Archive for December 2018

Pressing Forward. Moving Upward. Part One - Getting Clear for the New Year

Download Worksheet:http://www.newcovenant.org/Pressing_Forward_Worksheet.pdf

Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already attained or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 

A new year is an opportunity, if you are focused on making progress and making a difference. If your focus is on settling, a new year is just another day.

Charles Dickens “A Tale of Two Cities” which I never read, begins with a famous sentance set in London and Paris during the French Revolution in the late 1790’s.

Dickens's famous opening sentence introduces the universal approach of the book, the French

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period,”

It is always easier to remember the “worst of times,” but I challenge you to think about the “best of times.” You always have a choice, so choose wisely.

It is very important that you not focus on the “worst of times” even though you may have to deal the aftermath.

Champion athletes have the ability to forget about losses and mistakes, while learning from it. They quickly detach themselves from those things and focus forward. (Show Scanlon Video)

This is why Paul said: “But one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead…”

You too are a champion in God’s Kingdom!

Fear is the expectation of danger and harm. FEAR False Evidence Appearing Real 

“God has not given me a spirit of fear, but power, love, and a sound mind”

Three Keys for Getting Clear for the New Year: POWER, PERSPECTIVE, PRIZE

Paul reminded us a about POWER = “…That I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me..” 

You were designed by God to possess everything he designed for you to have.”

Paul gave us a PERSPECTIVE = I am not perfected, but I press on. I don’t focus on what I cannot do, I focus on what I can do. I am reminded of the manager who would not take his pitcher out of the game, even though he been pitching poorly. A couple of inning later he caught fire and began to strike out batters. In the post game, a reporter asked him “why did you leave him in the game when do was doing poorly.” The manager said, “I was not looking at he was not doing. I was looking at what he was going to do.”

Paul gave us a PRIZE = The upward or high call of God. This is kind of like the Christmas season as a child. Whatever else may have happened, the child looks forward to Christmas day and opening of gifts. It is kind of prize for the emotions.

Pressing forward for the prize of God’s purpose in your life, helps you put everything else in perspective. It’s like my wife and looking forward to returning to Hawaii for our 40 wedding anniversary. We last went for our 25th wedding anniversary. We all need something to look forward to.

What to Get Clear for the New Year:

All of this can be done through prayer and a quality decisions to act by faith.

A quality decision is the thing that gets done because you are committed to it. Like I also tell you, if someone ask you to do something and you say, “I’ll try” or “I might try” that is a non-quality decision. The Bible says “let your yes be yes, or no be no.” Matt 5:37, Just say a simple, 'Yes, I will,' or 'No, I won't.' Anything beyond this is from the evil one.

  1. The hindrance of self-imposed limitations resulting from broken principles and neglect of the Kingdom of God. Much of what impedes our progress has to do with neglecting a key principle or tolerating a condition that we can change. Not praying. Not giving. Not serving, etc.
  2. The pain and disappointment introduced by difficult and draining situations
  3. The shackles of low expectation introduced by “apparent” failure
  4. The residue of bad encounters, disrespectful, and missed opportunities
  5. The feeling of worthlessness resulting from a lack of engagement with the Lord and with your purpose
  6. The sense of being drained by debts and unnecessary expenses. Form your plan to retire debts and eliminate unneccessary expenses
  7. Determine to move straight ahead. Beware of situations that demand you to not run "straight ahead.” Philippians 3:14 So I run straight toward the goal in order to win the prize, which is God's call through Christ Jesus to the life above. (Good News Translation)
  8. Do a “So What” exercise (From Paul Scanlon)

Make a statement then ask yourself at the end of it, “SO WHAT?” 

“He was disrespectful to me ...SO WHAT?” 

“They don’t appreciate me...SO WHAT?” 

“I failed in that area...SO WHAT?”

“I missed that opportunity.. SO WHAT?” 

“I’ll never be included...SO WHAT?”

“I’m afraid of this new season..SO WHAT?” 

Your ‘SO WHATS’ will help you realize that it’s not worth doing drama about so many things. 

“Greater is He who is in you that He who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already attained or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.

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Good Tidings of Great Joy

Good Tidings of Great Joy

by Pastor Bryan Hudson

 

Psalm 16:11 NIV

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence,

with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

 

Luke 2:8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” 

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “ Glory to God in the highest,  And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” 

Phil 4:4(NLT)  Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! 5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus

Nehemiah 8:10 Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” 

Joy is the knowledge of God’s grace through Jesus Christ.

Joy is the satisfaction of knowing you are in the will of God.

Luke 2:10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people

This is what the coming of Jesus does for people. He brings joy at the prospect on living on purpose and living at a level greater than ourselves.

Saying the words, “The joy of the Lord is your strength” sounds good. However, it is more meaningful when we understand the circumstance surrounding it. 

Nehemiah 1:2 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah.It came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the citadel,And they said to me, “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.” 4 So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

These words came out of an experience of the fulfillment of a man’s compassion over his city and people. Nehemiah lived in Shushan the citadel. A citadel is a palace. Nehemiah lived in a palace. Shushan or “Susa” was the capital city of Elam and Persia. This word “susa” means “lill.” It is believed that the city was named for the abundance of lilies in the region.

Nehemiah was the kings cupbearer or servant. His family was brought to Babylon after the first captivity of the Jews. Nehemiah lived in blessing, abundance, and privilege---but his joy was not fulfilled because he was not living in the purpose of God.

He was away from his homeland. Some people who have blessing, abundance, and privilege, only want more for themselves. Some people forget where they have come from. Other people who blessing, abundance, and privilege, want to empower others.

This is the danger of a “comfortable captivity”....complacency and forgetting our foundations and higher purpose. 

Nehemiah wanted for others what he possessed for himself: blessing, abundance, and privledge.

This passion and vision led Nehemiah and those who accompanied him back to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls to an adventure, danger, hard work, opposition for haters and enemies, but eventually to the completion of their objective.

Luke 2:11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “ Glory to God in the highest,  And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” 

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Two Liberating Words: Thank You

Hebrews 13:12, Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14 For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. 15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, [d]giving thanks to His name. 16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Two of the most liberating words in our language are: “Thank You!”

Just as John taught that love is shown in deeds more than words, even so “Thank You” is always connected to what we offer or give.

This is why we celebrate birthdays with cards and gifts, because we wish to say “Thank you” for someone’s life. That’s why we celebrate Christmas with gift giving and honoring our Savior. It’s all about saying “Thank You” to the Lord for the gift of life and new life in Christ.

THANK YOU helps keep our lives clear of anxiety, sin, darkness, deception.

Ephesians 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. 3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather [do do something better] giving of thanks.

Philippians 4:6, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

THANK YOU opens doors, releases gifts, empowers worship, and influences better decisions, and opens your heart to others.

Eph. 5:15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. [Giving Thanks] 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.

THANK YOU puts us in a position to allow God to transform every weakness into a strength

2 Cor. 12:9, And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

THANK YOU draws us closer to God and to others.

Psalm 35:18, I will give You thanks in the great assembly; I will praise You among many people.

In Psalm 107 "Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy." (NIV)

THANK YOU closes the circle of breakthrough in our lives. Lesson from the Ten Lepers: Ten were cleansed, but one was MADE WHOLE by saying "Thank You!"

Luke 17:11 Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. 13 And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14 So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. 15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. 17 So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 18 Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”

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Too Blessed to Be Stressed

Matthew 11:28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

What is stress? It is a state of mental or emotional strain, pressure, or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. Allowing high levels of stress will adversely affect you. It is known that stress and worry cause harmful physical effects. All the more reason to accept Jesus’ offer to lift the burden of negative stress from our lives.

[Click here to watch a brief video explaining the physical effects of stress]

Example: On March 3, 2010 when the engines on US Airways Flight 1549 under the control of Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, shut down after a flock of geese flew into the engines, it created a circumstance of extraordinary stress or pressure on his mind. The flight crews and passengers also experienced the worse kind of stress.

He coped with the situation and handled it in an effective manner. He turned and glided the unpowered airplane to a safe landing on the Hudson River between New York City and New Jersey.

How did Captain Sully deal with the stress? 

1) The mercy of God 2) 40 years of flying experience. 3) Many hours of training in a flight simulator for the situation he faced. 4) Extreme focus on solutions, not problems 5) Confidence in his abilities and skill. He said, “I knew I could land the airplane on the river.”

This is an extreme example of stress, but there are everyday lessons we can learn from this situation. Allowing the grace of God to lead us in better spiritual, mental, emotional, and lifestyle habits help prepare us to deal with unforeseen circumstances.

Example: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King began his career as a pastor in 1954 at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. His ambition was to become a pastor, like his father, preaching and serving his congregation and community. Segregation experienced himself and people like Rosa Parks created a situation of stress, or pressure. He turned the stress/pressure of that situation into a God-inspired movement that positively changed our nation.

When something weighs on your mind, it is stress, but it is not necessarily something bad. God’s will for your life requires your attention. Feeling conviction about something will weigh on your heart and mind. Before coming to Christ I experienced a lot of negative stress because of my bad choices and lifestyle. Becoming a believer in Jesus and answering the call of God presented a positive stress that focused me on seeking the Lord to learn how to fulfill His assignments on my life.

Seven Keys for Walking in Blessing Rather Than Stressing

1. PROCESS the stress. Why is it? What is the source of it? Is it constructive or destructive? 1 Peter 2:20, But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.

2. PERCEIVE what God is doing to build strength into your life: 1 Peter 5:10, But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

To suffer is to transition of another way of thinking and living. It is then to stand against what you’ve been delivered from

3. PRAY to God. Let peace fill your heart. Develop a sense of partnership with Christ: Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

1 Peter 4:12-13, Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.

James 1:2-4, My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

4. PLAN a better path beginning with a new mindset. Think differently: Philippians 4:8, Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

5. PURSUE new habits and lifestyle choice: Morning devotions. Seek proper comfort (help). Not old habits like “comfort” food, complaining and such. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation (stress), that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

The Holy Spirit is your Comforter, or Helper.  The purpose for seeking comfort is to get some help, not to get trapped. Too much of what is presented as comfort does not provide much actual help. The biblical meaning of “helper” as it pertains the Holy Spirit is Help, ([Verb] sunantilambano) signifies "to take hold with at the side for assistance"

(Illustration: Like asking someone to help who adds something else to the burden.)

6. PUT Christ the throne of your life. Get off the throne because Jesus cares for everything he rules.  People entrust me with assignments because the have confidence that I’ll get it done. Jesus can be trusted with your life!

Colossians 3:15. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.

7. PRAISE God and push back the darkness. Gain the light of “possible.” 

Psalm 8:2, Out of the mouth of babes and infants have you ordained strength because of your enemies, that you might still the enemy and the avenger.

Mark 10:27, But Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible."

You are too blessed to be stressed!

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