We will become the most effective when we realize that there is nothing we have in life that's going to meet anyone's needs more than the name of Jesus

Vintage message from October 20, 1996.

It’s not wrong to walk up to someone, the beggar on the street or your best friend, and say, ‘Today I have nothing more to give you but the name of Jesus Christ.’ We will become the most effective when we realize that there is nothing we have in life that’s going to meet anyone’s needs more than the name of Jesus. We need to give the name of Jesus before we give them anything else. And when we give the name of Jesus, then people’s lives are changed. Then people’s hearts are changed. Then people will stand up and dance around because of the miracle that God does in their lives just like this lame man.

We find ourselves so often complaining about the hard times that we go through; complaining because we don't understand what God is doing. Well, the fact is, just the knowledge...that God is doing it should be enough to make us content.

Vintage message from November 3, 1996.

Do we know in our lives that God has complete control and foreknowledge of what’s going to happen to us? Think about that. When you find yourself complaining about how hard things are, does God really know what’s going to happen to my life? Has He already predetermined and laid out the path for me, and if He’s laid that path out for me, then is it not okay for me to walk it? And even if that path, just as it was predetermined for Jesus to walk down that path of life to His very death and He knew that, what about us? What if we’re facing death? The ultimate of hardships. What if we have to face that someday? …We find ourselves so often complaining about the hard times that we go through; complaining because we don’t understand what God is doing. Well, the fact is, just the knowledge of knowing that God is doing it should be enough to make us content.

There's a lot to be afraid of if we're living in hypocrisy; if we're not being honest with God.

Vintage message from November 10, 1996.

We are all such hypocrites when it comes to this idea of wanting people to think that we’re good. Wanting people to see us as something that we’re not. We all want to be like Barnabas. We all want to have these pure, godly, unselfish motives. We would all like to be able to stand up in the face of God and say, ‘God, I want to serve You for the simple sake of serving You.’ But it is so hard to do that, that we usually end up serving God so that other people notice our service. We serve God because we want to be recognized…

…[God] doesn’t want us to fall over dead as Ananias and Sapphira did. He just simply wants us to be honest…Once you’ve asked the Holy Spirit in, the Holy Spirit wants to make changes in you. He expects you to trust Him in that and not try to lie to Him. And when we lie to each other, we’re lying to Him…

…There’s no reason to really [be afraid of] God. If you truly believe Him, if you truly know Him, there’s no reason to really fear Him. The fear comes when we are not sure if we truly believe Him. The fear comes when we start looking at the lie that these people lived in, the hypocrisy that these people lived in, and we realize that we’re living in that same lie and hypocrisy. There’s a lot to be afraid of if we’re living in hypocrisy; if we’re not being honest with God. That’s all He wants. He wants our honesty. He wants us to walk away from hypocrisy and give our lives fully into His Hands and let Him make the changes in us that He can make.

If what we're doing is of human origin, then it should fail. But if it's of God, then it will never fail.

Vintage message from November 17, 1996.

God doesn’t want us to do things in the name of the church… He doesn’t want us to do things in the name of our flesh. He wants us to live our lives in the Name of Jesus Christ…If what we’re doing is of human origin, then it should fail. But if it’s of God, then it will never fail. God does not fail in getting the gospel out.

What has God called us to do? What is our call to this world? Same as Jesus's: to love the world, to love the lost.

Vintage message from November 24, 1996.

What has God called us to do? What is our call to this world? Same as Jesus’s: to love the world, to love the lost. Not to go out and pick fights with them, and not to go out and slam them into the ground, not to put them down for what they believe…

He is not hindered by the things that I do, and He is not hindered by the things I don’t do, and He doesn’t need me to protect Him. He has simply and only asked me to be a vessel that He can dwell in, to allow His Spirit to work through, to be a witness to the world…He’s asked me to love those around me…We need to let God fight His own battles and just be used by Him. Watch what He does and then when He proves Himself to be true, let’s follow Him…

See what happens when the apostles were faithful to allow the Holy Spirit to resolve the problem instead of them resolving the problem? When the Holy Spirit is involved in the lives of the men and women who do the ministry within the church, within the body, when the Holy Spirit is leading and directing them, then others catch on fire, too. Others grow in faith. Others begin to give their lives over to the Lord.

God has called us to live a life of forgiveness, no matter what the consequences are to us.

Vintage message from December 1, 1996.

The greatest witness you can be,…the greatest example you can be, the greatest argument you can have against a dying and unbelieving world, is just simply knowing the facts of history, sharing what God has already done in this world…

Sometimes we will be faced with hardships. We will be faced with people who want to condemn us, and the greatest defense that we have is history. The greatest defense that we can make is by sharing a testimony of what we already know has happened, and then we leave it in God’s hands from there…And the fact is, usually when you tell someone the truth about themselves they don’t like it, especially a heart that does not have the Holy Spirit in it…

Understand that you will find opposition in your life. You will tell the truth to people, and they will not like it, but you know the only thing that really matters is your response. How you respond to those who are angry at you for telling the truth. Have you told them the truth in love?…If you’ve done that, then you have nothing to fear…It does not matter what’s going on out there. What matters is what God is doing…God has called us to live a life of forgiveness, no matter what the consequences are to us.

Heaven is nothing if God's not there.

Vintage message from December 8, 1996.

We are the greatest [as] evangelists when we come to the place of realizing that we’re nothing special. God loves us all the same. God will not show favoritism…The fact is that God loves us all, and He wants us to be responsive to Him and to be filled with His Spirit…He wants all of us to be able to go out and tell someone that in the Name of Jesus Christ, you can be forgiven of your sin and spend eternity with the Father. That’s the bottom line. We are to be about telling people and showing people with our own lives that they can spend eternity with the Father. Not go to this place called heaven. Heaven is nothing if God’s not there…When I hear believers describing heaven, the one thing that is oftentimes left out is the description of the Father…Jesus Christ, His Son, gave His life to tell us that, and that we can go and spend eternity with a Person and within a relationship that is going to fulfill us for all eternity, no matter what that eternity might offer us. You know, we only hear a small portion of what eternity is. When we stand before the Father, we only know a small portion in writing of what’s going to happen. What’s going to happen beyond what we have described here in God’s Word is relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ His Son, emboldened by the power of the His Spirit to come into His presence and actually talk to Him. This is what we need to be telling people out there who do not have lives that are fulfilled.

God loves us desperately. Jesus died on the cross to prove that to us... We just simply need to respond to it.

Vintage message from December 15, 1996.

That’s all religion really is: trying to impress God. It’s man’s effort to reach God…God loves us desperately. Jesus died on the cross to prove that to us…The Bible is written for us to know clearly, from Genesis all the way through to Revelation, Who Jesus was and what He did for us. And the more I study, the more I read, the more I find out Jesus is not a religious person, God is not a religious Being, but They created us to have love relationship with us. It is Their desire to walk in that love relationship with us. We just simply need to respond to it, and we need to tell others that they can respond to it. Strip away the barriers of religion and simply share the truth of the gospel.

I'm not important. What I do is not important... Jesus is important... We are simply and only God's chosen instrument.

Vintage message from December 22, 1996.

That’s another question I have to ask myself: would I allow for another person to step into my ministry if God asked, and move on? It’s a question I believe we’ve always got to be asking ourselves: God is there something more You want me to do and is there someplace else You want me to be? Or do I find my importance here? You know, I’m not important. What I do is not important, because Whom I speak about, Whom I teach about is important. Jesus is important. The Holy Spirit is important. Gathering people together for fellowship to me is important. And if I do it…or some total stranger does it, it’s just important to me that it’s being done…

And that’s the other thing that I find for all of us, if we could come to that place of realizing…that we are simply and only God’s chosen instrument. It makes preaching the gospel, it makes sharing our faith with someone else so much easier.

Use God's Word but use it wisely.

Vintage message from December 29, 1996.

To serve Jesus is not always comfortable. To know Jesus is not always comfortable…

I believe that Jesus has called each one of us to share our faith with those around us…The fact is, the call is still valid today. We’re still to go into all the world making disciples of all nations…We need to convince them of the love of Jesus Christ; that He is the Son of God. And it takes time, it takes patience, and it takes gently sharing God’s Word, and you know what? If you don’t know God’s Word, you don’t have a very strong foundation to work from. Sometimes the best way to approach a family member or friend who does not know the Lord is to simply pray for them, and then tell them, ‘I love the Lord but I don’t know enough to tell you everything why I love the Lord yet. Just simply be my friend. Watch how I live and see what the Lord does in my life.’ And you know what? That’s more apt to convince someone of Jesus Christ then any argument you can get into. Use God’s Word but use it wisely.

It's not about me. It's not about you. It's about God; about what He wants to do in our lives; what He wants to accomplish in this world, and He may choose to use some of us.

Vintage message from January 5, 1997.

Sometimes God wants good people dead. Sometimes He brings good people to Himself. Sometimes He allows people to enter their rest… We’re not created for this life. We’re not created to live eternally in this flesh. We’re not created to have this situation forever…

We still, in every situation, need to be people of prayer. God may work a little faster in one situation but not as fast in another situation…

The number one issue in our lives needs to be the spiritual healing of those that we know. The number one issue in our lives should be to bring those around us who do not yet have a relationship with the Lord to a place of having a relationship with the Lord, that they might be healed spiritually. And you know what? No one is excluded in God’s eyes. No one is undeserving of our prayers… That should be our number one priority is to bring people to that place of understanding that God wants them. He does not want them separated. He’ll let them choose, but He doesn’t want them separated. And if that means sometimes having to get on our knees and pray for God to do a miracle in one person’s life so that many people around him might be spiritually healed, then that’s what we need to start doing, trusting that the Holy Spirit will do what He wants. It’s not about me. It’s not about you. But it’s about God; about what He wants to do in our lives; what He wants to accomplish in this world, and He may choose to use some of us.

If we truly want to serve God, we need to be concerned about the things that God is concerned about.

Vintage message from January 12, 1997.

How many times do we find ourselves living in sin but denying the very nature of that sin? You know, there are lots of things in our lives that God’s going to hold us accountable for, that we’ll say, ‘No, no, Lord. I’m not unclean!’ But yet He’ll call us to do something for someone and we’ll say, ‘No, I don’t want to do that because that person’s a sinner. I don’t want to associate with those kinds of people,’ but yet, in our very own lives, we have issues that are making us as much of a sinner as the person God wants us to go to…

The fact is that the things that we look at and see as dirty, the things that we look at and see as sinful, the things that we don’t want to associate with oftentimes are the very things that God wants us to go out to and deal with in people’s lives. We’re never going to see people saved if we’re afraid to go the sinners. We’re never going to see the unsaved give their lives over if we’re afraid of the sin they’re living in, if we’re afraid to associate with them, if we’re afraid to touch them. We have to change our standards oftentimes…

If we truly want to serve God, we need to be concerned about the things that God is concerned about.

It doesn't matter what recognition we get today... What matters is...that we're willing and allowing Him to use us even though we may never, ever get the credit.

Vintage message from January 19, 1997.

It’s not my place, it’s not any of our places to say that anyone deserves to go to hell. God is the only One Who can say who deserves to go to hell and who doesn’t, and I can guarantee you, God is not going to tell any man, when he stands before God in the judgement, God is not going to tell any man he deserves to go to hell because of his sin. Do you realize that? There will be one reason that Jesus will look at someone and say, ‘Depart from me. I never knew you. I didn’t have a relationship with you. You never invited me in.’ The only reason that men are going to be cast away from God is because they have refused to receive and walk in a relationship with Jesus…They’re not going to be sent to hell because they’re sinners…You’re not going to go to heaven because you’re a good person. None of us are. We do not enter those gates because of anything good that we’ve done. We enter because we had relationship [with Jesus]. Do you realize that when Jesus looks at us and says, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant,’ that the only reason He’ll say ‘well done’ is because we entered into a relationship with Him?…

When people look at us and the life that we live, the love that we have for God, are they impressed so that they want what we’ve got? When people encounter us through the day, do they find themselves saying, ‘Wow, there is something different about Dave. There’s something different about that man that I really need to have.’

…It doesn’t matter what recognition we get today. It doesn’t matter if we get credit for any salvations that people happen to come into. What matters is, are we good in the sight of the Lord because He’s made us good, not because of our goodness. And that we’re willing and allowing Him to use us even though we may never, ever get the credit.

The whole goal, the whole purpose of being Christ-like is so that people can look and see Christ Himself and know that, in fact, He can make a difference in our lives. He can change us.

Vintage message from January 26, 1997.

We are to be like Jesus. We are to sacrifice our lives just as He did. We are to lay our lives down just as He did. We are to bring people to a place of relationship with God the Father just as He did. Now, of course, none of us will ever save anyone…And even though we want to be like Christ, Christ — Jesus Christ — is the only One Who has ever saved anybody, because He was the atonement…The whole goal, the whole purpose of us being Christ-like is so that people can look and see Christ Himself and know that, in fact, He can make a difference in our lives. He can change us. Then we become great evangelists. The greatest evangelist is the one who leads a friend to the very feet of Jesus Himself and says, ‘Now, Lord, he’s Yours.’ And that’s where I’ve come to. I don’t try to force people to be saved. I don’t try to beat people over the head with my Bible anymore. I don’t walk around telling them, ‘If you don’t fall on your knees right now and pray for Jesus to come into your life, you’re going to hell!’ And I’ve heard people preach this way. I just simply say, ‘You know, you have a responsibility. Jesus loves each one of us. He died for each one of us, and He wants to have relationship with each and every one of us.’ And then I leave it there. The choice is theirs. All too often I believe that the choice is mine to force them to give their lives over, but we can’t do that. The choice is theirs, and so that’s where we leave it.

This is my goal: to take this Word and make it understandable to you so that you can use it practically in your life, and know that God's Word is still in effect today.

Vintage message from February 2, 1997.

This is my goal…to take this Word and make it understandable to you so that you can use it practically in your life, and know that God’s Word is still in effect today…

And the biggest problem is that oftentimes it is God’s will to move people on…What could God be thinking? Well, the fact is, God was thinking that He’s picked each and every one of us for a purpose. He has created each and every one of us to affect another man’s life….And you know what’s even harder? God expects for me to be content with that…Because you know what I realized? That ‘this’ [church] is not what life’s about. Life is about bringing people to know and live within a relationship with Jesus Christ so that one day He will call us home and then for all eternity we’ll be together. There will be no more having to send out and be away, but we will all be together in fellowship, and what that fellowship will translate into I can’t tell you. I’m not a prophet of eternity. I can’t tell you what God has in store for us. The Holy Spirit will give us glimpses occasionally, but you know, I just know it’s going to be glorious! I know it’s going to be wonderful! And it’s going to leave us standing within the presence of God, and seeing Him within the relationship that He wants us to have with Him.

Jesus gave us the responsibility to forgive. Isn't that what He tells us? All through the New Testament, what's laid out to us the most is forgive, love your neighbor, do what's right to those around you.

Vintage message from February 9, 1997.

Jesus gave us a responsibility to love Him, to love the world. Jesus gave us the responsibility to forgive. Isn’t that what He tells us? All through the New Testament, what’s laid out to us the most is forgive, love your neighbor, do what’s right to those that are around you. And this is where we find ourselves all too often: living in our rights rather than living in the privilege and responsibility of loving and walking in relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ…

If we go to anyone with a message, it needs to be that...God can, will, and does forgive.

Vintage message from February 16, 1997.

What brings [the unsaved] to the place of salvation is hearing that not only does God love them and will do the miracle in their lives, but that God can and does forgive. That’s the real miracle…because of the love of God, we can be forgiven. And then, once we hear that we can be forgiven and we see the display of power that the Holy Spirit brings, then we know we can be forgiven…And that’s where people become convinced of salvation. It’s not when they see the miracle of healing but when they see the miracle of forgiveness…And if we go to anyone with a message, it needs to be that…God can, will, and does forgive. He wants to be intimately and personally involved in your life and He did this through the person of Jesus Christ. He came to this earth, He died specifically to deal with these issues of sin…

The only thing that keeps us from going to the Father, the only thing that keeps us from that relationship, the only thing that will keep us from eternal fellowship is that we deny relationship with Jesus Christ and going through Him…

Jesus has still made promises to us that one day He’s going to return. He’s going to take His bride home. He’s going to take us to this place of eternal rest and relationship with Him. He’s made that promise to us. Do we believe that? How many of us live as though we believe that? How many of us go out daily in our walk with Him and display the fact that we believe that one day we’re going to be living in eternal relationship with the Savior of our souls? Do we do that?

No matter what life seems to be offering us, God's the One Who knows the number of our days, God's the One Who's in control of our lives, and there's nothing that's going to stop us. If we are willing to serve God, if we are willing to trust Him, if we're willing to speak His Word boldly, He's not going to take us until He's ready for us.

Vintage message from February 23, 1997.

No matter what life seems to be offering us, God’s the One Who knows the number of our days, God’s the One Who’s in control of our lives, and there’s nothing that’s going to stop us. If we are willing to serve God, if we are willing to trust Him, if we’re willing to speak His Word boldly, He’s not going to take us until He’s ready for us.

Lord, cause us to always be a body that just simply loves You and gathers together for You, to understand Your Word, to encourage one another, and to sing praises to You.

Vintage message from March 2, 1997.

When God uses us, when God does something in our lives, we need to share that with someone…The testimony we share with people is generally the testimony that strengthens them. People want to know that God can, in fact, use us…There are a lot of people out there that are saying, ‘I don’t believe God can use me. I don’t understand how God can use me.’ Well, you know, I can tell you that if God can use me, God can use you…We need to share the testimony that God is alive and He’s working…today. He did these great things. It’s all Him, it’s not me, but if God can use me, He can use you, too…

I just [pray] that…we would be very much like the early church, Lord. Though we may have struggles and though we may have a lack of understanding, I just ask, Lord, that we would grow and that we would encourage one another, that we would know what it is to fellowship, that we would know what it is to be a strength to one another…Lord, cause us to always be a body that just simply loves You and gathers together for You, to understand Your Word, to encourage one another, and to sing praises to You.

We don't always have to agree with everything that everybody says...but we are called by Jesus Christ to love everyone regardless of what they believe, and then we leave it in God's hands. If we disagree, we love each other and move on.

Vintage message from March 9, 1997.

We don’t always have to agree with everything that everybody says because they’re a Christian, but we are called by Jesus Christ to love everyone regardless of what they believe, and then we leave it in God’s Hands. If we disagree, we love each other and we move on, and we allow the controversy to lay behind us until Jesus Christ reveals to us what the truth is, and we just simply love.

If God has called us, we simply do what God's asked us to do and not worry about what anybody else around us is doing.

Vintage message from March 23, 1997.

We have to understand the call of God on our lives; the specifics of the call of God on our lives. And if God has called us, we simply do what God’s asked us to do and not worry about what anybody else around us is doing, because God will work all things together for good to those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. God will do that. I don’t work all things together because I think it’s what God wants to do.

Eternal life was, is, and always will be relationship with the Father and His Son Whom He sent. That's eternal life... That place that we talk about of gold streets and mansions -- it's just another place, and it's meaningless if the relationship with the Father is not there.

Vintage message from Resurrection Sunday, March 30, 1997. (Please note: the beginning and end of this message were not a part of the original recording.)

A lot of people have asked, what is eternal life?…People will talk about this glorious place called heaven. People will talk about streets of gold. People will talk about mansions. ‘Oh, I want to go get my mansion!’ But did you hear what Jesus said eternal life was? Eternal life was, is, and always will be relationship with the Father and His Son Whom He sent. That’s eternal life…That place that we talk about of gold streets and mansions — it’s just another place, and it’s meaningless if the relationship with the Father is not there…

It says [Jesus] died for sin once, not many times, over and over and over again. He doesn’t have to do this again. Do you realize that the sin issue is dealt with. That there is no man, no woman, no child, no person that’s ever been on the face of this earth that will stand before God and God look at him and say, ‘Sorry, you can’t come into heaven because you’re a sinner.’ There’s only one reason that God will tell anyone, ‘Sorry, you can not come into heaven. You can not be there because you have not had relationship with Me.’ He’ll tell them, ‘Depart from Me. I never knew you.’ Remember? Heaven isn’t there. Heaven is Him. It’s that relationship…And if you don’t have that relationship now, you’re not going to have it then…

For all that Jesus did, the wages of sin is still death. Even though the sin issue has been dealt with, no man need to be separated from the Father because of sin any longer, but the wages of sin is still death. Sin brings separation. Death is not this physical body, but death is not having relationship with the Father…Do you realize now that if you enter into eternity and you are separated from Father, it is because you have willingly chosen to be separated from the Father? It is no longer because of the sin issue…We, today, have a choice. We do not have to die in our sin… Today there are people on this earth that are saying, ‘I do not want relationship with You.’ And those people do not understand that what they are saying is that they want the wages of sin. They want the death. They want the separation. They do not understand what that separation means.

We can either walk around burdened in our faith in Christ, or we can walk around excited in our faith in Christ.

Vintage message from April 6, 1997. (Please note: the end of this message was not a part of the original recording.)

We can either walk around burdened in our faith in Christ, or we can walk around excited in our faith in Christ. You know, I see a lot of burdened Christians. I see a lot of people who give their lives to the Lord, and then they spend the rest of their lives complaining and murmuring and telling everybody about their woes and how hard it is to be a Christian. This isn’t Paul and Silas. Paul and Silas are in the worst of conditions, but yet what do they find themselves doing? Praying and singing — at midnight! When most of us would just want to be asleep anyway. They’re up before the Lord.

We are responsible to God's Word. If we do not study God's Word, we have no clue what to believe. We have no clue whether or not what people are telling us is true.

Vintage message from April 13, 1997.

What is it in our lives that causes us to grow in character and strength? It’s the manure that’s packed around us in life; the stinky, hard things of life; the things that we don’t want to happen to us; the things that we look up to God and say, ‘God, what could You have been thinking to allow this to happen to me?’ And we do that. And we get angry and we get frustrated because life is hard and tough and we don’t want the manure packed around us. But you know what? Fruit is not going to grow, the Holy Spirit is not able to use you unless He can build that character in you, and it comes from that manure. It comes from the hardness and the stinky-ness of life that He has thrust us into.

We are only looking at each other to see and to help and to be part of the growth of fruit. That’s how we judge, why we judge, and what God has asked us to judge. Nothing else. He judges the person’s heart. He judges the person’s life. He’s the One that judges and, if need be, condemns. We have nothing to do with the condemning process. Unfortunately, many Christians do try to take that role away from God and play the judge and condemn people for what they’ve done and who they are, but we in no way are supposed to bring ourselves to the place of condemning anyone. We’re to bring ourselves to the place of loving and forgiving and working with and see the fruit begin to grow in their lives. And, if no fruit is ever displayed at the end of their life, that’s between them and God. God’s the One Who will say to a person, ‘You are or you are not a believer.’ It’s not up to me.

Now, of course, I have to look into my own life, and if I say, ‘Lord, yes, I want You in my life,’ and I’m telling people that, yes, I have invited Jesus Christ into my life, I want people to see the fruit. And if I am not displaying the fruit, if I am not showing within my own life the fruit, then when I stand before God, He’s the One that’s going to tell me. Even though all of you may stand around and say, ‘Dave, that wasn’t a very Christian thing to do,’ it doesn’t matter. Ultimately, I’m responsible before God, and He’s the One who will judge me and condemn me, if need be, or love me and forgive me…

We are responsible to God’s Word. If we do not study God’s Word, we have no clue what to believe. We have no clue whether or not what people are telling us is true and, in fact, when we do not know God’s Word…we only become argumentative. Instead of being able to simply explain and love people because of God’s Word, we become argumentative. We start fights. We divide the church. We find ourselves as being people with no character or bad character…But what I want you to know, if you’ve learned nothing else today from anything I’ve said, you are responsible to search God’s Word, to know why you live the life you live, to know what that life is that God wants you to live. You are responsible. We need to be like the Bereans. We need to live our lives studying God’s Word.

The fact is, you have a responsibility to open up God's Word for yourself, to search the Scriptures, to be...willing to engage in the study of God's Word... The only way we can grow in that relationship [with Jesus] is to know His Word and to know what He is saying.

Vintage message from April 20, 1997.

The fact is, you have a responsibility to open up God’s Word for yourself, to search the Scriptures, to be like the Bereans. The Bible says they were people of good character. That’s what brings good character: when we are willing to engage in the study of God’s Word. The only good character that there is in life is the character that comes from knowing and growing within the relationship with Jesus Christ, and the only way we can grow in that relationship is to know His Word and to know what He is saying to us.

The one thing that people really need to see...is how the gospel is effectively lived out in the life of a believer.

Vintage message from April 27, 1997.

The one thing we have to realize is that God is the One Who’s doing the work [drawing people to Himself]. Through the power of God’s Holy Spirit, He is already touching lives. He is already changing lives, and all He wants from us is to allow Him to use us to show people the love relationship that we have with Him. You know that’s the one thing that people really need to see?…What they need to see is how the gospel is effectively lived out in the life of a believer. If we’re living in sin, if we’re living like the world, then we are in no way being an example to a lost and dying world…God wants us to show that love relationship that we have with Him in a very real way to a world that needs that love relationship. And then, they will hear. Then they’ll listen…

It’s not what we believe should happen that matters. It’s that I love the Lord Jesus Christ, and I want to take every opportunity I can to share that with people. I want them to be able to see the love that I have for the Lord, and if they can’t see it, at least show them from God’s Word that they can have it. And that’s the bottom line for us: that everything we’re about, everything we do, should be done out of that love relationship. And then if we meet one person or if we meet fifty people, we can be effective in God’s Hands in showing people to love. Then we’re serving Him. Then He’s able to use us in a way that affects the hearts of other people.

Sometimes...we need to stop and say, "Lord, even though I'm discouraged...I'm going to continue to go on and serve You. I'm going to continue to do the things that I don't want to do because I know it's pleasing to You.

Vintage message from May 4, 1997.

There’s a lot of discouraging things that happen in this world. And they happen to believers, or they happen around believers. And you know, it is so easy for us to say, “I’m just going to give up.” And especially, especially when it comes to evangelism, when it comes to sharing our faith with people around us…God does not want us to give up on the people who are around us. God does not want us to give up on husbands and wives, God does not want us to give up on brothers and sisters, and God does not want us to give up on neighbors. He wants us to continue. He does not want us to be afraid. He does not want us to be discouraged. He wants us to continue…

Understand that sometimes we can allow ourselves to get so discouraged that we need to stop and say, “Lord, even though I’m discouraged, even though I am struggling, I’m going to make a vow to You today. I’m going to make a promise to You, and I want You to hold me responsible to that promise, that even though I’m discouraged, I’m going to continue to go on and serve You. I’m going to continue to do the things that I don’t want to do because I know it’s pleasing to You.”

…Even though we get discouraged, even though we may have family, we may have friends, we may have people out there at we’ve given up on, if we will go back to them, if we will continue to wait on God for them, that God will have His way in their life eventually. And you know, I’m not naive. I know that there are some who are going to die and choose to be separated from God for all eternity…Men are going to choose to say, “God, I don’t love you.” and they’re choosing that now. They’re making their choices now. But you know what? We don’t have a right to give up on them. If they choose that ultimately, and some will, then they will be held responsible before God. But if we give up on them, we ourselves may be held responsible for not having shared, for not having given all that we were to the Lord to use in their life.

You know what your [spiritual] gift is? Your gift is having the Holy Spirit living inside of you.

Vintage message from May 18, 1997.

But [do] you know how you know that you have the Holy Spirit in your life?…When your life begins to change after you’ve received Jesus…What are the fruits of the Spirit? What are the things will be displayed if we have the Holy Spirit? Love, peace, patience, kindness, joy, long-suffering. Right? If these are the things that you’re experiencing, if these are the things that you’re noticing in your life, you can be assured that you have the Holy Spirit, because these are not the things that come natural to our flesh. These are only things that come natural to the Holy Spirit of God. And then if you happen to have the experience of speaking in tongues, praise God. If He happens to bless you by using that gift through you, praise God. But you know what? Just like Paul, I believe I would say I would much rather hear someone who can preach the gospel well, who could hold up God’s Word and share it accurately, understandably, and move a person’s heart to change. I believe that’s a much greater gift to have, the gift of teaching. Or, the gift of encouragement. Have you ever had people come to you that were discouraged?…Encouragement is a gift that comes from the Holy Spirit…

There’s so many gifts within the list of gifts, and understand that as we talk about the gifts, that I’m going to tell you that, in fact, you do not “have” any of these gifts. As a Christian, these gifts are not yours…You know what your gift is? Your gift is having the Holy Spirit inside of you. The Father gave the Holy Spirit these gifts to use in and through the believers in this world, to encourage one another, to build one another up, to strengthen one another, to make the body of Christ the body of Christ…

And look at the church today. You find in many places that’s where the emphasis is, is on what the Holy Spirit does through us rather than on the Holy Spirit…He’s accomplishing one thing: to make us whole as a body. Not for us to believe or know that we can have special gifts or special power or special ability, but that the Holy Spirit Himself can work in and through each and every one of us to be part of the body and encourage and build up the body.

I'll make a commitment to you... I will never give you a flowery message just to make you feel good... I want you to feel good about your walk with the Lord, but you know what? ...If you're not walking right with the Lord...you're not supposed to feel good!...I'm going to tell you the truth from God's Word... That's my commitment to you.

Vintage message from May 25, 1997.

You know what? I’ll tell you what. I’ll make a commitment to you…I’ll never give you a flowery message just to make you feel good. You know, I want you to feel good about the Lord, I want you to feel good about your walk with the Lord, but you know what? Sometimes as you’re hearing God’s Word, especially if you have sin in your life, especially if you’re not walking right with the Lord, especially if somehow you have allowed yourself to wander away from the Lord, you know what? You’re not supposed to feel good. You’re not supposed to want to be living in the world, and if you find yourself living in the world, if you find yourself ignoring God, if you find yourself in a place where you’re not living and loving the Lord, then you should not be feeling good, and I’m not going to make you feel good. I’m going to tell you the truth from God’s Word. I’m going to teach it the way God’s given it to us, the way I understand it, and you know what? Sometimes as I read it and as I’m studying, it does not make me feel good. It convicts the heck out of me sometimes because I know I’m wrong. I know I have sin in my life. That’s my commitment to you.

This is what you and I are to be about. Sharing the plain and simple truth of the gospel of Jesus.

Vintage message from June 1, 1997.

If we spend our time telling the truth of God’s Word, peoples’ lives are going to be changed, and that’s why I believe it’s very important for us to understand here; that it is God’s Word that brings the change. It is not our clever attempts to condemn or convict or to tell someone they’re wrong that will bring change to them, and often times it only closes the door to us and an effective witness to that life. But if we just simply begin to study and know God’s Word, if we teach God’s Word, if we share God’s Word when we have the opportunity, that is what opens the door, that’s what brings the change…

This is what believers are to be about. This is what you and I are to be about. Sharing the plain and simple truth of the gospel of Jesus. That Jesus wants us to be repentant in our heart. He wants us to come to the place of admitting when we’re living in sin…

We become so discouraged sometimes because bad things happen around us that we take our eyes off of Jesus, and we fail to be an encouragement to the people around us. We are called to occupy. We are called to share the truth. We are called to present God’s Word to those around us. And if we do this in a way that encourages and builds them up, their hearts are going to be changed. They are going to notice a difference in their life because of how we live our lives.

Lord, let me finish the race that You've laid before me. Let me complete the task that You've given me.

Vintage message from June 8, 1997.

What do you think humility is? Seeing yourself as God sees you. Knowing what it is that God has called you to. Understanding the direction that God is leading you on and going in that direction. Do you realize that that is the most humble thing in life you can do? Know the direction that God is leading you, and you actually go that direction…

As you’re doing God’s will, you can do it very boldly. You can do it very forcefully. And you can have great confidence when you step out to share God’s Word….That’s humility: knowing what God had called you to, knowing how God sees you, and living how God wants you to live. And that, let me tell you, is not timid, quiet, passive lifestyle. He wants us to be active. He wants us to be bold. He wants us to be outgoing in sharing the love that He’s called us into…

Acts 20:22-24 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me —- the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”

This is probably the greatest message I think I have ever heard Paul give. In reading through all…of Acts, in hearing what Paul has to say to the church leaders of Ephesus, what he’s sharing with them, how he’s encouraging them, these things he is saying, I believe have encouraged me to a lifestyle more than any of the other things that I’ve read in the Bible. As I look at these things, these are how I’ve tried to pattern my life…This is how I feel I should be living…We all need to be compelled by the Spirit. And you know what? This is what impresses me about Paul. Paul did not care about his life. He did not care that chains were waiting for him. He did not care that persecution was waiting for him. He did not care that prison and death were waiting for him. This is what made him so humble; was the fact that he knew that God was leading him to a specific place in life, and that specific place in life was his own death…Do we have that same intestinal fortitude? The same drive? The same character? Is that what’s in our heart and our mind?

How many of you even know what your task is? Think about that. What is your task in life?…What is that race that God has laid out for me, and am I willing to run it?

I am determined today to walk with and speak for and do what the Holy Spirit asks me to do.

Vintage message from June 15, 1997.

You’re going to have hardship. There will be times in your life when you’re gonna want to give up. There are going to be times in your life when the Lord is going to speak to your heart specifically to make a stand for Him. And your friends aren’t going to be around you to make the stand with you, and your friends around you might even be telling you, “Don’t do it!” But understand, each one of us has to come to the place of saying, “I am committed to the Lord Jesus, committed even to the point of death. Jesus means everything to me. I’m willing to die for Him.” But you know what? Dying for Jesus almost is the easier part. It’s much harder to live for Him. It’s much harder to get up each day and say, “I am determined today to walk with and speak for and do what the Holy Spirit asks me to do.” Each of us are vessels. Each of us are people that the Lord has chosen to represent Him. We need to be about representing the Lord Jesus. We need to be about sharing the gospel, making disciples of all nations, and listening to what the Holy Spirit has specifically for me to do.

There's a big difference between praying for someone and praying with them. To be there in fellowship with God and another person. It means a whole lot more.

Vintage message from June 22, 1997.

The idea here is to pray, to come before the living God; to bring our petitions, to bring the things that are hurting us, to bring the things that concern us before Him. And you know, I pray all the time. I’ll tell you, if any of you have known me for very long, if you’ve been part of this church for very long, I have your name down on a list…and I pray every day, or almost every day…I can honestly tell you that, for the most part, I have been faithful to pray for you. But you know what? There’s a big difference between praying for someone and praying with them. To actually be there in fellowship with God and another person. It means a whole lot more…

And I have to ask myself and this fellowship…when we find ourselves in conflict, how do we resolve it? Do w…get angry and start shouting and don’t listen to anything that the person has to say that we’re in conflict with? Or do we simply stop and say, “Let’s pray. Let’s take this to the throne of God. Let’s allow the Holy Spirit of God to touch us and resolve this in us.”

The difference between [living in legalism] and just putting your faith and your trust in Jesus is that with the law you really don't need God.

Vintage message from June 29, 1997.

Sometimes you just meet people who are caught up in legalism even though they do believe in Jesus. But, you know what? The law binds us. The law stops us from serving God in so many ways. The difference between the law and just putting your faith and your trust in Jesus is [that] with the law you really don’t need God. Everything is laid out for you. You have the strict rules and regulations by which to live by, so you do it, and if you break the law, then you go begging to God to forgive you. But, you know, in a relationship with Him, when you have Jesus is your life, you no longer have to go begging for forgiveness because He’s already done it. The purpose of Jesus dying on the cross was to take our sin away. It says He died once, once, and for all men. The issue of sin was dealt with before the throne of God. Yes, we still need to come to God and say I’m sorry. We still have to ask for forgiveness. But you know what? We don’t have to beg. We don’t have to worry that God’ll strike us with lightening. We don’t have to worry that somehow the judgement of God is going to fall on us because we’ve done something wrong. If we happen to step outside of what we know the legal limit was, God forgives us. He forgave us willingly even before we broke that law. He gave His Son willingly so that that issue of sin might be dealt with. Now the only thing that we have to deal with is loving Him. Walking with Him. Talking to Him. Understanding His will and direction for our life. The big difference between the law and having that relationship is we go directly to Him, and we can talk to Him….

[With the law] it’s just all laid out for you. There’s no surprise. No hope. No flexibility. It’s just all written out for you. This is how you do it, and as long as you’re doing that everything’s okay, but you know what the Israelites found out? They tried living that way and they couldn’t…

This is what the law does to us: it gives us an excuse to not follow Jesus, it gives us an excuse to not trust Jesus.

If the world wants to kill me, I hope they have enough evidence to do it. If they hate me because I'm a Christian, I hope they have enough evidence that when they...say, "We're killing you because you're a Christian," that they can actually do it because I've showed my life to [belong to]...Jesus Christ.

Vintage message from July 27, 1997.

Is it fair for God to use us as He so desires? Ah! That’s another question, isn’t it? What if it’s even with bad things happening in our life? What if it means even having to sit in a jail for something we did not do? Is it fair? If it’s for God. Anything is fair if we love God. We are His vessels. We are filled with the power of His Holy Spirit… And do you realize that any one of us in this room today can face the unfairness of life just as Paul faced the unfairness of this trial… Paul endured that and never once complained… He did this through the power of the Holy Spirit. Any one of us today in this room, just as Paul did, can be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and endure through the trials that are brought our way…

This is the point for us today…I believe very much…that we could be persecuted. We could see our government turn against us as Christians, and many of us might stand trial before our government. What was Paul’s attitude here? Paul’s attitude was, “I don’t mind standing trial if I’ve done something wrong. And you know what? I don’t even mind dying.” Paul didn’t argue. Paul didn’t fight. He didn’t become belligerent or disrespectful. He’s standing before this governor, he knows this governor is in charge, and he does everything to show respect to that governor. What does that tell us today? Do we have the right to be disrespectful even to a corrupt government that’s over us? No. God very clearly tells us that we must pray for those that are in authority over us. And as we have opportunity, if we are brought before them, to share the gospel just as Paul did with Felix….

God wants to use us as His vessels. God wants us to be as Paul saying, you know what, I’m not afraid to die. I’m not afraid to face this world and what the world wants to throw at me. If the world wants to kill me, I hope they have enough evidence to do it. If they hate me because I’m a Christian, I hope they have enough evidence that when they stand up and say, “We’re killing you because you’re a Christian,” that they can actually do it because I’ve showed my life to [belong to] Jesus Christ, allowing the Holy Spirit to work through me, allowing my God Who created me to have control of my life.

Sometimes God puts us in unsuitable situations, uncomfortable situations... Sometimes we need to stop and say, "God, am I in this uncomfortable situation for a reason, and should I stay here?" ...Don't move so quickly to the easy things in life because sometimes the easy things in life can bring your destruction.

Vintage message from August 10, 1997.

None of us in our right minds would make the decision to stay in a situation that’s hard. We would not make the decision to stay where we know that it’s unsuitable. But you know, sometimes God puts us in unsuitable situations, uncomfortable situations. He allows for the discomfort in our lives for a reason…But understand, when we find ourselves in uncomfortable situations, sometimes we need to stop and say, “God, am I in this uncomfortable situation for a reason, and should I stay here? Should I ride this one out?” Don’t be so quick to move on always looking for the comfort in life. Don’t move so quickly to the easy things in life because sometimes the easy things in life can bring your destruction.

But if we do find ourselves in a storm, especially a storm that we choose to sail into, we don't have to despair. We just have to come back to our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus. Turn to His Word and allow Him to give us direction.

Vintage message from August 17, 1997.

The problem is, with our lives oftentimes, we fail to look at the signs. We fail to look at the warnings. We fail to look at the seasons. We only look at the circumstance we want to be in. How many times have we made decisions based on what we felt the circumstance should be of our life?…

In life, oftentimes, there are things we want to do, but there’s a warning tag attached to most of what we want to do. And you know what? When we step into these things that we want to do, and we begin to experience the hard times, one of the first things we do is we look up to God and say, “God, why did You do this to me?”…God didn’t do it…

Much of what we do it life seems fun. Much of the decisions that we want to make in life seems easy, but if we make them too quickly, if we don’t heed the warning signs, this is what happens. All of a sudden, a storm that is uncontrollable blows down on us…Have you ever felt like that? Found yourself being battered by the hardships that life brings you so that you actually began to despair of life itself? You gave up all hope?…Let me tell you, there’s not a storm you can find yourself in, that if you’ll just stop and trust the Holy Spirit, that He can’t bring you through…

But understand, if we disobey the warnings that are put before us, God will allow us to be destroyed. You know, as much as God loves us, and as much as Jesus died to take away our sins, to give us the right to stand before God and not be judged but be accepted into eternity, God still allows for us to make the choice to be destroyed. Men are dying all around us every day who’ve heard the gospel, who understand that they’re being destroyed in their life by the storms of life, they’ve heard the gospel, they’ve been given the warning, but they’re still choosing death. They’re still choosing to run away from the One Person Who can truly save their life…

Sometimes it doesn’t feel like you’re going to make it through those hard times. Sometimes you don’t see how you can make it to the other end, and you worry and you worry and you worry, or you see people around you who are worrying themselves to death because they don’t see an out. They don’t see an end. They only see the destruction happening to them, and they need an example…

All of us know that life can be hard. All of us know that we can experience some very rough times. Let me tell you, God’s Word has a very clear direction and answer. If we put our faith in what God has already told us, if we’ll just heed the warnings, we won’t find ourselves in those predicaments. But if we do find ourselves in a storm, especially a storm that we chose to sail into, we don’t have to despair. We just have to come back to our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus. Turn to His Word and allow Him to give us direction.

Just because I can't relate to your life [and] you may not be able to relate to my life, we can still show unusual kindness.

Vintage message from August 24, 1997.

It’s when we’re in the storm, when we find ourselves being driven by the activity of life that seems like it’s going to overwhelm us and sink us that we sometimes forget that God sees the hair on our head. That He’s counted the number of hairs on our head, and He cares about the number of hairs on our head….He’s not concerned about the storms that we find ourselves in, even if we get into that storm out of stupidity, out of sinfulness, out of arrogance. If we find ourselves in the storm…God still cares, and He’s still counting the hairs on our head…Even when we’re going through the toughest of times, God is still caring for the smallest of details in our lives…

Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a storm, you’ve gone to someone and said, “Man, I’m just being beat to death by this storm, these trials and these struggles!” And the person looks at you, “Well, what’s the big deal? Gosh, it’s not a big deal. That’s no struggle.” What we oftentimes perceive as storms, it’s just a simple rain shower to someone else. We’ll turn to someone, expecting a shoulder to cry on, and it doesn’t seem like we get sympathy. It doesn’t seem like they actually understand, but you know what? We can’t understand the storms that you’re going through if we’ve not been in it ourself…And you know what? We shouldn’t try to relate to the storm that someone else has been through. We can get sucked into other people’s storms. We can be destroyed by other people’s storms…We want people to relate to us based on our own experiences, but you know what? People can’t…Just because I can’t relate to your life [and] you may not be able to relate to my life, we can show each other unusual kindness. We can help each other when we’ve come through the storms. And if we notice something about someone that they’re not exactly like we are, they don’t believe exactly the way we do, you know what? I can still show you kindness. I can still show you love back…

Does our life identify more with the world than it does with Jesus?

Vintage message from August 31, 1997.

Oftentimes God will put a calling on our life. He’ll put a desire in our heart. He’ll lead us to something, but you know what? We face that which God has called us to with fear. We look to the future with uncertainty. We say, “I don’t know how I can do this! I don’t know how I can get through this!” But if God has called us to it, if God wants us to be part of it, if it’s God doing the work, we have nothing to fear. God will fulfill whatever He has called us to do in our lives because He’s the One Who has the power! We do not have any power or any ability, any strength whatsoever to fulfill God’s call or God’s purpose in our lives. Do you realize that? Just because God may have called you does not mean that you have the strength or the ability to do it. You still have to trust God to do it. And if you trust God to fulfill what He’s called you to, then He will. He will bring it to a conclusion… God is always true to His Word. God is always, always powerful enough to fulfill whatever He’s called us to…

Do we care more for the truth of the Gospel? Do we care more that Jesus Christ came to this earth, that He died on the cross, He gave up everything He was for us — do we care more for that fact than we do for the comfortable lives that we’re living?… Do you realize that if you have a relationship with Jesus Christ today, that you no longer have an identity with the world? That you no longer have an identity with ‘them’ but you have your identity with ‘Him’… Does our life identify more with the world than it does with Jesus? Are the statements we make, the things we do, the life we live related more to the the things of the world that to the things of Christ? These are the questions I think we really need to ask ourselves.