You have to investigate. You have to dig. You have to seek out the truth, and sometimes, in seeking out the truth, things that you have believed, things that you have trusted in, are called into question, and that's a good thing. It's a good thing when our faith is challenged... The only way I know what's right and wrong is if I match them against God's Word.

Vintage message from January 9, 2005.

You have to investigate. You have to dig. You have to seek out the truth, and sometimes, in seeking out the truth, things that you have believed, things that you have trusted in, are called into question, and that’s a good thing. It’s a good thing when our faith is challenged… The only way I know what’s right and wrong is if I match them against God’s Word… You’ve been taught some things. You know some things. But once again, read it. Study it. Dig for yourself. Do some investigation yourself, so that you can be certain of the things that you’ve heard, the things that you’ve been taught…

You know what? We’re never going to impress God. God is so far beyond us that there is nothing we can do to impress God. But you know what? If God is ever impressed by anything we do, you know what I believe that is? Agreeing with Him that we’re sinners, and not just agreeing with Him that we’re sinners but then identifying the sins that are within our life that’s holding us away from that love relationship that we can have with Him. This is the problem that we see in the world today. Men do not want to admit that they have personal sin. They’ll say, “Oh, yeah, allmen are sinners.” Well, what about you? What is it that makes youa sinner? “Oh, well, I don’t do anything bad. Not really bad. I was born this way. I can’t help myself. My mother…” We go to all these different directions rather than just saying, “I have sinned against God…”

And in many cases, I run into men who say they believe in God, but then you talk to them about the sin in their life and it’s they have no sin. They try to hide from who they are and what they are, and they make excuses. But you’ll find that men and women who truly love God are also honest about who they are and what they are, and they’re honest about their need, and they can be honest because they truly believe that God will save them… If you truly believe that God loves you, and you truly believe that God has salvation for you, and you begin to research and investigate, it draws you closer to that hope and further and further away from the desires of the flesh…

I think sometimes we pray as an accusation against God. We pray saying, “See, God, You have not yet met my need,” and we can disguise that in nice, flowery words… So many of us, we get to a certain place in our life where we want to trust God, we want to believe in God, but you know what? We want to also accuse God because we haven’t got what we want when we want it, the way we want it, and we accuse and we accuse, and every time we pray, even though we’re not saying, “God, I spit on You,” that’s basically what we’re doing. And God will reveal our hearts. God knows who we are, what we want, and what we need. He’s going to give us what we need in the right time…

God knows the right time to send blessing to us, and God also knows the right time to withhold those blessings, not because He doesn’t love us, but because those blessings, I believe, would not be understood or used to honor God…

See, sometimes we pray for something, and when God gives it to us, we don’t understand it, and it scares us, but it’s what we’ve been praying for. Let me put it this way. If you’re going to pray for something, be sure you’re ready for it, and be sure that when God gives it to you that you accept it graciously, knowing that it is from the hand of God, and honor Him with it. So often God will give us the blessing, we turn around ten minutes later and forget that the blessing came from God and use it for ourself…

This also shows us something else. We look at people around us who do not have the blessings that we have and some how, because they don’t have the blessings we have, we judge them, and we look down on them, and we ridicule them. It’s not what they don’t have that we should be ridiculing them, but it is for what we have that we should be praising God and being thankful that the blessing has been given to us and use it according to God’s will and desires…

Am I hear for myself or am I here for the Lord? Whose servant am I? Am I my own servant, or am I God's servant?... We [need to] say, "I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as You said."

Vintage message from January 16, 2005.

You know, God asks us, sometimes, to do some very difficult things. He asks us sometimes to endure some things that we feel are impossible… But He will, from time to time in our lives, bring circumstances to us and ask us to endure through them, to accept the responsibility, to allow Him to use us. And I know so many people, when they face those hard times, they wail, and they cry, and it is okay to lament, but it is not okay to call God a liar. It is not okay to say, “God, this was wrongto do to me! How dareYou do this to me!” That’s not lamenting. Now, going to God and saying, “God, this is hard. I’m struggling. I don’t want to be here.” That’s okay. God doesn’t mind hearing that. God doesn’t get offended when He sees our tears when we’re struggling through a hard time. He knows when we’re hurting, and He knows whywe’re hurting, and it is okay to let Him know that we’re hurting…

“I am the Lord’s servant.” Can you say that today? I am the Lord’s servant. What about when the neighbor calls and says, “My toilet’s overflowing, and I can’t get it unplugged, and I know you’re kind of handy with that kind of stuff.” Can you say, “I am the Lord’s servant”? When disaster is happening around you, and people are coming to you and saying, “Can you help?” Are you saying, “I am the Lord’s servant”? What are we called to do? What is the great command that we’re given? Love our neighbor as ourself, after we’ve loved the Lord our God with all of our heart, with all of our mind, with all of our soul, with all of our strength. Can you say, in that understanding, that, “God has called me to love. I am the Lord’s servant,” knowing that a servant has to deal with the crap jobs of society; the things that nobody wants to touch, nobody wants to deal with, nobody wants to be a part of. Can you say, “I am the Lord’s servant”? That’s what I believe God has spoken to my heart all week…

Am I here for myself or am I here for the Lord? Whose servant am I? Am I my own servant, or am I God’s servant?…

I’m going to challenge you, this week, weeks to come, as you face life, when you have to get up to go to work tomorrow, when you have to babysit kids on a day that’s supposed to be a day off, when things are happening around you that you don’t particularly want happening around you, yet God is still whispering in your ear, “You’ve got to get up and go. I’m depending on you to get up and go. I want youto get up and go,” can you say, “I am the Lord’s servant,” and step out into this world that you know is going to spit on you, you know is going to hate you, you know is going to ridicule you…

People aren’t going to be kind to you, and many times what God asks you to do, you’re not going to be appreciated for… How do we deal with that? We say, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as You have said. Lord, You’ve told me in this life you will have tribulation but be of good cheer.” Life will challenge you. Trouble will come to you. God may ask of you things that seem impossible. Things that you know that, when you get involved, could even mean ridicule for you. People may not understand… What are people, thirty years from now — if God should tarry, a hundred years from now — going to think about your involvement on the face of this earth? Are they going to look back and say, “Thank you that there was a man named Dave that honored God, that at least tried, and because of what He did, now my life is affected”? Are people going to be able to say that about you because you, at this moment in your life, are saying, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as You have said”?

There is no greater prayer than the one that says, "God, I need You." Plain and simple. And then let Him do what He wants to do, what He needs to do in your life.

Vintage message from January 23, 2005.

I hear a lot of people try to justify themselves. They don’t want a Savior because they don’t need a Savior. That, “Salvation is for those bad people out there. I’m only a good person. I do good things. I help the little old ladies across the street, and I carry their groceries for them, and I shovel their sidewalks for them. If that’s not good enough for God, I don’t know what is!” I hear people talk like that…

Have you ever wondered why you may not be experiencing the mercy of God? I can guarantee you, by the way, there is not one of you sitting in this room today that has not experienced the mercy of God. The fact that you have breath in your life right now, the fact that your heart is beating right now, shows me that you are the byproduct of God’s mercy because I can tell you, each one of us in this room are vile enough in God’s sight, that He would have the right to strike us dead. The fact that He has not yet struck us dead is because He is extending mercy to us… We are in need of God’s mercy, from the youngest to the oldest. “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” There is not one of us that is righteous, no, not one…

All men who are born from the flesh of Adam and Eve are in need of a Savior and have sin in their life, and sin has been a part of their life the whole time they’ve grown up. The only One Who did not have the flesh of Adam and Eve was Jesus Himself… The rest of us suffer and are in need of mercy, and His mercy extends to those who what? Who do good deeds. Is that what it says? Who pay lots of money to the church… It amazes me how many people thing this way! They think because they do something good, they do something nice, that all of a sudden they “deserve” God’s mercy, but it has nothing to do with whether or not you’re a good person. It has to do with the fact that you come to the point of understanding that there’s a God in heaven Who at any moment could zap you, could squash you like a bug, could end your life this very moment, and you realize that fact, and you come to the place of saying, “I am alive today because You love me, and You have shown me mercy,” and that is the fear of the Lord. I don’t believe that the fear of the Lord means you have to say [voice quaking with fear], “Ooooh, I’m so afraid! I’m so afraid!” That’s not the fear of the Lord. That’s being a coward. The fear of the Lord is understanding Who God is and understanding who you are and respecting Him for Who He is and coming to grips with your need of salvation. That’s fearing the Lord. And He extends His mercy to those who fear Him…

People say, “If He would only show me a miracle!” Miracles are happening around us every day! If we would open our eyes and look, we would see the miracle of God… God has done great things. He has performed mighty deeds, and He does this from generation to generation. You look at your life. If you would take stock of where you’ve been and where you are today, I guarantee you, that you will see the mighty deeds of God…

But [God] will humble those who insist on being proud, who insist on telling God what to do, who insist on proclaiming, “God made a mistake where I’m concerned!” God has notmade any mistakes, and in your arrogant pride, you make the statement, and in your arrogant pride, He humbles you. He doesn’t not love you, but because He loves you, He humbles you…

He’s watching. He knows. He knows the hearts of men. He knows what men are striving for. He knows the status that men want to have in their life. And those who put themselves at the forefront are the ones that get dealt with the harshest. The ones that meet God, and oftentimes are disappointed because they have to look at their own heart, and we are humbled. I have been humbled many times when I’ve looked into the mirror. I thought I was one thing, but see something else standing in front of me. It’s not fun. It’s not pleasant, realizing who you really are. Seeing yourself as God sees you. As Paul puts it, as filthy rags. It’s hard to deal with. God doesn’t want us walking around beating ourselves up, though… He just wan’s to deal with our heart. He wants to humble us. He wants us to take stock of who we are and what we have, where we’ve been and where He’s brought us to, and acknowledge Him for it…

If you are feeling the discipline of God in your life, if you are feeling God humbling you today, it is because He loves you. If He is allowing you to go through struggles and hard times, it is because He lovesyou and wants your attention and wants you to glorify Him and to allow Him to work out the details of your life…

If we are truly the Lord’s servant then there are things that God will have to use us to do. Cleaning up behind people. Being there when there’s illness and being there when there’s mess. Sometimes the vileness of life that needs to be cleaned up after, God may put you there as a servant. A servant who’s going to give testimony to the greatness of Who He is and His faithfulness in our life. He may ask us to be somewhere that we don’t want to be. He may ask us to do something that we just don’t want to do. But He’s great, and He is mighty, and He wants to humble us, and He wants us to be His servant. He’s not the great Santa Claus in the sky, that when we want something, we just throw up a prayer, and [in an excited, preachy voice], “We believe in faith and it is going to happen to us today!” I don’t care how spiritual you sound, how religious you make it sound, God is not going to bless you for it. God is going to bless you because He desires to bless you, and you can pray a flowery prayer, or you can just simply, humbly look up to God and say, “God, I need You.” There is no greater prayer than the one that says, “God, I need You.” Plain and simple. And then let Him do what He wants to do, what He needs to do in your life. And then, you let your lips part and you tell people, “I am so extremely blessed because God has touched me, because God has moved in me. He has been gracious to me, and I rejoice because of it. I have been the byproduct of His mighty deeds in this generation. Look at the miracle in my life. You don’t believe that there’s miracles? Look at me! I am the byproduct of His miracle because I am alive today. I have breath in my lungs today. I have seen God do great things today.” And not everybody is going to believe it. And not everybody is going to accept it. The fact is, if we’re doing it, that’s all God is asking for. He’s not asking us to make results. He makes the results. He’s asking us, like Mary, to be firm in our resolve to trust Him, and then to give testimony when He does those things in our life.

I like to interpret everything from the foundation of Who God is, and God is love. Isn't that what we're told? God is love, so everything God does is done as a loving response from His heart to us. So, if He withholds something from us, it's His loving response to us.

Vintage message from January 30, 2005.

If He has vengeance on us for something that we’ve done, it’s His loving response to us. It says, those that He loves, He disciplines. But, everything He does is a response of love to us. Not because we’re foul and ugly and sinful to the core. He doesn’t respond to us because of that. He responds to us because of His great love, because of His great mercy…

One of the things I see is lacking in our world today that has been lacking in our world since the beginning is the knowledge of salvation. If you are saved today, if you have asked Jesus Christ into your life, you have a knowledge that needs to be shared. One of the things that happens so often is we receive this knowledge but never share the knowledge. We are the recipients of this knowledge and never share this knowledge. We take the knowledge and use it for ourselves, and then watch people around us die for lack of knowledge. I’m not telling anyone of you that you need to go out and evangelize. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m not saying you need to raise up and do tent meetings and bring people crying before the Lord on their knees. I’m just saying, if you have salvation, you have knowledge that needs to be shared. And even if that knowledge comes across in the form of saying, “I am a believer in Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus died on a cross for my sins, and I’ve received Him,” and you leave it there, you have shared the knowledge of salvation with another person. It is not up to you to save them. It is up to God’s Holy Spirit to save them, but He has given you knowledge that needs to be shared…

This is another thing I experience a lot in our society, and especially among Christians. We understand that we have salvation, that God loves us, and that God has forgiven us for our sins, but we find it very difficult to forgive others for their sins. In fact, people who have been the recipients of God’s love and forgiveness oftentimes are the ones who fail to give that love and forgiveness to others. I’ve been given great forgiveness in my life, and I continue to receive forgiveness in my life because I’m a man who blunders through life, and I make mistakes, and I do stupid things, and I have to stop myself when I’m looking at somebody else who’s doing something stupid and blundering through life and say how horrible they are. How dare I! How dare you. If you have the salvation of Jesus Christ in your heart to look at somebody else who is in the need of the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sin, and you judge them and condemn them because they’re sinners.

We have a responsibility to take the knowledge that wehave been forgiven and let others know that they, too, can be forgiven. That’s what salvation is all about. We are lost in this world because we are all in sin. We are lost in this world because our flesh was corrupted from the moment we were conceived in our mother’s womb. We had no choice coming out but to sin. And most of us, for many years, walked in darkness and struggled through that darkness because we had no clue that we could be forgiven. And yet I look around and I see people who were in my life in my early years who had that salvation, but yet looked at me as a lost cause, worthless, why bother. Have you ever thought that? It has passed through my mind on an occasion or two, and then I stop, and I kick myself in the butt, and I say, “Don’t ever allow that thought there again.” No one, I don’t care who they are, is a lost cause in God’s eyes. I at least need to share knowledge with them. The knowledge that they can be forgiven, that God desires to forgive them, and that God wants them to have salvation. And how does that salvation happen? Through the Person of Jesus Christ. Getting to know Him and receiving Him into your life…

God doesn’t hate us. God doesn’t want to smite us. God isn’t condemning us. He’s looking through eyes of mercy, desiring to interact with us… I look in my life and I see that it is God’s mercy that I need. It is His salvation that I need, and there is no amount of good works that I’m going to do to make God love me anymore than He already does. But if there’s a gap between me and God, it’s not a gap that God formed between us. It’s a gap that I formed. I’m pushing away, not He’s pushing away. He’s asking us to come… This is how God desires to interact. He comes to us, and He says, “Come now, let you and I reason this thing through. Let Me talk to you, and let’s reason this out.” Sin is what has to be dealt with.

It's something I'm very passionate about, that I believe even though we're not all called to be evangelists, we're all called to share what Jesus has done in us, for us, and through us.

Vintage message from February 6, 2005.

It’s something I’m very passionate about, that I believe even though we’re not all called to be evangelists, we’re all called to evangelize. We’re all called to share what Jesus has done in us, for us, and through us…

How many of you feel like your relationship with Jesus is a cause to stand up and shout to people, “This is good news!” because you are filled with such great joy?… We have some good news. Good news that’s meant to be shared. Good news that’s meant to rejoice over. Good news that will bring great joy, not only to us, but to those who hear it from us…

Today you have an opportunity to have a Savior. Why would you need a Savior? Are you in need of saving? This is the logical question that people ask, “Well, I don’t think I need to be saved. What do I need to be saved from?” Have you ever found yourself in that place of asking, “Well, what have I done to need to be saved? I’m not in trouble here.” This is the hardest part of sharing a testimony about Jesus Christ with people, because they do not feel that they’re lost. They do not feel that they are in trouble. They do not feel that there is a problem with their life that they are in need of a Savior. You know why we don’t go out and share the gospel of Jesus Christ with people actively?… Because we look around us and we see people in their ease and comfort, and we say, “Well, God, what do they need to be saved from? They have a nice home. They have a nice car. They have a nice education. They have a nice this, and they have a nice that,” but yet, this is good news for all the people. It’s good news because they are in need. We are in need. Even if you don’t see that you are lost and in need of salvation, I guarantee you, if you’ve not received Jesus yet, you are in need of a Savior, and the more you wander through this life and live in the hopelessness of seeking after things, seeking after status, you find how lost you truly are…

You know, I might be able to give you enough money to buy a home or a car or clothes or food, and that might take care of you for a moment, but if I do not offer you the gospel of Jesus Christ, I have not offered you anything that will save you. I have not offered you anything that will bring you out of the trouble that you are truly in. Our trouble isn’t for need of things on this earth. Our trouble is need of what comes from heaven to this earth to bring us into knowledge of Who God is and His love for us in salvation…

Sometimes we think that church is for our benefit. We think that this is so that we can come and grow and have good things in our life. This gathering, this time of praise and worship that we do every week, isn’t just for our benefit. We benefit from it, but it is to cause us to be stronger and to grow to a place where we are excited so that we will go out and tell others. This is not for our benefit, but for the benefit of the world. The story hasn’t changed. I bring you good news of great joy! There is a Savior that has been born to this world! And guess what? That Savior Who did His job two thousand years ago is going to return because He told us He would. Now, isn’t that worth telling someone about? Isn’t that worth getting excited about? Taking from this room and going out and sharing with your friends and your family who don’t know Him? That there is good news for them? That they can have a Savior? They can be saved from the things that cause them to be lost in this world. You know, nowhere in this story does God ask us to give up where we’re at in life. Just to hear a story and spread a story. A story that brings good news to the hearts of the hearer. Good news that brings hope and joy, great joy, to the hearts of the hearer. A story that offers hope of salvation. Thatis what we are to be about. Thatis what God desires from us. That’s why we have this story and God’s Word to read today, so that it can be a testimony to us…and you, too, can seek out the truth of what you’ve just been told…

We have been given a phenomenal gift, we have been given a phenomenal blessing, and that blessing wasn't just given for us to hold onto and keep for ourselves, but to share with as many as would receive it...

Vintage message from February 13, 2005.

I believe that God…presents blessings to each one of us every day. We walk down the street, we walk out of our home, and we look out into a world that’s lost, and right before us are blessings waiting to be recognized… We miss blessings every day. We close our eyes to the phenomenal things that God wants to do to us and for us every day, even though the Holy Spirit indwells us…

How do we receive the blessings that God gives us when He gives them to us? Are we excited and filled with joy when we recognize that we’ve been blessed? Or is it, “Ho-hum, another blessing. Yep, that’s what God’s supposed to do, right? That’s His job to bless us, so okay, let’s move on.” We need to start getting excited about the things that God does for us! You know, when we get excited, when we recognize the blessings that are poured out on us that are given to us, and we become excited about it, other people around us become excited, and then they, too, want the blessing. They, too, want to interact. You know why it is so hard to save a lost and dying world out there right now? Because of how we present ourselves and our enthusiasm for the things of God…

I think so often, we expect God to bless us, so much so that we make it part of our legalism that we live by. And because we tell God that He mustdo this or He must do that for us, that we set some kind of standard by which Godhas to live in order to fulfill ourlives, that we can’tbecome excited, and pretty soon we stop recognizing when He doesbless us. Pretty soon we start walking right past the blessing even though it’s staring us right in the face.

And this blessing…was a blessing of salvation which was prepared in the sight of all people. This blessing was meant for all men to see and know. It’s a light of revelation to the Gentiles. We no longer have to be separated from God and live in sin because it has been revealed to us that there isa Savior for us!That we, too, can have this God of love that Israel has claimed to have for centuries. It’s no longer just for the Jews anymore. Salvation belongs to the world…

You know why we’re not at peace? Because we close our eyes to the blessings that God puts right in front of us. We miss peace in our life because Jesus does not mean to us what Jesus is supposedto mean to us. He is meant to be a light for us, a revelation to us, and salvation that brings us into the presence of His Father. But we handle it like we do a chocolate chip cookie or a piece of candy. We take it, we gobble it down, and go on our way. “Oh yea, it was a good cookie. Can’t wait to get more. But if I don’t get any, I’m not going to suffer so much for it.” And I know a lot of people who have this attitude when it comes to their relationship with Jesus Christ. “Oh, yeah, I’ve got the salvation, and I’m looking forward to some more salvation down the road.” It doesn’t work that way! Salvation comes and becomes part of you, and then every breath you take from that moment on is a testimony of God’s faithfulness and love for you. Every breath you take needs to be offered back with praise on your lips because, guess what? You’re not going to hell! You’re not going to be separated from God the Father. You no longer have to live in darkness. Darkness is not where God intends for us to live. So when you ask Jesus in, when you finally come to that place of realizing Who Jesus truly is and what He was meant to do, you need to be excited. And every moment of the day, remember and realize the great blessing you have just received…

You know, we don’t have to get involved with legalisms today, not like they did back then, but as parents, we do have an obligation to the Lord, if we’re a Christian, to make sure that our kids have been offered the knowledge and the ability so that they can make right decisions. But even more than that…we need to be very vocal and open about our salvation and our desire to see salvation; to offer that enthusiasm and that excitement that God brings because He is interacting in your heart. We have been given a phenomenal gift, we have been given a phenomenal blessing, and that blessing wasn’t just given for us to hold on to and keep for ourself, but to share with as many as would receive it from us, with as many that would take the time to stop and hear us…

If you know that you have been loved by God, that love will begin to show. People will recognize it. There is something different about you, something different in your heart. They will see the peace… They will notice the little differences about you that they do not see in anybody else. And if you’re truly excited because you have salvation, you have something different than even what a lot of Christians have today or what they choose to display in their life. We get so wrapped up in our own little world, our own little problems, our own little desires, our own little whims, that we forget that we’ve been blessed! And we have a great opportunity to be together and fellowship together and be excited together, and then step out into a lost and dying world together, and become a place where people will say, “I want to go there! Those guys are bubbling over. They have something I need and want…”

Jesus isn’t dead. He is alive and His Spirit is vibrant and living within us, and we need to be excited about that, and we need to step forward and share that joy and that excitement, and we need to embrace it… We need to walk in and embrace the blessing of Who Jesus is in our life, and then openly, in front of everybody, share that joy and that excitement, and then see how Jesus grows in us. See how that blessing begins to work its way from us into the lives of other people.

Who is God? I think this is the question that should be on...our lips...every day... God, what is the relationship that I should have with You today? What do you have for me to do today? Lord, how can I serve others for You today? It's all in the question. It's in the desire of our heart, not necessarily to know an answer, but to know htat we're being driven by the question.

Vintage message from February 20, 2005.

Sometimes you show a great deal of intelligence by the questions you ask because the questions you ask are very thought provoking and they’re deep. You don’t necessarily have to have all the answers, but sometimes you show who you are by the desire you have to know. You know, there’s a lot of people in this world who never once wake up on Sunday morning and question, “Should I go to church? Should I try to get to know this thing called religion or God?” It never enters their mind because a shallowness has begun to grow in the lives of people in this world, and their thoughts are shallow, their lives are shallow, their direction is shallow. They don’t ask the questions that matter. They don’t ask the questions that are going to make a difference in their lives when they finally hear the answer. And sometimes, sometimes, we don’t even ask the question to hear the answer…

Who is God? Do you really expect to get an answer to that question? But you know what? In asking that question, Who is God, it shows a fundamental hunger in your life to know the deeper things of where you come from, who you are, and what is in store for your future. Who is God?I think this is a question that should be on all of our lips, and every day when we wake up, we should be asking that question. “God, Who are You today? Who are You to metoday? And what is the relationship that I should have with You today?” The answer may not come to you as soon as you ask the question, but because you’ve asked the question, you’ve then been motivated in your heart to begin to look and seek. I think too often we wake up in the morning and say, “What is it that I have to accomplish today? Where am I supposed to go today? What am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to survive?” And it’s always, how am I, me, I, myself. And we never get beyond that. We never step beyond who weare and what’s in it for me, and so our questions tend to gravitate to, “What’s in it for me?” rather than, “God, how am I in this for You? What do You have for me today? What do You have for me to do today? Lord, how can I serve others for You today?” It’s all in the question. It’s in the desire of our heart, not necessarily to know an answer, but to know that we’re being driven by the question…

When was the last time you hungered to be where God is? When was the last time you woke up in the morning and said, “You know what? I do not want to leave this spot until I know that God has touched me and blessed me today”? When was the last time you woke up and you questioned, “Who is God in my life and what responsibility do I have to Him?” I think too often we start our day without a concern about the direction we’re going. Without a concern about how our day is going to end. All we care about is what’s going to go into our belly and what’s going to go onto our back, and how am I going to accomplish the work that’s set before me. We’re concerned about pleasing others. Jesus was not, even at 12 years old, concerned about pleasing anybody but His Father…

And God intervenes, in ways sometimes that we don’t understand. Sometimes we lose loved ones, and we don’t understand why. Sometimes we go through very hard times in our life, and we don’t understand why. Sometimes it’s simply because God needs our attention, and He removes those things in our lives that are distracting us, and keeping us from desiring to know Him and to be in His house.

One of the things I have people ask me all the time is, "Why am I not growing in the Lord?" We sometimes grow stagnant. We lose direction. Why do we lose direction and grow stagnant? I think because we allow too many distractions of the world into our life. We allow the busyness of life to overrun us

Vintage message from February 27, 2005.

One of the things I have people ask me all the time is, why am I not growing in the Lord?… We sometimes grow stagnant. We lose direction. Why do we lose direction and grow stagnant? I think because we allow too many distractions of the world into our life. We allow the busyness of life to overrun us…

We can turn off our TV and spend some time sitting quietly before the Lord. We can go to a neighbor and take them by the hand and say, “I need someone who I can pray with…” there are lots of things we can do to eliminate the distractions in our life. We content our selves, though with the excuse, “But I’m too busy. And when I get home in the evening, I need the television so that I can relax, but I sure wish God would do something with my life,” as we turn on the television or pick up a book or turn on the radio or find something else to distract us. And really, what we’re doing is, we’re distracting ourselves from God…

I believe that if you took time to pray, you would see that there are specific gifts and abilities that you have, that you have a calling in your life, and if you would take the time to dwell on what that calling might be, you would see God do phenomenal things in your life. would see God do phenomenal things in my life. I tend to be one of those who allow for the distraction and then make the excuse later, and God deals with me on that. I pray that He deals with me more and more each day on that…

What our desire should be is that we see change happen in peoples’ lives when they encounter us and encounter God through us, when we lead them to that place of knowing that they have sin that is separating them from God, and what to do about it, and it’s not “go to church…”

One of the things I find as a believer that is the hardest to do is to be content. To be content with what I have. To be content with what God wants me to have. To be content when I’m in struggles or hard times. Contentment is probably the most elusive thing that we’re going to find to grasp hold of in our life…

“He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire…” When [Jesus] comes, He is going to do a phenomenal thing. He is going to give you what is going to last. A baptism that not only cleans the outside and becomes a symbol of the desire you have on the inside, but He will truly baptize the inside, because He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Fire of tribulation. Fire of testing. Fire of judgment. He will test our hearts. He will prove those that are playing games and those that are not. Those that truly desire to know and have relationship with Him. But that is the goal, is to have the Holy Spirit in us, and a fire that burns, that continually reminds us: inside, that we’re being cleansed; outside, that leads us, that becomes a way of life for us…

Jesus knows. You’re not going to hide it from Him, and since you can’t hide it from Him, you might as well deal with it. You might as well make it right. You might as well confess and be upfront and let God deal with who you are and bring you into that love relationship He wants. It is good news. Knowing God, and how to know God is not a bad thing, is not a hard thing. It is good news.

Love is a commitment you make and is not easily broken, and God said to each of us, "I love you." It's not based on how He feels about us. It's based on the commitment that He has made to us, and He's proven that love to us by furthering that commitment by giving us the Son.

Vintage message from March 6, 2005.

It is created within us, God designed us, to want to be right with Him. Whether men believe Him or not, believe that He exists or not, men do not like to feel wrong. They will go to great lengths to make it somebody else’s fault. People who don’t know Jesus, people who have no relationship with God or believe that there is a God, when they do something wrong and you go tell them they did it wrong, “Oh, well, that wasn’t myfault!…” This is the thinking of the world. It’s got to be somebody else’sfault because, you know what? I don’t want to carry the guilt, I do not want to carry the burden of guilt, and so the only way I can get away from it is to deny it and blame it on somebody else, but guess what? It doesn’t go away. It begins to eat at you like a cancer. There are people who are walking around in this world right now who swear that they’ve done nothing wrong, but they are the most bitter people you could want to know. They have allowed the cancer of denial to eat them alive…

But isn’t that the way we all are? We need God to nudge us to get us to do what’s right. God is the key factor in our life. We’re not going to ever do anything to impress God, but God will use us and be impressed because we’ve allowed Him to use us. We’re just vessels. Vessels that generally are cracked and broken and in need of repair, but God doesn’t look at the cracks. God looks at how useful the vessel may be when those cracks are repaired, when He does the repair…

What should we do? Now that we have knowledge, what should we do? We should understand that we are significant in God’s eyes. We are loved by God so much so that He gave His Son to us, to rid us of the condition of sin that holds us captive and keeps us separated from Him. We do not have to labor under the bondage of sin any longer. Not that we’re going to stop sinning. We just don’t have to be in bondage to it because we can actively, every moment of every day when we sin against God, come to Him and repent of that sin. Confess that sin and make it right. According to 1 John, if we’ll just confess our sin, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We just need to confess. We just need to keep the account… What should we do? How should we live? We should live each and every day with the simplicity of God’s love. Loving our neighbor. Sharing what we have with those that are in need. Not accusing our neighbor. Not extorting from our neighbor. Not taking what doesn’t belong to us. But loving and stepping forward to be an example of men and women who are loved by God, and understand that we are significant in God’s eyes. And He proves it…

God loves you. God loves you desperately. And God has gone to great lengths to prove that love to you. And you know what? He doesn’t requireus to love Him back, but He shows us His love and makes it possible for us to love Him back. He just asks for us to believe in Him, to give our lives into His hands, and He’ll do the rest.

You know, love is not a feeling. We sometimes equate love with lust or infatuation, but lust and infatuation are not love. They come and go. Love never leaves. Love is a commitment you make and is not easily broken, and God said to each of us, “I love you.” It’s not based on how He feelsabout us. It’s based on the commitment that He has made to us, and He’s proven that love to us by furthering that commitment by giving us the Son… Feelings come and go, but the commitment is something that you’re binding yourself to. We can love, we can love deeply, and we can love without bonds as God loved us.

Good works are not what the Father is looking for... Obedience to His Word is what He's looking for.

Vintage message from March 13, 2005.

The Holy Spirit doesn’t come uponus [like in the Old Testament], He indwellsus. We, then, are full, as Jesus was full, of the Holy Spirit. You know, we sing some songs, and I like the songs, but it says, I want more of the Holy Spirit, I want more of the Holy Spirit, but the fact is, you have allof the Holy Spirit. You can’t get any more in because He’s allin. We need more of us in obedience to what the Spirit wants to do while He’s in us. And this is the exciting thing about the Holy Spirit. He doesn’t come and take control of our life. He doesn’t turn us into robots. He comes to indwell us, to speak to our hearts, to remind us every moment of every day of Who the Father is, and the love that the Father has for us, and the Word that He has spoken. And it is through the power of His Spirit that we, then, can overcome our issues of sin, and walk in a right relationship with God the Father, accomplishing the things that He desires for us to do. We can not accomplish or even come close to accomplishing the things that the Father wants for us if the Holy Spirit was not in us.

There’s a lot of people who try to do good works, but good works are not what the Father is looking for… Obedience to His Word is what He’s looking for. And now, He may have us, through the indwelling of His Spirit, to do good works, but then they’re His works that He’s accomplishing and using us as vessels to be a part, but it is still Hisworks that He’s accomplishing. He is not going to be impressed by any good thing that we try to do, because the good that wedo is done out of selfishness…

And as we get our lives right with the Lord, when we invite Him in and He indwells us, then He takes over the authority of our lives…

God is still the King of this universe. He still sits on His throne. He still has authority over all that He’s created. He has not lost any part of His position just because we’re tempted. This is the other thing: we think, “Well, if God is truly on His throne, if God is really in control, then why am I suffering so much? Why am I tempted?” Because we’re in the flesh, and our flesh is in sin, and just as Jesus’s flesh was tempted, our flesh will be tempted…

And as Adam brought sin into the world, Jesus brings forgiveness and perfection back into the world. He brings that ability for us to have love relationship with the Father once again, but it starts with our worship, our desire, our longing to know that God Who created us, and it is written that we should do that…

We have been given very clear direction of how to love God and how to live for God, and you know what? I do believe that it is appropriate for us to ask for God’s blessing, but God’s blessing comes in greater forms than hundred dollar bills. Blessing does not mean a nice, shiny paint job on our car, and it doesn’t mean a three bedroom house. It means that God is interacting with us and helping us through and guiding us and being our strength, and then sometimes, sometimes, that those blessings may possibly be in the form of material things in our life. But I personally think that the materialism is a distraction to us. That so often we attach ourselves to the materialism, and we forget that God wants to be honored with or without those things… It’s not about luck. It is about honoring God for Who He is and what He’s called you to do…

You know, we’re also told, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you,” and the greater part of resisting the devil is doing it through God’s Word, knowing God’s Word, but understanding what God’s Word is for. It’s not to justify my position in this life, it is not to justify who I am or where I’m going, but it’s alwaysto show me God’s love. To show you God’s love. To introduce you to the God Who created you and to make you a part of what He’s doing in creation. God’s Word is to bring us to a place of understanding the heart of God, not understanding how I can get away with things.

Let people know that there is good news for them. We are no longer lost or bound by sin, but there is One that came to free us from that. If we are lost and bound by sin, it is because we choose that bondage, not that there isn't a way for us to be free from it.

Vintage message from March 20, 2005.

Sometimes we fall into the trap of taking God’s Word and using it to justify ourposition: who we are, what we want to do. God’s Word was not given to us to justify us. God’s Word was given to us so that we would know God in a greater way, that we could draw close to Him, that we could understand His heart, that we could be motivated to serve Him through His Word. And so often, what I find in life, especially as Christians, we’ll fight with those that we disagree with, we’ll use God’s Word to argue our point, we’ll use God’s Word to hack to pieces (if we have to) our opponent. We make our point using God’s Word…

So often, I believe, that we take His Word, and we abuse it, and we misuse it, and we take it out of context and do the very thing that Jesus said we should not do. And we use God’s Word the way Satan used God’s Word to challenge and corrupt rather than point to a loving, caring, forgiving God, and we end up putting God to the test. But we’re also told, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” That from time to time God’s enemy and those that serve that enemy will challenge us. We’re not told to argue with them or fight with them. We’re told to resist, and we can resist best by bringing glory to Who God is, bringing glory to the name of Jesus, bringing honor to the salvation that’s been given to us, and point out the love that God has for us. And guess what? When you make that stand, when you let people know there is a God in heaven Who lovesthem, when you stand firm knowing that there is a God in heaven Who loves you, that there is a SaviorWho went out of His way to make sure that you had salvation offered to you — when you come to the point of realizing that this God Who created you loves you so much that He was willing to sacrifice everything for you — you don’t have to fight anymore. You don’t have to argue anymore. Resisting is simply standing firm and saying, “I knowthat Jesus loves me, and I don’t have to worry. I know that God created me, and my life is in His hands, so I don’t have to worry.”

amGod’s child. I amGod’s servant. God does not serve me. God is not there for me to throw up the token prayer on occasion; make my request for all the nicest things in life that Iwant and expect Him to give them to me. But for many people, that’s what Christianity is. They come to know the Lord because they think somehow life is going to be easy. Jesus never promises us an easy life. In fact, He promises us the opposite. He says, “In this life you will” — not you might — “You willhave tribulation.” But He doesn’t stop there. He says, “Be of good cheer for I have overcome the world…”

There are times that we’re challenged, and there are times that we’re tempted, and there are times that we are tried to our very core, but like I’ve just said, we, like Jesus, are children of God and we, like Jesus, have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We are filledwith the Holy Spirit, unlike the Old Testament saints who had the Holy Spirit come upon them from time to time. We, too, can walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, and rather than looking at our trials and our tests as being something disastrous, look at it as something that God is using to exercise us… The only way your spirit is going to become strong is when you face the trials and the tests of this world. I notice that people who have it too easy, especially Christians who have it too easy, they never grow beyond the superficial, and then when the trials docome, they’re the first to panic, they’re the first to flee, and they’re the first to doubt God and accuse Him of not taking care of them, rather than saying, “God, You are my Father. You are my strength. This is just another one of those challenges that come… Lord, thank You for this challenge…”

Let people know that there is good news for them. We are no longer lost [or] boundby sin, but there is One that came to free us from that. If we are lost and bound by sin, it is because we choosethat bondage, not that there isn’t a way for us to be free from it…

You know what? It is not the vessel that’s the problem. It’s the message that the vessel is bringing that’s the problem. If I’m not preaching the Word of God, then I’m a false prophet. If I am not rightly dividing and handling the Word of God — I don’t care what my educational background is, if I’m handling it right, then it’s right. If I’m not handling it right, then I’m false… But it is not about mehandling God’s Word. It is not about youhandling God’s Word. It is about the Holy Spirit handling you with His Word. Are you willing to let Him handle you with His Word?…

We, too often, expect God and demand of God, and weestablish an idea of life that God has never asked us to have, and then, when God seems to be blessing everybody else, we get angry about it…

We don’t have to fear our enemies. We don’t have to fear the reprisals of our enemies. We don’t have to fear what the world threatens us with. If we are truly walking in the power of God’s Spirit, God willprotect us. God will display His power in us. And if He allows us to be challenged by life, if He allows us to be taken by surprise by life…we are strengthened by it then, not destroyed by it… Sometimes that’s what we need to do, is just simply go on our way and trust God to take the words that we’ve left and use them how Hewill. If you’re teaching the truth,…if you pick up God’s Word and you use it appropriately, then Godis the One that gets the glory, and He’s the one that’s going to use His Word, even though He may use you as the vessel to deliver the message, and then you just simply leave it and let God have His way. No matter what anger may be there, no matter what challenge may be there, God will protect you or God will strengthen you to face whatever it is that He has for you to face.

The only teaching that is going to have authority to change your life, to penetrate your heart, to motivate you, is teaching that comes from the Word of God... It's not man's opinion... The reason we don't have changed lives today is because we ignore God's Word.

Vintage message from April 3, 2005.

There’s a lot of teaching in the world today…but the only teaching that is going to have authority to change your life, to penetrate your heart, to motivate you, is teaching that comes from the Word of God, that isthe Word of God. It’s not a man’s opinion. I’ll tell you, I’ve said this many times, but pastors who actually teach from God’s Word and get to expound upon it as I do, are blessed that we get to expound upon God’s Word. But guess what? If all I did was come up here and just read these verses to you, closed my Bible, and said, “That’s the message for today,” guess what? God’s Word, in and of itself, has enough authority and power that if you took the time to dwell on that Word, it would change your life.

The reason why we don’t have changed lives today is because we ignore God’s Word. We don’t get in on our personal devotions. I know a lot of people who only come to church for feeding. They never pick up their Bible at home. They never pray at home. They only come to church for that. Well, guess what? You’re going to starve to death. What happens here [in church] is not where the authority is. It’s what happens here in God’s Word [that’s] where the authority is…

The real power that changes, the real power that convicts, the real power that says, “You know what? The problem starts right here where I’m sitting, this is where change begins. Change starts in myheart. And God doeshave the authority and His Word has the authority to touch myheart…”

Change starts here. The power of God’s Word, the authority of God’s Word, is the power and authority to bring change to the heart of a man who’s lost. To show us our issues of sin, to help us to deal with those issues. You know, we have a lot of issues. We may even have issues with other people who are around us, but we better not be saying that it’s those other people who are the reason for my issues. The reason I have issues is because I’m not completely right with God. Jesus was completely right with God. He did not allow the hatred of the people to distract Him from Who He was and the call He had…

I hear a lot of people say, “Yeah, I believe in God…” I hear this message a lot, “All you got to do is believe.” No! It’s so much more than that. Jesus said, to all those who believed, to those who received, He gave the right to become children of God. It is an active step on our part to receiving Who Jesus is and what He is, not just knowingabout Him…

Do you see in your life that you are living good news? When you step out of your house in the morning to go to work, do you find yourself being good news to those that you are encountering when you get to work? Can you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and say, “That is the byproduct of good news”?… The Spirit desires to preach still today because the Spirit is Who Jesus was two thousand years ago. He always has been. He came, was given to us to continue a work that Jesus started. To preach good news. To free the prisoners. To release people from bondage. To help people to throw off oppression. That oppression comes in the form of sin…

If you’re struggling in your life, if you’ve got areas in your life that you’re not sure about, take time, as Jesus did, to go to that solitary place. This was Jesus’s regular custom of getting alone with God. Finding a solitary place where He could pray; where He could work out the issues of His own heart. Whatever issues Jesus might have had, He wanted them dealt with right away before His Father, and He took the time to get alone with God. You know why we die spiritually? Because we don’t take time to get alone with God. Because we don’t feed ourselves on His Word. We have an expectation of religion that says that religion should meet my need. Going to church should meet my need. My friends should meet my need. And I don’t mean to insult any of you, but if I’m waiting for you to meet my need, I will always be in need, because guess what? You can not meet my need, because my need goes far deeper than any one of you or all of you together can meet. And Jesus came and said, “I canmeet your need.” And this was the power and the authority that He taught with…

This is why it is so important that we have those personal times alone with the Lord. Hey, we need to gather together. We need to share together. We need to encourage each other together. But if that’s allwe’re living for, we are going to fall short. We need that solitary time, that personal time with the Lord, getting to know Him, allowing Him to minister to us, to reach into the depths of oursoul, to reach into the depths of mysoul, and say, “That’swhere the problem is. That’swhere the sin is. That’swhat needs to change, and why it needs to change.” Sometimes God does us a great favor and sends a friend to us who will say, “You’re really blowing it. That needs to change in your life.” But just because that friend said it, doesn’t mean that that friend can make it change. And we can avoid a lot of that if we just take the time to personally stop before the Lord. To accept Who He is…

We have the Lord’s favor, and we have good news, and that good news is God loves you. God desires you. God wants to have relationship with you. Sin separates us from that relationship, but guess what? Sin is no longer the problem. It is refusal to deal with that sin that is the problem. We’re all going to sin, we’re all going to make the mistake, we’re all going to stumble, but it is in refusing to deal with that sin where we now have a problem because God, through His Son Jesus Christ, has made it easy to deal with the issues of sin that keep us separated from Him. That’s the good news. We no longer have to be separated. Sin is no longer the issue. It is only our willful disobedience, our desire to hold on and have ourway…

I believe we will do ourselves a service if we put in the back of our minds, "Lord, I am willing if You have something for me to do... If You will put the words in my mouth, I will open my mouth, and I am willing."

Vintage message from April 10, 2005.

I believe we will do ourselves a service if we will put in the back of our minds, “Lord, I am willing if You have something for me to do. If the people come, if my neighbor shows up, if I see the broken down car, if I’m standing in the grocery store line and I see the look of worry on my neighbor’s face, Lord, I’m willing. If You will put the words in my mouth, I will open my mouth, and I am willing.” But so often, we do just the opposite, “Oh, God, if I haveto. Lord, You know how busy I am, and after all, my favorite program is coming on in half an hour.” And we lock ourselves into our own lives…

And that’s another problem I think sometimes we have. We do things with a bad attitude or a wrong attitude, and we do it just to appease the person, but because our attitude is wrong, we’ve really not done anything to benefit them or ourselves…

Jesus is not hindered by our appeasements. Jesus is not stopped because we don’t believe in Him. Jesus will still do what Jesus needs to do in this world to see people saved. He will still perform the miracles that He wants to perform whether wewant to be part of it or not…

You know what hinders us from seeing the great miracles in our life? The great fulfillment of God in our life? Because we’re so much like Peter. Iam so much like Peter. I allow doubt, misgivings, personal agenda, to drive me, and then when God wants to do a miracle, because I am so distracted by my own life, that, oh yeah, I’m willing sometimes to be involved, but with that same attitude that Peter had. “Well, let’s get this over with. Let me show God that He doesn’t know what He’s talking about this time.” And then I always find myself amazed and astonished when God does the miracle. There’s a lot of things in this life that we don’t want to do. There’s a lot of things in this life that God calls us to do. That we will make excuses why we can’t be part of it. We make excuses why we shouldn’t do it. We’re like Peter sitting on that shore, cleaning our nets, saying to ourself, “I’ve done all I can. What more do they expect of me? I’ve done all I can. Why should I be involved any more? I’ve done all I can. I worked hard all night.” You know what? Appease God from time to time, and see the miracle that He does in your life…

This is the response, I think, that Jesus is desiring to see in us more often. That we’re willing to let Him be God. We’re willing to let Him have His way. Our motives may, from time to time, be wrong when we enter into ministry, when we do the things that God asks us to do, but at least try to be willing. You might be surprised that you’ll see great things happen. The one thing, I hope, that we always see happen when we find ourselves involved, even when we don’t want to, is that God is able to reveal us to ourself. That God is able to reveal my heart, show my sin, to allow me to see my selfishness so that I’m able to deal with it, because Jesus always has greater things for us to do. It’s easy to get caught up in our own little world, like I said before. Our own little piece of importance. To think that we are so significant in what we have laid before us…

I think one of the things that holds us back the most is our fear. Our fear of failure. Our fear of how people are going to perceive us. How we’ll be accepted. We let fear drive us in so many areas of our life, and that fear stops us from stepping out boldly to serve the Lord. It stops us from stepping out boldly in the grocery store line or from going over and praying with our neighbor when we know our neighbor is having a hard time. Fear stops us from stepping out into the situation because it’s unknown to us, so we let the guy sit on the side of the road when he’s broken down. I’m not saying that we need to stop every single time, but be open in your heart if the Holy Spirit should say, “I want you to stop for this one,” that we would stop rather than say, “Sorry, God. I have a policy. I don’t stop for anyone…” You may be stopping the work. You may be failing to throw your nets into the water at just the right time to have a catch…

You know what happens when you throw out your net for a catch? You may get some undesirable fish. There may be some fish there that are too small; immature that you’ll have to throw back. You may get some kind of creature that lives in the water that’s not a fish that you don’t want to have any part of. But the only way to really fish effectively is to throw the nets out and take what you get. And I see this fear within churches, that they’ve stopped throwing out the net. They want to fish with a pole; take them one at a time, because we’re afraid that we might get someone who is undesirable. Someone might come in and take advantage of my church. We crawl into our little lives, and we set boundaries for ourselves because we’re afraid that something undesirable might approach us. Jesus wants us to catch. He wants us to catch men…

It is not about our comfort. It is not about our position in life. It is not about our place of importance in this life. It’s about being prepared always to step out. To push the boat out into the water even if we haveworked hard all night, to allow Jesus to have His way, because when Jesus has Hisway, there will alwaysbe a catch. There will alwaysbe an abundance within that catch, and we can be part of that. He desires for us to be part of what He’s doing. We’ve just got to choose.

And so if...you thing that somehow you're so bad that God can't forgive you...get that thought out of your mind because Jesus came...so that you could understand His love for you. He brings you a marriage proposal, ...to be part of Him into eternity.

Vintage message from April 24, 2005.

Jesus will always take care of what it is that is hurting us. Always. Even if sometimes He allows us to suffer in the flesh physically with some things, it’s not the flesh that truly hurts us. This flesh is going to fall away someday…

One day, Jesus is going to end this life. He’s going to take us away from this flesh. What really hurts us is that Spirit that is going to be taken away when we do not take the time to be right with God. I hope one day I’m going to wake up, and my back is no longer going to be hurting because I’m not going to be in this body. This body of decay will be changed. We’re told, in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, it will be changed, and I will be standing in the presence of the One Who loves me far more than I deserve…

In fact, Jesus came with a marriage proposal to men. He came to ask you and I to marry Him, to be part of Him into eternity. The problem is, during this particular time in history, men who should have been looking for His coming, men who should have known what He was there for, had turned to religion. They had taken God’s Word and all that God’s Word was meant to teach them, and they turned it into “religion.” And so Jesus tells them, you don’t tear a new piece of cloth and put it on an old garment. It doesn’t match. He’s come as a new garment. He’s come as new wine, and you don’t pour new wine into an old wineskin…

Jesus said, I’m the new wine. I’m the new patch. I don’t fit with what you do. I’m not going to fit on your old garment. I’m not going to be able to fit into your old wineskin because I’m going to expand, and your skin will be busted. Jesus doesn’t want us participating in “religion.” In fact, He brings us this new concept of stepping away from religion and marrying Him. That’s why He brings up the concept of the Bridegroom. He’s come with a new offer. A proposal. Don’t be married to the institution. How about marrying Me? Don’t be caught up in the trap that religion brings, but be caught up in Me.

If you’re here today because you think it is the thing to do, to go to church; because you think you’re going to feel good because you’ve gone to church, you’re trapped in religion. But if you’re here today because you love Jesus Christ, and you love the body of Christ, and you enjoy fellowshipping with each other, and you’re simply waiting for that day for the Groom to come and take us home, to say that the house is ready, and I’m ready for you, come home, [then] you’re here for the right reason. You are part of the new cloth that’s going to go on the new garment. You are part of the new wine that’s going into the new skin…

And so if you’re here today, and you’ve done something horrendous in your life, and you think that somehow you’re so bad that God can’t forgive you, you are so bad that God does not want to forgive you, get that thought out of your mind because Jesus came to invite you to a party. He came so that you could understand His love for you. He brings you a marriage proposal. At [that] point there is no church, there is no bride yet because no one has formally accepted…

But you have to understand that you’ve got to do it on His terms, not on the terms of religion. Not on the terms of the church. He came to free us from the terms of the church. He came to free us from the trap that says that religion is what’s going to get us by. You know what? If you have to act any way to impress others so that they thinkyou are a good person, you are trapped in religion. If you come through thesedoors, you’re here to meet Jesus. And guess what? Jesus will receive you regardless of what you’re wearing, what you smell like, what you look like, regardless of what you’ve done in your past, and regardless of what you might do in your future. He does care, though, that we come to understanding that we have these problems and that we’re willing to deal with them in Him. That we’re willing to repent of them, because He did come to bring us to repentance. To bring us to that place of understanding that, yes, I have problems. I have a past, but guess what? That’s where it is. In the past. And I understand my issues of sin from the past, and I’ve repented of them, and I’ve asked to be forgiven for them, and I know that Jesus has forgiven me. So I don’t have to come here today and actgood before you, because I’m not so good. But sometimes I do good things. Sometimes people just like being around me, but it’s not because I’m dressed up. It’s not because I’m wearing some nice smelling cologne. Sometimes people like being around me, I think, because Jesus hangs around me. Because I’ve been to the Doctor. I’m part of a new garment. I’m new wine…

Jesus doesn’t beat us. He doesn’t kick us. He doesn’t ridicule us. And I think, sometimes, we feel like if we’ve not been hit, kicked, and ridiculed, we can’t truly be forgiven. He didn’t come to do that… And we begin to believe that we need to change and do things that look religious, so that somehow we can be forgiven, and accepted in society…

We’re not about religion. Jesus is not about religion. Jesus is about a love relationship that starts with a marriage proposal, and He asks each and every one of us, “Will you marry Me? Will you come into eternity with Me? Will you allow Me to be part of who you are and you a part of Who I am for all eternity?” That’s what it’s about. And then the changes that need to happen, happen naturally, not because you make them happen.

God's Word is not meant to be manipulated for our comfort... God's Word is meant to touch our hearts right now at this moment, to change what's going on in here.

Vintage message from May 1, 2005.

How many of you want to be worthy of God’s attention? All of us want to be worthy of God’s attention! We want God to notice us. Well, let me fill you in on a little secret. God has already noticed you, whether you’re worthy or not. And by the way, let me fill you in on another little secret. You are not worthy. None of us will ever be worthy of God’s attention, but that’s the amazing thing about God. God has given us His attention, and God has given us His Word. And yet, we still find ourselves trying to prove ourselves to God, and we wrap ourselves up in “religion”…

In my book, “religion” will never be right because religion is always about you and I working our way to heaven, proving ourselves to God, trying to impress Someone Who is not going to ever be impressed with us because it’s impossible for us to be good enough to impress God. So, we will make rules and regulations, we will do things will cause people to stop and look at us, take notice of us…

This is the one thing I find about “religion.” Religion is not compassionate, and when you interpret the law in this way, there is no compassion for those that are poor, and God desires for us to be compassionate… Within His Word, He has made provision for us to show compassion. His law is written in such a way that we can show compassion and not have to neglect the poor around us and not have to accuse them of somehow breaking a law…

Within this book, God has shown me that, if I am compassionate, He’ll bless me. If I understand His law and His Word to be a law and Word of compassion, He’ll bless it. Even if I do ignorantly give a con man a little bit of money. Even if I give someone who doesn’t deserve a sandwich, a sandwich because he’s convinced me that he is poor and in need, God will bless it. It’s not up to me to find out the motives of a man’s heart. It’s up to me to know the motives of my heart, and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal those motives to me...

Sometimes you think because you’re doing something good, that something good is going to happen to you. If I do what’s right then only good things are going to happen. If I give, then it’s going to be given back to me. You know, this whole “name it and claim it” thing is that the good you do will be returned to you. Well, let me tell you, sometimes God asks us to do good even though He knows the bad is coming your way, and it doesn’t matter what’s coming in the future. What matters is what you’re faced with right this moment today. God’s Word is not meant to be manipulated for our comfort in the future. God’s Word is meant to touch our hearts right now at this moment to change what’s going on in here…

“Bless me, God. Bless me, God. Bless me, God.” That’s how we pray. Well, God’s Word is a Word of compassion. His Word is a Word of love. His Word is also a Word of reality, and sometimes reality is harsh. And sometimes reality hurts. And sometimes we have to face challenges because of the understanding we have in God’s Word…

And by the way, the Sabbath laws were given for men to understand God’s compassion in wanting them to rest, in wanting them to find that time and that place to have fellowship with Him. It wasn’t about just stopping one day a week so that we can have fun, but it was meant for us to draw close to God. To put everything else out of our mind and take time to spend with Him. And He protects that time jealously. He’s a jealous God! And He wants us to recognize Him for His love and His love for us. And so, He’s asked us to set time aside to spend with Him…

Your body, your mind, your soul can relax when you’re in the Presence of God, and there is real rest there that we don’t get any other day of the week when we’re out busy about our own affairs. But Jesus says, “I’ll give you that rest every day, every moment. All you have to do is come to Me with your burden. When you’re weary, come to Me,” because He’s the Lord of the Sabbath.

Why do we pray? We pray because God wants us to be involved with Him. God wants us talking to Him, and He wants to talk to us... Why do we pray? So we can know God's heart and God's desire. So that we can be right with Him and we can draw close to Him.

Vintage message from May 8, 2005. (The first 30 seconds has some distortion.)

You know, the one question I get asked more than any other question, “Why do we pray? What is the purpose? If God already knows all things, why do we pray?” We pray because God wants us involved with Him. God wants us talking to Him, and He wants to talk to us. Just because He already knows all things, wedon’t know all things, and He wants us to show interest in Him as He’s shown interest in us. He wants us to have love relationship with Him as He’s had love relationship with us…

“Are you sure, Father, about that one? But, Your will be done.” “Lord, what’s best for Me? God, what do Youwant for me? Not, what do Iwant for me. How will that situation benefit Yourkingdom, rather than mylife?” Have you ever prayed thatway? That’s a much harder prayer to pray, and it takes a lot longer to pray it. “Are You sureYou want me to go through that suffering? Will that benefit Your kingdom, even though it means pain for me, it means expense for me? Lord, if that’s what You want, Your will be done. Even, Lord, if that person is going to hurt me, do You want me to be around them?…”

Prayer is something I think we take too lightly. Why do we pray? So that we can know God’s heart, God’s desire, that we can be right with Him, that we can draw close with Him. Prayer isn’t just for us to ask for what we want, but so often that’s what prayer is for us. We pray for only those things that make us comfortable…

You know, we get rejected for a lot of things, but just because you’re rejected in life does not mean that you have a blessing. It’s when you are rejected because you have stood firm for the Name and the Person of Jesus Christ, for the Son of Man…

You know, we’re not going to heaven just because we’re going to church. We’re not going to heaven because we were born into a Christian family. But we have a blessing, and we can rejoice in that day, because our reward is in heaven when we have stood in the Name and for the Person of Jesus. And it is when men look at us for being believers in Jesus Christ and persecute us in these ways that we receive that blessing…

The truth of God’s Word, generally, is hard to hear. The truth of what God has to say to us is hard to hear, and it deals directly with our hearts and our own attitudes. I don’t like hearing God’s Word, I don’t like reading God’s Word, I don’t like studying God’s Word, because every time I do, it speaks to me because I have sin in my life, and it shows me that I have sin in my life, and it shows me that I have to change. And you know what? I like me, and I want me to be blessed. And it’s unfair that God should expect me to stop being me in order to have a blessing. It’s not fair that should have to give to you, because if you would just work a little harder, you would have what I have. This is the attitude that most of us live with in life. We don’t like hearing God’s Word. We don’t like hearing that we have to change because of God’s Word, but this is what Jesus is speaking to here. There is a blessing for those who give their lives over to the Son of Man, who walk with and in this Person named Jesus, who put off religion and put on humility and love and change…

“Love your enemy. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you.” This is not how we live. If we had our choice, we would not be doing these things. This is foreign to religion and to those who are religious and have been raised up in church. This is foreign. Only those who have been raised up in Jesus can understand this…

You want reward in heaven? You want to know, truly, what heaven is going to be like? Heaven is that feeling you get when you’ve truly given up what’s yours, your rights, and have given yourself over to the Lord, and the freedom and the release you feel because you’ve done kindness to someone without expecting kindness in return. When you’ve loved regardless of who the person is, regardless of what he’s done, regardless of how he’s treated you. There is a great feeling of release, of comfort that you get when you finally give in to Lord, when you allow the Holy Spirit to work through you to love your enemy and to do good to those who you know are just taking advantage of you. And why are we doing it? Because our Father in heaven has done it. Because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.

We look at people and say, “I’m not going to help them. They’re ungrateful. They never repay me. They never do good to me. They’re always trying to find ways to cheat me. Why should I be a part of their life?” Because your Father is a part of their life. And He has lent to them. And He has loved them. And He has cared for them. And He knows the whole time He’s doing it that they’re ungrateful and that they’re wicked. But yet He reaches into their wicked heart, and He blesses them. And you know what? I am, in fact, grateful because God, one day, reached into my wicked heart, and He blessed me. The more you reach into a wicked man’s heart to bless him, the softer that heart becomes…

Many of the things that cause us to grow and change are very difficult to hear…

This is the mandate of God to our hearts. This is what Jesus came for: is so that we would understand how to live and interact with one another. And the way He wants us to interact with one another is 1) to love them unconditionally; 2) to give to them unconditionally; 3) is to pray for them unconditionally. Do to others as you would have them do to you. We all want others to love us, and to help us when we are in our times of need. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.” What difference are you being when you love someone who loves you?…

It’s the hardest thing, I think, for us to accomplish in life, is to truly be kind to one another. We can be kind when someone’s kind to us. We can be kind when we wantsomething. But are we truly being kind? Do we understand what kindness really is? Jesus has just laid it out. Real kindness is when you give unconditionally, regardless of who the recipient is or what he’s done or how she’s treated you. It doesn’t matter. It’s not about them. It’s about God in heaven, and it’s about me and my love relationship with God in heaven. And if I have a love relationship with God, and I call myself a son of God, then it doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done. I have a mandate that is to love you. To love you. To love you! I don’t care who you are or what you’ve done. It is my mandate to love you. You call yourselves children of God? You’ll know if you’re a child of God by how you think about the people who are around you or the people you interact with, and especially about how you feel about those that have mistreated you, who’ve taken advantage of you, who have despised you, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. “Be merciful just as your Father is merciful.”

Guys, pay attention to who you're learning from. Don't just go out and listen to every philosophy that's on teh market. Pay attention to what's being taught. Is it bringing you to a place of seeing your need to draw closer to Jesus?

Vintage message from May 15, 2005.

We don’t like some of these verses because it means that we, then, have to reevaluate our lives, but the verses are there. And the one thing I promised the Lord many years ago when He called me to be a pastor was that, even if I didn’t like the verse, I would not eliminate the verse or try to change the verse. And sometimes, now, I eat those words. I regret having made that promise, because it’s made me evaluate my heart and my life, and I hope it would do the same for all of us in the room today: make us evaluate who we are.

Because Jesus doesn’t want us to be better people. Jesus wants us to be perfect people. And He knows we can’t be perfect in and of ourselves, and He knows what He’s laying out here is impossible for us to do. He knows that we can not love our enemies, and He knows that we can not forgive the debts against us, and He knows that we can not go without judging when people are doing things around us… But even though He knows that we can not live this life that He is laying out, I think He made a promise to His Father before He came. That even if they didn’t like it and He didn’t like it, He was going to give the Word the way it needed to be given, whether we like it or not, because this is the life He wants us to live. This is the life that we need to have, and these are the Words that we need to hear. Do not judge. Love your enemy. Bless those who curse you. I mean, these are concepts that are way beyond us most of the time…

It’s very important that we evaluate our hearts often, and we keep short accounts, and that we not judge. We let God be the Judge, because in letting God be the Judge, then He sees the truth. He knows the hearts of men, and He judges that that comes from the heart. He doesn’t judge that that’s outward that we see. He knows the motives behind everything that’s done…

Do you want love in good measure? Do you want friendship in good measure? Do you want, when you have need, to have that need met in good measure? Do you want to be forgiven, when you blow it, in good measure? Then these are the things that we need to do, because the measure that we use is the measure that it will be given back to us. When we allow for the petty things that happen around us to hurt us and cause us to judge and withdraw from each other, then that’s what’s going to happen to us. That’s the measure that’s going to be measured out to us. Jesus does not want for us to be given the measure of condemnation that we deserve. That’s why He came, so that we would not have to be filled up with judgement and condemnation. But He wants us to know that there is forgiveness in abundance for us, and there is love in abundance for us. But in order to receive that love and that forgiveness, we need to love and forgive…

But I want God’s love, and I want God’s love in good measure. And I want your love, and I want your love in good measure. I want to have friendships, and I want to have those friendships in good measure. So I better be about loving and being a friend. I better be about forgiving, and then I will see these things poured out into my lap…

Guys, pay attention to who you’re learning from. Don’t just go out and listen to every philosophy that’s on the market. Pay attention to what’s being taught. Is it bringing you to a place of seeing your need to draw closer to Jesus? To have His Spirit cleanse you? And that your goodness is found only in Him, not in yourself?… When we follow blindly, and we lead blindly, we fall into a pit…

Do you want to know how you can know you’re a believer? When the torrents come, when the trials of life hit you between the eyes, and the first thing that comes to your mind is, “Lord, I will trust You. This may be rough, this may be hard, but I will trust You.” And it doesn’t mean that you’re not going to be shaken. It does not mean you’re not going to be hit in the face with a cold bucket of water. It doesn’t mean you’re not going to be tried. But it’s where you laid your foundation that proves your salvation. That proves your relationship to God, that when you’re challenged, you stand through it…

You will be tested. You will be tried. You will be challenged. It may not be today, it may not be this week, but this life will challenge you. God’s enemy will challenge you. Your flesh will challenge you. And what is it you have to hold onto? God’s Word. What has He said? When challenges come, even if I don’t likeHis Word — such as last week — it doesn’t matter whether I can justify myself or not. What matters is what does God’s Word say? And am I willing to obey it? And if I’m willing to obey it, then my feet are firmly planted…

Jesus knows our hearts. He knows what’s stored up in our hearts. And it doesn’t take long for what’s in your heart to overflow from your mouth. People will know, you will know, and God already knows.

This Book means everything. It's not the paper and the ink that it's made of, but it is the Word that this Book contains. Do you believe God's Word?

Vintage message from May 29, 2005.

So often I find in our lives that we do not recognize the authority of God. We see His power working all around us. We see His creation. We see His handiwork. But yet, when we get into trouble, how do we handle it? When we have need, how do we handle it? We take matters into our own hands so many times because we don’t recognize the authority of God, and we don’t recognize the name of Jesus as being that authority…

Do you believe that Jesus cares for you whether you know it or not? Whether you understand it or not? Jesus cares for you! I’m telling you, Jesus cares for you! And you know what? I don’t care if you believe it. You’ve heard it. Jesus will respond because Jesus loves those that He’s created…

Let me tell you something. God is not impressed with ourfaith. God lovesus. God is not impressed with ourworks. God lovesus. God is not impressed with the things that we do. God lovesus. He loves us because we need to be loved. We are separated from Him. Our sin condition has made us unworthy. We do not deserveanything. But yet He has blessed us tremendously…

Is knowing Jesus good news to you? Knowing that God loves you — is that good news to you? Knowing that you do not have to earn your salvation, you do not have to do good works, you do not have to do the things that the world tells you makes you worthy— is that good news to you? There is nothing we can do to earn that…

We so often approach God with expectation. We want to see something good happen in our life, we want to see God bless us, and we pray, “God bless me. God bless me. God bless me. But this is how I want You to do it… But I believe You, God. I believe You.” And then we get disappointed when He doesn’t do for us the things that we are demanding and expecting of Him…

What do you expect God to do for you? What do you think is going to happen in yourlife? How do you believe God is supposed to respond to you? When you came to church this morning, what did you expect you were going to find here today? It’s just a question. One, I think, that we all need to answer… What are your expectations? What do you think you are going to get out of today? What do you believe God owes you today?… [Jesus is] dealing with expectations, and it doesn’t mean that our expectations are always His will or His desire…

It is the Word that is in this Book that is alive, that is directed by the Holy Spirit, that means everything. And in reading and understanding what God has to say to you and what it can do to your heart, is where the change begins to happen. This Book means everything. It’s not the paper and the ink that it’s made of, but it is the Word that this Book contains. Do you believe God’s Word? Do you believe the purpose that God has for you? Do you knowthe purpose that God has for you? If you don’t know that purpose, let me tell you, it is to be with Him for all eternity. To receive His Son. To be married in a love relationship that will bring us into eternity, cleanse us from our sin, and make us right with God. That is His purpose…

You know what? If you’re taking matters into your own hands, you are dishonoring God and showing how little you believe that God’s Word is for you. What is your expectation? What did you come out to hear today? What did you think was going to happen in your life when you got out of bed, put on your clothes, and came to church? I would hope that every one of us came expecting to meet the power and the love of God, to hear the truth of His Word, and be affected and changed by it…

God has a greater plan for us, but that greater plan does not exclude trials, temptations, struggles. But what it does, is it offers us the truth. First and foremost, that Jesus loves us, and that He was willing to do what He needed to do, in obedience to His Father, to see that we were saved…

[Jesus said], I am your way, I am the reason that you live, and I will be the only way you will find through your hard times. If you’re expecting something else, you willbe disappointed, but understand, it is not God Who is disappointing you. You are the one who is the author of your disappointment because you don’t take time to study and read God’s Word to know what God has to say to you. And He does say that in this life you will have tribulation, in this life you will have struggle, in this life you will have challenge. And the only way to meet that challenge, to meet that struggle, is to walk with Jesus. To believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

The only way that you'll have peace in your life is to enter into relationship with Jesus Who forgives sin, to be grateful when He forgives you of that sin, to love in response becaue He has forgiven you of that sin, and when you love Him, you love others because He loves others.

Vintage message from June 5, 2005.

They couldn’t get away from the feelings of guilt that they walked around with every day, and Jesus says there’s a way to deal with it. It’s called grace through faith. Do you believe you can be forgiven of your sin in your life? Of your past? Of the things that you’ve done that you know are wrong?…

That’s where forgiveness starts: is in the heart. Do you believe it or not? Can you accept it or not? And understand something. When you have been forgiven, then you are expected to turn around and forgive. And this is the thing I find the hardest for our generation, for men and women today that I interact with. We all want forgiveness, “But that stupid so-and-so over there hurt me! He doesn’t deserve forgiveness! But I want forgiveness…” Do you see what we’re doing? We are stealing a blessing. God intends for the blessing to be shared. Given freely. He gave it to us freely. Part of the problem that we have, part of the problem that they had, they didn’t want to forgive but they wanted to be forgiven. And part of their sin nature, part of what they had to repent of, was going down and believing the truth that God loves me, God loves you, and God desires to save us. And you know what? If I can look at you through God’s eyes, and see you with His love, then I truly can forgive you, and I can forgive myself, and I can turn from my sin. But it is the feelings of hopelessness that we carry with us that keep us from forgiving others and forgiving ourselves, or believing that we can be forgiven…

You know, there are people in this world, just as there were then, that believe that they didn’t need forgiveness. “I went to church today. I’m a good person. I helped the old lady across the street. I gave a sandwich to that poor guy. Idon’t need forgiveness. I’mgood. I don’t need God to intervene in my life in that way, because you know what? If God can’t accept me the way I am, He doesn’t deserve me, because I’m good…”

When we refuse to understand our nature, and our nature is one of sin, when we refuse to understand that the only way that that sin nature can be dealt with is through faith, then we reject God’s purpose for us. And no matter what good we do, no matter how nice we are, no matter how much we give, it is not enough because that is not God’s purpose for us… God’s purpose is for us to be forgiven of sin so that we can not only fellowship with one another, but that we can fellowship with Him… That is God’s desire and God’s purpose for us, is to know Him and to walk with Him in truth. Forgiven of our sin. Having that part of our life, those issues in our life, dealt with…

Do you believe God forgives you? And then, once you’re forgiven, how much have you been forgiven of? How much do you love the one Who’s forgiven you? Do you love enough to then turn and forgive and love others?…

I think the one thing we want more in life than anything else is peace. Peace with ourself, peace with God, and peace with those that are around us. But you know what? Without forgiveness from Jesus, without understanding that forgiveness, there is no peace. No matter how much you go to church, no matter how hard you try to be religious, you will not have peace in your life. The only way that you’ll have peace in your life is to enter into relationship with Jesus Who forgives sin, to be grateful when He forgives you of that sin, to love in response because He has forgiven you of that sin, and when you love Him, you love others because He loves others. Forgiveness can be contagious if we will let it. Because I’ve been forgiven, now I turn and forgive. You’ve been forgiven, now you turn and forgive. And they’ve been forgiven, and they turn and forgive. That’s what it’s about. Bringing people into a love relationship with God because they’ve been forgiven of their sin, and the only way you can do that is through understanding what Jesus did for you, Who Jesus is in your life, and having that relationship with Him.

Jesus brought a simple message. A message of good news... I love you. Do you believe that? Can you receive that?

Vintage message from June 12, 2005.

I’m very thankful that Jesus knows who I am and is still willing to let me interact with Him; is still willing to let me be a part of Him. Jesus knows what’s going on in our hearts, and there is not one of us in this room — and I don’t know what your circumstances in life are, but let me tell you something. The Bible says you are a sinner. the Bible says that you have fallen short. God’s Word does not lie. And when He says that all of our righteousness is as filthy rags, it tells me that every one of us in this room today are loved, not because of the good that we do, not because of our perfection, but because God is forgiving and loving. We are the recipients of a tremendous and amazing gift called God’s love.

And the more I think about how much God loves me, and the more I understand His forgiveness, the closer I draw to Him, the more I want to know about Him, the more I want to be with Him, and it causes me to dwell more in His Word to understand Who He is…

Jesus traveled. He didn’t sit still for very long. He went from place to place, from person to person, and He shared the good news, and what is that good news? That good news is that God loves you, and God desires to forgive you. God wants you to be where He’s at, and He is willing to accept you and love you and forgive you. But, you’ve got to recognize who you are. You know, most of us know that we’re lost, but there are some of us that are so lost that we’ve convinced ourselves that we can never be found, and so what’s the use? I’ve got good news for you. God knows right where you’re at, God knows exactly who you are, and Jesus came to proclaim a message of good news…

Sometimes we turn to God just for the things that we can get. I’ve heard many people say, “What’s in it for me?” Well, if love and eternal life is not enough, I don’t know, what isin it for you?…

Do you realize you and I have responsibility in our walk with the Lord? That we have responsibility to pay attention to the things that the Spirit wants us to hear? I have people who tell me all the time, “God doesn’t ever speak to me. I don’t understand why God speaks to you, but God doesn’t speak to me.” It’s not that God doesn’t speak to you… It is you that has the responsibility to hear. You’re the ones that need to develop ears to hear. You’re the ones that need to pay attention to what’s being said and why it’s being said… So the next time you ask the question, “Why doesn’t God speak to me?,” refer here to Luke chapter eight. I can tell you but then you’d just say I’m being rude. Let God tell you. The reason you’re not hearing Him speak to you is because you’re not listening, because He is speaking… He has placed His Word and His miraculous signs in front of you, and if you’re not perceiving it, it’s not because He hasn’t done it. It’s because you’re not seeing and you’re not hearing what He has placed right in front of you…

Understand something. Just because you’re going through a hard time does not mean that God does not love you, does not mean that God does not care for you. Chances are you are going through that time of trial and testing because God doeslove you, and He is trying to provethat love to you by causing you to see what place His Word plays in your life. Are you willing to stand firm and true to His Word, even through the tough times?…

Consider carefully how you listen. It’s not in how you pray. It’s in how you listen. What do you hear in God’s Word? How has God’s Word been planted in your heart? Are you hearing God’s Word through ears that say, “I have need, and the only what that I am going to trust God is when He meets my need. When He gives me the physical things I want to have, then I’ll listen to Him”? Well, guess what? You’re never going to hear Him, because you’ve put your hands right over your ears. You are blocking out the things that God would have you to hear because guess what? His Word isn’t just for you. It’s not meant to be your spiritual Christmas present that keeps on giving to you, but His Word is meant to be given to everyone else from you with you being the vessel, the instrument that God can use to spread that Word…

Jesus brought a simple message. A message of good news. I love you. It has nothing to do with what you have or don’t have. It has nothing to do with your situation in life. It has nothing to do with whether or not you’re a sinner. I love you. Do you believe that? Can you receive that?…

If Jesus has asked you to do something, guess what? It's not going to fail.

Vintage message from June 19, 2005.

“Therefore, consider carefully how you listen.”

How did you listen this week? Wereyou listening this week? Were your ears open to the things of God. You know, I mentioned last week, I have people tell me all the time, “God doesn’t speak to me. I never hear God speak to me. Because I don’t hear God speak to me, that must mean He’s notspeaking to me.” Not true. And I don’t want to call you a liar if you say God isn’t speaking to you, because I don’t think you’re lying. I just think you’re deceived. We’re all deceived in many ways. And it is not that God is not speaking. It’s that you’re not listening. We are not careful, so often, in how we listen to each other…

It’s not that it’s not been spoken to you. God’s Word has been given to you. God’s Spirit has been given to you. And God is audibly, physically, speaking into your heart right now, whether you want to believe it or not. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to speak to your heart. How are you listening? It’s not a matter of, are you hearing? It’s, are you listening? We know how to block out the things that we don’t want to hear because we’re not listening to them…

God does speak to us. Jesus has spoken to us…

When was the last time you considered how you listen to God? We just assume that we should are able to hear Him. We just assume that it should come natural. That if He’s speaking that we would understand. Consider how you listen to God. Do you give Him time in His Word? Do you give Him time in prayer? Do you give Him time in meditation? Do you just take time to stop and sit back and look up into the sky and say, “Father in heaven, I know You’re there, and I’m going to take this moment and give it to You.” Have you ever considered how you’re listening?…

Have you ever felt like you were lost in a storm and that you were going to drown? Life will throw storms at us, life will come at us hard and heavy, and there are times it begins to swamp us. We begin to worry. We begin to see real danger. You know what? We don’t have to worry about what this life sends our way as a storm. If it’s not our time to go, the storm is not going to put us down…

This is where the question comes in. Where is our faith? What is it that we believe? Has God called us to a purpose or not?… What has God asked of you? What is the call that Jesus has put in yourlife? And if He’s put a call in your life, is He going to allow you to be swamped before He fulfills the call?…

We can embrace life, we can live life, we can enjoy what God has put before us, and not have to worry about what’s going to happen to this physical body. Where’s our faith? What do we believe about what God is doing in our life? What is the relationship that we have with Jesus Christ? Is our life His vessel? Is our life His for Him to shine through? Is our life His to use?… Does He have the right to use us the way He wants?…

If Jesus has asked you to do something, guess what? It’s not going to fail. But you’ve got to know God’s Word to understand what Jesus is saying. You’ve got to listen carefully to know what He’s saying. So often we assume…

Faith is not telling God what He’s going to do for you and then expecting that it should happen. That is not faith. That is disrespect. And so often we disrespect God because we have our own agenda. Wewant things to happen, and we tell God how they’re going to happen, rather than allowing Godto tell uswhat He would like to happen in our life and allowing Him, even to bring a storm our way and allow for us to be challenged with the fulfillment of His Word. We seldom allow Him to use us to see His Word fulfilled, and we will tell Him time and again, “This is what You’re going to do and how You’re going to do it, in the name of Jesus.”

“In the name of Jesus” is not a magic incantation. It is not words that we can use that force God’s hand. We are not going to twist His arm with His Own Son’s name, no matter how much we try… We are not about magic. We are about the power of God and the knowledge of God’s Word, trusting that His Word is going to see us through. Allowing His Word to minister to us and to speak to us, but the only way we’re going to know if His Word is speaking to us, is if we listen carefully. It takes action on our part. We have to respect God enough to stop and listen. Take the time to hearwhat He’s saying, not rail on Him because we believe He’s not speaking to us. So often what it is, we hear Him speak to us. I believe we hear Him speak to us. We just don’t like what it is that he’s saying, so we go in the other direction and then we tell Him what we want Him to say, and then we try to make happen what we want Him to say. And we try to force His had, and when it doesn’t happen, we become bitter and angry.

I believe that God desires to know us and walk with us and indwell us and fellowship with us on an individual basis. He wants each one of us, you and I, to know Him personally. And I believe that He would go out of His way and brave a storm and put His disciples in danger for your sake. Do you believe that? That He loves you so much that He would put Himself and those that He's called into danger to come and rescue you?

Vintage message from June 29, 2005.

I believe God cares for us individually. He cares for us as nations, and He cares for us as peoples, He cares for us corporately. But I believe that God desires to know us and walk with us and indwell us and fellowship with us on an individual basis. He wants each one of us, you and I, to know Him personally. And I believe that He would go out of His way and brave a storm and put His disciples in danger for your sake. Do you believe that? That God loves you so much that He would put Himself and those that He’s called into danger to come and rescue you? I know there’s some, sitting here probably this morning, who doubt that. “Well, why would He waste His time with me? I’ve prayed many times and He’s not answered my prayer.” I hear this kind of thing all the time…

Sometimes, in order to learn what not to do, we have to suffer the consequences of what we’ve done. It’s not that God doesn’t love us. It’s not that God doesn’t care. And it’s not that God isn’t watching, but sometimes we learn quicker and we draw closer to God after we’ve suffered the consequences of our wrong choices. And just because we’re suffering the consequences does not mean that it is a bad thing. It may seem harsh and hard for you for going through it, and those who have to experience you going through it, but understand something. When it is time for you to be brought back from the suffering of the consequences, Jesus will brave whatever it takes to get there, to bring you out of your suffering…

When Jesus does a miracle in your life, when Jesus interacts in your life, who do you tell about it? How do you interact with those around you when Jesus has done a great thing for you?… And this is what people need to know: that Jesus cando a miracle in our life, that Jesus canwork in our life, and not only can He, but He desiresto work in our life, and He has done great things for all of us…

How much has God done for you? How many times has God done a work in yourlife and you kept your mouth shut. How many times has God interacted and directed you and a part of your life, and you kept your mouth shut? When God does a miracle for you, He intends for you to share it. When God is working in your life, He intends for you to step up and let people know because that’s how people learn the power of God, because God has done a mighty work in you, and it becomes more convincing when you share it…

The greatest mission field you have is at home, with your family, with your neighbors, with those around you who know you best. You know, you can ask me, “Dave, what am I supposed to do with my life? Am I supposed to be a missionary and go off to deepest, darkest Africa?” Well, maybe. That’s possible that God would send you there. But I can tell you for sure I know where God is sending you. Right now. Today. He’s sending you home from this place to share with those who are in and around your home. If you’re not willing to share with them, why would you be willing to go halfway across the world to share? You’ve got to be willing to share now. The training field is here in the heart where you’re at now, and if you’re afraid to share now, and if you’re not willing to share now, what makes you think that going anywhere else is going to allow you to be able to share any easier?… It’s not a change of location that makes us different. It’s a change of heart that makes us different.

But what about you? What do you believe? What do you think? Who do you say that Jesus is? And who are you saying it to?

Vintage message from July 10, 2005.

We need to be telling people about God and His love for us, and how He created us, and what He wants to do to interact with us…

You know what? Jesus does not mind inconveniencing those that He’s called to use. In fact, our lives need to be inconvenienced from time to time because there are people in a remote place, people that are going hungry, not for food but hungry for the strength of God’s love. They’re going hungry because they’ve never been told that Jesus loves them, or shown. You know, a lot of people will hear it…but how many of them have ever experienced that love from those of us who doknow and love God and are loved by Him, and have found our way out of the remote place? See, if Jesus is there, it’s not really a remote place…

Let me ask you, is Jesus in your heart? Have you received Jesus into your life? If Jesus is in your life today, you are never in a remote place. You are never by yourself. And if Jesus is in you, then you are the person that people need to come to if they are in a remote place, because if you’re not telling them, then who is? If you’re not blessing them, then who is? Notice it says, Jesus welcomedthem. If Jesus is in your life, then Jesus may welcome some people that you may notwant to welcome, but it is still His right and His privilege, if He is the King and this is His kingdom, to do what He wants to do. And if we’re His subjects and His servants, then He can use us as He wills, right? Are we His servants? Are we His subjects? Is this not His kingdom? He can do with us what He pleases, and it is amazing, when we allow Him to do what He pleases, what we’ll see happen…

No matter how remote the place is, when Jesus is there, there is blessing and filling, and people can be satisfied. You know what? If you’re hurting or hungry, you turn to Jesus and He satisfies. Every time I’m hurting or hungry spiritually, I turn to Jesus and He satisfies. Why would I turn anyone else away from that? You know, it is inconvenient sometimes to serve God. It is inconvenient sometimes to stand up and say to people, “I’m a Christian, and I’m open any time you have need.” How many of us have ever said that?… You know, Jesus invites people. He’s in you. He may invite people to be a part of your life so that you can help satisfy the need they have in their remote place. There are people wandering in life that are lost. There are people who are wandering in life who are in need. There are people who are wandering in life who are suffering. And yet, Jesus exists right in their midst, and we try to send them away. We don’t want to be inconvenienced. We try to tell Jesus, “Pick somebody else to do the work… Send them somewhere else. I don’t want to be inconvenienced…”

Do you know why we do not see the miraculous in our life? Because we have not yet grappled with this question: Who is Jesus? Who is Jesus to me? Who is Jesus to you? You know what? We hear His name. We go to church. We talk about Him. We study His Word. But how many of you have actually taken the time to ask, Who do I say that Jesus is? Is Jesus the almighty, all-powerful God that created heaven and earth? Is Jesus the One Who raises the dead? Is Jesus the One Who feeds the multitudes? Who is Jesus? I believe this is the question we have to grapple with. It’s not just what do other people say, but what about you?…

But what about you? What do you believe? What do you think? Who do you say that Jesus is?… And, who are you saying it to? Are you taking opportunity to go? Are you taking opportunity to be inconvenienced? Are you taking opportunity to allow the King of His kingdom to use you as His servant? Who do yousay that Jesus is?

If you don't know Who Jesus is, you're not going to be an effective witness. You need to take time to get to know Him. You need to take time in His Word to know Him. You need to take time in prayer to know Him. And you need to look into your life and see the amazing things that He's done.

Vintage message from July 17, 2005.

I think it’s very important that we understand what other people believe about Jesus, but it is far more important that we understand Who Jesus is to us first. If you don’t know Who Jesus is, you’re not going to be an effective witness. You need to take time to get to know Him. You need to take time in His Word to know Him. You need to take time in prayer to know Him. And you need to look into your life and see the amazing things that He’s done…

Who do I believe He is? If I believed that Jesus was truly the God and King of my life and of this universe, where would I be for the most part of my time? Trying to please Him, right? If you were serving a King, wouldn’t you want to know the King’s desire for you? But I think so often, because Jesus is so gentle and so loving, and He steps back, and He allows for us to have our life, that we forget that we need to seek Him for what Hewants for our life as our Lord and Master…

Jesus wants us to take the time to get to know Him and then share…

[God] desires relationship with us, just as we desire relationship with each other… Imagine how you desire relationship with someone: the closeness, the intimacy, the fellowship, the encouragement. Now, I know that Maria does enjoy every now and again having me put my arm around her and say, “I love you, and you’ve done an amazing thing, and I appreciate it.” We all need that pat on the back from time to time. We all need to know that we are desired and loved and cared for, but it would get real old, real quick if all we ever did was stood around patting each other on the back, when right outside the door there’s an adventure waiting! There’s amazing things happening right outside! But all we can do is stand around and pat each other on the back. That is not what God has in mind, but the only way we’re going to experience it is to give up this flesh; to be willing to walk away from what’s familiar to us now; to walk away from what we care about now in the flesh. “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world yet lose, or forfeit, his very self?…”

Everything that Jesus tells us is the truth. Jesus desires relationship. He desires us to know Him and share Him with other people. To be open about our love relationship with Him. To not be ashamed of Him. To not be embarrassed. How many of you would keep relationships if, every time you saw your friend, you refused to acknowledge him, you refused to shake their hand, give them a hug, or speak their name when other people were around?… So often, this is how we treat our relationship with God, with Jesus His Son…

Jesus wants us to be excited about our relationship with Him. Jesus wants us to be excited about His relationship with us. Jesus wants us to be excited about our eternity, so much so that we share that eternity with everybody else and not live as though we are ashamed of Who God is. And He will come, and He will come in glory, and He will come in the glory of the Father, and He will come with His holy angels, and they will come in glory, too, and He will establish His kingdom. What will that kingdom mean to you when it actually happens? How will life change for you when that moment actually happens

Praying isn't telling God all of our problems and then offering Him our shopping list, even though for many of us, that's what it turns out to be. Praying is meant to be our communication, our time with our Father. Our time with the God Who created us. Our time of sharing our heart with Him, and Him sharing His heart with us.

Vintage message from July 24, 2005.

In our lives, so many of us live with this idea that we live our life, and then we die and we go to heaven. And good boys and girls go to heaven, and bad boys and girls go, well, to the other place. And we allow for this thought to penetrate our minds and our lives, and so we live according to what I believe is a fable. It’s a story that allows for us to scare our children into being good, but has very little effect on us. I mean, all of us want to go to heaven but, you know, we don’t buy into the fables any more. Well, let me tell you something. Good boys and girls don’t go to heaven, and bad boys and girls don’t go to the other place because, according to Jesus, the standard is “all have sinned.” None of us is righteous. None of us deserve Him. None of us, if we lived by the standard of God’s perfection, would make it. So if bad boys and girls go to the other place, guess where we’re all going? It’s not about going to a place. It is not about going to heaven. It is not about going to hell. It is about, Who do you say that Jesus is?…

Jesus is the kingdom of heaven. It’s not about a place, but about a Person and a relationship with that Person. That’s why He’s asking His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” And I’ve said this many times in the past. If you go to heaven and Jesus isn’t there, you’ve just gone to another fancy place that can be corrupted and abused and stolen away. But what you can’t steal away is the power and the authority of Who Jesus truly is…

How many of us enjoy praying? If we actually understood what praying truly was. You know what? Praying isn’t telling God all of our problems and then offering Him our shopping list, even though for many of us, that’s what it turns out to be. Praying is meant to be our communication, our time, with our Father. Our time with the God Who created us. Our time of sharing our heart with Him, and Him sharing His heart with us…

Think about your own life. How many times have you gotten heavy-eyed when you’ve started to pray? This is an attack of the enemy. This is an attack of your mind. This is a proof that we don’t understand Who the kingdom of God truly is…

The kingdom of heaven is more than a place you go to. The kingdom of heaven is a Person that you turn to. The kingdom of heaven is the One that God sent to represent Him. The kingdom of heaven comes when Jesus comes, and the kingdom of heaven goes away when Jesus goes away, because Jesus Himself is the kingdom of heaven, and it is in that relationship with Him that we experience the kingdom of heaven. You want to go to heaven? Turn to Jesus. Do you want your kids to be good? Don’t threaten them with hell, but explain to them that they need Jesus. Show them with your life that you, too, need Jesus. And then when you’re with Jesus, you’re in heaven! And it is not about being good that gets you to heaven. It’s about understanding Who Jesus is and the forgiveness that He gives us and the love that He shares with us…

Don’t ever be embarrassed or ashamed of Jesus. Understand that He is heaven. He is Who you want and need to go to. If you desire to die and go to heaven, then let me tell you, what you’re desiring is Jesus.

We have to be more devoted to the One Who indwells us, not to the circumstance that is outside of us.

Vintage message from July 31, 2005.

How often do we actually spend time listening to Jesus? Listening to His heart? Listening to His desires for us?…

Do you believe that God wants to interact with you? The God Who created this universe, the God Who put everything in place, holds our DNA together, keeps us from flying apart into little pieces, that God wants to interact with you. Wants to have relationship with you. Wants to love you and be loved by you. Do you believe that? If you believethat, then understand that you have great power available to you. Not yourpower. This isn’t a magic show. This isn’t something that youdo. You’re not going to conjure up something that’s not given to you by God. It is Who God is. It is the very nature of God to display His power and to give us the ability to stand firm with each other and display that power. It’s His power, and it’s given to us through the power of His Spirit. It’s not ours. But He’s made it accessible to us…

I’m glad when people are amazed at the greatness of God, but why should we be amazed? Think about that. Why should it amaze us to see the things that God does in our life each and every day?… We are not amazed by the things that are common in our life, but do you realize that God commonly, every day, every moment of the day, is involved with your life intimately? He is counting the number of hairs on your head, and as they fall out, He knows when they fall out. He’s counting the birds as they fly through the sky, and when a sparrow falls, He knows about it. He is intimately involved with that that He has created. He is intimately involved with you. He knows when you’re tired. He knows when you’re frustrated. He knows when you’re hurting. He knows when you’re in need. He protects you as you cross the street. He gives you the strength to get out of bed. And He does this for every man, woman, and child on the face of this planet, whether they believe it or not, because He loves His creation, and He is involved with His creation, whether they acknowledge Him or not…

But you know what? It is not common for us to recognize what God does. Even though He is there every day doing a work in us, it is not common for us to recognize it. And this is why we are amazed when something happens that is so phenomenal that it finally catches our attention. But it doesn’t mean that God wasn’t there two minutes before. It doesn’t mean He wasn’t doing a miracle three minutes before. It doesn’t mean that He wasn’t counting that hair as it was falling out four minutes before. We are amazed, just as this crowd was amazed, because they finally saw the greatness of God one more time, again, for another moment, because it is always happening. The greatness of God is happening right now in this very place. Right now outside of these walls. Right now in this city. Right now in this country. And right now in this world, the greatness of God is being displayed. And how many people do you think are standing there watching with amazement because their heart is beating and breath is coming out of their lungs and their eyes are open? How many people do you think are actually standing there in awe today because of what God is doing because of His greatness?…

There are times that Jesus does not share with us the things that He’s doing. There are times that Jesus does not allow for our eyes to be open to understand what it is that He’s doing in our life… And this is why Jesus closes our eyes to things, and this is why we do not have understanding of spiritual things, because sometimes those spiritual things involves struggle and trial and hardship and means that we have to be devoted to the One Who indwells us, not to the circumstance that is outside of us. I have got to be more devoted to God in my life and allow Jesus to do His work than I am to living this life that is going on around me…

Even though we may have relationship with Jesus Christ, and even though we may be filled with the Holy Spirit, [we] carry within us a level of perversion that keeps our eyes blinded and our ears closed. We think about ourselves. We think about our own comfort. We think about what wecan have. We think about what’s going to make usgreat… Guys, it’s not about you. It’s about those that you welcome. It’s about those that you interact with. It’s about those that you show kindness to… Now, welcome somebody. Love somebody. Encourage somebody. Don’t try to impresssomebody. Reach out and touch them and be a part of their lives and encourage them… The greatest is the one who understands this. Who is the least among you. Who is the one who can become the servant. Who can say, “You know what? I’m great enough in God’s eyes that I can reach out and wash my neighbor’s feet… I can do what it takes to be a blessing to those that are hurting around me.” This is what Jesus is trying to get across to His disciples…

So often we allow how we think about ourselves to stop us from being used by God. Understand something. God loves you. Not what you look like after you’ve gotten up and showered and combed your hair. God loves youand desires to use you, regardless of who you are, what you look like, or what your circumstances have been.

We need to be about welcoming people into the kingdom of God. Mentoring them, blessing them, caring for them, because it is what Jesus would do, and when we welcome them, we welcome Him.

Vintage message from August 7, 2005. (Beginning is cut off.)

All God desires from us is that we pray, that we seek Him, and that we have relationship with Him, and when we have relationship with Him, He says He will give us what we ask. And when He says, “I will give you what you ask,” it’s not about giving us gold and mansions and the finer things in life. It is giving us what we need in order to perform the service that He’s asked us to do for Him. He will give us all that we ask if we are asking in His name, and we’re asking, by the way, when you ask “in His name,” you are asking based on the Person, the life of the Person in Whose name you’re using. And so, when you pray in the name of Jesus, you are not just throwing out a magic word, you are not invoking some incantation by using the name of Jesus…

We need to be about welcoming people into the kingdom of God. Mentoring them, blessing them, caring for them, because it is what Jesus would do, and when we welcome them, we welcome Him. And when we welcome Him, we welcome His Father. And understand something, if you are not welcoming the least or the little, then you are not welcoming Jesus, and you are not welcoming His Father, and they will not come.

You can ask yourself, “Why is my life miserable? Why do I always seem to have trouble in my life?…” Listen to your words sometime. Listen how you describe those around you, and who it is that is at fault for your problem. Rather than saying, “I’m the one who’s sick. I’m the one that’s in need. I’m the one that has a problem.” We will so often use very harsh words, and dump those words on everybody around us, and rather than welcome them, we begin to push people away. You want to be great? Welcome others into your life, because when you welcome them into your life, you welcome Jesus in. Otherwise, He will stand back and let your life be miserable. It’s not that He doesn’t love you. In fact, He would prefer for you to be where He is and in that love relationship and fellowship with Him, but you know what? He’s a type of Father that leads by example. He is not going to force us to be with Him…

Now, does that mean that we have to accept everybody in their sin? Well, it means that we have to loveeveryone in their sin. But it is okay to call what they’re doing sin. It is their problem if they do not want to see their life as being one in sin. I do not have to change the standard of God’s Word for anybody, and I will not change the standard of God’s Word for anybody. Not for you, not for me, or not for them. When I sin, I have to say, “I’m in sin.” God expects me to deal with it. Does it mean that He hates me because I’ve sinned? And does it mean that you’resupposed to hate me because I’ve sinned? No! It means that He has given us a way out! He has given us a way to be back in fellowship by confessing our sin, to each other, to Him, and making our lives right. And none of us are any better than anybody else…

It’s about welcoming the little ones. Those that don’t understand. Those that can’t take care of themselves. Those that are not a part. Welcome them. Be an example to them. Do you realize…you are an example to someone. There is someone in your life who is watching what you do, who is learning from you. You are a person who God has established as a mentor to someone. Whether you like it or not, whether you know it or not, there is someone who is watching you. And for many of us, there are lots of someones watching us…

If we’re not bold enough to stand up and say, “I will serve the Lord because He called me,” then they may never, ever hear the truth, because then you will not be bold enough to tell them while you are there fellowshipping with them that you need to give up the way of life that you’re living and give your life to the Lord… If we’re not bold enough to do it, then who will?…

Don’t think that service comes when youwant it. Service comes when God calls you. And sometimes it’s inconvenient when God calls you… And He expects us to drop what we’re doing to serve and honor Him. Even if it’s uncomfortable, He asks us to serve Him. To give up who we are, to give up our pride, to give up our greatness, in order to welcome and be a part of the lives of those He’s trying to save.

All we need to do is offer God's Word. Share that Word as a loving neighbor. Each and every one of us...has been called. We have a directive from God. We are empowered by His Holy Spirit... Present yourself to your friends. Offer them the kingdom of God, and love, and then let God do His Work. You don't have to make anyone believe. Just offer them the opportunity to believe.

Vintage message from August 14, 2005.

Each and every one of us, I believe, is called to ministry. Every man, woman, and child that knows the Lord Jesus Christ is called to ministry. When Jesus left, when He was on His way up to go back to His Father in the cloud, He said to His disciples, “Go, therefore, into all nations making disciples.” Throughout His ministry, He called us, He commanded us, He instructed us, He encouraged us, to love one another. Do you know the greatest act of ministry that you can perform is to love your neighbor? [Do] you want to be an effective witness for the Lord Jesus Christ? [Do] you want to say that, “I am serving God, and I know I’m serving God”? Love your neighbor.

We think when we hear about ministry that we have to go somewhere: Mexico, South America, Africa, China, you know, we’ve got to go somewhere. “Oh, God, don’t call me because I don’t want to go somewhere!” Let me tell you, you have already been called. The day you said, “Lord Jesus, come into my life,” you were called. First and foremost, you were called to start loving the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your mind, with all of your soul, and all of your strength. And then you were called to love your neighbor as yourself. And if you concentrate just on those two commands, Jesus says, “All of the law and the prophets are summed up in those two commands.” Allof them. There is nothing more that you need to know in God’s Word, though we have a book full of amazing information. If you knew nothing else but those two verses, you would know all you needed to know to be an effective minister for the Lord Jesus Christ. You don’t need to go anywhere but across the street, next door, or even open your door to the person who comes knocking, and you can then be an effective minister…

We need to be careful about not being distracted in our life because God has placed a call in our life. And for us, the distractions are numerous, abundant, and costly…

The miracle is not going to make you believe. It is the Word of God and the knowledge that God’s kingdom is near, that Jesus has offered Himself to us, that makes the difference. Either you believe that or you don’t. Either you’re going to share that or you won’t. It has nothing to do with some outward manifestation of God’s power, because I tell you once again, you have seen the outward manifestation of God’s power in your life because you are sitting here today with breath in your lungs, because it takes a miracle for the muscles that makes your lungs to move in and out, to draw air in and give you life. It takes a miracle to keep that happening… It’s because God wants you to be alive that you are living today, and if you’re living today, you are living a miracle today because God has performed that miracle to give you that life. Do you believe now? If that’s all you needed was a miracle, do you believe now?…

All we need to do is offer God’s Word. Share that Word as a loving neighbor. Each and every one of us here today has been called. We have a directive from God. We are empowered by His Holy Spirit to go, and we’ve been told to go and not allow the distractions of life to stop us. Present yourself to your neighbors. Present yourself to your friends. Offer them the kingdom of God, and love, and then let God do His work. You don’t have to make anyone believe. Just offer them the opportunity to believe.

Understand, it is not up to us to save people. It is not u to us to change the world. It is up to us to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Vintage message from August 21, 2005.

We need to take this world, in the love of Jesus, through boldness. Not concerned about what we’re going to get out of it. Not concerned about what we’re going to look like. Not concerned about how we’re going to be received…

Jesus said that His Father is interested in each and every one of us right now. That the Father loves in each and every one of us right now. That the Father knows in each and every hair on our head right now. And Jesus, being full God, even though He is fully man in the flesh, standing there with His disciples, knows the love and the power and the Word of God, His Father, and He is telling us you can not believe in God and trust in God without first believing in Him, because the fact is, He is God. It is part of the mystery of the Trinity. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. A mystery that we may not fully ever understand until we’re standing before Him in His Presence, and even then I’m not sure that we’re going to fully understand, because He is eternal and has always been eternal. We’ve just started. When we’re standing before Him in eternity, we’ll just be starting. We’ll have a beginning, and though we may never have an end, it may take that forever to figure out really Who He is and the depth of His love and the depth of His greatness. The depth of His creativeness. It may take that eternity. But for me to sit here and tell you I understand completely about Who God is, I’d be lying to you. If I said I understood what the Trinity was, I’d be lying to you. I just know that there’s a Father, there’s a Son, and there’s a Holy Spirit, and that the Holy Spirit was left here with us to comfort us and to teach us, to be our blessing and our strength, to help us through our hard times right now, and that the Son came and He walked on this earth and He gave us His Word, and He sent us out to proclaim that Word to the world that is around us that is lost and dying, and then He went back to prepare a place for us. I understand that. My mind can wrap itself around that. But how He’s doing it all, I can’t tell you that I understand it all, and I’m not going to try to. But the one thing that I dounderstand, these are HisWords, “He who listens to you, listens to Me. He who rejects you, rejects Me. He who rejects Me, rejects Him Who sent Me.” You can’t believe in God, you can’t accept God and reject Jesus. You can’t believe in One without the Other, because they are One…

Understand something. The only way that we will have any effect spiritually on the lives of those that are around us, is if we do it in Jesus’ name. It’s not in our strength, it’s not in our power, and it’s not in our authority…

God’s Word is going to work, God’s Word is going to have an effect, and when we stand firm in Jesus’ name, Jesus is going to do a work through the power of His Holy Spirit…

What is it that we’re to be excited about? That we have some great spiritual authority and strength over this world? That I can stand up, and, “In the name of Jesus” chase demons out? Is that what I’m to be excited about?…

I have asked Jesus to be my Savior, and because Jesus has moved in, His Holy Spirit has come on me and come into me. Now, because He is indwelling me, He can do His work throughme. It is not about medoing it, and it’s not about me having a great ministry. It’s not about you building some great work for God so that people and God would be impressed. It is simply about making yourself useful as a vessel to the Holy Spirit of God. And the only way you are useful to the Holy Spirit of God is if your name is written in heaven; is if that Book of Life holds your name. That is the only power and authority you need…

Understand, it is not up to us to save people. It is not up to us to change this world. It is up to us to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Each one of us in this room have to come to the place of saying, “I believe.” That’s all we’re responsible for. Once we come to that place of saying, “I believe. Jesus, come into my heart,” then He steps in and takes over. He makes us a part of the body. He, then, makes it work. He, then, endows us with the power and gives us the courage and the strength to move forward in this world.

Do you know why we're saved today? Do you know why we were picked up off the side of the street rather than being left for dead? Because God had mercy. Not because we deserved it. Not because we earned it...but He had mercy.

Vintage message from August 28, 2005.

Do you realize there is not a man, woman, or child alive on the face of this planet who deserve anythingfrom God, other than His rejection and being sent to hell? If we get what we deserve— and I thank God that we do notget what we deserve every time — if we got what we deserve, there would be no onealive to stand with God from the human race. From Adam, all the way through to every person alive on the earth today, have lived in sin and have been separated from God and are deserving of being cast away…

You know what? I’m a believer. I asked Jesus into my life, and I still understand today that I do not deservethis great blessing that I’ve received. I understand it to be God’s great mercy to us…

Do you know why we’re saved today? Do you know why we were picked up off the side of the street rather than being left for dead? Because God had mercy, not because we deserved it, not because we earned it, not because we are His children and He hasto give us this inheritance, but He had mercy. He desiresto show us mercy, and He desires for us to show one another mercy…

Salvation doesn’t come through cleverness. Salvation doesn’t come because we deserve it. Salvation comes because of a merciful God, and He has asked us to step out into this world and make brothers and sisters for ourselves. To live in a way with our neighbor that they know what salvation is because we have shown mercy to them. That we have engaged them in a relationship that doesn’t look down on them because of their sin, does not look down on them because of who they are or what they’ve done, but shows mercy because God showed mercy to us. Not everyone that we encounter will be saved, not everyone that we know and have shared the gospel with will respond in the way that we want them to respond, but that’s not our place… It is up to us to take the knowledge that He has given to us and share it mercifully with those that we encounter. Instead of judging and condemning and placing a burden on people, and saying, “When you’ve done X amount of work, then you can be saved.” We need to be honest and say, “But for the grace of God…”

You know what? I should be lost. I should be left on the side of the road, but God didn’t abandon me. God has loved me. God has forgiven me many, many, many times over, and God desires for me to do the same. To love and to forgive and to show mercy from the littlest of them to the oldest of them. And He has asked each one of us to allow His Holy Spirit to do that through us.

Our responsibility, first and foremost, is to the relationship that we have with Jesus Christ.

Vintage message from September 4, 2005. 

It’s one thing to knowwhat you’re responsible to do for God. It’s another thing to do what Jesus desires for us to do for Him. You know what? It is not about living to a requirement of the law. It is not about fulfilling something that is going to impress God…

Our neighbors are whoever God brings along our path. Our neighbors are those that God puts in our heart. He asks us to be a part of their lives, pray for, encourage, and build, and sometimes these neighbors come in the form of total strangers who happen to walk into our life one day and are in need of a little assistance, or in need of someone to wrap their arms around them and pray for them. To reach into their pocket and take them out for a meal. Give them a shower. Give them a couch to lay on for a few hours to rest. These are our neighbors…

Praise God, though, I have not gotten everything I deserve. If God gave each one of us what we deserved and caused us to make our own way through what we deserve, every one of us would be sitting here hurting today… No man has the capability of ever taking advantage of God. God knows their hearts, God knows what they’re about, and God will deal with them, but they’re still our neighbor, and we have a responsibility to God to meet the need of our neighbor… Verse 37 opens a world of ministry to us. “Go and do likewise.” Go and do what? Have mercy. Mercy isn’t about whether or not someone deserves what [trouble] they’re in. Mercy is about us extending love to them regardless of what they deserve. And I’m saying, we, too, desire that mercy because we will, from time to time, need mercy extended to us…

You know what? You may be open to the Lord. You may give your life over to the Lord. You may be willing to serve the Lord. But so often we find ourselves distracted. We’re willing to serve. We’re willing to do things for God. But what is it that God desires of us?…

“Don’t You care?” What a question to ask Jesus! “Don’t You care, God?” How many times have we found ourselves in the midst of some hardship or disaster, and we look up to God and say, “God, don’t You care?…” How many times have we asked the question?… We challenge God in this way all the time. We think, somehow, oursituation warrants God’s attention more than what God is already doing, more than what God desires for us, what God has allowed for us to face…

There is only one important thing in this life that we have to remember: that the relationship that we have with Jesus, the time that we can spend with Him, is the most important. There is nothing more important than you getting up each day and starting your day walking with the God Who created you, the God Who sacrificed Himself for you, our Lord and Savior Who shed His blood for us. There is nothing more important than starting your day with Him; walking through that day with Him…

How many times do we get trapped into wondering what people are thinking about us because we are living outside the social norm? When we wear a Christian t-shirt, perhaps, or we’re carrying our Bible? Do we wonder what people are thinking about us…?

Our responsibility, first and foremost, is to the relationship that we have with Jesus Christ. Die and you will be separated from God for all eternity. That, to me, is socially unacceptable. And it was so socially unacceptable that God did something about it. He made a way so we could live within Hissociety, that we could understand Hisdesires, that we could live the way that He desired for us to live. He made it possible. He gave His blood. He gave His flesh so that we could be socially acceptable, but socially acceptable in a kingdom that we have yet to see. That is the society that we need to be worried about, that we need to be concerned about. And guess what? You’re not going to get thereby doing the socially acceptable thing here. You’re going to get thereby living your life in love relationship and sitting at the feet of Jesus. By knowing Him, receiving Him, and being a part of Who He is, and then doing what He’s doing.

So often our problems are directly related to the amount of time we've spent away from God's Word.

Vintage message from September 11, 2005.

But sometimes we put the need for caring for the things of the world above our need to just stop and sit before the Lord, to hear His Word, to study His Word, to take His Word in, and to understand His heart and His love for us. We have a lot of problems in this world, and I believe the reason we have problems in this world is because people do not care what the Lord thinks anymore. They do not care what Jesus says anymore. They do not care about God’s Word anymore. They have become so busy about their lives and making their money and building their little kingdoms and putting food on their table, that they’ve not stopped to consider, what does God think?

Do you stop and consider, what does God think? What does God’s Word say? How would God have us to live? Do you stop and take that time through your week and say, “Lord Jesus, what do You expect from me?” This is why we have problems. So often our problems are directly related to the amount of time we’ve spent away from God’s Word. And I find that, when I’ve spent time in God’s Word, it doesn’t matter what’s happening. The pressures of the scenario that I’m facing in life are a lot less because I have God’s Word as my foundation, and I have wisdom and guidance that allows me, then, to face whatever struggle I’m facing with confidence. I don’t have to be afraid, and I don’t have to work excessively hard to put food on my table because I know that Jesus promised to provide. And so it is better that we take that time and sit before Him. In fact, He blesses that time…

By the way, the more literally you can take God’s Word, the better off you are…

Do you recognize the holiness of God? Do you see God as being holy? Not just powerful. Not just able to zap you with lightning and put you in the grave. You know, this is how we view God so often… He’s a holy God. And you know what? In His holiness, He doesn’t need to zap us with lightning. Just knowing that He’s holy. If you were ever to walk into His Presence, you wouldn’t need lightning. You would know that He is holy, and you are not. I am not. We are a shameful, sinful people, and just the fact that God is holy reminds us of who we are and the condition that we need to deal with. We need to approach God as though He’s holy, and so when you pray, when you come before God, acknowledge His holiness. Acknowledge Him for Who He is…

Have you ever considered what God’s will might be for your life? Do you take into account when you get up each morning what God’s will might be for you today?… When you pray, are you asking God for Hiswill to be done? Are you asking for Hiskingdom? Are you asking for Hisdesires? Are you asking for the things that He wants to see happen on this earth? Are you asking that He accomplish that through you? This is how we should be praying…

So often when we pray — when we pray only that God give to us — He becomes nothing more than Santa Claus, the great gift giver, and He is notthe great gift giver. He is the greatest Giver of the greatest Gift. He doesn’t want us to come to Him only because we want, because we think we need. Jesus is saying acknowledge Him for Who He is: a holy, loving God. And then we simply ask Him to provide for us what? Our daily bread. It’s not just asking for bread, but asking that He provide for those needs that you have each day…

Do you recognize each day that you have issues of sin in your life that need to be dealt with? That God has afforded us forgiveness when we seek forgiveness?…

But part of having that relationship with Him is also understanding your sin condition and confessing those sins and being right with Him. Each and every day recognizing when you’ve stumbled and you’ve fallen and allowing Him, then, to forgive what you’ve done. By seeking forgiveness from Him, you acknowledge what you did and Who He is. What He did is shed His blood, and Who He is is the great sin Forgiver. If it were not for Jesus dying on the cross, we would all be left to our own device within this world to try to figure out how to be right with God to get to heaven. And guess what? None of us would make it. Jesus says pray. That’s all you have to do. Ask for forgiveness. Seek that forgiveness. But also be willing to forgive others…

Part of understanding the love of God, part of understanding what Jesus did for us, in forgiving us, is that then we turn and forgive others; that we interact with them in forgiveness…

And there are things that some people do that we just do not want to forgive. Understand something: that thing that you do not want to forgive somebody else of, ask yourself, do I want God to forgive me? Would I want God to forgive me if I did that exact same thing? If you want God to forgive you, then you need to be also willing to forgive others…

When you pray, have a desire in your heart to know God personally, to interact with God in such a way that you desire more of Him than you do of yourself, and that we get away from this thing of praying only, “Lord, I have need. Lord, I have need. Lord, I have need…”

We fall into this bad habit so often of only praying for one thing: me. Isn’t that all I need to be concerned about? Me! That’s not what [the Lord’s Prayer] is saying. This prayer has very little to do with meother than having my daily needs met, but it has to do with me acknowledging God. It has to do with me acknowledging the need for His kingdom. And it has me needing to forgive others. And then it shows that I need to be protected from myself because of the sin that I would live in. It’s the heart attitude that Jesus is speaking to. It is the desire that God has for us to be in relationship with Him, that Jesus is teaching here. God has not made it impossible for us to approach Him, and you do not have to feel that it is impossible to approach God, but you approach God with a heart attitude that says, “I know Who You are. I acknowledge Who You are. I know who I am, and I acknowledge who I am, and I ask You to forgive me for who I am. Meet my needs. Help me to forgive others and to establish Your kingdom.

I believe prayer is the most important thing you can do in your day. Communicating with God. And as you pray, then you turn to His Word and take in that food that strengthens you... You can't just read the Bible and expect to be strong, though. You also have to pray.

Vintage message from September 18, 2005.

There is nothing about God that is selfish, but yet we, even though oftentimes are calling ourselves Christians, find ourselves only thinking about us. Me! But yet, God, sitting on His throne, running this universe without needingme, saw that I had a need, and knew that because of my evil and my wickedness, that I would never, ever find my way to Him, and so He sacrificed. I didn’t have to ask Him to do it. I didn’t have to manipulate Him to do it, because it is said, before the foundations of this earth God made the sacrifice. Christ was crucified. Long before I had even a glimmer of thought, God was already seeing to my need. He volunteered it. He gave up a part of Himself. He walked on this earth, and He dwelt amongst the evil that was here, and He tried to reason with men. But you know how hard it is to reason with men who are only thinking wickedly, selfishly? Seeking to fulfill their own position in life? Jesus was not about fulfilling His own position in life. He is the King. He is declared to be the King by the Father, but yet it wasn’t His throne that He came to fulfill. It was because we were lost in sin that He came, and He came to fulfill for His Father the need that His Father had: to have fellowship with us. The desire that His Father had: to have fellowship with us. The longing that His Father had: to have fellowship with us. He came for those reasons. And everything that He asked when He would pray, He asked for His Father’s sake and for our sake and not for His own…

When do we pray? And why do we pray? When is our prayer effective? Our prayer is effective when it is prayed out of selflessness, when it is prayed because we have a desire to be right with God, and we have a desire to see others right with God…

The best gift you can have, the one thing that you can have that will meet all of your need — all of it, one hundred percent… You have need, and that need can only be met through the Holy Spirit. “So I say to you, ask and it will be given to you.” Do you desire to be right with the Father? Do you desire to have a good relationship with God in heaven? First you’ve got to recognize that you’re separated from Him, and you’re separated from Him because of evil in your life, so, “Lord, forgive me. Forgive me for who I am and what I’ve become in life. Forgive me because I need Your forgiveness, and Lord, help me to forgive others around me so that then I can be right with You.” This is how we pray. This is what touches God’s heart: when we step away from our own selfish motivation and say, “Lord, it is about You. You know what? My neighbor needs You… What can I do? How can I be a part of that? Give me, Lord, the things I need so that I can be a part of what You’re doing in this earth to bring people to know You. Give me what I need, Lord, so that my need is met so that I’m strengthened, so that I can be the very best use to You.”

This is how we pray. And we do it all starting in the context of, “God, You are holy. You are mighty. You are deserving. You are the Master of this universe, not me. You are the Master of my life, not me…”

I believe prayer is the most important thing you can do in your day. Communicating with God. And as you pray, then you turn to His Word and take in that food that strengthens you from His Word. You can’t just read the Bible and expect to be strong, though. You also have to pray… So often we avoid prayer, and I hear people say, “Oh, I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to ask for.” Do you know somebody else? I guarantee you, everybody in this room knows somebody else. If you don’t know what to pray for, pray for them. Say, “Lord, meet theirneed. Father, be theirstrength.” You know, you don’t have to pray just for yourself, and you don’t have to get clever in conversation. God is not going to be impressed with our clever words, our vocabulary… He wants all of us to seek after Him and to talk to Him. And our prayers are the most effective when those prayers are brought to God on behalf of those that are around us who have need… Then it is the Holy Spirit that is glorified, and it is God on His throne Who is glorified. It is not wewho are glorified…

There is nothing we can do to impress Him, but we can touch His heart when we pray appropriately, when we come to Him boldly, when we seek after Him, when we ask Him, and when we find ourselves knocking because the need is that great…

It doesn’t matter what time of day or night you come to God. When you start knocking, He’s there listening. And if what you’re desiring is to meet that need of a friend, to bring the Living Bread, the real Bread, the life-giving Bread to your friend who’s stopped in and has need, the door will be opened. The good gift that you will receive is the Holy Spirit. This is what God desires for us.

Part of obeying the Word is admitting that you have sin, admitting that you have problems in your life, admitting that you need God to clean up your mess. It's part of obeying the Word. It's not that we're going to be perfect. God want to bless us by engaging us in His Word...

Vintage message from September 25 2005.

It’s not by our own authority. We do not stand in our own strength and our own authority when we face this world around us. When we step outside of these doors and we encounter the world, it is not in our own strength that we’re going to stand. There is not one of us, without the power of God’s Holy Spirit, that can stand against the onslaught of this world. We will fall to it every time…because we can not stand in the face of the world in our own strength and our own flesh. But we canovercome because, guess what? The kingdom of God has come amongst us. The power and the authority of that kingdom indwells us if we receive Jesus into our life. As we walk in that power and authority, then the world can not harm us. It can throw its fiery darts at us. We may be uncomfortable from time to time. I’m not saying that life is going to be rosy for you. In fact, you can be very uncomfortable in this life, but have victory over the battle that’s raging around you. You will not be defeated by it if you’re standing in the name of Jesus…

There is no Switzerland in the battle between the kingdom of heaven and Satan. By not choosing Jesus, you have already chosen the world. Already. And you are a house, and there are very strong demonic forces that would take over that house and would fight tooth and nail to keep the possessions that they have. But when a stronger Man comes, when a stronger Opponent comes — and guess what? There is none stronger than Jesus — that strong man [Satan] looses and his armor is stripped away… Then He [Jesus] says, “He who is not with me is against Me.” Guess what? If you are not with Jesus, you are against Him, and you will be scattered if you are not gathering with Him…

If you are trying to deal with spiritual things in your life or in other peoples’ lives, and you are not doing it in the Name and the strength and the power and the authority of Jesus Christ, you are playing with things that you do not understand…

Like I said, there is no neutral ground. You either have the Holy Spirit of God in you, or you have the world in you and all that comes with this world. And what comes with this world are the demonic hordes that are seeking to destroy us… Jesus is truly the only Strong Man that can overpower the wickedness that grows inside of men, but it’s got to be done in Him, and we must gather with Him because once we gather with Him, we allow Him to come in, then the house is filled. Satan will not come into a house where Jesus is dwelling. He can not. He will not…

Jesus is making a point to us. We need Him. We need His power. We need His authority. We need His involvement in our life. Without His involvement, we are lost to this world. We are lost to the decay that comes from this world. And we could end up in a far worse mess in the end if we’re not walking in the name and the person of Jesus Christ than when we started the walk to begin with. Don’t play with religion. Don’t go to church just to go to church and feel good…

Part of obeying the Word is confessing your sin. Part of obeying the Word is admitting that you have sin, admitting that you have problems in your life, admitting that you need God to clean up your mess. It’s part of obeying the Word. It’s not that we’re going to be perfect. God wants to bless us by engaging us in His Word and showing us our lives and showing us the messes that we’ve made; showing us how the world has entered in and corrupted us. And once we’ve engaged His Word, the blessing comes.

Do you realize you are a flashlight? God has created each of us with an ability to shine, and we have batteries that need to be charged from time to time... We are meant to shine brightly in a dark world.

Vintage message from October 2, 2005.

You know why we have problems? It’s either because we are obeying God’s Word and the rest of the world does not agree with how we obey God’s Word, or we’re not obeying God’s Word. And I would venture a guess that, for most of us when we find ourselves in trouble, when we find ourselves struggling, when we find ourselves hurting, when we find ourselves confused, it’s because we have not been here in God’s Word. We have not been obeying God’s Word. Obeying God’s Word is a huge commitment because you have to knowGod’s Word to obey it. You have to be in God’s Word to know what His Word says so you know how to obey it. There is a commitment to time, there is a commitment to God, there is a commitment to God’s Holy Spirit, to give your life over in order to understand and know His Word in order to obey it.

But do you want a blessing? Do you want to be blessed in your life? I hear people say all the time, “I wish God would just bless me.” You want to be blessed? Obey God’s Word…

Do you realize you are a flashlight here today? God has created each of us with an ability to shine, and we have batteries that need to be charged from time to time. Just like a flashlight, if it’s not kept properly, the batteries will go out or the bulb will burn out. You have to properly maintain a flashlight in order for it to be useful when you need it. Let the lights go out, and you become convinced very rapidly that you need that flashlight. We are the light that this world needs…

But we are meant to be a light. We are meant to shine brightly in a dark world. We are meant to expose for this world the conditions of sin that its living in. But understand, before you can burn bright enough to expose the sin that the world is living in, you’ll have had to shined bright enough in your own life to expose your own sin, because it is our sin that keeps our batteries dim, and our ability to see cloudy… If I deal with my sin, I confess my sin to Him, if I make that right, then I see clearly. I can move forward…

Jesus did not intend for this light to be hidden. When it is dark out, we want light. Guess what? There is a world around us that is walking in darkness, and they need and want light. We are those candles, we are those flashlights, we are those sources of light to this lost and dark world, and our power source comes directly from God’s Word, from God’s Spirit, from God’s love.

It's truly not about you. It's truly not about me. It's about loving the way God wants us to love.

Vintage message from October 9, 2005.

If you see only yourself, if you see only your need, if you see only your struggle, then you need to start thinking of a light bulb change. Your light may have gone out or has grown so dim that nobody can see, and you can’t see because there’s no light shining for you to see clearly. When the eyes are good, you’re discerning spiritual things, and you are seeing what God is doing out there. God loves us. God will meet our needs. God will give us our strength. God will give us what we need to have in order to endure through this life, and He’s made us that promise, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Isn’t that what He said? We can depend on that. But you know what? There’s a world out there who doesn’t necessarily know that or believe that…

People, just like moths, are attracted to the light. When we are lost in darkness, we desire light. People will be attracted to that. Are you being a light? Are you living your life in such a way that you become a lamp that shines to those that are around you?…

It’s not about how people perceive us. It is truly only about what God does through us, and how we allow Him to use us…

You know what? The truth, many times, hurts. The truth is meant to expose us. If you were living the way God wants you to live, guess what the truth is going to expose? That you are living the way God wants you to live. But if you are not living the way God wants you to live, then the truth is going to expose that as well, and it hurts, and God’s Word isthe truth…

It is your responsibility to pick up God’s Word and study for yourself. It is your responsibility to interact with God through His Word…

My question is, do we think we’re clever? How do we use God’s Word? Why do we turn to God’s Word? So often, I have to admit, I turn to God’s Word so that I can find a way out of my trouble; so that I can find encouragement for myself; so that I can say, “I’ve fulfilled my obligation to you this week, God.” God checks my motives so often, and He reminds me so often that it is not about me. It truly is not about me. It is not about my life. It is not about my comforts. It is not about my desires. It is about His desire to save a lost and dying world. To reach out to me. To be a light that shines brightly so that they can see…

It’s truly not about me. Can you say that? Can you say that to yourself and to God? It is not about me. It’s not about my comfort. It’s not about my desire. I whine like it is, but it truly is not. God loves us. God desires for us to love Him and to love others. The only way we can do that is to see Him for the truth in His Word and allow that truth to permeate us, to begin to shine within us so that we can see outside of ourselves and begin to discern spiritual things. To see the Spirit of God working outside in the world around us. And then when others become more important than me. Then I’m truly beginning to see appropriately. My eyes have become good. A light shines in me… It’s truly not about you. It’s truly not about me. It’s about loving the way God wants us to love.

You know, it's not about me telling you how to live your life. I have a hard enough time living my life. It's not about me showing you the way. Jesus already showed us the way.

Vintage message from October 16, 2005.

We find ourselves, so often, angry at God. It all has to do with this hypocrisy. We think that we are good people until God starts exposing who we truly are. We don’t likethat, so we get mad at God. And you know what? There have been a few times I have had arguments with Jesus… We can get angry at God. We can yell at God… And you know what? He’s going to forgive that. He’s happy to forgive that because He’s in the forgiving business. But He tells us, blaspheme against the Holy Spirit, you won’t be forgiven…

And [Jesus] was warning even His disciples, be careful about where you believe your salvation comes from and how that happens, and it all has to do with this hypocrisy. “I’m good enough. I don’t need God’s salvation. I can make my own way to heaven. There are many roads to heaven, and my way is one of them.” Jesus, in the book of John, stood in front of His disciples the night that He was arrested and said emphatically, “Iam the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by Me.” He didn’t mince words. He didn’t make a mistake. He didn’t stutter. He said, “I’m the only way. There are not many ways to heaven. There arenot many roads to heaven. There is oneroadone way, and I’mit.” You either believe that or you don’t. And if you are choosing to get to heaven by any other road, if you think that you are good enough, if you think that you are great enough, to make it into the halls of heaven on your own, you have begun to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. If you think by your own works, by your own cleverness, that God somehow has to accept you, you have begun to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. And that ultimate blaspheme that will not be forgiven doesn’t happen until that moment when you are laying at death’s door, that door is opened to you, and you still, in defiance, say, “No, I do not need Your help,” and there are a lot of men who die that way. “I did it myway.” And those men will stand before God and they will hear Him say, “Depart from Me. You didn’t make it. I can’t forgive that…”

You know, it’s not about me telling you how to live your life. I have a hard enough time living mylife. It’s not about me showing you the way. Jesus already showed us the way. You know, I need to be worried about how I’minteracting with God. Now, I can tell you what His Word says…

And God has made us a promise. Jesus, right here, has just made us a promise that we can depend on the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will be there to help us through. He doesn’t say that He’s going to keep us from those hard times. We would think that a truly loving God would protect us from that! But the fact is, a truly loving God has a world to save, and those people who are lost in the world are going through those same struggles, and if He only kept believers out of trouble, there would be no one there to lift up and be an encouragement to those that aren’t believers. He allows us to go through the hard times so that the world sees us and sees how we respond. That we will always respond in the power of God’s Holy Spirit. We trust Him. We clean up our hearts if we are on our guard, aware of what we’re doing. We’re allowing Jesus Christ to be for us our salvation.

Why do we worry? Why do we toil?... Jesus already told us, it's about relationship with Him... It's about having an eternal relationship. It's not about keeping this flesh alive. It's about living in this flesh until He chooses to take us out of this flesh.

Vintage message from October 30, 2005.

How many of you worry about sharing your faith because of what someone might think of you? How many of you keep your mouths closed because you’re worried about how you might be perceived or received? Jesus says, do not worry about how you will defend yourself. You know what? It is not about you defending yourself, because it is not about you. Your faith in Jesus Christ is about Him. The love that God has for us is about Him. It’s not about us. It’s truly not about us. It is about the love that God had for us. He created us so He could have love relationship with us, so He says, do not worry about how you will defend yourself or what you will say for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say. God has not asked us to stand up in this world on our own. He has given us His Holy Spirit. He has empowered us and strengthened us…

What happens when God demands our lives from us? Are we going to grasp hold of those things that we’ve earned, the abundance that we’ve stored up for ourselves, and drag it along with us, and slam it down before the throne of God and say, “See, God, I am deserving. I am worthy because look at all that I have!” Are we going to do that? I don’t think so. None of that stuff is going to go with us or be used for us. And Jesus asked the question, then who will get it? What will happen to it? All that that you’ve earned for yourself, where is it going to go?…

God is not telling you to not have some provision for yourself for your future. He’s not saying that. What He is saying is, in building that provision for your future, you need to be building provision in heaven as well. You need to be building a relationship with Jesus Christ, walking with God, looking to eternity, rather than just tomorrow. You know what? There are people, many people, who have built huge retirement accounts for themselves, just to get to that day of retirement to lose everything they have. It has happened many times through history. People who play the stock market. One day they’ll be up, the next day they’ll be down, and every time the stock market crashes, people will jump off of buildings because they’ve lost everything they had. They put all their faith in the abundance of their own wealth, but they were not rich toward God. We are to be concerned about that relationship that we have with heaven. We are to be concerned about that relationship that we have that is going to take us into eternity. It is not wrong to supply for your family and for your need for the future. It’s not wrong to do that. But in doing that, how do you build up toward God? By taking some of that abundance and looking around you and seeing with your abundance how you can meet the needs of other people around you. God has given us great avenues for sharing who we are and what we have. And standing up in the Name and the Person of Jesus and sharing the love that He has shared with us. Giving back because He has given to us. God has given us a great abundance just in the love that He poured out for us on the cross…

Why do we worry? Why do we toil? These are the questions that Jesus is asking us. He’s already told us, it is about relationship with Him. It is about acknowledging Him before His Father and before this world and before anybody who will listen. It’s about having an eternal relationship. It’s not about keeping this flesh alive. It’s about living in this flesh until He chooses to take us out of this flesh and being fulfilled every moment that we’re in this flesh. Fulfilled in the way that God desires for us to be fulfilled; in love relationship with Him.

Where is your foundation? Where is your strength? Who are you putting your trust in? See, it's not about what you're going to face tomorrow. It's about Who you're facing tomorrow with.

Vintage message from November 6, 2005.

Jesus says you don’t have to worry about you. Your Father in heaven knows who you are. And this is the crux of it. You know what it is? We’re afraid. Notice how He says that? Verse 32, “Do not be afraid.” You know why we seek to store up for ourself? Because we’re afraid of what tomorrow is going to bring. We’re afraid that tomorrow is going to happen and we’re not going to have enough… You know, we don’t have to be afraid fo tomorrow. Tomorrow is going to come, and tomorrow is going to go, and God will be in charge of tomorrow just as He is today. And He tells us today to not be afraid. We are His flock. We are His sheep. We are those that He tends and cares for. He knows what we need. He is not going to let us go under, but He will let us choose to walk away. He will let us choose to not trust Him. He will let us choose to be afraid. He will let us choose to hoard for ourself. He’ll let us choose that life, but with that life comes the thieves who want to break in…

There is very little in this life that has so much value that we should cling to it when we see need around us, but yet we will cling to those little things that we have and fail to help those that are in our life and our sphere of influence. We let them suffer because, gosh, if I give it away then I won’t have it, and then what if I need it? Well, if you need it, God will provide it then, just as you provided for your neighbor. That is what it is about, but we fear, and we do not see God’s pleasure in our life…

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased.” Did you near that? God the Father has been pleased. To do what? Notice He’s not pleased with me, but He’s pleased with Himself because He has an abundance, and He’s giving that abundance to us. He has been pleased to give it to us freely. He’s not asking anything more of us than to just simply receive it. To trust Him and receive it. But we are filled with mistrust and fear, and when somebody comes to us and offers us a free gift, we’re like, “Okay, what strings are attached? What’s it going to really cost me?…”

Is your treasure in heaven? Are you looking forward to an eternity with God? Are you looking forward to an eternity being in love with Jesus Christ? Are you looking forward to an eternity that is going to take us into an amazing creation that we have yet to even see a scratch of? You can walk around this world a hundred times and look at all that there is that God has created, and you’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what God has created for us… Is that where your treasure is? Do you desire those things? Let me tell you, the things that we have here are nothing. They’re meaningless…

Everything that Jesus is teaching here has to do with an attitude of heart. An attitude that makes us ready. If we have an abundance of things that we are attached to, are we ready to go if the Master asks us to go? What if you felt like you were called today to go on a missions trip. Could you go? Could you easily walk away from the life that you have, the things that you have, and go on a missions trip? What if that missions trip required you to be gone for a long time? Are you ready and prepared for that? To step out and serve God the way He might call you to serve Him?…

How powerful is your God? Do you truly believe that God is powerful in your life today? Do you truly believe that God desires for your needs to be met today? Do you believe that? If you believe that, then start living like you believe that. Stop worrying about tomorrow. Stop being afraid for tomorrow, and start reaching out and serving and living your life to meet the needs that are around you. We are called to be servants…

We’ve seen a lot of disasters over this last year happen in our country, and there are people who stand up and curse God for it, and some who’ve stood up and praised God for bringing them through it. Which one would we be?… Where is your foundation? Where is your strength? Who are you putting your trust in? Are you putting your trust in a job that you’re going to, or are you putting your trust in the One Who provides all things for you, including that job? See, it’s not about what you’re going to face tomorrow. It’s about Who you’re facing tomorrow with.

Where is your heart? What are you putting your faith in? Are you putting your faith in your own ability? Or are you putting your faith in God’s ability to see you through? It’s about God seeing you through. It’s always about God seeing you through.

If we are faithful servants, we will tell the truth that our Master has asked us to tell. We will be faithful to that truth...

Vintage message from November 13, 2005.

What has God entrusted you with? …Everyone in this room has been entrusted with something… We’ve all been given a responsibility, and so often we reject, turn away from, and ignore that responsibility. But you have now been entrusted. God’s Holy Spirit was given you a call in your life to know and to let others know about the Person of Jesus. You have a responsibility, and you have been given…much, and now much will be required of you. I don’t care what your situation in life is. I don’t care how little you think you have or how little ability you think you have. God has given you the tools. He has given you all that you need to be responsible. He has called you servant, but the only way to truly serve and be responsible is to ask Jesus into your life and to have Him as your Lord and Savior. Let Him be your Master, and then wait patiently and serve diligently for Him to come…

We live in the flesh, and it is our flesh that we desire to fulfill. He has to bring a fire to burn that flesh away. He reaches into our heart. He reaches into our mind. He’s given us responsibility, He’s given us a call, He’s asked us to respond to it, and we ignore it. And then what do we hear the world around us saying? “But we desire peace! Peace and safety! We shouldn’t be fighting!” Well, what is it we’re fighting over? You know what most of the wars in this world have been fought for? Over Who Jesus is. Over what responsibility we have to God. Who’s God is stronger. Can there truly be peace on this earth? Not until Jesus comes and settles the matter. Until then, we are asked to stand faithfully in the truth of Who Jesus is. And if you are truly standing firm in the Person and faith in Jesus Christ, there can be no peace because you automatically bring division to this world…

[Jesus] says, I’ve given you all the things you need. I am your provision. God knows. God is watching. God cares. God will meet your needs. He will put food in your stomach, and He will put a roof over your head. You don’t have to worry about those things. You know what you have to worry about? Are you living for Him? Are you trusting Him? Are you giving Him your attention?…

If we are faithful servants, we will tell the truth that our Master has asked us to tell. We will be faithful to that truth because our Master has asked us to be faithful to it. We can live our lives, and we can try to be at peace with all men, and we can hide the knowledge that we have, but Jesus is watching. God is paying attention…

Is your heart right with God today?… Are there other things in our heart that we’re hiding? Are there ways that we are dishonoring God with our life? Are there ways that we are mistreating the other servants? Are there ways that we are not using what God has given to us for His glory? Are we giving the servants their portion of food at the proper time? What is the food of God but His Word? Are we taking opportunity to share what we know in God’s Word with other people? Are we taking those opportunities? Or are we ignoring them? Are we living for ourselves? Are we hoarding for ourselves? Are we looking only to meet myneed? “When my need is met, then I’ll think about God! When God gives me what I want, then I’ll think about serving God.” I hear it all the time. I hear people say it all the time. “Me first, then God.” Well, you know what? The longer you carry that attitude, the greater risk you run of the Master returning and catching you off guard.

God wants us to always, always, feel welcome close to Him.

Vintage message from November 27, 2005.

And sometimes we think because bad things are happening in our life that God has abandoned us but, in fact, it’s the opposite. God has notabandoned us. When those rough things start happening in our lives, it is usually because God lovesus, because He is packing manure around us. He is making life stinkfor us, but He is giving us the life-saving nutrients that we need that will cause fruit to grown. And yet, we resent those times. We become angry in those times. We don’t want those times when our life stinks. We don’t wanttrouble in our life, but the fact is, if it wasn’t for trouble in your life, you would have no reason, I would have no reason, to turn to God and give Him any attention whatsoever. We give attention to those things that we can see, to those things that we can touch, to those things that we can experience, and so God says fine, I’ll give you some things that you can experience that you’re not going to like, and you’ll need to turn to me to resolve them. And we are forced, then, to our knees. We are forced to that place in God’s Word where only God can meet us, and God begins to resolve those issues of our life and draw us close to Him. And then, we begin to interact with other people in such a way that fruit is displayed. They can see the work of God in us. And so, rather than despising those moments in our life where God allows for us to be uncomfortable, where He causes the hard times to come to us, rather than allowing those times to be times of misery and resentment, those are the times that we need to be the most thankful. That if you can look past the hardship, you will see that God is there…

God wants us to always, always feel welcome close to Him. It doesn’t matter what you’re going through. It doesn’t matter if you have an illness. It doesn’t matter if you’re blind or crippled. It doesn’t matter if you’re the most intelligent person in this room. God desires for us, all of us, to know that we are welcome close to Him, in His presence…

[Jesus] says make every effort to enter through the narrow door or the narrow gate. Many other places Jesus says, “I amthe gate, I amthe door, I amthe way in, and I am the One Who is the gate to the sheep pen. No one comes or goes unless they come through Me.” Jesus was very narrow-minded. And guess what? If you believe in Jesus, and you trust Jesus for your salvation, you are very narrow-minded, and the world will accuse you of being very narrow-minded. Thank you. Thank you for recognizing in me the teaching of Jesus Christ. You can ridicule me all you want, but this is what Jesus taught, and I will not move one inch from what Jesus taught. Where salvation is concerned, it is very narrow, and it is difficult because people don’t want to hear that Jesus is the only way…

What effort have you made today to enter in through the narrow door? What effort have you made to help your neighbor to know the door is narrow but they need to go through it? “Because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” They will try, but they try to bring their luggage with them. They try to bring all the things of their life that they think is right. It is so hard for us to leave our flesh behind. We want to tell God, “You’re wrong. I don’t need to change. You need to change. Oh, but please save me. I want salvation, Lord, but I want to live my life the way I want to live my life. I want to do what I want to do. Oh, but God, I love you, really.” We are all this way. In our lives, we will look up to God and say, “God, I am not going to change. I will live the way I want to live. Oh but, by the way, I want to be saved, too.” The door is narrow, and there will be many who will try to enter and will not be able to. You can not bring your flesh with you. You can not bring the things of the flesh with you. The only way you can enter through is through truth, and the truth is I’m a sinner, and I need to die to myself, and I need to ask Jesus to forgive me and to deal with my flesh, to rid me of my flesh…

And what does [Jesus] say here twice? “I do not know you.” What is this about? Getting to know God so that He knows you. It is about personal relationship, and Jesus has told us how to have that personal relationship. “To all those who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” All we must do, all we need do, is receive Who Jesus is and what He’s done. That’s a hard one to swallow for many people, very hard, because we want to do something…

You know, it’s not about doing anything to help God so that your sin can be forgiven. All you need to do is ask, and He forgives the sin. In fact, when Jesus died on the cross, when His blood was shed, the issue of sin was dealt with. Salvation was offered and given. There will be no man who will stand before God the Father at the judgement and be denied entrance because he was a sinner, because if we were denied entrance because we’re sinners, the guess what? None of us will be allowed in. It’s not about the sin. Jesus died for the sin once and for all. It’s about knowledge, now. Do you knowJesus and that He died for your sin and washed it away?…

Does God know you today? You may know about Him, you may have association with Him, but I need to ask the question. Have you received Jesus into your life? Have you asked Him to be a part of your life so that you know Him on a personal level? Or, do you just play church? Do you just show up because it’s the thing to do because you want to impress your neighbor?

I'm going to continue to do my Father's work. I'm going to continue to spread the love that my Father had for me. I'm going to be bold. I'm going to step out. I'm not going to run away.

Vintage message from December 4, 2005.

If you are trying to impress God, guess what? Stop. It’s not going to happen. It doesn’t work. God is not impressed with our efforts. God loves us already. He doesn’t want us performing for Him. If we do things, He wants it to be done because we love Him, and we know He loves us. When we help other, it needs to be done because we love Him, and we know He loves us, not because we are performing for Him…

Do you realize that if God has called you, you do not need to be afraid of this world? It is not the world that controls your destiny. It is not the world that controls what you’re about. It is not the world that tells you how to live your life. It is God’s Holy Spirit that tells us how to live and how to die and when to die…

Don’t fear death. It’s going to come. You know what we need to be afraid of is that we have not made every effort to know the One Who loves us; that we’ve made every effort to share that love with others to enter through the narrow door…

No one can prevent you from living for God… Your life and your destiny are in God’s hands…

We’re all alive, right? That means you have time to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with somebody. You have time to share the love of God with somebody. You have today. You have tomorrow. You have the number of days that God has given you, and those days are controlled by Him… I better get busy and open my mouth and tell people, “Jesus loves you…”

Only you and the power of God’s Holy Spirit can control what you do…

We do not have to be sidetracked by the world, though we are often sidetracked by the world. We are offered this and offered that, and we allow money to rule everything, and then wonder why we get so afraid when someone starts talking about death…

I’m going to continue to do my Father’s work. I’m going to continue to spread the love that my Father had for me. I’m going to be bold. I’m going to step out. I’m not going to run away. This is what Jesus is saying. This is the example that Jesus is laying out for us, and then was even willing to love and mourn for those who would take His life…

He desires for us to see His love. He desires for us to understand what our salvation is and how we come to it. And He desires for us to see the vastness of all that He’s created and then know that, in the midst of all that He’s created, He loves you, and He loves me. And we don’t have to be afraid. My destiny is not in the hands of this world. My destiny is not in the hands of a president that rules over this nation. My destiny is not in the hands of anybody in this world. My life is in the hands of God alone. My life and all that I am belongs to God, and no man can take that away…

I’m going to serve God with all that there is inside of me, and guess what is inside of me? God’s Holy Spirit. We have everything we need to continue on. We are not walking with empty shells, but when we’ve asked Jesus to come into our life He gives us His Holy Spirit to make it possible to move forward…

It should not be a mystery to us that people will hate us because we love Jesus. It should not be a mystery to us that people will do mean things to us because we love Jesus. It should not be a mystery. But so often we live our lives as though, when the bad things happen, when the persecution comes, we live our lives as though it shouldn’t be happening this way. Well, it should be. It happened to Jesus and it will happen to us, but we don’t have to fear it, and in fact, we can mourn for those who are bringing the persecution, and we can love them. We can be a part of their lives.

We're going to be so much happier in life if we stop thinking about ourselves and start thinking about others.

Vintage message from December 11, 2005.

This is the problem I find, when we get stuck in legalisms, when we allow legalisms to rule our life, we know very little about God’s Word and don’t care to know the truth of God’s Word. We take what we want from God’s Word, and we use it the way we want, and leave the rest behind. I have, on a few occasions, had conversations with people who wanted to eliminate certain portions of God’s Word because they didn’t like it or agree with it…

And so I just simply take a page of the Bible and rip it out. “Fine, well then, let’s just eliminate that page.” You know what? If we start eliminating everything in this Book that we don’t like, pretty soon we’re not going to have anything in the Book. We’re going to have a cover and a back page. Nothing in the middle because pretty soon you’ll find that there are things in this Book that we can not agree with. When it comes to God, we can not agree because God is righteous in every way and holy in every way, and guess what? I am unrighteous and unholy in every way. The only possible way that I can come to agreement with what’s here in this Book is to come to agreement with what Jesus has to say. First and foremost, that I need Him, that I need relationship with Him. And this is all Jesus has ever tried to do, is to bring men into this love relationship…

How often do we find ourselves in trouble and in controversy and when the question is asked, “Well, are you right with the Lord? Do you believe His Word? Do you even want to hear His Word?” And we find that we have, really, nothing to say. You know why we have nothing to say? Because we know if we opened our mouth, we would stick our foot in it because we would be in disagreement with God and His Word…

How do you think about yourself? What do you think about yourself? Do you find importance in yourself or hope that others find importance in you? Are you motivated by how you believe others think about you or should think about you?… We are so often motivated by selfish, self-serving motivation. We think of ourself beyond anything else… Jesus is always trying to teach His disciples, it’s not about me. It’s not about myposition. It’s not about myplace. It’s not about how people look at me. It’s how Godperceives me, what God knowsabout me, and what God wants to do withme. “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” God is paying attention. He knows who is truly humble in heart and taking that place of watching others and seeing to their needs…

Why do we do what we do? What is our motivation? What do we expect to get back when we involve ourselves in other people’s lives? How do we want others to interact with us? Why do we do the things with them that we do? Are we expecting something back? I guarantee you that almost everything we do is out of self-service and self-motivation, self-preservation. We want to be noticed, we want to be liked, we want to be cared for, and some people would say, “Well, there’s nothing wrong with that. Didn’t God create us to be loved?…” Not according to what Jesus has just taught us. It’s not about what we do for ourselves. It’s about what we do for others. How we interact with those who have no clue about what love really is, or whether or not they have the ability to notice or repay us or be involved with us any more after we’ve been involved with them…

Isn’t, really, what we’re looking for is blessing? God’s blessing? The blessing that sustains us through the hardships in life. You know, the ones I find in this world who have the least blessing are the ones that seem to be trying to gain the most. They have no clue what real blessing is… It’s not about them noticing us, but who have we noticed?…

Let me ask this question. Why do you spend so much time thinking about yourself? That’s the real question. Why do we spend so much time thinking about me? You know what? We’re going to be so much happier in life if we stop thinking about ourselves and start thinking about others…

Rather than waiting to be invited to the feast, rather than worrying about what others are going to think or do for us, why don’t we take the initiative and be the ones that do the inviting?

If I want to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, I have to be willing to give up me.

Vintage message from December 18, 2005.

How many of you have ever felt that God is an ogre? Or that God was mean? That God didn’t really care. That God must be sitting up there judging you and punishing you somehow because of the circumstances of your life. Have you ever thought that? Have you ever felt that? First and foremost, God’s Word tells us God is love. He sent Jesus to show us God is love. When He brought Israel out of Egypt, He said to them, I’m bringing you out because I loveyou, so love me and love your neighbor. You know what? The problems that we have in life are not because God doesn’t love us. It’s not because God is sitting up there ready to zap us with lightning. It’s not because He wants to judge and condemn us. We are in the problem of life that we’re in because we’ve created the problem of life that we’re in. And sometimes, sometimes, the problems that have been created by men, the lack of love that has been shown by men, even begin to affect those that are innocent within our society. Does it mean that God doesn’t love them? No. God created men to have relationship with Him…

You’re crazy if you reject the invitation of God. But who is it that’s called crazy in our society? Those who believe in the Person and the Name of Jesus Christ. But, in fact, we’re not the ones who are crazy. It is those who have rejected the invitation already, who’ve made excuses over and over again so that they will not find themselves there…

We do not need to fear those in society that are poor and hurting, and we do not need to fear the strangers in society around us. We need to offer to them, extend to them the invitation to be part of this great banquet that we are going to in God’s home…

Yes, Jesus will let men stand outside. Yes, Jesus will come to the place where He finally says, “Enough is enough.” Jesus does not condemn any man to hell. Men choose to go to hell because they reject the invitation that He has offered to them. Men want to live their own lives. They want to have their circumstances in life the way they want them, but then when things get hard, Who’s the first person they complain to? Who is it that gets accused of the hard times in our life?…

And sometimes I don’t think we allow Jesus to get blunt with us. We hide from His bluntness. We hide from the hard things that He would say to us… You need to be firm in what you believe. Are you willing to turn away from your father and your mother? Are you willing to turn away from your children? And even, yes, your husband or wife to follow after Jesus? Jesus is not telling anyone to leave these people. But you know what? When you begin to love Jesus, sometimes those family members around you do not understand your love for Him, and they will apply pressure to you to try to get you to see things their way. After all, you’ve got to be reasonable about this… But Jesus has just said it. We must be ready to deny our very lives if we say that we want to be His disciple. We have to be ready and willing to walk away from me…

If I want to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, I have to be willing to give up me. I have to be willing to give up you. I have to be willing to stand against the opposition that would come that would say I have to conform to the thinking of society…

If you think that following Jesus is fun and games…you’ve got another thing coming. Believing in, trusting in, and following after Jesus Christ can be very, very difficult, very challenging, and sometimes He asks things of us that we don’t want to do. And sometimes He asks us to sacrifice things that everybody around us would say, “You are crazy for giving that up. You are crazy for doing that, for going in that direction.” And even our families would, once again, apply pressure to us to get us to go a different direction. That’s counting the cost…

Are you willing to give up everything? Have you taken stock of what you have and who you are? And are you willing to stand firm with Jesus through the hardships as you build your life in Him?

Hey, wait a minute! There goes the Shepherd! Let's follow Him!

Vintage message from January 1, 2006.

So often we only put the emphasis for our resolve for our new year on what’s going to make my life a little more comfortable, what’s going to make my life a little better, what’s going to make my life a little stronger. When was the last time you thought that, “This year I’m going to resolve to give up my life so that I can live completely and totally for Jesus Christ.” When was the last time any of us made thatresolve in our life? My life is meant to be a picture of Jesus Christ. This is what He wants. This is what He’s asking for…

And here Jesus is offering these people the opportunity to make for themselves a resolution that says, “I’m going to commit my life fully and completely to God in heaven, to be usable by Him, for Him, giving up all that I am, leaving it behind, and living for Him.” But, in order to live for Him, means that you have to reach out to those that you do not want to be a part of your life…

Your goodness does not make you special. Goodness should be opening your eyes to the need, to go after the one that is notliving in goodness. Your concern should be that your brother is sitting out in the street suffering. Your concern should be for the one who is living in sin because they know no other way or they’ve convinced themselves that there is no other way. And we need to be willing to reach out to them. The Shepherd wants to go after them…

As we step into our new year, I think resolveis what should be on our mind. What are we resolved to do? How are we resolving to live our life? Where does Jesus belong in our hearts? And where do we belong in His?…

What should our resolve be this year? To be on the heels of Jesus as He goes in search of. Jesus is in search of sinners; those who have wandered away; those who have gotten themselves lost… Jesus is asking that our resolve be to be a part of what He’s doing to bring back the lost one.

And I know a lot of people say, “Oh, but I’m not an evangelist. That’s not my gift.” No, being an evangelist may not be your gift, but being an evangelist isyour responsibility. There is a gifting of evangelism, but the call to evangelize is given to each and every one of us. None of us are exempted from the responsibility to share what Jesus has done in our life with someone else. None of us are exempt. If you are a sheep, you need to be sharing with other sheep, lost or in the flock, but especially as you encounter those that are in the world that are lost. It is your responsibility to share what God has done for you. To speak up. To share the amazing excitement that comes when you give your life over to Jesus Christ and be a part of what the Shepherd’s doing.

Now, we can stay back in the field. We can hide away in the pasture. We can stay where it’s safe. We can stay where it’s warm. Or we can resolve to say, “Hey, wait a minute! There goes the Shepherd! Let’s follow Him! He’s going after George. George got himself lost. Hey, let’s go help find him!” Be excited about the possibility of what God can do with us. How we can step outside of our comfort zone and reach out to a lost and dying world.

Do you realize how much you are loved by your Father? Do you know what lengths your Father would go to, to have you back?

Vintage message from January 8, 2006.

Ministry should never come before the family, but when God asks something specific of us, and especially in that relationship that we have with Him, it should always come first, even before our family, and I think we have a hard time making a distinction between the two…

Are you resolved in your heart to honor God with the moment and with your life? I believe God has ministry for all of us, and I would pray that each and every one of us in this room would find a way to involve ourselves in the things that God is doing, but you never involve yourself to the point of excluding those people in your life that God has given you to love. But, if you love those people more than you love the Lord, that’s where you have the problem…

Do you realize how much you are loved by your Father? Do you know what lengths your Father would go to, to have you back? To make right the wrongs in your life? To put you back on your feet? To give you hope in your life again? You know, we are such stubborn people. We cling to those things that we think are going to make our lives happy and ignore all that God has done for us and in us. And all God wants us to do is to come back and recognize Him. He’s looking for us. He’s not only wanting us. He’s lookingfor us…

That’s how I see God. Looking for us to return. Desiringfor us to return… He desires so greatly for the miracle to happen that He looksfor us to come to a place of humility of heart and humility of life that will drive us back to Him…

It’s not about the sinner. It’s about the Father Who loves. This story is truly about a father who loved and cares so much that he’s even allowed himself to be disrespected and dishonored. He gave up what he was and what he had in order to show love to his son. How much has God given us that we’ve dishonored and disrespected? That we squandered because we despised the One Who gave it to us?…

But you know what? No matter how hard you try sometimes, there are some people who will not be encouraged. There are some people who will not be built up. There are some people who will only ever be lost in their own circumstances, seeing only their own part in this life and never look out for anybody else, and never once look up to the Father that is reaching out to them and bringing them back. Even for all of their wrong choices, even for all of their sin, even for all of the things that they’ve done to dishonor that Father, that Father is still there with His hand out, reaching to bring them back, they’ll never see it, and they’ll always be lost in themselves. They’ll never step beyond themselves…

If you’re walking with God today, then you have an obligation to God the Father to love those that He loves… There’s one out there that’s [spiritually] dead, that’s lost, and that needs to be reached out for and brought in, and to know that there is a Father Who loves. A Father Who cares. A Father Who will go to great lengths, even dishonoring Himself, to show us that great love that He has… He will go to great lengths to show us love, if we will let Him…

We need to be as concerned as He is about the lost that are around us, and that we need to resolve in our hearts to allow Him to use us to work to bring them back, to bring them into relationship, and to show them the comfort that they can live in if they would just humble themselves and come back to the Father.

What's the good news of the kingdom of God? That you, in fact, can be forgiven and loved by God, and it doesn't matter who you are, what you've done, where you've come from. You can be forgiven and loved by God. That's good news!

Vintage message from January 15, 2006.

We, so often, struggle with this concept of forgiveness. If they owe it, they owe it. They sinned against me. They deserve what they get. Wemake life hard for people. Goddoes not make life hard for people. Wemake life hard for ourselves. Goddoes not make life hard for us. God may allow for circumstances to happen in our lives and around our lives in order to get our attention, but God does not causeevil to happen to us. Evil is in this world, and evil will happen to us. It is not God’s fault, and just because evil happens to us, just because hard times happen to us, it does not give us the right to become bitter and angry and surly…

[Jesus] wants His disciples to at least understand that they can act shrewdly in the world by forgiving. When we don’t forgive, we have a very hard time having relationship with people. If we have that person in our life that we refuse to forgive, we have a hard time, and God will allow that time to be hard for us…

God has given us everything that we have in this world not to make us wealthy, but in order for us to have tools to use, in order for us to be a blessing to those who are around us… It truly is not about my life and the comfort I can have in my life, but it is about God’s love and the forgiveness that He wants to give to all men…

There is a difference between having money and serving money. God will give us money. God will give us property. But He doesn’t give us that money and that property for us to hoard to ourselves, for us to serve, for us to cling to, for us to make grow, for us to have so that we can retire later on in life. That’s serving the money. But He has given it to us so that we can serve Him. That we would have wherewithall to serve Him. And serving Him means reaching out to those who do not have or are lost in the world because they have sinned against Him…

You know what? God is never wrong, and what God has given to us, He has given to us for the purpose of knowing Him better and sharing what we know about Him and the love He’s given to us with everybody else…

What’s the good news of the kingdom of God? That you, in fact, can be forgiven and loved by God, and it doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve done, where you’ve come from. You can be forgiven and loved by God. That’s good news! It didn’t require the law to be forgiven. In fact, the law can not forgive. The law can only condemn…

Making it into heaven doesn’t come with a feeling. Making it into heaven comes with a promise, whether we feel it or not, and if we receive Jesus as He’s asked us to, He has promised that He will come into us and sup with us. All we have to do is invite Him, and it doesn’t matter if we always feel like He’s there. He says, “I will never leave you or forsake you,” doesn’t He? So it doesn’t matter how we feel about it. What matters is that He’s promised it…

God desires to forgive us, and when we find ourselves judging and condemning others, we show that we do not have the capacity of God’s Word, or even the capacity to understand God’s Word, in our heart, because from the very beginning when God gave the law to Israel, He also gave them the ability and the knowledge to know it was about forgiveness, not about condemnation. We, though, as men have made it about condemnation. We condemn our selves, we condemn our neighbors, we condemn our family, we condemn our friends because they do things wrong. They sin against us…

Jesus says it is required of you [to forgive]. You want to be right with God? It is required of you to learn to forgive. It’s what it’s about. We’re all in the same boat. We are all in need of forgiveness, and it is God’s love for us that should be prompting us to forgive. It is not God that does not love. It is we who do not love, and we blame God for that.

We have God's Word. Why are you not studying it? Why have you not made it a priority to understand God's Word?

Vintage message from January 22, 2006.

What good things do you have in your life? Think about your life for just a moment. What good things do you have and how do you use them? Is your life set aside to be used by God?…

God desires to have mercy on us. He gives us the things that we have to show us mercy now in life, in hopes that we, then, would get the hint and show mercy to others… We have great opportunity around us each and every day. What do we do with those opportunities?…

You know what? God has give us His Word for a very long time to study. God has made available to us the information we need to understand His heart and to know His desire and to know how to live with one another and how to care for one another for a very long time. The only reason why men do not know how to respond to each other in this world is because they have ignored Moses and the prophets. They have ignored God’s Word. They have ignored what God has given to us in order to study to know how to be a part of one another’s lives. How to have compassion, how to show mercy, and how to evangelize one another so that no one has to go to that place of torment…

Miracles do not save men’s souls. Miracles do not convince men to give their lives over to Jesus Christ. Miracles will touch a life and may affect people for a short time, but people are attracted to the miraculous, but they’re not going to believe unless they understand and have studied God’s Word. The greatest miracle that we have is that God gave us His Word in writing, God gave us His Word through people, and God gave us His Word through His Spirit. He didn’t just show up one day and say, “All of you are condemned. I’m tired of watching it,” never having given us warning or told us that we should live a certain way. He has given us His Word for a very long time, and we’ve ignored it…

We have God’s Word. Why are you not studying it? Why have you not made it a priority to understand God’s Word?… We have a responsibility to know and to give our lives over to God’s Word, for it to touch our lives and change our hearts and convince us of the miracle when it happens. And the greatest miracle that could possibly happen for any one of us in this room is that we come to the place of believing that Jesus Christ died on a cross for our sins.

Forgiveness is probably the hardest thing that we will ever accomplish in our life... Forgiving means letting it go and walking away from it. Letting God wash it away. Not dwelling on it any more. It's no longer there in your mind or your heart. It's forgiven.

Vintage message from January 29, 2006.

I’ve told you that God loves you. Do you love Him? This is the question that weneed to answer. Do Ilove God? Am I willing to respond to the Word of Jesus and love God back, first and foremost by receiving Jesus? I’ve said it many times, and I’m going to say it again, and I’ll probably say it a hundred times again in my life. Jesus was the One that said, “I’m the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by Me.” Jesus is the proof of our love for God. We must receive Him, and once we’ve come through Jesus, once we’ve approached the Father, the Creator of all that we see around us, once we approach Him through Jesus then we can say, “Yes, I truly dolove God.” You can sayyou love God, but if you reject Jesus, if you reject the teachings of Jesus, if you push aside the understanding and the love that Jesus asked for us to have for each other through Him, you can not truly say that you love God because you are denying the very foundation of what that love means. We are required, by Jesus’s own words, to love God through Him. It’s not going to stop God from loving us if we don’t, it’s not going to stop God from caring for us if we don’t, but it’s also not going to stop God from allowing us to make the choice to be separated from Him for all eternity…

We’re told Jesus died for sin once and for all. The issue of sin is dealt with in God’s heart when He sacrificed His Son. There is no man that is going to stand before God on the day of judgment and hear these words, you can not come into heaven because you’re a sinner. It has nothing to do with whether or not they’re a sinner because, guess what? Every man that stands before God on the day of judgment is a sinner. Sin is not the criteria for being kept out of heaven, just as our goodness is not the criteria for being accepted in, but it is, have we received forgiveness through His Son Jesus Christ and received Him as our Savior? Do we understand that we have that forgiveness through His Son, and have we received Him? That’s the question at stake. Have we received Him? Have you received Him?…

“If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.” Forgive him. This is a hard thing for us to do. This is a hard lesson for us to learn. Forgiveness is probably the hardest thing that we will ever accomplish in our life… Forgiving means letting it go and walking away from it. Letting God wash it away. Not dwelling on it anymore. It’s no longer there in your mind or your heart. It’s forgiven. Just as Jesus said, He has cast it as far as the East is from the West. It’s no longer in His mind…

It takes a huge amount of faith and a huge amount of understanding to be able to forgive in this way…

Do you believe that you can not forgive someone? Is there someone in your life that you have not forgiven? Or are there sins in people’s lives that you know or you’re still harboring in your heart, that you won’t forgive? God’s Word says forgive, take a stand of faith, believe that Jesus’s Word has told you to do it, and that sin will then disappear from your heart and hopefully disappear from the life of the person who sinned against you. It’s no longer there between you…

We have a responsibility as children of God, we have a responsibility as those who have received Jesus into our life and are now the living light of the Holy Spirit in this world. The Holy Spirit comes into us and shines through us. We have a responsibility to let that light shine. And what is the light that comes from the Holy Spirit? It is the light of forgiveness. He came to share the good news so that we would understand how to preach the gospel. What is the gospel? What is the good news? That Jesus Christ died for your sin and my sin. We no longer have to be separated from God because of the issue of sin. But yet, that is the hardest command for any of us to obey. It is the hardest thing for us to do, is to forgive…

If you’re asking for your faith to be increased, then spend time in God’s Word, understand God’s heart, and respond to His Word. And His Word tells us, love. Love the Lord your God and love your neighbor… And how can you say that you love your neighbor if you’re not forgiving your neighbor? That’s our responsibility, that’s our duty, and that’s where faith comes from…

Are you thankful for what God has done for you? Are you thankful for the love that God has for you? Are you thankful for God giving you His Word, giving you instruction? Are you thankful that God has said, “Forgive your neighbor”? Think of the things that we’re not thankful for, so often. We need to be thankful for them, and we need to respond because we are like those Israelites. As believers in Jesus Christ, as ones filled with the Holy Spirit, we are the ones that have been asked to carry the good news. Add the responsibility of sharing with the rest of the world Who God is. Are we thankful for that?

Lord, I just ask that You would put it in our hearts to be thankful... I just ask that as we pray, we would also praise; as we ask, we would also thank; as we see You bless us, that we would be quick to show...how grateful we truly are.

Vintage message from February 5, 2006.

Father, in Jesus name, I thank You and praise You. I thank You for Your Word. I thank You once again, Lord, for the encouragement that comes from Your Word, the knowledge that it gives to us of a Day that’s coming. Thank You for being honest, first telling us that You would suffer and die so that now we, a couple thousand years later, we look back and see the truth of what You did on the cross and that, Lord, we can now participate with that body of believers You have called your bride. Thank You, Lord, for giving us this opportunity to have a special place in Your kingdom and in Your heart. We look forward, Lord, to that day that we hear the trumpet call, and we find ourselves standing with You. And, Lord, I just ask that we would be very proactive in sharing Your love and Your Word with those that do not believe…

And Lord, I just ask that You would put it in our hearts to be thankful… I just ask that we would be quick to praise and worship You for what You’ve saved us from…and the life, Lord, that You’re going to give us eternally with You. I just ask, Lord, that as we pray, that we would also praise. As we ask, we would also thank. As we see You give and bless us in our lives, that we would be quick to show to the world and to You how grateful we truly are. But Lord, I fear that the time in this world has crept up on many of us…that our hearts have become hard and we’ve become unconcerned, and though You do great things for us and You bless us tremendously, we are so busy thinking of just ourselves that we miss when You do those things for us. Show us, Lord, how to correct this. Spark a fire in our heart through Your Spirit, that would cause us to truly be thankful. To pull ourselves off of that central place in our life, that we would stop being self-centered and allow for You to rule and reign and be thankful for it and be open about it. Thank You and praise You for today. I thank You for Your Word. I thank You, Lord, that we’ve been able to gather together and praise You together. I just ask, Lord, that it wouldn’t stop here.

God will hear us, and God will deal with us when we are humble before Him.

Vintage message from February 12, 2006.

We’ve yet to see the finished product of what God is creating. God started creating several thousand years ago just on this planet, and though He rested, He never stopped creating. He never stopped doing the work that He needs to do in the hearts and the minds of those that He’s created. He has interacted with man, and He has talked to man, and He has touched man throughout history, and His kingdom has existed on this planet in His presence always…

God has not lost control. His kingdom isin place, and He is doing exactly what He needs to do to work through history to accomplish a work of art that, once we’re done, when He’s finished with us, and then we get to stand with Him in eternity, we’ll step back and see all that He’s created, all that He’s accomplished, and where we saw a mess, then we’re going to see a masterpiece. A work that has been completed…

God is not an unjust judge. God is not an uncaring judge. God cares about every part of our life. Now, we can ask, “Well, why didn’t He answer my prayer? Why didn’t He take care of my need? Why did He allow me to go through that hard time?” Remember, He is making a piece of art. He is creating something that you have to put in each thread in its time. You can’t just throw fabric out on the table and expect it to all of a sudden come together and become a quilt…

You don’t just go and throw things out and expect immediate results, though we do. We, in our selfishness, forget that we are not the only people that God deals with on the face of this planet. And sometimes, He may put us in the circumstances that we’re in because He is using us in the lives of those that are around us… It’s not justabout us.

Jesus does not want us to become discouraged. He wants us to know that we can continue and should continue to pray. We should continue to bring our requests before His Father. That we should continue to be diligent in asking for those things that are needs in our lives and in the lives of those that are around us…

You know what it is that Jesus is hoping to accomplish by allowing for us to go through these hard times. An increase in faith. Do you believe that God loves you? Do you believe that God cares about the things that you’re going through? Do you believe that God knows when hardships are in your life? Do you believe that? This is what Jesus is looking for. This is what He is hoping to return to: is men of faith…

The fact is, all of us are sinners. All of us have struggles in our life. All of us are surrounded by flesh that is rotting, that is decaying, and groaning, waiting to fall away so that the spirit inside can truly be released. What faith is it that Jesus is looking for, that He hopes He returns to? I believe it is the faith that is in a man’s heart that brings him to the place of saying, “God, forgive me, I’m no good, I can’t do it, and I know that You are the only One Who can…”

God will hear us, and God will deal with us when we are humble before Him, when we come to that place of realizing who we truly are. It’s okay to want to be a good person, but understand: the only way you’re going to be a good person, the only way I’m going to be a good person, is through the power of Jesus’s cleansing blood, through the involvement of His Holy Spirit in our life, through His love, through His character. Not mine. Not yours. It doesn’t happen with us.

We must pursue the kingdom of God like a little child: with a simple faith, a simple trust, knowing that God means what He says.

Vintage message from February 19, 2006.

We start paying attention more to the things of the world than to the Word of God, and we become deceived, and we fall away. We must pursue the kingdom of God like a little child: with a simple faith, a simple trust, knowing that God means what He says. If I say to you right now, “Jesus loves you,” do you believe that? I know a lot of people who would say, “Yeah, right. Good words, Dave. Thanks a lot. Yeah, uh huh.” The fact is it’s true. Jesus loves you.Why does He love you? Because He’s chosen to love you. Not because you’re good enough. Because He’s chosen to love you, and whether you want to accept it or not, whether you want to believe it or not, it is not going to change the fact that Jesus loves you, and desires for you to be with Him. That is His desire…

Why? Because I want them with Me. Plain and simple. He loves His children, and you and I are His children. He loves us, and He desires us to be with Him. So let’s take our eyes off of our condition in life and put our eyes on Him and look to Him for the love that He has for us and simply come to Him, and then trust that He is going to take care of everything else. Whether you have or whether you don’t have, let Him take care of everything else…

God alone is good. The rest of us are in need of His goodness. I’m not saying to start bashing yourself and putting yourself down, but just understand the truth and your condition in life. I’m filled with flaws. I’m filled with sin. I am in needof God’s goodness. I’m not good, but God is…

Where it is impossible with us, it is possible with God to accomplish what He desires, because He is the One that desires to have us with Him. It is He Who desired for men to have salvation. It is He Who desired for men to know His love. It is He Who desired for men to bring us into a relationship where we are walking with Him. And where it is impossible with us, it is possible with God…

What is it we’re going to receive once we start to sacrifice who we are for the name and Person of Jesus? When we give our lives over to Him, when we trust Him the way the disciples trusted Him, and gave up everything and followed Him… It’s not about the things that you have. It’s about Who you’re following. It’s not about how good you are. It’s about Who you’re following. Are we following Jesus? Are we going where Jesus has asked us to go? Are we being what Jesus has asked us to be? Are we able to give up the things of this life, the things that make us comfortable? Are we able to walk away from it in order to trust that Jesus is going to take us into a better place?…

What is our reward, not only in this life but in the life to come? Eternity. That’s what we gain…

Think about what you have right now. What do you have in your life that you are holding on to that would be a challenge for you if Jesus said give it up? Home? Cars? Clothes? What about looks?…

Are you doing what you’re doing because Jesus has asked you to do it? Bottom line. Are you following Jesus?

You know why we find ourselves...struggling through the impossible? Because we look at the impossible rather than looking at Jesus, rather than turning to His Word and believing what it says.

Vintage message from February 26, 2006.

Do you believe that God can do the impossible for you? Do you believe that God wantsto do the impossible for you? Let me tell you something. God loves you,and God did what it took in order to say to you, “I love you.”He made the impossible happen…

Jesus has made a statement that requires us to live by faith. You know, there are a lot of things that are impossible for me, but there is nothing impossible for God, and if God has asked it of us, if He’s asked us to do it, if He wants it accomplished, He will make the way…

God has a plan for your life. God has a plan for my life. God has a plan, and He is going to fulfill that plan even though it seems impossible. He is going to fulfill that impossibility through [Jesus]…

You know what our greatest enemy is? Right here. Our flesh is our worst nightmare. Overcoming who we are to stand right with Jesus Christ is our greatest enemy. We fight against it in our flesh every day…

There are times that we hear things plainly, but yet, it goes right over our head. I hear people say all the time, “How can we know for sure that God even exists?” Well, the reason that people do not believe that God exists is because their heart is hard and their mind is dense…

You know why we find ourselves facing the impossible and struggling through the impossible? Because we look at the impossible rather than looking at Jesus, rather than turning to His Word and believing what it says. Jesus does not promise us that we’re going to have an easy life. He doesn’t tell us that we’re going to have a million dollars if we’ll just “name it and claim it.” In fact, He says, “In this life you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.” He overcame, and He will overcome for us. He does the impossible.

This is what Jesus does for us. He helps us through the hard times. He gives us wisdom and strength in the hard times. He doesn't always take the hard times away.

Vintage message from March 5, 2006.

Struggle and trial willcome your way. We would never know how much we love God or how devoted and committed that we can be to Him if we were never tested in it. He doesn’t just pass right by us because He doesn’t have time for us. I believe that His Holy Spirit, Who is still here today, passes by, stops and ministers to our needs and comforts us in our struggle and, if healing is warranted, then He heals. If the challenge is still needed, He allows for us to live with the challenge that causes us to grow stronger in our faith…

It is okay to pray for the things that you need. It is okay to understand that you are hurting inside and need Jesus to help you. It is okay to cry out for mercy. So many people do not. We, in pride and arrogance, think that we can handle it on our own. “I don’t need God, if there’s even a God up there. He’s the One that made this mess. Why would I want Him?” No, He wasn’t the One that made the mess… Adam was the one that made the mess…

This is what Jesus does in us. This is what He does forus. He helps us through the hard times. He gives us wisdom and strength in the hard times. He doesn’t always take the hard times away from us.

Imagine what would happen...if each one of us went out and affected one person's life to bring Jesus to them... What affect might Jesus have on the lives of those people who are within your sphere of influence if you take the time to get to know them.

Vintage message from March 12, 2006.

We, as believers, are so short-sighted. People are so short-sighted. We only look at what makes uscomfortable. We look at our ownlives. And we sometimes hoard or hog Jesus to ourselves. Jesus did not come for me. Jesus came for us. Jesus not only came for us. Jesus came for the world. Jesus’ desire was that all men might be saved, but yet, so often, we allow our emotions, we allow how we feel about other people, to affect us so much that we would withhold Jesus from them…

Do you know Jesus loves you? You probably heard that a million times, and if you’ve come to this church very often, you’ve heard it many times. Jesus loves you.I don’t want you to leave here today without knowing Jesus loves you. And Jesus would like to come to your house today. What would He be coming to?…

By the way, did I tell you, Jesus loves you? He desires to have a relationship with you. He desires to be a part of your life. He doesn’t care who you are. He doesn’t care what you’ve done. He doesn’t care what you’re doing. He wants to be a part of your life because He cares for you…

We’re not going to change anybody’s life, but we can introduce them to Jesus. We’re not going to be the reason why someone stands up and says, “I give half my possessions away.” Jesus will always be that reason, but we may be the representative that Jesus chooses to use to come into their life and into their home…

Imagine what would happen, just in our community, if each one of us went out and affected one person’s life to bring Jesus to them, and they had this kind of a change. You’ve seen a rock dropped into a pond? Nice, smooth surface. You drop a rock in it, and it ripples, and the effect of that one stone grows bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger. What effect might Jesus have on the lives of those people who are within your sphere of influence if you would just take the time to get to know them.

Life is hard, and circumstances can certainly be harsh, but our King has left us something. It's called His love... He wants us to take that love that He left with us and invest it. How are you investing His love/

Vintage message from March 19, 2006.

It’s not about these walls, it is not about having a nice parking lot, it is not about us living in nice clothes as Christians, and having a place to gather. It’s not about here. It’s about what you do when you leave here. How you live your life each and every day beyond these walls. You’re His servant. You come here to get refreshed each week in order to go out there to serve. That’s what it is to be a servant. And He has given you the ability to invest. And guess what? He iscoming back! He willestablish Himself on His throne…

How many of you think of God as being hard?… He sometimes allows for us in the flesh to suffer through some very difficult times. And just because you and I may, at this moment, be sitting in the lap of luxury does not mean that tomorrow, we will be sitting in the same lap. We may lose everything…

There is nothing that we have that God did not give to us. The very breath in our lungs is in our lungs because God gave it to us. There is nothing that we have, nothing that we will be is outside of what God gave to us. We owe God our lives. We owe Jesus our allegiance because He’s our King, but yet, how many of us find ourselves hiding away? Taking the talent, the gift that Jesus gave to us and hide it because we’re afraid. We’re afraid of what someone might say. We’re afraid of what people will think of us. We’re afraid of the outcome…

I know a lot of people who feel like they have nothing. They feel they’re destitute, yet you look at their lives and really they’re not hurting that bad. You might have looked at your own life and said, “I have nothing. I have nothing to give.” Consider your life. Consider the breath that you have in your lungs. Consider the fact that you get to get up each day and face a new morning with God at your side. With the strength and the authority of a King that you are serving at your side. If you don’t invest, when you finally stand before Him, He will take what little bit that you dohave, that you didn’t think you had, and give it away… And though you may feel you have nothing, you have at least what God has given to you: breath in your lungs and a voice to speak out His Name. We are without excuse…

We will all be judged based on what we’ve done with what God has given to us. And there isan end that is coming. There is a judgment that is coming. You can be sure of that. It’s not a fairy tale. It will happen…

Part of why we do not respond right before God, part of why we do not invest what He has given to us, is because we have an idea of Who God is supposed to be for us, and we tell Him so, and when He doesn’t do things ourway, we get upset with Him. And men have tried to tell God for centuries what to do and, when God did not respond to them, what did they do? “Well, there must not be a God, then,” and they eliminate Him. Is He eliminated? Is He gone because we choose not to believe in Him? I see His power and I see His authority all around me all the time, and it is ludicrous for men to say He does not exist…

There is a rumor going around that He is a hard and harsh King. I’m here to tell you, it’s not true. Life is hard, and circumstances can certainly be harsh, but our King has left us something. It’s called His love. He invested His love with His very life. He proved that love by dying for you and I, but He’s still coming. Death could not stop Him. He is still coming. He wants us to take that love that He left with us and invest it. How are you investing His love? It’s not too late if you’ve not invested before, it’s not too late. When you invest His love, you can get instant return…and we get return simply by telling somebody else that their King is coming and He loves them. His name is Jesus Christ.

People are interested in Who Jesus is. They are interested in the truth. They may not always receive it, but people are interested. I would say take every opportunity that you possibly have to share that truth, and it will spark people's interests. They will, at least, hear what you have to say. Whether they accept it or not at that time is between them and God.

Vintage message from March 26, 2006.

Do you know what will bring you peace today? What is your life like? What do you struggle with? What turmoil do you have in your life? Jesus would say the same thing to us today that He was saying to Jerusalem then. Do you know what brings you peace? It is not the cleverness of this world. It is not our ability to look successful. It is not about anything that we can obtain in this world. It is about knowing Him and knowing the hour of our salvation. What is the hour of your salvation? If you are not saved yet, right this minute, this very hour, today is the day of salvation. Today is the day that you will find peace if you will accept it. If you know Jesus, but like so many of us, resist the truth that He wants us to live in…

Even in my own life, I experience moments where I am not at peace. I am struggling in my heart because I do not want to accept what Jesus has laid out for me as being truth. I’m a selfish person. There are things I want to do, places I want to be, things I want to have, that Jesus says, “No, they’re not for you.” And so I’mthe one that begins to whine and cry and complain to God and everyone around me because I’ve not gotten it. Does that display peace? No. And when we are not at peace, it is not because God has not given us the information we need. It’s not that Jesus has not given us the salvation that we need. It is not that we have not obtained the comfort that we need. It is that we have rejected the truth that we need. It is the truth that sets us free. It is the truth of Jesus’ kingship over us, His Lordship over us, that will set us free. It is not about cleverness. It is not about how we dress. It is not about how we look on the outside. It is about how we look on the inside. It is not about who we are in public. It is who we are every moment that we live this life before God. Who are you when no one’s around? What do you do and what do you think when no one is around? Are you at peace? Are you content? This will tell you a lot…

What destruction happens in your life because you refuse to recognize the time of God’s coming to you? Through God’s Holy Spirit in the world today, He comes to each one of us. He comes and asks each one of us to recognize Him for Who He is. He asks for us to receive His Kingship and His Lordship over us. Do you recognize it? Or are you just going to continue to live the way you live in the world, blowing Him off, saying, “Well, one day I’ll get to that religious stuff.” Well, it’s not about religion. Jesus was not religious by nature. Jesus wasthe Son of God by nature. We’ve wrapped religion around Him…

What’s going on in your life that you are continually feeling the misery? Feeling the separation? What is it that you’ve allowed to be a separation? You may be a believer. You may have relationship with Jesus Christ. You may still be allowing for there to be separation, and He will allow it. He allows for us to have choice…

You know what? People are interested in Who Jesus is. They are interested in the truth. They may not always receive it, but people are interested. I would say take every opportunity that you possibly have to share that truth, and it will spark people’s interests. They will, at least, hear what you have to say. Whether they accept it or not at that time is between them and God…

We have been given a responsibility to let people know what the truth is. To invest God’s truth into the lives of those that are lost in this world. To invest who we are into the lives of those who are in this world. How are we investing our lives? How are we living to show the Kingship and the authority of God over us? How are we recognizing the time of God’s coming to us and to those who are in our lives? What kind of servants are we? And what is God going to see when He finally sends Jesus back and establishes that throne? What is He going to see when we stand before Him?

How many times do I actually stop and say, "God, am I doing it right? Am I doing it Your way? Am I honoring You with this, or is this even what You want me to do?"

Vintage message from April 2, 2006.

How many of us, through our lives, have felt we could do it on our own? Even though there is plenty of information to tell us that Jesus exists, His Spirit exists, that His power is ruling and reigning over this world. We know this, but we’ve convinced ourselves that we do not need His authority. Once again, look at how you live. Look at the things you do before you answer that question. It might surprise you. Just like the Pharisees, I am guilty of thinking, somehow, “I’m special. I’m different. I don’t need to obey all of God’s laws. I can do it on my own.” And then, when I suffer the consequences, Who’s the first person I complain to? God…

I submit to you, every time we sin, every time we step outside of what we know is God’s will for us, like these Pharisees, we willingly, knowingly, rebel against God and say, “We are better than You.” And God will deal; He’ll deal with them, He’ll deal with us…

They were given the responsibility to build relationship between God and the world, not just the nation of Israel, but to all of the Gentile nations. They were given the responsibility to build a bridge, a place, so that the whole world could come and know God…

I would submit, we know much more than we claim to know when we make our decision. How many times do you pray about making a decision? A decision that you need to make. How many times do you stop and pray with somebody else and say, “I want to make this a right decision. Would you pray with me about it? I want God involved in this one. I want to make sure that I am walking right with the Lord today. Would you pray with me? Would you stand with me and go to God with me?” How often do you do that? I don’t do it often enough. I assume. God has given me a life to live, and I assume that when I get up and put on my pants in the morning, I’m free to roam. I’m free to do it my way. And, you know, if God wants to stop me, He’s free to do that. How many times do I actually stop and say, “God, am I doing it right? Am I doing it Your way? Am I honoring You with this, or is this even what You want me to do?” Even though I know that Jesus is my Lord, my Messiah, my Savior — He gives me eternity — I oftentimes reject what I know He would have me to do because it is not the way I want to do it. And I can come up with all kinds of excuses…

We all have excuses, but that’s all they are. Excuses. Did we ask God first?…

Do we, like [the Pharisees], do things in the name of Christianity and talk about our Christianity because it’s the thing to do. Or do we live Christ in our life so that people not only hear the gospel from our mouth, but see the gospel from the way we live…

When you fall on Jesus, it hurts because He will show you all of the slimy areas of your life; the things you hoped you would never have to see. We are all guilty. There are none of us who are not guilty. We all have those areas in our life that Jesus needs to address, and it hurts to hear about them. This is why Jesus is rejected so readily, because in a politically correct society, we can’t tell people that they’re wrong any more. It hurts their feelings. Well, guess what? It’s going to hurt your feelings a whole lot more when you stand before God and you hear Him say, “Depart from me, you who worked iniquity. I never knew you.” Imagine how that’sgoing to hurt. And we can do something about it. Yeah, it may be obnoxious to have to tell someone that they need Jesus in their life, but we can do something about it, and we can turn to the Lord, and we can see those areas in our life change. But we have to fall on Him, and it hurts to fall on Him. We’ll be broken to pieces, but — I love that “but” — “He on whom it falls will be crushed.” You know what? We have that opportunity to come to Jesus. We have the opportunity to fall on Him, and humble ourselves now…

We’ve been given time to humble ourselves and fall on the Capstone. We have that time. We can get our lives right, and we can walk with the Lord humbly, the way He wants us to walk with Him, or we can walk the way we want to walk, do it our way, and show everybody how tough we are, how in control we are, how wecan make our own decisions.

Your life, your soul, your very being belongs to God. Give it back to God. Stop holding on to it. Stop insisting on having your way. Let God have His way.

Vintage message from April 9, 2006.

The two great commandments: love the Lord your God and love your neighbor. This should be what drives our lives. If you’re here for any other reason, and you’re claiming to be a Christian, check your heart. You might be pretending…

You belong to God. Give back to God that that belongs to Him. Give your life back to God. Give God the authority to tell you what to do. Give God the authority to show you what to do. Give God the authority to give direction to your life…

And you know what? This idea that, “Well gosh, if I become a Christian, if I live my life for God, then I can’t have any more fun.” You know what? I’ve had more fun as a Christian than I ever did before I was a Christian. And I’ve been around plenty of non-Christians who are saying they’re out having fun and you know what? They can’t remember. By the end of they’re fun, they can’t remember…

The only true emotional high that there is, is when you’ve given your life to Jesus Christ, and you’ve allowed for His Holy Spirit to come into you and put you on your feet and define for you who you are. That’s a high… You will never be fulfilled in the activities of the world. It’s not going to happen. You will only find true relevance in your life when you give Jesus Christ the authority of your life once again. And you know what? I don’t care what you’ve done, where you’ve been, where you’re at, where you’ve been. It can all stop right now by accepting God’s Word…

Your life, your soul, your very being, belongs to God. Give it back to God. Stop holding on to it. Stop insisting on having your way. Let God have His way, and then it’s an amazing thing. God is loving. God is gentle. God is kind…

Do you want the world to become silent? Just simply tell them the truth. We don’t have to argue with the world. We don’t have to argue with other religions. We do not have to make the point. All we need to do is just tell the truth and leave it there…

What is on your heart? Do you know what is on your heart? Well, I’m going to tell you, Jesus is on your heart. The name and the person of Jesus, the Word of God is written on your heart, and it belongs to God.

Next time you want to say "I love you" to someone, tell them about Jesus. Tell then what Jesus did for them. There is no greater expression of love than to let someone know that there is a God in heaven that desires for them to meet Him.

Vintage message from April 16, 2006.

There have been a lot of very important events that have happened within our history of this world, but there has never been a more important event. This, in my mind, is the most significant event that ever happened in all of history. It is important that Jesus was born, and it was important that Jesus died, but you know what? Men have been born, and men have died, and as important as those men are, none of them overcame death and rose from the dead in order to bring life to everybody else. Jesus did. There is nothing that I can think of that is more important…

You and I, according to God’s Word, are now new creations. As we receive Jesus in, we are made new because of what He did on the cross…

Taking communion is not going to save you. Let me tell you something. If you’ve been coming to church and taking communion your whole life thinking that somehow that has saved you, that has not saved you. The knowledge of Jesus does not save you. John tells us in John chapter one, “To all those who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” This is only a picture of why we receive Him. This is a celebration of why we receive Him. This is His way of saying, I am doing something for you and all I’m asking of you is that you received Me. And so we do this to symbolize our desire to receive Him…

I’ve heard it said that what Jesus did for us was His love letter to us. A card to us to say I love you… Understand something: Jesus loves you, and He gave us this so that we could celebrate that, so that we can know together what He did for us and the extent of His love. Next time you want to say “I love you” to someone, tell them about Jesus. Tell them what Jesus did for them. There is no greater expression of love than to let someone know that there is a God in heaven that desires for them to meet Him.

When you say there are many ways to heaven, you call Jesus a liar. You're not calling me a liar... I'm not the one who said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by Me." Those were Jesus' words. Argue with Him about it... I can't change His Word...

Vintage message from April 23, 2006.

There are a lot of people who believe that there is a heaven but don’t believe there’s a hell, and how do they live their lives? They may be good people. Do things a little differently than those who are living recklessly in the fast lane, but you look at their lives. They do not honor the name or the person of Jesus Christ, and they would tell you that there are many, many ways to heaven, thus calling Jesus a liar. You know what? When you say there are many ways to heaven, you call Jesus a liar. You’re not calling me a liar. You can argue with me about it all day long. I’m not the one who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by Me.” Those were Jesus’ words. Argue with Him about it. If you don’t like the idea that there’s only one way to heaven, talk to Him. You know what? I can’t change His Word. I’m not going to change His Word. Whether you like His Word or not, I’m not the one to talk to about it. I have a text. I follow the text. And you know what? Idon’t always like what I’m reading! I don’t always care for the rules and the regulations. But the more I study, the more I find out it is not about rules and regulations. Once again, it is a perception I have obtained through life that sometimes God is hard and demanding…

What is your perception of God? What is your perception of eternity? And how does that perception cause you to live your life where Jesus Christ is concerned?…

What does that mean: seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness? It is living your life now to please the One Who created you. That is seeking first the kingdom of God. Believing something about eternity; having a perception of where we’re going to; what God is going to do in us and through us and for us through eternity. Your perceptions of what’s going to happen after this life will set the tone for everything you do in this life…

We need to be very careful when we’re praying that we’re not praying for other men to hear, but that we’re praying because our heart is bent on knowing and drawing close to God our Father. It’s not about the words we use. It is about the attitude of heart that we use: why are we praying and what is it that we’re praying. God knows. He knows the difference.

Vintage message from April 30, 2006.

Do you know what grace is? Grace is what is extended by God to us to say, "I do not want to punish you." That's grace. Mercy is Him not punishing us. He shows us grace and mercy. He extends love to us. He extends forgiveness to us.

Salvation is through grace. Do you know what grace is? Grace is what is extended by God to us to say, “I do not want to punish you.” That’s grace. Mercy is Him not punishing us. He shows us grace and mercy. He extends love to us. He extends forgiveness to us. And we live by what He’soffered us. We have our salvation through what He’soffered us…

What is it we’re to be giving back to God? Everything. It doesn’t matter how little we have or how much we have. What we have is given to us because God has blessed us. I don’t care if the people out there believe in God or not; they have what they have because God, at this point, is pouring His blessing out on this world. He allows some to be poor, not because He’s a mean and nasty God, but He’s a God that challenges us. He’s a God that draws us to Him. He’s a God that desires for us to understand His love for us and to see how He can provide. But so often, we take matters into our own hands. We hoard for ourselves. We keep that that God has given to us, and we claim it as our own, and then we thrown Him a token. You know what? You can give back to God in ways other than just coming and putting back in the box. If you seen your neighbor in need, and you have extra, you take that extra and you give it to your neighbor in need, and you’ve given back to God…

You give what you have. You don’t complain about what you don’t have. Of course, that’s where we live most of the time. We complain about what we don’t have rather than looking at the great and awesome blessing that God has poured down on each and every one of us… We’ve been blessed…

My life is His. Your life is His. He can choose to do with you what He wants. Now, you can fight against that, and you can take control, and you can claimyour life is your own, but then you are living as a thief, continually running away from Who God is and what God desires for you. There is not a man, woman, or child alive on the face of this planet right now that does not belong to God. They may not thinkso, but they’ve deceived themselves, and they have stolen their lives away from God. And God’s not in a hurry to go out and collect those lives back. He will let them live separate from Him, and He will allow them to live lives that are miserable…

You do realize, it is not in the accumulation of things or money that makes your life wonderful. It is not the things that you have that makes your live valuable…

What are we giving? What do we think about life? How do we approach our lives? What expectations do we have before we can stop and say, “God, my life is Yours. You do with it what You want.”

Our lives belong to God. It’s time we start proving to God that we know that, in giving back to Him what we have and who we are…

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