Surrender On D-Day

Surrender On D-Day

Seventy-Five years ago, the bravest and greatest generation stormed the beaches of Normandy! The first wave faced a hell that you and I cannot imagine. They kept moving forward as machine gun fire rained down on them from the pillboxes and cliffs above. But, they kept coming, wave after wave, until the Nazi positions were completely overwhelmed and defeated. Defeated by men who volunteered to be there. How do people come to a resolve to win at any cost, even at the sacrifice of their own lives? What is at the beginning before victory is even in sight?

Surprisingly, I think it’s surrender. It takes surrender to sign your life away and that’s exactly what many brave young soldiers did by joining up for the greatest invasion in history. Victory always requires personal surrender. Real victory only comes when we fully give ourselves to the fight that lies before us. In the words of Winston Churchill, “We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

In the words of the Apostle Paul, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Paul says that he is convinced that nothing could ever separate us from the love of Christ who is our victory. We are conquerors through the One from whom we cannot be separated from. When we surrender to the Jesus who has overcome death, hell, and the grave, we are assured of that same victory. When we face a battle, no matter what it is, like brave soldiers who have resolved to follow orders, it’s our surrender to our Lord that guarantees our triumph. Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world”. Be encouraged, victory is yours!

Phase II

Phase II

Bring your phone, your notebook and your Bible! This week we are beginning Phase II. Phase II is our commitment to help you grow deeper in your faith and realize the dreams that God dreams for you! Each church has an organizational aspect. Organization is vital in order for us to accomplish just about anything in this world. God loves to organize things. All creation is organized. But creation is not about organization and neither is the Church. Christianity is about God’s relationship with His people. That’s the main thing. If the people are growing and moving in step with God, the organization will move with them. This Sunday, we will begin a new chapter in the life of our body of believers.

Our Grow Team has been working on what we are calling our Life Course. This clear spiritual path will focus on helping each of us to develop our relationship with God and our friendships with one another. In order to plot the correct course, we must know God, know ourselves and each other. To fully accomplish this vision of worshiping God and helping people, we must follow Jesus, keeping our eyes constantly fixed on Him. He doesn’t just want to grow our organization, He wants to fulfill the purposes that He has imagined for each one of us. His goal for us isn’t simply to plug us into the church organization but to take us far beyond the walls of the church building. He wants you to fulfill the potential that He placed in your heart when He formed you in your mother’s womb. You are full of promise! You are brimming with purpose and possibility. As we continue to say yes to God, we will move ahead in our faith, form deep and lasting friendships and an unshakable relationship with our Creator.


Never Give Up

Never Give Up

Never give up on the things that God has put in your heart to do. Everything that He has planned for us is extremely important because the purpose is always to multiply the love of Christ in this world among people. Jesus says that if we do good to others, it’s the same as doing good to Him. It is a form of worship when we speak a kind word, meet a person’s need, forgive someone, or do an unexpected good deed for a perfect stranger. It’s a beautiful thing to follow Jesus and live the way He lived.

However, life and people can be discouraging at times. It can feel like a burden more than a blessing when you are weary. It’s when circumstances and people don’t respond favorably to our obedience, that we feel like giving up. But wait! Don’t give in! Don’t give up! There is proof that God is with you. There is solid evidence that the dream God has given you will materialize.

The scripture says,” Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). The word “substance means realization. It is the building material that makes God’s dream in you come to life! The word “evidence” means confidence. You can have confidence that your hope is not in vain because of the very fact that you have that hope in the first place. Your God-placed dream, fueled by the Spirit of the Creator who knows all things will propel you forward into the destiny that He has encouraged you for.

Don’t give up! This present difficulty is no match for the faith God has given you. You can and will be rewarded for your perseverance. Maybe you need help. God will provide a friend. Maybe you need financial assistance. God will make a way. Who can know the impact that your one life will make if you just keep saying yes to God? He says, “love”. You say, “yes”! He says, “forgive.” You say, “yes”! Pray? Yes! Work? Yes! Keep walking? Keep praising? Keep moving ahead one step at a time? Yes, yes, yes, and God’s spirit of perseverance will win! He has a plan and a map for your victory over sin in this life and the death that comes at the end of this life. It’s yours and nobody can take it away from you. So, don’t give it away by giving up.


Jesus Loves Women

Jesus Loves Women

Some may think that Jesus favors men and I think it’s safe to say that the cultures in which Jesus lived during His ministry certainly favored men. But Jesus loved and respected women! Even though they weren’t written about as much as men, women were some of Jesus’ greatest disciples and most courageous followers.

At Jesus’ arrest, the men scattered in fear but the women showed up for the brutal crucifixion, burial and resurrection. Women such as Mary and her sister Martha were some of our Lord’s biggest supporters. Their home was a place where He could come freely and rest. That was a big deal when you read His words, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.”

When the incarnate God broke in through time and space to enter this world as a person, he placed himself in the arms of a beautiful and faithful young woman. She raised Him, followed Him and comforted Him at the foot of His cross. Three women all named Mary were instrumental in His life and ministry. His mother, Martha’s sister Mary who broke open the expensive perfume and poured it on His feet, and Mary Magdalene who He first revealed himself to the morning of His resurrection. She was the first person to proclaim, “He is alive”.

Jesus loves and respects women! We should follow His example. If you haven’t already, make sure your mother knows you love her. If your mother has already passed from this life to the next, thank God for her. And make sure you wish every mother you see a Happy Mother’s Day! Love the women around you and make sure you treat them with the love and honor that comes from the heart of God!

On this Mother’s Day, Lynnae will be doing the message and she will be bringing back one of her comedic characters from her women’s conference days. I’ve seen her perform this act many times and it’s always just as hilarious as ever.

Go The Distance

If you are old enough to remember “the voice” saying “Go the distance”, you’re very fortunate. It was a great movie! One of the top three favorites of this movie buff. “Field of Dreams” was so full of spiritual imagery that I felt as if God was speaking to me through the whole movie. I remember where I saw it, the month, year and time of day but I can’t remember who my date was. It was not a love connection. The hope of “If you build it, he will come” was imprinted on my soul and as I left the cool, air-conditioned theatre and walked out into the warm sun, God spoke these words to me, “This world is My field of dreams.” Wow! God dreams about us becoming connected with Him and living in constant communion with His Spirit.

This is what John said about hope. “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.” (1John 3:2,3) Our hope purifies us and this hope is eternal. Paul said, “these three remain, faith, hope, and love.” It makes the top three eternal constants.

Hope is what calls us to a higher place. It summons our resolve. It gives us a reason to run the race, to express our faith and to follow Christ across every mountain and through every valley. It is the nature of Jesus at work in us both to will and to do His good pleasure. Do you need this kind of encouragement? The scriptures are full of it! It’s plentiful for all believers and unbelievers who dare to open their hearts to the Savior of us all.

Heaven is Close

Thousands of people say they have been there and have come back here. For several decades, we have heard about near-death experiences and in the beginning, I thought these reports were bogus. Sure, I believed that people had experienced something. But I thought it must have been something like a dream while they were unconscious. Then, as the reports kept coming, along with all the books and movies, I started to consider that these experiences might actually be heaven. If you think about what Christians believe to be true and real, it doesn’t seem to be so far-fetched.

We believe as the Bible states, that a good many people died and came back to life. Those who Jesus and His disciples raised and those who came out of the graves at Jesus’ resurrection. We believe that our Savior, Jesus Christ Himself died and was raised again. And He is the prototype for us all. We believe that the Apostles, Paul and John, both went there without dying and wrote about their experiences. The book of Hebrews says that we are surrounded by those faithful ones who have died before us. We believe as Jesus said, that the Kingdom of God dwells in us. I believe that this kingdom is heaven or at the very least, the beginning of it. We also believe as the Apostle Paul expressed, “to be absent from the body is to be present with God”. So, if heaven is so close and we are all surrounded by it as an island is surrounded by water, is it so hard to believe that a few of us have dipped our toe in it and have lived to tell the story?

This week, we will take a dip in heaven or at least in what God tells us about it. What should our response be to this amazing news of “life forever”?

Jesus invites everyone to the banquet. He says “Go out to the back roads and compel them to come in so that My house may be full.”