When was the last time we found ourself saying...They're God's problems. They're not my problems. Let God deal with them because God knows how to deal with them.

Vintage message from January 31, 1999.

David for years refused to kill Saul even when he had the opportunity because he knew that Saul was in God’s hands. He was the Lord’s anointed. God put him there. Let God deal with him. When was the last time we found ourself saying that about the problems that we face? They’re God’s problems. They’re not my problems. Let God deal with them because God knows how to deal with them…

For generations people have been living in sin, and other people have been living in that same sin because they look at the other person and say, “Well, he’s doing it. Obviously it’s okay if he’s doing it…” Eventually our lives are going to affect our children. Our lives will affect the people around us. And our lives have also been affected by the people who are in our life…because people are not willing to say, “Enough is enough. The sin stops here! I will not allow it to go any further than this. I will call it sin. I will deal with it as sin, and I will get rid of it because it is sin…”

I don’t care who you believe your enemies are, they’re not your enemies. They’re God’s enemies. Let God deal with them. In fact, you’re better off if you have no enemies. Even if you look at the person who would spitefully use you and take advantage of you or harm you, if they’re doing that, let God deal with that, because in God’s eyes, from God’s perspective we all, each one of us deserves to be called His enemy, and He didn’t leave it that way. He doesn’t desire to call us enemies. He desires to forgive. He desires to purify. He desires to cleanse us from that sin that’s in our life that makes us the enemy… We, too often, allow for the problems of our employers to be our problems. We allow for the problems of our mate to be our problems. We allow for the problems of life that goes on outside us to be our problems. They’re not our problems. If we are walking right with the Lord, if we will stay strong in our relationship with the Lord, they are the Lord’s problems… If you have need, if there are problems in your life, if you will simply seek Him first, He’ll deal with it. He will deal with it. He doesn’t need us getting in the way.

Are you only inquiring of God..when it suits you, when it's convenient for you, when something big is happening in your life? Or are you turning to...the Lord every day?

Vintage message from February 7, 1999.

One of the things I find within the body of Christ is we end up with division amongst us because we are out of fellowship with God. We may be Christians. We may go to church. We may even read our Bible. But, just because we do things, does not necessarily mean that we are fellowshipping with God, that we’re in agreement with what God is doing. Therefore, we are not in agreement with what God wants to do in the body of Christ. And sometimes, this brings division…

One of the things that brings division to us is change. Anytime there’s something in our life that changes, it divides us… It brings turmoil… oftentimes arguing and fighting, struggling because of change… There should never be division amongst you… But you see, not everybody agrees with what God wants to do. Not everybody agrees with how things are supposed to happen… There are differences of opinion. There are people who like one thing and not another. They take matters into their own hands… And within the body of Christ, there are people — pastors, friends, neighbors — that are within our church that sometimes are doing things that we disagree with, things that we don’t understand, and you know what? We want to attack. We don’t like what they’re doing. We don’t like the changes coming. We don’t like the recommendations that they’re giving because it involves me and it means I might have to change. Someone else might want to do something differently than how I’ve always done it. Heaven forbid!… Change is tough!…

There should not be division amongst us because division brings death, and especially if we are brothers and sisters together, trained by the same book… We are led by the same Master, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But you know what? [We act like] that’s not always enough. [We] sometimes disagree. Sometimes he sees something different than I do… We allow ourself, because we are in the flesh, to come to these points of anger, but it should never happen. Paul says agree with one another so that there can be that unity… Let’s go to the Lord. You know what? We never, never have to be divided on any issue, on any subject… If you don’t agree with me, okay, don’t agree with me, but come and discuss with me… We are a body of brothers and sisters together. Once we said, yes Lord Jesus, we became part of a family, and like so often happens in families, we disagree, and fights happen, and division happens, but Paul said, don’t let it happen because division oftentimes ends up just as we read: the daggers come out and death happens. Division in the church is death…

Are you only inquiring of God “in the course of time,” when it suits you, when it’s convenient for you, when something big is happening in your life? Or are you turning to fellowship and relationship with the Lord everyday, and dwelling in your heart and your mind on what does God want me to be doing every moment of the day? That’s what stops division. That’s what stops this kind of death.

Put on the full armor of God, but remember, the ultimate goal of wearing the full armor of God -- the goal of being able to stand firm in God's mighty power -- is so that I can, in every way, be prepared to pray for you.

Vintage message from February 14, 1999.

When we leave our hearts to our own devices, we have an enemy that comes in and he wreaks havoc within the body of Christ. He brings an attack that we feel we need to defend. We need to stand our ground, but you know what? Oftentimes…we attack one another when the whole time the Bible tells us we don’t battle against each other. Our battle isn’t against flesh and blood… You know what? When we have disagreements, when there are things that we can not reason through in our hearts and our minds, that’s the time to stop and pray. You know, we’re having a disagreement here. I’m not going to tell you you’re wrong. I am willing, at this point, to say there is information that one or the other of us is lacking, or maybe there is just simply time that we have not given to discussion. Let’s add that element of time by spending the time praying rather than pulling out “daggers,” rather than trying to make a name for ourself, rather than trying to show the whole world…

We don’t give God that opportunity [to work it out]. When someone steps on my toes, I’m stepping back. When someone pushes me, I’m pushing back. When someone says something that I disagree with, well, the fight is on! And you know what? I know God’s Word enough that I can stand my ground pretty well. I know how to use my sword! But we miss the point. God did not put a Bible in our hands so that we could hack one another to pieces… You know, sometimes it is enough to know that I’m right. I don’t have to pursue you. I don’t have to argue with you. I don’t have to put you down. I don’t have to eat you alive with my great Bible knowledge. This is the danger, when we get a little bit of knowledge, it puffs us up, and we’re going to prove to everybody we have this knowledge. But you know, I don’t have to. If I’m right, if I believe I’m right, if I know I’m right, and someone comes to me with something that I believe is wrong, I do not have to pursue them. But I do have to do something, and especially if they’re within the body of Christ. If they’re my brother or sister, I must always pray for them. I don’t have to attack. It’s not my place to attack. The battle isn’t mine. The battle is God’s… So there’s never an excuse for us to bring division to the body of Christ. Never an excuse, because, when we bring that division, once we bring that kind of attack, there are consequences…

It’s not wrong to stand your ground, but the only pursuit that we are offered here [in Ephesians 6:10-18] is prayer. We put on the full armor of God. We learn God’s Word. We study within God’s Word so that we can effectively use the sword. We walk in faith so that we can stand with a shield. We put on a helmet that speaks to our heart about salvation. We protect ourself by allowing the Holy Spirit of God to dwell in and through us, and we stand firm…

Put on the full armor of God, but remember, the ultimate goal of wearing the full armor of God, the goal of being able to stand firm in God’s mighty power, is so that I can, in every way, be prepared to pray for you. Always, in everything, in every way, I need to be praying for you because you are my brothers and sisters within the body. If there’s disagreement, and disagreement will come, if there’s misunderstanding, because misunderstanding will come, we need to be praying for one another, encouraging and building one another up…

I will echo Abner’s words, “Don’t you know that it will only end in bitterness” if you pursue your brothers? If you’re not praying, if you’re opening your mouth to each other before you open your mouth to God, it will only end in bitterness. Mark every word. Check every desire. Look at your heart before you pursue your brother. Turn to God. Put on the full armor of God because we battle not with flesh and blood, but my battle is against powers and wickedness in high places.

If you are not searching God's Word, if you are not digging to find out what God's Word has to say to you, your life is headed for disaster.

Vintage message from February 21, 1999.

Gentlemen, the only way to have a soft heart before God is to be in His Word and humbling yourself before Him and loving your wife. It doesn’t happen any other way, and Jesus addresses it. We are hard of heart… We’ve all come to those places in our lives where we have grown discontent with that that God has given us… I don’t care who you are — man, woman, or child — none of us have the right to say, “I do not have time to be in God’s Word. I do not have time to study what it is that God has for me,” because there is time available. We just have to take it. I don’t care who you are or how important you think you are, how important you think your job is…you’re not too important to pick up that Bible. None of us have a position in life that says that we are allowed the privilege of being too busy to read God’s Word… It should cause each of us to go on a search of God’s heart…

It also tells me that God, because He’s a loving God, He loves us enough to allow for us to make choices, even wrong choices. He allows for us to make choices that will make a mess of our lives. He allows for us to make choices that will even harm us in the future because He loves us. How do you reconcile that? He loves me but He’ll allow me to make the wrong choices? But He does, because He has also given us His Word. He has given us the ability to search and make all of the right decisions. He has given us the ability to come to conclusion before we make decisions that are wrong…

If you are not searching God’s Word, if you are not digging to find out what God’s Word has to say to you, your life is headed for disaster. You will make wrong choices. You will make mistakes. You’ll make decisions that are outside of God’s plan for you… Search God’s Word. It is never too late to become godly… We become God’s godly offspring when we do it by His pattern, when we do it by His Word, when we do it the way He established it. And let me tell you, we don’t have all the clear answers so we have to dig. He doesn’t always just come right out and say, “Yes, do it this way. No, don’t do it that way,” so we have to dig. We have to continually be in God’s Word searching God’s heart, because you know what? I think it would really be too easy if God did give us everything as a commandment. Then we would look at our favorite do’s and don’ts and live as a Pharisee.

If God has told us to do it, then we do it!

Vintage message from February 28, 1999. (The original message was cut off at the end.)

The only thing that matters in life is the fact that God has told us to do it. If God has told us to do it, then we do it! … God allows for us to make wrong decisions, even as Christians. God allows for us to do things that are so stupid that it could destroy our life, even though we’re Christians. God allows for us to live in sin and bring dishonor to ourself and to His Name because He’s God. He’s not worried about us. He’s not worried about our sin. He doesn’t lose control because I’m out of control. And in fact, He proves His greatness by allowing our choice…

This is another point that I find: that when we are living in sin, even though I’m not directly responsible for your sin, I may be directly responsible for causing sin to happen in your life. You make the choice to sin, but you know what? If I responded rightly to God, if I allowed the Holy Spirit to work in me, and I responded right to you, then maybe you wouldn’t step into the life of sin you step into. God’s not going to hold me responsible, even though He does say…it’s better that you tie a millstone around your neck and cast yourself into the sea than to cause one of these little ones to stumble…

The reason David was a godly man was because David was also a repentant man. David will in his life, even though he makes all these mistakes, even though the picture of his life is not very pretty, David comes to the place of repentance. He is not afraid to stand up to God and say, “Oh, yes. I blew it.”… Look at your life. Look at what you’re doing, how you’re living. Is your life a godly life? Are the things you’re doing — the things you’re thinking, the attitude of your heart — are they godliness? If they are not, then understand, God will let you do them, but you may be painting a pretty bleak picture of who you are. If someone was to stand back and get this overview of your life, what picture would they see? And understand, that picture, no matter how bleak, how nasty it looks, can be made right…

That’s what makes godliness. Not that we do the good, even though the good is desirable to do, but what makes us godly is when we can come to this place of agreement with God that yes, in fact, we’re sinners, and when our sin is pointed out or even before our sin is pointed out…you need to stand up and confess it God and say, “Yes, God, I am in agreement with You.”

The problem isn't what me are doing. The problem starts in the heart.

Vintage message from March 21, 1999.

The problem isn’t what men are doing. The problem starts in the heart… Jesus understood the heart attitude of a man, just as Jesus understands the heart attitude that we have in this room right now… God does not want us to harbor in our hearts feelings of resentment and anger towards those that are around us…

What are we willing to live with? What are we willing to do to honor and serve God? What if God asks us to step back and serve under someone, become someone’s subordinate that we absolutely hate? Can we do that? Let me tell you something. There shouldn’t be anybody who you absolutely hate, because if you absolutely hate them then you’ve already broken God’s Word. Are we willing to look at those whom would be declared God’s enemy and love them? Do you realize that anyone who is on the face of this planet right now who has not stepped into a relationship with Jesus Christ is technically God’s enemy? Good, bad, or otherwise? They’re God’s enemy, because they have rejected Jesus and what Jesus did on the cross. Do we love them? …It’s the heart attitude that we have — the heart attitude that God is trying to change in us…

We have the advantage today. We have God’s Word. We have the understanding of how God wants us to live. We no longer have to be angry. We no longer have to take revenge. We no longer have to seek our own way. We no longer have to sue our brothers and sisters. We no longer have to develop life for ourself, but we can, today, trust God… When your eyes are on the wrong thing, the attitude of your heart begins to change. Anger and resentment and bitterness begin to build… We still have the advantage. We have to power of God’s Holy Spirit and we have His Word that we can study. We have the direction that more clearly defines for us how we can interact with each other, and even, yes, in the most brutal of situations we do not have to respond in bitterness and anger. We don’t have to, because even in that, God is still in control.

I believe that this is what God is calling us to in this nation today: to find very clear guidelines to what is right and what is wrong... We are given very clear guidelines in God's Word.

Vintage message from March 28, 1999.

And I believe that this is what God is calling us to in this nation today, calling me to in my heart: to find very clear guidelines to what is right and to what is wrong… You know, we are given very clear guidelines in God’s Word. We look at what’s going on in our world today, and you know what? I have no problem looking out and saying, “That’s wrong. That’s wrong. That’s wrong. That’s right.” Because God’s Word gives me that clear guideline. But you know what? Most people, even if they have a Bible, leave it sitting on the shelf, and they are swayed by opinion of other men. They are swayed by circumstances that other men have come through… What are the policies within our nation today that might give us the idea that it’s right to live lifestyles that the Bible says is clearly wrong? I’m not even going to go through the list of sins. You can imagine. There is enough that we could get into in our lives today that our government says that it is okay to do. They will voice it out loud, “It is okay for us to live these lifestyles.” But you know what? Some where down the line we will be called to an account…

In God’s great love for us, God gives us freedom. God is not going to force any one of us to live a life that we do not want to live even if that life is what is best for us. He allows for us to sin. He allows for us to make the wrong choices… But understand, you will be held accountable for your actions… God is not going to force us to be good, but God gives us every opportunity to be good. God gives us all the knowledge we need right here within these pages to know how to be good, to live right, to make clear choices between right and wrong. There’s not as much gray as what you might think…

If we go through the mental list of our life, if we match it to God’s Word, we would have to come to the conclusion that I have been living a wrong life. I have been sinning against God. And you know what? He loves me enough to be patient. But now He’s revealed it, and what do you do when God reveals it to you? You can either stand firm in your arrogance until punishment is brought to you…or, you can confess, “Yes, Lord, that’s wrong. Forgive me.” This is what God wants to do for us. This was the reason Jesus came: was to forgive; was to deal with those attitudes of our heart that are wrong. He will forgive us. He will be patient. He wants to deal with us. He wants to have relationship, and He has given us the clear guideline. He’s not going to step out of those guidelines for us, but He’ll wait patiently for us to come back to the guidelines. He will wait patiently for us to come back within the confines of His Word to know how to have that relationship. But He’s definitely not going to say, “Because you lived the life, that’s okay, it wasn’t sin.” He wants us to come to the place of understanding if we’re wrong before Him, we’re wrong, and we can confess that. And if we’re right, we only have reason to rejoice. But understand, the only right there is right that is found within relationship with God; found within relationship with Jesus Christ and the blood that He shed on the cross.

Understand that Jesus' life, Jesus' death, and Jesus' resurrection from that death were for a purpose. You were that purpose.

Vintage message from Resurrection Sunday, April 4, 1999.

Jesus came with a purpose, Jesus lived with a purpose, and Jesus died with a purpose. And then, because of the purpose that He came here for, He rose to prove that He had the authority and the power to fulfill the purpose that He came for. Do you realize that if Jesus had not risen from the dead, if Jesus had not conquered over that death, everything that He said, everything that He stood for, everything that He wanted for us would have been meaningless. But He did it. He conquered it. He overcame the death. And one of the things that He promised us, when He would overcome death, was that He would leave us His Holy Spirit, that He would give us a Comforter and a Teacher…

The purpose for which Jesus died is that you do not have to grieve like the rest of men, so that you do not have to live without hope… We no longer have to be afraid of what’s going to happen after we die… The purpose for Jesus dying on the cross and then conquering death and rising again was so that He could bring those who fall asleep in Him with Him to heaven, with Him into the presence of the Father, with Him into eternal life and joy…

Some of us in this room, before the Lord returns, may die…but understand, one thing, and be encouraged by this: that if you are in Christ Jesus, because He conquered over death, it was His purpose that we, too, will conquer over death… That’s what Jesus died for: is so that you and I could be encouraged and know that life isn’t just what we live on this earth. Jesus…came with a purpose: that you and I would know that there is eternity left for us, and that if we’re in Him, that we will be caught up together with Him and live with Him forever. And these are encouraging words, and we are commanded to encourage one another… We get so caught up in the controversies of life that we forget to encourage one another with the greatness of death. Death isn’t something to be feared but death is something to be looked forward to. The resurrection was not just Jesus leaving an empty tomb…but the resurrection was for the purpose of us to encourage one another that one day, living or dead, that we will be taken up, and that we will live for eternity with God…

Every day is Resurrection Sunday for us. Every day is a day that we celebrate that the resurrection happened so that it may happen for us… Understand that Jesus’s life, Jesus’s death, and Jesus’s resurrection from that death were for a purpose. You were that purpose.

God is not in my hand, but I'm in His.

Vintage message from April 11, 1999.

How many times do we find ourselves in this place of questioning God at every turn? “God, why aren’t You being the God that You are supposed to be? If You’re all powerful, God, then You’ll do these things for me!” All of a sudden, it’s all about me… We become so self-centered…that we forget, God is not in my hand, but I’m in His. God is not my vessel to be used in my timetable, but I am His vessel in His hands to be used when, where, and how He wants…

There are things I would like to see happen in my life. There are things I would like to see happen in this church. There are things I would like to see happen in my friends’ lives. But have we yet waited on God for His timetable? That’s where we need to be, is simply waiting on God, allowing God to do what He wants to do, and then God will fulfill His promises…

While God is fulfilling this greater plan and this greater purpose, God is also dealing with you and I individually. He’s not too busy dealing with my problems that He can’t deal with your problems. He’s not so taken up with me that He can’t also be taken up with you and, in fact, He wants to… God wants to make us part of the fulfillment of His Word… We need to come to the place now of stopping and saying, “God, I’ve looked at my life far too much. I’ve tried to twist Your arm far too much to make the things happen that I want to happen. I’ve tried to work within my timetable. I’ve tried to make You live my life rather than me living the life that You want…

It takes denying ourself… We have gotten so caught up in this life. This life is all about me. Well, let me tell you something. Life is not about me. Life is not about you. Life is about God and what He wants to accomplish in this world. Life is about what His Holy Spirit wants to do in and through us to bring this world to repentance.

My encouragement to you today is if you've go sin in your life, deal with it! Go to God with it, and tell Him, "Yes, Lord, I am struggling with sin," because He already knows it, and He's not going to stop loving you.

Vintage message from April 18, 1999. (The original message was cut off at the end.)

Do you realize that God does not stop loving you because you have sin in your life? God will not stop using you because you have sin in your life. God will not reject you because you have sin in your life. Now, am I telling you that it’s okay to go out and sin, then? No, I’m not, because the issues of sin that [King] David had in his life became a major snare to him and was a downfall to him… The issues of sin that we allow to continue in our lives will eventually destroy us if we do not deal with those issues of sin, but it doesn’t mean that God stops loving us… So my encouragement to you today is if you’ve got sin in your life, deal with it! Go to God with it, and tell Him, “Yes, Lord, I am struggling with sin,” because He already knows it, and He’s not going to stop loving you. But too many people end up struggling with their sin to the point of depression, that they walk away from God, believing that there is no way that God could love them…

I don’t care what the battle is that is going on around us. I don’t care who is in search of us. I don’t care what harm they want to do to us. If we will take the time to inquire of God, if we will take the time to seek the friendship of God, if we will take the time to let God know what we’re going through and how we feel about it, God will deal with our problem…

This is another problem I find within Christendom: we assume a lot upon God. Long before we ask, we move… Just because we are Christians does not mean we make the decisions for God. We need to ask, we need to inquire, and we need not assume everything — that God will give us victory. God may not want us to even fight a battle. He may want us to back off… Another weakness of believers: we believe because God did one thing one way one time that He’s going to do it that way every time…

Is your desire simply to bring others to a place of worshipping and honoring the Living God that you have a relationship with?… God wants us simply to love Him and be in right relationship with Him… God wants us to honor Him because He’s God, because He’s the Creator…

No matter who disagrees with it...I will still honor God.

Vintage message from May 2, 1999.

How many of us have ever become angry at God because He didn’t do things the way we wanted Him to, when we went out of our way to honor Him! “I went out of my way to do something good for God! How could He not bless me for it? How could He not do what was right by me? God owed me! I was doing Him a favor! After all, I know what’s best… God, how can you not bless the things I do for You?” Isn’t this our attitude? So often we approach God in this way. “God, You owe me. God, I deserve because I’ve done something good for You.” And then we get bent out of shape when God does not accept the worship, when God does not accept the honor that we bring to Him. Shock of shock — God is greater than me!…

To honor God is the right thing to do… But, you know, when we honor God, however we honor God, when God is doing a work in our life, understand, there will be people who will not agree. There’s always that stick-in-the-mud: the person who wants to let us know how wrong we were… If someone is dishonoring God, it’s not up to me to strike them, it’s up to God to strike them. And you know what I find? Oftentimes, people out there that I disagree with are not necessarily doing it wrong. They’re just doing it different… It’s up to God to fight our battles. It’s not up to me to fight my battles. If my honoring of God is right before Him, no matter who disagrees with it, God will give me the strength to stand… No matter what your heart motives are, I will still honor God.

Do you realize that there is nothing good that we can do for God other than to let Him dwell within us?

Vintage message from May 9, 1999. (Poor original recording.)

As believers today, oftentimes we allow ourselves to try to “build God a house.” We try to do things for God to do Him a favor. We try to do things for God to help Him. We try to establish God’s kingdom in our own strength. I believe each of us has to ask ourself this question: in anything we desire to do for God, am I the one to build a house for God?…

Do you want to build a great temple for God? Ask Jesus to come into your life… Let Him fill you with the Holy Spirit. Once the Holy Spirit moves in, this “tent” then becomes His temple…

We get caught up in God blessing us, pouring His blessing out on us, that then we turn and want to do something good for Him. Do you realize that there is nothing good that we can do for God other than to let Him dwell within us?… Do you know what you’re called to? You’re called to be a living, moving, breathing temple that others can come to and enter into a place of worship before God. Think about it! What is a temple for, but to be a representation for the deity that it stands for. Our temple represents the Lord God Almighty, the Great I Am, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Power of His Spirit. We are to be a dwelling for the Holy Spirit so He can take us out beyond these walls to a lost and dying world so that that lost and dying world can see and know the love of God.

God owes us nothing, but He's given us everything.

Vintage message from May 23, 1999.

“Oh, God, who am I? Why me?” Have you ever found yourself asking that question? I mean, I know many people in the midst of a trial will say, “Oh, God, why me?” But have you ever looked on that trial as a blessing from God? Jesus said, “In this life you will have tribulation.” But you know what? Most of us moan and groan and cry over the fact that we have tribulation, but Jesus said, “But, be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.” Where’s the blessing? The blessing is in that Jesus, Who overcame the world, is offering Himself to us! The trial is going to be there. I can’t stop it. He’s not going to stop it. His Holy Spirit has not said that we’re not going to go through it… If we will received Jesus then we can truly be of good cheer, even in the trials, even in the hard time. And when the blessings especially are poured out on us, we should be seeing this concept that [King] David understood, and look up to heaven and say, “Oh, God, who am I that I should deserve such great blessing?”…

If you ever have a doubt as to whether or not God loves you, or whether or not He knows your future, read the Bible! It’s laid out clearly, and it’s given to you, and there are promises in God’s Word that are made directly to you… God owes us nothing, but He’s given us everything. God owes us nothing, but He has given eternity, and it’s all for His sake and for the sake of His Word… You know, it’s not wrong to ask God to keep the promises He’s made. It’s not wrong to say to Him, “Fulfill that promise so that Your Name will be great. Lord, use me…”

He was the One that made the promises… He wants us. He chose us. He loves us. If He loved us that much that He has gone to such great lengths to have us, we owe it to Him. We owe Him our lives. He doesn’t owe us. We owe Him. God, if you can take a mess like this and use it for Your glory, go ahead. There’s not much here to use… It’s not because I’m usable. It’s because God is great and because He’s powerful that He can use me, and He can use you. It’s because of His Spirit that works in and through us that makes the good happen. He pours His blessing on us because He’s chosen us, because He loves us. We have no excuse. When we don’t respond to God, when we don’t pray, when we don’t set that time aside, when we don’t give ourselves to Him, we have no excuse.

Jesus has told us, first and foremost, to forgive... Love your neighbor as you love yourself. Forgive those that offend you.

Vintage message from June 20, 1999.

How many times have we shown kindness…and how many times have we had someone step on that kindness? Spit in our face, throw it back at us, reject it, and make us feel like a piece of dirt for having shown the kindness… And you know what? It begins to build in us so we don’t want to show the kindness… We get to the place where we don’t want to trust anybody… We hide away from society because we don’t want to be hurt… What do you do when your neighbor just will not let it go? And I’m sure we’ve had people like that in our life that just would not let it go. They’ve gone out of their way to offend us, and when we don’t respond, they continue to go out of their way to offend us and to attack and to hurt us. And like I said, this doesn’t just happen between unbelievers and believers, but I see this happen within the church. I see where there’s a misunderstanding within the body where people, because of a misunderstanding, will attack one another and will continue a battle that does not need to be there. And the person that’s hurt or offended will continue to go after the person who was the offender; will build a scenario that makes it uncomfortable for everybody around them…

Jesus has told us, first and foremost, forgive. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. Forgive those that offend you. That’s the hardest thing in the world to do. Forgive. You know, I’ve told many people to forgive those that offend you [and the] first question out of their mouth, “Don’t they have to ask forgiveness first?” No… While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us… He was the One that invented forgiveness. He didn’t wait for us to ask for it. He loved us, and He forgave us of whatever it was that we did, long before we even did it. So we can love. Because He first loved, we can love…

Jesus clearly tells us that we are to live by the two greatest commands: love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of mind, with all of your soul; the second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself…The two hardest concepts for us to grasp and live as believers: love God and love our neighbors. And it seems like the harder we try to love our neighbor, the more trouble we find… We are in a battle… We don’t take the battle to our neighbor but we take the battle to our knees. We begin to pray for that neighbor who is angry with us, who’s misunderstood us, that may have taken something that we did with wrong intentions and then has started a battle with them. We take the battle to our knees. We say, “God, touch my neighbor. Show me how to love them…”

We need to be about forgiveness even when the world is attacking us, even when the world is angry at us… Let God fight the battle for you. Let the power of the Holy Spirit win the battle for you, and see people’s lives changed. That’s what we’re about.

God is merciful, and God is loving...and He simply wants us to stop hiding the sin that we live in. He wants us to live in truth, even if it's and ugly truth... God wants us to deal with these issues in our life.

Vintage message from June 27, 1999.

But understand…that no one — I don’t care who you are, how long you’ve walked with God, how much you’ve loved God, how strong you think you are in your walk with the Lord — anyone in the right circumstances [can] fall… What causes [King] David to fall is he begins to put aside his responsibility. He begins to take lightly the responsibility that God had given him…

This is another problem we have: once we’ve fallen into sin, rather than just owning up to it and dealing with it, we try to hide it! Do you realize you can not hide your sin for very long… When we fall into sin and we’re trying to hide it, even if we hide it from everyone around us, even if nobody knows what we’ve done, God still knows what we’ve done, and God isn’t going to let us out of it. God isn’t this kind of God that sits up there on His throne looking at us, waiting for us to sin so He can zap us with lightning…but you know, this is our view of God oftentimes. And so, when we sin we try to hide it from Him! Hide it from everybody. Try to get rid of it so that if nobody else knows it maybe God doesn’t know it. But you know what? God knows it… He’s not up there waiting to zap us when we sin, and oftentimes He’ll let us fall to the sin. He’ll let us wallow in our sin. He’ll see how far we’ll go in our sin before He finally intervenes and says, “Guys, I love you. I want to deal with this…”

God understands that each of us is born with that sin nature, and He’s calling to us, and He’s asking us to be part of Him, and to allow Him to work with us and work through those problems. But like [King] David, we find ourselves so often trying to hide from the sin, trying to deny the sin, trying to cover up the sin. And the fact is, there is none of us, not one of us in this room, that is too old to fall to temptation…so just, get it right! Don’t try to hide it… And this is what I want you to know today. God is merciful, and God is loving, and I don’t care what sin you find yourself in, I don’t care what you find yourself struggling with, I don’t care where you’re at or who you are; there’s a God in heaven that loves you. There’s a God Who created you, that wants to have relationship with you, and He simply wants us to stop hiding the sin that we live in. He wants us to live in the truth, even if it’s an ugly truth. All of us have ugly truth in our life, but the ugly truth is better to be spoken than a very nice lie… The lies don’t work. God wants our truth. God wants us to deal with these issues in our life.

Yes, I'm a Christian. Yes I believe in God...but that doesn't mean I'm perfect.

Vintage message from July 4, 1999.

God can use our sin. God is not afraid of our sin. God doesn’t want us to sin, but He is not afraid to use who we are and what we are, and if we will stand up in the face of a dying and lost world and say, “Yes, I’m a Christian. Yes, I believe in God. I’ve received Jesus into my life, but that doesn’t mean that I’m perfect.” That is the greatest witness that we can be to a dying world, because they’re lost in that sin, and they don’t understand the love and the forgiveness that we understand. And by us being open, instead of trying to hide it, if we’ll just be open, it has a great effect on the world…

And this brings me to a very, very important point. I don’t care who you are, I don’t care how long you’ve walked with God, when you determine to sin, God will let you sin. God will let you dig yourself in the depths of sin so deep that you will never find a way to get yourself out of that hole… The one question that I have dealt with in unbelievers most of my life as a Christian is, “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?…” Because God, even though He is a loving and caring and forgiving God,…has given us the right to choose… He lets us sin. He lets us choose to sin, and He does not always stop the effect of the sin that we commit, and sometimes innocent people suffer…

And this is where we also, as believers, go wrong: we think that we can succeed in our sin. We think that we can do what we want and, as long as nobody else sees it or we get rid of all the evidence, we’re safe! But understand, there is Someone watching. No matter what we do, no matter where we go, and no matter what we think, the God Who created us is watching. Carefully watching. The same God that loves to bless us, the same God that loves to forgive us, the same God that loves to work in us and for us, is also watching when we work against Him. He’s not afraid to let us fail. He’s not afraid to let us sin. But even though He’s not afraid to let us do those things, He’s also not afraid to watch. He knows what we’re doing. He doesn’t turn His head away. He keeps His eyes open watching who we are and what we’re doing… You can sin, if you choose, and God may let you “get away with it and,” you know, some…may go years and years and years before their sin catches up to them.

God cares when we honor His Word.

Vintage message from July 11, 1999.

I see a problem within the church today. I see a problem within my own life. Especially for those who’ve served God for any length of time, it becomes easy to justify glossing over God’s Word… Every time we see something that our flesh desires, and we begin to hunger for that, and we begin to burn for that, we then begin to justify why we should be able to have the thing or do the thing or desire the thing. We begin to despise God’s Word… But understand, God knows, God sees, and God cares. And you know what God cares about? God cares when we honor His Word. You know, God doesn’t love us because we’re good. If we think that God is chasing after us, if we think that God is caring for us because of our goodness, none of us would know Who God is. We would all be lost because there’s nothing good about any one of us… If you think you’re good, look at yourself from God’s perspective. When God sees you, when God sees me, He sees flesh that is entirely and totally and only wicked. But you know what? And this is the mystery to me. Why does God love us? What compels God to love us if, in fact, we are that ugly, that wicked? …God loves that which He has created!…

As much as God loves us, as much as God wants to forgive us, there are consequences to the things we do… Do you realize there is no such thing as secret sin? You can not sin before the God Who created you and get away with it… This is often the consequences of our sin: we sin in private but the result of our sin and the consequences of our sin are oftentimes very public…

You know, that’s all God wants from any of us: is that simple acknowledgement of what God already knows about us. He already knows that we’re extremely and utterly and totally wicked within our flesh. He has given us His Holy Spirit to clean up those issues of sin within our flesh so that the spirit that is contained within this flesh can have fellowship with Him… What God wants from me, what God wants from any of us, is that simple acknowledgement: I’ve sinned against the Lord, I’ve blown it…

It’s a simple confession before God that takes the sin away. God loves to forgive. God wants to forgive. In fact, God went to such great lengths to be able to forgive us that He even killed His Own Son…

We worship God simply and only because He's God, not because of what He gives us.

Vintage message from July 18, 1999.

Be very quick to acknowledge the sin that we commit and deal with it before God. Don’t make God have to come and chase us down. You know, we all grow tired. We all get to that place where God’s Word is just hard to understand. It’s hard to open up. It’s hard to read. Very difficult! We get tired of it, and we walk away from it. And you know, the world is inviting, and we turn to the world from time to time, and we find ourselves caught up in this place where we’re out of God’s will. Well, when we find ourself in that place, be quick to come back and say, “God, I was out of Your will,” because God will chase you down. But understand, there are those around you watching…

There’s a movement going on in the world today bringing back fasting and prayer, and this movement will tell you, “If you’ll join with us, if enough people will join with us to fast and pray before God, we’ll change the world. We’ll move God’s hand. We’ll change God’s mind. The formula is fasting and prayer!” I hate to tell you, guys, God does not hold to formulas, and especially our formulas. God does not bend to our direction. God is not subject to my will. God does not bow to me. I bow to Him… If God has said something is going to happen, trust that it’s going to happen. We can’t just “name it and claim it.” We can’t just tell God what to do, when He’s already told us what He’s going to do… I can pray. God has asked me to pray, but Jesus, when He taught about prayer, He taught us to seek God’s desire. He taught us to seek God’s will…not my will… This is one of the most successful times of prayer that you can have: is not time of prayer asking God for what you want, but that time of prayer where you simply get before God and worship, acknowledging His presence, acknowledging His greatness, acknowledging His throne, acknowledging His Lordship over us,…when you don’t get your way, you find yourself drawn in relationship to God, through the power of His Holy Spirit, to this place of just simply desiring to be with God to worship before Him…

What we have been called to do…is to enter in — no matter what our circumstances, no matter what the pain, no matter what the difficulty, no matter what the disappointment — to enter into this place where we worship God simply and only because He’s God, not because of what He gives us… You know, I’m afraid, all too often, it’s been the pattern of my life to worship God and praise Him when He’s given me the things I want, and when He doesn’t give me the things I want, I stomp and I kick and I get angry. I walk away from Him. I say, “When You decide to do things my way, then I’ll come back.” …It’s been the pattern of my life to acknowledge God when He’s acknowledged me. [King] David is showing us something very different. In this place of humility, David is showing us that we need, must, and can acknowledge God even when God takes that that is the most precious to us away. God didn’t answer his prayer; not the way he wanted…

Why do we seek God, especially in those times of turmoil, those times of struggle, those times of desire? Why do we pray? Because God may be gracious; God, in His mercy, may forgo His hand, especially in those times when we deserve the consequences of the lifestyle that we’ve chosen, when we deserve the consequences of what we have put ourselves into… Will we allow God to heal our lives? Will we allow God to deal with us; bring us to the place of understanding our sin; deal with us because of our sin, and then move us on? Or do we cause God to set us in a corner because we, ourselves, are crippled because of the lives we’ve lived, because of the consequences of our sin? Do we become crippled because of our bitterness and our anger? Do we become crippled and allow others around us to steal the things that God has desired for us? …We are so good at standing here complaining, rather than moving on; worshiping God for Who He is and what He does.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your should and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them upon your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you get up.

Vintage message from July 25, 1999. (Poor and incomplete original recording.)

One of the things I see in our society today: there are a lot of people who love God…but you look at their household and their households are a wreck! Their children are running crazy, running wild. The parents may go to church but the kids have nothing to do with God… They’re not taught to love the Lord God. They are not taught God’s Word and the reason that God wants us to know His Word. They’re not taught how to study God’s Word and to see that there is a love relationship. When we can understand God’s Word…there is a love relationship that begins to grow and develop…

We [can] all come to that place in our life where we begin to despise God’s Word; where we begin to question God. “God, why didn’t You let me do that? Why won’t You let me have that? Why don’t You let me go there? Why won’t You let me have my way? It’s okay for You to give everybody else those rules and regulations, but God, I’m special and I’m different, and I want to do it, besides.” We begin to despise and question God’s Word in our life…

[Parents] are to impress [God’s Word] upon the hearts of our children. Not just tell them… It says impress it upon them. A very active word: impress. Not just tell. Not just make sure they know.

We oftentimes respond out of emotion rather than out of prayer... If we're in prayer, then we're not making the decision, God is...

Vintage message from August 8, 1999.

We need to understand, there are people in our lives, and especially…if we are godly men and women, if we are going to live to honor God with our lives, that there are people around us who will try to manipulate us; people who will try to get us to do their desires and their will… And I have to ask the question: who is it in my life…who may not want the things of God, that would come in and manipulate me, to try to get the circumstance so that it favors them? In everything that we do, if we are called to serve, if we are called to live for [God], if we are called to love God, we need to be on our toes and on our knees all the time, praying that we know God’s will so that when those that come in and surround us — and sometimes they’re good people, sometimes they’re our family, they’re the people who are closest to us — they will come and try to manipulate to their favor, outside of God’s will, outside of the plan that God has laid…

Understand that when the enemy wants to get our attention, what is it that he attacks? Our possessions. He begins to strip away from us the things that are valuable to us, to get our attention. Then we begin to whine and cry and scream and holler because we’ve lost something, rather than looking up to God and saying, “God, You gave it to me in the first place. If I need it, You’ll just give it back…”

We oftentimes respond out of emotion rather than out of prayer. We respond out of our desire to do something, to be something, or to go somewhere. This is natural to our flesh: to manipulate… God wants to overcome that. And those of us who are being manipulated, we do not have to be manipulated because we have prayer that we can always resort to. If we’re in prayer, then we’re not making the decision, God is… If we’ve prayed it through and we know what God’s will is, we don’t have to be manipulated. But understand, there will be those around us, even within our own family, who will try to manipulate us for their own position, for their own desires… Overtime we allow someone to get away with a manipulation outside of God’s will, if we’re not making the decision based solely on what God’s asked us to do, we have given in to that portion of someone’s flesh that will cause them to walk a little further away from God.

I am God's vessel. I am God's servant. Let Him do with me what He pleases.

Vintage message from August 15, 1999. (The tape broke near the end.)

How often do we find ourselves in the midst of trials, in the midst of problems, and actually find ourselves caring about other people more than the current problem we’re going through? Do you realize that this is exactly where Jesus was?…

And when was the last time you said this to yourself in the midst of a trial or in the midst of a struggle? God has the right to do with me what God chooses, and especially if I’ve done something to displease God…He has the right to deal with me as He will… I don’t care what the circumstance is, I don’t care how bleak it looks, I don’t care how bad it gets, there is nothing, nothing that can happen outside of God’s will… God is powerful enough to deal with each and every and any problem that may face us. We just have to ask ourself, am I right with God? Am I trusting God enough to let Him do in me what He wants to do?…

“Let Him do to me whatever seems good to Him.” When was the last time you said that to God? God, do to me, do in me, whatever, whatever seems good to You…

Do you realize that part of the problem that we run into as Christians today, why we feel defeated, why we feel frustrated, why we feel unsuccessful as Christians, is because we assume upon God what our success should be. We assume upon God what He should or must do for us. We assume that because God loves us that He’s never going to allow trials and struggles to happen to us and when they happen to us, we cry out to God, “Oh, God, why are You doing this to me?”…

Do you realize you can not accomplish anything in life, you can not be strong in life, you can not be firm in life unless you are living within the relationship that Jesus Christ came to give us. Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. He came that we might have peace, but He also knew when He came to this earth, He was dealing with people who’re lost in their own flesh… But we have to understand, salvation does not mean that our struggles and our trials end. Our struggles and our trials do not end until the day we stand in the halls of heaven face to face with God. Then we understand, then we know all things that God wants us to know. But while we’re here, while we’re living on this earth, we are living in a flesh that is corrupt and still dying. We’re living in a world that is decaying around us, and because of this dying and decaying situation that we’re in, it brings trouble. It brings hardship. It brings pain. But we are still commanded, be of good cheer…

What is it that we cling to in our lives, that we feel we have to hold on so dearly to that we would fight with somebody else to keep it?… I am God’s vessel. I am God’s servant. Let Him do with me what He pleases… What situations are we in that we are so tired of being in that we have cried out, “God, You’re unfair!” Let me tell you, God is not unfair. God knows what’s best. But God also knows that this life brings struggle, this life brings hardship, and when it brings hardship, it’s for our benefit… God wants us to learn to persevere. God wants us to learn to live in hope. But we’re not going to have those things unless we experience and go through the trials that come our way… I’m God’s vessel. My life belongs to Him. He can do with me what He will. It’s not my life to live. And that’s what we have to say to ourself.

God has called us to be men and women of prayer. Men and women who seek Him...[asking] "God, what would You have me to do? How would You have me to live? Even though, Lord, this advice seems good, what should I do?"

Vintage message from August 22, 1999.

This is a battle that we fight still today: who is it that has the right, the authority, the place to tell us what to do? Who is it that we listen to? Who is it that we submit to? Who has the right to tell us what to do? And isn’t this at the core of most of the problems that we have in life today? It is my right to do what I want. It’s my life to live. No one makes my decisions for me. I make my own decisions… The question is, who has the right to sit on the throne and rule over me? And…once God places someone on the throne, who am I willing to submit to? Am I willing to submit to the person God has placed over me?… We’re not often in that place where we’re willing to say, every moment of our life, God is in control. God is the one Who is on the throne. God is the One that leads the heart of this man; the battles that this man has to fight; the battles that this man is going to face every day. God has the right and the sovereignty to rule over me, and if He puts someone in my path that He gives more authority to than He’s given me to rule my own life, then I will submit. I don’t have to like it. It doesn’t say I have to be pleased with it, but I will submit to the authority — hard thing to do; hard concept to live by…

And this is the problem: we seek God oftentimes only from our own limited view, from this spot on the earth. We look up to God, and we tell God how everything should run because we see the world, I’ve got two eyes, I see how things work, and so, God, this is how You have to do things! This is how You have to make it work. And in arrogance…I oftentimes will sit in my prayer time and tell God how to run this universe, because I [think I] see clearly what’s going on around me…

We surround ourselves by counselors. We surround ourselves by people who will give us advice. And all too often, we flip the coin… The variable that’s left out here…[is to] turn to God and say, “God, what should I do? What do You want me to do?”… You may be hearing good advice, but in taking even the good advice of your friends, of your family, is it the will of God for your life?… Are we seeking the advice of God and our Creator, or are we seeking the advice of counselors who have “proven” themselves?… God has called us to be men and women of prayer. Men and women who seek Him…

This is the problem why we don’t turn to God: because we don’t want to hear what He has to say, because we know what He’s going to say. Do you realize the things that we oftentimes are seeking are things for our own flesh, for our own comfort, for our own desires, and we know that if we turn to God we already know what the answer is going to be… “Stop now.” We don’t want to hear that, do we? “I want to go the direction I’m going, God. I just want You to bless it… I don’t want You to tell me to stop. I want You to bless it! I want You to give Your stamp of approval. I don’t care what advice You have for me…” This is how we make decisions all too often in our lives. We seek the advice of our friends, and then we go for it, and then we say, “Oh, by the way, God, bless me.” Rather than saying, “God, what would You have me to do? How would You have me to live? Even though, Lord, this advice seems good, what should I do?”

Be faithful to the call no matter how hard it gets, no matter how mundane it gets, no matter how boring it gets, no matter how little you understand about the call, if you've been called to it, be faithful to it.

Vintage message from September 5, 1999. (The original message was cut off at the end.)

How many of you have found yourself facing a struggle, facing a hardship as a believer in God, saying to God, “This was not supposed to happen this way. If You’re God, why didn’t You take care of it before it got to this place?”… We are all called to serve God in one way or another, and let me tell you, regardless of what delusions of grandeur we may have when we hear the call of God in our life, that it is not always easy to fulfill the call of God in our life…

When God calls you, He will equip you to accomplish what He’s called you to do, but He asks of you, be faithful to the call no matter how hard it gets, no matter how mundane it gets, no matter how boring it gets, no matter how little you understand about the call, if you know you’ve been called to it, be faithful to it, and know that if you’re faithful to the call, the enemy will be on your heels. And sometimes, sometimes you may even have to find yourself crawling into a dark place to pray; getting into that place of protection. The only place of protection that a Christian has is before the throne of God, at the feet of God in prayer, seeking God’s will, seeking God’s love, seeking God’s peace. If I am in a place of struggle, and I don’t understand why I am in that place of struggle, I want God’s peace in my life. It is the peace of God that assures me that I’m heading in the right direction even though I don’t understand it, even though it’s confusing, and even though it’s hard. God’s peace gives me that direction. Keep going. This is my call. You don’t see the whole picture. God saw the whole picture…

Are we trusting? In our walk with the Lord today, are we trusting that God knows what He’s doing with us? Even if we don’t fully understand. Even if we don’t see tomorrow. Even if we don’t see to the next week. Even if we don’t see ten minutes from now. Do we believe that God has called us to this direction that He’s sending us? And if God knows, and if God has called us, then we need not worry no matter how hard it gets. We just seek the peace of God. We wait. Sometimes we have to crawl into that dark place and wait for God to frustrate the enemy enough that the enemy leaves. God knows. The direction is always the same. God is on the throne, and when we seek God’s advice, He gives His advice, and He gives His call to our life. And if He calls us, He doesn’t always tell us it’ll be easy, but if we are faithful… But we find ourselves so often waning in faithfulness to the call of God that we begin to whine and cry and fight against God and walk away from the call, rather than wait and be patient for God… What happens when we’re faithful? we see the blessing of God poured out. We see the provision of God poured out. We see the love of God poured out.

On of the things I'm noticing is a call to the churches to hold on, endure, finish the race, work through it, be faithful. God wants to complete what He's started in us.

Vintage message from September 12, 1999.

This is one of the most important understandings as believers that we can come to in our life: outside of receiving Jesus into our life, I would say the next important thing that we need to know, that we need to understand, is that then we need to be faithful, and we spend the rest of our Christian walk learning how to be faithful… And as I grew older and as I walked closer to the Lord, as I studied the Word, faithfulness to His call became easier and easier. But, that does not mean that the circumstances were easier and easier. You find that the closer you walk to the Lord, the harder it seems that the circumstances of your life become. But you know what? That’s why we’re told, “Rejoice always! In all things give thanks.” We are commanded to rejoice; we are commanded to give thanks, because we’re to keep our eyes off of the circumstances and keep our eyes on the One Who has allowed the circumstances to happen to us…

And I believe it is the question that you and I are faced with every day: we have in our lives those circumstances and those people that represent Absalom, and we don’t want to let them go. Absalom, to me, in this verse represents the flesh… The very thing you and I struggle with daily: making decisions in the flesh. Remember the message, who has the right to be on the throne? It’s still a battle for the throne. Who has the right to rule and reign over me? Absalom felt that he had the right to rule and reign. There are parts of our lives that will try to convince us daily that they, it, whatever it is, has the right to rule and reign and make the decisions for me. My flesh tells me daily that it wants to do this or it wants to do that. It gives me its opinion all the time. But you know what? My flesh is not always where God wants it to be. And there are times that God’s call in my life goes completely and totally against what my flesh wants to do, and then I’m in a dilemma. Then I have to put my own flesh to death… Do you realize that our flesh is not compatible, no matter how much we love it,…our flesh is in no way compatible with the things of the Spirit. And we’re told by Jesus to put it to death. The flesh needs to die. God is not concerned about the flesh of a man. God is concerned about the spirit of a man. God wants to see us grow spiritually in Him. He wants to see us grow strong in obedience to Him; faithfulness to Him. He wants us to live lives that are at peace, even when there’s no peace to be found. God’s desire for us is that we step outside of the desire of our flesh and follow Him…

One of the things I’m noticing is a call to the churches is to hold on, endure, finish the race, work through it, be faithful. God wants us to complete what He’s starting in us. He wants us to walk with Him [so] that He can complete what He’s started in us… Do you realize that if you were living perfectly in the spirit today, that nothing that this world could offer to you would bother you, because the Spirit has already overcome! The Spirit already had the victory! God already knows the end! If you’re living completely and totally in the power of the Holy Spirit today, you would not be uncomfortable at all. But if you’re feeling the discomfort because of the things people do and say around you…it reveals a living and active flesh that needs to be dealt with. God will deal with our flesh. He loves us desperately, and He wants to work in us the miracles… God loves to perform miracles… There are times that God wants it to be such a miracle that we say, “This could only happen by God’s hand.” …We can either strive to allow the flesh to continue to get in the way, to keep our flesh alive, or we can step aside from our flesh, knowing that it’s uncomfortable, knowing that it’s going to hurt, …when our lives become uncomfortable, we know that God just simply, once again, is taking that part of my flesh that needs to die.

God tells us that when the end of this flesh comes, if we have continued to serve Him to that point, then He greets us with, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant," but He never promises that there will be that "well done" any time before.

Vintage message from September 19, 1999.

Sometimes I do things for the Lord believing that, in the end, there will be a reward. Sometimes I step into service to God, and I think when I step in, when I volunteer, when I say, “Yes, I’ll do it,” that when I get to the end that there’s going to be some reward; a pat on the back; a “well done.” And this is the attitude I told you that God was dealing with in my heart this week, but God tells us that when the end of this flesh comes, if we have continued to serve Him to that point, then He greets us with, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant,” but He never promises that there will be that “well done” any time before. Do you realize you can serve God all your life and never once hear, “Thank you.” And do you realize that this is where men of God burn out. This is where men of God walk away from ministry. This is where men and women have become so frustrated that they have stopped serving God, because somewhere in their life they have said, “God, You are not fair. You have not given me the thanks. You have not shown me appreciation. I have given my life to You. I have served You well, and now I deserve reward,” and God stays silent. “God, that’s unfair!” But you know what? God is not fair, and I praise God that He is not fair… But God does not deal with us in fairness. God deals with us in love. God deals with us with a purpose to show love, not just to me but to a world, and He will use me…

We do not recognize the consequences that sin causes in our life. We live for the moment, we live for the pleasure, and we never, ever really stop to look at what it might mean two days down the road, two years down the road, or twenty years down the road. You know, it may not have an effect on anybody else around you, but it will have an effect on your heart. When we fall to sin, if we do not deal with the issue of sin immediately before God…if we then do not repent of the sin fully, it follows us, and continues to hinder us in our walk with the Lord…

The sinful nature is there to destroy us. When Satan offered the sin nature to Adam and Eve, he offered them their destruction. God has offered us His Spirit… Sometimes we can be brought to the place, because of our own sin, that we walk away from God, that we live for ourself. Even if it hurts everybody around us, we begin to live for ourself. That’s a tragedy.

There are always people trying to tell the King what to do. When you pray, are you telling the King what to do? Or, are you asking Him what you must do?

Vintage message from September 26, 1999. (Original recording was cut off at the end.)

As I read this chapter…it made me think of the day that Jesus returns once again to this world. Jesus, our King. God has given us in His Word prophecy that says that one day the King will return… This world today has put men over themselves to rule and reign over them. Those men come and go, but this world does not speak of bringing the [true] King back…and it brings me to the question of my own life. How do I feel about the King returning? Do you remember the question several Sundays ago? Who is King? Who has the authority over my life? And we come back to that question. Who has the right to rule and reign over me? What is my heart’s desire? When it comes to knowing God’s Word, when it comes to understanding that one day the King will return, where do I stand? What do I believe about this? Am I one of those that I’m going to go running to Jesus just to curry favor for myself?… Do you respond to God because He caught you? Or, do you respond to God because your heart is broken before the Creator of this universe, the King Who deserves to sit on the throne?…

What works are we doing for God? What is my heart attitude? And this is where God is continually checking my heart. Why am I doing what I’m doing? Am I doing it because He’s asked me to do it? Or, am I doing it because I think someone’s going to take notice or He’s going to take notice, and I’m going to gain something from it? Does the world around me talk of returning the King back to His power and His authority? Outside of these walls, do people truly want to see the King come to His throne?…

There are always people trying to tell the King what to do. When you pray, are you telling the King what to do? Or, are you asking Him what you must do? …Do we offer the King good suggestions? The Creator of this universe, the One Who set the boundaries for the oceans, Who caused all living things that are on the face of this planet to grow, to live, to breathe — and I might offer Him a good suggestion?…

We need to be asking ourself, why have I not spoken of returning the King, allowing the King back into my heart, allowing the King to rule and reign, allowing the King to have the right to share His Word with me and give me direction once again from His Word. And once again I have to confess, you know what, I just don’t always like God’s Word. God’s Word, sometimes, makes me do things I don’t want to do. It tells me I have to obey in a way that I don’t want to obey. It tells me I have to have thoughts that, you know, I like the other thoughts… I’m continually accusing God, and I’m continually challenging God, and I’m continually questioning the throne of God and His right to rule and reign over me. But you know what? In all of the wrong that I live in, in all of the stupidity that I do, in all of the ignorance that I have, there is a King Who…has the capacity to forgive. Regardless what my heart is, and regardless of how wrong I’ve been before Him, regardless of what my motive is when I come and fall on my face before Him, He is a God Who loves to forgive.

God loves us. He loves us enough to discipline us. He loves us enough to allow for us to go through hard times... Hardship is oftentimes God trying to get my attention, God trying to get me to hear the words, "I love you. I desire relationship with you."

Vintage message from October 3, 1999.

The problem that we struggle with in society most today is not who happens to be the president over the United States, what’s happening over in the Middle East, what earthquakes are happening here and there, [or] what natural disasters are draining our financial resources. Those things are the things you hear about on the daily news. The problem within our society today is the same as the problem in society back in [King] David’s day. [It] is that we have challenged God for the authority to run our lives. I’ve asked the question before: who has the right to be King over me? Who has the right to make decisions for me? And, what gives Him the right?… Ultimately, God will have authority over us, but in the meantime, while we’re going through this scenario of life, we have to decide to let Him have that authority. We have to make the conscious choice…

Why does God allow for men of sin to be in charge? Why does God allow for men whose lifestyles are only anti-God and pro-self, why does He allow for them to succeed?… It just doesn’t seem fair, but God loves. God disciplines. And…I look at my own life, I look at the lives of men and women who’ve been around me, friends of mine who’ve shared their heart with me, and you know what I find? That oftentimes I am…no different than any man throughout history that God has gone to great lengths to get their attention, to show them love, and to discipline them so that they would then kneel before God and call Him Lord and give Him the authority and the respect…

God loves us. He loves us enough to discipline us. He loves us enough to allow for us to go through hard times… Do you feel like you’re going through some kind of a harsh discipline?

Are there struggles in your life? Are there hardships in your life? Are there challenges to your soul? Understand, if you are here today, and even those who aren’t here today, God loves that [which] He’s created. God loves men and women because He’s created them… Now, I’m not telling you that every man that God loves is going to stand in eternity with Him, because the Bible is very clear that there will be those whom He will say to, “Depart from Me, you who worked iniquity. I never knew you.” The saddest, hardest words in eternity to hear will be, “Depart from Me.” Far worse that the hottest flames of hell…

There are consequences to our sin. There are consequences to the lives that we live separate from God, and the consequences that come to us are God’s discipline. God trying to get our attention. God trying to bring us into love relationship with Him. And even if we have relationship, even though we have received Jesus into our life, even though we may be filled with the Spirit, there are times in our lives as believers that we reject and turn away from the love and the discipline that God is trying to bring to our lives… I’m learning that the hardship is oftentimes God trying to get my attention. God trying to get me to hear the words, “I love you. I desire relationship with you. The path that you’re on is leaving you lame, is leaving you crippled. Make straight paths for yourself so that you’re not lame, so that the lame will be healed.” Walk right with the Lord. Well, that’s difficult. Very difficult.

Zeal is not always what God wants. Sometimes honesty and humility is what God calls for. Patience, temperance, and long-suffering is what God calls for.

Vintage message from October 10, 1999.

Zeal is not always what God wants. Sometimes honesty and humility is what God calls for. Patience, temperance, long-suffering is what God calls for… And this is where, I believe, we need to learn a lesson. That sometimes God allows things to happen. Even though it’s very uncomfortable for us, God allows for it to happen, because He’s using us either for an example and other people are watching, or because He’s simply using us as a vessel in order to use or to work in another person’s life…

God does not always act immediately when the unjust thing happens but, of course, we want justice. We want it now… Why has God not acted? God has not gone without noticing. Sometimes — and this is where we need to be patient and where God’s Holy Spirit is working in us — [we need] patience. He’ll deal with it, but in His time…

We need to inquire of the Lord… Maybe this is happening because God is doing something. Maybe we should inquire of the Lord. There have been too many times in my life that I have waited days, weeks, months, and even years before I have gone to the Lord and said, “Lord, why is this thing happening in my life? Why am I struggling with this sin over and over again? Why am I struggling with this anger or this hatred or this bitterness towards another person? Why are these things that I don’t like, these uncomfortable situations of my life, happening?” And they’ll go on sometimes for years before I finally — duh! — I should inquire of the Lord! Amazing! What happens when we decide to pray? And not just, “God, bless me. God, bless me. God, bless me.” That’s usually how most of us pray. But when we finally get to the place of saying, “God, reveal my thoughts. You know my heart far better than I know my heart… God, reveal to me what only You know about me, because I don’t know it. I’ve hidden it. There’s something there that I have not dealt with…”

When we find ourself in disputes with other people, when we find ourself in hardships, when we find ourself struggling because the world around us has dealt with us badly or harshly, we do not have to take action. God says that revenge is His…

When you become the servant of God, you are giving God the right to use you or use your family or use your life in any way that He sees fit, and sometimes…to honor God, we have to make hard decisions… What is God asking you to do that will bring a rain of blessing to this land? To the land around you? To the people around you? What hardships might He ask you to go through? What ridicule might He ask you to go through in order for His blessing to be poured out on our friends and on our neighbors and on people who are, frankly, not worth it [in our view], not deserving of it? God blesses them anyway. I remind you of the verse: For God so loved the world. And I, at one time, was part of that world that God so loved. I was just as lost. I was just as decadent. I was just as filthy as anybody else around me. And I am still probably just as filthy in many ways. God still hasn’t dealt with all of the closets that I have locked tight in my life. He just takes His time opening them and dealing with them. But God so loved the world that He made a way for this lost and dying and decaying world. He gave His only begotten Son, Who came to this earth, Who lived the life that was only good, that was only honoring to His Father, that was only a blessing to those people around Him. And in the end, they stoned Him, they laughed at Him, they spit on Him, and then they nailed Him to a cross. What do you think is going to happen to you? We’ve gone through many years of blessing in this nation, but I’m afraid we’re coming to a day where God, wanting to pour blessing out, to bring people back to a relationship with Him, may have to use you, may have to use me, in a way that this society will not understand.

Do you realize that there are people watching you?... Seeing how you live your life, seeing what kind of faith you actually live in your life, and they are strengthened and encouraged when they see you stand against the giants.

Vintage message from October 17, 1999.

You and I, in our lives, will face giants, and we are asked to stand against these giants. Now, of course, it’s not like it was in [King] David’s day where you just pull a sword out and whack off some guy’s head because he wants to argue with you. I sometimes wish it was that easy, but God says, “No! The sword that you use today is the sword of My Word. The strength you stand in is the strength of My love.” We are called to love and share God’s Word even in the face of giants, those that would stand against God, those that would stand against everything that we believe is right and true in God. But we’re asked to face them…

Do you realize that there are people watching you? There are brothers and sisters around you watching you? Seeing how you live your life, seeing what kind of faith you actually live in your life, and they are strengthened and encouraged when they see you standing against the giants. When everyone else is cowering behind the line, when you stand up in faith, there are men watching. There are your brothers and sisters who are taking note…

To God, we are vessels, and if He chooses to use us, it doesn’t matter what our condition is, He will use us… And understand, that when you live in faith, when you stand in faith, there are people who are watching you. There are people who are gaining strength from your faith; that they’re growing. When you stand in God’s Word, when you stand in God’s love, there are people who are taking notice…

You and I can help each other stand in the face of giants. Good, bad, or otherwise, if we will choose to honor God with our lives, if we will allow God to soften our hearts, He will use us, He can use us, and He wants to use us.

God isn't impressed with the things we do. God is only impressed with the relationship we have with Him.

Vintage message from October 24, 1999.

When was the last time that you knew that God delighted in you? I’m here to tell you, God delights in you. I don’t care who you are. I don’t care what you’ve done. God, the God of eternity, Who sees past, present, and future, knows everything about you. God Who created you created you for a purpose. Not to be His slave, but to walk in love relationship with you! He delights in His creation, and He simply, only wants His creation to recognize that; to call out to Him, and acknowledge, “God, I see You. I know You’re there, and I know You delight in having me in relationship with You.” Can you say that? “God, I know you delight in me…”

How do you perceive God? How do you see God in your life? What relationship do you have with the Creator of this universe? Do you see God as your strength? Do you see God as your avenger? Do you see God as the One Who empowers you and brings you through your every day?… How do you picture God? Is He strong enough to handle the plumbing problems? The school problems? The work problems? The computer problems?… Do you see Him coming down from heaven when you’re in trouble to pick you up and rescue you?… Do you see God taking you in His hands? Do you see God loving you so much that He would care when you’re struggling, that He would pick you up, and that He would fight your battles? When you become tired, when you become worn out, when you become frustrated, when you see no possibilities, when you’ve done all that you can possibly do, and you’ve come to the end of yourself, do you finally see yourself calling out to the God Who created you, and then seeing heaven open up, and lightning flashing around, and your enemies fleeing in terror? And where you were once surrounded, God picking you up and putting you in an open space, clear from the danger, clear from the troubles, clear from the trials. Jesus tells us that we have to live by faith. Much of the life we live, especially the life that we’re going to live before God, the trust that we’re going to put in God, the times that we pray, our prayers are going to be prayed in faith…

How do you picture God? How do you see your relationship with Jesus Christ? How do you see the Creator of this universe interacting with you?… If you can’t see it, I would challenge you this morning…to go find a place where you can hide away, where you can spend the time before your Creator, and you call out to Him, cry out to Him, and tell Him how you feel about things. And He will respond to you, because He responds to those who pray. He responds to those who believe. He responds to those who cry out to Him. He wants us to cry out to Him…

God is not impressed with the things we do. God is only impressed with the relationship we have with Him… How do you see God in your life? How do you see the salvation that God has offered you? What kind of lives do you live that shows that God is your strength? These are questions I have to ask myself.

Are you willing to make a stand for God, even when everybody else is fleeing? Even when everybody else has abandoned their position?... He's called us to stand firm for Him.

Vintage message from October 31, 1999.

One of the things that I believe God calls us to the most is knowing who we are, where we’re at in Him. And just because we’ve walked right with the Lord in our younger years does not necessarily mean that we’re going to walk right with the Lord as we get older. It’s a daily evaluation. A daily checking our hearts against His Word. Daily getting into His Word to find out if our hearts are right… He wants people who seek Him in honest, loving relationship… It’s about seeking Him to know Him better; to communicate back and forth. Do you realize that when you’re communicating with Him, speaking with Him, [that] He’s speaking to you. God speaks to our hearts, God speaks to our minds, and sometimes He even speaks to our ears…but all of us, if we’ll take the time, will hear God… But you need to develop a life in prayer. A life in prayer that says that I’m not praying to God, but I am communicating with my Friend. I am communicating with the One Who loves me and cares for me and will meet my needs…

Understand, our lives are not about us. Our lives are about Him, and what relationship we have with Him. One day all of this is going to burn… The things of this earth do not matter. God has given us the challenge of being born into this world to encounter all that there is that this world has to offer, to encounter all that there is that our flesh would desire, but still come to the end of our life and say, “You are Lord and God over me. I receive You and the One that I will bow to. I receive You into my life. Be my Lord and be my Savior. Salvation only comes from You…”

Jesus came to bring to us a love relationship that is beyond measure, beyond understanding. He wants relationship with us. He wants us to understand salvation comes from His hand, and all that we can be, comes from His hand. I am what I am today because God saved me…

Are you willing to make a stand for God, even when everybody else is fleeing? Even when everybody else has abandoned their position? …Are you willing to take a stand and say, “I don’t care who’s fleeing. I am the person who loves God! I have received Jesus in. I’m His vessel. If He wants to use me, let Him use me.” Are you willing to take that stand, no matter who’s fleeing around you? This is what God is looking for. This is what God calls might men. Men who do not look at the people around them and what they’re doing… It doesn’t matter what they’re doing. What matters is what are you doing? How are you representing God? How are you living your life, and trusting what God can do through you?…

He’s called us because of our relationship with and through the power of His Holy Spirit. He’s called us to a place of restraint, a place of love, a place of caring, even when there is no rhyme or reason why we should care, He’s called us to it. How did He tell the disciples that they would be known in this world as His disciples? By their love. By how they dealt with one another. By the restraint that the power of God’s Holy Spirit could bring to them… He’s called us to be mighty men. He’s called us to stand firm for Him.

God wants to show us, even if it means through great pain and great suffering, He wants to show us what we can be and [He wants to] bring us out of what we are.

Vintage message from November 7, 1999.

We are never truly right with God until we allow God to expose who we are, until we allow God to deal with our issues of sin, and sometimes it’s painful… Oftentimes we find ourself saying [this] of ourself, “I’m the ruler of my castle. I’m the ruler of my existence. I’m the one that has the right to make the decisions for myself. God, leave me alone!” But we truly do not want God to leave us alone…

We have those same issues of sin, and you know what? God gives us salvation, and He gives us salvation freely. He paid the price. He sent His Son. His Son died [so] that we no longer have to die for our sin, but I’m not going to stand here and tell you that it’s going to cost you nothing. In fact, I’m going to tell you it’s going to cost you your life. Jesus tells us that we need to come to Him and become bondservants. That we need to choose willingly to accept, receive, live for, have Him as our Lord and our Savior. But in receiving Him and becoming that bondservant, it costs us everything. Our right to make our own decisions. Do you realize when you give your life to the Lord you’re not making your decisions anymore, and if you are, you’re living in a backslidden state? You don’t have the right to go where you want to go, and you don’t have the right to be what you want to be. If you’re not inquiring of the Lord, then you’re walking into trouble. And so often, we flippantly say, “Thank You, Lord, for Your free salvation,” and then we run off and do our own thing… We go on, day in and day out, living for what makes me comfortable; issues of sin that sometimes we don’t even know are there. God wants to reveal our hearts… God wants to show us, even if it means through great pain and great suffering, He wants to show us what we can be and bring us out of what we are.

God wants us to love Him, and He wants to love us, and He wants us to walk right before Him. And He will go to whatever length He has to go to…because let me tell you something… you are special to God. He created you for a purpose. He loves you with purpose. He desires you with purpose. And He is not going to relent. He will not give up. He will pursue you into your old age and onto your deathbed if He has to… He will let you make your own decisions, and He will let you make ruin of your life, but He will not stop pursuing you because He loves you. He cares deeply. Deeply enough, so deep that He even sacrificed His Own Son… Let Him reveal your heart. Let Him deal with those issues. Don’t hide from it. Don’t run from it, even if it’s uncomfortable. Let Him have His way.