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Hello Friends a…

Hello Friends and Family To Christian Hills Church:

 

Sunday night Kathy and I watched the movie the Machine Gun Preacher which I referenced was coming out months ago in a sermon – the story is about Sam Childers a missionary former Biker enforcer who gave his life to Jesus and started an orphanage in Sudan’s worn torn country. The movie is very graphic with picturees of tortue, murder, swearing and sex scenes. So please be aware of this if you watch it. I felt some of the scenes and language could have been cut out and made it a better movie and a clean movie but the message of the movie is about making a difference in the lives of helpless defenseless kids. In one spot in the movie and in Sam’s real life story Sam is overwhelmed with the loss of 20 kids killed by the rebels in Sudan. He is guilt riden in the fact he could only take half of the kids seeking his help because of the size of his truck so when they get back after delivering the first group he finds the 20 he left behind have been killed and burned. The movie shows him getting angry and frustrated at how Americans hooard their wealth but never use it to help people out in need especially kids in life or death situations like he is facing in Sudan.He starts to let hate take root in his heart and the others around him can see it’s evil impact on his life and ministry. At one of his darkest moments in Sudan he comtemplates taking his own life at the time he is thinking about doing it a young boy knocks on his door. The little boy never talks and the opening scene of the movie is where this little boy is made by the rebels to kill his mother or he and his brother will be killed. Mom encourages the boy to do as they say so he does. This boy has never spoken to grown ups before in the movie even after being rescued from the rebels by Sam and his partners. But in sams darkest moment he is the boy God sends to Sam at his low point were he is thinking of ending it all and the boy says to Sam. “You cannot let the hate take root in your heart or you will become like the rebels!” Wow it was powerful moment in the movie and Kathy and I shead some tears over this God moment. I must admit the movie convicted me of how we hoard money in America spend it on ourselves and think God is pleased with all this. I thought of Christa my daughter in Africa were her mission group feeds 60 kids a day. these kids get 1 meal to help them stay alive. Christa reminds me they have nothing were she ministers and they too have seen the result of war with a refugee camp they work with. I think wow how rich we are with large bank accounts! So why don’t we choose to invest the money God has given us into ministry, into young people’s lives what are we afraid of? Not having enough for our lifestyles our elaborate wants? I guess for me the question is are willing to be a living sacrifice for the Kingdom of God like Sam Childers and Christa McCartney? If so put your money where your heart is.

FCA Convention Phx.

This last week some of us from Christian Hills Church went to our FCA pastors conference in Phx. The weather was amazing but more important the spiritual climate of the convention was very uplifting. I was surprised and encouraged to see so many young ministers and their families at the convention. On Thursday we got to hear messages from some of these young preachers – great messages and awesome inspiration. The highlight for me was Thursday night when Dan Hammer spoke from Seattle. He shared of many amazing stories of God doing miracles for people in their church. After his message during the altar time Dan had a prophetic word for me and Beth. His Youth Pastor also had a word for me as well – here is the just of these words and I am also including some of the words that were given to us at the last Vineyard Conference we were at: Please be encouraged by these prophetic words which are given through others to edify the Body of Christ:

A Word for the Christian Hills Church:

& Christian Hills Church is going to move more into the gifts of the Spirit -the supernatural dimension of Jesus. It will start flowing in services as long as we have the courage to allow it to flow. Don't be afraid of gifts – let them flow!

Yes the river is already flowing but it will soon be raging forth in power like the Colorado River. It will be raging with the force of the Holy Spirit – man is not doing this but it is the Holy Spirit driving it.

Sunday night is going to a new spiritual dimension. Miracles will occur – the presence of the Holy Spirit will escalate. So stay committed to prayer and watch what the Lord will do.

Workers will be sent to the Church and they will help bring in the new harvest.

The voice of the Prophetic will be released.

The Word of Knowledge will be revealed.

CH is going to explode with conversion growth not transfer growth.

People will be given favor by those who judge them and they will be imparted with the gift of faith to beleive in favorable outcomes.

Many will laugh at what God places on the hearts of the leadership of the church and they will mock the vision. But fear not — God will bring forth the vision!

The Church will become once again an influential church in the community. The people will no longer be talking about the past but will be testifying about the here and now. The church will impact Chicago.

The Gift of faith will rise up – you have prayer, interceded, and asked for souls – the Lord will give 600,000 new souls to the Kingdom of Heaven in Chicago in this upcoming wave of revival! So get ready!

The Revival of the church is starting to flow because the dam is broken down and the water of life is surging forward.

God is going to work out financial miracles in the church and for the people of Christian Hills.Finances are coming to the church to be used for the Lord’s Kingdom – because you were not afraid to use the money for my glory so continue to put your trust in the Lord not in money.

People will start to share testimonies of how God is saving homes and businesses from foreclosure and they will find favor with financial institutions. Let the people tell their stories to uplift others.

The Healing of the heart by God is happening at Christian Hills and this resurrected heart is going to pump health and wholeness through the whole church. Healing is beginning to flow through the veins of the church by the blood of Jesus. Past relationships will be restored – people will return home- Jesus will bring them home – to be a part of the supernatural work of the Spirit at Christian Hills Church – miracles are on the way. be faithful to the vision and humble in His sight.

Leadership development of young people is coming – we will be training – equipping young people – to start churches, to do worship, to lead worship – we are going to raise up new missionaries – new young ones are being sent to us by the Lord to disciple.

We will be planting churches, here and there – at home and on the mission field.

As I took in these words and processed their meaning – I do believe they are from the Lord and have been given to us to affirm that the Lord is moving CH toward a new beginning and new outpouring of the Holy Spirit – my faith has been lifted up  – like Peter’s did in the boat when he saw Jesus walking on the water. I personally cried out to the Lord many times asking if I could be a part of a miracle here at CH. I prayed to the Lord,  “I’m not afraid – can I come to you on the water – can I be a part of a supernatural miracle that rises above this world and brings you the glory?”  I felt a nudge a quiet voice from my heart which said “Come!”

So now I ask you Christian Hills Church – “Do you want to come to Jesus and be a part of a supernatural miracle he is giving to our church?” I encourage you to believe that these things are going to come to pass and lets do our part to jump aboard with the Lord and see miracles happen in people’s lives.

Hello Fellow Ministers in Christ:

John 4:35: 35Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. “

Christian Hills Church is Hosting “Healthy Church Systems Seminar”

On Friday March 30th starting at 9:30 am we will be hosting a Coaching Seminar designed by Nelson Searcy of the Journey Church in New York City for pastors/leaders dealing with the topic of “Healthy Church Systems”

Nelson Searcy has an e-booklet called Healthy Systems –Healthy Church in it he states:

God must be into systems. He organized the universe with systems. He established the measurement of time through a system. And, from the beginning, He formed our bodies as a cohesive unit of systems. Adam and Eve – untouched and unblemished specimens of God’s craftsmanship – were compilations of the systems that caused them to function…Without systems humming under the surface, they would not have been able to walk or even breathe. They wouldn’t have been able to experience the pleasures of the garden. Eve wouldn’t have been able to pluck the apple from the tree and Adam wouldn’t have been able to take the bite that set God’s redemptive plan into motion. Without their systems, they would have remained as unmolded lumps of clay, unable to fulfill the purposes of God. From the beginning, God has put systems to work, providing the mechanics and the platform through which He shows His greatness.

We will look at the 8 systems of a church:
a. The Weekend Service System
b. The Evangelism System
c. The Assimilation System
d. The Small Groups System
e. The Ministry System
f. The Stewardship System
g. The Leadership System
h. The Strategic System

We will evaluate our health in each one of these areas and discuss with fellow pastors and other leaders how we can improve these systems. We will also hear from Searcy on the importance of healthy church systems via video.

This leadership event is open to any pastor or their leadership teams – we will be meeting with other pastors to discuss church systems. This event will have pastors from the Vineyard, from the FCA, and from independent churches and pastors from other groups. We are coming together and uniting to learn from each other and to prepare for the harvest. If you are interested please let Mike McCartney know. Important: You do need to sign up for this leadership event.

Another seminar is also happening on Saturday May 5, 2012 at Christian Hills Church – we will be hosting another “Coaching seminar”. This one is open to lay leaders, pastors, staff and will be focusing specifically on the church system of “Assimilation” this seminar will go from 9:30am -3:00pm. We will break for lunch and if you are interested once again please sign up with Pastor Mike. This seminar too will be open to Vineyard, FCA. Other groups of — Pastors/Leaders/Laypeople.

We are excited at Christian Hills to provide these leadership opportunities to your churches.

PLEASE: You must RSVP me pastormm@christianhills.org if you are coming so we know how many to prepare for.

In His Service:
Mike McCartney

Divorce and Restoration

Divorce and Restoration by Michael McCartney

A while back I was asked to write and article on our current subject Divorce and Restoration. I first of all want to look at how God views Divorce. The Word of God tells us this in Malachi 2:11-17:

11Judah has broken faith. A detestable thing has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem: Judah has desecrated the sanctuary the LORD loves, by marrying the daughter of a foreign god. 12As for the man who does this, whoever he may be, may the LORD cut him off from the tents of Jacob—even though he brings offerings to the LORD Almighty.
13Another thing you do: You flood the LORD’S altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. 14You ask, “Why?” It is because the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.
15Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.
16“I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel, “and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,” says the LORD Almighty.
So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith.
17You have wearied the LORD with your words.
“How have we wearied him?” you ask.
By saying, “All who do evil are good in the eyes of the LORD, and he is pleased with them” or “Where is the God of justice?”

The phrase in verse 16 springs out to me “I hate divorce!” says God. Why does he hate divorce you may be thinking? Well if you have ever been involved in a divorce or had a close friend or family member go through it you see why. Divorce- rips people’s hearts apart. Just look around at what divorce has done to our society:
• Men and women who divorce have a increased likelihood to switch from Christianity to none (Leora E. Lawton, Journal for the scientific study of Religion 2001.)
• Divorce is associated with a range of pour outcomes among children. Compared with children with continuously married parents, children with divorced parents continued to score significantly lower on measures of academic achievement, conduct, psychological adjustment, self-concept, and social relations (Amato, Paul R., Journal of Family Psychology, 2001).
• Parental divorce especially weakened relationships between adult children and their fathers. While parental divorce harmed both son-father relationship and daughter-father relationship, the harmful effect was stronger in the former. In addition, the dissolution of a marriage of one’s children had a negative effect on all child-parent relationships (Gayle Kaufman. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 1998).
• Divorce causes economic hardship: Mothers especially face a decrease in income which leads to increased stress for the parent and the possibility of more time away from home because of a the need of more income (Cancio, Orbuch, & Thorton, 2000).
• A decrease in the amount of time of parental supervision and involvement in the child’s life (Cancio, Orbuch, & Thorton, 2000).
• A significant amount of children in divorced scenarios lose virtually all contact with their fathers. Some reports of father contact after divorce reveal the following statistics:
o Families who have experienced divorce less than two years had 43% father contact with the children.
o Families divorced 3-5 years had 33% father contact with the children
o Families divorced 6-10 years had 19% father contact with the children.
o Families divorced 11 years and up the father contact percent goes to 12%. (Demographics of Divorce, by Robert Hughes Jr.).
• Rutgers University Sociology Prof. David Popenoe, and Jean Bethke Elshtain, Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago divinity School. Concluded that the decline of marriage is mainly responsible for the deteriorating well-being of children.
• Richards and colleagues followed 17,000 children born one week in 1958 in Britain, United States and new Zealand. They discovered the following:
o He found that children of divorced parents, on average, left the house earlier and started families sooner than did the children of “intact” families.
o Middle-class girls were especially affected by divorce, he found. They had a 45% chance of marrying by age 20, while children from intact families had a 15% of marrying young.
o He also stated that children of divorce suffer a rapid fall in their self-esteem after the divorce.
• 85% of prisoners, 78% of high school dropouts, 82% of teenage girls who become pregnant, the majority of drug and alcohol abusers – all come from single – mother- headed – households (Washington Times 12/19/95).
• According to the National Center for Health Statistics, a child living with his/her divorced mother, compared to a child living with both parents, is 375% more likely to need professional treatment for emotional or behavioral problems and is almost twice as likely to repeat a grade in school, is more likely to suffer chronic asthma, frequent headaches, and/or bed wetting, develop a stammer or speech defect, suffer from anxiety or depression, and be diagnosed as hyperactive.
• Another study discovered:
o 63% of all youth suicides
o 71% of all adolescent chemical/substance abuse
o 90% of all homeless and runaway children come from single parent households according to David Garrod.

We can now see why God hates divorce. In our text from Malachi I caught another phrase in verse, 15” Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.” We are warned not to break faith with our spouse because it will affect whether your off spring is godly. The truth is it is imperative today that we divorce proof our marriages for the benefit of the children and for the benefit of each spouse in the marriage.
So now we come to Restoration for the one who has become entangled in the web of divorce. I have ministered to way too many people who have had to face the hurt and torment of divorce. Some have in my view been victims at the hand of a self-centered spouse who is only interested in their own pleasures and wants. I have seen what addictions can do to a marriage, what adultery can do to a marriage, what apathy can do to a marriage, and what physical and mental abuse can do to a family.
Some of the couples I have worked with equally added to the demise of their marriages, both equally making mistakes and choosing not to forgive the other. Divorce – always tragic and always leaving a wake of destruction has ripped our society at an alarming rate. But the questions surfaces what do you do to help the wounded heal in light of their tragedy?
I have taken the following approach to divorce and restoration in my ministry. I believe in grace because God bestowed on me grace. I was once a sinner and I recognized my sinful condition and I repented and He forgave me. I know that God is a God of grace and forgiveness and this is His nature. I do not believe that divorce is the unpardonable sin. I do believe that people who have repented of their divorce and made amends with their spouses can be restored and even remarried.
I also am a realist and know some people are innocent victims of divorce because their spouse made certain sinful choices. We know that Jesus addressed the issue of divorce in Matthew and said because of peoples hard hearts Moses allowed men to divorce their wives because of adultery. So I look around even at the church I pastor and I see some innocent victims. These individuals will usually admit they may have added to the problems in their marriages but still remained faithful when their spouses chose not too. I believe these individuals need to admit to their responsibility in the breakup of the marriage and then forgive. Forgiveness is at the root of restoration and the Bible makes it clear that if we do not forgive then God will not forgive us. So I always tell these individuals to forgive their spouses for their own spiritual well being.

The 7 steps I seek to lead people through to restoration are:
1. Repentance for their part in the divorce.
2. Forgiveness for them and there willingness to forgive their ex-spouse.
3. Grace shown by the Body of Christ to the individuals and the family.
4. We encourage them to get Christian Counseling so they can heal and sort through their emotions.
5. An appropriate time frame to heal and draw closer to the Lord spiritually.
6. A person placed in their life to help mentor them so they can deal with the loss in their life.
7. A person who comes out at the end of this tragedy who has learned from their mistakes and is in the position to help others heal and encourage others not to make the same mistake.

God hates divorce but He loves to dispense His grace to those who repent and decide to live for Him 100%. I have always said, “God uses imperfect people to do His perfect will!” This includes divorced people.

Why Jesus?

“Why Jesus?”

Text: John 14:6 “I am the way … the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Thesis: The question of “Why Jesus?” is answered by understanding that when you choose Him you choose eternal life in Heaven. When you choose Him you get real Love, real forgiveness, and real meaning in your life.

Introduction:
Question “Why Jesus?”

Share about encounter in St Croix: 6 guys having prayer and Bible Study. I went over and asked them this question “Why Jesus?”

Responses where:
1. “Because Jesus choose me.”
2. “ Because Jesus said I am the way and there is not other way!”
3. “Because in Him alone there is life!”
4. “ Because He first choose me.” (He choose to die for me before I even acknowledged Him.)
5. “ Because He is consistent and strong for me in my life.”
6. “ Because when we know Jesus we know God.”( Almighty)
7. “Because if you don’t know God there is no world.” (no life)
8. “ Because Jesus is essential.” (for my life to live)
9. “Because Jesus is alive and He is for me.” (He wants me to make it –He wants me to live –really Live!”

Summary of their responses:
These gentlemen shared that Why they choose Jesus is that He first choose to die for them on the cross. He choose to give up his life for them before they ever decided to even acknowledge Him.
They also told me that they know He is the only way to Heaven. He is also the reason for life. Without Jesus you do not have real life. Without God there is no world, no life, no meaning in life. Without Jesus there is only confusion chaos and destruction. There is only hopelessness and misery. Without Jesus life is one big struggle then you die and go to Hell. That’s not life! That’s death and torment!
The other reason of “Why Jesus?” is that Jesus (God in the flesh) is for me. In other words He wants me to make it. Make it where? Heaven! Eternal Life! The experience of encountering Him in all his glory, in all his presence of love. His unbelievable joy of life. His willingness to help me make it. His willingness to give me His name to defeat the one who wants to take me out. His willingness to dispatch angels to my aid. His willingness to do miracles in my life. His willingness to stand between me and the enemy and say “Come on Satan try to touch him and make my day!” His willingness to be beaten for me, to be whipped for me, to be mocked for me,
to be stabbed for me, to be tortured fro me. He did this all so I could have an easier time of getting into Heaven.

Three reasons to choose Jesus:
1. He is for us – he wants us and helps us to make Heaven to discover true eternal joyful life.
2. He choose the cross so we could have entrance into God’s eternal presence.
a. This is true love – the willingness to die for someone you love!
3. He is the ONLY way. I want you to know these are not my words they are his. He said “I am the only Way!” You cannot get into God’s presence through Budda, Jesus said he won’t do it! You cannot get into Heaven through Islam, through philosophy, through education, through works, through religion, through going to church, through money, through success, through what you can do! There is only one entrance into Heaven and Jesus said “HE IS IT!” final no argument!

WHY JESUS?
1. Because He is God
2. Because He was with God in the beginning
3. Because He created the earth
4. Because He showed us what LOVE really is by the cross
5. Because time is divided around his life
6. Because He died for you and me
7. Because He rose from the dead –no one else has!
8. Because He made a path for me to be delivered from sin and punishment which comes to all without Him.
9. Because He gives hope to the hopeless
10. Because He gives healing to those who are ill
11. Because He still moves stones from tombs
12. Because He still fights the enemy for us
13. Because He delivers us from drugs and alcohol
14. Because He loves us even when we are unlovable
15. Because He provides supernaturally
16. Because He is in control –I am not- neither are you!
17. Because He is their in the storms of life to give us peace
18. Because He wants you as His son or daughter
19. Because He reached out His arms and died
20. Because He reached His arms and hugs us when we need a touch
21. Because in him death has no sting
22. Because in him you will be united with those who died having a saving knowledge of him.
23. Because he has forgiven me
24. Because he forgets my sins when I repent
25. Because he gives new starts in life
26. Because he will not fail you
27. Because your sitting here today not by chance but by His hand
28. Because he is personal and intimate with all of us
29. Because he knows my name – even how much hair is on my head
30. Because the Devil runs from him
31. Because demons are no match for him
32. Because all of heaven is his
33. Because he holds the world in his hands
34. Because he gives us light to see the truth
35. Because he will never abandon you in your time of trouble
36. Because he will give you strength to press through in hard times
37. Because one day I will see him face to face
38. Because he is real – not a story or myth
39. Because history proves he is real
40. Because angels obey him
41. Because the earth obeys him
42. Because the universe praises him
43. Because millions have been saved by him
44. Because he wants to live in you
45. Because He is here right now to meet you right where you are at!

Know we have given a few reasons “WHY JESUS?” now a question for you personally
“Why not try Jesus?” Some of you you have tried everything else and found it void meaningless and destructive. Why not try Him?
Your question may be but HOW? Glad you asked here is how to choose Jesus:

Step 1 Acknowledge that you and all of mankind have a problem with sin.

Romans 3:23 “ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Romans 6:23 “The wages of sin is death (separation from God).”
I John 1:8 “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

Step 2 Accept responsibility for your sin and then accept God’s cure for your problem

John 14:6 “I am the way…the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Choose his way – It’s HIM –he said so!
John3:16 “Whoever believes in Him (Jesus)shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Choose life not death
I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins…Jesus will forgive us.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 “By grace you have been saved, through faith-it is the gift of God-not by works.”

Step 3 The give Jesus Christ full control of your life 100% all of it!
Revelation 3:20 “I stand at the door and knock, if any man hears my voice, and opens the door, I will come in.”
Matthew “Love the Lord thy God with your whole heart, mind, soul and all your strength.”
Romans 6:13 “Offer(give control of) yourselves to God.”

Is this your heart right now- do you want to try Jesus? Then stand to your feet and lets all pray together:

Lord Jesus, I confess that I’m lost in sin and cannot save my own soul. Thank you for dying for me on the cross. Come into my heart right now, cleanse me from all sin in your blood and take charge of my life as my Lord and Saviour.”

That’s it it’s the key – Your in! It’s that simple because Jesus paid the price for you. Know if this is the first time you have given your life to Christ please tell someone about It. We would love to meet YOU!

Do you have a Vision for 2012?
for FCA Meeting Jan. 10, 2012

Questions to ponder and think about as we prepare and plan for the New Year of 2012: Do you have a vision for your ministry, church or even life? Have you clarified it – processed it and dialogued about it? Have you created a plan for it?

Andy Stanley states in his book “Visioneering” the following about vision:

Vision evokes emotion. There is no such thing as an emotionless vision.
Vision provides motivation. Vision –driven people are motivated people.
Maybe the most practical advantage of vision is it sets the direction for our lives – (and Ministry)!
Vision translates into purpose.
Visions are born in the soul of a man or woman who is consumed with the tension between what is and what could be.
God births visions within us and for our ministries.

Philippians 2:13: “For it is God who is at work in you, both to and to work for His good pleasure.”

God is using your circumstances to position and prepare you to accomplish His vision for your life and ministry.

Do you know what it is?
Do you have a plan?

20 Building Blocks to “visoneering” a vision for 2012 from Andy Stanley:

1. A vision begins as a concern.
2. A vision does not necessarily require immediate action.
3. Pray for opportunities and plan as if you expect God to answer your prayers.
4. God is using your circumstances to position and prepare you to accomplish his vision for your life.
5. What God originates, he orchestrates.
6. Walk before you talk, investigate before you initiate.
7. Communicate your vision as a solution to a problem that must be addressed immediately.
8. Cast your vision to the appropriate people at the appropriate time.
9. Don’t expect others to take greater risks or make greater sacrifices than you.
10. Don’t confuse your plans with God’s vision.
11. Visions are refined-they don’t change; plans are revised-they rarely stay the same.
12. Respond to criticism with prayer, remembrance, and if necessary, a revision of the plan.
13. Visions thrive in an environment of unity; they die in an environment of division.
14. Abandon the vision before you abandon your moral authority.
15. Don’t get distracted.
16. There is divine potential in all you envision to do.
17. The end of a God ordained vision is God.
18. Maintaining a vision requires adherence to a set of core beliefs and behaviors.
19. Visions require constant attention.
20. Maintaining a vision requires bold leadership.

Project #1: Getting a grip on a vision for 2012:

1. You have multiple visions for your life. Some are clearer than others. To begin clarifying what you believe your future should hold, write a one-sentence summary of how you believe life ought to be in the following areas. In other words, describe your preferred future.

a. Current career position: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
b. Finances: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
c. Family: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
d. Your ministry: ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

2. Visions are often born in the soul of a man or woman who is gripped by a tension between what is and what should be. Are you gripped by a particular tension? If so, take a minute to describe your dilemma.

a. What’s bothering you? ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
b. What is the solution? ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

3. Have any burdens begun to feel like moral imperatives?

a. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

4. Do you see a connection between your various visions and what God is up to in this world? Describe the connection. How does your picture of a preferred future support God’s providential will?

a. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

5. What opportunities or burdens do you need to begin praying for?

a. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

6. Who are the people who could help you accomplish your vision?

a. _________________________________________
b. _________________________________________
c. _________________________________________

7. What changes would need to take place in their thinking in order for them to support your effort?

a. ________________________________________
b. ________________________________________
c. _______________________________________

8. The four components of an effective vision:

a. The problem – define it: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
b. The solution – describe it: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
c. The reason something must be done – own it: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
d. The reason something must be done now – do it: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

9. Write a simple 4 step plan to start going after your God given vision:

a. Step 1: ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
b. Step 2: ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
c. Step 3: ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
d. Step 4: ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

10. What can you do now -today?

a. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Take the time and get clarity on your vision from God! Then go for it!

Who Are You?

Who Are You? By Michael McCartney

We need to answer the question “Who am I?”. Am I real or fake? Many today are wearing costumes all year round pretending to be something they are not, living in a delusional world. When we do this we lose the ability to relate to others honestly and openly.
The result loneliness and isolation.
The Question raises more questions:
Are you real?
Are you phony?
Are you genuine?
Are you are fraud?
Are you who you say you are?
Are you as you present yourself?
Are you one thing in public and another thing in private?
Are you wearing a costume?
Are you wearing masks of deception?
Are you open and honest?
Are you closed and deceptive?
Text: Proverbs 14:8 “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.”
Swindoll states:
There is just one major difficulty in this mask-wearing game- it isn’t real. It therefore forces us to skate rather then relate. It promotes phony-baloney, make-a-good-impression attitude instead of an honest realism that relieves and frees. What’s worse, as we hide the truth behind a veneer polished to a high gloss, we become lonely instead of understood and loved for who we are. And the most tragic part of all is that the longer we do it, the better we get at it … and the more alone we remain in our hidden world of fear, pain, anger, insecurity, and grief–al those normal and natural emotions we hesitate to admit but that prove we are only human.
The result? Distance. Distance that makes you out of focus with me–removed from me by closed-off compartments that stay locked, keeping us from being able to know each other and, when and where necessary, to help each other (Dropping your Guard, page 10).
The process of being you:
1. Learn to recognize your masks
2. Remove the masks by becoming real and authentic.
3. Progresses to the point of loving, forgiving and accepting of others without a hitch.
Many of us mistakenly believe God does not want us to be Genuine or honest about our life. We somehow feel that if we become honest and open others and God may reject us. But the Word of God tells us that God does not want us to be superficial or something we are not, in our relationships with Him, with others, and with ourselves. David wrote, “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the innermost place (Ps. 51:6)
The Lord desires truth and openness at all levels of our life, and he desires us to experience His love, his authenticity, and it comes through His church as an example to the world.
So just be genuine and authentic! Be you – remember God made you!

Love

Came across this story this week: Enjoy

Once upon a time there was an island where all the feelings lived; Happiness, Sadness, Knowledge, and all the others……, including Love. One day it was announced to all of the feelings that the island was going to sink to the bottom of the ocean. So all the feelings prepared their boats to leave. Love was the only one that stayed. She wanted to preserve the island until the last possible moment. When the island was almost totally under, Love decided it was time to leave. She began looking for someone to ask for help. Just then Richness was passing by in a grand boat. Love asked, “Richness, Can I come with you on your boat?” Richness answered, “I’m sorry, but there is a lot of silver and gold on my boat and there would be no room for you.” Then Love decided to ask Vanity for help who was passing in a beautiful vessel. Love cried out, “Vanity, help me please.” I can’t help you”, Vanity said, “You are all wet and will damage my beautiful boat.” Next, Love saw Sadness passing by. Love said, “Sadness, please let me go with you.” Sadness answered, “Love, I’m sorry, but, I just need to be alone now.” Then, Love saw Happiness. Love cried out, “Happiness, please take me with you.” But Happiness was so overjoyed that he didn’t hear Love calling to him. Love began to cry. Then, she heard a voice say, “Come Love, I will take you with me.” It was an elder. Love felt so blessed and overjoyed that she forgot to ask the elder his name. When they arrived on land the elder went on his way. Love realized how much she owed the elder. Love then found Knowledge and asked, “Who was it that helped me?” “It was Time”, Knowledge answered. “But why did Time help me when no one else would?”, Love asked. Knowledge smiled and with deep wisdom and sincerity, answered, “Because only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.”

-idk

Stressed?

Article by Pastor Michael McCartney

Stressed?

Dr. Colbert states in Stress Less, “In my opinion, stress is the pressures of life and how one perceives, believes, reacts, and copes with these pressures” (7). He gives us all some sound advice in managing the stress in our lives so that it does not drown us and put us over the edge: He first tells us that we have to get control of our thoughts if we ever want any hope in managing stress! He notes that we can transform our thoughts and our thinking patterns. He tells us that we can alter our perceptions of life and its stressors. He tells us we can quit fighting against the stressors and learn to be able to ride them like a surfer rides the waves of the ocean.

The Bible tells us that getting control of our thought patterns is possible. Listen to what it says in Philippians 4:4-9: 4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Notice what it says in verses 4-7! Rejoice- choose to rejoice and not be stressed and then depressed! This is the first step to changing our perceptions about life. Do not be anxious- In other words trust God to work out everything in your life and learn to relax in the faithfulness of the Lord. Let go of the anxiety of stress. Let go of its continuous drip into your mind and heart.
Pray – when you are anxious in life learn to ask for the Lord’s help so that you can calm down.
Pray and ask the Lord to change your thinking and your perceptions about this life. Be thankful – in other words learn to appreciate the good things in your life. Learn to remember the blessings that the Lord has given you! Learn to say, “Thank You to the Lord!” This act of praise will change your perceptions! If you do these little things everyday then you will have peace the Word tells us. Maxwell stated, “What you do today determines what you will be tomorrow!”
If we learn the importance of doing these little things daily then it says God’s peace will guard our hearts and our minds. In other words this is great advice in preventing a heart attack in your life!

Dr. Colbert states, “According to the Mayo Clinic study of people with heart disease, psychological stress was the strongest predictor of future cardiac events” (13). He also noted, “In one ten-year study, people who were not able to manage their stress effectively had a 40% higher death rate than those who were ‘unstressed’” (13).

Also notice what Doctor Paul says in verses 5-9: Paul the Doctor of your well being says, “Do you want peace of mind and do you want to prevent a heart attack? Then think about the good things in life! Think on things that praiseworthy and excellent! Look at the positive side of life instead of always focusing on the negative side of life! It will prevent you from having a heart attack and from you losing your mind!” He agrees with Dr. Colbert – change you thinking and how you perceive those stressful events in life. The truth is we do have the power and the help from God to change the way we perceive our life and this world’s stressors.

Dr. Colbert quotes Deut. 30:19, 20a: “19This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life…” He states this about this text: “Choosing life means to choose God’s way over our way; it means to choose a relationship with Him and obedience to Him over our own self-centered desires. Most factors to stress are subject to your choice” (17).
The truth is what you perceive is really your reality! It’s all in how you decide to look at it!
The way we perceive stressful events impacts our bodies reaction to stress and our emotional state. Remember this – Stress is found in everyone’s life but the ones who manage it well go on and live long lives filled with contentment and peace. Remember this – Our perception of an event will make it either positive or negative. It is really up to us to decide which will gain control of our minds and hearts.

Dr. Colbert states, “Your perceptions determine how you see the world. The mind is similar to a computer –the brain is the hard drive, and the perceptions are the ‘software.’ It is the perception of people, demands, issues, and circumstances-not the actual people, demands, issues, or circumstances in and of themselves-that dictate how a person will react” (33). He notes several distorted thought patterns that people adopt in life.
I. All-or-nothing thinking – For this kind of person, there are no gray areas. Anything less than his standard of ‘perfect’ is worthless (38).
II. Overgeneralizations – A person who overgeneralizes thinks that if one thing goes wrong, nothing will ever go right for him ever (39).
III. A negative mental filter – This kind of distortional thinking causes a person to hear a half hour of praise after a job evaluation but leave the meeting depressed because of one area ‘needing improvement’ (39).
IV. Disqualifying the positive – Even more distortional is when a person takes a positive experience and turns it into a negative one. These kind of thinkers feel they are not worthy of any praise under any circumstances (40).
V. Jumping to conclusions – People who jump to conclusions predict the worst possible outcome or circumstance without having any, or all, the facts to support their conclusions (41).
a. Mind reading- you arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you, and you don’t bother to check this out (40).
b. The fortune teller error – you anticipate that things will turn out badly, and you feel convinced that your prediction is an already –established fact.
VI. Magnification (catastrophizing) or minimization – You exaggerate the importance of things (such as your goof up or someone else’s achievement), or you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny (your own desirable qualities or the other fellow’s imperfections).
VII. Emotional reasoning – You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: “I feel it, therefore it must be true.” (41).
VIII. Fixed rule thinking- This person is a ‘should,’ ‘must,’ or ‘ought to’ person. He confines people and events to his rules and fails to realize the fact that he can’t force anyone to adhere to them. The more rigid the rules, the greater the person’s disappointment. That disappointment usually plays out as worry, depression. Frustration, irritation, or guilt (43).
IX. Labeling and mislabeling – A person who attaches a negative label to himself or someone else tends to do so because of his own low self-esteem (43).
X. Personalization – This kind of thinking shifts the blame of an outcome on self. Unfortunately in our society, many children who come from dysfunctional homes become trapped in this kind of thinking: “Daddy left mommy because I was bad” (44).
XI. Life is fair, and everybody is entitled to a good life – The truth is life is not fair. (45).
XII. I need to be liked and accepted by everyone- Truth is not everybody will like you (45).
XIII. People should behave properly – If you expect other people to always behave toward you in the way you consider ‘proper’ you will live in a state of frustration, anger and stress (45).
XIV. The worst outcome will probably occur – The worst outcome is rarely what comes to pass. Worrying about things beyond your control leads to excessive stress (45).
XV. I am unable to change the way I am – This belief is guaranteed to lead to stress (46).

Dr. Colbert notes that these distortional thoughts and beliefs are rooted in the thought that life owes us something. But he states, “There is nothing written in the cosmos of the Word of God that declares this to be true. Life owes you nothing; you owe life something” (47)! The truth is a lot of our stress comes from us allowing the faulty thinking to take root in our minds and in our hearts. Proverbs 23:7a NKJV states, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…”

God Chasers quote:

“It is simply not enough to know about God. We have churches filled with people who can win Bible trivia contests but who don’t know Him. I am afraid that some of us have been sidetracked or entangled by everything from prosperity to poverty, and we’ve become such an ingrown society of the self-righteous that our desires and our wants and those of the Holy Spirit are two different matters” (Tenney)

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