Brand new you

I, like many other pastors, stood in the pulpit over the past few Sundays with a sincere desire to motivate you to start the year off right. I, like many other pastors, will do my best to make you believe that 2013 will be the best year ever! I will attempt to get you back on track to reach goals not accomplished last year. But with all honesty, there is really nothing I can do to motivate you other than point you to the inspiration of God’s word.

In 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul excites us with this statement, “if anyone is in Christ they are a new creation!” Yes, you are new! No matter the outcome of your past, God says that you can live everyday in the newness of life. He has produced a change so great in you that it’s proper to say you are a brand new person.

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I believe your perspectives are new, your motives are new, there are new principles, new objects and new plans of life. You have new purposes and now live for new ends. There is a change so deep, so clear, so entire, and so lasting, that it is only right to recognize and say you have been re-created! You are a work of the Divine power as glorious as when God created all things out of nothing.

I challenge you to stop living in the past and let the “New You” be manifested by God Himself.

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The Heart of a Leader

Most basketball fans would say Michael Jordan was the best when it came to game-winning shots. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that MJ would take that final shot. And not many of us ever thought of betting against him. Why? Because he had heart! He had the confidence to say “I want the ball in my hands for the final shot.” His ability to handle this type of pressure is the result of having a prepared heart to deal with it. He was one of the most poised players ever and handled pressured situations like he had been doing it all of his life.

This type of confidence was developed out of much practice and preparation. We’ve all heard it before – the more we put in the more we get out. The heart of a leader is developed by what is put inside it. And whatever is in your heart determines your ability to handle the tension, stress, and strain of this life.


To handle the pressures of life the way Jesus handled them your heart must be filled with:

  1. The Holy Spirit
    1. In the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, in Luke 4:1 it says that Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit.
  2. Compassion
    1. In Mark 6:34, we see an clear example of how Jesus lead with a heart of compassion for people.
  3. Service
    1. In the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus’ disciples saw this as an obstacle to serve while He looked at it as an opportunity to serve.

The heart of a leader is the most essential component of leadership. In the book “Lead Like Jesus” authors Ken Blanchard & Phil Hodges, says that “in teaching people to lead like Jesus, we have found that effective leadership starts on the inside, it is a heart issue.

Is your heart in the right place for effective leadership? This week, focus on the areas of your heart that need growth in order to become a better leader.

Not So With You

2012 can be your best year ever…only if you make the decision to do some things differently. Just this week at work I heard someone define insanity as “doing the same thing but expecting a different result”.  Wow! Are you expecting better results this year without the commitment of doing things differently? This question doesn’t mean you throw the baby out with the bath water and start completely over. I realize there are some accomplishments you made last year that need no adjusting. However, there are some practices and habits that resulted in dead ends in 2011 and must be changed.  These adjustments to your family plans, career plans, financial plans, etc., all hinge upon your ability to lead.

So what is leadership? In the book “Lead Like Jesus” by authors Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges, leadership is defined as “the ability to influence the thinking, behavior, or development of people.”Jesus addressed his disciples about leadership with an intriguing statement – “not so with you” (Matthew 20:25-26).  In other words, our leadership must be different. To achieve better results in 2012 we must take bold steps in doing things differently.

Consider these five practical things that all great leaders do to achieve maximum results:
  1. Leaders mobilize others to join the mission/vision of the organization
  2. Leaders coach others to be successful
  3. Leaders empower others to carry out the mission
  4. Leaders serve others and are not driven by self-promotion
  5. Leaders reproduce themselves in the life of the people around them.

Your desire to achieve more, be more, and do more in 2012 starts with your influence. Do something differently today to make this a victorious year!

Join us as the Lead Like Jesus series continues – this Sunday at 10:30am – 285 Dacula Road, Dacula Ga.

The Dead End to Healing

Jesus’ life was filled with wonders, miracles and healing. He proved his power over nature by calming storms; over death by disrupting funerals; over sickness by bringing health.  He performed some of these miracles with just a single word and others were performed from a remote location.Many of us have received true, divine healing from God. The type of healing where there is no explanation other than God’s healing power. But on the other hand, many of us have spent thousands and thousands of dollars in search of finding a cure, just like the woman with an issue of blood. For twelve long years she spent all she had on doctors and none of them could diagnose the problem.  Can you imagine having to deal with a sickness for that length of time? Or better yet, can you envision spending your hard-earned money on several different doctors with no results?  After a year, it would certainly seem like a dead-end, and after 12 years, for most of us, the situation would seem hopeless. But the woman with the issue of blood pushed passed the dead end and made her way to Jesus – the one she knew could heal her!Here’s the encouragement – sometimes God takes us to dead ends to refocus our eyes on the prize. Dead ends represent no future, no destiny, and in this case no healing. But in some situations, the dead end is just what we need to be in order trust in the Lord and not depend on our own understanding. I hear God saying to you today; “don’t get weary in your well doing.” Although issues in your life seem to last for years, your faith creates paths even through dead ends.

Here are 4 ways to work through dead ends and receive the healing God has for you.

  1. Develop a spirit of expectation for God’s healing
  2. Use the sufficient faith you have to receive healing
  3. Don’t ignore the issues of life. Remember Jesus has already overcome the world so be cheerful.
  4. Never operate in fear…it destroys your faith.
Check out the clip from our service this Sunday and consider joining us for a winning worship experience each Sunday at 10:30am.

5 Biblical (and practical) Ways to Deal With Debt

The seed of financial problems was probably planted early in our lives when we observed the actions of our parents. Many of us were never taught the basics of how to handle money. As we grew up, we felt that we should immediately have everything that our parents took a lifetime to acquire. So as young couples we start off by paying for our wedding and honeymoon on credit, buying a house that we really couldn’t afford, purchasing two cars and now having two car notes and using credit cards to buy clothes. This type of spending sets the tone for the rest of our lives and it’s virtually impossible to recover. We gradually see our income being consumed by interest and monthly payments. Once the credit card company provides easier access to credit with higher ceilings and lower minimum payments, the cycle is almost complete. The grip of debt is tightened, and this often leads to destruction of personal integrity, bankruptcy, and even the breakup of the family.

Proverbs 22:7 says “the rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” This passage is pretty simple to understand. The person who borrows puts him or herself in servitude to debt. When we borrow we are slaves to debt; we are in bondage to the one we borrow from in both time and money. So now, we find ourselves spending all of our time working to make money, so we can pay debt. God’s plan for your financial life is quite opposite from this scenario. In Romans 13:8 it says to let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another.

Dealing with debt from a biblical perspective is one could be one of the toughest challenges, but it can be done! Here are 5 simple actions items to help you break the power of debt over your life:

  1. Pray for God to break the power of debt. Matthew 7:7-8
  2. Believe that God wants you out of debt.
  3. Set a goal of living on 70% of your income. Tithe 10%, save 20%.
  4. Follow the biblical guidelines regarding debt. Romans 13:8
  5. Be a lender and not a borrower.

As we move into the holiday season, let’s remember these simple, biblical principles about dealing with our debt. If we manage our finances and our debt using these tools we can begin on the road to living victoriously in all aspects of our life – including our finances!

Super Friends

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Do you remember the Super Friends? This had to be one of the best cartoons aired on television. I couldn’t wait to get up on Saturday mornings! Dad would cook one of those big breakfasts with homemade biscuits and after digging in it was all about the Super Friends. Each episode featured the great heroes; Superman, Batman and Robin, Aquaman and Wonder Woman plus the Wonder Twins and Gleek.

Who were your favorite Super Friends? The Wonder Twins were mine. Their powers were activated when they touched and said “Wonder Twin Power Activate!” Saying this phrase was a habit of the Twins, but wasn’t necessary to activate powers. Physical contact, however, was required and if they were out of reach of each other they were unable to activate their powers. As Zan and Jayna were about to transform, they would each announce or speak their intended form to overpower the evil forces.

Wow!! These Super Friends bring to my remembrance the Heroes of Faith referred to in Hebrews 11. These saints also fought the fight of good vs. evil but more importantly realized the value of living by faith. By faith they understood that the worlds were framed by the word of God. From the beginning of time God showed us the power of the spoken word and how it activates our faith. He effortlessly spoke the heavens and the earth into existence.

Living a life of faith begins with the spiritual connection we have with God and us speaking His word into existence. Just as the Wonder Twins physically connected and spoke their intended form, we should do likewise to rise above our circumstances and overpower the enemy. And know that when we activate our faith it sincerely pleases our God in heaven.

The Power of the Pause

We’ve got a million things to do! Between our jobs, school work, time with family and friends and all those little errands on our “to-do” list, there just aren’t enough hours in the day! Thanks to our smart phones we’re always connected even in the midst of  moving from task to task, and by the time we make it to bed at night we have mere moments to recharge and prepare for the day to come. But even as we “make time” to cart our kids to soccer practice, finish that presentation for work or tend to that mountain of laundry, we find it difficult to take a moment away from it all for some one-on-one time with God.

When Jesus walked this earth He was certainly busy – healing the sick and raising the dead, teaching His disciples and spreading the Word across the land. I’m sure we would all agree that the miracles He preformed were much more pressing than washing the car or racing off to yet another meeting! Luke 5:16 reminds us that as often as possible Jesus withdrew to out-of-the-way places for prayer.  Even as people were flocking to hear Him preach and to have their diseases healed, Jesus made sure he often withdrew to quiet, solitary places to pray. What an awesome example for us all, and an enduring reminder of the importance of our daily prayer life!

Many things clamor for our attention, and we often run ourselves ragged attending to them. Like Jesus, however, we should take time to withdraw to a quiet place to pray. Strength comes from God, and we can only be strengthened by spending time with him each day. Think about it – there are 1440 minutes in each day, and God only asks us for a moment. It’s important to learn to put the demands of our day on pause. Set aside 5 minutes each day this week for one-on-one time with God and watch how it changes your perspective!

How do you make time for God each day? Share here: