Discovering God’s Will 3
by Andy Stanley

God has a will for our lives and he wants us to know and in most cases He wants us to know it worse than we want to know it. One question is how in the world does God speak to us through Scripture and how are we to use the scripture to determine and discern God’s will for our lives?

God’s never going to lead you to build a boat and put in a couple of all the animals. You probably won’t be in a situation where you are to march around a building or a city seven times and it fall right down.

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Video Highlights

At 11:23, Andy Stanley’s Message talks about how God doesn’t do anything the same way twice:

God doesn’t do anything the same way twice.  Have you noticed that we just look around the room at all our different faces?   You know there’s never an exact same snowflake and there are over 600 kinds of beetles.   I mean God is a God of variety and so the odds of your situation paralleling the situation of someone in the Bible and therefore you do exactly what they did that that’s not the best way to use scripture.

Isaiah wrote, he said for My thoughts and speaking for God for My thoughts are not your thoughts in other words God saying and this isn’t new news you saying we don’t think alike but we don’t think alike about anything.  My thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways are not your ways.  In other words, the way you would normally do something is not the way I would normally do it.  The way that you would normally respond to circumstances is not the way I would normally respond to the way you handle yourself and finances and family.  What comes very natural to you and what seems very logical to you God would say is not my way at all declares the Lord.  As the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts then your thoughts.

Before you start making decisions and before you even entertain asking the question God what is your will you need to know right up front we don’t think alike.  What is naturally intuitive to us may actually lead us astray in the situation since we are using our own reasoning powers. When it comes to discerning God’s will our logic from God’s perspective may be illogical. To make a decision as it relates to relationships when our heart is telling us something and our heart is leading us in a direction it may very well be that that’s not the direction God would have us lean it all.  We can’t necessarily trust our hearts, and we can’t even necessarily trust our ability to reason, and we oftentimes can’t trust our intuition when it comes to discovering God’s will on all three accounts we come up short because God’s ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts.

At 13:57 Andy Stanley talks about three things to consider on decisions:

There are three things that come to bear on the decision one is you know the context in which are making the decision, the second is your perspective and the third is the outcome.

Every time we make a decision it is limited to what we know and what we’ve experienced.  So there’s a limitation in terms of perspective.  Our perspective is impacted by our desires and our fears.  What if we had the perspective that started in eternity past and went right through this life into eternity to the future? What if we had the opportunity to peer into a mind that knew the outcomes of every one of our options and outcome of every decision.

In the scriptures what God has given us is a slice of His thinking, and in the scriptures God has given us a piece of His mind.  In fact He’s giving us more here than we will ever comprehend in a lifetime and in doing so here’s what He said. I want to broaden your context, I want to add to your experience, the experience of hundreds of thousands of men and women who have come before you.  Here is page after page of what happens when men and women trust me and what happens when they don’t trust me.  God has invited us to look into His thoughts and look into His ways to become so familiar with His thoughts and His ways that over time our thoughts become His thoughts and our ways be become His ways and in doing so we learn to discern and sort out God’s will for our lives.

At 26:50 Andy Talks about What You Reap is What You Sow:

Whenever you make a decision it is going to cross with or intersect with one of the principles of God’s Word. You reap what you sow, in other words whatever you put into something you can expect to get something similar out.  The second one just an example this is the book of Proverbs says he who walks with the wise grows wise the companion of fools suffers harm. The third one is to raise up your children the way there to go and when they’re old they won’t depart from it.

The principle of unconditional love. Unconditional love is the most powerful force on the human soul.   Nothing leverages change at the level of unconditional love that where there’s hurt and where there’s rejection and where their sorrow massive doses of unconditional love have the power to change and reshape the human soul.

Whenever you make a decision, it is going to cross with or intersect with one of the principles of God’s Word, the way things work, and the more familiar we are with the ways of God the easier it is to discern the will of God when it comes down to making a decision.

Conclusion

When you become familiar with my thoughts and familiar with my ways your ways will begin to mirror my ways your thoughts will begin to mirror my thoughts you’ll become more like me and you will be able to figure out my will for your life which is my heart’s desire.

Heavenly Father I want to figure you out and to learn to anticipate what you would have me do as I learned to sort out and discern your will for my life.

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Discovering God’s Will 4
by Andy Stanley

Why is this important to me? Why should I keep listening to this message?

God wants you to know what He wants you to do.  He wants to be involved in the decision making process.  It’s not the big decisions that get us into trouble allot of time, it’s the small decisions that not only get us into trouble, but also determine the direction of our life.

God will direct and guide you in your life by giving you a big picture vision for your life.  God has a picture of what He wants to see happen in your life, your dating, your marriage, your finances and all areas of your life.

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Video Highlights

Here are some highlights from Discovering God’s Will by Andy Stanley:

Lord, what is the big picture for my marriage?  God what do you want to see down the road in terms of my relationship with my children?  Give me a vision for what you want to see happen to me professionally.  Give me a vision of where you think I need to be financially, and as you begin to ask that question, and as you begin to draw on the resources that you already have you will begin to bring into focus a mental picture of what could be, and you will believe should be in each of these areas of your life and here’s what happens.  The vision gets clearer and the options get fewer and the decision gets easier and that’s how it works.  A vision is the big picture and its destination is where things are going to end up.

At 8:19 Andy continues on the vision of marriage:

As you define what marriage could be, and what should it be, you begin to define and describe that so it gives you a clearer vision of what marriage could be and should be for you and it automatically eliminates allot of potential people from your life.

What could be and should be for us as a family financially.  What could be and should be in terms of how we give and how we save and how we prepare for the future and the clearer the financial vision comes into focus the fewer options there are.

At 20:12 Andy teaches on Nehemiah Chapter 6:

As Nehemiah said in chapter 6, “I am doing a great work right here and I cannot come down”.  Anything that would distract him from rebuilding the wall was not going to distract him.  This guy, Nehemiah, clearly know what God had called him to do, rebuild the wall.  Anything that contributed to rebuilding the wall was a yes and anything that would distract him from rebuilding the wall was a no.  Decision-making was very easy for Nehemiah because once he had the big picture of what God ultimately wanted to have happen all the options prioritized themselves.  There were very few options so it was easy to decide, the message was simple, “I’m doing a great work and I cannot come down”.

Three quick points of application.  Number one is would you be willing to at least being praying that God would give you a vision for your life and the key areas?  Just ask Him to help you see your finances in three to five years the way You’d like for them to be.  Give me a picture of what You would like to see my marriage or my relationship with my kids 35 years from now.  Secondly, write it down as a sentence or paragraph.  Over time and years it will change and God will shape it and conform it.  He shares at 32:58 in the sermon the third thing is to act accordingly, you begin making decisions based on what you could be and should be in your future and anything that moves you towards what it is that God has called you to be.

At 33:24, Andy concludes with thoughts on the vision for you life:

The good news is that the crisis is the bad news.  The good news is that God allows, creates, causes and endorses overwhelming scenarios in our world so that we can discover God.

The problem may not be gone, but you handed it off because the battle is not mine.  The battle is the Lord’s.  We bless your name Lord, not because the enemy has disappeared, but because you handed it off and you’re going to let God run with this.  You’re going to call Him down from heaven because heaven rules in spite of the situation.

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God Wants to Talk With You
by Rick Warren

Without communication there is no relationship. How do you tune in to hear God speak to you? Rick Warren shares three reasons why it’s important to hear from God. He also shares how to grow in your relationship with Jesus.

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Video Highlights

Here are some highlights from this message about the importance to hear from God by Rick Warren.

Rick shares Luke 8:8 “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Why is it important to hear from God?

  1. It proves I’m in God’s family.
  2. It protects me from mistakes. Proverbs 3:6 “Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, and everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track.
  3. It produces success in life. Psalm 32:8 “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.  I will advise you and watch over you.”

At 7:54, Rick says there is a best pathway for your life:

Rick Warren says there’s a best pathway for your life, but there’s a different pathway for everyone else’s life.

How do you hear God speak?

In Luke the farmer represents God, the seed represents what God wants to say to you, and the soil represents my heart or my mind and how receptive I am to hearing God.

At 10:40, Rick asks If I want to hear God speak to me I must:

  1. Cultivate an open mind.

Be willing, ready and eager to listen.  Luke 8:5 says, “A farmer went out to sow his seed.  As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up.”  The footpath between rows gets compacted and pushed down from foot traffic so any seed scattered there has no chance of taking root.  The birds come along and eat the seed.  Luke 8:12 says, “Those along the footpath are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes along and takes away the word from their hearts, so they cannot believe and be saved.”  There are three barriers that represent a closed mind that are shared at 14:28 minutes.  Number one is pride.  We don’t want to listen because we don’t think we need His help.  Number two is fear.  We are scared of what God might do.  The third is bitterness.  A heart grows hard and cold when you hold onto a hurt and become defensive.  When you forgive someone you are the one that is liberated, not them.

  1. I must make time to listen.

When you are in a hurry you cannot hear God.  You have to slow down if you are going to hear God.  At 20:28 minutes into the sermon he shares Luke 8:6 “Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock.  This seed began to grow, but soon it withered and died for lack of moisture.  Luke 8:13 says, “The rocky soil represents those who hear the message with joy.  But like young plants in such soil, their roots don’t go very deep.  They believe for awhile, but they wilt when the hot winds of testing blow.”  The shallow soil represents a superficial mind.  You get excited and react emotionally, but are not transformed.  At 26:15 minutes he explains how you develop spiritual roots.  First you spend time daily with God.  Second you get involved in a weekly small group.  Hebrews 10:25 says, “Don’t give up the habit of meeting together; instead, let us encourage one another.”

  1. I must eliminate the distractions.

Luke 8:14 “The seed that fell among weeds stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way, they are choked by life’s worries, riches, and pleasures, and they don’t mature.”  You can’t always be on the go if you want to hear God.   Three things that choke out hearing God is shared at 32:00 minutes.  They are worry, riches and pleasure.  The soil with weeds represents a preoccupied mind.  If you are so busy making a living you don’t have a life, there is nothing to live for.  God rarely yells, He whispers so you need to be listening.

  1. I must cooperate with what He says!

God speaks to people who decide in advance that they are going to do what He tells them to do even before He tells them.  God doesn’t give you His will and His word so you can debate it.  In advance you need to say your will be done.  I am saying “yes” Lord in advance.  Luke 8:15 says, “The seeds that fell in good soil stand for those who hear the message and retain it in a good and obedient heart, and they persist until they bear fruit.”  The good soil represents a willing mind.  How do you bear fruit?  You tell somebody else!  At 41:18 minutes he shares Luke 8:15 “…they listen to God’s words and cling to them and steadily spread them to others who also soon believe.”

At 46:54, Rick Concludes his message:

Rick Warren prays, “God, I want to hear your voice.  I want to be good soil.  I want to cultivate an open mind.  I want to be receptive, to listen to you every day.  To be quiet and listen.  Saying “yes” in advance to you Jesus.  I want to follow you and know you and trust you.”    He shared the story of the Chilean miner that was trapped with his fellow co-workers in the mine.  He was the only believer but before they were rescued he had led twenty-two others miners to find faith in Jesus.  He was spreading to others who then did believe!

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Claiming Your Legal Rights
by Tony Evans

It is clear that you and I live in an environment in a world that has been contaminated by sin bringing about a smelly way to live.  A polluted world which leads Jesus to identify a widow in a parable, a woman to make an astounding principle.

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Video Highlights

Here are some highlights from Tony’s message about the world we live in:

When you are in a putrid environment because you’re breathing it and so there’s no way to get away from it, in Luke 18:1b it says, “Men are to always pray and not to faint.”   Men are always to be in communication with God because your ongoing breathing in prayer will keep you in good air even though you may be living in a bad atmosphere where the vultures are circling.   Men are always to maintain contact with God like breathing.  It should be so normal that you’re doing it even when you’re not conscious you’re doing it.  Prayer is an atmosphere of operating in connectivity with God.  If prayer is an atmosphere, if it’s a breathing, then that means you’re in contact with God as a normal way of functioning, not just as a scheduled activity that you do.

At 7:46, Tony talks about a judge who does not fear God nor men:

In Luke 18 we’re told there is a judge who does not fear God nor men.  In other words he doesn’t care what God thinks and he doesn’t care what people say because he is the judge.  There is a widow in the story and we know that her husband has died.   When Jesus tells the story he picks the weakest scenario he can pick because in the Bible the lowest of the low are the orphans and the widows.  The fact that she has to plead her own case means she has nobody in her circle of influence who can stand up for her, she must stand up for herself.   This widow needed legal intervention, she needed the law to work for her.  For awhile the judge was unwilling and didn’t want to be bothered.   The judge didn’t fear God nor man, but if he didn’t do something about this lady’s problem she’s going to keep coming to me.  Every time I show up, she shows up, every time I have another person’s case she brings up her case. He said I’m going to give her legal protection, not because I want to give her legal protection, not because I care about this woman, I want her off my back and I want to protect my reputation.  So therefore, I’m going to intervene in her circumstances.

At 20:19, Tony talks about how God brings justice to his children:

Luke 18:7 says, “And will not God bring about justice for his elect, who cry to him day and night?  Will he delay long over them?”  If an unrighteous judge who doesn’t care about God nor men will bring legal protection to a stranger to protect his reputation, how much more will God bring about justice to his children.

Luke 13:11 says, “And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years.  She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself.”  Jesus saw her and said to her, woman you are freed from your sickness.  He heals her on the Sabbath and she began glorifying God. But the synagogue officials indignant because Jesus had healed her on the Sabbath began saying to the crowd in response that there are six days in which work should be done.  They’re saying Jesus you’re out of order for healing this lady on the Sabbath.  Jesus said there is a legal relationship I have to this daughter, because there was a covenant made with Abraham by God that God would bring healing to his people in covenant with an Abrahamic agreement when the problem came from a spiritual source.  The woman was bent over, but her medical condition was tied to a spiritual condition.   Jesus told them this woman is a daughter of Abraham who Satan has bound for eighteen long years.  The devil had so intervened in her life that her physical problem was tied to a spiritual dilemma.

We wonder why God hasn’t come through yet because we have not yet appealed to our legal right.  Why haven’t we appealed to our legal right?  We don’t know our legal right and if you don’t know the law you can’t appeal to the law.  The widow knew the law and says because the law is in place I am going to bring the law to bear.  If an unrighteous judge will submit to the law, even though he doesn’t have regard for God or for man, how much more will a righteous God who is committed to the law appeal to the legal cause of his people.

At 23:48, Tony concludes his message on Claiming Your Legal Rights:

What gets God’s attention is not him simply feeling sorry about you in the situation you’re in.  It’s not merely Him seeing you cry.  It’s not merely him seeing you’re depressed.  What brings heaven down to earth in the situation you may be facing is calling down your legal right.

God has obligated himself to his own word.  God is always going to operate in concert with his own law.

Some of us have been struggling a lot longer than we should be struggling.  Why?  Because we’ll talk to God about stuff, but we will not call on God in terms of what he has written.  God is committed first and foremost not to your feelings, not to your circumstance, he is first and foremost committed to his rules, his regulations, his guideline and his law.

So you ought to speak to your situation, but in the name of God.  By your words you ought to speak his words into the situation because God is not bound to what you think, he’s not bound to what other folks think, he’s not bound to how you feel, he’s not bound how other folk feel.  He’s not bound to what you’ve been raised to believe or what other people think you ought to believe.

He’s bound to his own words and that’s the only thing that he will commit himself to.

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Trusting God In The Darkness
by Tony Evans

What do you do when uncertainty is in front of you. When you feel like you’re falling apart at the seams? It’s only human to be afraid but Christians have the option to be superhuman. You have to choose to trust God in the dark.

It isn’t hard when life is sailing along, but when your problems pile up to the point where you can’t see where you’re going it can be difficult to hold on to hope.

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Video Highlights

Here are some highlights from this message about Trusting God:

Habakkuk is a prophet who’s confused and he has some questions.  Habakkuk 1:2 says, “How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?”  Anybody ever felt like God is taking too long?   One problem that he is facing is that God is taking too long to come through.  Even the prophets struggled with the slowness of God.   God was not only moving too slow but his movements were very confusing.  God responded in verse five “Look among the nations, observe and be astonished, wonder, because I am doing something in your days you would not believe it if it were told to you.”  So now there’s a double problem, God is taking too long and Habakkuk couldn’t understand what He was doing, and the little bit I do know it’s not fair.   Habakkuk 3:2 says, “Lord, I have heard the report about thee and I fear.”    Habakkuk felt God was taking too long, he was confused, it’s not fair and he was afraid.  Habakkuk 3:16 says, “I heard and my inward parts tremble at the sound, my lips quivered, decay in my bones and in my place I trembled.”  He was a wreck as he knew the future looked dim.

In the last three verses Habakkuk shares, “Though the fig tree should not blossom, though there be no fruit on the vine, though the yield of the olive should fail, though the field produced no food, though the flock should be cut off from the field and there be no cattle in the stall, yet I would exalt in the Lord.  I will rejoice in the Lord of my salvation.  The Lord God is my strength, he has made my feet like the deer’s; he makes me to walk on my high places.”

At 8:43, Tony talks about viewing negative situations in your life:

From the world’s standpoint there are three options given as they look at negative situation in their life.

  1. Resign yourself that that’s the way it is.  That’s the way it’s going to be.
  2. Detachment…they distract themselves so they don’t have to think about it.
  3. Bravado…I can take it…I can handle it…I’m not going to let life get me down

Habakkuk in verse 18 says, “I will exalt in the Lord.”  He says even though I have questions even though I have my confusion, even though I don’t see solution in sight and even though God does not make sense rather than pretend that nothing is wrong I am going to exalt in the Lord.  I am going to trust in the reliability of God even when I can’t see him or what he is doing.

When you trust in the reliability of God you appeal to two things.  One is his character (what he is like) and his works (what he has already done for others).   His methods vary but His abilities don’t.

At 18:56, Tony concludes his message on Trusting God:

Everyone has the choice as to whether you will choose to believe God.  Don’t get a headache over it when you can’t solve it.  Don’t stay up all night trying to figure it out.  God knows how to tell you what he wants you to know.  If he’s not informed you anything you need to go to sleep and stop fussing, cussing and complaining and be silent before the Lord.   Let him do what he’s going to do.  In your confusion, lack of clarity, emptiness, your despair, you worship.  You simply say Lord, all I can do is adore you because I have no explanation for anything that’s going on right now.  God calls for an act of faith.  God invites you to keep your eyes on him as he did Peter when he invited him to walk on the water.  He may not get rid of the storm but you’ll be walking on it, it won’t be walking on you.

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When You Feel Like Giving Up
by Tony Evans

When you audit a college class you want the information without the responsibility. You don’t want the work of it, just the knowledge about it. You cannot do that with the Cristian life, you cannot audit it. You may be inspired but you won’t be changed because the transformation in your life has to be activated by obedience and without that it becomes information with no credits.

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Video Highlights

Here are some highlights from this message about when you feel like giving up from Tony Evans.

Revelation 3:7 says, “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:  These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David.  What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.”  God describes himself as he who is holy and true.  To be holy means to be set apart as unique special or one-of-a-kind holy not to be put in a class with anything else.   Isaiah 40:25 says, “God is holy.”  So when Jesus declares himself to be holy, he declares himself to be God.  I am not only holy, I am also truth.  I am the real deal and anything that contradicts me is false and is a lie and cannot be trusted.   Jesus is the way, the truth and the life so everything is to be measured by it’s inconsistency and compatibility to him and if it’s incompatible and inconsistent with God it is wrong no matter who told you.

Isaiah 22:15-25 talks about the steward who has a key.  Jesus has the master key and he can get in any door, all the doors are available to him.    Jesus with the master key has access to every door and authority over every door.  If we don’t get that we are going to think people are in charge.  They may have a key to a door, but they don’t have the master key.    Matthew 28:18 says, “All authority has been given in heaven and on earth.”  Matthew 16 states, I’m going to build my church and I will give my church the multiples keys while he possesses the master key to every door.  If you skip God’s way to get done whatever it is you’re trying to get done, then don’t just call on God to use his master key when you’ve ignored the key he gave you.  He does not want you to skip the responsibility he’s giving you and simply call on him because he has the master key.  He will share his authority with you when you are consistent with him.  Jesus has the master key and when he opens the door he doesn’t care who you are, where you come from, how much you have, what degrees you possess.

At 13:17, Tony addresses the importance of keeping God’s word:

In order for his key to work for you and me and for his church, he says you must have kept my word, obeyed me, and not denied my name.  So one of the reasons many believers are not seeing God come through is because they do not keep his word, or they deny his name.  At the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of the Father.  Jesus says when you deny me on earth I will deny you before my father who is in heaven.  When you confess me on earth I will confess you before my Father who is in heaven.

At 18:07, Tony talks about the importance of humility:

That’s why we get so messed up trying to get folks to open up the door and create the opportunity.  Their connections, give us the money, and we do it all to open up doors and Jesus is sitting there with a master key.  You better keep yourself small in the eyes of God.  Pride cometh before the fall and you need to understand that humility is a big deal to God.  Jesus says I open the door and nobody will shut the door I open.  I don’t care what the name is and how much power they wheel and how much money they have.  God likes to come in suddenly.  So that when it happens there is no debate on who caused it to take place.  It becomes inextricably clear that this was heaven invading history.

At 31:48, Tony concludes his message waiting on the Lord:

Just obey Him, don’t deny his name and then wait for the Lord.  Wait upon the Lord because he comes suddenly and once you have this perspective you’re free.  There are allot of Christians that just show up to see what the choir is singing, what the preacher is preaching and just come for the show.  But there are some folks who want to serve in ministry, help other people and give to the advancement of the cause of the Lord and there you have some superstars.  They may be unknown folk, but you can count on them and depend on them.  If you want God to say well done my good and faithful servant you need to leave the stands and come out on the field.

 

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Why God Allows Your Crisis
by Tony Evans

If your car falls apart you go to a mechanic.  If your house is falling apart you go to a repairman.  If your clothes are falling apart you go to a tailor.  Where do you go when your life is falling apart?  When things are unraveling at a rapid pace and you don’t quite know what to do?  When there was the return of God it was often in the midst of a crisis, a situation that men could not fix.

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Video Highlights

Here are some highlights from this message about God’s Answers from Tony Evans.

King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles chapter 20:1 says, “After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle.”  It was reported to the king that a great multitude is coming again you.  King Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the Lord.  You know you’re in a crisis when life is overwhelming you, when everywhere you look there is a problem, when it’s one thing after another.    Verse three says that Jehoshaphat was afraid.  A crisis bursts insecurity, trauma and even terror because it looms so large in your life.  Life crisis comes in all shapes and forms from financial, health, relational and vocational.

2 Chronicles 20:12 says, “O our God, will you not execute judgement on them?  For we are powerless again this great horde that is coming against us.  We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”  When you have this sense of powerlessness that I don’t have the wherewithal to fix it, or to change it or to reverse it or to correct it, and I don’t even know anybody else who can help me.  When your actions have run out and that sense of powerlessness prevails, you’re in a crisis.  Jehoshaphat says I’m in a crisis, it’s a big thing, a great multitude.  It’s now running my emotions, I’m afraid, I feel powerless to do anything.   He turned his attention to seek the Lord and proclaimed a fast throughout all of Judah.  Jehoshaphat refers back to 2 Chronicles 6:34-35 when Solomon dedicates the temple and says, “If your people go out to battle against their enemies, by whatever way you shall send them, and they pray to you towards this city that you have chosen and the house that I have built for your name then hear from heaven their prayer and their plea, and maintain their cause.”

At 16:36, Tony continues teaching about Jehoshaphat’s changes:

Jehoshaphat begins to make changes in the nation because he wants the good to rule and he does not want the wickedness to overrule  to make things more pleasing to God.  He positioned things so that God would hear when he called.  He says God is it not true that heaven rules?  Earth never has the last word.  Also ever let your feelings sit in judgment over your faith, you must always let your faith sit in judgment over your feelings.  Don’t deny how you feel ‘cuz that is real, but the problem is not how you’re feeling, the problem is allowing how you feel to override your faith.  You need to know that you can refer back to other folk who in the same situation that you are now facing.  To know that while your situation is different, your God is the same God.

At 24:16, Tony talks about how Jehoshaphat needs to look to the Lord:

Jehosphaphat remembers he starts with the sovereignty of God…heaven rules.  He remembers God you have faced this problem before with your people and you handled it, so I’m not your test case.  He refers back to verse eight that says when we build this sanctuary in your name we stamp your name on it.  It is your house saying should sword, judgment, pestilence, famine or distress come you will hear and deliver us.   Jehosphaphat is saying I’m powerless, I don’t know what to do, but I’m changing where I’m looking.  I’m looking to the Lord and he said do not feel or be dismayed because it is a great multitude, it’s an overwhelming crisis, but the battle is not yours but God’s.  When we put our eyes on heaven (since heaven rules), I don’t know how you’re gonna do it, I don’t know when you’re gonna do it, I don’t know where you’re gonna do it.  All I know is you’re the only one that can do it because I’m powerless in this situation.  When he made his focus on God, appealing to God’s nature and God’s Word, then it says the Spirit of the Lord came upon the prophet and the prophet gave them a word about how God wanted them to resolve this problem.  God made the enemies turn on themselves and they killed each other without Israel having to lift his hand.   Then they went in and gathered all the spoils that the enemy had.  We have the Word of God joining with the Spirit of God to bring an answer to the crisis.

Conclusion

The good news is that the crisis is the bad news.  The good news is that God allows, creates, causes and endorses overwhelming scenarios in our world so that we can discover God.

The problem may not be gone, but you handed it off because the battle is not mine.  The battle is the Lord’s.  We bless your name Lord, not because the enemy has disappeared, but because you handed it off and you’re going to let God run with this.  You’re going to call Him down from heaven because heaven rules in spite of the situation.

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Learn How To Be Led By God’s Spirit
by Rick Warren

You know life is a series of choices.  We make our choices and then they make us.  We make our decisions and if we make good decisions we become successful, and if we make bad decisions then you know, we’re not.  Every decision has consequences and the potential for error is great because obviously we’re human beings, we’re imperfect.  When you’re pulled in different directions by a decision because you can’t figure out which way to go it creates enormous tension in your life.   Am I going to waste my life?  Am I going to spend my life?  Or am I going to invest my life? What is the antidote?

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Video Highlights

Here are some highlights from this message about learning How to Be Led By God’s Spirit by Rick Warren.

The antidote is to let God guide you.  The Bible tells us in Psalm 23 that life is a journey and that God has given us a road map.  The Bible is our roadmap for life.  God has given us a compass and that’s our conscience that keeps us headed in the right direction if we listen to it.  God has even given us a personal guidance counselor and He is the Holy Spirit.  The Bible tells us God wants to lead us in the right paths.  God doesn’t want you to mess up your life.  In Psalm 23 it says, “He leads me in paths of righteousness.”  That means God keeps me on track.  God has good plans for your life, not bad plans.   Because He’s good He has promised to guide.  How do you hear God speak to you?  How do you learn to get God’s will in your life and His guidance?

At 8:50, Rick talks about how you have to decide what is number one in your life:

I can’t follow a culture that doesn’t follow God.

You can’t serve God and money, you can’t serve God and anything else, you have to decide what’s number one in your life.  You can only have one number one. In Exodus 23:2 it says, “Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong.”  You cannot conform to our culture and be just like everybody else and be led by the Holy Spirit, because He’s going in a different direction.  Romans 12:2 says “Do not copy the behavior or values of this world.  Instead, let God transform you.”  The reason you don’t know what God wants you to do is because you’re too inculturated with this culture and you can’t think like the world and think like God thinks.  Don’t copy the behaviors or value of this world.  God has good plans for your life, not bad plans.  God’s will for your life is good, it’s pleasing, that means it’s enjoyable, it’s not a bad deal.

If I want to be led by God’s Spirit, I can’t follow friends who aren’t led by God.  You have to stop letting your friends set the agenda of your life.  One of the reasons people miss God’s will for their life, God’s plan, God’s perfect good and pleasing plan is peer pressure.  Proverbs 13:20 says, “Keep company with wise friends and you’ll become wise.  But if you associate with fools your life will suffer great hurt.”   Make sure your advice is from the right source.  God wants you to have friends who are unbelievers but you are to influence them, do not let them influence you.   We are to love the people, no matter what kind of lifestyle they life, but we are to hate the value system of like prejudice and racism and injustice and sexism and people hurting each other and war.  Love the people, hate the value system.

At 22:56, Rick talks about things he must stop doing:

Five things I have to stop doing.

  1. I can’t follow the culture that doesn’t follow God.
  2. I can’t follow friends who aren’t led by God.
  3. I can’t look to other sources beside God.
  4. I must stop being led by my circumstances.
  5. I can’t be led by my feelings.

You better have more basis for your decisions than just a peaceful feeling.   Feelings lie.  Peace is a good thing, but it’s not enough to base your life simply on your emotions.  Satan can give you false peace.  Proverbs 14:12 says “You may feel you’re on the right path, the right road and still end up dead”.  Why do we leave God’s path to follow our own?  Because we felt like it.

At 38:46, Rick talks about things we must start doing:

If you want to be led by the Spirit there are five things you need to start doing.

  1. I must want to be led, it starts with desire.

Psalm 40:8 says, “My God, I want to do what you want.  And your teachings are in my heart.”

  1. I must be willing to do what God says.

I’m willing to obey in advance before you even tell me what you want me to do.

  1. If I want to be led by God’s Spirit, I must look to God’s Word.

Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to guide me, and a light for my path.”  If you’re not in the Bible every day you are in the dark.

A.  God’s will is found in God’s Word.  The principles are there.  When you open your Bible, God opens His mouth, and when you close your Bible, God closes His mouth.  Stop listening for a voice and start looking for a verse. God expects me to obey what I already know before He shows me something new.

B.  God’s will never contradicts God’s word. If you can’t find a basis for your idea in the Bible, it’s wrong.  If you read it God will guide you.

  1. If I want to be led by God’s Spirit, I must ask the Holy Spirit to be my guide.  James 4:2 says, “You do not have because you do not ask God for it.”  God is interested in every detail of your life.

So God gives us ideas through His word and the other way is He puts ideas in your mind.  When God gives you an idea that’s called inspiration.  When the devil gives you an idea that’s called temptation.  Satan cannot control you except suggest thoughts.  If you accept them then he’s controlling you.

If you want answers quicker from God here are two things to do.

A.  Ask humbly.  Psalm 25:9 says, “God guides the humble in what is right and He teaches them His way.”

B.  Ask in faith.  James 1 says “Ask Him and He’ll gladly tell you, for He is already ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask.”  If you don’t ask in faith, don’t expect the Lord to give you any solid answers.

  1. If I want to be led by God’s Spirit, I must listen for God’s response.

We ask and then immediately run off.  We don’t wait.  Sit quietly and take some private time alone every day.  God says, “I’ve got you exactly where I want you to be…watch this!”

 

Conclusion

I want to stop being led by my circumstances and mastered and manipulated by my moods.  I’m willing to do whatever you tell me to do.  I don’t have to understand it.  I’m telling you yes in advance.  Help me to remember that your will is found in your word.  I ask you Holy Spirit to be my guidance counselor for the rest of my life.  Help me to stop and just listen for your response.

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Learn How to Recognize God’s Voice
by Rick Warren

When I get an idea in my head how do I know when it’s from God? Is it from God, is it my idea, or did it come from the devil? There are seven ways to test an impression so that you know it’s a message from God.

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Video Highlights

Here are some highlights from this message about how to Recognize God’s Voice by Rick Warren.

Proverbs 14:12 says, “What you think is the right road could lead to death.” 1 John 4:1 says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

Rick Warren shares seven ways you can test an impression so you know it’s from God.

1. Does it agree with the Bible?
Luke 21:33 says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Opinions change but truth doesn’t change. If you think you aren’t suppose to pay your taxes this year that is not from God. Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s.

At 12:32, Rick talks about becoming like Christ in character:

2. Does this idea make me more like Christ?
Life is a temporary assignment, He wants you to become like Jesus in character. Everything, every body, mind, relationship, environment…nothing is perfect. It is all broken because of sin. James 3:14-17 says, “But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”

At 26:40, Rick talks about the importance of the church family:

3. Does my church family confirm it?
Test your impression with mature believers. If they question it you should too. Proverbs 11:9 says, “The wisdom of the righteous can save you.” Also Proverbs 11:14b states, “In the multitude of counselors there is safety.”

At 31:21, Rick talks about how God shaped you:

4. Is it consistent with how God shaped me?

S is for spiritual gifts
H is for heart
A is for abilities
P is for personality
E is for experiences

Your SHAPE determines your purpose. God never gives you a talent He wants you to waste. Romans 12:6 says, “God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well..” However, just because you love to do something doesn’t mean you should do it.

At 40:55, Rick talks about responsibility:

5. Does it concern my responsibility?
Don’t try and be the Holy Spirit for other people. You work on you! Romans 14:4 says, “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”
There are three guidelines if God is going to speak to you about somebody else.

A. Be patient and pray. (Give God a chance to speak directly to them.)
B. God will use you to confirm what He said to them.
C. God usually uses you without you being conscious of it.
Romans 14:10, 13 says, “We will all be judged one day, not by each other’s standards, or even our own, but by the judgment of God…It is to God alone that we shall have to answer for our actions.”

At 55:00, Rick addresses convicting versus condemning:

6. Is it convicting rather than condemning?
God never attacks my value because that’s not the way God speaks. Romans 8:1 says, “ There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” When God convicts you that you have done something wrong and you repent then Jesus takes the condemnation and you are set free. Revelation 12:10 says, “Satan is the accuser of believers.” Before you sin Satan minimizes your sin and after you sin he says how could you do that and call yourself a Christian?

At 1:00:38, Rick talks about God’s peace:

7. Do I sense God’s peace about it?
1 Corinthians 14:33 says, “God is not the author of confusion.” God wants to draw us compassionately. Do you sense God’s peace about it as you listen to Him? Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Don’t worry about anything, instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Conclusion

If you have allowed sin to come between you and God and His message is muted or perhaps you have never been saved please pray the following prayer. Pray Dear God, I want to know you and I want to hear your voice, and I want to know what you want me to do with my life. I don’t understand it all but I thank you that you love me and you made me and that you shaped me for a purpose. Take away my condemnation, show me the things in my life that are keeping me away from hearing you. I ask you to accept me into your family and help me to hear your voice and feel your presence.

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Learn How To Be Set Free From Self-Destruction
by Rick Warren

Do you know there are three enemies that want to mess up your life? They want to keep you from having joy and purpose in your life? If you don’t know who the enemy is you can never win the battle. Best intentions are not enough. What does God want for me?

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Video Highlights

Here are some highlights from this message about how to be set free by Rick Warren.

The world around you, the flesh within you and the devil against you will tag team to try and defeat your family, your life and steal your soul. Paul says in Romans 7 that “I can’t figure myself out” and “I want to do the right thing, but I don’t and I don’t want to do the wrong thing but I do.” That’s the story of you and me! Inside of us wants to do what’s easy and what’s quick rather than what’s right and best. Rationalizing is when we tell rational lies to ourselves. There are seven weapons of self destruction.

1. Shame…it robs you of all happiness
2. Uncontrolled thoughts…they will ruin your life
3. Compulsions…inner desires made you do it even though it was wrong
4. Fear…enormous destroyer
5. Hopelessness..keeps you from keeping on
6. Bitterness…you hurt YOU the most…get better or bitter
7. Insecurity…poser…you will do or say anything.

At 9:00, Rick talks about the truth found in Romans 8:

Romans 7:24 Paul says “What a miserable person I am! I’ve tried everything and nothing helps! Who will FREE me from this life dominated by sin.” Romans 8 is the answer to Paul’s question.

Seven mental habits that explain the great truths of Romans 8

1. Remind myself daily what Jesus did for me.
Romans 8:1-4 “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. For the power of the life-giving SPIRIT has freed you through Christ Jesus from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses could not save us, because of our sinful nature. But God put into effect a different plan to save us. He sent His own Son in a human body like ours, except that ours are sinful…God destroyed sin’s control over us by giving His Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so the requirement of the law would be fully accomplished for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow THE SPIRIT.” Jesus has paid for your past sins and the ones you are going to commit tomorrow. Before Jesus you only had will power, now you have God’s power in you. Keeping laws never work they simply work on outside behavior they don’t work on inside change, only God can change the inside.

2. Ask the Holy Spirit to give me better thoughts
If you ask the Holy Spirit to give you better thoughts He will! In Romans 8:5-6 it talks of two kinds of mindsets. Mindset of your old nature and the mindset of the Holy Spirit. Your life problems probably won’t change, but your mindset can change. The principal of replacement is anytime you want to change something in your life you don’t resist it, you replace it. You choose what you dwell on. The devil give you ideas (temptations), the Holy Spirit give you ideas (inspirations) and you get ideas. Invite the Holy Spirit to have free access to your minds then it will always be truth, always be right, always be pure and those are the mindset that lead to peace.

At 31:20, Rick continues teaching on Romans 8:

3. Realize I have a new ability to say “no”
Before you were a believer you only had will power. Will power wears out when you can’t say no to habits, compulsions and impulses. When you tap into the power of the Holy Spirit He gives you the ability to say no. Why should I limit a natural desire? Allot of natural desires are poison or self destructive. Maturity is when you do the right thing, not what you feel like doing, because what you feel like doing it isn’t always the best for you, the best for somebody else or God’s will. Romans 8:12 tells us you have a new power inside you. You Simply need to call on the Holy Spirit in that moment of temptation.

4. Turn my thoughts to God whenever I’m afraid
God’s spirit sets me free from me. Romans 8:14-16 reminds us to stop focusing on fear and start focusing on your Father. Whenever you are afraid remember you are a son or daughter of God and there is family protection! You know whose family you are a part of? The creator of the universe, you are a child of God and God takes care of His kids. The number one fear people have is being out of control. The longer you feel life is out of control it creates enormous fear in your life. The longer you feel it’s out of control you start thinking I am out of control and the maybe I’m losing my mind, maybe I’m going crazy, maybe I’m going insane. We have all felt this! Crazy people don’t fear that so you are rational, you are not going crazy. Everybody’s broken, nothing is perfect in this world but the Bible says we should not be afraid but turn to God.

At 45:50, Rick focuses on the long-term:

2 Timothy 1:7 reminds us that God has not given us a spirit of fear. The Holy Spirit gives us a spirit of love, power and self control.

5. Focus on the long-term, not on the short term!
Think about what you are going to become at the end of a year, five years, ten years etc. The more long term your thinking is the more successful you will be in life. You need to focus not on your pain right now, but on long term benefits of doing the right thing and sharing in glory forever. You put up with short term pain, losses, and failures for long term benefits.

6. Remind myself that God is good and in control.
Romans 8:19-25 God sets us free from bitterness. Sin has damaged the world so everything in the world is broken. Everything in the world has lost original purpose, everything has suffering, everything has pain and is frustrated. The result of living in a broken world is pain and the result of pain is bitterness. Life is unfair because it’s broken. Pain in your life is not optional, but misery is. Remember these four things.

A. The Holy Spirit is praying for me!
The Spirit speaks to God for us, He is praying for me. Romans 8:26-27

B. God is using everything for good in my life.
It’s not all good, but He’s using it for good. Romans 8:28

C. God wants me to succeed!
I am in the family, my Father is God! Romans 8:31-32

D. God will give me what I need
There is nothing in your life that God doesn’t care about Romans 8:32

7. Insecurity
Trust that God will never stop loving me! Remember you belong to God and have the Holy Spirit in your life. Romans 8:38-39 “I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from His love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels can’t, and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away. Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Conclusion

When you are feeling blue, and when you are feeling bitter you need to remind yourself that God is good and in control. His Spirit is praying for me. He’s using everything for good in my life. He wants me to succeed and He’s going to give me what I need.

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