Have you ever noticed in our culture we honor "busyness"?  Notice, I didn't say business, I said busy-ness.  When you ask someone how they are doing and they answer, "I'm so busy," we practically admire that.  We've even created a mindset in the Christian (church) culture that "busyness equals Godliness."  I totally disagree.

Termites are busy.  However, what's left at the end of their busyness?  Total destruction.  We can be so busy doing so many things, even good things, that we miss God's plan for us and all that's left in the end is a remnant of something that once was.  

In the weeks past we've learned that God may not duplicate a method to accomplish his plan in our life.  We must be willing to move forward with God and never get "stuck" in a rut.  We've learned that God has a plan for us, and that plan includes a call on our life that is way more than a mere "job" we volunteer for.  We've also learned the importance of Biblical fellowship: hanging out for the highest purpose!  

Who are your friends?  What do you do with your friends?  Where do you do those things with your friends?  How you answer those three questions will determine how well you implement Principle #7:  Abide with Jesus so you can be less "busy" and accomplish more! 

What does it mean to abide?  It means to remain stable or fixed.  Jesus said in John 15 that he was the vine and we are the branches.  He gave us a beautiful invitation: "abide in me and I will abide in you."  Some translations say, "remain in me and I will remain in you."  Then he told us God's goal for our life is that we would "bear much fruit" for God's glory.  Jesus is saying God's goal is for our life to produce the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and the only way that can happen is if we make the choice to remain in Jesus, the true vine.  

2 things will keep us from an abiding relationship with Jesus: 1) focusing more on the product and not the process and 2) focusing more on the destination and not the journey.  Abiding in Jesus so that our life can produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control is a process.  It takes time!  So don't give up.  Resist getting discouraged.  As you focus on the process, you'll remember you need to stay connected to Jesus, the vine.  As you focus on the journey of learning about God, yourself, your faith, others, and life, you'll be motivated to remain in Jesus.  You'll learn that Jesus was absolutely correct in saying you won't accomplish anything of eternal significance apart from him.  

So, how have you answered his invitation to abide?  Click here to watch the full message!

 

When you hear the word fellowship, what comes to mind?  If you're like me and you grew up in church, the first thing to come to mind is fried chicken and fellowship halls!  But what does the Bible say about fellowship?  And why did we move fellowship from believer's homes to church fellowship halls?  What are we missing about Biblical Fellowship?

Now, don't get me wrong.  I love church fellowships.  I really love eating all the wonderful food people make!  I have some of the best cooks and bakers in my church and I look forward to potlucks and picnics.  But I'm not so sure that's all Biblical fellowship is.  I think a more accurate picture of Biblical fellowship is found in Acts 2:42-47

In this passage we find followers of Christ 1) Learning together, 2) Taking care of each other's needs, 3) Helping others navigate through difficult times, 4) Holding one another accountable, and 5) and restoring those who have been in sin (Galatians 6:1).  We find these 5 things happening in the context of eating together in each other's homes.  When you share a meal with someone in their home, your relationship is strengthened and you help one another become more mature in Christ.  This is God's design and this is Biblical fellowship!    

But for everything God has holy, Satan has an unholy counterfeit.  Sure, you can find fellowship with others apart from Christ and apart from Biblical fellowship.  However, ALL fellowship has purpose.  The purpose of Biblical fellowship is to help you grow in your faith, make sure your needs are met, and give you an opportunity to serve others.  What is the purpose of worldly fellowship?  To gain a new client?  To exercise control or dominance over someone?  For selfish gain?  To entice others to do something wrong?  To share in sin with someone because deep down you know that what you're doing is wrong so you entice others to join you so you somehow feel justified because "others are doing it"?  

Beware!  Not all fellowship is healthy for you.  So, who are your friends?  Where do you spend time with your friends?  What are you doing with your friends?  If you are a Christ-follower, do the answers to those three questions aid you in your spiritual growth?  If not, maybe you should return back to Biblical fellowship.  The church is a great place to start!  

For more on this, watch the full message!

Years ago I was training for an endurance race called the Tough Mudder.  Soon after starting my training, I woke up one morning only to realize my legs didn't want to support my weight!  As I got out of bed, I collapsed.  The other members of my body were willing to work, but my legs were saying, "Nope!  Not us.  Not today!"

In that moment lying on the floor, I was disabled.  That was unacceptable for me, so I began to rub my legs, stretch, and eventually convince them to support my weight so I could walk.  You and I recognize that a body where all members are not functioning is a body that is disabled.  We don't like that.  The church is the Body of Christ.  Every member of the Body has a responsibility.  When members don't function in the way they were created and called to function, the Body is disabled.  Can the Body move forward and accomplish ministry?  Sure!  But it will be limited in its ability to do so.  When all members of the Body function, God can accomplish so much more through the church.  We should never settle for a Body that is disabled.  

We've learned in the past weeks (last 4 blogs) that: 1) God may not duplicate a method to accomplish a similar task, so we need to put our faith in God, not the method, 2) we must be willing to move forward with God and not get stuck in a rut, 3) God already has a plan for us, so seek his will instead of our own,  and 4) do what you've been called to do.  With that understanding, principle #5 makes perfect sense: God designed the church to do the work of ministry, not just the pastors.  All members must function in the way each was designed and called to function in order for the Body to be healthy!

Ephesians 4:11-16 lays out the responsibility of each member of the Body.  The pastors and leaders in the church are to teach and equip the other members to do the work of ministry.  Notice who does the work:  the other members of the Body!  When that happens, the Body is made stronger and is built up!  A church where the expectation is that the pastor or pastors do all the work is a church destined to fail.  A church where all members are not functioning is a church that is disabled.  

As a member of the Body of Christ, the church, you must be willing to:

  1. Be a sponge!  A sponge is only useful when it soaks in the water and is rung out.  Be willing to soak in the Living Water, the Holy Spirit, and be rung out as you serve others in love.  When you need refilling, go to Jesus who will give you the living water of his Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39).
  2. Experience the joy of serving by doing what you have a passion for!  Don't serve out of obligation or because what you're doing is a worthy cause or you're serving because no one else is doing it.  Serve because you're called to that task!  
  3. Share your story!  Your story with all of its ups and downs, failures and victories, can be used for God's glory.  Are you divorced?  Encourage someone going through a divorce by telling them how God brought you through that experience.  Have you experience the loss of a job, a child, or a relationship?  How did God bring you through that?  What lessons did you learn about God, yourself, your faith, and others?  Share that!  Others need to hear and be encouraged!
  4. Ephesians 5:18 commands followers of Christ to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  This is only accomplished by having an abiding relationship with Jesus.  Seek him through his word and through prayer.  Ask God to fill you with his Holy Spirit and give you wisdom, patience, gentleness, love, and discernment.  

For more on this, watch the full message!  

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When your phone rings, you have a choice: answer the call or don't answer the call.  If you're like me, you look at the caller ID first before you make your decision!  Did you know God has a call on your life?  As you look at the caller ID (the Bible) and see that God is calling you, how will you answer?

There are 4 types of God's calling on your life: 

  1. The call to salvation.  In Matthew 9:13 Jesus said he didn't come to call the self-righteous, but to call sinners to repentance.  The Bible affirms that God loves you and desires a relationship with you through Jesus.  Romans 5:8 says God demonstrated his love by Jesus' death on the cross even while we were in sin.  John 3:16 says God loves humanity so much that he gave us his one and only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross.  Romans 6:23 says we deserve death because of our sin, but the gift of God is we can escape hell and receive eternal life because of the atoning work of Jesus on the cross.  How have you answered the call to salvation?  Believe on the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved (Acts 16:31, Romans 10:9).
  2. The call to holiness.  Ephesians 4:1 instructs God's people to live a life of holiness, a life worthy of the calling (of salvation) we have received.  Followers of Jesus are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).  As we thirst in our souls, we go to Jesus who offers living water (the Holy Spirit - John 7:37-39) who will quench our thirst.  This call to holiness is a daily call on our life to grow in Christ and allow the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5) to ripen in our being.  
  3. The call to serve.  We are told in Galatians 5 that Jesus died for our freedom.  However, we should not use our freedom to indulge in the selfish nature.  We are to use our freedom to serve one another in love.  As Christ followers, we are called to serve and help others.
  4. The call to a specific task.  God does indeed call people to specific tasks.  He called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.  He called Noah to build an ark.  He called Paul to spread the Gospel of Jesus to the non-Jewish world.  What is God calling you to do?

We can hear and answer the call of God on our life when we recognize God's holiness, confess our sin and seek his forgiveness and healing (Isaiah 6).  

Years ago I read a list of differences between volunteers and ones who are called.  In his book, The Heart of the Artist by Rory Noland, he offers this list.  I've taken the liberty to tweak his wording, but here's the list:

  1. Volunteers see their involvement in the church as community service; people called of God see it as ministry
  2. .Volunteers whine about the costs of serving; people who are called are committed to serving
  3. Volunteers shrink back from resolving relational conflict; people called of God seek to resolve conflict for the sake of unity in the church
  4. Volunteers look at preparation with dread; people called of God look at the prep work as another opportunity to be used by God
  5. Volunteers do not outside practice or preparation; people called of God prepare and avoid procrastination
  6. Volunteers are not open to constructive criticism; people called of God are grateful for feedback
  7. Volunteers feel threatened by others gifts, talents, and serve; people called of God rejoice with others involvement
  8. Volunteers want to quit at the first sign of adversity or discouragement; people called of God dig in and persevere
  9. Volunteers find their main source of self-worth in that they do; people called of God find their self-worth in what Jesus did for them
  10. Volunteers resist being stretched; people called of God remain in humble dependence upon Him and the empowering of the Holy Spirit

Are you a volunteer in the church or one who is called by God to serve?  How have you answered the call?  For more on this, watch the full message.  

Have you ever been part of a scavenger hunt, going from clue to clue to clue, only to realize at the very end of the hunt was a prize equivalent to something you would get out of a gum ball machine?  The joy is not in the prize, but in the journey!

Following Jesus is not just about getting the prize at the end (which is a lot better than a gum ball machine prize!!), it's about enjoying the journey he takes you on as you learn more and more about him, you, and life!  

We've learned in the weeks past that God may not duplicate a method in your life or in our church to accomplish a successful work (Principle #1) and that we must keep moving forward with God and resist ruts (Principle #2).  With that understanding, we embrace Principle #3:  God already has a plan, so use his!  

Whatever decision you are contemplating right now, God already has a plan.  It's okay to think, plan, discuss options, and seek advice from others when you have a decision to make.  However, in order to discern God's will for our life, we must be obedient to Scripture, for in God's Word is the solution to understanding God's will.  We read in Romans 11:33-36 a powerful praise to God for his sovereignty and wisdom.  In that doxology, a question is posed: who can possibly figure God out or know his will?  If we stop reading at the end of chapter 11, we miss the answer.  Romans 12:1-2 says if we 1) walk in obedience and offer our lives to be used by God however he sees fit and 2) renew our mind in God's word, God's love, God's character, then (and only then) will we be able to truly know God's will.  

The question on the table is not will God ever make his will known to you.  The real question is: will you remain in a position to know God's will.  That comes about by praising and worshiping him, obedience to him, and renewal of  your thought life.  When you renew your mind in the truth of God's word, you will see more clearly God's plan for your life.  

For more on this, watch the full message!  

What does traffic, toilets, and churches have in common?  None are pleasant when they're stuck!  Think about it, we never get stuck in traffic and rejoice!  We should never settle for getting stuck in our life, our family, or our church.  In order to experience the joy of following Christ, we must be willing to keep moving with God!  And that's principle #2 for a God-centered church (and life!).

We were designed for forward movement!  Our eyes are in the front of our head.  Our knees only bend one way which move us forward.  Walking backwards is doable, but awkward, and is never as productive as moving forward.  The same is true in your life and in your church.  God wants to bless us.  He wants us to have tremendous joy in our worshiping and serving.  He wants us to experience new things!  Getting stuck only leaves us to die in our complacency and apathy.  

However, there are two main reasons we avoid moving forward with God:  1) our need to "arrive" and 2) our longing to "stay."  How many times have you heard, "Are we there yet?" while taking a family trip?  We tend to miss the joy of the journey because we're so focused on the destination.  We need to arrive!  And when you're in a place you really like or are comfortable in, you've probably exclaimed, "I wish I didn't have to leave!"  We need to stay!  This desire was put in us by our Creator!  God created a  perfect place for man to live.  He then created man and put him in the Garden.  Man arrived!  And once he was in the Garden, man was designed to stay and never have to leave.  Because of man's sin he was banished from the Garden.  However, redemption was part of God's plan.  Jesus died on the cross for our sin.  If we accept his gift of salvation (John 3:16), we have the promise of spending eternity with him in heaven.  Our need to arrive and stay will be fulfilled in heaven, but never this earth!  When we look for that kind of permanency on earth, we will only get stuck!   Our longing to arrive and stay will not be satisfied and our “here” will never be permanent until God’s redemptive plan for all creation is realized, and heaven and earth come together under the rule of Christ, and we are with him forever!  Until then, we must be willing to move forward with God!

Jesus' call was to "follow" him, not "sit" with him.  He leads; we follow.  And when we follow, he leads us on an exciting journey!  We experience things that teach us more about God, ourselves, and others.  As we learn those lessons, we grow and mature and become more like Jesus.  This is part of God's plan!  But we'll never realize God's plan if we stay "stuck" in our own ways.  In I Kings 17 we read of God moving Elijah to a place alongside a brook where he would drink all the water he wanted and have food brought to him by the ravens.  Later, the brook dried up and God told Elijah to move again.  Elijah did.  Had he stayed, he would've died.  

Don't get stuck.  Notice when your brook is dried up.  Go when God says go.  Move when he says move.  As you move forward with God, you will experience all he has for you and you can be assured that what he has for you is awesome (Jeremiah 29:11; John 10:10).

For more on this, watch the full message!  

Special thanks to Jim Johnson (justapreacher.org) for his Godly wisdom and insight.  Check out his website and get a copy of his book, "8 Principles for a God-Centered Church" today!

Over the next 8 weeks I will be blogging about the 8 principles for a God-Centered Life, taken from my sermon series, "8 Principles of a God-Centered Church."  The Church is made up of individual people.  Therefore, the principles for a healthy church apply to our individual lives.  

Let's look at principle #1:  God may not duplicate a method.  He never got in a rut.  He is the Almighty Creator, therefore he is creative!  Throughout Scripture we see where God accomplished the same tasks using different methods.    Here are just a few examples:

Exodus 14 - God told Moses to hold his staff over the Red Sea. The waters parted and the Israelites crossed safely over. In Joshua 3 we read there was another body of water the Israelites needed to cross: the Jordan River. This time God’s instructions were for the priests carrying the Ark to step into the water and it would stop the flow of water and the Israelites would safely pass through on dry ground.

Joshua 6 - God instructed the Israelites to walk around Jericho once a day for 6 days. On the 7th day, they were to walk around the city 7 times and the priests blow trumpets. At the sound of the trumpets, the army was to shout and the walls of Jericho would come crashing down, giving Israel victory. In all of Israel’s battles, God never had them walk around another city again.

Exodus 17:3-6 - When the Israelites were thirsty, God told Moses to strike the rock and water would flow. On another occasion when the Israelites were thirsty, God told Moses to speak to the rock and water would flow (Numbers 20:2-12). Moses disobeyed and struck the rock instead. Because of this, he would not be allowed to enter the Promised Land.  This may seem severe, but notice the symbolism here: The first time Moses was to strike the rock for water to flow.  Jesus, the Rock (Psalm 118:22; Acts 4:11) would be struck and Living Water would flow (John 4:14).  Jesus said those who drink what he offers will never thirst again. There is no need to “strike the Rock twice” for our salvation.

II Samuel 5:17-25 - King David faced the same army twice. The first time God instructed David’s army to march straight in. The second time David came up against the Philistines, he inquired of God again. This time God told him to go around behind the Philistines and wait for the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees. Different methods. Victory both times.

Matthew 9:29 - Jesus heals two blind men by simply touching their eyes. In Mark 8:22-26 Jesus spit on a man’s eyes, touched him, and then touched him a second time. In a third healing, Jesus spat on the ground and made mud. He put the mud on the man’s eyes and told him to go wash in the pool of Siloam (John 9:6-7).  Healing occurred every time, however, different methods were used.  I believe Jesus did this so we wouldn't put our faith in the mud!  The healing came from Jesus!  

Much of what we do in our life is simply a repeat of what we did previously.  Much of what we do in the church is simply a repeat of what we’ve done before. We plan budgets based on last year’s budget and giving. We plan programs based on years past. While we outwardly say we want to embrace the new and not do things the way we’ve always done them, much of what we do is simply what we’ve always done.  We fall into ruts and many times don't even realize it until it's too late.  We lose our passion.  We fall into a pattern of "doing" without ever consulting God. We learn to rely on what's worked previously instead of seeking God for his plan for the here and now.  

So what should we learn from this?  I offer a few takeaways:

  1. God knows best, so ask him first.  We're so quick to jump in and forge ahead without first praying.  Resist putting your faith in past methods that were successful.  Instead, pray and seek God first.  He may have another way of accomplishing his work in you.  
  2. God does speak, so remain in a position to hear from him.  Have you ever been in a restaurant and witnessed a family eating, laughing, and engaging with one another?  Then you notice that "one kid" who has his headphones plugged his ears and is in his own world, detached from everyone else.   Don't be "that kid" who misses engaging with God because you have your ears plugged.  Be willing to remove the "headphones" of ego, pride, busyness, unresolved bitterness, lack of forgiveness, past hurts you haven't dealt with, toxic relationships, etc.  
  3. Put your faith in God, not the method.  God is the ultimate source of provision, healing, strength and wisdom.  Remember, our faith is not in the mud!
  4. Stay flexible.  There's nothing pleasurable about being stiff and rigid.  Like a rubber band, you will be stretched when you get out of your rut and follow God's plan.  He'll take you to new and exciting places. He'll do whatever is necessary to keep you focused on him and not become self-reliant.  

For more on this, watch the full message!  

A special thanks to Jim Johnson (justapreacher.org) for his insight and Godly wisdom in writing, 8 Principles of a God-Centered Church.  

In his book, "8 Principles for a God-Centered Church," Jim Johnson (justapreacher.org) offers Godly wisdom from the Bible for both individuals and churches.  Over the next weeks I will be sharing some teachings from his book as well as offering some insight of my own.

 

There are so many valuable lessons to learn in life.  Wouldn't it be nice if we learned those lessons the first time they were taught to us?  Unfortunately we don't always learn the first time.  Sometimes we even have to suffer discomfort or pain on some level before we really learn.  We've all been there.  Jesus' disciples were no different.

Jesus chose 12 men to help him change the world.  These men were common and ordinary.  Some were fishermen and one was even a tax collector who worked for the opposing Roman government.  They all came from different walks of life but had several things in common: they were sinners who stood in the need of God's grace, they were all given an invitation to abandon the ordinary and follow Jesus, and they all had lessons they would need to learn.  In other words, these men were like you and me!

One such lesson they would need to learn is the lesson of the loaves.  In Mark 6 we read where Jesus sent his disciples out in teams of two.  He instructed them to take nothing on their journey except the shoes on their feet, the clothes on their back, and a walking stick.  No money, no extra clothes, no food, nothing.  Nada!  Zip!  Yet, he assured them they would have a place to sleep and food to eat.  Later, when the disciples returned to Jesus, they gave him a glowing ministry report and bragged of all they had accomplished (Mark 6:30).  Notice:  Jesus called them, Jesus empowered them, Jesus gave them his authority over evil spirits, and Jesus provided for them.  Yet when the disciples reported back to Jesus, they were quick to share all that they had done.  So how did Jesus respond?  He told them to get in a boat with him and they set off on cruise across the lake.  Oh did Jesus have a lesson to teach his friends!  

Supposedly heading to a solitary place to get some rest, Jesus led his disciples straight into a hungry crowd of people.  Jesus saw the needs of these people and he had compassion on them.  First he met their spiritual need by teaching them about the Kingdom of God.  Then he met their physical need of hunger in such a way as to teach his disciples the lesson of the loaves.  Noticing the hunger, Jesus' disciples suggested that Jesus send the crowd away to go get food.  Jesus had a better idea.  "You give them something to eat," he instructed.  "What?!  It's not in the budget!  We can't afford to feed all these people?"  Ok, the disciples didn't necessarily say it that way, but that's the idea (Mark 6:35-37).  

It was as if Jesus was saying, "You came back and told me all that you had done.  So feeding several thousand people shouldn't be too difficult for you."  You see, the disciples failed to realize they hadn't accomplished anything on their own.  It was Jesus who called them, empowered them and provided for them.  They stole his glory.  They took credit for what God accomplished through them.  But instead of rebuking them harshly, Jesus essentially said, "Apparently you don't me.  You can do this on your own.  So go ahead, you feed the people."  When the disciples saw the impossibility of accomplishing such a task, Jesus told them to gather what food was available: 5 loaves and 2 fish.  Jesus blessed it and fed the crowd.  Then he instructed his disciples to gather the leftovers: 12 baskets to be exact.  Hmmm...one basket for each disciple.  

Surely the disciples learned the lesson of the loaves by now!  Or did they?  In the very next set of verses (Mark 6:45-52) we learn that the disciples were in a boat when a storm blew up.  They were terrified and didn't recognize Jesus walking on the water towards them.  Jesus climbed in the boat with them, and the wind died down.  The disciples were shocked at this.  They still had not learned the lesson of the loaves because their hearts were hardened (v.52).

So what is the lesson of the loaves?

  1. God is sovereign.  Jesus calmed the storm.  
  2. God is our provider.  Jesus provided for the disciples when he sent them out in teams of two.  Jesus met the spiritual needs of the crowds of people.  Jesus met the physical needs by feeding the masses.  
  3. God empowers us to do all that we do.  Jesus called and equipped his disciples.  He sustained them for success.  
  4. We should never attempt to steal God's glory.  It's so easy to brag about the good we've done.  However, living with an awareness that it's God who empowers and provides for us keeps us humble, protects us from an inflated ego, and positions us to receive God's best.  

For more on this, watch the full message!

Do you want your life to count for something?  Sure!  We all do!  For most of us, we care about the legacy we leave.  Everything we do and say and the actions we take towards others leaves an impression.  As Christ followers, Jesus wants us to impact our world.  I don't mean the world, I mean your world: your family, friends, workplace, school campus, and your sphere of influence.  

So how do we impact our world?  Let's look at Scripture to learn:  Daniel 6.  Daniel was a Hebrew who, as a teenager, was taken captive into a pagan Babylonian culture to serve at the pleasure of the king.  He served faithfully while never compromising his faith and loyalty to God.  When Daniel was 90 years old, King Darius allowed officials in his kingdom to talk him into issuing a decree that everyone must worship him and anyone caught praying to another deity would be thrown into the lion's den to be consumed by the beasts.  Regardless of the decree, Daniel never wavered in his love and devotion to God.  He continued to pray 3 times a day with his face towards Jerusalem.  As a result he was thrown into the lion's den.  However, God shut the mouths of the lions and Daniel's life was spared.  When the king learned of Daniel's survival, he rejoiced and issued a decree that all must worship Daniel's God.  The men who conspired against Daniel were thrown into the lion's den along with their wives and children and were consumed by the beasts before their bodies hit the ground!

This amazing story shows us how to impact our world:

  1. We must have a good reputation (Daniel 6:1-4)
  2. We must form holy habits (Daniel 6:5-10)
  3. We must respect authority God has placed over us (Daniel 6:11-22)
  4. We must have an unwavering faith (Daniel 6:23)

When we do this, we will impact our world!  We will prosper (Daniel 6:24-28).  We will be blessed.  We will leave a Godly legacy for our children and future generations.  

For more on this, watch the full message!

We often say, "God bless you" when someone sneezes or needs comforting.  We say it perhaps without even thinking of what that really means.  God wants to bless you.  I mean really bless you!  In Psalm 23 we read where the God not only meets our needs but he overflows our cup!  In John 10:10 Jesus said he came to give life to the fullest.  So how do we realize God's overflowing blessings in our life?

For life to even begin, we have to have a rebirth.  Sin killed our spirit and without Jesus in our life we are a walking dead man.  We have a body, but our spirit that lives forever is dead.  Jesus said in order to truly live, and live forever with him in heaven, we must be "born again" (John 3:3).  Our first birth was a physical birth.  To be born again is to allow God's Holy Spirit to revive our spirit that is dead in sin.  Once we trust Jesus as our Savior, we are on our way to experiencing God's abundant blessings.  

Colossians 2:6-7 says, "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught."  These verses tell us there is a 1) Spiritual birth,  2) Spiritual growth3) Spiritual maturity that follows our growth that ultimately leads to a 4) lifestyle of obedience.  This process is how we experience God's abundant, overflowing blessings!  

We have to make a choice to obey God.  We can't do it apart from God's Holy Spirit empowering us.  We have to die to self and choose to follow God's Word.  Just like we make the choice to obey, we can also choose to disobey.  However, when we walk in disobedience, we miss God's best and we gravitate to the worst.  

Choose today to walk in obedience to God.  Choose to be thankful.  You will have the peace of Christ in our life, and you will experience God's overflowing blessings! 

For more on this, watch the full message.