Our Value to God = PRICELESS!

Our Value to God = PRICELESS!
"Allow God to place His own values." - A.W. Tozer

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Elevation Church: Found Favor (Part 2)

Read Nehemiah 1:11, 2:4-6, 18; 1 Samuel 2:26

These are just a few stories of where God's people find favor with Him - even at a young age!

God's hand is on us in a special way, even before we know it!

Just like Esther found favor and saved a great nation, you too can affect everybody around you by finding favor with God.

Jesus is the ultimate example of God's favor for us.

Luke 2:52 - "Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people."

Pastor Steven Furtick's (Pastor of Elevation Church) definition of favor:

The favor of God is the guarantee of His presence and the provision of His power to accomplish His special purpose in and through your life.

When you've found favor with God, you have the confidence that God is with you and for you to accomplish everything He's called you to do. You have the divine ability to seize opportunity and overcome opposition, because Jesus is fighting for you.

Unfortunately often when people ask for the favor of God, they expect favors from God. We can't pay Him back. Favor isn't fair. Fairness ended when Jesus died on the Cross and took our sins on His back. You don't want to play the favor game according to fairness. Favor isn't fair and you don't want it to be.

Favor is God deciding to be good to you just because He wants to be good to you and He wants to show the world who He is through your life.

God is fighting for you and the devil doesn't stand a chance against a child of God! :)

With God's favor your life WILL get harder - how else would God show His power over your circumstances if your life wasn't hard? God doesn't give you His favor for your convenience. He gives you His favor for His purpose to accomplish it through your life. God shows us favor not to make our lives easier, but to make His presence in our lives even bigger and more real so His purpose can be fulfilled.

Jesus found favor with God and it led Him to the Cross. With favor we learn to endure, trust, and have faith in God.

When we seek God's favor we will find it. You don't have to feel God's favor in order to find it.

"God's not going to give you the kind of help you're asking for because He wants to give you more help than any human can give. He Himself wants to be your source." - Holly Furtick, wife of Pastor Steven Furtick

Elevation Church: Found Favor (Part 1)

Exodus 33:12-13

Moses talking to God: "...I have found favor with you... don't forget that this nation is Your very own people."

We should do this too - give to God what is His; Our families are His to do with what He wants, similarly are our lives, ministries, careers, etc.

When we show dependency to God as Moses did here, we will find His favor.

vs.14-16 We see Moses saying/admitting He can't take a single step without God - DEPENDENCE!

God's favor on His people distinguishes us from everyone else (see vs. 16).

**God's favor gives you an opportunity, but your response and obedience determines whether or not you will seize it.**

The Bible is an anthology - the story of who God is.

Favor is not a formula. It doesn't always work "like this" or "like that." God cannot be contained to a formula. If someone is struggling, that does not mean they don't have God's blessing or favor. (See the Book of Job) In Job, God trusted Job enough that Job would stay faithful to Him even in great struggle.

Here are a few Pastor's opinions of what favor means:

"Favor is God doing for you what you can't do yourself."

"Favor is God's goodness displayed in an individual's life in such a way that only He can get the credit."

"Favor is a relationship with God of great confidence where no matter what you know that with God you're going to come out on top."

"Favor is the acceptance, approval, and assistance of God awarded to us through the finished work of Jesus."

"Favor is God graciously working to optimize your life and your circumstances for your good and His glory."

Whoever God used in the Bible found favor with Him before He even used them.

Examples: Genesis 6:8 Noah

12 - Abraham: God blessed Abraham so that he, in return, could be a blessing to others

18 - Abraham prayed that he would find favor in the sight of God

God's favor is not limited to any circumstance or situation. God's favor can find you wherever you are and bless you even in the hardest times of your life.

Read Ruth 2:10

Similarly to Ruth, people who find favor with God can't even believe they are where they are and they know it's the Lord that got them there.

When you find God's favor it doesn't make you arrogant; it makes you humble. When people say they have God's favor, they're acknowledging their dependence on Him and saying it's Him who got them where they are. It's arrogant not to say this.

When you find favor with God, it's about realizing you're already blessed and that He wants to bless you even more! :)

LifeChurch.tv Sermon Notes - Because of You

The local church is the hope of the world.

Mission statement of LifeChurch: to lead people to become fully devoted followers of Christ

1 Thessalonians 3:7-9

"We have been greatly comforted...because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives us new life, knowing you remain strong in the Lord. How we thank God for you! Because of you we have great joy in the presence of God."

When you walk in obedience to God, you're not surprised by the miracles of God.

It's impossible to please God without faith.

We are spiritual contributors not spiritual consumers. The Church does not exist for us. We are The Church and we exist for the world.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Love & Respect: Chapter 1 (Part 1)

Getting on the Crazy Cycle is all too easy. Recognizing that you're on the Crazy Cycle and learning how to keep it from spinning out of control is possible if husband and wife can learn how to meet each other's basic needs for love and respect.

Unfortunately, when a wife feels her husband is unloving, her usual approach is to complain and criticize in order to motivate her husband to become more loving. However, this usually proves about as successful as trying to sell brass knuckles to Mother Teresa.

Husbands are generally assured of their wives' love. Nevertheless, when wives show dislike, he interprets it as disrespect and even contempt. So the husband decides he will motivate his wife to become more respectful by acting in unloving ways. You see where this is going... it's a vicious cycle!

In regards to Ephesians 5:33, God commands wives to respect their husbands without conditions.

To say the least, doing something when you don't really feel you want to do it is counterintuitive. Therefore, this passage must be acted out in faith. God has ordained that wives respect their husbands as a method to win husbands to Himself. As a husband opens his spirit to God, he reopens his spirit to his wife. No husband feels affection toward a wife who appears to have contempt for who he is as a human being. The key to creating fond feelings of love in a husband toward his wife is through showing him unconditional respect.

Wives want their husbands to appreciate how much she loves him, and she yearns to feel more love from him. The best way to love a husband is to show him respect in ways that are meaningful to him. Such respect lets him feel his wife's love for him and ignites in him feelings of love for his wife.

End note: Keep things light - this releases tension.

Love & Respect: Chapter 1 (Part 1)

Part 1: The Crazy Cycle

Without Love - She Reacts - Without Respect - He Reacts

Chapter 1 - The Simple Secret to a Better Marriage

"Those who marry will face many troubles in this life..." (1 Corinthians 7:28)

This is why communication is so important!

You can be right but wrong at the top of your voice.

Tension has a way of tearing down your self-image.

"Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." - Ephesians 5:33

The Love & Respect Connection is the key to any problem in a marriage.

How the need for love and the need for respect play off one another in a marriage has everything to do with the kind of marriage you will have.

A husband is to obey the command to love even if his wife does not obey this command to respect, and a wife is to obey the command to respect even if the husband does not obey the command to love. A husband is even called to love a disrespectful wife, and a wife is called to respect an unloving husband. There is no justification for a husband to say, "I will love my wife after she respects me," nor a wife to say, "I will respect my husband after he loves me."

When a husband feels disrespected, it is especially hard to love his wife. When a wife feels unloved, it is especially hard to respect her husband. When a husband feels disrespected, he has a natural tendency to react in ways that feel unloving to his wife. Similarly, when a wife feels unloved, she has a natural tendency to react in ways that feel disrespectful to her husband.

If husband and wives do not learn how to control this "Crazy Cycle," it will just go round and round and where it stops nobody knows.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Love and Respect - Introduction

I recently ran across a book that I read and studied a couple years ago. After flipping through the pages and re-living all the truth that I learned from this book, I thought it would be great to share some of these lessons with others. So here goes to the start of many posts on the book Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs!

Introduction: Love Alone Is Not Enough
What we often miss is the husband's need for respect. In addition, wives can fulfill their need to be loved by giving their husbands what he needs - respect.

In this book, one wife gave a testimony of when she started showing her husband respect, even when it was undeserved. "I watched his demeanor change right before my very eyes."

When we speak our spouse's love language (whatever that may be), they are more likely to respond in a loving manner.

Unfortunately, a wife's deepest need - to feel loved - is undermined by her disrespect to her husband. Similarly, a husband's deepest need - to feel respected - is undermined by his lack of love to his wife.

The journey to a Godly, satisfying marriage is never over. God will work in remarkable ways when we, men and women alike, submit ourselves wholeheartedly to this Biblical design for marriage (Love & Respect).

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

God is Love

“God is love.” – 1 John 4:16
“Love one another as I have loved you.” – John 15:12

Christ gave His love when it was not deserved to people who did not deserve it. That’s a principle to practice! Love is the one ingredient of which our world never tires and of which there is never an over abundance. The world will never outgrow its need for love. God created us in His own image, which means we were created to function on the fuel of love. The world cries out for genuine love, love that heals, love that unites, love that forgives, love that encourages.

Love is essential to our emotional, physical, mental, and social well-being. Our lives are shaped by those who love us and by those who refuse to love us. If you give love away, it will be renewed each day and become stronger and purer.

Love in your heart is not put there to stay;
Love is not love until you give it away.

We enrich the world by what we give.
You have the gift of love to give it away every day.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Notes from Cure for the Common Life - Max Lucado

I recently was re-reading Max Lucado's "Cure for the Common Life" and came upon a few thoughts that I felt were worth sharing. This post will include these thoughts and excerpts...

"Each person is given something to do that shows who God is." - 1 Corinthians 12:7
Another version of this verse reads, "The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others."

God endows us with gifts so we can make Him known. Period.
"God has given gifts to each of you from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well...Then God will be given glory." - 1 Peter 4:10-11

Use your uniqueness (what you do) to make a big deal out of God (why you do it) every day of your life (where you do it).

**What in your life honors God, helps others, and thrills you - There you will find your "sweet spot."**

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Seeking Godly Guidance

Hi, my name is Shannon. I am a recent graduate at the University of Iowa where I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. It is my hope to further my education and/or training in Biblical/Christian Counseling so I may counsel/work in a church someday or be a Biblical/Christian Counselor for a private practice. This past year my boyfriend and I had felt God lay a desire on our hearts to start (or be a part of) a ministry for the homeless. To be more specific, we feel called to feed the hungry, provide clothing and shelter for the homeless, and to be a light in a dark world to those who are hurting. Below I have included our ideas for what God has put on our hearts for ministry ideas. It would be great to get any advice on how to further this ministry or if you know of any resources or organizations that could help us, we would greatly appreciate it. The last question I have is in regards to employment. My boyfriend, Bobby, and I have recently been struggling to find a job/career in which we feel a strong passion for and where we feel God has gifted us. Bobby is currently working as a Salesperson for U.S. Cellular and I am a Residential Counselor for an organization called Family Resources (it is more into the Social Work field, rather than counseling). As I said earlier, I would love to eventually be a Biblical Counselor or even work in a church. I am just not sure where to get my foot in the door so I can make this dream a reality. Do you have any idea how I could do this? Bobby is currently working towards his Bachelors in Criminal Justice. He has mentioned that he would like to be a police officer, but since becoming a Christian he also has a desire to serve in Full-Time ministry in the church as well. Do you have any advice for him? We are both at a phase in our lives where we feel God is calling us in a new direction (whether that is related to school/job/geography) – we are just not sure what direction that is. I appreciate you taking the time to read this and I pray God blesses you for being a blessing in my life.

In Christ,

It’s All About You Ministry

Purpose: reach out to those in need and share the Gospel with them; meet their needs

Vision: to see people’s lives changing through the Holy Spirit

Goal: to make a difference in people’s lives by showing God’s glory and unconditional love

Goals for Ministry:

· Establish Bible studies (Men/Women)(Devotionals)

· Provide food and clothing

· Counseling: Substance Abuse, Mental Health, etc.????

· Reaching out to those in need; being that helping hand (ex: helping people get off the streets and find a job)

· Support Team – for comfort and guidance (always there when people walk in the door)

· Build a team of volunteers/employees


· Food drives

· Donation drives

· Grants

· Community

· Web site

· Support letters


· ???

Possible Partners????

· King’s Harvest in Davenport, IA

· Christian Center in Rock Island, IL

Steps we are/will be taking:

· Getting advice and insight from friends and family, small group, etc.

· Plugging into different ministries at Heritage (our home church)

· Attending classes through Heritage

· Get Bachelors/Masters in Ministry (Bobby) and/or Counseling (Shannon)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

No Perfect People Allowed: When Life Disappoints You

This past weekend I heard a great message at church! The pastor spoke of the story of Moses when he led the Israelites out of Egypt. The Scripture Pastor Jeff Manion used was Numbers 11.

Numbers 11 (verses 1-10)
1 Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. 2 When the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the LORD and the fire died down. 3 So that place was called Taberah, because fire from the LORD had burned among them. 4 The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. 6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!” 7 The manna was like coriander seed and looked like resin. 8 The people went around gathering it, and then ground it in a hand mill or crushed it in a mortar. They cooked it in a pot or made it into loaves. And it tasted like something made with olive oil. 9 When the dew settled on the camp at night, the manna also came down. 10 Moses heard the people of every family wailing at the entrance to their tents. The LORD became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled.

The first thing the pastor encouraged us to do was to try to put ourselves in the place of the people in the Bible. It is easy for us to judge the Israelites response to their trials and say we would not react the same way. But if we were really honest with ourselves, wouldn’t we have responded similarly? I’m pretty sure I would be complaining along with the others if I had to eat manna for almost 2 years!

Next, the pastor raised some key thoughts. He reminded us that the “land between” (when we are in the middle of a trial) is fertile ground for complaint. But he then encouraged us with the thought that the “land between” is also the place to be transformed. Trials often cause us to push ourselves and thus, strengthen our faith as a result if we turn to God and allow Him to change us.

The key issue in this story is TRUST.
Trust is the glue that holds any relationship together.

Pastor Manion went on to say that we don’t always get to choose what happens to us, but we do get to choose our response – which is a choice of the heart. When we pass through a season of difficulty, we have choices. However, often we have been choosing the same choice for so long that it no longer feels like a choice.

During difficult times, the Bible instructs us to choose joy.

James 1:2-4
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Lastly, he left us with a great piece of insight: Your trial is a greenhouse for your spiritual growth – the space you learn to pray.

So let us choose joy in the middle of our trials and invite God to transform our hearts. May we believe that God can redeem our situation, while trusting in His sovereignty, His desire to produce fruit in our lives, and know that He will fulfill His promises.

God Bless!
<3 Shannon

“Closer” – Shawn McDonald