Happy New Year Ignite Church

May we all resolve to make personal spiritual growth our top priority in 2017. Prayerfully consider where you are in the normal (I won’t call this natural – it’s far from natural) progression of spiritual growth, and prayerfully seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit with regard to how you can move to the next level, so you can be “more productive and useful … in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Then “work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen.” Work hard to progress to the next level and experience a deeper level of intimacy with our Lord and Savior. Say “Yes, my Lord” every time he gently prompts you, just as you did when he first gave you the faith to believe (2 Peter 1:1, Ephesians 2:8).

That’s how we break through the wall of patient endurance into godliness. I believe most of us hit a wall of patient endurance, and this is when we are most vulnerable. This is when we are at greatest risk of throwing in the towel, wandering in the wilderness, or self-medicating to avoid thinking about it. This is where many fall away (2 Peter 1:10). I speak from experience.

When that one good thing that we want so bad doesn’t come, what are we going to do? Will we say in our hearts “God doesn’t hear,” or “God doesn’t care,” or question “Why doesn’t God want me to have this?” Or will we say “I will honor you as God because you are God and you are worthy of my praise no matter what.” “I will praise you and honor you with my life and follow you all my days, even if I never get this thing I want so bad. I want you more than this thing and I will live without it if that’s what you want. In fact, I don’t want it if it will come between us, if it will get in the way of intimacy between us.” If and when we reach the point where we can say this with all our heart, when we stop seeking His hand and truly start seeking His face, we push through the wall of perseverence and the fruit of godliness is birthed in our lives.

When a baker kneads dough, they slam it against the table, knead it with their hands and knuckles, press it, roll it out, and roll it up again. But kneading the dough is a crucial step that strengthens gluten strands and gives the bread structure (allrecipes.com). Knowing that God is working godliness into our lives through painful circumstances can help us stay focused on the end and endure the process.

So whether you are making your way through a crowded market with a cart full of groceries and a gagle of adventurous youngsters, or getting up to venture out into the cold and spend another eight hours at a seemingly insignificant job, or finally hanging that picture that your wife has asked you to hang countless times, let your focus not be on the process, but on the fact that God will use the process to work godliness into your life as you patiently endure. Let us say with all our hearts, “Yes, my Lord.” “I will gather provisions for my family.” “I will earn an income for my family and honor your name by doing the best job I can.” “I will gladly serve my wife in this small way and imitate You, the One who came to serve.” And by so doing, it will suddenly dawn on us that the next level of spritual growth, true brotherly affection, is being birthed in our lives.

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.

The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.

So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:3‭-‬11 NLT

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Christmas Day, 2016

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.
1 Peter 4:10 NLT

On this Christmas day, let us each unwrap the gift he has given us and use it unfettered to build his temple, the church, the place where his Glory dwells, of which we are all a part, as we are all living stones of that temple.

Merry Christmas Ignite Church.

God bless us everyone!

“The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.”
Revelation 11:15b NLT

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You Must be Born Again

John 3:3-8

I think we lose sight of the impact Jesus words had on Nicodemus because of our familiarity in the modern day church with the term “born again.” I’m not a Greek scholar, but I can imagine from Nicodemus’s reaction that he took what Jesus said as being along the lines of “unless you are reborn” or “unless you experience another birth”, you cannot see the Kingdom of God. And this “seeing” I think applies not only to the after life, but also to a current awareness, in the here and now, of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is in the presence of God, and when Jesus was born he ushered in the Kingdom of God. From that momoment on, God has dwelled in the presence of man and made it possible for man to dwell in His presence. Thus Jesus said repeatedly, “the Kingdom of God is at hand.”

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”
John 3:3-8 NLT

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Getting God’s Viewpoint – Part 2

This is a really encouraging message about trials, difficulties, and suffering.

When you’re faced with a crucial decision and you want to do God’s best, what do you do?

* Duration: 24:30

* Published: 11/29/16 12:00:00 AM

* Episode Download Link (34 MB): http://s2.content.video.llnw.net/smedia/781563d6695d48a496254cad9c2ea179/p5/FAReQ_Vc5yRrkys0OlkbMGk6PQZbGdTePv4a0eNec/itm_pgm_2016_11_29.mp3

* Show Notes: http://www.intouchcanada.org/en-ca/listen/featured/getting-gods-viewpoint-part-2

* Episode Feed: Daily Radio Program with Charles Stanley – In Touch Ministries – https://www.intouch.org/listen/podcast/today-on-radio

Getting God’s Viewpoint – Part 1

When you’re faced with a crucial decision and you want to do God’s best, what do you do?

* Duration: 24:30, Played: 1:20

* Published: 11/28/16 12:00:00 AM

* Episode Download Link (22 MB): http://s2.content.video.llnw.net/smedia/781563d6695d48a496254cad9c2ea179/ig/KLdRDo_PRL2kQv4nb4bDklUpxP-RClBM2bRA6auFI/itm_pgm_2016_11_28.mp3

* Show Notes: http://www.intouch.org/en/listen/featured/getting-gods-viewpoint-part-1

* Episode Feed: Daily Radio Program with Charles Stanley – In Touch Ministries – https://www.intouch.org/listen/podcast/today-on-radio

Look Straight Ahead

Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.

Proverbs 4:25 NLT

This speaks to me about doing well the things that God has set before me in the place that I find myself right now. If I believe God is sovereign, then I must believe that everything that has happened to me has led me to where I am and has either been allowed or caused by God. Therefore, I should do well the things that lie before me (look straight ahead) and not worry about finding something else to do or finding the next big thing or even tomorrow.

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Total Commitment

plow-72715_640

There was no turning back for Elisha after destroying his livelihood. He offered his old life completely to God and it was totally destroyed in the process. And at the same time he was offering himself completely to God’s service, for whatever new purpose God had for him.
His life was repurposed.
By sharing with the townspeople, he testified of the transformative work God was doing in his life.
This event in Elisha’s life foreshadows the work of the cross in our lives.
Have you given yourself so completely to the Lord Jesus Christ that turning back is no longer possible?
So Elisha returned to his oxen and slaughtered them. He used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the townspeople, and they all ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant.
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He Called Him by Name

fig-374118_640What will you feel when you meet Jesus face to face, as He looks you in the eye and calls you by name?

Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way. When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.” Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled. Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
Luke 19:1‭-‬10 NLT

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Emotional Prosperity

I like what the speaker says about having fun. I think as Christians it’s easy to be hard on ourselves and even feel guilty about having fun because we somehow think we should be spending time in ministry, prayer, Bible study, self-improvement, etc.

The following text is from the original post.

Before we can effectively lead our families and others, we need to know how to lead ourselves in emotional health so that the life we are leading is sustainable. Being individually well is key to thriving inside of community! In this teaching, Jason Vallotton shares how we can get our needs met in body, soul, and spirit so we can partner with Jesus to express the joy of His kingdom. This message is from week 5 of Bethel’s Life Series.

* Published: 10/16/16 6:30:00 AM

* Episode Download Link: http://podcasts.ibethel.org/en/podcasts/emotional-prosperity.mp3?type=lq

* Show Notes: http://podcasts.ibethel.org/en/podcasts/emotional-prosperity

* Episode Feed: Bethel Church Sermon of the Week – http://podcasts.ibethel.org/podcasts.rss

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