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Are you in conversation with the Holy Spirit?

 

For the past few weeks I’ve been preaching about the Holy Spirit. It has been a great journey and I’ve truly enjoyed watching our church grow in our understanding. The video below is a great and even humorous look into a conversation that we ALL need to have with the Holy Spirit based on Psalm 139.

 

 

How would this conversation go for you? Are you growing in your relationship with the Holy Spirit? Take some time to read Psalm 139. Better yet, let Psalm 139 read you!

 

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Read Mark 14:43-45

One of the many characteristics of God is that He knows ALL things before they ever happen. I love how this plays out during Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. God permits the sin of man and yet faithfully brings glory to Himself out of it. Be assured that God does not oblige sin; nor does He excuse sinful behavior… but rather He has faithfully REDEEMED ALL sin for those who repent and trust Him.

Let’s be honest, any person reading this blog has been or certainly could in the future… find they too are guilty of betrayal. We often give Judas a bad rap, but praise God He came to rescue even the Judas’ of the world. Don’t miss it… We are Judas. Every time we continue to sit on the throne of our lives and do things our way… We betray the work of Christ of the cross.

Passion Week is ALL about YOUR redemption! There is NOBODY that is too far beyond His reach. Though He knew the many days you would betray His redeeming work… He still chose you! Take a few minutes and spend some time repenting of your betraying heart as you watch the video below.

 

 

As I consider the times in which we live… I’m actually EXCITED. Yes, I’m serious… Just hang with me for just a few minutes! I understand the daily concerns of our culture… the condition of our government, religious liberties, jobs, our children’s future, and on and on. However, I’m excited because of one word that I believe God has been stirring in me and it’s also a word I think the Church needs to be reminded of… It’s the word OPPORTUNITY!

Op·por·tu·ni·ty (ä-pər-ˈtü-nə-tē) noun: A favorable juncture of circumstances. A good chance for advancement or progress.

When it comes to the Gospel… the time is NOW! Opportunity abounds! WE, the body of Christ, need to be faithful and switch our focus from feeling oppressed to walking in opportunity! To be blunt… GET OVER YOURSELF AND GET ON MISSION.

Scripture gives us some pretty clear mandates about opportunities…

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Galatians 6:10 NIV)

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. (Colossians 4:5 NIV)

I immediately see three things…

1. God desires for you to capitalize on opportunities with FELLOW BELIEVERS.

2. God desires for you to capitalize on opportunities with UNBELIEVERS.

3. God desires for you to capitalize on opportunities with ALL PEOPLE.

God is CONSTANTLY and SUPERNATURALLY at work creating for you… OPPORTUNITY! He is moving people in and out of your life with purpose. However, it’s not opportunity for you to make much of self, government, your political agenda, or anything else… It’s opportunity to make much of HIM. Everything that God sets into motion has one solitary purpose… His glory!

So, I’m pretty excited about the perspective that God has birth within me this week. As I pastor Terra Nova Church, I’m keenly aware that God creating NEW OPPORTUNITIES for us to make much of Him! In fact, I’ll be sharing some of these opportunities in detail during our services on March 16th and 17th… Don’t miss it!

Until then… Be ready for your next opportunity…

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. (1 Peter 3:15 NIV)

moving forwardJesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

— Matthew 16:23

 

We’ve launched 2013 with a pretty bold challenge at Terra Nova Church to BE RICH and now we are preparing to dive into a brand-new series, RENEWED BLISS, that will speak truth into marriages. It’s become very apparent that we are addressing some very critical issues in the life of our church and in the hearts of individuals.

I think we often overlook or even dismiss the reality of spiritual warfare. When God is at work… the enemy and all the forces of darkness rise to delay, derail, and destroy that which God earnestly desires for His bride.

John’s gospel reminds us…

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. — John 10:10

If you are part of the Terra Nova Church family… PLEASE pray for our church as we move forward on mission. If you are simply a regular viewer of this blog or have just stumbled upon it… PLEASE pray for our church and certainly pray for the local body that you gather with. There is NO CHURCH that is exempt from the schemes of the enemy.

Frank Viola says this…

When the Lord is having His way in a body of believers, God’s enemy will be sure to attack. Nothing so threatens the enemy’s kingdom than the church of Jesus Christ being expressed and standing for God’s timeless purpose and Christ’s fullness and headship.

So, here are four (4) things to keep in mind when such attacks occur… Notice that I said WHEN

  1. The enemy virtually always uses uncrucified flesh as the ground for his attack against a body of believers.
  2. Those who are giving ground to the enemy aren’t always aware that this is what they are doing; giving him ground via selfishness and self-gratification.
  3. The only way to close the gap is to die to self. God’s enemy has no ground by which to work then. Remember Jesus’ words: “Satan has come, but he has nothing in me.” There was no ground in Him for the enemy to use.
  4. The enemy uses lies and deception to hold ground. He’s a master at it. The scriptures wielded by crucified hands and in the Spirit are a force to break that decption.

I’m excited to be MOVING FORWARD… but please remember… we are NOT simply building an institution or a country club. We ARE called to be LIGHT in the darkness… to be agents of LIFE-CHANGE… and to decrease so that He may increase!

WE GET TO DO THIS!

Cheap ImitationThere are many things in our culture that have been ‘knocked off’ and replaced by a cheap imitation… Things like soft drinks, designer handbags, perfumes, toys, and even household items. We’ve heard the phrase “OFTEN IMITATED, BUT NEVER DUPLICATED” and can immediately think of many things that fall into this category. But have you ever thought of the Church of today as a cheap imitation?

Scripture gives us a very clear picture of how the Church should look and feel… Dive into the book of Acts!

As we see how the Church lived and interacted in scripture it doesn’t take long to see that perhaps we no longer reflect the REAL THING, but rather we’ve become a CHEAP IMITATION. If we truly want to resist ‘Imitation Status’ there are several things that today’s Church must mirror from the Early Church.

The Early Church…

1. Understood the GOSPEL. They didn’t just raise their hand or pray a silent prayer… they understood self-denial and truly surrendered their life, will, and agenda to Christ.

2. GAINED a hunger for God’s Word and His people. In Acts 2 they devoted themselves to the Apostles teaching and fellowship. They pursued the Word. They did not wait for Sunday! The Word and His people were… and still are… vital to successfully walking with Christ.

3. GATHERED Often. They genuinely loved one another! They did REAL life together! They had ALL things in common! Nobody had to force community… nobody had to be convinced to attend a small group!

4. Were compelled to GO. The Early Church did not have the ‘come and get it’ mentality, but rather understood that they were responsible to carry the life-changing gospel to others. It wasn’t the pastor’s job to share the gospel… it was everyone’s job!

5. Had GLAD hearts… They had an attractive demeanor. People enjoyed being around the Early Church. People longed to have what they had. There is a vast difference today… If you don’t believe me… ask a waitress on a Sunday afternoon!

6. GAVE generously. They gave with no expectation of anything in return. They gave because it becomes the DNA of one who has truly surrendered to Christ. In fact, those on the outside looking in were more attracted by generosity than by theology.

7. Experienced radical GROWTH. There is a natural response to the REAL THING. When we refuse to be a CHEAP IMITATION and strive to live out the model before us in scripture… HE will build HIS Church!

As pastor there is no greater joy than seeing and having confirmation that people are GETTING IT… The Gospel is changing people… Enjoy this post!

Guest Post By Justin McLemore

You think you know me but you don’t… I’m not who you think I am… All my life people have told me that I’m such a nice and sweet person. They are wrong… I am a liar, thief, murderer (Matthew 5: 21-22), and adulterer (Matthew 5:28). I have worshipped false idols. I’m a horrible person that is undeserving of God’s mercy and grace. The only thing that I truly deserve is a sinner’s hell!

For a very long time I tried to correct these problems on my own. I believed that if I did well enough, I would be able to save myself from hell. I was wrong. No matter how many good things I did, there was always more bad than good. I couldn’t erase or repay my debt to God. Romans 3:23 says “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. All the things that I tried to do to make myself right with God were destroyed by this one verse. Isaiah 64:6 “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;…” God saw my good deeds, my deeds I did trying to earn His favor, as filthy rags. Nothing that I could do would ever be good enough. That’s when I realized I couldn’t help myself and that’s when I finally understood the truth of the Gospel. 

It’s not about what I’ve done!!!! It’s all about what Jesus did!!!! It is a gift that God gave to me and every other person on the Earth. Jesus stood in the gap for me! He took all my sins, all my shame, and all of my mess and died on a cross for me. He made me pure and blameless in God’s sight. Not a single one of us deserved it but He gave it to us anyway. I stand in awe at just how amazing God’s love is for us. God didn’t have to do it. He allowed his own son to die for me!! He did it all!! Ephesians 2: 8-9 reads “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith— and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”   

Nothing about me has changed. There is nothing good about me. The only thing is now because of Jesus dying for me I am free from the chains that bound me in my past. Because of Jesus I am no longer a slave to sin. Because of Him, the gap between me and God is gone. Just typing this gives me chills. I am so thankful for the Gospel and I will do anything and everything short of sin to spread the Gospel.

Guest Post By Justin McLemore

Justin serves on the Leadership Team at Terra Nova Church. This is a topic that he has become intent on helping others understand and walk through in a Biblical and God honoring way. Thanks Justin for your perspective!

Have you ever been in conflict with someone?  I know that I have and I’m positive that you have also.  We all have had someone hurt us, upset us, or say negative things about us.  In turn, we may be the person that has done these same things to someone else.  Our natural human response to conflict is to respond to it, but we don’t always do so in the best way possible.  We feel the need to defend ourselves, and we do it verbally and sometimes physically.  What tends to happen is a slight misunderstanding turns into a huge nightmare.

Conflict results in damaged relationships that sometimes are never repaired.  This causes problems among a church because healthy relationships are  essential for a sound and effective ministry.  In Ephesians 4:31-32 it says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  The Bible outlines in detail how to effectively resolve conflict, and that is what I am going to discuss.

Conflict among the church body is caused by three things.  The first thing that causes it is when we hurt others.  The second way it is caused is when we are hurt BY others.  Lastly, envy causes conflict among the body.  This could be us envious of someone or them envious of us.  Pastor Rick Warren said this about envy, “Envy makes us misread when others succeed, sin when others win, spread falsehood when others do good, and obsess over other’s success.”
   
So what sort of problems does conflict cause among the church body? 
 
It causes the following:
 
  1. It divides the body.  Ephesians 4:3-6 says, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  There is one body and one spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
  2. It causes distrust.  If you are in conflict with someone, it is almost impossible to trust them.  We begin to second guess everything that they say or do because we believe they have an ulterior motive of hurting us.
  3. It causes resentment or hostility.  We begin to get angry.  We pick apart everything that they do because we don’t want them to succeed.  This causes us to respond in anger or bitterness to anything that involves them.
  4. It becomes a distraction to everything God has called us to do.  Conflict takes away time and energy that could be well used to reach the lost and help the hurting.  It is not God’s will for conflict to be present among the body.

 

We need to end conflict before it damages the body, but it must be done biblically.  The first guideline is to always have direct contact with the person you are trying to resolve conflict with.  This means face to face discussions with the person.  Do not do it through social media, texting, or e-mail.  The problem that arises from these types of contact is that we are much more likely to say things through typing that we would NEVER say face to face.  It drags out the conflict and they can be easily misinterpreted.  This can cause even more conflict to occur.
 
The second guideline is to handle it as quickly as possible.  When we wait we allow the problem to fester inside of us and it grows into a bigger problem.  The longer we wait, we give the Devil a foothold to wreck havoc on the relationship and cause bigger, more difficult problems.  Ephesians 4:26-27 commands us, “In your anger do not sin; do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”
   
The third guideline is to always assume the best about the person.  It’s a funny thing but when we have a conflict with another person, we always think/assume the worst about them.  We think that they are evil and truly mean to hurt us, and they are out to get us.  In John 13:34 Jesus commands us, “Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”  Love always assumes the best about someone.
   
The fourth guideline is stop expecting them to read your mind.  The person(s) may not even know that they have hurt you, so you need to make them aware of the situation.  Go to them face to face, assuming the best about them and calmly walk them through why what they said or did offended you.  This leads us to the next guideline.  Stop waiting on them to approach you.  If there is a problem, deal with it!!!  Matthew 5:23-24 discusses this very thing when it says, “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift here in front of the altar.  First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”  Be mature and make the first step towards reconciliation.  Perry Noble said this about maturity: “Maturity is when a person is willing to seize responsibility instead of just waiting on something to happen.”
   
The final guideline is to deal with the issue privately.  Do not go public!  Matthew 18:15 commands us to deal with the person privately and if they listen you have won back your friend. If they don’t, then go back with someone else as a witness and if they still won’t listen then bring it before the church.  If you go public, it makes the conflict into a bigger problem, and you can cause division because other people begin to take sides.  This also applies to attacking people on social media or the internet.
   
In conclusion, we will always have conflicts come up in our lives because as imperfect people, we will hurt others or be hurt by someone.  Conflict can cause severe damage to relationships that in turn damage the church body.  We are commanded in God’s word how to handle conflict so that damage will be minimum.  As you have been reading this blog, I am positive that some unresolved conflict has been brought to the forefront of your mind.  This is God convicting you to resolve the issue.  Please don’t wait, because relationships are worth saving and very important to our survival and growth as a believer in Jesus Christ.

Without a doubt, we serve an AWESOME God. I’ve discovered over the past two years that nothing is impossible with Him. He can move mountains, make the sun standstill, heal the sick, reconcile relationships, deliver addicts, and give hope to the hopeless.

Take some time to read Joshua 4:1-24 this week.

In Joshua chapter 4, we can see how God completed the mighty task of bringing the Israelites into the Promised Land. God led the Israelites out of slavery under Pharaoh’s rule and into freedom just as He had promised. Because of the magnitude of what He did, God did not want the Israelites to ever forget what He had done for them. God wanted the Israelites to forever remember the miracle He performed for them and what a mighty and powerful God He is.

Think back for a moment… God has done some pretty amazing things in your life. If you are part of Terra Nova Church, you’ve seen some remarkable things that can only be explain because of the GREATNESS of God. He may have performed a miracle of healing or delivered you from the bondage of an addiction and into your own Promised Land.

Take time today to remember the mighty things God has done for you, your family, and our church family. Praise Him and commit to Him that you will never forget the amazing things He has done for you.

Use the comments section of this blog to GIVE THANKS for the many things that God has done!

By Garrett Robison

Hey guys.  So Jake has been on me lately to write one of these blogs so I figure I better…  

Anyways,  when I was thinking of what to write about I began to think of a time that made a big impact on my life and how I choose to live it.  The summer before and after my senior year in high school Jake and myself went to a christian music camp in Nashville called camp electric.  This is a camp where the students get to hangout with and be taught by different christian artist.  From guys like Piller, Toby Mac and Diverscity, The Newsboys, Sanctus Real, Steven Curtis Chapman’s band, and various others.  So as you can imagine, for a couple of young and budding musicians like Jake and I, this was a dream come true.  

I remember we were both ecstatic at the fact that we would get to meet so many of our heros, much less get to hang with them.  At this camp there was an acoustic set every morning and a concert every night.  I’m talking the best concerts you can imagine.  There were hundreds of music loving teens, not the kind that just stand in the corner to listen to the music at the concert but the kind that go crazy and are jumping around nonstop for an hour and a half.  It was amazing.  Along with having a concert every night there was a speaker by the name of Dave, I think, I don’t remember his name as much as what he said.  The first night Skillet was the band playing and everyone was so excited. You feel the tension in the room as everyone waited for them to finally come on-stage and when they did it was like the room exploded.  It was so loud an intense in that place.  I know that probably all of you have had moments like this where you were going crazy for a band you love or cheering on the Cards in the world series.  

Anyway the next night Dave was speaking to us and he was wondering how we can get so excited about a band or sports team but we seem to fail in that area when it comes to God.  You know how it is, you’re at a really awesome concert there has been an awesome moment and you don’t want it to end.  So the crowd starts chanting, “one more song, one more song, one more song….”   At first it is soft but soon the entire crowd is caught up in it and there is roar of voices.  Dave said to us that the reading of the bible and being in Gods word is what we should never want to leave.  He told us to raise up our voices to cry out “One More Verse!”  He encouraged us to make this the cry of our lives instead of placing that in something that will die and fade away.  I will never forget what happened that night and every night that followed as Dave slowly walked off the stage.  It was just like everyone’s favorite band had quit playing.  It was soft and barely heard at first but then the with the deafening sound of all our voices raised in unity.  All that could be heard was “ONE MORE VERSE!!!!, ONE MORE VERSE!!!!, ONE MORE VERSE!!!!”  

So I encourage you to make this your mind-set.  Cry out to God telling him you never want to leave his presence.  Make this the priority of your life.  Don’t cheer or long for something that will never set you free or fulfill your soul.  Next time you are in His presence tell Him to not let up. Ask him to consume you and to allow true communion with His spirit.

With all this said I want to leave you with this thought and video.  Do truly have a divine romance with our creator.  Are you completely overwhelmed by his presence.  Just like Chad mentioned in his sermon this past weekend if you’re not in the presence of God like you have been in the past He is not the one that has moved.

 

Contributed Weekly By Jake Bond

To start off this blog I must say that I am so thankful for my family, my friends, my church family and most importantly the never-ending love of our Savior!!!  It has definitely been a STRUGGLE the past few weeks trying to decide on what to blog about.  Then as I sat down on the couch, it hit me.  “I will write about struggles.”

Before I get started let me make something clear.  When I say struggles, I’m talking about suffering, hurting, persecution, lack of money, death, addiction, and lastly SIN.  That’s just a few on what seems to be a never-ending list of things to struggle with.  Something that I’ve noticed from people dealing with struggles, myself included, is how we deal with them.  When it comes down to it there are typically three things that people resort to in these times.  We resort to anger, depression, or we have faith and rely on God and recognize that He is in control.  It is so easy to get angry, especially when dealing with finances.

I got to spend some awesome time with Tim Bartlett this past week, and he had a pretty crazy story about dealing with finances.  Long story short he was in a financial jam and well, Tim said he may have gotten a little angry lol.  After he came to realize that his anger was not going to help him in this struggle He knew it was only going to be possible through God.  The funny thing is that literally within an hour of Tim handing it over to God, he got a phone call and well just say God took care of it!!  If you get a chance seriously go ask Tim about this!!!  It’s amazing how all of that worked out.

Don’t be mislead by this, sometimes God doesn’t immediately work things out quite that fast.  Stay faithful and it will be totally worth it!

Next comes depression.  This is when we are struggling and decide that its better to just lay down and give up rather than fight.  This will literally never solve anything.  One of my favorite passages is 1 Peter 5:8-11.  It says, “Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.  And the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.  To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

So basically stand firm, fight the fight and God is going to lift you up and make you strong.  I think I’m willing to suffer for a little bit in order to be made strong by the Creator of the universe!  If there’s one thing you take out of this blog let it be this final line.  Don’t tell God how big your struggle is, You tell that sissy little struggle how BIG YOUR GOD IS!!!

Just a few announcements!!!

I AM PUMPED!!!!

Terra Nova Worship will be leading worship TONIGHT at Malden First General Baptist Church at 7pm!!!

We are writing some new music!!!

GOD IS AWESOME!!!

This song talks about struggles and is one of my favorite songs at this time.  My favorite lines come from the bridge.  It says

And even amidst the struggle of finding the man

That you have called me to be

Your love reminds me

That though I am broken I am still standing

I am still screaming!