something. You learn, you grow, you change, you alter. Learn to be prepared next time.

There are plenty of storms going on, hurricanes, destruction, etc. You lose things that aren’t tied down. In the natural, there are all kinds of instruction available, both written and video.

In order to prep your home (and your spirit), you’ve got to tie things down. A little umbrella won’t cut it in a hurricane.

Have you forgotten to tie things down? When things go crazy, do you have Scripture verses to quote to yourself, to remind yourself of God’s promises, His will, His Word, His way? Have you crisis proofed the things you care about?

Another thing you must do in preparation for a storm is to secure windows and doors. Strong winds can make little openings bigger. Reinforce the entrances in your life. Anything that’s valuable in your life can perish in a storm. Your reputation, your children, your marriage must be reinforced. Get prepared for the storms, the big ones.

Jesus is the only answer, the only protection, the only anchor in the midst of the storm.

Mat 7:24-27 “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”

Storms come to the wicked and the righteous, the prepared and the unprepared. The sand is beautiful, but unstable. Only Jesus is stable, unchanging, secure. He is your Comforter.

Whether the storm comes from God for mercy and correction, the devil to teach you to fight, or you walk into it through disobedience, you’ve got to get prepared. It’s okay to ask for help in the midst of the storm. It’s okay to say, ‘Jesus, save me!’ In the freakout, seek Jesus. He will answer if you’ll quiet yourself and listen. If you’re prepared, there will be less freakout. Preparation is an act and mindset of maturity.

Job 38:1-4 “Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, 2 Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? 3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. 4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.”

God said some serious stuff. He said, ‘Gird up your loins like a man.’ After God got done talking, Job said, ‘I was wrong.’ God wasn’t there to pamper Job.

God speaks in the whirlwind. Are you ready to listen?

Naham 1:3 “The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.”

Man is small and frail, God is strong and mighty. Man is clay, God is the potter. Man with God make a good team.

When you need correction, God will take you to the school of hard knocks. Learn how to avoid getting your windows knocked out. Learn how to pray and how to handle stress. If you have personal disobedience, God will send you a correction storm. Humble yourself and receive the good that God gives even in the midst of a storm.

Storms of financial disaster are God trying to correct the problem in the first place. Remember God doesn’t want to destroy you, He loves you and wants to transform you.

What are some storms you have experienced and how did you deal with them? What did you learn? What did you do to get prepared for the next one?

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

Relationships that are broken will eventually get fixed if you are willing to prepare and make changes. Some of the situations you find yourself in, Jesus wouldn’t be in. The question, ‘What would Jesus do?’ doesn’t work because He wouldn’t do what you did in the first place to get where you are! But, Jesus will help you make the changes you need to make so you don’t end up in those situations again.

If you sow enough seed, something will grow, but it isn’t immediate. You’ve got to be patient.

Sometimes, Satan will send storms that God allows as a test of your faith. The power might go out, but ‘Thy Word is a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path.’ Get a Word in your spirit.

Be prepared.

A storm-proof house has a sump pump, to get the storm out. A Satanic storm attacks your mind. God will never put you through depression, blaming yourself, to teach you a lesson. Learn how to sump-pump out the negative stuff. Learn to be prepared for negativity when it comes.

Every day, tell yourself you will not be discouraged. Encourage yourself in the Lord. Speak good, godly things to yourself. What God thinks about you is better than what you think of yourself. His opinion is better than yours—always.

Words produce pictures, pictures produce feelings, feelings produce action, and actions produce destiny. Speak life and hope and truth and love.

Learn how to sustain yourself and trust Jesus to be and do what He said He would be and do. He is your strong tower, your fortress, He will never leave you nor forsake you. Paul brought Jesus into the prison with Him. Jesus was in the storm walking on water. Situations will happen, but if you prepare yourself, you will recognize His voice and His presence.

God can help you find your way.

Can you get a Word from God without anybody’s help? Some have insurance, but do you have spiritual insurance? Do you have Word from God insurance, worship insurance?

‘When the music fades, and all is stripped away…’ When the storm comes, you will either experience deliverance or discovery.

The battle isn’t won on the field, it’s won in preparation.

Goliath was a champion fighter, well trained. David was a teenager, untrained in battle, but he was the only one confident enough to fight. He had already killed a lion and a bear to save his sheep. That was his preparation. David’s sling was a simple, but highly effective weapon. A sling has the power of a 45 caliber handgun. If you’re accurate enough, you don’t need to get close. David had every intention of killing Goliath and knew how to do it. He did it in an intelligent way. He taunted Goliath but stayed far enough away to be able to hit him. David probably hit the lion and bear with his sling first, then killed them, the same way he killed Goliath.

Are you ready for the battle? Are you rapture ready? If not, what further preparation do you need? What do you need to get hold of and tied down and what do you need to get rid of?

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!

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

church-2464883_960_720Acts 2:1-4, 46-47 “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (46) “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The church provides growth.

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

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

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

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

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

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Consider the Miracle of the Loaves

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

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

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

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

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

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

How have you handled unbelief in others? In yourself?

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

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

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

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

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

Consider the miracle of the loaves!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Those promises you have from God will come to pass.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

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

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Everything Is Going to Be All Right

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everything is going to be all right.

In the end, everything will be made right.

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

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

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

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

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

There is a happy ending. Walk in that Truth!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God has a way of working things out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God is already in your future.

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

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

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

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

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

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The Roaring Lion Bible Study

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be continually, perpetually vigilant.

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

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

Jesus calls prayer watching.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 Things the devil can’t do:

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

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

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

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

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

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

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

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

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