And I pray that at the end of my life...I'll stand before the Lord and He'll say, "David, you were a man after My own heart."

Vintage message from November 28, 1999.

God always keeps His promise, even if we fail to keep ours… And this is my hope, this is my desire, and this is where I believe we need to be everyday of our life: do you realize that we, just as the children of Israel, are people of a covenant? We are the people of the new covenant. We are the people that Jesus came to, to shed His blood for, that said, “This is my new covenant. The covenant in my blood.” He made a covenant with you and I that He is, to this day, continually faithful to. My question is — and the question I hope you will have in your hearts and in your minds as we go through Kings — is, am I faithful to my part in that covenant? Am I living the life that the Holy Spirit would have me live?… How am I living for the covenant of God? How am I seeing the promises of God fulfilled through my life and through my ministry? And understand, everyone of you…have a ministry that you have been called to… As you step into this place of receiving Jesus into your life, you are part of a covenant and a ministry that requires of you a life that is pleasing to God. Now I have to tell you, I’m not always pleasing to God. I am not always faithful to the call. I am not always faithful to the ministry… And that’s why…these questions came up: how am I doing? …And I pray that at the end of my life, that just like [King] David, I’ll stand before the Lord and He’ll say to me, “David, you were a man after My Own heart.” And if that’s your desire, understand, you can’t go far wrong, even if you stumble and fall along the way, if your desire is to love and to serve and to be that vessel that God can use, His Holy Spirit will be there to pick you up, brush you off, and send you on your way…

So often we read the promises of God, we begin to understand the promises of God, we study the promises of God, we go through His Word, but then the first time trouble comes, we abandon those promises!… All too often I find [that] the decisions I make, the things I do, are really what’s best for me, not for those around me, not for the ministry that God has called me to. This is the question I have to begin to ask myself: am I making decisions based on a covenant and a ministry that I’m called to? Am I making decisions because I love God or because I love the power, I love the position? [It’s a] question I believe we all need to begin to ask: why am I doing the things I’m doing?…

God picks men and women, not because of their greatness, but because of His greatness and His ability to work. If God can make and mold me, if God can use me, He can mold and make you and use you, because He is the potter and we’re the clay. He’s the One Who does it. It’s His faithfulness that we’re depending on, but too often…we put ourselves forward. We take control. We take the reins. We make the decisions based on what’s good for us, based on what we want. Failing to see the needs of the people around us. Failing to see the promises of God. God would have us look to those promises, not to our own needs, not to our own comfort… God has given us promises, not for comfort, not for pleasure, but for peace. Peace that passes all understanding.

It's our flesh that tries to sit on that throne; that throne that belongs to [Jesus]. If you've received Jesus into your life, you've placed Him on a throne, and you've made promises to that throne.

Vintage message from December 5, 1999. (Damaged tape which produced gaps near the end of the message.)

How many times have we been in trouble? We’ve done something wrong and we’ve got ourself in trouble. Where do we flee? “Oh, God! You’ve got to help me this time! I promise, I’ll be a good boy. I won’t do it again!…” And I fear, so often, that we, even as believers, will start living a lifestyle that is contrary to God’s Word, and we get in trouble, and when we’re caught, we flee to the altar. Now, of course, it’s not such a bad thing to flee to the altar, because we do know that God is loving and forgiving… We will oftentimes beg mercy, [and] God grants us mercy…

God oftentimes reveals to us who are enemies are. You know who our deadliest enemy is? My deadliest enemy, and I believe your deadliest enemy that needs to be dealt with is the flesh. It’s not Satan. It’s not the world. Satan can sit back and laugh and relax and tempt all he wants, but do you know the reason we fall…, that we disobey God, that we go against the commands, that we go against the very promises that we made to God, is because our flesh gets the better of us. We have been filled with the Spirit. We have been given a spirit that can and should be in communion with God. God’s Holy Spirit has been given to us [so] that we can have close communion with God, but our flesh is still very much alive, even though we’re told to bury that flesh…

I’m telling you, there are enemies that need to be dealt with. Predominantly the enemy of your own flesh, because your flesh will get the better of you. If you are not in God’s Word, if you are not in that place of prayer before the Lord, if you’re not in fellowship with the Holy Spirit, you are giving place to your flesh. You are giving room for your flesh to come back and attack and haunt you. And I have seen so many brothers and sisters in the Lord, who have fallen away because they’ve given in to the desires, the lusts of their flesh. There are other enemies, but of less importance. Satan, the world, yeah, their enemies. They’re out there. The world will lure us, try to tempt us, but it’s our flesh that gives in. It’s our flesh that takes over. It’s our flesh that tries to sit on that throne, that throne that belongs to the Son of David [Jesus]. If you’ve received Jesus in your life, you’ve placed Him on a throne, and you’ve made promises to that throne…

And understand something. As much as God loves us, as much as He shows us mercy and gives us grace, He allows, He allows for there to be consequences to the actions we take in our flesh. He does not stop those consequences. He does not protect us from those consequences… God is far more concerned about the spirit that dwells in us than He is about this flesh. And He’ll let us suffer. He’ll let us go through hard times to get our attention.

We're going to sin. We're going to make mistakes. But where the problem comes in is when we begin to justify why what I've done is okay; why my living this lifestyle is okay...and we begin to justify our sin and not turn in repentance to God.

Vintage message from December 12, 1999.

How many of us…deal with our own problems first and foremost. We go out and, when something’s going on around us, we deal with it. If there’s an enemy, we deal with the enemy. And then, just to make sure that our lives are going to be comfortable, we make an alliance with the world. And then, after we’ve dealt with our enemies and we’ve made an alliance with the world, then we turn to God and say, “And oh, by the way God, would You bless these things that I’ve already done. God, make my life work right because I’ve made these decisions, and now I expect You to honor the decisions that I’ve made.” And we go to those high places. We go to those places where God said, “Do not go there, because I’m not there…”

Our “high places” vary. Our high places where we think that we can go and find God vary for each one of us. Our high places are those places where we are going to God, and telling God how He must accept us. Our high places are when we go to God and tell God, “This is what I’m doing, and this is how I’m doing it, and I’m just informing You of it.” Our high places are those places that we find ourself spending most of our time, and then we feel conscience-stricken, and we look up and say, “And, oh yeah, by the way, God, please bless me…” And God, in an unbelievable show of His love, even though He says, “I’m not there,” He makes the trip. He goes and meets me…”I’m over here. Meet Me here. give Me the struggles first. Let Me deal with your enemies first. You’re going to deal with your enemies in anger and hatred. I’ll deal with your enemies in love, and they won’t be your enemies any more.” …He wants to turn our enemies into friends who love Him and love us…

Do you realize, every time you give in to that comfort of your own flesh you are making an alliance with the world. This flesh, the comfort of this flesh, is not important. Our walk with the Lord is [important] — and sometimes, sometimes, walking with the Lord is uncomfortable… And this is the problem. So often, we buy into this thing that we should and have the right to be comfortable in this flesh…and even though we still love the Lord, we begin to step from that place of loving the Lord to only showing honor to the Lord…

Turn in repentance every time you find yourself stumbling and falling into sin. We’re going to sin. We’re going to make mistakes. But where the problem comes in is when we begin to justify why what I’ve done is okay; why my living this lifestyle is okay. “God doesn’t care if I do this. This is okay.” And we begin to justify our sin and not turn in repentance to God… I very seldom find myself saying, “God, I’m sorry that I made that silly, stupid decision before I asked You.” But I do find myself, a lot, saying, “God, would You clean up this mess? I made a decision and I made it in good conscience. Now, God, clean up the mess.” God wants true repentance for having made the decision first without asking Him.

Do you want to know that your tomorrow is secure? Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Love the Lord, and live according to the call, and then tomorrow will work together for good.

Vintage message from December 19, 1999.

The question comes to my mind: are we, like Israel, depending on the security and the safety that our nation offers us…or are we depending on the promises in God’s Word that says that all things work together for good to those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose? …Our future, our tomorrow, is not here yet. And the only promises that I read in God’s Word for tomorrow are that we can trust God when we put our faith in Him. Do you want to know that your tomorrow is secure? Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Love the Lord, and live according to the call, and then tomorrow will work together for good. It says, don’t worry about tomorrow for today has enough worries for itself…

And you know what? I find people today…putting their faith in a nation and in a government that is flawed, rather that in a God and in a relationship with that God Who gave us everything; Who gave us every reason to seek after Him and trust in Him. Rather than putting their trust and their faith in what He can do, they’re putting their trust and faith in what this nation stands for.

God loves us and fulfills His promises and not one part of His Word will fail.

Vintage message from January 2, 2000.

God did not wait for us to be good. God did not wait for us to do good. God did not care about the goodness that came from us. He loved us. He loved that that He created, and He desires for that that He’s created to be in relationship with Him. But so often, too often, we mistake God’s love and God’s blessing in our life as being something that we deserve, and then we turn and try to impress God with our goodness… What I see in the world today is a church that is more about impressing God with the great work that they can do, and the great buildings that they can build… “I’ve certainly done a great work for God! He must really be impressed!” I see that, so often. I hear that coming from people’s mouths. I hear their arrogance and their pride…

God does amazing things. God has chosen each of us as a temple to represent His name before this world. He has given us His Holy Spirit, and He indwells us. Though, let me tell you, there is nothing about this temple that’s impressive…but God still delights in using this decaying, falling apart, broken down temple… Do you realize you don’t go to church? If you are a believer, you are the church… The Holy Spirit draws us together as a strength to encourage and build up one another. He doesn’t draw us together so that we can put bricks and mortar together and make something for His name. We are what makes His name. How we live, how we are, is what shows the world Who God truly is. Not a nation. Not a temple…

I would challenge you to look into your heart and ask…am I simply doing a work so that I can stand up in Your face and say, “Look, God! Look what I’ve done for You. Look at how great I am. Look how good I am. I’m deserving of You. I deserve these blessings. Keep pouring them on! If You pour them on, then I’ll still do good works.” There is nothing good that we can do to impress God. God is impressed with Himself, and that’s not arrogance. That’s just the truth. God is it! God is where it’s at, and He knows it. He knows that we can do nothing without Him, and He knows that we can not exist except that He put the breath of life in us. He doesn’t need us for fellowship. He doesn’t need us to do good things for Him. He doesn’t need us to stroke Him or rub His back. He doesn’t need us to sit here and praise Him. I’ve asked before, why did God create us? [Others say,] “So that we would praise Him. He needs our praise. He needs our prayers. He needs us to uplift Him.” He needs nothing. Oh, He desires all of those things. He desires for us to love Him. He desires for us to praise Him. He desires for us to rub His back and to stroke Him, but we don’t do that because of ourself. We do that because of His love for us…

And it’s a lesson that each of us would be good to learn: that God fulfills His promises. God loves us and fulfills His promises, and not one part of His Word will fail. Not one part…

If you hear nothing else today, I hope you hear…that your hearts must be fully committed. I believe that this is the call that God puts out to us today, too… We can not expect for God to love us, honor the things that we do, and bring us into heaven if we’re not going to honor Him…

When we do not follow God's Word, when we do not study God's Word,... when we abandon the principles of God and what He teaches us, we step onto a slippery slope, and we begin to slide away.

Vintage message from January 9, 2000.

We fall into this trap too often of thinking that we need to do something for God. We need to be God’s friend and do Him a favor. We need to make a sacrifice to God to impress Him…

When we do not follow God’s Word, when we do not study God’s Word, when we do not allow God to have that place in our life, when we abandon the principle of God and what He teaches us, we step onto a slippery slope, and we begin to slide away. We turn around and we see God getting further and further from us, and it is our tendency to say, “God, why are You leaving me?” God is standing right where He’s always stood: in that place of authority; in that place of power; in that place of strength; and the only reason that we are getting further away from God is not because He’s abandoning us, but because we are abandoning Him. Because we have not obeyed God’s word…

Do you realize that God doesn’t want your favors? That God doesn’t want your temples? God doesn’t want the things that you can do for Him to impress Him? He cares for you. And these words, which should sink so deeply in to each and every one of our hearts when we hear it, “You mean God cares for me? He doesn’t want my temple? He doesn’t need my praise and worship to exist?” Oh, He loves those things. He loves it when our hearts are right with Him, and we fall before Him in worship and praise, when we gather together in fellowship and build one another up. He loves that when we do that because we love Him. But when we’re doing it simply out of the fulfilling of an obligation, it’s building a “temple,” it’s building another place, it’s doing another work, and God does not care about the work that we do. He cares about the heart attitude in which the work is done…

I sometimes take a look at my own heart and…I oftentimes have to stop and review my own heart toward God, my own love relationship with God, and I find, oftentimes, that what I’m doing is simply fulfilling my obligation to God. No more… We begin to miss the point. Even though we may have entered into a relationship with the Lord, even though we may have asked Jesus into our heart sometimes, just like Solomon, …we get so caught up in the things we’re doing in and for this world, even our service to the Lord sometimes becomes a snare to us, because we do it out of obligation…

And I would hope that the message I’m getting across to you is that…it would check our heart attitude. Why am I here? What do I hope to gain by serving God? Am I serving God because maybe next week I’ll acquire the mansion and the Cadillac and the gold chain? Or, would I serve God even if I was in a dirt hovel in the middle of a field with no shoes, barely a shirt on my back, and beans for my meal? Would I still find myself coming to fellowship with my brothers and sisters with a smile on my face, understanding the great blessing that God has poured in my life? God lays out very clearly in His Word how He wants us to worship Him. Jesus says He desires to be worshiped in Spirit and in truth.

Have you ever found yourself asking, "God, what must I do for You?" It's simple! Keep His commands. Love the Lord your God and love your neighbor. Simple. God'll do everything else!

Vintage message from January 16, 2000.

Sometimes…in our lives we begin to experience hardships. We begin to experience anger and mistrust of people around us. It’s always a good idea at that point in your life — when you begin to feel the heat of struggle in that way — to say, “Lord, have I done something to offend You? Am I out of Your will in some way?” because, understand, God does not mind using the things world and the enemies that are in the world to buffet our flesh, to get our attention…

We need to be serious in our hearts about how we feel about God; what our relationship with God is… We are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. People are looking on… Our lives — your life and my life — mean something to God, and it means something to those that are around us and people are watching what we do. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” [Hebrews 12:1-3] Do you know how not to grow weary? Do you know how not to lose heart in running the race that’s laid before you?… We need to look at Jesus. We need, everyday, to take time to gaze at Him, to gaze at what He did in His Word, to gaze at the power of His Spirit that He’s given us. If we’ll look at Him, if we will consider Him Who endured such opposition, Jesus took His faith to the cross. He lived His life for the Father perfectly, and now we can look at Him. No matter what men are doing around us, no matter how much fun they’re having, or we think they’re having, if we will simply look at Jesus then we will not grow weary and we will not lose heart…

Have you ever found yourself asking, “God, what must I do for You?” It’s simple! Keep His commands. Love the Lord your God and love your neighbor. Simple! God’ll do everything else!… Fear God, keep His commandments. This is my duty… No matter how great we think we are, no matter how far we’ve come from, no matter what we’ve accomplished, we must fear God and obey His commandments… We fulfill the commands of God simply by loving and fearing God. Very simple.

Do you realize, we are the byproduct of a great and loving God? He loves us tremendously, and all He seeks from us is relationship, acknowledgement, knowledge in His Word, so that we, in turn, not only experience His love but then share that same love with those around us.

Vintage message from January 23, 2000.

People have abandoned the study of God’s Word, people have abandoned the knowledge of God’s Word, and they’ve refined it down to principles of God’s Word. It is no longer the Ten Commandments, but the ten suggestions, and if it’s convenient we might follow them. And then God sent us His Son, Jesus who said, “Okay, I’ll make it easy for you. I will fulfill the commandments for you, I will live the law for you, and I will die to prove My faithfulness to My Father, and then all you have to do is believe in Me. All you have to do is receive Me…” Jesus made it simple, but in our society today we’ve reduced it down to, well, if you’ll go to church, if you do good things. We’ve taken the simplicity of God’s Word, and the understanding that God has given us and we’ve reduced it to fit our schedules, to fit our lifestyles, to fit our desires. And so that we do not have to admit that we’re sinners, so we don’t have to face the gross, ugly fact that [I] have sin issues that are gross before the throne of God, and they need to be dealt with. We don’t call it sin anymore. Oh, we call it problems, issues, or we just outright deny it and say, “This is the way I was born. God made me this way, so therefore I have to stay this way,” and we deny any issues that would cause us to have to fall on our face before the living God and be responsible to Him and His Word…

This is something you and I can grasp onto. The fact is, when God makes a promise, and especially His eternal promises to us, He does not break His promises even if, many times, we are unfaithful to Him, God is always, always faithful to His own Word, to His own promises…

We have in our life opportunities. We’ve been given God’s Word. We’ve been given a place where we can seek God, where we can know God’s heart. God has sought after us. We, like Israel, are a people who have been given a very special privilege… You and I have been given such a wonderful privilege to know our Lord and Savior… And we have to ask, as I’ve asked before…what other gods…do we seek after, other than the Lord God Who saved us?…

Do you realize, we are the byproduct of a great and loving God? He loves us tremendously, and all He seeks from us is relationship, acknowledgement, knowledge in His Word, so that we, in turn, not only experience His Love but then share that same love with those around us. The whole time while holding firm to the fact that our neighbors, our brothers, our sisters, everyone we know has issues of sin — we can love them regardless, just as God loved us regardless. But we get so caught up in seeking after other gods, looking at the things the world looks at, worshipping the things that the world worships… It’s time that we give God and His Word our full attention.

God, I have fallen short. Deal with it in me, and help me to be faithful to You. To come to You the next time I fall short. Make Your Word clear to me. Allow me to be as faithful as I can to Your Word. Let me be an example and a witness.

Vintage message from January 30, 2000.

This is the lesson that God, I believe, wants all of us to learn… We turn to friends oftentimes when we’re in trouble, we turn to friends when we’re struggling, we turn to pastors, we turn to people of importance, people that we think we can trust. But understand something. If you have not turned to God first and foremost, you have not turned to the right place. If you’re struggling with something, you know what? I’m more than happy to pray with you, and I know there are many people in this room who are happy to pray with you, but the only thing that really matters is, what has God told you to do? What does God expect of you? And you know what? God never contradicts His own Word. It doesn’t change…

God’s Word is true. God does not change His mind. God has a plan, and that plan is going to happen. God just simply asks for us to be aware of what’s there in His Word… There are simple things within God’s Word that He has asked of us, and the only way you won’t know of it is if you don’t read His Word. And let me tell you something. You have a responsibility…to read and know what’s in God’s Word…

God is looking for men and women whose hearts will be devoted, given fully to Him, who takes His word seriously, who takes serving Him seriously… Throughout history God has tried to say to His people, “I love you. I want relationship with you. I want to use you, and I want men who are going to be faithful to Me,” but that faithfulness is found in repentance and seeking forgiveness for our sin, not in what we do… And it’s in that seeking forgiveness that we become faithful to God. It’s in seeking that forgiveness that we become men and women that God can truly use, because He’s sending us into a world of faithlessness. He’s sending us into a world where there’s altars that are built to worship other gods. And those gods are meaningless, and God knows this, we know this, but the people who worship them have no clue…

I don’t expect any of you to be perfect. I’m not perfect. God knows you’re not perfect… God didn’t expect man to be perfect when He sought man out for love relationship… [We need to] look at our lives and see the areas where we have fallen short and simply say, “God, I have fallen short. Deal with it in me, and help me to be faithful to You to come to You the next time I fall short. Make Your Word clear to me. Allow me to be as faithful as I can to Your Word. Let me be an example and a witness.”

God, you have my attention. Tell me what You want.

Vintage message from February 13, 2000.

God loves to raise men and women up who will honor Him and respect Him and be an example... so that He is glorified, so that His strength is shown to a world that is lost and dying without Him.

Vintage message from February 27, 2000.

Do you realize that God has called each of us, and especially, especially men who are called to leadership within the church, that are called to leadership within their family…we have been given a great responsibility to lead. God has given people to us who we are responsible to, to show God’s love, to show faithfulness. Our faithfulness to God. Our faithfulness to God’s Word. Our faithfulness to raise our families to know and love God… And there is not one of us sitting in this room today that does not have a call of leadership on your life. I don’t care how young or how old you are. There is not a one of us that has failed in having a call placed on us to lead someone, somehow, some way with our life… We can either abandon the godly leadership, the role that’s been laid before us, the help that God can give us, we can abandon it or we can trust the God Who created us. We can trust the God Who has given us this responsibility, and rather than bowing to the idols that are in our homes, [we can] cause them to cease to be idols and use them as the tools they were meant to be…

We spend literally hours of our lives trying to find the right kind of entertainment that will make us feel good. Rather than wasting that time, we can give that time back to the Lord and use those things in their proper context as tools. It’s not wrong to sit down and relax for a while and watch some TV. I don’t see anything wrong with that. To listen to the radio. To read a good book. But, if that’s where the majority of our time is going, if we fail to pray, if we fail to get into God’s Word (and understand, I’ve talked to people, many people, who tell me, “Dave, I just don’t have time to pray and read the Bible. There’s just not enough hours in the day!”), but you know what? I’ll bet they sure were enjoying the three and a half hours of television they watched last night…but there’s not enough time in the day to read God’s Word or to pray. These are responsibilities of leadership that we’ve been given. We’ve been called to be examples…

Do you want a blessing in your life? Live the example that Jesus lived for us! Take the call to leadership. Husbands, dads, men, take the call to leadership; to live the example that Jesus lived before us. He may not have physically come and washed our feet the way He did the disciples, but He left us a beautiful picture of how He did it [John 13:12-17], and He has cleansed each of our souls. He’s forgiven our sins. He has worked in our lives. He has led us by the hand. The very things we need to be doing to a dying world. The things we need, as husbands, to be doing to our wives: taking them by the hand, leading them into God’s Word, sharing our enthusiasm and our excitement about our love for God. Wives, women, you have the responsibility to take those around you. Paul tells us, older women teach the younger women. And what are you to be teaching them? How to raise their families and love their husbands. A call to leadership. Children, you have a call to be responsible to your parents. and we have a call of responsibility, a call of leadership, to step out into our communities, to lead people to that place where they will meet and at least be given the right to know and receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. That is the greatest responsibility given to the disciples of Jesus Christ…

The call to leadership is a serious business… And I know [this] is the thought in many of our minds, “Who am I? What am I? Why would anyone want to follow me? Why would anyone want to trust me? I’m a nothing!” God uses nothings! God can raise the dust up, if He so chooses. God loves to raise men and women up who will honor Him and respect Him and be an example to the community around them, so that He is glorified, so that His strength is shown to a world that is lost and dying without Him.

God has called Elijah to a place of simple obedience, simple trust, sharing the Word as God gave it to him, and resting, resting in what God has given him. Plain and simple. That is what we are called to today.

Vintage message from March 5, 2000.

Have you ever asked yourself, “God, why are the bad things happening in my life the way they’re happening?” Have you ever found yourself struggling with a hard time? Have you ever found yourself, especially becoming angry and despondent over hard times in your life? Well, let me tell you, one of the reasons that these things happen in your life — just one of the reasons, there are many reasons… — the simple reason of humbling [us]… And you know what? Being humbled by God is not a bad thing. We look at the hardships as being bad, or we look at the hardships as being punishment. We look at the hardships as being something that is disastrous, but do you realize that it’s the hard times that forms character within us? It strengthens us, and it causes us to trust in God in ways that we never thought possible to trust in a God. We begin to put faith and trust in our own strength, in our own flesh, in our own life, in our own jobs, in our own way of life… Is God trying to get your attention? Have you ever asked yourself that question? In the midst of a struggle, “Hmmm, God, have I not been listening to You? Are You trying to get my attention?” Humbling us is one way that God uses to bring us back into His will, to make us right with Him…

Another question I have to ask today, …have I repented of the sins of my life? Have I given God any reason to hold any sin against me? Have I tried to hide anything? Have I made myself unusable? Or, if my history was ever written out — you’ve got to ask yourself these questions occasionally — if my life was ever written out by the finger of God, what would God say? “David was wholly devoted to Me. He was a man after My own heart. Well, except in the case of…” for me, maybe many! I don’t know, because I hide so much. Do you realize we hide our hearts far more than we should? From each other and from God. Jesus was very clear that we were to share our sin, to repent of our sin and to be cleansed from it and freed from it…

We don’t always think about it. We don’t think about how our actions affect the heart of God. One minute we trust God, we’re crying out to Him, the next minute we’re trusting in our own devices, in our own strength, and our own power. God has become the McDonald’s religion; the fast-food God. We pull into the drive-thru and we come to the speaker and we give God one of these: “Yes, You can take my order, God. I’ll have some rent money and some utility money and, oh yes, God, my car payment is due. And, oh by the way, God, yes, You can throw in the healing for my kids because they’ve been sick…” Many of us, even though we don’t pray in those exact words, we pray this way. God is the God of convenience for us. The fast-food God, because when we finish the prayer then we say, “Oh yeah, God, make it snappy, because I’m in kind of a hurry here. Bless me, God. Bless me, God.” And you know what? It’s amazing, it is amazing, that even with those kind of prayers, God hears, and God answers… But understand, fast-food is not healthy… Praying selfishly, praying that fast-food prayer will kill you. It’s not healthy. God wants people… His eyes are roaming through looking for men who’s hearts will be fully devoted. Not the ones who are only going to cry out Him when they’re in a hard situation. He wants men and women who are going to pray, “God, use me because You want to use me. Let Your will be done in my life. If there has to be some hardship in my life, God, then let it be. Humble me, but make me Your vessel.” Now, pray that prayer sometime. I’ve done that one, too, and let me tell you, I didn’t like it because sometimes God calls us, and He uses us, in ways that we don’t want to be used…

Once again, I just have to ask the question, “Are you struggling in your life? Are there hard things going on in your life right now? Is God trying to get your attention for some reason? Is there something that God is trying to say to you but you do not want to listen to Him?… I know so many people…that suffer desperately in their life, that are sick, maybe not physically but spiritually, and God allows the illness in order that they might cry out to Him, but they continue, day after day, week after week, in this illness of the spirit. They become completely useless to the Lord because they refuse to cry out, “God, You have my attention.” Not, “God, heal me. God, do something with me. Do something in me,” but simply, “God, You have my attention.” [Do] you want to hear God speak to you? You want to know God’s will in your life? You want to know the direction God wants you to go? Instead of laying out the shopping list for God, the list of everything you want God to do for you, just simply say, “God, You have my attention. Tell me what You want.” It’s amazing. If you do that enough, [if] you trust His Word, God will do great things with you. You may not think they’re great, but from God’s perspective, everything He’ll do with you…is great.

Have you ever asked yourself that question...am I mature in Christ? Simple test: do I love those who disagree with me? "They will know you are My disciples by your love." Love one another. It doesn't say agree with one another.

Vintage message from March 12, 2000.

[Jesus] intended for us to have differences. He intended for us to understand things differently. He created each of us uniquely, individually. It is okay — understand this — it is okay to disagree. It is not okay to allow that disagreement to be a division amongst you. Do you see the difference? We are going to disagree from time to time, but the standard for maturity, if you want to know what makes the body mature, if you want to know, am I mature in Christ? Have you ever asked yourself that question: am I maturing or am I mature in Christ? Simple test: do I love those who disagree with me? The greatest of all the gifts, the greatest that God has ever given us, is the ability to love, and in fact, Jesus says, “They will know you’re My disciples, they will know you are My disciples,” not if you speak in tongues, not if you’re slain in the Spirit, not if you go around ranting and raving, not if you have some great knowledge in His Word. He didn’t list any of those as the criteria of knowing if you are a disciple of Christ, if you’re maturing in Him but, “They will know you are My disciples by your love.” Love one another. It doesn’t say agree with one another. It says don’t be divided from one another. Love one another, work through the disagreements — which you will have — and be strengthened because of it…

Part of the maturing process within us is to simply obey God’s Word. It’s not as simple as it sounds. Sometimes it’s very difficult…

This is, by the way, the standard response of the average Christian. Given a simple task to do, we begin to see all of the reasons why we can’t succeed in what we’ve been asked to do. Worry sets in, and all of a sudden we see doom and disaster and destruction… You know, sometimes it’s easier just to do things for God than to actually stand up and say what it is the Lord wants you to say. Sometimes, sometimes, God prefers for us to just simply stop and tell someone, “This is what the Lord says. This is what God wants you to know. This is how God would have you to live.” Do you realize that that is much harder for those words to come out of your mouth that to do some great task that nobody knows about. It’s called being a closet Christian. You serve God, you go to church, you do all the good things, but you’re surrounded by people who need to hear, you’re surrounded by people to whom you need to open your mouth — and understand, God will make it clear when it’s that time. But when God makes it clear, don’t make excuses. Don’t panic…

“If the Lord is God, follow Him.” A very, very simple statement, one that I’ll make today. If the Lord is God, follow Him. Trust Him. Put your faith in this God Who created you and loved you enough to send His Son to die for you. If He’s not God, understand something: you’re wasting your time sitting here today. But God has proven Himself over and over again.

Do you know what you should be doing for God, or are you so busy hiding that you don't know what you should be doing for God? I'd say it's time to spend some time with the Lord. Let Him whisper to your heart.

Vintage message from March 26, 2000.

Just because you’ve had major victories in the Lord does not mean that every single time you face a struggle or a trial you are going to be victorious in that struggle or trial. We’re told that we are to daily put on the armor of God. And even though we, today, are indwelt with God’s Holy Spirit does not mean we are not going to have failures in our life. There are things that happen in our life that scare us. There are things that happen in life that discourage us. There are things that happen in our life that we just do not want to face…

That’s the thing that I’ve learned in my relationship with God as well, that when God reveals Himself to us, when the Holy Spirit begins to speak, the earth doesn’t shake. Trees don’t blow down in front of us. That’s what we’re looking for. That’s what we want to see. “Well, if God was real He would do these things in front of me. Then I would know He’s real.” But God doesn’t speak to us that way. God is gentle, and He speaks to us with gentleness…

Fleeing back to the old things. Hiding in those old places. Hiding in religiosity. Thinking that somehow God will honor us, God will respect us because we’re “religious” in some way. God will do great things through us if we show Him how religious we can be…but God says, “What are you doing here?” …God does not want us to run and hide in religion. God does not want us to run and hide in the past. God does not want us running and hiding at all. You know, we sometimes find ourselves in real depths of despair and depression. We find ourselves afraid, and we run and hide. We hide behind our work, …we hide behind our hobbies, and sometimes we just hide. We do not have fellowship. We do not seek the love of the body. We do not allow people into our lives because we’re hiding. And I believe that God would ask us the same question that He asked Elijah, “What are you doing here?” Where is it that you’re hiding today? Hear the question. What are you doing here? Why are you hiding? God has done great and mighty things in your life! And going back to the “mountain” isn’t going to help… It’s not by being here [in church] that God sees us as being faithful, but I know a lot of people who hide in church. They use their church experience as their reasoning when they stand before God. “Well, God, I was faithful to You because I went to church every Sunday. Oh well, okay, so I was godless every other day of the week. I did what you required, and I went to church.” It’s a hiding place so that we do not have to deal with the things that God wants to deal with in us. He wants to speak to us. He wants to work in us. He wants to show Himself mighty through us every single day of our life, not just on Sunday, not just in religion. God is not religion, and He does not want religious people. God is the creator of this universe, and He wants relationship with those who would listen to His gentle voice speaking to them, who will seek after Him daily, and trust Him when He says He’s going to do something…

Why did God allow bad things to happen to those who were faithful to Him? …Let me tell you, there’s a lot of things in this life that we just do not understand. There are things in this life we will struggle with that we do not understand, and we try to accuse and blame God for it, and though it may be God Who is doing it, it’s not for the bad but it’s for the good. We sling accusation at God, and God is saying, “But I’m doing it because I love you, and I’m proving you to a society that hates Me…”

What has God called you to? What should you be doing for God? Do you know what you should be doing for God, or are you so busy hiding that you don’t know what you should be doing for God? I’d say it’s time to spend some time with the Lord. Let Him whisper to your heart. Be truthful with Him. He wants worshippers who are going to worship Him in spirit and in truth. Pray from all that is within you, and be truthful with God. “God, I’m a sinner. It’s not Your fault, it’s my fault. I’m here hiding because I’m just a coward. I don’t know how to face life. I don’t know how to do Your will. That’s why I’m here.” And God will tell you what He wants you to do and how He wants you to do it… We can not allow the fear of this world, the fear of the challenge that God lays before us, to send us into hiding, because when we turn to God, the God Who created this universe, God Who can tear rocks apart with the wind, God Who can send an earthquake, we’ll hear Him say, “What are you doing here? I’m more powerful than that.” Don’t you trust that? Don’t you trust that God can take care of your bills? Don’t you trust that God can take care of your food? Don’t you trust that God can meet the needs of your life, even if what He’s called you to might be difficult?… Where are you hiding today? Allow God to come even if the words that He says to you is, “Go back.” Allow God to speak to your hearts.

Lord God, You are my God. I will live for You. All that I am, all that I have is Yours.

Vintage message from April 2, 2000.

What lengths does God have to go to in our lives to get our attention so that we know He is God? So that we begin to put our trust in Him?…

Sometimes — and I pray for the day that this happens in our nation — our leaders have to come to that place of saying, “I will trust in God. I will stand before my nation, and I will trust God…”

How many times — think about the church corporate throughout history — how many times has the church made treaties with the world, rather than saying to the world, “I need nothing you have. My God is able to provide abundantly for me. You keep all that you have…”

I ask myself, where am I in the overall scheme of things? Am I in the world? Am I simply part of the church corporate…? Or am I truly living as one of the prophets who trust God, who allows God to work in and through him? What lengths has God gone to to get my attention? …[God] wants the world to know that He is a God of love that will show mercy. He wants to deal with the world because the world is a snare to those that love Him, to those that He’s calling, that He’s trying to deal with. But too often, even though His mercy and His love has been poured out on us, we reject, we turn away, and we make the treaty with the world. And understand, God comes to the place…where finally He’s had enough. If you want the world, if you want to live in the world, He will let you live in the world… What is it going to cost us if we continue to put our trust in the things of the world?…

God wants to deal with us. God wants to show us His love and His mercy. And He calls out to us. And He sends people to us. And He wants to use us to go to other people. The question we have to ask, the question I have to ask, am I willing?… Are we going to live a life of doubt? Are we going to live a life of inconsistency and faithlessness before our God? Or are we going to come to that place of saying, “Lord God, You are my God. I will live for You. All that I am, all that I have is Yours.” That’s all it takes: giving our lives over, trusting Him, and letting Him do the rest.

Do you know what God is passionate about? God is passionate about seeing men come to a place of repentance and humility.

Vintage message from April 16, 2000.

Do you know what God is passionate about? …As great of a testimony as it is that He blesses us by giving us the things that we need when we pray, God is not passionate about meeting our needs. He meets them. God is not passionate about making sure that we have cars that run; God is not passionate about making sure that we have food on our table; God is not passionate about making sure that we have clothes on our back, even though He gives us those things. God loves to bless those that He has created, but do you know what it is that God is passionate about? God is passionate about seeing men come to a place of repentance and humility, and God will do whatever it takes to see that men will come to that place of repentance and humility. God was so passionate about seeing us come to that place that He even gave His Son to die; that He was beaten and that He was tormented and that He was killed; that His very blood was spilled on the ground [so] that you and I might come to a place of repentance and humility. For all of the things that God gives us, for all of the things that God will do for us, for all of the things that we will pray about, that we want God to be passionate about, God may give us the things that we ask, but let me tell you something. God is not passionate about the things that have to do with this flesh. God has allowed for His children to suffer. God has allowed for His children to die. God has allowed for His children to go without clothes. God has allowed for His children to starve to death. Throughout history, God has allowed for those whom He loves and [who] love Him to suffer great ordeals. Things that you and I would fall on our knees and beg God for, God has allowed men to suffer without. We think God should be passionate about those things. We think God should be passionate about the things that we’re passionate about…

What are you passionate about? What is it that drives your life? What is it that you look for in your future? How do you respond when you see the wickedness happening around you?…What is it that we become impassioned about? Does our passion line up with the passion of God?…

What are you passionate about? What direction is your heart going in? What do you think about when you see God dealing kindly with a person, lovingly with a person, that you want to see stomped? What do you think about that? I find in my life that’s an area where I have to say, “God, I need a lot of work…”

What am I passionate for? What do I want to see God do in this world? What do I want to see God able to complete in this world? Is it all for me? As long as I have all the things I need, or are my thoughts truly reaching out to my neighbor who may be struggling and suffering?…

God wants to see a world humbled before Him, brought to repentance, given into relationship to Him. It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about God. He desires to have relationship with us.

Are we a people who are different? Are we a people who stick out? Are we a people who are recognized for our godliness? Are we a people who are recognized for our godly speech and our love for our neighbors? Are we a people who are recognized because we stand firm in the things of God? Or, have we become so entangled in the things of the world...that the people around us can tell no difference?

Vintage message from April 30, 2000.

One of the things I’ve come to learn in my years of being a Christian, that we have to be very careful [with] the alliances we make with the world. We have to live in the world. God placed us in the world for a reason. He wants us to be a light and a witness to the godless in this world, but oftentimes, in trying to be that light and that witness, we enter into treaties and alliances with the people of the world; that we befriend the things of the world; and then, soon, are caught up in those things of the world, and God says do not be caught up in the things of the world. And as we enter into this place where we make the treaties with the world, we get ourselves in trouble…

Sometimes those who are hardest on you are probably your best friends. The ones who will speak the truth to you, even though that truth may be harsh, they are your best friends. They’re the ones you want to listen to… It is too easy to gather “yes-men” around us: people who will tell us what we want; people who will tickle our itching ears. If you’re doing that, you are standing on a very slippery slope. If all of the counsel you ever get is from friends who tell you everything you want to hear, let me tell you, you are living dangerously…

A true man of God is one who is going to speak the truth even though it’s painful, even though it may mean he’s going to suffer… God’s Word says that if you trust Him, if you will believe Him, all things work together for good. Even the uncomfortable things. Even the things you don’t like. Even if you have to wait. Even if you don’t want what’s coming your way. Even if you’re not getting your way. It works together for good. And God uses those times, I believe specifically, to tear away portions of our flesh to reveal the spirit that’s inside of us that needs to be having fellowship with God. But our flesh is continually in the way, causing us to hear the lies around us, feeds our flesh, and let me tell you, the more you desire something in your flesh, the more you can probably figure that it’s wrong. If it makes your flesh feel good, you might want to question it. If it’s there only for your pleasure, if it’s there only for your comfort, if all that you’re doing is just making you happy, you might want to stop and question it… And that’s the biggest danger: when we live only for our comfort, when God’s Word finally is revealed, we don’t want to believe it. We fall for the lie rather than stand for the truth…

I have to ask myself this question: have I become so much like this world that the people of the world can not recognize me until I finally open my mouth and shout for God to save me? Have I become so much like the world that I can walk through the streets and no one recognizes me as being anything different than they are? Are we a people who are different? Are we a people who stick out? Are we a people who are recognized for our godliness? Are we a people who are recognized for our godly speech and our love for our neighbors? Are we a people who are recognized because we stand firm in the things of God? Or, have we become so entangled in the things of the world, that our flesh has become so comfortable in the world, that the people around us can tell no difference? That in this battle that we fight daily in this world that the enemies of God do not recognize us as being anything different?