THE AWARENESS FACTOR

Luke 10:39-42 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me! “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Lately, I have found that days come quickly and end fast. Our days have a probability attached to each hour, directing our attention towards the routine and necessities of life. Choices are also tied into our ever busy days, choices on where we will spend our lunch break, what kind of Starbucks we personalize, and down to who we will spend our time with. If you notice in the passage above Martha, seems to be having the same perspective we often adopt… That we just don’t have enough hours in our day to be still. We do the bills, we supply the groceries, we go to work, or pick up the kids, and never even noticed the presence of God. See, Martha was busy hosting God and doing, and doing, that she bypassed the “Presence of God.”  For instance if I go a whole day doing and doing and go unaware of my wife’s presence, our relationship would go stale.

So what does all this mean? We have to stop and simply be aware of God’s Presence. For as Christians we are carriers of His presence and if we ourself are not aware, than how are we supposed to let His presence shine through us? Martha was so focused on the to do’s, whereas Mary was focused on the relationship. Here are “3” things to help you slow down to have the awareness of God at all times:

1.  Wake up with Hello. Take a moment not focused on your tasks, rather saying hello to the God of the universe. You don’t have to say fairest Lord, as an opening to a dramatic prayer. Just Be genuine with God, by being yourself. Make it “simply” you.

2. In the business of your day “Stop.” Don’t worry about your plans at six, or the fact you have another meeting. Just be still for a moment and know that he is  God. That doesn’t mean having prayer time, or even mediating on scripture, but simply closing your eyes and turning all your focus and heart towards him, by being aware of His presence.

3. Don’t go throughout the day hungry. The days may go by fast, and seem to speed right past us at an imaginable speed, but don’t forget to eat. Set a time aside, if that be fifteen minutes or an hour to read the word of God. The word of God is our strength, and maybe it’s not a red bull you’re in need of, it may be a more lasting boost your craving.

So put God first, before the business of the day and I promise your days will be filled with his unbelievable presence.

THE VALUE OF VALUES

There’s a world of difference between your talents and your values. While both are important, there is a difference. What’s the difference? Talents are a gift, whereas values are a choice. “What value do values play in our life?” Think about these 7 facts:

01. Values give you confidence. The Bible says, that we can say with confidence, “The LORD is my helper, so I will have no fear.” What can mere people do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6). The verses just before verse 6, speak of obeying the Lord. Obeying the Lord is having values, giving you deep confidence–confidence to pray, to live, to witness, etc.

02. Values guard your mind. The Bible teaches us that the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7). Where was Paul when he wrote these words? “Prison.” To paraphrase the early verse of Philippians 4, Paul said; “I have clear values, therefore I have a guarded mind.” That is so vital in this coming year of 2011, to set your values firmly.

03. Values give you good friends. How important are good friends? Just read about King Saul after his fall, or about Samson’s blindness; and the fact he was forced to grind flour like an animal. You see, “birds of a feather flock together.” When you have good values, God will give you good friends.

04. Values guide your decisions. The Bible asserts, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3.5-6). How does this work? It’s really quite simple: God honors you when you honor Him. You see, the Spirit gives spiritual guidance to spiritual people, with spiritual values.

05. Values glorify your God. The Bible says, “according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death” (Philippians 1:20). Paul’s value system was live or die, the Lord Jesus is #1. That being true about him (or you), then “Christ will be magnified in your body.” What does a magnifying glass do? It makes something bigger. Clear values in your life make the Lord Jesus more real and bigger to people, thus bringing God glory.

06. Values generate positive feelings. Psalm 23 proves this to us. Stop and recite the Psalm right now. “The Lord is my shepherd…” That’s a value statement. The results are green pastures, still waters confidence in death’s valley, security before enemies, and so on. In simple words–positive feelings.

07. Values guarantee God’s favor. The Bible tells you, “He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless” (Proverbs 2.7). Teach that to your children.  It will change their life–I guarantee it!

THE 5 UPS TO ACHIEVING RESOLUTIONS

It probably doesn’t surprise you when studies show us that 92% of New Year’s Resolutions are never achieved. But what really blows my mind is that 45% are failed within the first month!

As the New Year rapidly approaches my heart is filled with the thought of new chances, new opportunities, and new challenges that 2011 will bring. And with so many resolutions falling to the wayside every year, I believe there are 5 “UPS” to helping you accomplish your goals this time around.

01. Post up. Take your goals and post them on your wall, ceiling, in your car and on the wallpaper of your computer. Let it be a constant reminder of who you want to become and what you want to accomplish. Professional body builders do this all the time. They will post up pictures at the gym to constantly remind them of their future.

02. Speak Up. Don’t hide the fact that you have some great goals you are going after. Tell other people about it. Make it a part of your day to day conversations.

03. Join up. A lot of times when it comes to achieving goals in life, we go at them alone. This shouldn’t be the case! Find others who are going after the same goal or who can keep you accountable. If you are trying to lose weight, then connect with someone who you can workout with, someone who will be there to make sure you are staying on track.

04. Pump Up. Every time you get closer to your goal, celebrate the victory. A lot of times we don’t achieve our goals because we never have fun on the road to victory. If you don’t have FUN during the process, then you will never FINISH the process.

05. Don’t Give Up. When going after goals, there are going to be times of discouragement. You are going to have moments of weakness and where it seems like there is no point on moving forward. But it is in times like these where you must never give up. You have to put your shoulder to the wheel and keep moving forward. I think Vince Lombardi said it best, “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.”Choose this year to stay the course and keep pressing forward. You’ll be glad you did.

FOUR THINGS TO DO WHEN YOUR FEELING DOWN

Feelings are fickle aren’t they? They are constantly bombarding us with highs and lows, discouragement, worry, or even depression. Most people are dominated and controlled to how they are feeling on a particular day. How they feel, is how they will act and respond to situations. But the fact is, we have the power through Christ to overcome those feelings and move forward in life. Here’s how:

01. Memorize three good Scriptures that that you can quote out loud to yourself. Romans 10:17 says our faith comes on strong by hearing the Word of God! Three Scriptures I like to quote regularly are Philippians 4:13, Romans 8:31, and Psalms 91. (The entire chapter)

02. Fill your life with inspirational music. Each of us like different styles of music that inspires us and lifts our spirits, but I believe the very best is worship music because it is filled with the Word of God and helps our spirits commune directly with His.

03. Keep your mind and body active. Someone once said, “Idle time is the devil’s workshop.” One of the tools in that workshop is the thought of discouragement. When you’re active, your mind is focused on the task at hand.

04. Find five things to be thankful for. It may be your health; family, your pets, or that God sent His Son for you. Whatever it is, I think if you spent a little time, you would find a catalog of things to be thankful for. And what’s amazing is when we begin to be thankful for all that God has blessed us with, it begins to snuff out those negative feelings. Today choose to be thankful.

“A great attitude is not the result of success; success is the result of a great attitude.” – Earl Nightingale

CAN JACK BAUER SAVE YOU?

One simple action.  One simple decision.  Both may go unnoticed.

What we may not know however, is that hidden beneath the action or decision is a land mine of compromise.  A “land mine” is an explosive device that is intended to damage its target…

Recently, I have become quite the fan of the TV series 24, and its risk-taker hero – Jack Bauer.  Each episode, each season is intriguing and keeps me on the edge of my seat.  The turns and twists in the plot has me wanting to come back for more. However, in each season it begins with a simple action and a simple decision.  It’s the action and decision to turn against family, friends and co-workers, to set into motion a plan to destroy the world, while all beginning with compromise.  People are always tricked into believing they will gain something from compromise – albeit; money, power, or whatever they deeply desire, simply by ignoring the right choice and doing whatever they want to do.

The same is true for followers of Jesus.  Satan tricks us into believing we will gain something by ignoring God’s principles and compromising by doing whatever we want to do.

Compromise begins with the thought, “Just once…,” “I’m tired of saying no…,” “Everyone else is doing it,” “I’m doing this for you,” and the list continues.  Anything that tempts us to abandon what we know is right should be avoided.

We must guard our hearts and minds to hear the voice of God, to not be swayed by money or peer pressure and ignore the old saying, “that grass is greener on the other side.”  Compromise does not announce its coming.  It does not announce its intention, which is to begin the process of destroying our faith and then our relationship with God.  Compromise can prevent us from doing God’s will.

Jack Bauer is not able to save us; however, there is our true Savior, Jesus Christ.  John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”  It is the heart of Jesus that we would have a life full of abundance, which leaves no room for compromise.

We can avoid destruction by trusting in Jesus. We can start practicing the principles written in His Word, spending time in prayer, reading His Word, and asking God to guide us with His wisdom.  By avoiding compromise, we can live a life to its fullest.

A LIFE FELLOWSHIP CANDLELIGHT CHRISTMAS

On December 19th Life Fellowship hosted a “Candlelight Christmas Service” and invited the whole community of Allen to be apart of this spectacular event. But it wasn’t your typical one to say the least. The moment you walked in, everyone was chatting and smiling and it would cause even your worst day to be made bright. The holiday hustle we know can cause us to become stressed or worn from all the seasons activities, but coming to church and feeling God in all the fun made everything else seem meaningless.

The joy of the season was brought in such a unique way, as the Toney Walsh Band began to bring family and friend’s together with the traditional holiday classic’s everyone loves. Yet having the opportunity to sit back and reflect on all God’s blessings and joy of the closing year, made this service one to remember. As the Band faded out and Pastor Chris began to bring a special Christmas message, every individual that came could sense the purpose and meaning behind this candlelight service.

And If you brought your kid’s into the exciting classrooms you could be assured that the meaning of Christmas was brought in a very true and fun way. As they sat by the fire and listened to the Christmas Story, Jesus was the center of all that was taking place. But the exciting snowball fights, hot chocolate, and prizes put a smile on every child that came to be apart of “The Craziest Christmas Party Ever.”

The tradition of our Christmas services was not just a yearly experience. No, this service was one that marked the goodness and blessings of a savior who came to bring a hope and a future to all. We found the joy of this service was to lift up Jesus, while enjoying the blessings of all our friends and family who came to be apart. The Christmas service was a special event because of all who came to experience the love and joy of Christ.

And so we wish you a very “Merry Christmas” to you and yours, from everyone at Life Fellowship Church.

CLICK LINK TO VIEW PICTURES FROM THE LF CHRISTMAS EVENT

HOW TRAGEDY RUINED MY VIEW OF GOD


Life is tough. Plain and simple, life can be extremely difficult.

Recently, I had the honor of taking part in officiating my Grandpa’s funeral. And through this family tragedy my view of God was ruined.

The funeral was filled with people who were hurting and without hope. I’ll never forget looking upon my father’s face and seeing a man so broken. And in times like these our view of God can either be devastatingly shattered or confidently built-up.

And I’ll be quite honest with you, through this experience my view of God was shattered. What I once knew about Him, didn’t seem enough anymore. And now that I think about it, this was exactly what I needed. As a mere human I so often limit God’s strength, God’s comfort, God’s peace in moments of great hurt. It was incredible to actually see God minister to the broken hearted. To see Him bring unforeseen peace to many who were grieving. I was able to see God rescue people right in front of my eyes and I will never be the same. No longer will I limit God’s ability to save His people when they need it most. He is truly enough.

Who knew that God would take a tragedy and use it to ruin my view of Him. Thank goodness He did.

Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

SIX OBSTACLES TO EXPERIENCING LIFE TO THE FULLEST

In my study today, I was impressed by the Scripture in John 10:10 and I wanted to share this quick thought with you. I noticed that Jesus said that we MAY/MIGHT have life. Notice it’s not automatic. So I penned out 6 obstacles that by the help of the Holy Spirit, we can have removed out of our lives.

John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they MAY have life, and have it to the full”

01. Your unteachable spirit will hinder your success. (Prov 1:5)

02. Your unpaid vows will hinder your success. (Eccl 5:4)

03. Your unforgiven relationships will hinder your success. (Mark 11:25-26)

04. Your unwise associations will hinder your success.
“Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble”
(Proverbs 13:20). Remember, Satan’s favorite entry point is through someone close to you.

05. Your uncontrolled tongue will hinder your success.
“The mouths of fools are their ruin; they trap themselves with their lips”(Proverbs 18:7). “The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you” (Matthew 12:37). Remember, there’s a miracle in your mouth.

06. Your uncommitted heart will hinder your success.
“The double-minded person is unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:8).Remember, failure will only last as long as you permit it.

WELCOME TO LIFE SPEAKS.

Thank you for checking out the brand new LifeSpeaks.tv blog site. I have been trying to figure out some way to communicate with our church family, community  on some sort of regular basis. I considered a “Webcast.” But, just to be honest, it looked forced and artificial.

We already send out semi-regular e-mail blast. This certainly has its advantages. For starters, I can communicate to almost everyone who calls Life Fellowship Home without any initiative on their part. In addition, it’s free.

So, we decided to set up a blog (short for “Web Log”). That’s what you are reading now. This is not an attempt to be cool, to join the band wagon of all the other bloggers out there or to try to impress anyone with what I know. The truth is, the older I get, the less I know. Bottom Line: a blog is a simple way to speak with our LF family, and community. It’s focused on being a place where stories are told, leadership is imparted, truth is discovered and victories are celebrated.

I think it has several advantages:

  1. It is a familiar medium. It’s different than a book or a newsletter yet everyone knows how to read a blog.
  2. It provides a mechanism for feedback. E-mail does this, too, of course. All you have to do is “Reply.” However, it excludes other people from the conversation unless you “Reply All.” Unfortunately, that would generate hundreds of e-mail messages since I would be sending the original e-mail to hundreds and hundreds of people. In contrast, this blog allows for comments (see the bottom of this post). You can even enter your comments anonymously if you wish.
  3. It provides an archive of communications. This feature allows you to catch up if you have missed some of the posts. I think it might also prove helpful to new people who join Life Fellowship, allowing them to read the entries that interest them whenever they have the opportunity or interest.
  4. It is cheap. WordPress the blogging service I use is FREE. It’s hard to beat that. If you are interested in writing your own blog go to www.wordpress.com.
  5. It makes it easy to spread the word. When a blog is posted, if you like what you read, why not spread the word and repost the article, event, picture or video on your social network site.

Here’s how I anticipate this working. Periodically, myself or my staff will write a new post. I might even have a friend in ministry provide a guest post. These posts might be several per week or one a month. I honestly can’t predict the frequency. If you want to be alerted when a new blog has been posted, you can simply subscribe to the RSS feed. From there, it’s up to you.

Please do provide me with feedback. I want to hear “the good, the bad, and the ugly.” If you disagree with me or want to provide an alternative perspective, go for it! If you are uncomfortable using your real name, use an alias. The important thing is to tell us what’s on your mind.

With all that said, I am ready to take this journey aren’t you? Lets relive victories, discover new truths and of course in the process, lets have some fun.