Victory Outreach

Why Should I Love My Church?

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Why Should I Love My Church?

If you’re taking the time to read this, then chances are you belong to a church. Ever wonder where we get the word “church” from? Or even who was the first person in the Bible to ever utter that word? Why is it even important for us to go to church? Was it just something for people in Biblical days? Over the next few blogs…all these questions and more will be answered.

Before you continue reading..take some time to answer this question for yourself…

Why Should I Love My Church?

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Chances are your answer or answers to the question, “Why Should I Love My Church?” will change over the next few weeks.  So let’s go a little deeper into this subject.

Matthew 16:18 says, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” 

In this portion of scripture, we see a conversation between Jesus and Peter. It’s in this dialogue where we see the word “church” used for the very first time.  It’s interesting to see how Jesus switches from calling Peter first by his Hebrew name and then to his Greek name.   It’s actually on this scripture that the Catholic Church builds their beliefs on.  They even call Peter the first Pope.  What I want to focus your attention on is the fact that Jesus said, “my church.” We have to remember that it’s not our church, but His. He died for our sins and for the sins of the world.

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You might be thinking, “Ok big deal, but why should I love my church?”

I want you to think for a second this thought…if it wasn’t for the church, where would your life be? I understand that it was Jesus who made a way to change your life around…but if it wasn’t for the church, where would you be?  It means a lot more to us when it’s personal.

It was in the church where I found my purpose in life.  In the world, I was lost and caught up with so many other things…but when I came into the church, my life began to have true meaning.  It was in the church where you might have found your spouse. Of if you’re single…it’s in the church where you’re going to find your spouse.  You might have even met your spouse in the world…but it’s in the church where you’ll learn how to respect them, honor them and treat them right.  The world doesn’t do that.  They don’t teach Marriage 101 at the night club or party house. It’s here in the church where we learn to be men and women of God.

There’s so much more we’re going to talk about. I just wanted to get your mind thinking about the church and the important role it has played even in your own life. Loving our church goes much deeper. Over the next few blogs, we’ll discuss many more topics on this thought of Why Should I Love My Church?

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A Bitter Taste: Part 2

CROSSING THE RED SEA

Before we jump into today’s blog, I just wanted to take a quick second to thank you for being a reader.  Whether this is the first blog you have read or even if you’re a frequent guest.  My prayer is that as we dig into God’s Word, you will be inspired, challenged & provoked to become all that God has called you to be.  You’re time is precious and I don’t want to waste it.

So let’s jump right in. Today we’re going to finish the conversation that we started in my last blog A Bitter Taste.  Feel free to take time to read or re-read that one before continuing with this one.  We’ve all had bitter experiences in life. It doesn’t matter how young, how old, your ethnicity, how long you’ve been saved…if you’re a living, breathing human…then chances are you know exactly what I’m talking about.  We’re not the only ones who have had bitter experiences…we went through a whole list of people in the Bible in the last blog of many who became bitter.

Today, I want to give you a picture in the Bible where God turned a bitter experience into sweet victory. I want to leave you encouraged today.  Maybe you find yourself in a bitter situation today. It could be a financial situation (bills to pay, a shut off noticed just came in the mail, etc.), a relationship (with a spouse, a loved one, your children, etc.) or maybe you’re surrounded by negativity (criticism, people or maybe the devil’s been trying to give you one on one Bible Studies).  It doesn’t matter what the situation is, God can turn it around today.

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“Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah). So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”” – Exodus 15:22-24

This is a very familiar story…at least what took place right before this.  Moses just led God’s people across the Red Sea.  Pharaoh & his army  were flooded.  God’s people were loving life.  They were rejoicing, singing songs and felt as if nothing could go wrong.  Can you relate? Ever had those moments where everything is going great? Everyone loves you, you get a promotion, the people you run into are nice, people let you cut in front of them on the freeway…you know what I mean? Well, they were definitely having a mountain top experience.  Then three days later…everything changed. They went without water for three days and began to grumble.  They even turned on Moses.  Just a few days before, they loved him.  Reminds me of how people welcomed Jesus by laying palm branches before him but a week later those same people were yelling “crucify him.”

This is where it gets good so pay attention.  As the story continues, Moses went before the Lord in prayer.  God shows Moses a tree, which he then throws in the water and it became sweet or ‘fit to drink.’  In one translation it says that he “pointed” to a tree.  Notice how God didn’t create a tree, but it was already there. The tree is a representation of Jesus and what he did for us on the cross.  If we put Jesus (tree) in the center of our situation (sea), he’ll take care of the bitter waters (situation) and make them sweet. Are you putting Jesus in the middle of that stress, that marriage, that difficult financial situation or your most immediate need right now? I encourage you to make him the center.  Even with the situation that you feel will never work out…we serve a God who specializes in the impossible.

Moses & Red Sea

The chapter ends with them coming to Elim and this is the final thought I want to leave you with today.  There are two aramaic words for ‘Elim.’ The first root word is “mighty” and the second word is “a place of rest.” It can also be translated into a place of shade or provision.  When you allow God to be the center of your bitter experience, He’ll bring you to a place where you’ll have victory.  There were 12 springs & 70 palm trees where they camped.  Why 12 & 70? Well, if the tree points to Jesus, the 12 points to his disciples and 70 points to the crowd that followed Christ.  This points to ministry or God’s House. Look around the camp where God has placed you at today, you’re not alone. People stay weak & feable when they don’t plug into church and they try to do things on their own.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another…” – Hebrews 10:24-25

You’re victory is waiting for you. Let your bitter experiences make you better.  God did it for Moses, I’ve seen Him do it countless times in my own life and I know He’s going to do it for you too.  If you’re reading this it’s because God is not finished with you.  He still has so much more for you to experience in life.  Let that bitter taste leave today and let God set you up for sweet victories in your future.

Here Today & Gone Tomorrow?

Thank you for taking the time to read this  blog today.  With all the many things that you could be doing right now…it’s a blessing to know that you are taking time to invest in your spiritual life.  I share this next statement with people every chance I get…and I hope you catch what I’m about to say…”The Greatest Win is Within.”

Over the past 30 plus years I have seen people here today and gone tomorrow (they’ve come from all walks and levels of life). What’s separates those who will be here tomorrow from those who won’t is one simple word that I want to focus today’s blog on…FAITHFULNESS! I pray that it will add value to you as a christian, a minister or even a student of God’s beautiful word.

Let’s jump right into it…are you faithful?  If you take a moment to look at your life, can you answer that question truthfully?  Now this is between you and God…I really want you to take the time to think about your life and your relationship with God. So, let me ask you again because repetition is the mother of all learning…Are You Faithful?  Are you faithful to God? Are you faithful to your spouse? Are you faithful to your career? If you take the time to really answer those questions…you’ll see that we could all grow in our faithfulness.

Now why do I take the time to ask these questions? Because I want you to be the kind of person that will be here today and also here tomorrow.  And sometimes that means we have to ask ourselves the hard questions…sometimes that means we have to make some adjustments…sometimes we have to take the time to build our character today so we’ll be here tomorrow…sometimes we have to have the mindset that “I ain’t giving up!” Hopefully that’s you today. I don’t just want to give you a feel good message and send you on your way.  I want to challenge you, provoke you and get you to be better than you were yesterday so you’ll be a man or woman that will stand the test of time.

Before we close today, I want to give you three quick stories of faithfulness:

  1. Richard Hooker.  He was a writer who endured 21 different rejections.  Finally, after 17 years a publisher took a chance on him.  From those writings came the hit TV Show “MASH” which ran for many years.
  2. Theodor Geisel was an American writer who underwent 23 different rejections.  He got creative by changing his name but still submitted his writings.  Today he is best known as “Dr. Seuss” and his stories continue to touch lives to this very day.
  3. God. “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.” – Deuteronomy 7:9
I’ve learned that God is pleased by what he does and does what he pleases. If we can learn from someone what it truly means to be faithful…it is God.  Don’t give up! You might be going through a tough time at the moment…but you’re going to come out as gold if you hang on.  It’s all part of the character that God is forming in you.  You’re stronger today than you were yesterday and if you take the time today to make the necessary adjustments…you’ll be someone who’s here today and here tomorrow too! I know you can do it.  God has been faithful in my life for over 30 years…and I know he can do the same in your life as well! He is faithful!

Feeding your Faith & Starving your Fear

As they left Bethany the next day, he was hungry. Off in the distance he saw a fig tree in full leaf. He came up to it expecting to find something for breakfast, but found nothing but fig leaves. (It wasn’t yet the season for figs.) He addressed the tree: “No one is going to eat fruit from you again—ever!” And his disciples overheard him. [Mark 11:12-14]

I pray that as you read this blog, you will be encouraged to take your faith to another level.  That’s exactly what Jesus did with the disciples every chance he got.  I once heard it said that you have to be taught the same thing TEN times before it begins to become ingrained in you as a person. Is it any wonder why Jesus spoke so much on faith while he was still with the disciples? For Jesus to spend so much time and energy on one subject…I think he wanted us to tune into what he was trying to say.

I want you to take some time to reflect on your own life for a second.  Have you been feeding your faith or feeding your fear?  Maybe I should ask you another question…have you been obeying the voice of God in your life or been running from what God has been telling you to do?

Have you ever doubted in your heart?  What makes you doubt?  TIME! When time goes by…it will beat at your heart and tell you “when is it going to happen?” Sometimes time has a way of making us feel impatient.  We’ll wonder, why hasn’t it happened sooner?  In those moments, what do you tend to say to your mountain?  Do you speak faith or fear?

If you are in the habit of speaking fear…let me give you some quick advice: God responds to Faith, not Fear [which in most cases is our emotions].  Why is saying/speaking your faith so important?  Because it’s easy to pray quietly or in your mind. But if you’re mountain doesn’t move…no one will ever know.   it’s safe.  But if you speak it out…now that’s a test of faith!  Today I want to encourage you to speak out in faith…don’t get tired of waiting on God.  It’s just a matter of time before that mountain is moved in your life.  God doesn’t want you to struggle.  Choose to do things different today.  God is always trying to teach us faith.  He did the same thing with his disciples even after he died.  Remember what he said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and still believe!”

It’s Time For Miracles

God is doing amazing things in the city of Whittier. We have been experiencing miracles after miracles since our “Miracle Sunday” Service on November 21st. Everyday we keep hearing about all the great things that are taking place from healings, financial blessings, new jobs, etc. But one thing that we’re really excited about is that we have a BRAND NEW BUILDING