It's not about me. It's not about you. It's not about our comfort... It is about Jesus. It is about the love that He has, and it just so happens that the love that He has was for you. Jesus is the One that makes it about me and makes it about you. That's His choice.

Vintage message from April 22, 2001.

We as Christians need to know Who God is. Everything we believe, everything we hope for, everything that we look forward to in eternity depends on Who God is, not just what He’s done. Though, we do need to know what He’s done, because if He’s done nothing in the past then what do we expect Him to do in the future?…

I think it’s very important for us as believers to know, not just what God did, but Who He was and, as you study John, you’re going to find that God was and is a God of love, but He is also a God Who deals with people justly. He didn’t come to this world just to perform miracles. He came to this world to draw all men to Him. To be the Light, the way that would open up to us so that we do not have to be lost… It’s not because I deserve it. It’s not because He owes it to the world. It’s because He loved the world… It’s not just what God did, it’s not that He just created this place, it’s not that He just created us, but that He entered into a relationship; a desire to be with you and with myself, which to me is phenomenal…

Jesus owes us nothing. He doesn’t have to perform miracles in our life… God’s going to love you, and He’s going to bless you even when you don’t know it, even when you don’t deserve it, even when you deserve to be stuck because of your own wrong choices, because of your own silliness and stupidity… We’ve got to look to Jesus. We’ve got to keep our eyes on Him…

It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s not about our comfort… It is about Jesus. It is about the love that He has, and it just so happens that the love that He has was for you. Jesus is the One that makes it about me and makes it about you. That’s His choice…

So that’s my desire as I teach John to you…that we will come to this place of walking close as John did, wrapping our arms around and touching the One Who created us.

Jesus was the statement that God wanted to make to you and to me. Have you ever thought of Jesus as being the statement that God made to you? When you study God's Word...we find that the statement that God wants to make is...that He is a God of love and He wants us...to enter into that love relationship.

Vintage message from May 6, 2001.

Jesus…is more than just a Man Who came to do good things on this earth, but Jesus came to be, and in fact was, the Word of God. He was the statement that God wanted to make to you and to me. Have you ever thought of Jesus as being the statement that God made to you? When you look at the life that Jesus lived, when you look at how He suffered, when you look at how He died, when you think of the miracles He did in between, how He touched men’s lives, and then even leaving us His Spirit when He went to prepare a place for us, do you see that as being the statement that God has made to you and I?…

When you study God’s Word, the totality of what we have in writing, we find that that statement that God wants to make is…that He is a God of love and wants us, you and I, to enter in to that love relationship. And yet, we don’t. We stand in rebellion against Him, unlike every other part of creation that understands that they were made…

[Do] you know why most of us never see change in our life? You know why most of us never grow to see the sin issues of our life dealt with? It’s because we’re afraid. We’re afraid of the dark, and we’re afraid to deal with the dark. And here Jesus comes along, and He’s exposing that darkness… But instead of embracing the Light, what do we do? We run and hide in fear. Fear of what change means. Fear of what change will do to us…

Do you realize you do not need to live in darkness any longer? Do you know you don’t have to fear the darkness any longer? You don’t have to stumble through life, and you don’t have to worry, and you don’t have to fret any longer. The One Who created you, the One Who was your beginning, the One Who created all things, and by Whom all things were made, has now come to be in you and, for you, a Light to help you, and to draw you into a relationship that keeps you from stumbling…

Do you want the One Who is the Overcomer of this world, the Overcomer of our fears, the Overcomer of those things that would distract us? Receive Him in! Walk with Him. Let Him use you. And even when life gets hard, He will be there, in you and for you.

Our sin will cause us to dig a deep hole. We're not left in the hole... He gave us a ladder called grace. He came to share with us the way out of the hole.

Vintage message from May 13, 2001.

One of the things I think we struggle with in life, why we have so many problems in life, is because our perception of Who God is, is wrong… Why do we doubt after God has done such amazing things? And we can read the Bible. We can walk with the Lord for years…and still have wrong perception of Who God is. And the problem is, for the most part, we create God in our own image. Men have been doing this for thousands and thousands of years. We reduce God to our level of thinking… [But] He is not reduced to us even though He did become one of us…

He cares that we know the truth, and He cares that we understand that we’re not left here to work this out on our own. And I don’t care how deep the mess is that we’ve gotten ourselves into. Our sin will cause us to dig a deep hole. We’re not left in the hole. We stay in the hole by choice. He gave us a ladder called grace. He came to share with us the way out of the hole, and He is the way out of the hole! But yet, we’ve created a God in our image that leaves us in the hole, and let me tell you, it’s not the truth. If you’re struggling today, if you’re having a hard time today, and you have a hard time picturing God as really, truly loving you, let me tell you, someone has lied to you. You have been lied to royally, and He has an enemy out there who is more than happy to let you believe all that about Him…

He is a God of grace, a God of love, a God Who created because He loved, and He has called us into relationship as children that He loves… We have all received one blessing after another because of Who Jesus is, because of what He did…

Do you understand? We do not have to live in ignorance about Who God is any longer. All we need is to read and study and know His Word, and we get the full description of Who God is, given to us straight from God Himself, Who came in the flesh, made His dwelling among us, became our Brother, and drew us into a place of adoption. That’s how much God loves us. He doesn’t want us to be here on our own, in our own imagination, trying to work our way through this life without Him.

What can I do to be revealing Him to those around me?

Vintage message from May 20, 2001.

Do you realize, you have one call?… Though the Holy Spirit may use us in different ways, different functions, different gifts, do you realize that the call that we have is the same, and that is to make straight the way for the Lord. Our lives are to be an example. Our words are to be that that lets others know that there is a Christ, and I’m not Him. There is a Savior, and I’m not Him. There is a Lord God Who created, and I am not Him. But understand, if your lives are in turmoil, if your lives are in sin, you are not right with Him, so get your life right with Him… We have been given only one responsibility, and that is…to be crying out the Name of Jesus Christ, the authority of Jesus Christ; that you and I and those in the world have a responsibility to be right with Jesus Christ…

Understand, God did not hold your sin against you. He has loved you even in your sin, so don’t allow that sin to keep you separate from Him. But if, in your arrogance and your pride, you think you can do it yourself, guess what? He will let you…

And today, that’s all you and I need to do: is be a voice calling in the desert of people’s lives, splashing water because their lives are dried out. We’re splashing some water in their life, bringing some refreshment to their life, showing them that they have a need, and guess what? I’m not the One to meet the need. We can meet one another’s needs in many ways. We can love one another, and we can fellowship with one another, and we can reach into our pockets and give to one another. We can do all kinds of things for one another, but let me tell you. You and I do not and never have had the ability to save anyone. You and I have never had the ability to take even one little bit of sin out of someone’s life. And for all of the times I’ve wanted to change people, I do not have the ability to change anyone, because I am not the Christ. I’m simply one who splashes water. I’m simply one who calls out in the desert. I’m simply one who offers information. But the One you need, He’s right there among you. and you don’t even know it…

This is still our call today. This is still what we are to be doing today: is functioning in such a way that no matter what we do, how we interact with people, that we are revealing to those who are around us… And when you leave this place, when you go to school, or you go to work, or you go to play, whatever you’re going to do, understand, you should be thinking, “What can I do to be revealing Him to those around me?”

In Jesus, every day is an adventure.

Vintage message from May 27, 2001.

What I do here is simply help people to deal with the fact that they are sinners, and make their lives ready for the One Who will deal with their sin. And that is what we need to be about. That is all we’ve been called to do. We receive Jesus, we grow in Jesus, [and] we go to others and help them deal with the fact that they are sinners, that they, in their sin, are separated from the God Who created them, and that we can introduce them to Him, but we can’t save them. We can’t take away their sin. We can’t stop their sin. We can only introduce people to the One Who can deal with all that they are in sin…

“I have seen and I’ve testified.” That’s what we’re about: telling people what we’ve seen [and] what we know that God has done in our life… And if we took the time…we, too, could say, “I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.” When was the last time you were bold with someone like that, without apology, letting them know that it doesn’t matter what you believe, this is what I’ve seen, this is what I’ve experienced. Don’t believe it if you don’t want to, but I’m telling you what I know. I’m speaking the truth that this is Who Jesus is…”

What does God have planned for you for tomorrow? What is your future going to be? What’s it going to be like? Without Jesus, I can tell you what it’s going to be like. Pretty bleak. Pretty sad. But you know what? In Jesus, every day is an adventure. In Jesus, every day is a day that you can spend learning and growing and seeing Who God is and what He has done and what He has planned to do.

How do we respond to Jesus? Are we in obedience to Him? Are we vessels that are emptied, ready for Jesus to use? To fill up?

Vintage message from June 3, 2001.

How many of us are not doing our job, so that when Jesus looks at us, we are [available] for Him to use however He wants to use us?… Do you realize you and I, with our involvement in Jesus Christ, are vessels and, as we’ve been washed with the blood of Jesus Christ, we have been made clean. We just need to be emptied. Emptied of the garbage. Emptied of that which keeps us from being able to be used. And I believe Jesus wants us to empty out the garbage that we carry with us. To wash ourselves in His blood to be made clean. To be vessels usable to Him…

Miracles do not have to happen with a lot of shouting, a lot of dancing around, and a lot of involvement. Just simple obedience to Jesus Christ brings a miracle… The miraculous that Jesus does for us through the power of His Spirit should always bring us to a place of being in awe of Him and putting our faith in Him…

How do we respond to Jesus? Are we in obedience to Him? Are we vessels that are emptied, ready for Jesus to use, to fill up, to bring forth the blessing that people need to see?

Have you come to that place of realizing that God loves you and wants to interact with you on a daily basis?... God simply wants to have relationship with that which He's created.

Vintage message from June 10, 2001.

[Do] you know what the very best thing for us is? To allow God to work in our life. To allow Jesus, through the power of His Spirit, to motivate us to loving one another, to sharing with one another, interacting with one another. If we do that, we’ve seen a miracle. We, as people, do not understand how God works. Therefore, we seek after the things of this world. We think that we have to have “nice” things, rather than just having God things… It has nothing to do with the fine things of this life that we can have. It has everything to do with simply trusting Jesus and His Word and what He says…

Are we zealous in prayer? Are we zealous for the things of God, to bring people to a place of knowing that they, too, can pray? Do we go out zealously seeking after the lost; letting them know that there is a place that they can come to where they can pray, where they can seek God, where they can learn Who He is. There’s a lot of mystery in our world concerning God. Jesus wanted to remove the mystery… [But] there’s nothing mysterious. He is a living, loving God, and there is a place for all men within His kingdom, and that’s what we need to be about: zealously bringing people to a place of knowing that they are loved and can be accepted within the kingdom of God…

Have you come to that place of realizing that God loves you and wants to interact with you on a daily basis? He wants to give you the things you need. He wants to participate with you in the things that you’re doing, and He wants to bless you and help you through your hard times. He wants to be there in the hard times, and He wants to be there in the good times. And it’s not a miracle that He wants to do that, or that He can do that, or that He does do that… We believe that our friends, our family, are going to be there for us. We trust that we can go to them when we are struggling and hurting, and don’t expect it to be miraculous that they say, “Welcome in. I will help you. I will love you.” It’s not a miracle that we do that with one another… And this is how God interacts with us… God simply wants to have relationship with that which He’s created.

Jesus, You are the Son that was given to this world by our Father to bring us back into right relationship with Him.

Vintage message from June 17, 2001.

Do you know that we, as Christians, do not have to be wimps?… Do you realize that we can be bold? We can be forthright. We can tell the truth. The world won’t like it, but you know what? The world doesn’t like a lot of stuff even about themselves, but we have been asked to stand up and be bold for what we believe and the One in Whom we believe and represent Him in faith and boldness. Just because you’re bold does not mean you’re not humble. Humility, by the way, is not walking around with a bowed head, crawling on your hands and knees. Humility is simply accepting about yourself what God has made you; how God has called you…

Just because you go to church does not mean you go to heaven. Just because you acknowledge God does not mean that you go to heaven. Just because you do good things for people does not mean you go to heaven. And there are people who spend their lives working and serving and striving, trying to impress God, and God is not impressed… Unless you have been born again, it says no one can see the kingdom of God. That is the criteria. There must be a rebirth… Yes, God loves all that He’s created and, yes, God loves you, but guess what? This loving God will allow you to choose to walk separate from Him and even walk away from Him, even for eternity. So, if you’re thinking that just by doing some good works, by going to church, by helping the little old lady across the street, you’ve automatically got a ticket to heaven and somehow God will be impressed with that, let me tell you, He is not…

You want to walk in the kingdom of God? Then you must be born of and in the Spirit. This flesh is decaying. This flesh is dying… Do you know that you and I can not be men and women of God unless we have rebirth, and that rebirth does not come by crawling back into our mother’s womb, and it doesn’t come by being born again emotionally… Rebirth is not done emotionally. It is a profound, complete and total change of life. You cease being what you were in the flesh, and you begin to become what God wants you to be in the Spirit. And it doesn’t always happen overnight. He chooses to leave His Spirit in this flesh, but He brings this flesh from death to life, and then one day…He will translate us… But He begins now, from the moment that we say, “I believe. I receive. Jesus, You are the Son that was given to this world by our Father to bring us back into right relationship with Him.” That’s all He’s asking…

It’s not about you… It’s not about religion. It is about Jesus, and the life that He offers for us. It is about the Father, and the love that He has for us, and He makes it simple for us… It is about a love relationship that He wants to have with the world… If they believe in the Son that God sent to represent Him to us in order that you and I might also become His children. If we believe, then we will not perish but have eternal life.

Do you want to feel good? Let the Father's Spirit indwell you. Let Him bring real change to your life... He gives the Spirit without limit.

Vintage message from June 24, 2001. (Original tape ended before the end of the message.)

He came for the purpose of saving the world, but He does ask that we believe in Him, and then we’re not condemned. [Do] you want to feel good today? You want to feel right inside about who you are; how you’ve lived? Do you want to resolve the issues of your life? Let me introduce you to Jesus. The One Who came to love you. All you’ve got to do is believe Him and believe in Him and trust Him and you’re not condemned any more…

The reason we sin, the reason we do evil things, is because we hate the light. We hate the truth of what God is trying to do in and through us. It exposes us… The only thing that cleans you up is coming into the light. Having your life exposed. Having the deeds that you’ve lived in exposed. Confessing those deeds for what they are: …sin against God… and simply believing that Jesus loves you even in that condition, and all you have to do is trust Him, believe Him, give your life to Him, and He deals with the evil…

He must become greater. I must become less. It’s not about me. It’s not about this ministry. It’s not about religion. It’s not about wearing robes. It’s not about anything we can do to make ourselves look good or feel good. It’s not about how many people we can gather around ourselves that will agree with us. It’s simply and only about Him and the love that we can have when we walk in Him… It is not about us. We must become less because we must point others to Him, not to us, not to this ministry…

Do you see what it’s about? It’s about the Father giving to us, filling us with His Spirit, and it’s done without limit. You want to feel good? Let the Father’s Spirit indwell you. Let Him bring real change to your life because He’s the One that’s from above. He’s the One that stands before the throne of God. He’s the One Who understands the love that God has for us, and He’s only telling us what God wants for us and in us. He gives us the Spirit without limit… It’s been given into the Hands of Jesus. Nothing that you’re going to do today in the name of religion is going to change you or help you. The only thing that’s going to make a difference in your life is to believe in the Son Who has eternal life for you.

Do you want to draw close to God? Forget about your flesh, forget about what will fulfill your flesh, forget about what will make you happy in the flesh, and simply seek God in the power of His Spirit, and worship Him in Spirit and in truth...

Vintage message from July 8, 2001.

We miss the point. We understand things from the flesh. As long as we can touch it, as long as we can hear it, as long as we can see it, as long as we can smell it, it’s okay with me. But once we start talking about the things of the Spirit and what it takes to nourish that spirit, whew, right over the head. We’re clueless! But yet we say we want to trust Jesus…

This is where I find most of us, even today, as believers; that Jesus offers us a great gift, a gift of life, a gift of living water, indwelling of His Spirit, continual fellowship between Him and me, and yet I still find that I have the capacity to question, “Who do You think You are? Oh, I know You’ve done some great things, Jesus. I know You’ve done some miracles in the past. But really…Who do You think You are? God?” Isn’t this how we are? He continually reaches out to us, He continually tries to touch us, He continually tries to bless us, and He offers us this that will give us life, continual life, continual feeding. Water for our spirit that never finishes, never runs out. And yet, we have the audacity [to say] “Who do You think You are?…”

Do you realize a day is coming, if you would just simply choose that you, too, could worship the Father? Understand, God desires relationship with us…

Do you want to draw close to God? Forget about your flesh, forget about what will fulfill your flesh, forget about what will make you happy in the flesh, and simply seek God in the power of His Spirit, and worship Him in Spirit and in truth from inside, as you dwell on Who God is and you understand who you are. Seek God in the Spirit through prayer, through fellowship, through studying His Word, spending time with Him. Worship God in the spirit because “God is Spirit, and his worshippers must worship in Spirit and in truth.” And the truth is Jesus loves us. He doesn’t care what we’ve done. He doesn’t care what we’re doing. He cares for us. And that’s truth.

I hear so many people say, "How do we know what God's will is? I never hear Him speak to me." Well, He's given us His Word right here in black and white.

Vintage message from July 29, 2001.

We say, “I won’t believe until Jesus touches me and proves Himself to me,” but Jesus doesn’t have to abide by our whims and our desires. He knows us intimately, and He knows what we need, and He tells this man, “Go and trust.” Are we willing to go and trust?… The man took Jesus at His Word and departed — the hardest thing, I believe, for men in society to day to do. Especially within the society that we live in here in America. We are so comfortable. We have everything we need. We’re hardly challenged in our faith, but yet, we find ourselves always empty inside. Lacking. Desiring to know God more. Are we willing to take Jesus at His Word and simply step out, as this man did, and depart, knowing that Jesus said He’s going to do it. Okay, I’ll believe it… Do you realize, we can take Jesus at His Word…

I hear so many people say, “How do we know what God’s will is? I never hear Him speak to me.” Well, He’s given us His Word right here in black and white. Even if we don’t hear Him speak to us [audibly], He has spoken clearly and plainly through the written Word. All we need do is study it. Do you believe it? Are you going to take Him at His Word? Are you going to accept the fact that He knows you, He knows your need, and He can, in fact, meet your need in every single situation or circumstance you find yourself in? We need only to take Him at His Word. He tells us, even if we don’t hear Him clearly, we can turn to His Word, and if what we believe we’re hearing lines up with Scripture, let me tell you, you can trust it…

This is a problem I also find within Christianity: we spend a lot of time focusing on what does not matter. We judge people around us, the things going on in their life, the things that God will deal with. We focus there, on the things that do not matter, rather than loving people and encouraging people and building them up in Jesus and telling them that they can trust Jesus. We find occasion to tear them down. We see them “carrying their mat” and say. “I don’t care miracle happened in your life! You’re not supposed to be doing that…” We, too often, want to look at those things that God has not yet changed in someone’s life and focus on that. We try to focus on the bad rather than seeing the good, rather than seeing the miracle and rejoicing with our brothers and sisters around us. And we bring ourselves to a place of judging just as the Pharisees did…

It’s not about the sin issues in their life. It is about the love and the forgiveness that God has for mankind. That we’ve already been told in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His Son,” Jesus. He allowed for Him to leave the halls of heaven to come to be with you and I, to heal the issues of sin within us, and to call us to a place of having compassion and showing pity on and praying for those that are around us that also have issues of sin. And if we’re not willing to pray for those who have issues of sin, then guess what? We should not even be praying for ourselves because there’s also not a single person in this room who can say, “I have arrived. I am now perfect. I am without sin.” If you are saying that to yourself today, let me tell you, you are deceived. We each have buried within our hearts, even if we’ve known Jesus for many years, issues that He has yet to deal with. We are still in the flesh, and He is still overcoming that flesh, and because of that, we need to show pity on, have compassion for those who are around us…

If you don’t want your toes stepped on by Jesus, don’t judge your brother. Don’t condemn him for the work that Jesus is doing in him, and even if we don’t see a lot of change happening in our brothers and sisters around us, if they have some bad habits, so what? Let Jesus deal with them. You know what? I’m not telling you to accept people for their issues of sin. I’m not telling you to stop calling sin ‘sin.’ I’m not going to tell you that there aren’t things in this world that need to change. But I am telling you that I don’t care what the issue of sin is, we need to love. We can call sin ‘sin,’ and we can let people know when they are living within certain issues of sin and still love them and be part of the healing that Jesus wants to do in them.

Do you want to be effective in your walk with Christ? Do you want to be effective so that people see the power and the Spirit of God in you? Do you want to be able to see people saved from a world that would drag them into the pit of hell? Simply do what Jesus did.

Vintage message from August 5, 2001.

In verse nineteen it says, “Jesus gave them this answer, ‘I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself. He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does, the Son also does.'” So Jesus makes the statement to them, “I’m not doing this on My Own. I’m only doing what My Father’s doing.” …Sometimes I wonder, when I read this verse, and I’ve read it many times, what kind of effectiveness would we have as believers, saving a lost world? I’m not talking about going to our friends who already believe. I’m talking about going into a world of people who do not believe. I wonder how effective we would be if we simply did what we know Jesus did. If we simply lived the way Jesus lived. If we did what we saw Jesus doing. We are given a key here to ministry. [Do] you want to be effective in your walk with Christ? [Do] you want to be effective so that people see the power and the Spirit of God in you? Do you want to be able to see people saved from a world that would drag them into the pit of hell? Simply do what Jesus did. Do it the way He did it. We don’t have to worry about the results. We worry about the obedience. We worry about the example. Are we taking His example? Are we doing it His way? Or, are we buying into the rules and the regulations of the Pharisees? Are we taking the things that Jesus did and diluting it, and changing it, and making it into rules and regulations by which we must live? Simply, effectively, stopping the work of God in our life. But Jesus gives us the key. “The Son can do nothing by Himself. He can do only what He sees His Father doing.” How much are we looking at Jesus to see what He’s doing? How much are we looking into His Word to see what He did and how He did it?…

If we want to be effective in ministry, if we want to see people saved, then we have to be bold enough to stand and say, “Jesus is the One, and I’m only doing what I saw Him do. I’m testifying to Him. He testified to Himself, John testified to Him, His Father testified to Him, and His Word testified to Him. How much more do we need?” And we’ll be effective… Salvation comes when we tell people Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus is the only way.

He knows we're going to have doubts. He knows we're going to have struggles. He knows that we're not going to always understand His Word or the things that He's doing in His Word. He knows that. He's not asking us to be God. He's simply asking us to trust God.

Vintage message from August 12, 2001.

You know what? So many times in my life I have not had a clue as to what God was going to do. I just knew He said do it… We had to take a step of faith and say, “You know what, Lord? You brought us here. We know You’re going to provide.” But there were many times, in waiting on Him to provide, that we found ourselves saying, “God, we have no clue how You’re going to work this one out.” You know what? That’s not a bad place to be as long as you know that Jesus is standing next to you. That’s not a bad place to be. He knows we’re going to have doubts. He knows we’re going to have struggles. He knows that we’re not going to always understand His Word or the things that He’s doing in His Word. He knows that. He’s not asking us to be God. He’s simply asking us to trust God…

This is where I find most of us: when Jesus asks us to do something, we argue with Him about it. We try to tell Him all the reasons why we can’t do something, rather than to say, “I don’t know how You’re going to accomplish it, but I’m willing to let You accomplish it.” We become afraid, and we run and hide from what God wants to do…

You know, part of seeing miracles, part of seeing God’s power, is simply sitting and waiting. Not running in panic, not doubting, not believing, but just simply sitting and waiting to see what God is going to do…

Sometimes, though, He chooses to not do the miracle the way we would have Him do the miracle… No matter how vivid or active our imagination is, we oftentimes do not see the power of God in the miracles that He wants to do, and He doesn’t do His miracles halfway…

[When] I’m faced with a test, I’m faced with a challenge, but you know what? I quickly come to the place of realizing it has nothing to do with me, but it has everything to do with the One doing the miracle. He already knows what He’s going to do. I’ll just relax about it and let Him do it. I’ll just sit back and let Him do His work. Instead of getting in His way — and you know what? That’s what I find oftentimes, because I want to participate, because I want people to see who I am, I want people to see that I’m this great, giant man of faith — I sometimes do things that gets in His way and hinders the work that He wants to do, when all He’s doing is telling me, “Have a seat and see the blessing. Have a seat and get your belly filled. Have a seat and receive the miracle that I want to give you, and then pick up the pieces afterwards and see the abundance of the blessing that you’ve just received…”

We say we believe, but is our belief passive or is it active?

Vintage message from August 19, 2001.

Do you realize that God already has in mind for you and I what He wants to do? He has a direction for your life and a direction for my life. He has a direction for this fellowship. He has a direction for the people outside of this fellowship. He has in mind what He wants to do with us; the miracles He wants to perform for us; knowledge in His Word that He wants to give to us. He already has it in mind. Even if we don’t know it, He knows what He’s doing, and He tests us…

We search for Jesus. We want to be where He is, and we say all the right things. “Oh, Jesus, we were concerned for You!” And we pray holy sounding prayers and we have holy sounding devotions and we do things to make ourselves look holy and righteous and right with God. And like the crowd, we run around in confusion because we can’t find Jesus. Now isn’t that an interesting thing? We’re searching for Him, but He knows where He’s at. Why are we not where Jesus is? That’s the question. Why do we need to search? If we are really in God’s will, we will be where Jesus is and not have to be searching. But yet I know many believers, brothers and sisters in Christ, that I know they love Jesus, but you talk to them — you talk to me sometimes and you find I’m in confusion. I’m searching because Jesus is off doing a work and I’m not there doing it with Him because I’ve been off by myself…

The work of God is to believe in the One He has sent. If you believe in Jesus, guess what? Everything else is a byproduct of that faith… And this is the point: we are to be about the work of Jesus Christ, and if we’re going to ask the question, “Well, Lord, what work do You want me to do? How do You want me to serve you?” Then understand, the answer is plain, and He has given it to us in writing in His Word. Believe in Him. And if you believe, that word “believe” goes much deeper than just saying, “You know what? I believe in that rock.” It goes deeper than that. But that word “believe” means to be in relationship with. It’s not just a passive, “Oh, yeah, I know it exists.” But to be in relationship with… We say we believe, but is our belief passive or is it active? Are we believing because we are in love relationship with Him, or are we believing in Him because we ‘think’ He exists? And the proofs that we ask for when we pray, the things that we pray, how we pray, proves our heart…

The True Bread is He Who came from heaven. Jesus wants to walk with us. Jesus wants to work in us. Jesus wants to work through us. The reason we eat is so that we can have energy and strength to accomplish the work that’s laid before us; the life that is laid before us. If you have taken Jesus into you, you have taken Bread into your system that will feed you through eternity and give you strength and give you ability and allow for you to accomplish whatever God lays before you…

Are you hungry today? Are you struggling in life to have the energy to accomplish what lays before you? Are you struggling with facing a world each and every day to put clothes on your back, to put food in your belly, to put a roof over your head? Are you struggling to keep up in life with a world that will pass away? Are you hungry today? Let me tell you, the only way you are going to truly fill your stomach, your life, your need, the only way you’re going to have energy is to receive, to take into yourself, to give place to…I don’t care what you call it. You need the Bread of Life. Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life.”

Once you have come into the grace of Jesus Christ, once you have received Him in, and are willing to call the issues in your life sin, and accept Him for Who He is, the Savior and Forgiver of your sin, then He won't drive you away, even if from time to time you struggle with those issues of sin.

Vintage message from August 26, 2001.

This is the problem with us: we don’t want to know the truth; we don’t want to hear the truth; we don’t want to believe the truth because the truth takes us out of our comfort zone. Jesus is the Bread. Jesus is the Life. It comes through Him; no where else, but we don’t like hearing that because each and every one of us in this room today and every person on the face of this world has a scenario within the flesh that does not agree with God in Heaven in giving us Jesus as our Savior and Him alone.

“Well, okay, I can accept Jesus as my Savior if He will let me do this, or if He will accept me in that, or if He will accept this group of people or that group of people. If He will accept us for our issues of sin then maybe I can believe Him, but I’ve got issues of sin and those people have issues of sin that deny their need for Jesus Christ.” And so you hear people say, “Well really, there’s many ways to heaven.” There are not many ways to heaven. There are not many ways to be saved. There are not many ways to be with the Father in eternity, and Jesus says it right here: that if people want life, they have to come to Him because He is the Bread of Life.

And I know that steps on our toes. It has stepped on my toes many times, because there have been things in my life that I’ve not been wanting to give up; things I was unwilling to give up; things I was unwilling to change; friends that I’ve had that have issues of sin that were not willing to change, but their issues of sin and my issues of sin were contrary to the things that Jesus did and said; the life that He would have me live, so therefore I had to argue with Him, and change His Word for me so that it fit my lifestyle, and I called Him a liar. “Oh, yeah. You may be from God, but You’re only one of the ways to get to heaven. I’ll find another way because I don’t want to give up my lifestyle. I don’t want to give up my sin!” But Jesus says we have to come to Him. We have to come through Him…

And even though I still argue with Him from time to time, I have dealt with some of those issues, and now I believe that the things in my life that were holding me back are sin issues. They are not Him. They are me, and my resistance to what He has told me, and I can admit that. I can confess that…

Understand something. Once you have come into the grace of Jesus Christ, once you have received Him in, and are willing to call the issues in your life sin, and accept Him for Who He is, the Savior and Forgiver of your sin, then He won’t drive you away, even if from time to time you struggle with those issues of sin. It’s not the issue of sin that’s the problem. It’s our willingness to call sin sin; our willingness to confess sin as sin that becomes the problem. We drive ourselves away. He doesn’t drive us away…

[This is] a question I think need to ask myself, that each of us needs to ask ourselves. Does Jesus offend us? The things that He’s asking us to change in our life that we don’t want to change, are we offended because Jesus said we must do it? The life that He’s calling us to, does it offend us? The requirements that Jesus lays out for us, does it offend us? I have to say, yes, sometimes I am offended by the things of Jesus, because He is holy, and He is righteous, and I am not. And I am offended, oftentimes, by the things that He asks of me, because I’m not ready to give up. I’m not ready to give up the things in my life. I’m not ready to give up my life, and so, yes, I have to answer, I am “offended”…

We eat and are filled and are satisfied when we receive Jesus into our life and are walking in fellowship with Him and each other. That is the way that we fill ourselves up… My spirit is satisfied because I can sit here and read His Word and even though I don’t like it, it is food that satisfies… Well, let me tell you, it’s good for you! I don’t care if you like what it has to say. I don’t care what you have to give up. Let me tell you what you’re going to have to give up: your flesh and the things that fulfill your flesh and the driving desire you have to see your flesh put forward, because nothing in the flesh counts. You can hate me for saying this, but guess what? It’s not me! Jesus Himself said it, and people who come up with every excuse in the book why they should be able to fulfill their flesh and still get into heaven, have not read John. They have not heard the Words of Jesus or accepted them, and they are offended by it…

What matters is that we understand that Jesus is eternal life; that he is not concerned about our flesh and the comfort of our flesh; but that He is concerned about our soul. He is concerned about bringing our spirit into fellowship and love relationship with His Father. And the will of the Father is that everyone knows, everyone hears, everyone has a chance, everyone is given the opportunity to know that they need to make a choice to receive Jesus Christ. And it’s not easy, and it’s not fun, and we may even be offended by it, but it’s the truth, and we don’t often like the truth. The truth offends us. The truth offends me, because I like the lie: the lie that says I can do what I want, I can live how I want, I can do the things in the flesh that I want, and still be obedient to God. But it’s not true, and it just shows that I live for the flesh and the fulfillment of the flesh, but the flesh counts for nothing. If you’re doing it in the flesh, if you’re trying to fulfill your flesh, if you’re trying to protect and save up for your future so that your flesh will be comfortable, guess what? You may succeed, but it means nothing. To eternity, it means nothing.

You can't resolve your issues of sin on your own. You can't make changes in your life on your own. You need to have the power of God's Spirit. You need to understand what His Word is saying and why it's saying it.

Vintage message from September 2, 2001.

[Jesus] is not afraid of offending us, because you know what? We, even as believers, have sin in our life and, from time to time, are asked to address the issues of sin within our life, and we don’t want to! And when we’re reading through God’s Word and we come across that part of our life that God’s Word is addressing, we become offended and rejected and hard-hearted, and we turn away from God because, you know what? We don’t want to hear it! “I like the things I’m doing! I enjoy the life I’m living! God, why can’t You just leave me alone? I mean, after all, I gave twenty bucks in the offering box last week. What more do You want from me?” It has nothing to do with how much we give. It has nothing to do with showing up at church. It has nothing to do with how clever or smart or wealthy we are. It has to do with [this]: is God’s Word the truth or is it not the truth? If it’s the truth, I don’t care if it offends you. I don’t care if it offends me. We need to hear it…

And, I believe, this is the problem…we have still today: We make wrong judgments. We judge based on what’s in our own heart; our own cleverness; our own ability. We don’t look to God’s Word when we experience things in life. We try to figure things out on our own. We try to resolve our problems on our own. We turn away from God’s Word. We turn away from God’s people. We do not depend on the power of God’s Holy Spirit, too often, and we make decisions, and we get ourselves into trouble, and then — and then we cry out to God and say, “God, why did You allow this to happen to me?” If I jump in a mud puddle what do I expect should happen? I’m going to get muddy, right? Duh! And that’s what we’re doing every time we make a decision outside of consulting God’s Word, outside of praying, outside of seeking the counsel of the body of Christ; praying with one another and then confirming within God’s Word what it is that He wants to do in and through us. We might as well be jumping in a mud puddle, and then not be surprised when we come up muddy…

Make right judgments. You can’t do this on your own. You can’t resolve your issues of sin on your own. You can’t make changes in your life on your own. You need to have the power of God’s Spirit, you need to understand what His Word is saying and why it’s saying it, and you need to understand who it’s pointing to, and it’s pointing to the Person of Jesus Christ… He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Him… Make right judgements; a judgment that comes from the clear teaching of God’s Word that says Jesus is your salvation.

If you are truly thirsting for the knowledge of Who God is, the love that God has for you, turn to Jesus. Believe in Him as the Scripture has said.

Vintage message from September 23, 2001.

The one thing most of us fear the most is death. How we’re going to die. When we’re going to die. But you know what? Death isn’t our enemy because Jesus overcame death, and if we are in Christ Jesus, then we don’t face death the way the unsaved do. When the unsaved face death, they’re going into eternity separated from God, but when we face death, we say goodbye to it. We feel death’s sting but only for a moment because we go from this life into the arms of our Father, because Paul tells us, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord…”

Do you know [God]? Have you come to the place of having received Jesus, come from the Father from heaven, for the specific purpose of saving mankind from his sin, to have died on a cross so that you and I, you and I, might have our sins washed away [so] that once we’ve received Him, we now come into a love relationship with God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Do you know Him or do you know about Him? Do you know about heaven or do you know about church? You can know about every religion on the face of this planet but that does not mean that the door to heaven is open to you. The door to heaven is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, come to save you and I from our sins. He is the door, and if you’re not going through Him, if He is not where you are looking for your salvation, you are looking in the wrong place…

Guess what? None of us, on our own, with our own knowledge, can go to heaven. It doesn’t work that way. God does not have to save everyone. Not everyone is going to go to heaven, and I know there are people out there who are teaching that. “Well, a God of love wouldn’t send anyone to hell.” And a God of love does not send anyone to hell, but men of hate, men who do not want to know Jesus for Who He was and what He did for us, choose to go to hell. They choose to be separated from the Father. They choose to be separated from that love, and guess what? He’s not going to force that love on us. He’s not going to make us live in relationship with Him. That would be just like if I tried to force any one of you to be in relationship with me. You wouldn’t like it. You would fight. You would scream. You would holler. If you didn’t want to be in that relationship, you would make sure and let me know! Otherwise, you would call it being forced, and God doesn’t force us, and He’s not going to force us to go to heaven…

Part of the problem [of] why there is misunderstanding about Who Jesus is in this world is because we do not study His Word. We hear bits and pieces, or we go to church, and we listen to a pastor a nice, flowery message, and we think we’ve been given all knowledge. But guess what? It is not my responsibility to teach you what’s in this Book. it is my responsibility to encourage you to study what’s in this Book. It is my responsibility, my call, to tell you that there is a God Who loves you, there is a God Who would save you, there is One Who died for you, and guess what? You can read all about Him! I’m just a mouth that God uses. One of many, and I’m proud of it. Yes, I talk a lot, but I would hope most of my conversation is about the person of Jesus Christ and the love that my God has for me and for you. He’s not asking you to believe something or do something or act in a way that He has not given you already in writing what He wants for you. The problem is we don’t study it, or we’re living lifestyles that we know the Bible already speaks against so we reject it, and we start tearing the pages of the Bible out, and we deny what God has given us, and we call God a liar, and then we build our own religion, and our own religion is incapable of saving us. But if you’re thirsty, if you are truly thirsting for the knowledge of Who God is, the love that God has for you, turn to Jesus. Believe in Him as the Scripture has said, and then streams of Living Water will flow from within you…

We, too, need to make that time where we can get away and be alone with our Father and allow the power that comes from God's Holy Spirit to minister to our hearts; to show us our areas of sin so that we can get them right and then walk in right relationship with Him because He loves us.

Vintage message from September 30, 2001.

[Jesus] says, “If anyone of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” You know what? That’s a hard question for me to deal with in my life. Do I actually have sin? Well, you know what? I know I have sin in my life. “But now, you know, the sins I commit, they’re not as bad as the sins that he commits over there…” But…the fact is, we’re all sinners, and we’re all deserving of punishment… I can pick up this stone and throw it, or, or I can evaluate my own heart, and that’s what Jesus asked them to do. Evaluate your own heart… He’s not only dealing with the question they brought, “What does the Law say?” But He’s dealing with the reality of what the Law expects. The Law expects each of us to review our own heart…

And He says,… “Go now and leave your life of sin.” Jesus does expect us to respond. I don’t care if we don’t like what He has to say in His Word, and I don’t care if His Word speaks directly to the lifestyles we’re living in. If it’s sin, it’s sin, and He wants us to deal with it, and He wants us to walk away from it. And you know, the exciting part is He gives us choice. He doesn’t zap us with lightning and He doesn’t call fire from heaven like so many of us want to do so often… I oftentimes forget the fact that I, too, have sin and have been forgiven for my sin… If you’re going to condemn other people for the things that they’ve done, then you also need to use the same standard and condemn yourself, or you simply use the standard that Jesus used: know that people are sinners; know that you, yourself, are a sinner; exercise forgiveness; bring people to that place of seeing Jesus for Who He is…

[God] wants us to come to Him. He wants us to be in relationship with Him, but the only way to do it is to come through Jesus and receive the forgiveness that He gives to us. And He forgives, but He does ask us, once we’ve entered into that relationship, to go and sin no more. Stop living the life of sin. If you stop living the life of sin, then you don’t have the problems that come with that particular sin that you’re living in… Jesus knows that we can’t just stop being sinners because it’s our very nature to sin against Him, but we are going to learn later on in John that He gives us the answer to that problem. He leaves us with His Holy Spirit. But I’m just going to jump ahead and tell you. Guess what? You don’t have to sin because God’s Holy Spirit wants to indwell you and help you to realize those areas in your life where you’re struggling and help you to stop living the life that is sin against God…

Every time we sin against God…we cause there to be a separation, and the Holy Spirit is given to us to help us prevent that separation. He brings us back to that relationship and He reminds us continually. He doesn’t leave us on our own. He has not abandoned us… The Holy Spirit comes to us and says, “You’re not condemned. You just need to deal with the issues.” Seek forgiveness, and you’ll walk right with God the Father. And that’s what He’s after: to have us walking in right relationship with Him, but that comes with time. Getting to know Him. Just as Jesus spent time away, praying, time alone, getting to that special place where He knew He could communicate with His Father. We, too, need to make that time where we can get away and be alone with our Father and allow the power that comes from God’s Holy Spirit to minister to our hearts; to show us our areas of sin so that we can get them right and then walk in right relationship with Him because He loves us. He doesn’t want to condemn us. The last thing He wants to see is, on that day of judgement, those that He’s created having to leave His presence and be separated from Him for all eternity.

[Jesus is telling us] "Walk with Me. I will shine the light. I will expose what's there. And then, I will give you My Spirit to help you change it."

Vintage message from October 7, 2001.

[Jesus said,] “I pass judgment on no one.” Which is a phenomenal statement because Jesus came to deal with the issues of sin but yet He says, “I pass judgment on no one,” and we’re told, “Judge not lest you be judged.” But does that mean that we don’t notice when someone around us is doing something wrong? I’ve been told many times, because I’ve gone up to someone and said, “You know, what you’re doing is living in sin,” [they say,] “Well, you don’t judge! If you judge me then you’re going to be judged!” Well, you know, that’s not what it’s saying. Jesus says, “I pass judgement on no one.” I’m not coming up to you and saying, “Guess what? Because you’re living in that sin, you’re going to hell,” which is also a favorite statement of many Christians. They do pass judgement, but you know what? I’m not going to tell any body they’re going to heaven or hell. It’s not my place to do that, but we’re told that we will see people and know them by their fruit. When I go up to an apple tree, I know I’m looking at an apple tree, especially if apples are hanging on it, and I know the difference between an apple and a pear. And guess what? I’ve bitten into rotten oranges before. You pick it up off the ground, and it looks good on the outside. You break it open and take a bite, and it’s bitter, and it’s yuk on the inside. It doesn’t take me long. Now does that mean I’ve condemned that orange because I’ve recognized the fact that it was rotten on the inside? No. I’ve just noticed. I’ve made an observation. I’m judging observationally, but I’m not looking at that orange and saying, “Guess what? You’re worthless. You’ll never amount to anything, and I’m casting you away from me,” because you know what? There’s something about that orange that, if I’m not careful, I would miss. Just because that particular orange does not taste good, does not mean that that orange can not still produce good fruit, because what is there inside that orange? You got seeds, and that orange can be planted and produce good fruit…

The problem is, when we live in sin, when we live separate from God, we don’t want to know that Jesus is right, and we will justify our sin however we possibly can, and we will accuse God, and we will accuse Jesus, and we will accuse our aunt, and we’ll accuse our uncle, and we’ll accuse everybody around us, but we will not take responsibility for ourself. But Jesus knows. He knows the Law, He has the right to judge us, His decisions would be right when He does judge us, and we do have all of the evidence that we need… We just have to come to the place of deciding. Are we going to believe the evidence that’s laid before us?…

All they [the Jews during Jesus’s time] had to do was look to their Scriptures, but they ignored it, and you know why they ignored it? Because they knew that if they received Jesus and trusted Him, they would have to change their lifestyles. “Heaven forbid that I should have to change who I am. If God wants me, He’ll just have to accept me for who I am!” and I hear so many say that. And you know what? He loves us for who we are, He died for us knowing who we were, He didn’t hold anything back, and then He simply comes to us and says, “Walk with Me. I will shine the light. I will expose what’s there. And then, I will give you My Spirit to help you change it.” He makes it easy for us. He makes it easy for us because He loves us. He did not come to condemn us. He did not come to rail on us. He didn’t come to argue and fight with us about the finer points of the Law. But He came. He came that He might be a light in our life; that He might give us direction; that He might be the Light of Life for us. And the bottom line is, if we or those that we know are walking outside of Jesus, they do not have light. Even though they might be standing out in broad daylight, they do not have light, because the true Light is the light that shines from inside out, and the darkness we fear the most is on the inside… If Jesus is there, He shines the light; He offers us the way out of the darkness, and He offers us life. Life that always, always, has Him there shining for us. It’s not about what we’ve done, because He knows we’ve done it. It’s not about who we are. It has nothing to do with the color of our skin or the size of our body. It has nothing to do with the color of our hair or if we have hair. It has only to do with: do we love Jesus? Are we going to allow Him into our life? Are we going to walk with Him and follow Him?

The only way to get free from the sin and the issues of sin is to come through the Son.

Vintage message from October 14, 2001.

[Jesus] tells them right up front, “You’re going to kill Me. You’re going to nail Me to a cross. I know what’s coming, but I’m not here on My Own. I don’t come to avoid the hardships that I might face. I’m not going to run and hide because I have to do some things that the Father has asked Me to do that are hard, because I know that He’s with Me. He hasn’t abandoned Me. He hasn’t left me behind. It’s because I always do what pleases Him.” Do you realize that you, today, can also do what pleased the Father? Am I saying you can be good?… I don’t care what kind of good things you try to do. God isn’t going to be impressed with it, but you can please Him. You know how you please the Father? By loving Jesus. By receiving Jesus in. By understanding what Jesus is doing here for us. Jesus came for the purpose of dying for us, and He tells them that. “I’m here for a reason, and you’re going to lift Me up. You’re going to crucify Me. Your sin is going to crucify Me. Your hatred is going to crucify Me. But guess what? Once I’m hanging there, You’ll know Me… Yeah, you say you believe Me, but there’s more to it than that. You’ve got to hold to My teaching, you’ve got to be My disciple, and you’ve got to accept the truth.” And that’s the hardest part for all of us. We don’t like hearing the truth. We don’t like hearing that God can change our lives. We don’t like hearing that God wants us to trust Him to change our lives. We want God to accept us on our terms for who I am, how I am, “And if He can’t live with that, then fine. He can live without me.” I’ve heard people say that, but Jesus didn’t come to let us sit with our issues of sin. He says, “Guess what? I’ve come to tell you the truth.” You may not like the truth, but guess what? It’s the truth. It says, “And the truth will set you free.”

…And guess what? It is your sin that is the problem. You are a slave to your sin. You’re not free. I don’t care what kind of freedom you have to come and go. Your sin holds you in bondage, and it makes you a slave, and guess what? As a slave, you have no permanent place in the family. You’ll never belong. If you’re in sin, you’ll never truly belong to that family because you’ll always be a slave to it… Satan’s design for keeping us in sin is to make us his slaves, permanently. He doesn’t want us as equals. He wants to rule… Jesus came to make us equals; to make us His brothers, His sisters, children of His Father, but we only do that by dealing with the issues of sin, by being freed from the issues of sin; but we’ve got to be willing to admit it. We’ve got to be wiling to face it. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Do you hear that? The only way to get free from the sin and the issues of sin is to come through the Son…

And, see, this is another problem I find even today still in the church: we do not deal with our issues with one another; we do not love one another; we judge one another because we are not willing to trust God’s Word. We turn away from it, and we make up our own word, or we read parts of it and only keep those parts that we like, but Jesus says it is “because you have no room for My Word.” That’s why you’re still stuck in bondage… We stay in bondage because we don’t like hearing God’s Word…

Part of the problem is, God comes to us so often with the same argument, “I love you, I want to heal you, I want to work in you, but guess what? You’re going to have to change some of the issues in your life,” and then we look at Him and say, “Who do You think You are, telling me I have to change?” “Well, I’m God.” That’s what He says to us, “I’m God, plain and simple, and I know you can’t change, but I’ve come in order to help you to change.” That’s what Jesus came to say to these people. God is reliable, He’s not left us on our own, He’s not abandoned us, but He does want us to deal with who we are.

My hard times are because God wants to be glorified in me. He can do with me and in me what He chooses, and I'm going to trust Him through it.

Vintage message from October 21, 2001.

Have you ever felt yourself suffering, going through a hard time, being challenged with very difficult situations, and you’ve taken stock of your heart, and you’ve said, “I know that I’ve dealt with everything that I know is there, I’ve given it all over to the Lord, I’ve tried to trust Him, but yet I’m still having the struggle!” I’ve found myself there many times, and buy into the myth that there is only suffering if I’m in sin, and I take stock, and I say, “No! It can’t be because, I mean, I know I’ve sinned, but I’ve dealt with that one. Honest, I took care of it. I’ve confessed it.” And so, either I have to come to the conclusion that I’m living under a tyrant God Who doesn’t forgive, and He’s continually pounding me because I’m a sinner, what can I say? I can’t get away from it. It’s continually with me. And so, God either has not forgiven me and He’s pounding me into dust because I’ve done something wrong or my thinking is wrong. My conclusions of life are wrong, and I need to change how I think. And Jesus tells them this. No, you have to change how you think. Neither this man nor his parents are the cause of his blindness, but there is another scenario in life: that God might just allow you to go through something that is hard and challenging in order that He might be glorified. He’s already told us that He’s the Light of the world, and He’s already told us that if we walk with Him we, too, need to be light to the world. And if we are being a light to a world that is lost and decadent, living in darkness, if we come bouncing on the scene and everything is always perfect, how are they ever going to be convinced? If Jesus came with a hammer, people would have run in terror, but He didn’t. He came loving. He came with a gentle spirit. He came to forgive. He came to be an example to us on how to love…

We don’t have to be doing phenomenal things for Jesus to notice us. We don’t have to be phenomenal people for Jesus to care about us. We don’t have to be special or we don’t have to be begging. We don’t have to be asking. Jesus loves us, Jesus cares about the condition that we’re living in, and even when we do not bring ourselves to the place asking or bringing attention to ourselves, He still cares enough to take notice…

We need to be about the work, and we need to give up the myths and the misunderstandings and the wrong philosophies that we’ve adopted in our life, and we need to study God’s Word and know God for Who He is in His Word, and He’s not a tyrant God that stands over us with a sledge hammer, waiting for us to make any little mistake so He can pound on our head, but He’s a God of love, and Jesus made that clear to us in the very beginning. God loved the world. He gave Jesus because He loved the world. He gave of Himself because He loved, and He wants to do a work in our life because He loved. And He wants to use us to be an example to the world so that the work of God might be displayed. Do you know that’s how God wants to use you? He wants you to be a vessel in His hand He can hold up before the world so that the world can see His work, and just because He does the work in our life, and just because He performs the miracle in our life, does not mean it’s going to get any easier…

Understand something: when you are walking with Jesus, and especially when you are walking right with Jesus, sometimes you will have very hard times because that’s what the world is looking at: a world that’s lost in hard times, and they see how you respond to those hard times, and when you can look at them and say, “My hard time is not because of issues of sin, but my hard times are because God wants to be glorified in me. He can do with me and in me what He chooses, and I’m going to trust Him through it.” Then the work of God is accomplished. A witness and a light has been offered. Peoples’ lives can be changed.

Have you given God the right to use you as He chooses, even if it might mean having to be uncomfortable?

Vintage message from October 28, 2001.

Have you ever felt yourself suffering, going through a hard time, being challenged with very difficult situations, and you’ve taken stock of your heart, and you’ve said, “I know that I’ve dealt with everything that I know is there, I’ve given it all over to the Lord, I’ve tried to trust Him, but yet I’m still having the struggle!” I’ve found myself there many times, and buy into the myth that there is only suffering if I’m in sin, and I take stock, and I say, “No! It can’t be because, I mean, I know I’ve sinned, but I’ve dealt with that one. Honest, I took care of it. I’ve confessed it.” And so, either I have to come to the conclusion that I’m living under a tyrant God Who doesn’t forgive, and He’s continually pounding me because I’m a sinner, what can I say? I can’t get away from it. It’s continually with me. And so, God either has not forgiven me and He’s pounding me into dust because I’ve done something wrong or my thinking is wrong. My conclusions of life are wrong, and I need to change how I think. And Jesus tells them this. No, you have to change how you think. Neither this man nor his parents are the cause of his blindness, but there is another scenario in life: that God might just allow you to go through something that is hard and challenging in order that He might be glorified. He’s already told us that He’s the Light of the world, and He’s already told us that if we walk with Him we, too, need to be light to the world. And if we are being a light to a world that is lost and decadent, living in darkness, if we come bouncing on the scene and everything is always perfect, how are they ever going to be convinced? If Jesus came with a hammer, people would have run in terror, but He didn’t. He came loving. He came with a gentle spirit. He came to forgive. He came to be an example to us on how to love…

We don’t have to be doing phenomenal things for Jesus to notice us. We don’t have to be phenomenal people for Jesus to care about us. We don’t have to be special or we don’t have to be begging. We don’t have to be asking. Jesus loves us, Jesus cares about the condition that we’re living in, and even when we do not bring ourselves to the place asking or bringing attention to ourselves, He still cares enough to take notice…

We need to be about the work, and we need to give up the myths and the misunderstandings and the wrong philosophies that we’ve adopted in our life, and we need to study God’s Word and know God for Who He is in His Word, and He’s not a tyrant God that stands over us with a sledge hammer, waiting for us to make any little mistake so He can pound on our head, but He’s a God of love, and Jesus made that clear to us in the very beginning. God loved the world. He gave Jesus because He loved the world. He gave of Himself because He loved, and He wants to do a work in our life because He loved. And He wants to use us to be an example to the world so that the work of God might be displayed. Do you know that’s how God wants to use you? He wants you to be a vessel in His hand He can hold up before the world so that the world can see His work, and just because He does the work in our life, and just because He performs the miracle in our life, does not mean it’s going to get any easier…

Understand something: when you are walking with Jesus, and especially when you are walking right with Jesus, sometimes you will have very hard times because that’s what the world is looking at: a world that’s lost in hard times, and they see how you respond to those hard times, and when you can look at them and say, “My hard time is not because of issues of sin, but my hard times are because God wants to be glorified in me. He can do with me and in me what He chooses, and I’m going to trust Him through it.” Then the work of God is accomplished. A witness and a light has been offered. Peoples’ lives can be changed.

Jesu's purpose was to come into this world and reveal to us our need of Him.

Vintage message from November 4, 2001.

Can God be glorified with you? Can you [plural], in the lives that you’ve lived, the lives that God laid out for you, regardless of how hard, regardless of how sad, regardless of how much you did not have or how much you had, can God be glorified with you now?…

And this is the problem why we oftentimes do not grow in our walk with the Lord: because we revert to what our life has offered us; we revert to what we’ve been taught by our parents and our grandparents and our ancestors; we revert to those things that we understand in the flesh rather than allowing for God to do something new and different in our lives, and we miss the miracle, and we deny the miracle when it happens because we are so caught up in our own selfish desires and flesh that we can’t see past ourself and accept the things that God is doing, especially when those things go against what we’ve been taught…

God doesn’t work in a man’s life because he’s a believer. God works in a man’s life because God loves men and wants to draw them into fellowship with Him, and you and I should do all that we can to go into a world where people lost and let them know how much God loves them and not turn them away because they’re sinners, not turn them away because they’re stupid or ignorant or blind, but to reach out to them and share with them the love that God shared with us, and bring them to a place of understanding that they have need, and then let the Holy Spirit come to them and introduce them to Him…

Jesus’s purpose was to come into this world and reveal to us our need of Him. Without Jesus, we’re blind… Too often we become like these religious leaders [the Pharisees]. We gain a little bit of knowledge and all of a sudden we think we know everything about God, and we start laying down rules and regulations for people to live by. It is not up to us to lay down the rules and the regulations. God will deal with every issue of our life. We, you and I, have a responsibility simply to share the miracle that God did in our life the day we were born again, the day we went from blindness to being able to see, and leave the rest to the Holy Spirit. When we begin to concentrate on the fact that people are siners and start pointing out their issues of sin and tell them they have to get their lives right, and then we’ll introduce them to God, guess what? We become like these Pharisees. God is not hindered by our sin. God loved us in and through our sin. Yeah, God wants us to deal with our sin. Let me tell you something, the issue of sin was such an important thing to God that He killed His Son for it. He required the sacrifice of blood and allowed for His Son to die so that you and I could have the issue of sin dealt with, but guess what? He doesn’t hold it against us. He just simply wants us to come and know Him, and the more we know Him, the more we see, the more our eyes are cleared up, the more we can understand why we need to stop sinning, and He deals with it. It’s not up to you and I to cause someone to stop sinning. It’s up to God to stop them from sinning. They have to be able to see first. Try to tell a blind man how to get somewhere without taking him by the hand, and guess what? He’s going to stumble and fall, and the only way that a blind man can see is not by my guiding but by the Holy Spirit entering into him and causing him to see. God knows our lives. When God created us He knew how hard our lives would be, and He never promised us that our lives would be easy. He never promised us that our lives would be fun, but He has made us a promise that if we will know Him, if we will give our lives to Him, He will forgive our sins, and He will love us through eternity, and He will, then, make right all of the hard things and bad things that have happened through our life. But understand something: our life is very short compared to eternity that He wants to live with us and share His love with us. Don’t allow bitterness to rule your life. Don’t allow for wrong teaching. If I teach you something that’s wrong, search God’s Word and tell me about it. Let’s grow together, but let’s not be led by myths and wrong teaching, but be encouraged by searching out God’s Word, and when Jesus introduces Himself to us, getting to know Him.

He came that we might have life: life of forgiveness, life of healing, life of being with Him in relationship, and having that life in abundance.

Vintage message from November 11, 2001.

I’ve asked the question before, and I’m going to ask it again. Does He have the right? Does God have a right to use you the way He chooses to use you? You know what? I deal with people every day that are bitter because of how God chose to use them, and when God finally comes and speaks to their heart, there’s no glory. There’s no excitement. There’s no praise brought to the throne of God because that person then turns, looks at God in the Face and spits, and says, “I want nothing to do with You,” and I’ve seen it over and over again. God gives us choice. He doesn’t promise us ease in life. He doesn’t promise us wealth in life. He promises us joy, if we walk with Him, even in the hard times. Jesus did promise us, “In this life you will have tribulation.” We don’t like hearing that one! We like hearing the ones that the preachers give us, “He came that you might have life and have it abundantly,” and we’re going read that one in a minute, and they take that verse out of context to say, “That abundance means Cadillacs and mansions and millions of dollars in a bank account, and if you don’t have that, then guess what? You’re living in sin and God isn’t blessing you because you’re a filthy, rotten, stinking sinner, because look at me. I have a Cadillac. Obviously God loves me and He doesn’t love you.” I hear these messages, and the amazing thing is, people buy into them, but it is not God’s Word, it is not what God promised us, and it is not how God uses us oftentimes. He takes those simple things of life that He gave to us at birth — hard, different, challenging, I don’t care what you want to call them — and He uses those things to strengthen us, to build us in a character that He can use, but He says choose. Choose whether or not you will let Me be part of your life…

[Jesus said,] “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full,” or in abundance. Do you hear what Jesus is saying? He didn’t come that people could be wealthy. He came that they would have an abundance of life that was made clean in protection by the Shepherd that loves them; by the gate that protects them. Jesus was the Gate. He was the Shepherd Who would put His body in the gateway to make sure that nothing got in that He did not want in… You can have protection. You can have that place in God’s kingdom, in God’s heart, that shows you His love, that allows you to hear His voice. You know what? It didn’t stop them from being sheep. I don’t know if you’ve ever been around sheep. I have. Sheep are smelly, they’re dirty, they’re disgusting, and Jesus isn’t saying I’ve come that they might be washed and cleaned and made to smell nice. He’s come that they might have life and have it in abundance. He’s come to these smelly, stinky, gross sheep and has loved them. We are those sheep! He didn’t care that we smelled. He didn’t care that our wool may be matted. He came because He loved us, and He could see that we were in need of protection. We were in need of all that He could offer us in His love with His Father…

Jesus gave His life freely for us, Jesus allowed for Himself to be killed for us, and when Jesus died, it wasn’t because of the wounds that He had. It was because He gave up His Spirit, if you remember that part of the story. He said, “It is finished,” and He gave up the Ghost. He gave His Spirit back into His Father’s hands…

Too often we allow our emotions to run our life, and we don’t take time to look at the evidence… If you ever have doubt about whether or not Jesus is Who He says He is, history gives us all the evidence we need, and those who reject or refuse are like these Pharisees. They’re only looking at what Jesus is saying from their lost perspective. They’re not taking time to look at the evidence. The evidence will always say Jesus is Lord, and guess what? One day each and every one of us will say Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God. It’s going to happen, whether you believe it or not, whether your friends believe it or not. You have a strong foundation from which to work. You can tell people, “It’s not my opinion”… He came to save life, not to condemn life. He didn’t come to condemn you. He didn’t come to condemn me. He came that we might have life. Life of forgiveness, life of healing, life of being with Him in relationship, and have that life in abundance.

We oftentimes do not like to hear the truth [of God's Word], and especially, especially when that truth means that we have to make change, that we may have to look at what part of our life is wrong. We don't like to do that.

Vintage message from November 18, 2001.

It says, “Therefore Jesus said again, ‘I tell you the truth,'” and this is something hard for any of us to hear, is the truth. I don’t care what the truth is that God has to share with us. We oftentimes do not like to hear the truth, and especially, especially, when that truth means that we have to make change, that we may have to look at what part of our life is wrong. We don’t like to do that. You know, I would love to be able to read God’s Word and then tell you that, well, God loves everybody, and because He loves everybody, He’s not expecting anybody to change, and He’ll accept you for how you are, and He never asks you at all ever to think about how bad you are, because guess what? In God’s kingdom there’s nothing bad. And you know, there’s a lot of that teaching out there today. There’s a lot of people who are convinced or would convince you that because God loves you, therefore you have no responsibility to anything that you do in your life…

And this is what we are all like. We are stupid sheep, but the world is lost in a lie that tells them otherwise, that tells them that they can be more than what Jesus has told us we are: lost, dying sinners in need of His love, in need of His forgiveness…

It’s easy for us to say, “Oh yeah, I want the truth.” It’s easy for us to say, “I want to believe in God and trust in God.” It’s easy to say, but God knows our hearts, and the reason that we oftentimes struggle in our walk and our relationship with God is not because He has not told us plainly, but it’s because we do not believe. We don’t want to hear it. We want to rebel. We want something other than the truth that a God that created us could also love us and forgive us of our sin, but would desire relationship with us through other means than our religion…

Sometimes we have a struggle believing God, believing that Jesus actually loves us, believing that Jesus could actually save us, and you know what? Jesus has done a miracle in all of our lives by offering His Holy Spirit to guide us through each day, to speak to our hearts each day, and in many cases has even touched us physically, mentally, emotionally, and strengthened us.

Never underestimate the power of your testimony about Who Jesus is.

Vintage message from November 25, 2001.

Never underestimate the power of your testimony about Who Jesus is. Even if you never have any power to make the blind see, even if you don’t have the power to see sick people healed, even if you don’t have the power to move the stars and the moon around in the sky, do not believe that you can not be a powerful witness for the Person of Jesus, because guess what? Your very life, the testimony you give about Jesus, oftentimes is more powerful than the miracles we read about in the Bible because, as people get to know you — or especially those who have known you — as they see your life change, that becomes the miracle that God does to convince them. Our testimonies are important. What we say to people about Jesus is important. Even if we never perform a miracle, our words carry power to see people’s hearts and lives changed…

Do you know that Jesus loves you? Do you know the strength and the character of the God Who created you, loves you, and that you can, at any time, send word to Him when you’re in distress? Did you know that? He loves you… Sometimes things happen to us in order that God might be glorified. You know what? In our minds, so often, we only perceive God being glorified when good things happen to us… The reasoning of the day is: if God loves you, then He’s not going to let anything bad happen to you. If God loves you, He’s going to prosper you. If God loves you, He’s going to give you everything you ask for. This is the teaching I hear that is prevalent within our society today…

I know people who view God in this way, “If God really loved me, He wouldn’t let me suffer! He wouldn’t allow this bad to happen to me!” But, see, the problem is, as men our perspective is skewed. We do not always see things from God’s perspective. God has a world that He is dealing with… And there are times within our history, within our lives that God will choose to use us even in the bad things that are happening. In fact, God oftentimes can use us more effectively when we have come through hard times, because you know what? The world out there that is suffering and decaying and dying and feeling the pain that comes from living in this life is not always convinced from the prosperity perspective. They know what pain and suffering is, and oftentimes they feel unworthy because of the teaching that says God loves those that are good and punishes those that are bad. What are we telling them?… There are none of us sitting in this room that are without sin, deserving, deserving of God’s condemnation. Each one of us in here have a life that is represented by the wrong things that we’ve done, and God has every right to zap us with lightning, but He does not. He chooses to love us. He chooses to care for us… At times He allows (and needs) for those that He loves to endure suffering…

We find ourselves, oftentimes, so busy accusing God for the things He’s allowed to happen in our life, that we fail to take the time to praise God for the things that He has done that’s good in our life, and then we even look at the miracles He’s done for others and despise the miracle… “He did it for that guy. Couldn’t He have done it for me?… God seems to love everybody else more than He loves me!” And this is an attitude that we find ourselves in, oftentimes, and it is a wrong attitude, and it is accusing to God, and it shows our hard-heartedness and how little we actually know about how much God loves us.

You know what? It's not about us. It's not about you. It's about God and how many people we can point to Him. It's about Jesus Christ and how many people we can bring to His throne for salvation.

Vintage message from December 2, 2001.

Sometimes, the most effective way for God to use us before a lost and dying world is for us to experience some pain; for us to experience the hardships that this flesh brings, so that when the world sees how we respond to those things, then they become convinced of the strength and the power of God. But yet, we don’t think that way. So often we think that, “You know what, I’ll impress the world by driving around in my Cadillac. I’ll impress the world by having my million and a half dollar mansion. I’ll impress the world by dripping with gold and looking wealthy and saying, ‘God has blessed me, world! God has blessed me,’ and that will attract them somehow.” Well, I hate to say it. They’re not attracted to God. They’re attracted to gold and Cadillacs and mansions. And so often, I think, that that’s really what we’re attracted to as well. Those of us who say, “Yes, I’m a believer,” but yet seek after those things in the world and reject any form of suffering… We’ve come to an age where the church, for the most part, prays, “Bless me, Lord. Bless me, Lord. Bless me, Lord,” not, “Use me, Lord, however You will,” and that’s how we should be praying…

God can’t do wrong. God is perfect and in Him there is no injustice. He doesn’t do things wrong, but yet, when we find ourselves facing hardship and suffering…we accuse God because we don’t understand. We know He’s perfect. We know He’s powerful. We know He’s able to do miracles. “Well, then, why didn’t You do the miracle for me, God?” And, you know, I’ve heard many, many Christians say these very words, “Well, where was He when I needed Him?” Well, He was there, and He knew that you were going to suffer, and He knew that you were going to hurt, and He knew that you were going to have a hard time… He allows for wicked men to make decisions, He allows for life to happen around us, He allows for bad to happen, and He does it for the purpose of testing our heart; of showing His strength through us. If we are truly believing that He is the God of power, He will allow for us to show that to a lost and dying world that has already rejected Him…

Do we believe that God can deal with these things in our life? Do we believe it? Do we believe that He is the resurrection and the life? And that’s all He’s asking of us, is to show the world around us that, in fact, we believe that He is that resurrection; that He is our life even in the midst of hard times… And understand something, God knows when our faith is weak. He knows when we are really struggling, and He doesn’t leave us abandoned. He doesn’t leave us alone. He does bring us encouragement… He never leaves us alone when we are discouraged. And if we would open our eyes to what’s going on around us, we would see that we’re not alone when we’re discouraged, but God always is true to His Word when He said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” So, if He’s true to His Word, then we need to open our eyes and look and simply see where He’s at, right?… He can take what hurts us, He can take what we fear, He can take the problems and the struggles of our lives, and He can heal them, even if, in our minds, they’re already dead…

You know what? It’s not about us. It’s not about you. It’s about God and how many people can we point to Him. It’s about Jesus Christ and how many people can we bring to His throne for salvation. It’s not whether or not I look good in the end, and will I get credit if I do it. It’s not about me and the pat on the back I might get, or whether or not I might be recognized…

Let me tell you something. When Jesus truly begins to start working in your life, when miracles start happening in your life, when you start displaying the power of God’s Holy Spirit, that becomes attractive to many who are lost and dying in this world, and don’t be afraid to stand up and tell people, “It’s not me. This is Jesus working in me.” But guess what? There will be, probably, just as many who will hate you because you are proving their philosophy of life wrong. And guess what? There will be people who were your friends who will abandon you because God begins to do a work…

We are called to allow Jesus to work in our life to become the proof [that] He is a God of love, that He exists not only out there, but He exists in here. He cares for us on a personal level, and He deals with us just as personally. He does the miracle, and He brings us from death to life, and He walks with us, and He cares for us, and He provides for our needs, even when we don’t understand what He’s doing and He allows us to suffer. We need to lose this whole thing of accusing Him when we suffer, but rejoice in the suffering, that He has counted us worthy to endure a little bit of pain, a little bit of inconvenience… And even in what little bit of suffering we have in our lives today, we need to let God use it and rejoice in it, and allow God to be God, not accusing Him, not railing against Him, but praising Him, that He is here in me to bring me through, to bring you through whatever it is you’re facing, in order that He might save a world of men that are also lost as we once were.

We need to be living lives that tell God, "God, You have Your way. Glorify Yourself, even if it means sacrificing me."

Vintage message from December 9, 2001.

Guess what? If Jesus isn’t there, then you are going no where. I believe Jesus is in this ministry, and as long as Jesus is here and one other person is here, then I’m going places because I’m in fellowship with the Holy Spirit and my brothers and sisters in Christ, and that’s how we get to where we need to be: in obedience, simple obedience to God’s Word; being where Jesus is; following after Jesus and knowing Who He is; and not building ministry for the sake of ministry, but building ministry because Jesus is there…

The life that we live means something to the people around us. What we do has an effect on the people around us… We, too, can become greater than what we are, in the kingdom of God. We can allow Jesus to use us. We can allow the power of His Spirit to work through us, to plant us as we spread the Word in order for many, many, many, many more people to come to know. It produces many seeds… You and I have to be willing to live our lives in the Name of Jesus, for the God Who created us, even if it means our death. It says if we love this life and we cling to this life and abandon the knowledge of God, we abandon eternal life. We live in and for the power of the Holy Spirit even if it means the threat of our life or our life actually being taken, we keep it for eternal life. And we are His servants. We are the ones who serve, and Jesus tells us, “My Father will honor the one who serves Me.” Do you want to get a big pat on the back? Do you want to feel good about yourself? This is something I know that all of us desire, and we seek that in this world too often. We want to feel good about ourselves now. If you realize that God is asking us to sacrifice, to give up what this life has to offer, to honor Him and when we do that, the Father will honor us as we serve. And the one thing I live for is to stand before the Lord and hear Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” That’s my desire in life, is to live to that point to hear, “Well done.” And I’m afraid that I’ve blown it many times. I’ve had a lot of struggles, but I tell people all the time, it’s never too late. No matter how much you’ve blown it in the past, even if you’re blowing it today, guess what? You can start today to honor God with your life, and hear Him give you that “Well done…”

We need to be living lives that tell God, “God, You have Your way. Glorify Yourself, even if it means sacrificing me…”

And I tell people all the time, “You know, God speaks to us. God talks to us,” and people will tell me, “Dave, you’re crazy. God doesn’t speak to me. I don’t hear Him.” It’s not that God doesn’t speak, but our ears are not tuned to what He’s saying, and so He has to use circumstances and He gives it to us in writing and He does all kinds of things in our lives to try to get our attention. The fact is, He’s speaking, and He wants us to hear…

Put your trust in the light… Jesus tells us, He is the light… Trust in Who Jesus is and what He can do for you as He guides you. Walk in Him before darkness overtakes you. We sometimes live in such dark and desperate times in our lives that we fail to see the light that’s shining right in front of us, and I know many people who choose the darkness because the light is uncomfortable; because the light reveals. Jesus reveals who we are, what we are, what we want to do, but He tells us, “Walk while you have the light before darkness overtakes you”…

We can become sons of light. We, too, can glow in a dark and desperate world. We take on the characteristic of the One Who’s your Father. Unfortunately, I look a lot like my [earthly] father, but you know what? In Jesus Christ, I also look a lot like my [Heavenly] Father in that I know His truth, I know His Word, and I’m not afraid to tell you the truth of His Word because His light shines. Because He’s alive, His Spirit lives in me. His Spirit can live in you, and then He shines out into a dark and lost and dying world, and you can become the sons of that Light…

Knowing Jesus is a lot more than just knowing the history of a Man Who lived on the face of this planet, but knowing Jesus is a personal, close relationship that He wants to have with us.

Living for the Lord takes real commitment. Trusting in Jesus, believing in Jesus, walking in Jesus, means making a commitment to stand firm even though the people around us may not like it.

Vintage message from December 16, 2001.

Our lives are to be about service: serving as Jesus served, serving because Jesus served. Jesus came as a king, but He came as a King Who served. He left us the example of how to live, and now He’s telling us that His Father will honor those who serve…

One of the things, I believe, that we miss in life too often is that God does things for our benefit. The things that God asks us to do is for our benefit. Too often we believe that God is our enemy. We believe that God is against us. We struggle and we have turmoil, and what’s the first thing we do? We look up to heaven and says “God, why me? Why me, God? What did I do to deserve this?” Rather than saying, “God, I know You love me, and I know that You’re benefiting me even in the struggle, even in the hard time.” If we are going through something that we do not like, understand that God is doing it for your benefit…

I believe that we, oftentimes, are ineffective in ministry, we’re ineffective in our walk with God, we struggle and we fall because of this next statement, “For they loved praise from men more that praise from God.” Do you realize most of the time the things that we do and the lives that we live, we live in order to receive praise from men. We are more concerned about what our neighbor thinks about our hair or our car or our house than we do about our neighbor knowing Jesus through us… We still are hindered by the love and praise of men. We care more about what men think than we do about what God thinks. We’re more ready to step out and be part of the world than to tell the world, “I’m sorry. I love God. Take me with my love of the Lord or leave me. That’s your choice, but guess what? Where I go, God goes.” It’s a hard thing to do. Many of us find ourselves living in sin, stumbling along, because we’re afraid to tell the people that we’re associated with, “I love the Lord Jesus Christ, and that means making commitments to Him, to you, and you may not like the commitments I make, but guess what? I’m committed to God…”

It’s not enough to believe. It takes commitment to hearing God’s Word and trusting God’s Word. Hearing what Jesus has to say. When we believe in Jesus, we’re not just believing in Jesus. We’re believing in the God and Father of all creation. We’re not just putting our faith in a man who did good things…

Living for the Lord takes real commitment. Trusting in Jesus, believing in Jesus, walking in Jesus, means…making a commitment to stand firm even though the people around us may not like it. It’s more than just saying, “I believe.” Jesus showed us how to believe, to live consistently by the Word of the One Who sent Him. That’s how He did it. He only said what His Father told Him to say, He lived how His Father asked Him to live…

We have everything we need to understand salvation. We have been given a great gift. All we need to do is open it up and study it. Trust the Words that we read.

Do you want to be truly blessed? Then serve one another.

Vintage message from December 23, 2001.

[Do] you want to give a Christmas present this year that means something? Serve those that you love. Give out of love regardless of what’s going to be given back to you…

How many of you feel the blessing of God in your life? Or, how many of you find yourself every day struggling, wondering if God is truly blessing you? You know, I hear a lot of people pray, “Lord, bless me. Lord, bless me. Lord, bless my work. Lord, bless my home. Lord bless my travel. Lord, bless this. Lord, bless that.” [Do] you want the blessing of God? You truly want the blessing of God? He’s telling you right here how to get the blessing of God. You want to be blessed? Then serve one another. Give up your arrogance and your pride. Humble yourself and wash someone’s feet — not literally. Jesus was doing this because their feet were dirty. Look for the things in people’s lives that they need help with… God wants us, in humility, to sometimes reach out even to those who can do for themselves and just simply help them. Do something nice for them. Find that area in their life where there is a need and meet it… When you do that, then you are truly blessed. Then your home is blessed. Then your work is blessed. Then your travels are blessed. Your food is blessed. Everything about you is blessed when you set aside the arrogance of heart that thinks that you deserve anything, and reach out as our Lord and Master Who did deserve everything stepped out and washed humbly the feet of those that He loved… You’ve heard it today, that if you want to be blessed, if you truly want to give gifts that mean something, then take Jesus’s example and do the things that He has just taught us…

[Do] you want to have relationship with God? You want to know that your relationship with Jesus is right? Love. Even those who are your enemies… When you start making enemies of people, they build up quickly. You’re better to have no enemies. Make everyone in your life someone whom you’re going to love, regardless of who they are or what they do to you… We have to be about accepting one another. We have to be about loving one another. We have to be about receiving and humbling ourselves in the lives of one another. [Do] you want Christmas to mean something this year? You want to know who that baby in the manger truly is? You want to have a real love experience? You want to be blessed this Christmas season? Don’t make the focal point unwrapping gifts under a tree; a fine meal that you’re going to have; but think about what you can do that truly shows love to those that you’re with by humbling yourself and serving and helping them; being part of their lives; and when someone comes to you, accepting them in love and humility as well because by doing so, you not only accept that person, but you accept Jesus and you accept the Father in heaven. You, then, understand and are walking right with God. The greatest, the greatest gift that Jesus gave us was not when He was born into this world, but the life that He lived in this world as an example to us… It’s a life of humility, sharing, knowing God in a real, personal way by giving who you are and receiving those whom He sends and being in love relationship, in close fellowship. Then you’ve received a gift. Then you have Christmas. You know what Christmas is all about.

Trust in God even in the hard times. Trust in God even in the bad times. Trust in God even when you don't want to trust God.

Vintage message from December 30, 2001.

Christianity isn’t about me. Loving Jesus and knowing God’s will isn’t about what I can get out of it. It’s a give and take. It’s about us. God came to a world that was lost and dying and separate from Him, and He so desired for us to be there with Him that He sent this symbol of His love: a Man Who would live for Him and give His life totally and completely to Him and to us, to draw us into that love relationship… We show our love, we show God’s love, we show the full extent of that love, just as Jesus did, when we serve one another. Serve one another where they really have a need, even in the small detail things that burden them, things that are oftentimes overlooked…

Do you know that Jesus loves you today? I don’t care who you are, what you’ve done, you are a disciple that Jesus loves, and it’s okay to say it. Again, it’s not bragging. I know Jesus loves me. I know what Jesus did for me, and it’s okay to say it. I’m a disciple whom Jesus loved…

What we view as bad, what we view as harsh, what we view as betrayal is sometimes completely and totally within the will of God, and those who would hurt us, those who would take advantage of us, are simply and only being used by God to bring glory to Himself… Trust in God even in the hard times. Trust in God even in the bad times. Trust in God even when you don’t want to trust God… When was the last time you, in the midst of trouble thought, “Wow, God might be able to really use this”? The last time I was in turmoil, and I was hurting, you know what I thought? “How in the world, God, could you allow this to happen to me?” Okay, I hate to say it, but that’s who I am!…

And then, telling the other disciples, “Love one another as I have loved you.” It’s no longer about us. It’s no longer about how I know how to love. It’s now about looking a little deeper, looking outside of myself, and looking to a Man Who loved perfectly all the time, even in the midst of struggle…

The problem is, I love my own life more than I love anybody else’s. I love me, and too often, it’s about me. It’s about what can I get out of life? What can I do for me? And you know what? I don’t mind if you guys tag along, and I don’t mind if I share some of what I get with you. I mean, that’s okay. I mean, I’m not a completely, totally, rotten, bad person, but it’s still about me!… And even with the Holy Spirit in us, we still struggle…

No, Jesus wasn’t here saying, “Okay, guys. A new commandment I give to you. Go out and tell everybody else how to live their lives.” He didn’t give the disciples a right to judge, condemn, look down upon. In fact, by loving Judas and then telling them to love as He loved, He, in fact, was saying, “You guys have to love even those that are rotten, even those that do things different than you would do them, even those that are living in sin. You’ve got to love them because I loved them.” Bottom line: it’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about a God Who created, and the love that He has for us, and the desire He has to bring us into that love relationship, and He did that through Jesus, and Jesus displays that love completely and fully by once again not responding the way you and I would respond, but responding selflessly, caring about the other more than caring about Himself.

If we would just simply trust in the Name of Jesus even in the midst of the turmoil that we face, He can make it so our hearts are not troubled.

Vintage message from January 6, 2002.

And Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God. Also in Me.” That verse says everything. No matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done, no matter what you’re doing, or no matter what you’re going to do in the future, God is still in control, and He is not troubled Himself by who we are, and if we would just simply trust in God, if we would just simply trust in the Name of Jesus even in the midst of the turmoil that we face, He can make it so our hearts are not troubled. And you know what? We find ourselves oftentimes with troubled hearts, troubled minds, struggling to know what it is that God wants from us, of us, but Jesus lays out for us the scenario that is going to tell us that the Father doesn’t want anything of us. He just wants to be in relationship with us… He loves those that will simply be in relationship with Him even if they fail from time to time…

You know what the problem is? We are so busy looking at ourselves, looking to our own needs, looking to our own lives, looking to our own selfish desires that we fail to see Who the Father really is and what His desire is for us…

What is it that you believe? Who is it that you believe? Do you believe that Jesus is the Miracle Worker, the Representation of the Father here on earth, the One Who empowered God’s Word so that it came to life? It wasn’t just this dead book that the people had hauled around with them, but Jesus came and the Father came to life in the Word that was spoken, and miracles followed in power. And Jesus just simply says, “Believe Me. Believe the things that I’m saying to you, and you’ll see the Father.” And you know what? He understands that sometimes our faith is just going to be weak, or we’re going to be blinded by our own flesh; that we’re held back because of selfish desires. He knows that so He comes to that place of simply saying, “Then at least, at least, believe the evidence of the miracles themselves.” Look at your life. Look at the hard things. I invite you to look at your lives, and see all of the horrible, horrendous, terrible, gross, bad things that have ever happened to you. Make a list. Write it out. Because, see, when you do that you are then going to see the power of God’s Word, the miracle that brought you through as you trusted God, as you entered into His Word, and you knew that He was the One Who could strengthen you and help you, and even before you knew that, in those hard times situations happened that you were preserved. You were kept alive. You were watched over. God was there, and His miracles were happening. And so often we fail to see the miracle because we’re too busy looking selfishly at the hard things that happened instead of looking at what brought us through… We fail to look at the miracles. We fail to look at the evidence of God’s strength and power that preserves us…

What is His command?… To love as He loved. Didn’t He say that? “A new commandment I give to you.” It’s not like the old commandment: to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul, with all of your mind, and with all of your strength. That would be nice if we could even do that, but He says, “A new command I give you.” It’s no longer up to you to decide how to love, because guess what? Most of us have hard hearts, and we don’t know how to love. The new command is “to love as I have loved you,” so He becomes the standard, and He tells us, if we love Him, we will obey what He commanded…

Do you want to know the Father in a real way? Do you want the confusion to stop? Trust in God, and trust in the Name of Jesus. Believe that the life that Jesus lived is the life that He wants us to live. It’s a simple formula, but very difficult to apply. But He lays it out for His disciples who, just like you and I, were confused, were struggling. One gave up. Another will deny. But God’s love transcends all of that. It just takes a little bit of faith. We need to decide, what are we going to believe and why are we going to believe it. Am I a Christian? Have I asked Jesus to come into my life because I believe that in having Jesus I’m going to receive a mansion, nice things, a comfortable life? If that’s why I became a Christian, then, I have to tell you, it’s for all the wrong reasons because Jesus had none of that…

Do you believe what God’s Word has said? Do you believe that Jesus is in the Father, is the example of the Father’s love for you on this world? Do you believe that by trusting in Him, even if your life is hard, even if you have struggles, He can bring you through, and not only bring you through but bring you through in such a way that then you can turn and take others by the hand just as He did, and bring them through?…

Do not let your hearts be troubled because He is far greater than your flesh, if you will just simply trust. “Trust in God. Trust also in Me.”

Do you want the world to know that you love God? Then love those that are around you. They will know that you belong to Him by how you love others.

Vintage message from January 13, 2002.

We as believers, just as they as disciples, oftentimes find ourselves in hard situations, and we become troubled and we worry and we fret, and regardless of how hard the situation might seem, Jesus is still in control. You know, Jesus didn’t die by accident. He wasn’t arrested and taken to a cross merely by bad circumstances. He chose this. He chose to be obedient to His Father for your sake and for my sake. And so He tells His disciples, even though He’s had to tell them all these hard things, “Do not let your heart be troubled.” I believe it’s a message that you and I need to take to heart because we face struggle every day in our life. Trouble comes our way. Hardships are there. We are born into a world of flesh and trouble. But yet, we have been given the promise of a Holy Spirit that would be our Counselor…

He not only tells us to not be troubled in our heart, but then He takes us to the place of telling us how we can accomplish that… He says, “A new command I give to you: that you love as I have loved you.” No longer is it: you love, you try to figure it out, you do it on your own… It’s not left up to us to know how to do that loving any more. Jesus now says, this is a command; a new command. That you love as Ihave loved. So now Jesus becomes the standard. We no longer have an excuse. “Well, I didn’t know. I don’t know how to do it.” We are given, right here, the book of instructions on how Jesus accomplished loving. How He went about sharing His life with those that He was involved with, those that He came in contact with. It’s written out in detail for us. All we need do is study it, and we’ll know how to love. We don’t have to try to figure it out any more, but He does make sure we understand that if we’re going to love Him, that we will obey it; that command…

You know, we don’t like the truth. The world hates the truth. The church struggles so much with the truth. But guess what? I don’t care how much the world the hates it or how much I struggle with it, the truth is still the truth, and the Holy Spirit will not deny that truth. And if you want to be right with God, if you want to know how to not be troubled in your heart, if you want to know how to obey the command of God, seek the power of that Spirit Who is your Counselor; was give specificially for the purpose of counseling; dealing with what’s inside here, and He will always, always, if you like it or not, give you the truth. The problem is, I don’t always like the truth because it exposes me. It tells on me. It makes me see things about myself that I never wanted to see, but if I’ll accept it, then I become right with God, and I no longer have to be troubled, and I can obey His command and be in love with Him…

For all of the knowledge we’ve been given, we find ourselves in turmoil and we find ourselves struggling. We find ourselves hurting and we look up to heaven and we imagine God sitting up there laughing at us, ignoring us, tormenting us even at times. And I’ve heard people say, “God, You did this to me!” Well, maybe He did because maybe He knows that we need some pressure in our life, but you know what? He didn’t do it vindictively. He does nothing in our lives but to love us and to draw us into closer relationship with Him. And He’s not sitting in an ivory tower on an ivory throne looking down His nose at us, because then it would have been pointless for Jesus to come to this world and live as He did and die as He did. It’s for a purpose: so that you and I could live in love relationship; [to] understand, the love relationship that we are meant to have with our Savior and with our God…

But you know what I find the problem is when we feel the loneliness, when we feel the struggle? That it is we who have turned our back on Him. We’ve walked away. We’ve ignored Him. We’ve trusted ourself, and we’ve trusted the world. And let me tell you, the world is a very lonely, harsh place… This world was never meant to be permanence for us. Walking in relationship with the God Who created us was always meant to be what God had in mind for us, and He’s calling us to that relationship, and Jesus is making it clear that we can, in fact, follow His example and be in that relationship… So, it’s about a love relationship. Wanting, desiring to be in this love relationship. But you know what? This love relationship will never work unless you are obeying the command that Jesus has left for us, and He didn’t make it difficult. You know what? He’s not asking any of us to walk a tightrope over the Empire State Building, but sometimes we believe that that’s what Christianity is; that’s what we believe this love relationship is. We call it impossible. “I can’t do it! It’s too hard.” He just simply has asked us to love others around us. That’s all, and really, it is a simple thing if we would take our eyes off of us. The most difficult part of loving others is we have to stop looking at who Iam and look at who they are. If you spent time looking at the needs of the people around you, you wouldn’t be looking at your own needs and your own desires and your own selfishness. And that’s why He made it a command that we love the way He loved because He did not look selfishly into Himself, but He looked externally at everything else that God had created, and He looked at those that God loved rather than His own comforts and His own needs and His own desires. He just simply looked out. He loved His Father, and He knew His Father loved those that He was looking at, and guess what? They didn’t deserve to be loved. They didn’t deserve it. They were wicked, cruel, unkind, smelly, dirty, wicked in mind and heart. They didn’t deserve to have God’s love. They certainly didn’t deserve to have Jesus’s love. What would motivate Him to want to do that? He wanted to be in right relationship with His Father, and His Father’s command was that He come to this world and love those that the Father loved, that the Father created. And so now He’s telling us, [do] you want to be right with the Father? Do you want to be in that love relationship? Then obey His command. Do what He’s commanded us to do. Stop looking at yourself and start looking at those that are around you, and even if they don’t deserve it, guess what? It is not your standard by which you’re judging. We don’t deserve it. You don’t deserve it, I don’t deserve it, but God chose to do it. And then He’s asked us to do it, so therefore, we better be about doing it, and stop looking at me, and I should start looking at others, and then the love relationship happens. And then the love relationship we have or desire to have will be proven…

And this is where we fall short so often. We fall more in love with our flesh than we do the relationship that we have with Jesus. When He asks us to do things, He asks us to be part of a world that is brutal and hurtful and spiteful, and in order to avoid having that hurt in our life, we buy into the world rather than standing in obedience and saying, “Do to me what you will. I will be in love with my Father Who created me. I will be in love with His Son Who saved me…”

[Jesus] actively pursued the will of His Father, He actively pursued being in right relationship, and He’s made it clear that you and I, as well, can actively pursue being in that same right relationship. The actions that He as from us in pursuit is to obey the command that He left. A command to love; to love those around us as He loved them, and if you do that, then you are in right relationship with the Father and the love relationship is proven in how you love others. You don’t have to worry, then, when the trouble comes. And understand something: if you are loving God the way you should love Him, if you are in that love relationship, hard times will come because the enemy that He had is still the same enemy. The prince of this world still wants to destroy what [Jesus] did, but we don’t have to worry about that. We don’t have to be troubled by that. He has no hold on us because He had no hold on Jesus. We can live in right relationship. It doesn’t mean that we’re not going to struggle. It doesn’t mean we’re not going to sin. I’m not telling you that you can become perfect just sitting here, but we overcome through the power of His Holy Spirit by allowing that Spirit to indwell us, by daily grasping the counsel that the Spirit brings to us…

Do you want the world to know that you love God? Then love those that are around you. They will know that you belong to Him by how you love others.

If there's doubt about your salvation, remain, abide, walk with and in the love of Jesus Christ, and then there will be no doubt.

Vintage message from January 20, 2002.

It’s about fruit that grows in the process of abiding in Him; staying in Him; attaching yourself to Him. So He lays out this analogy of a fruit tree, and if a fruit tree is not bearing fruit, the most healthy thing you can do for that fruit tree is cut off branches… When we read these verses, we are reading about a plan that Jesus has for the plant to become healthy and to grow and to produce fruit in abundance, and He knows our hearts, and He knows that there are some who will come to Him and be in Him and be attached to the tree but will be fruitless and even, at times, be the cause of fruit not growing on the tree. And you know what? The Father will cut those branches away to make His plant more healthy…

I can’t be a branch unto myself, and I can not bear fruit by myself, and as an individual, I can not bear fruit on my own. I need you, and I need the Father. I need to be in the tree and attached, growing with you. If I become detached from the tree, the sap bleeds out. I need to be attached… Do you hear the reason why we need to be in the vine, attached branches that are healthy because we have a source of life? Because it brings glory to the Father. Not to this ministry, not to the work that’s going on on the face of the earth, but it brings glory to the Father. When we, as Christ’s disciples, loving Jesus, abiding in Jesus, loving one another, it brings glory to the Father, and then we get to benefit from the love that is brought back to the Father because He then feeds us back through His Spirit. We work together, we dwell together, we are strengthened together, but we must remain in His love…

He gives us this other picture. It’s not just about working, doing good things. It’s about loving, and about being complete in joy. You know what? There’s a lot of hard things that happen in our lives, a lot of challenges that come our way, accidents that almost happen, things that go on that are out of our control, but if we are abiding in Christ, if we are walking in His love, and allowing His love to remain in us, and we’re loving those around us, then guess what? We’re never taken by surprise. When the hard things happen and we’re abiding in Him, then we’re still filled with joy, even though we may be faced with a challenge. Joy, by the way, does not mean giddy. It does not mean that you’re always laughing. It just means that there is something inside of you that keeps you from living in despair. Joy wards off despair. It doesn’t mean we’re not going to cry from time to time. I cried at my brother’s funeral. It was hard for me to deal with, but I walked away with joy in my heart since I still have family to love and that loves me. I have a [church] body to love and that loves me. I’m still abiding in Christ, and even though disaster happens and tears are shed or challenge comes, it does not mean that we lose our joy, and that joy kept me from falling into despair, just as joy will keep any of us from falling into despair. But, joy only comes when we remain in His love. It’s when we step away, when we try to do it on our own, when we try to live by our own flesh and have our own way [that we despair]… It’s not even our joy. It’s not a contrived joy. It’s not something that we make happen, but if we will remain in Him and obey His command to love, then it is His joy that floods us. It’s about how He feels about the Father that works in us, and then our joy is complete…

Even though our function and role on this planet is to serve one another, to be servants of God, Jesus says, “I no longer call you servants because a servant does not know his Master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends.” How do you interact with a friend? A whole lot different than you would with a servant/master relationship. We can call Jesus by His first name. We can joke with Him and laugh with Him, and we can enjoy His company as He enjoys our company. We don’t have to come to Him fearfully crawling on our face thinking we’re going to be beaten, and when we make mistakes, we can go to our friend, and our friend will wrap his arms around us and love us and help us through whatever hard times come because of wrong decisions we’ve made. He is our friend because He has let us know what is in the Father’s heart… Do you realize that by studying God’s Word, abiding in Jesus Christ, being filled with His Spirit, we have all of the knowledge that Jesus had when He was on the face of this earth serving His Father. We have that knowledge because He’s given it to us. He’s shared with us as His disciples, as His friends, all that the Father has told Him. Everything He learned from His Father, we now have access to so we can know the Father’s will. We can know the Father’s desire. And once again, the Father’s will and desire is not to go out and build a giant cathedral, but to love those that are lost around us, and then as we love those that are lost, everything else falls into place…

If you want the Father’s will, abide in the vine. Allow the Father to bring light to you, and guess what? He’ll prune. Pruning isn’t fun. Having your sin revealed, having the hardness of your heart revealed, your arrogance and your pride revealed, these are all things that the Father will prune away; He’ll bring to the surface, and He’ll cut away because they hinder us from bearing fruit, but we were chosen for the purpose of bearing fruit and fruit that will remain. Fruit that remains as an example and a testimony of the love that Jesus had for us, the love that the Father has for us. “And then, then the Father will give you whatever you as in My Name. This is My command. Love each other.” What part of that is ownership of a Cadillac? Not any part of it. You want the Father’s will? Seek out to love those that are unlovely. You want to be rich in fruit? You want to bear the fruit that’s going to last? Reach out to those whom the world has rejected and religion has condemned but God loves. Reach out and love them because it’s what we’re commanded, and it’s what offers us whatever the Father has for us. We can ask for it then. We can ask for it in good conscience in faith and get it. If we start asking selfishly, then we reap selfishness…

If there’s doubt about your salvation, remain, abide, walk with and in the love of Jesus Christ, and then there will be no doubt. If there’s doubt, it’s probably because there’s sin, and if there’s sin, sin can be dealt with. You don’t have to walk around feeling, every moment of the day, that God doesn’t love you because you’ve done something wrong. Just tell Him about it. He is your Friend. He is not the Judge with a gavel in His Hand ready to smack you on the head because you’ve done something wrong. He is your Friend, and friends confide in one another, and He’s told us He’s confided in us.

The only way to stay strong is to stay current in His Word; to continually go back to His Word and hear what He's saying, over and over and over again.

Vintage message from February 17, 2002.

But Jesus is saying, “No, there’s something different here. You’re now in Me. You are now My branches. The Father loved Me, I’ve loved you, and now this is My command: that you love one another.” But He doesn’t stop with that. It says, “Love one another as I have loved you.” It’s not left up to us to figure out how to love. It’s not left up to us to decide whether or not we are going to love. We are part of a body of believers in particular, and it branches out from here into the greater body, that when we encounter one another, even if we see things that are wrong, even if we don’t like what’s going on, it does not give us the excuse to not love, because guess what? When the Father looked down at this world before He sent His Son, He loved. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. While we were lost in our sin, God loved us. He didn’t wait for us to become good. He didn’t wait for us to straighten out our lives. He love us enough to do something about it, and once He did that something by giving His Son, incorporating His Son into what this world was. Rather than make the world to become what God is, because He knew that was impossible, He gave us a way to overcome the impossible through His Son. And now we are branches in this vine, being filled with the love that comes from the Father through the vine into the branches, and we’re commanded — not suggested, commanded — that we love one another…

You know what? That’s the hard part: following Jesus and seeing what He has, He has nothing here on this earth for us, but He has a glorious, wonderful, exciting adventurous eternity planned for us. And He gives us the things that we have on this world, not so we can hold them up and say, “Look at what I’ve got… I’ve got something that you don’t have,” but it’s to be used: to be used for His glory, to be used to strengthen, to be used to bless. Because we are branches, if we see a branch on the vine faltering, He’s given us the ability — and think of what a grapevine is. You know, I’ve seen a lot of grapevines. They’ve got these little curly things that grow out of them, and sometimes those little curly things will grow around stuff and grab on and it’s just like a hand holding on. And guess what? We can extend those little curly things called blessings to reach out and grab another branch when we see it drooping and ready to break off and hold it up. We need to be involved in one another’s lives, and remember the things that Jesus taught us. We’re not greater than our master. He didn’t have things. He had the love relationship with the Father and then anything He had at His disposal, He used for that ministry that God placed Him in…

The only way to stay strong is to stay current in His Word; to continually go back to His Word and hear what He’s saying, over and over and over again; know that direction, understand that command, feel that friendship, allow the power of God’s Spirit to indwell and work through you, and it only comes when you’re spending time in His Word getting to know Him…

We’re only caught off guard when we have not been living within the instruction and the guidelines that He’s laid down for us, and He tells us the time is coming. We shouldn’t be surprised when the bad things in this world touch us and the wickedness of men’s lives affect us, but it should never drive us into the world, but drive us closer to the Father and open our mouths in testimony to Who Jesus is. That’s His desire for us, but He has taught us these things so that we will know when the time comes. We can remember and know that we’ve been warned…

He is the salvation that God wanted us to have. He is the friendship that God desired to have with us. He is the love relationship that God sent to be with us to draw us in. The vine was planted. We grow from that vine. Love was given to the vine through the Father. The vine, then, shares love with us. So what’s the next step? How are people going to know? Jesus says, “They will know you are My disciples” by what? By how we love; how we care for one another within the body of Christ. When you find yourself, next time, irritated someone, especially within the body of Christ, think about why you’re irritated. What part of your selfishness did they touch? What part of your arrogance did they insult? And I know, in my life, when I find myself angry at someone, it is because somehow the “me” in my life has been affected, and then I have to pull the “me” out and put the Jesus in. Remember what Jesus taught. Jesus was inconvenienced in His life in ministry every moment of His day unless, unless, He went away to be alone in the mountains so He could be with His Father. He knew the value of quiet time with His Father. He knew the value of being in God’s Word and understanding God’s Word. He wants us to be prepared, and He’s gone to great lengths today within His Word to teach us how to be prepared…

There are going to be hard times, but guess what? I should never be the hard time that another brother or sister has on the face of this world. I should be the branch that is holding them up because the vine is holding me up. Until they’re strong enough in the vine, once again, to stand, then they reach down and hold up someone else. This is how Jesus intended for us to learn and to know Him. Through this progressive love relationship that came from the Father, and to be ready. We’re all going to sin, we’re all going to make mistakes, we’re all going to struggle, but that’s the amazing thing about being part of the body of Christ. When you sin, I can still love you and approach you in love, and that’s been part of the problem in this world. We don’t want to approach each other with love because somehow I take it personal when you sin. My arrogance and my pride gets in the way. Sometimes I feel like I’m god, and I have the right to zap you with lightning if He’s not, you know? And that’s the wrong approach.

When we read God's Word, it is for a purpose. We read it so that we hear what Jesus had to say so that we will not go astray.

Vintage message from March 3, 2002.

When we read God’s Word, it is for a purpose. We read it so that we hear what Jesus had to say so that we will not go astray. God’s Word is given specifically to a lost and dying world because that lost and dying world has gone astray. We become His disciples, we give our lives over to Him, and it is His desire that as we hear His Word, as we begin to walk right with Him, that His Word does healing in us so that we no longer go astray, and His Word is also then given to us so that when the time comes, we will remember. There’s a lot of things that happen in our lives. Every day we encounter challenges: challenges to our faith, challenges to our flesh, sometimes challenges to our life, and when we find ourselves in those moments, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Are we thinking, “Oh! The Bible says this about this situation! I cando all things through Christ which strengthens me. I know Whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day.” Are these the things that come to our mind?… God’s Word was given so that the more I study and the more I dwell, I will remember, and remember what? That I have been warned. Warned of what? That the world is out there, …that there are people who would come and try to draw me into situations of sin that God desires for me to stay away from. To remember that we were warned that He was going to die, go be with His Father and then, one day, the ultimate hope of our life: that He will return and bring us into that completed love relationship. That’s what His Word is given to us for…

This is the time to rejoice: when those hard things happen that we don’t understand, it’s not time to panic, it’s time to rejoice. It’s time to remember God’s Word, and why it was given to us. So instead of screaming out at that that’s hurting us, accusing, we turn to God’s Word, and we see how we can be blessed through the hardships that we’re facing, even at the loss of the things that we believe to be the most dear to us.

You, too, can be overcomes in Jesus Christ. You can overcome the hardships. You can overcome the challenges. You can overcome the hurtful things that come your way.

Vintage message from March 10, 2002.

“In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.”

…He is not saying that the door to heaven is now open for you, for you to fulfill your every whim and desire, but the door of heaven is now open for you to ask My Father for the things that are important that you have learned from Me. If you are asking in My Name, He is really saying you are asking according to the character and lifestyle that I have lived, and He was the One that told the disciples early on, I have no pillow for My head. I have nothing. You want to see where I live? Come, follow Me. It’s not pretty. He wasn’t asking for the mansions. He wasn’t asking for the money. He wasn’t asking for anything, but for the lives of those men and women that He encountered. He asked for the miracles in order for men to be healed when they were suffering and struggling. He asked for the Father to feed those that were poor and in need, and then He took the bread and broke it and fed the multitudes. When you ask in Jesus’s name, that’s what you’re asking for. You’re asking in the character and the life, the love, that Jesus had when He followed His Father…

One of the things that is the hardest to convince this world, and especially those that are hurting and suffering is that God loves them. “Well, how can God love me and leave me in this mess that I’m in? How can you say that Jesus loves me when I’m suffering and hurting so much?” Well, sometimes there is pain and sometimes there is anguish, but by believing in Jesus, it’s not about our comfort. It’s about knowing what the Father knows, and living as the Father has asked us to live, and the Father knew that the sacrifice needed to be made and that it would be through Jesus, and therefore, Jesus told us early on, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by Me.” And if you know that, even if you’re in anguish and suffering, you can know the Father’s love…

And even with the help of the Holy Spirit, there are times in our lives that we become so hurt and scattered in our thoughts that we abandon Jesus, too. We accuse Him, we get angry at Him because of what He’s doing, and we run. So we can’t be too hard on these disciples…when we still today, like these disciples, are a little thick of skull and hard of heart…

Jesus wants us to have peace. He wants us to be in Him and have peace… His desire is for us to have peace, but He makes it clear, “This is a promise, guys. This is the fact of the matter. In this life you will have tribulation. You will have trouble.” So, the next time you find yourself struggling, and trouble is all around you, you don’t need to ask, “Why is this happening to me? Oh, God! Have You forgotten me?” You don’t have to ask that. Just remember that Jesus warned you. You’re in a world that hates you… Let me tell you of some of your enemies. Number one, you have the flesh to contend with each and every day… Our flesh is challenged, and we want to walk away from the Lord. Trouble is lurking. And then, we have an enemy that is called Satan, the devil, the one who roams around seeking whom he may devour. Our enemy does not necessarily have to be our neighbor or the government or the idiot that carries a gun in his hand and threatens to shoot people. Our enemy is oftentimes our own heart and the enemy of God that twists God’s Word to cause our heart to be confused, and then trouble comes. We make wrong decisions, we do stupid things, and we find ourselves in trouble. We live in a world that brings us trouble, trials, hardship, challenges, and Jesus tells us that this is the way it’s supposed to be. Don’t be caught off guard. Don’t become discouraged. He’s telling us, this is information I’m giving to you so that you will have peace. So that when you face these things — and then even if your neighbor does come out and attack you — understand something, you knew it was supposed to come so that you would have peace. “In this world, you will have trouble, but take heart. I have overcome the world.” And this is the Man Who is just hours away from having spikes being rammed into His hands and His feet, after bloody, brutal beating, being accused falsely, the crowds chanting, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” And He’s telling His disciples, “I have overcome this…” You, too, can be over-comers in Jesus Christ. You can overcome the hardships. You can overcome the challenges. You can overcome the hurtful things that come your way, and you will have those things that hurt you. I don’t know what form it’s going to come in, I don’t know how long it’s going to last, but I can guarantee you, you will find and face trouble in your life. But that’s the beginning. Jesus is saying, “All this I have told you so that you will not go astray.” He’s giving us information so that we will stay on the right path. So that we will follow God in the way that God wants to be followed, through His Son Jesus Christ, taking the example that Jesus gave to us…

Eternity for us is granted, not that we might live comfortably in mansions, but that we might walk with the God Who created us and be in love relationship with Him. That is eternal life.

Vintage message from March 24, 2002.

We need to be looking at Jesus for Who He is, not what we want Him to be… Make no mistake about it. There are not many ways to heaven. There is one way to heaven, through the name and person, relationship through Jesus Christ…

Jesus had power and ability beyond any man on the face of the earth. Even though He was a man He was blessed because He had the Holy Spirit. He proved Himself over three and a half years. But yet, for all of the proof, for all of the teaching, for all of the caring, there came this time when Jesus knew it had to be placed in His Father’s hands. And you know what? There are times in our lives that we face difficulties, we face struggles, we face trials, that really the only place to leave them is in the Father’s hands. We can seek the counsel and the guidance and the security of friendship, the strength of the church — which is fine — but don’t forget, that the real power is not in our gathering, but the real power is in why we gather: because there is a God in heaven Who created us, Who calls Himself our Father, and He sent His Son in order that we might know Him in a more personal way…

Did you ever want to know what eternal life is? Have you ever dwelt on what eternal life is? I hear people talk about eternity all the time: streets of gold and mansions and this extreme amount of time out of this world. The pain is gone and it’s going to be a time of joy and gathering, and man, you hear all kinds of descriptions of eternity… Do you want to know what eternal life is? Eternal life is relationship with the God and Father Who created you. I’ve said it many times, you can build a fancy city of gold, and it is nothing more than a fancy city of gold if God is not there. Eternity for us is granted, not that we might live comfortably in mansions, but that we might walk with the God Who created us and be in love relationship with Him. That is eternal life…

This is the amazing thing: long before we were thought of, long before this universe was created, there was a relationship happening. In all eternity past, there was the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, and They were fulfilled in each other, and Their glory was evident, and Jesus was there to witness it. And He still chose to step out of that glory to come here for you and I…

Protection, true protection, is found in the presence of the Father; in seeking after Him, in praying, giving your life to Him, trusting Him, accepting His Word. You know where I find people struggle the most in this world and in their lives? It’s not that it’s hard to live in this world, but that they don’t believe God’s Word. Jesus already told us, “In this world you will have tribulation. It’s the natural course of events that happen to every life on the face of this planet. Every man was born to face trouble, but we can still be of good cheer because we have been given God’s Word, we have been given the authority and the power of Jesus’s name. We do not have to live defeated lives. We can be victorious in all that we do, if we would just believe His Word. But we struggle so often. I find the areas where I fail the most in my life is not because I didn’t know God’s Word. It’s because I don’t believe or accept God’s Word, because I want to do it my way. I want to have my way… And we struggle through this life because we try to do it my way, and we fail desperately. And that’s the amazing thing about God: He lets us! He says, you want to do it your way? Have at it, but just remember, when you fall flat on your face, My Word is still here, My Word still works…

The one thing that Jesus strove to accomplish while alive on the face of this planet was to show us the relationship He had with His Father, which made He and His Father and the Spirit One, and then He says we can accomplish that. We, too, can be one. One body functioning together with the Spirit of God dwelling in us, bringing us to a place of peace, a place of victory, a place of strength. When we are divided, when we are factioned, we’re weak, and we’re struggling, and we’re hurting. Jesus desires for us to accomplish becoming one within the body of Christ…

Don’t ever be afraid or ashamed to pray out loud in front of someone to show them the caring you have to bring them before the Father, and when you tell someone you’re going to pray for them, pray for them. Don’t just say you’re going to do it. There is real power that is given by God’s Spirit when we approach Him, and we do it in sincerity. So often we’ll tell people because it sounds good, “Oh, yeah. I’ll pray for you,” and then we walk away and out of sight, out of mind. I have found in my life, because it is so easy to forget, that when someone asks me to pray or I’m talking to them and I tell them I’m going to pray, if I do not have the time to pray with them out loud right then and there, as I am walking away I am praying for them so I won’t forget. It is so important because fulfillment is found, joy is found, strength is found, by those that we’re praying for, as they come to the realization that someone cares enough to pray…

But we have an enemy that we do need protection from: the world hates us, Satan hates us, and my flesh hates me, which means I am in a constant battle all the time, and am in need of prayer, and am in need of people who care for me; care enough to be there for me and with me, praying for me…

“They’re not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth. Your Word is truth.” So, where does sanctification come from? Not by our doing good. I hear so many people say, “Oh, yeah. I’m sanctified.” Well, what does that mean? “I did good works!” No, that’s not sanctification. Sanctification is God’s Word and dwelling within God’s Word. You are cleansed, made whole, strengthened and blessed through understanding and delving into God’s Word. Finding out what God would have for us to know about Him. That’s where sanctification comes from… Do you want to be right with God? Do you want to be clean? Do you want to be strengthened? Study God’s Word, dwell in it, understand what He’s saying to you, and you’ll be made whole…

Do you know how much God loves you? Do you know how much God deeply cares to share His love with you? See, part of our problem is we don’t actually believe that God loves us. We hear it, but we allow the pressures and distractions of this world to outweigh the love that God has for you and I, and if we truly knew how much God loved us, we would respond to God the way His Son, Jesus, did. We would be victorious. But the problem is, we only hear it… But what they’re really saying is…”I hear what You’re saying, and I know it should be true, but I could care less because I have my own agenda…” And that’s how we approach God’s Word. That’s how we approach God the Father. That’s how we approach Jesus Christ… But do we really know how much God loves us? The whole purpose for Jesus coming was that we would know. That we would be able to dwell within that love relationship.

Each of us are held responsible to learn Who this Jesus was and what the relationship is that He desires to have with us.

Vintage message from April 7, 2002.

And this is where, I believe, in our walks with the Lord, that we oftentimes fall short. We look at our will, we look at our desire, we look at the direction we want to go, and then we set plans, and we lay the foundation to make happen those things that we want to happen, and then we stop and say, “And oh yes, by the way God, if You approve,” rather than coming to God first and saying, “God, this is what I would really like to do. This is the direction I would really like to go, but do You have a different direction for me? Do You have a plan for my life that doesn’t quite match up for the plan that I have for my life?” And you know what? That’s a very dangerous question to ask God because oftentimes we make decisions in the flesh, and God is simply waiting for us to come and become serious with Him and ask, “What direction am I to go for You?…”

One of the things, also, that I have experienced in my life and I see in many other people’s lives: the reason that we have doubt is by choice. We don’t want to believe. We want proof, and until God proves Himself to us, I simply refuse to believe. I’ve actually heard people say, “When Jesus comes down right here in front of me and shows Himself like He did to the disciples, then I’ll believe!” Those words are spoken out of the hardness of heart. We have the ability within us, through the power of God’s Holy Spirit, to live by faith, and Jesus even says, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” Do you realize He’s talking about you and I… Even though the faith that we are asked to have in Jesus is not a blind, stupid faith, there are plenty of proofs. There is fulfilled Scripture. There are prophecies that were given that have been fulfilled… We can study through God’s Word, and then we can study through history. Jesus is not a mystery as the world would like you to believe. He is not a figment of some man’s imagination, but there is much in history that is written about Jesus. There are records that were left by Rome. There are records left by historians, by those who had eyewitness accounts, and the Word was fulfilled and Jesus overcame, and He asks of us — especially today — that we would believe that. The problem we run into so often is we isolate ourselves from God, from His Word, from each other, and we insist on having tangible proof. “Show Yourself to me, God! Show Yourself! Prove Yourself! Strike me with lightning. Ah-ha! See, it didn’t happen so therefore I don’t have to believe in God.” You know what? God is patient and is not manipulated by the smallness of our mind. His love is far greater, far greater than your doubt, than my doubt… Faith is believing in that that is unseen. It’s trusting. Even though we have the proofs, the proofs that we have can still be argued against, and so, even though we have the fulfillment of prophecy, we have God’s Word given to us, we can search the Word and we can search history, we have all that we need to believe, it is still arguable. And guess what? We still need to trust by faith…

Each of us are held responsible to learn Who this Jesus was and what the relationship is that He desires to have with us. I can sit here all day and tell you that you need to have Jesus in your life. I can sit here all day and tell you of the wonderful things that Jesus has done in my life, but until you have read it for yourself, until you have concluded for yourself, that Jesus died for you, that these proofs were given that you may believe, until you’ve made that commitment, my teaching is meaningless, just as this Word is meaningless to most of this world. The world has the proof but they bury it. They hide from it. They run from it. You know why? It’s scary. It’s scary to have to be committed to this God Who created us, because you know what? Just like with Jesus in the garden, He might ask of us that we do the thing that is contrary to our own will. He might ask us to go somewhere that we don’t want to go. He might ask us to talk with someone we may not want to talk to. He might ask us to be bold and brave and stand in His name when we don’t want to do that, and so we run and hide from it. Or, even worse yet, we take this book and we wrap it with religion, and then we live by the convenience of our own religion. We wave this as our flag, never breaking it open to see what it has to say. Religion is convenient, but “religion” is not the truth. The name of Jesus Christ is the truth…

As we walk in Him, we need to know He desires for us, just like Thomas, to believe. But unlike Thomas, He may not reveal Himself to us but He asks us to take that step of faith anyway, and there is a blessing given to us. Blessed are those who believe and yet have not seen. [Do] you want that blessing? You want the blessing of knowing that God is in your life because you trusted, because you’ve taken that step? That you’re willing to let God be God in your life, and that regardless of what your desires are, regardless of what your plans are, that God may come and ask you to do something different. That’s the blessing. You begin to hear Him, you begin to understand Him, and you begin to learn Who He is through His Word, through your study of His Word, through our gathering together we learn.

My strength will fade, my flesh will abandon me, but I know that when I am facing that last breath in my life, my Lord and my God will be there saying, "Friend, it's time to come home."

Vintage message from April 14, 2002.

[Jesus] died to offer you and I this great opportunity: to be His bride! To be in eternity with Him, and we reach out our hand, “Well, I’ll be Your friend.” He desires much more with us than just friendship… God is willing to come to us. He did it once. He became a Man. He came to us while we were completely and totally separate from Him in sin. He didn’t allow that sin to stop Him when we hated Him, as the Bible says. Separation from God is hatred. It’s death. He’s willing to come and be our friend even though He desires so much more…

Look at the “fish” in your life: that that you have depended on to meet your needs. Your strength. Your ability. And the question has rung throughout the centuries that was asked of Peter. “Do you love Me? Do you love me more than these?” What job do you have that takes priority over what God has called you to? What obstacle is in your life — home, family, friends, TV show — I don’t care what it is. We all have that something in our life that we look to, that we’ve learned to trust, that we’ve learned to depend on, and Jesus would ask us, “Do you love Me? Do you love Me more than that?” He knows the answer for most of us is, “Well, Jesus, to be honest, I want to be your friend.” I don’t know what it is to love, I don’t know how to love. But guess what? God doesn’t wait for us to love Him back. He’ll ask us to love Him, but He doesn’t wait for us to love Him. He makes the step to be our Friend. He desires, at least, friendship with us, and then will make the changes in our hearts as we go. We’ll grow old knowing Him, and if we will take His call to our life seriously, He will draw us into that deep, abiding love. But you know what? You may have to sacrifice that that you love more. You may have to give up the job that you’ve depended on and begin to depend on Jesus. You may have to give up your own ability, your own strength… My strength will fade, my flesh will abandon me, but I know that when I am facing that last breath in my life, my Lord and my God will be there saying, “Friend, it’s time to come home. I love you regardless of what your flesh has done to you, regardless of what this life has offered you, I was there.”

He wants to be our Husband. He wants us to be His bride. He desires a close, intimate, love relationship. One that is pure. One that is fulfilling. One that offers us everything that we could ever imagine, but He’ll give us friendship, too, if that’s what we want. He wants to be our friend. He wants us to at least be His friend… So I’ll ask you today, do you love the Lord? Do you desire to have that love relationship with Him? What obstacles do you have in your life that would hinder you? Maybe you need to deal with those obstacles. Maybe you need to get the road block out of the way. And while you’re doing it, that’s what hindering you from having that deep, abiding love that comes from the Spirit of God, I’ll ask you this question: will you, at least, be His friend? Too often we won’t even be His friend. Too often we allow for this flesh and the desires of this flesh and His enemy who influences this flesh to have its way. We walk away from even that friendship that we can have with God.

[People say,] "I gave [Jesus] a try, and guess what? It didn't work for me." It's never going to work for you if you're only giving it a try... Jesus doesn't ask us to "try" Him. Jesus says we need to receive Him... Don't try. Trust. Ask Him in, and let Him build faith in you.

Vintage message from April 21, 2002.

“I gave Jesus a try.” Have you ever heard someone say that? How ridiculous! “I gave Jesus a try. I gave the God of the universe, Who created everything around me, and holds the breath in my lungs, I gave Him a try,” as if we’re talking about Nutrasweet… “I gave Him a try, and guess what? It didn’t work for me.” It’s never going to work for you if you’re only giving it a try… Jesus doesn’t ask us to try Him. Jesus says we need to receive Him… Don’t try. Trust. Ask Him in, and let Him, then, build faith in you. But if you’re only out giving Him a try, guess what? You might as well go out and try a lawn mower. You’ll have more success because if you’re only trying Jesus, let me tell you, you are still using your own flesh, and the flesh will always override the wisdom of God’s Word if you’re only giving it a try. We’re asked to live by faith. We’re asked to trust. We’re asked to receive and make commitment to. I’m never going to tell someone, “Well, just give Jesus a try.” I’m going to say, “Trust Him, receive Him in, and then let Him do the work that He will do. It may take some time, and especially where myflesh was concerned, it took a lot of time for God to begin to make the changes in me that pulled me away from the things of the world that I was in, but like Peter we so often look back to those things of the world…

Do we truly believe that He knows what is right for us; that He can make the decision for us. Can we trust that? So often we don’t want to, or at least we don’t want to do it alone, but guess what? Christianity, the choice to become a believer in Jesus Christ, is a very singular, personal decision…

The bottom line is you might have to trust God all by yourself… What has God called you to? What is it that God desires from you? What has Jesus asked you to do for Him? That’s where your heart and mind needs to be… It’s an amazing life that we’ve been called to, and the reason we’ve been called to it is because Jesus loves us. The God Who created us loves us, and He asks the question, “Can you love Me back?”