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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Stepping into Your Purpose

Notes: Stepping into Your Purpose
Nehemiah 1
Pastor Pedro Garcia
Sunday, August 30, 2015 — 8:00 a.m.

One of the things that is true of all of us is that God created us with a specific purpose in mind.

Psalm 139:13-15 NKJV
[13] For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. [14] I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. [15] My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

Ephesians 2:10 NKJV
[10] For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

The reason God saved us is not only to get us to Heaven. We are to find our calling.

2 Timothy 1:8-9 NKJV
[8] Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, [9] who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,

Nehemiah learned his purpose while he was working and being faithful to God.

We are to be faithful with what is in our hands now, not just what we think is down the road.

Nehemiah 1:1-4 NKJV
[1] The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. It came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the citadel, [2] that Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. [3] And they said to me, "The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire." [4] So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

This is the backdrop of the book of Nehemiah. He finds out that Jerusalem is devastated.

Nehemiah did not just sit around and cry about it. He did something about that. He let his purpose impact his life.

1. Nehemiah had clarity and identity.

We need to know who we are and Who's we are.

Colossians 1:16 NKJV
[16] For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.

We were created by God for the glory of God.

We are not defined by what we do for ourselves, we are to be defined by who we serve.

Nehemiah lived to glorify God.

Just because he was the cup bearer for the king did not define him.

Nehemiah 2:1-3 NKJV
[1] And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before. [2] Therefore the king said to me, "Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart." So I became dreadfully afraid, [3] and said to the king, "May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' tombs, lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire?"

Nehemiah did not let his vocation stop him from serving God.

Daniel also stood his ground instead of bowing down to the culture around him. Are you someone that stands your ground?

A person that stands for nothing will fall for anything.

Don't let people label you or let them dictate your identity.

Don't let anything in your past define who you are.

Galatians 2:20 NKJV
[20] I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Be clear in your identity.

Live in the grace of Christ Jesus.

2. Boldness in our faith.

It wasn't just enough for Nehemiah to pray and fast. He also took action.

Don't let things pass by as you are sitting and praying about it. You need to pray and take the action in boldness.

Nehemiah prayed and then rises up.

Nehemiah 2:4-6 NKJV
[4] Then the king said to me, "What do you request?" So I prayed to the God of heaven. [5] And I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' tombs, that I may rebuild it." [6] Then the king said to me (the queen also sitting beside him), "How long will your journey be? And when will you return?" So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.

The king gave Nehemiah his request and then Nehemiah boldly asked for more.

Nehemiah 2:7-8 NKJV
[7] Furthermore I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, let letters be given to me for the governors of the region beyond the River, that they must permit me to pass through till I come to Judah, [8] and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he must give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel which pertains to the temple, for the city wall, and for the house that I will occupy." And the king granted them to me according to the good hand of my God upon me.

Nehemiah got to Jerusalem and saw the opposition waiting for him.

As we all know, where God sends us, the enemy is trying to oppose us.

Nehemiah 2:19-20 NKJV
[19] But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they laughed at us and despised us, and said, "What is this thing that you are doing? Will you rebel against the king?" [20] So I answered them, and said to them, "The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem."

3. Determination through distraction.

This is critical, distraction is thrown at us to keep us from the plans and purpose of God.

Nehemiah was not distracted:
Nehemiah 2:20 NKJV
[20] So I answered them, and said to them, "The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem."

He heard what the opposition had to say and then got back to work.

But the opposition always continues:
Nehemiah 6:1-2 NKJV
[1] Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it (though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates), [2] that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, "Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono." But they thought to do me harm.

These guys were trying to hurt Nehemiah. They wanted to destroy him. These are the challenges that all leaders will face.

You don't have to be a famous leader, if you are being obedient to the call of God as a leader, then you will face opposition.

Don't be surprised by opposition, expect it.

Nehemiah 6:3-7 NKJV
[3] So I sent messengers to them, saying, "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?"
[4] But they sent me this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner. [5] Then Sanballat sent his servant to me as before, the fifth time, with an open letter in his hand. [6] In it was written: It is reported among the nations, and Geshem says, that you and the Jews plan to rebel; therefore, according to these rumors, you are rebuilding the wall, that you may be their king. [7] And you have also appointed prophets to proclaim concerning you at Jerusalem, saying, "There is a king in Judah!" Now these matters will be reported to the king. So come, therefore, and let us consult together.

Nehemiah responded:
Nehemiah 6:8-9 NKJV
[8] Then I sent to him, saying, "No such things as you say are being done, but you invent them in your own heart." [9] For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, "Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done." Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.

Nehemiah showed determination through this distraction.

Some things are just for God to do for us. Do not take on all the battles that come your way while you are doing God's work.

Never seek to live for approval of man.

Don't listen to the voices of the crowd. They will keep you from all that God has for you.

God wants to do even greater things than we can ever imagine.

Pray that God will give you the strength to live for His purpose.

Have you entered into the purpose God has for you?


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Grace, Grace! (Two Steps to Your Left)

Notes: Grace, Grace! (Two Steps to Your Left)
Zechariah 4:6–10
Pastor Levi Lusko author of Through the Eyes of a Lion
Thursday, August 27, 2015 — 7:00 p.m.

Zechariah 4:6-10 NKJV
[6] So he answered and said to me: "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' Says the LORD of hosts. [7] 'Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone With shouts of "Grace, grace to it!"'" [8] Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying: [9] "The hands of Zerubbabel Have laid the foundation of this temple; His hands shall also finish it. Then you will know That the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. [10] For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the LORD, Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth."

Zechariah is a prophet, he was given the news from God to deliver it to the people. He was around at the end of the Babylonian captivity over the Jews.

Before Nehemiah built the wall,  
Zerubbabel tried to build the temple again for 9 years with about 300 of his closest friends and followers. When Zerubbabel was close to giving up, Zechariah was sent by the Lord with a vision.

Gods's divine power and Holy Spirit never weakens. It never gives up.

When we all try to do Gods work in our own strength it always ends up a disaster.

God gives us the power to do what He calls us to do. God's calling is enabling.

Being who God calls us to be requires God's strength.

We need to trust God to give us His power.

Five confessions to God:
1. I am powerful in weakness.

By ourselves we are weak on power, in Christ we are given His power. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

Ted Talk about your body expression. The way you carry yourself has a biological impact on how you feel about yourself at that moment.

Joel 3:10 NKJV
[10] Beat your plowshares into swords And your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, 'I am strong.'"

2. I see every obstacle as an opportunity.

Zechariah 4:7 NKJV
[7] 'Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone With shouts of "Grace, grace to it!"'"

God doesn't see how it was, He sees it as it is when His work is done.

Mark 11:23 NKJV
[23] For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.

When an obstacle comes up and you are doing God's work, it's just an opportunity.

Words are one of the few vehicles that faith can get around in.

We need to speak of the greatness of God even in the hardest of times for us.

3. I will see God finish what He started.

Philippians 1:6 NKJV
[6] being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

If you yield yourself to God's hands, He will finish the work.

4. I am focused on the end but not intimidated by the beginning.

Zechariah 4:10 NKJV
[10] For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the LORD, Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth."

God loves to see people take small bites and keep on chewing.

Deferred gratification.

5. I am a spiritual early adopter.

John 20:29 NKJV
[29] Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

Zechariah 4:7 NKJV
[7] 'Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of "Grace, grace to it!"'"


Get good at saying "Grace, grace" when the doctors reports are bad, not only after you see the finished work!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

No More Excuses

Notes: No More Excuses
Exodus 3–4
SPEAKER: Pastor Steve Wilburn
Sunday, August 23, 2015 — 8:00 a.m.

We all make excuses, some more than others.

Don't make excuses, just make good.

Several excuses are always less convincing than one.

Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure.

1 Peter 2:9 NKJV
[9] But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

Our purpose is to serve God.

The Harvest Crusade depends on us believers to get people there. Working as a church to spread the word of God.

You are the perfect candidate to invite people and to take them to the Harvest Crusade.

Moses is the perfect example of how God can use those unlikely candidates.

Moses is mentioned in the Bible over 850 times.

God is never late or or early, God is always right on time.

Exodus 3:7-8 NKJV
[7] And the LORD said: "I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. [8] So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites.

Ezekiel 2:7 NKJV
[7] You shall speak My words to them, whether they hear or whether they refuse, for they are rebellious.

Moses was chosen to be Gods spokesman. Yet he did everything thing he could get out of this calling.

Three points to review today:
1. Who am I?
2. What if?
3. I Can't Speak.

1. Who am I?
Exodus 3:9-14 NKJV
[9] Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. [10] Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt." [11] But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?" [12] So He said, "I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain." [13] Then Moses said to God, "Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they say to me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?" [14] And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"

At this point Moses was a nobody, all of his fame and fortune was gone.

It doesn't matter what we think of ourselves or what others think, God is looking for a heart that will serve Him.

God uses all: the weak, the feeble, the foolish and despised.

A cost of true greatness is humble sacrificial service.

People need to know that there is no problem in life that God can not heal.

Many Christians are not used by God...most people fail to serve for lack of purpose with a deep, subtle resistance, not a lack of talent.

The last will be first, those who gave the most will gain the most.

It was said, "we are born trying, we live complaining, and we die disappointed".

Exodus 3:13-14 NKJV
[13] Then Moses said to God, "Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they say to me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?" [14] And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"

John 8:58 NKJV
[58] Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM."

God has been around since eternity past and will be around for the rest of eternity.

Where else do you see an event like the Harvest Crusade in the world that people can be brought to a stadium to learn about The Gospel?

John 8:24 NKJV
[24] Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins."

    Don't just choose to say nothing!

2. What if?

Exodus 4:1-5 NKJV
[1] Then Moses answered and said, "But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, 'The LORD has not appeared to you.'" [2] So the LORD said to him, "What is that in your hand?" He said, "A rod." [3] And He said, "Cast it on the ground." So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. [4] Then the LORD said to Moses, "Reach out your hand and take it by the tail" (and he reached out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand), [5] "that they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you."

People in life are either a pessimist or an optimist. Who needs the devil to discourage us, we do that all by ourselves.

Don't miss what is on the golden platter in front of you. Always take the opportunity to serve God.

Exodus 4:6-9 NKJV
[6] Furthermore the LORD said to him, "Now put your hand in your bosom." And he put his hand in his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, like snow. [7] And He said, "Put your hand in your bosom again." So he put his hand in his bosom again, and drew it out of his bosom, and behold, it was restored like his other flesh. [8] "Then it will be, if they do not believe you, nor heed the message of the first sign, that they may believe the message of the latter sign. [9] And it shall be, if they do not believe even these two signs, or listen to your voice, that you shall take water from the river and pour it on the dry land. The water which you take from the river will become blood on the dry land."

3. I can't speak.

Exodus 4:10-17 NKJV
[10] Then Moses said to the LORD, "O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue." [11] So the LORD said to him, "Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD? [12] Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say." [13] But he said, "O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send." [14] So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and He said: "Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And look, he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. [15] Now you shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth. And I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and I will teach you what you shall do. [16] So he shall be your spokesman to the people. And he himself shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be to him as God. [17] And you shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs."

Moses could speak:
Acts 7:22 NKJV
[22] And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.

Not speaking was just an excuse.

Psalm 6:8 NKJV
[8] Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity; For the LORD has heard the voice of my weeping.

2 Corinthians 4:16-17 NKJV
[16] Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. [17] For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,

Don't look at your life just in this life, but look at your life in an eternal light. You may be in a time of affliction now, but it may be a light affliction in eternity.

How many times has God tried to use us and we just walked away?

We lose when we walk away, but we aren't the only losers. The ones we haven't shared the Gospel with lose out even more.

Everyone shares guilt and shame. The reason people feel guilt is because they are guilty.

Exodus 32:32 NKJV
[32] Yet now, if You will forgive their sin-but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written."

We are all going to die. Either today or in the future, but we will die.

We will all stand before God, and everything we have ever done will be brought into the light as we stand there.


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