Friday, January 27, 2023

7 VERSES ABOUT MAKING GOD YOUR TOP PRIORITY

Do you MAKE TIME for God, or do you only serve God when you HAVE TIME? This is the difference between a PRIORITY and an OPTION.

For too many Christians, God is a great option, but He is not a priority. Check out these seven verses (with commentary) to help you think through what it means to make God your first and central priority.

Mark 12:30 -- “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

If you love God, you'll give Him every corner of your life.

Matthew 6:33 -- “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Your first decision should always be building God's Kingdom. Everything else will take care of itself.

Romans 12:2 -- Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

If you always think the way you've always thought, you'll always live the way you've always lived. Discipline your mind to think differently.

Luke 12:34 -- “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Your desires will chase your treasures. If you want to prioritize the things of God, invest your treasures in the things of God.

2 Timothy 2:22 -- So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

Put physical distance between yourself and anything that tempts you to drift from God.

Ecclesiastes 12:1 -- Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no delight in them”;

Build lifelong habits that will help you keep your eyes, mind, and heart on God.

Psalm 37:4 -- Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

The more you focus on God, the more He will change your desires so that your heart aligns with His. 


Thursday, January 26, 2023

10 BIBLE VERSES YOU CAN SEND AS AN ENCOURAGING TEXT

Do you want to be a force for good in the lives of your friends and family? What if you started sending 3-5 encouraging texts every day? Just choose a couple of people in your contact list and send them one of the verses listed below (or find your own!).

  • Exodus 15:2 - The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.
  • Psalm 34:4 - I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
  • Psalm 46:1 - God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
  • Psalm 118:24 - This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
  • John 14:27 - Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
  • John 16:33 - In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
  • Ephesians 6:10 - be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
  • Philippians 4:13 - I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
  • Colossians 1:11 - May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy
  • 2 Timothy 1:7 - For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.


Sunday, January 1, 2023

You Cannot Call Jesus LORD If You Do Not First Call Him MASTER

In the Gospels, Jesus is referred to as "Lord" numerous times, particularly in the letters of Paul. Even today, this title is often used by people in prayer, church, and conversation. However, has "Lord" become so common that we have lost the significance of its true meaning?


To call Jesus "Lord" is to recognize and acknowledge Him as the supreme authority. It means surrendering to His will and submitting to His leadership and obeying His commands. It is a declaration of allegiance and devotion.

Calling Jesus "Lord" is a commitment that should not be made lightly.

In Matthew 7:21, Jesus says, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." This verse reminds us that it is not enough to simply profess our faith in Jesus with our words. We must also demonstrate our faith through our actions and obedience to His commands.

In Luke's account, Jesus said, "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do what I tell you?" This passage highlights the disconnect between professing faith in Jesus and actually living out that faith. To truly follow Jesus as Lord and Master, we must not only say the words but also put them into practice. One cannot claim allegiance to Christ without also submitting to His agenda.

In short, calling Jesus "Lord" carries a great responsibility. It requires us to submit to His authority and follow His commands. It is not a title to be taken lightly, but rather a commitment to live out our faith in action. If we claim to follow Jesus as Lord, it is essential that we also submit to Him as Master, obeying His commands and serving Him with our whole hearts. 

12 Sermon Leftovers about PRIORITIES

 We are kicking off 2023 with a sermon series about Priorities. We're going to study the GREAT COMMANDMENT and discover how our central priority needs to be loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Below are 12 statements about PRIORITIES from the first sermon:




1. Every "YES" is a "NO" to something else. You cannot have it all.

2. You cannot do it all. The good news is that God never asked you to do it all.

3. Prioritizing anything means rejecting something to choose a better thing.

4. You are never too busy. You just don't have the right priorities.

5. Priorities are CHOSEN, not spoken or felt.

6. Priorities shape your decisions and your decisions shape your life.

7. Prioritizing God means loving Him with every part of your life.

8. Loving God means deciding to give up our own desires so that we can live for His purposes.

9. Jesus' life was extraordinarily different than everyone else's because Jesus' priorities were extraordinarily different than everyone else's.

10. If your priorities are truly different than the world, then your actions will reflect that truth.

11. I can observe your priorities by observing your life.

12. Your priorities are reflected in your bank account, your calendar, your browser history, your social media timeline, your YouTube history, and even your Netflix favorites.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Ask These FIVE QUESTIONS At The End Of Every Day

What do you do right before you fall asleep? Are you watching the news and complaining about how bad the world has become? Are you scrolling social media, concerned about what you might have missed or coveting what you might not have?

Why not use those final minutes of your day to focus your mind on a beneficial, uplifting, and spiritually healthy trajectory. As you close out your day, ask yourself these five questions to ensure that you finish well:

Have I read and contemplated God's Word?

the Bible is our primary source of guidance and direction in life. Psalm 119:105, says, "Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path." Through reading and chewing on God's Words, we can gain wisdom and understanding of God's will for us.

Have I confessed my shortcomings and mistakes?

Confession is an important part of the Christian life, as it allows us to repent and turn away from our sinful ways. In 1 John 1:9, it says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." God has already forgiven our sins in Christ, but through confession, we are able to receive that forgiveness and in turn forgive ourselves.

Have I thanked God for His blessings?

Thanking God for His blessings is an acknowledgement that every good gift is from above. Colossians 3:17, says, "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." By giving thanks to God, we will grow our gratitude habit, we will remind ourselves of how many blessings we truly have received, and we will feed our mind spiritually health food.

Have I encouraged and provided assistance to others?

As Christians, we are called to love and serve others, and one way to do this is by encouraging and providing assistance to those in need. Galatians 6:2 reminds us to, "Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." When we use our gifts and resources for the good of others, we are fulfilling Christ's command to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Have I prayed for those whom I love?

There are few better ways to close out a day than to pray for others. Praying for those we love is an important way to show our love and concern for them. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, it says, "Pray continually." Praying for those closest to us is important because prayer is effective. And, it is also good and beneficial to pray for those not close to us, even our enemies sometimes. Prayer is the portal through which we draw near to the heart of God.

Meditate on these questions as you lie in bed. There is no better way to finish your day.


DISCOVER THE BIBLE (tools to empower your spiritual habits)



Thursday, December 22, 2022

6 SIMPLE TRICKS TO USE YOUR SMARTPHONE FOR GOOD

 For good reason, many people wish smartphones would have never been created. They have become a source of addiction, a means by which great evil is spread, and a root cause of much pain and sorrow for many families. However... they may yet be redeemable.

Let's be honest. To live and work in today's world, you probably need to carry a smartphone. So, why not make the best of it? Here are six ways you can use your smartphone for good. Try them all, but if you can't, choose at least 2-3 to get started. 


Set alarms to remind you to pause and pray throughout the day.

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Setting alarms on your smartphone can be a great way to remind yourself to take a break from your busy schedule and pray. Whether it's for a few minutes in the morning, during lunch, or before bed, taking time to pray and communicate with God can help bring peace and clarity to your day. Consider setting alarms at different intervals throughout the day to remind you to pause and pray.

Intentionally use your text messages to encourage 3-5 people every day.

"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." - 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Text messages are a quick and easy way to reach out to others, and they can be a powerful tool for encouraging those around you. Consider making it a daily habit to send 3-5 text messages to friends, family, or even coworkers, offering words of encouragement and support. Whether it's a simple "thinking of you" or a more detailed message, your words can have a big impact on the people you reach out to.

Download a Bible App (Youversion) that will help you stick to a daily reading plan.

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." - Psalm 119:105

One of the great things about smartphones is that there are so many apps available to help us in our spiritual growth. One such app is Youversion, which offers a wide range of Bible translations, reading plans, and other resources to help you engage with God's Word on a daily basis. Whether you're a seasoned Bible reader or just starting out, a Bible app can be a great tool to help you stay on track with your daily reading.

Use YouTube to subscribe and listen to Bible teachers and preachers.

"How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" - Psalm 119:103

YouTube is a treasure trove of resources for spiritual growth, and there are many Christian teachers and preachers who use the platform to share their insights and perspectives on the Bible. Consider subscribing to a few channels that you find particularly helpful, and make it a habit to listen to their teachings on a regular basis. You might also consider setting aside specific times each week to watch and listen to these teachings, as a way to make sure you're consistently feeding your faith.

Utilize an e-reader app (Kindle, etc.) to download and read spiritual growth material.

"All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness" - 2 Timothy 3:16

In addition to the Bible, there are many other books and resources that can help us grow in our faith. E-reader apps like Kindle make it easy to download and read these materials on our smartphones, giving us access to a wealth of spiritual growth resources wherever we go. Consider browsing through the selection of Christian books available on Kindle, and add a few titles to your reading list.

Share your password with other people and give them permission to check your usage anytime.

"Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven." - Matthew 5:16

One way to ensure that we're using our smartphones for good is to be open and transparent about our usage. Consider sharing your password with people you trust and if they ask, let them view your phone usage. Loving accountability from trustworthy people is a powerful encouragement to live up to our calling.


You don't have to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Although smartphones carry significant potential for harm, they can also be a useful tool that aids our spiritual growth. You are the only person who can choose whether to use your phone for good or evil. Make the right choice!

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

STRAIGHT FROM THE BIBLE: FIVE REASONS GRATITUDE WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE

Gratitude is a simple habit to build and it will have a profound impact on your life. The Bible is clear that the more gratitude you exhibit, the more you will experience the life God created you to live. Here are five reasons the Bible says gratitude is good for you.

The Bible teaches that gratitude is a habit that can radically alter the trajectory of your life. Check out these five verses that demonstrate how gratitude can change your life.
Gratitude Will Change Your Life

Gratitude can bring joy to our lives. "I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High." (Psalm 7:17)

Gratitude can strengthen our relationships. "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Gratitude can improve our mental and physical health. "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." (Proverbs 17:22)

Gratitude can increase overall happiness. "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Gratitude can bring us closer to God. "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever." (Psalm 107:1)



Gratitude is the antidote for anxiety and can be a gateway to contentment. Beginning and ending your day with gratitude is one of the most powerful habits you can build if you want to experience a joy-filled life. Use this 30-day journal to immerse every day in gratitude and to discover how much your life can change by simply learning how to say "thank you" a little more often.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

BORING IS BETTER THAN BEING DISTRACTED

I'm stashing these thoughts here for the day I need them. Judges 15:20 is a short verse that often goes unnoticed. The story of Samson is so full of action and craziness that we sometimes forget about this twenty-year break when he actually did what he was supposed to do. I think there's a good sermon here, and a great sermon title.

6 Preaching Points From The Life of Samson
BORING IS BETTER THAN BEING DISTRACTED

1. God's purpose for Samson's life was to lead the Israelites and deliver them from the Philistines

2. For most of his life, Samson was distracted from God's purpose for His life.

3. Whenever Samson was distracted, conflict and calamity ensued.

4. For twenty years, Samson focused on accomplishing God's purpose for His life.

5. During those years, there was no conflict or calamity.

6. Living out God's purpose may seem boring, but if boring means no conflict and no calamity, then boring is better than being distracted.

Friday, December 16, 2022

5 RESOLUTIONS FOR EVERY CHRISTIAN IN 20

Around this time every year, many people take the opportunity to reflect on the previous year and make resolutions for the year ahead. For those who follow Christ, the start of a new year is a chance to challenge ourselves to grow in our faith and strengthen our connection to God. With that in mind, here are five New Year's resolutions that every Christian should consider making:

Pray at least three times every day. 

Prayer is an essential part of the Christian life, and it's important to make time for it every day. Whether you pray first thing in the morning, during your lunch break, or before you go to bed at night, set aside a few moments to talk to God and ask for His guidance and direction.

Read and think about the Bible every day.

The Bible is our source of truth and inspiration, and it's important to spend time reading and studying it regularly. Consider setting aside a few minutes each day to read a passage of scripture and reflect on its meaning. This will help you better understand God's will for your life and stay focused on your faith.

Find three people to encourage every day.

As Christians, we are called to love and serve others, and one way to do that is by offering encouragement to those around us. Look for opportunities to lift up and support those in your life, whether it's a colleague at work, a neighbor, or a family member. Even a simple act of kindness can make a big difference in someone's day.

Give something away every day.

Another way to show love and serve others is by being generous with our time, resources, and talents. Consider finding ways to give back to your community or to those in need. This might mean volunteering at a local shelter, donating money to a worthy cause, or simply helping a neighbor with a task they're struggling to complete.

Tell one person why you follow Jesus every day.

Finally, consider making it a goal to share your faith with others. This might mean having a conversation with someone about your beliefs or simply sharing a message of hope and love with those around you. Whether you do this through social media, in person, or through other means, make it a priority to share your faith with others and be a light in the world.

These five resolutions can empower you to grow in your faith, serve others, and brighten the world around you. Consider giving them a try this New Year, and see what a change they can make in your life and the lives of those around you.





Monday, December 12, 2022

HOW TO DISCOVER PEACE WHEN THERE'S NONE AROUND YOU

 When dealing with the busyness, stress, and uncertainties of life, it can be easy to get caught up in worrying about things that are beyond our control. In those moments it is important to remember to work at what we can control while trusting God for the rest.

When we focus on the things that we can control, we can make a real difference in our own lives and the lives of those around us. We can work hard at our jobs, take care of our families, and strive to be the people God created us to be. By doing these things, we can find a sense of purpose and fulfillment in our lives while building the Kingdom of God.

But there will always be things that are beyond our control. In these moments, it's important to pray. When we take these worries to our Heavenly Father, we can put our trust in God and let Him handle the things that are beyond our control. This doesn't mean that we should simply sit back and do nothing, but rather that we should trust in God's plan and work alongside Him to bring about His will.

So in those moments of uncertainty, overwhelm, or confusion; remember to work at what you can control and pray about what you cannot control. By doing so, you will discover life as it was meant to be lived.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

6 Steps To Level Up Your Prayer Life.

How to be better at prayer

Prayer is essential to the growth of every Christian. It is the means by which we connect with God and cultivate a deeper relationship with Him. As we pray, we can align our lives with the will of God. 

Through prayer, we submit to His guidance and seek to discover His plan for our life. The more we pray, the closer we grow to Him. The closer we grow to Him, the more easily we understand and live out His desires.

Here are six steps you can take to enhance your prayer life.

Put it on your calendar. 

Choose a specific time that you will set aside for prayer every day. This can be in the morning, evening, or anytime that works best for you. Put it on your schedule and don't let anything displace it.

Identify a "Prayer Corner". 

This can be a quiet room, a designated space, or simply a quiet corner of your home. The goal is to find a place where you can focus and be free from distractions. Plan to be in your space at the times you have scheduled on your calendar. (If you can't be in your space, make a plan to be somewhere else that will work)

Prepare your mind and heart. 

Prayer is a conversation with God, so approach it with a calm and receptive heart. Stop thinking about the busyness of the day. Don't worry about what is next on the schedule. Let go of any worries or distractions and focus on the present moment.

Manage a diverse "Prayer Toolbox". 

There is no one "right" way to pray, so try different approaches and see what works best for you. This might include traditional prayers, spontaneous prayers, or simply talking to God as you would a friend. You can find an unlimited number of prayer methods by searching Pinterest or Google.

Be consistent. 

Prayer is a journey, not a destination. Don't be discouraged if you don't feel like you're making progress at first. Keep praying, and over time you will find that your prayer life deepens and becomes more meaningful.

Keep a Journal or Scoreboard. 

If you enjoy writing, keep a journal and write about how prayer is changing you and how your prayers are being answered (it won't always be how you expect). If you don't journal, keep a "scoreboard" to track your consistency. Try to create streaks during which you spend intentional time in prayer every day. 

For some, praying multiple times a day is helpful, while others may only pray once or twice a day. The frequency of your prayers isn't the most important thing. The consistency of prayers is. You may begin by praying for your situation to change. What you will discover is that consistent prayer may not change your circumstances, but it will change you.