Fear or Faith?


We’ve been talking about the Kingdom of God in this new FV sermon series, “Kingdom Come”, and as I study more and more in preparation for this series, I’ve been realizing that the implications of these teachings are BOTH for now, and for the future. As Christians, everything we do is both for now, and then.

Today, we’re going to watch a Hillsong Teaching from Robby Lewis, campus pastor for Hillsong London, called “Kingdom”. (You do have to have a subscription for this video, but the first 30 days are free!)

Candace’s Notes

Law-based mindset, vs a Gospel-based mindset

  • What we believe, influences what we think, and what we think influences how we see ourselves, and how we see ourselves influences how we behave.

  • Not focus on our behavior, but focus on what we believe.

1 Corinthians 15:1-5, 12-28 (The Kingdom New Testament)

The Corinthian People:

  1. Are arrogant (towards each other).

  2. Are behaving divisively (causing divisions within the church).

  3. Have a self-serving agenda.

  4. Believed in an advancement of the self over the church & Gospel.

  5. Elevated themselves over everyone else.

    The word Gospel = an event, happening in a larger context, that will change the future, as a result, everything now is changed.

Board Illustration

  • The board represents God, even though it breaks down because God has no edges.

  • Time exists within God

  • At the beginning, God creates. The last thing he creates, is humans. Image bearers.

  • Sin = selfishness. We had power over the earth, so earth fell with us.

  • We’re headed toward wrath, unless someone does something. 

  • The Gospel is an event that happened that changes the story

On the cross, Jesus overthrew the Kingdom of Man---sin, death, decay, corruption, pain

Because you don’t believe in the resurrection:

  1. The messiah has not been raised

  2. You are still in your sins

  3. Your faith is futile

  4. Death is the end

  5. There is no hope in a future life, let alone in the present one.

Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the son of God?” because one of Caesar's titles was “son of God”.

The Enlightenment removed God from the top, and put the self on the top. 


Other resources I may have mentioned tonight:


Read Revelations 21-22

  • What questions do you have about the book of Revelation?

Read the commentary linked above.

  • How do you live out “living in the world, but not of it”?

Read 1 Corinthians 15

  • If you really feel like challenging yourself: What does 1 Corinthians 15:29 mean?

  • What does this chapter mean for my life?



Drowning in Doubt


Matthew 14:29-31

God wants change…change means to make different. But God doesn’t just make it different, God makes it better. He doesn’t make the broken different, He makes them whole. The sick, healed. The bound, free.

It’s not just about walking, it’s about seeing. In order to walk right, I gotta see right.

Numbers 13

They didn’t lose to the giants out there, they lost to the grasshopper in them. The victim mentality, the loser mentality.

You walk on what other people drown in. You are managing what other people are overwhelmed by. You’ve been customized, you are crafted by design. You are a water walker!

There are some places only exceptions can go…there is a level for the special. There is an arena for the unique. To get there, you have to be willing to step out of, what everybody else is sitting in. You must be willing to take another route. You cannot live being in love with what you got you where you were. What got you HERE, can’t always get you THERE.

You must be willing to be the OTHER. And you must be willing to be the ONLY. You wanna be special and common at the same time. If you have a problem with my only-ness, take it up with my supervisor.

As he sunk, Jesus IMMEDIATELY reach out his hand. Maybe Jesus wasn’t trying to save Peter’s life, but something else. Maybe Jesus was trying to save Peter’s confidence.

Out of all the things that Jesus could have critiqued, he didn’t critique the water or the wind. Faith was the factor. You can’t control the wind. Win anyway. Jesus did not correct the wind or the waves, he corrected the faith. Don’t misdiagnose your obstacle. Somebody’s walking in what you’re blaming for your stagnation. You didn’t drown because of water, you about to drown because of doubt. If faith had been present, the water wouldn’t have been an issue. Could it be that we’re drowning in water, trying to fix the water, when Jesus is trying to fix the faith? FAITH is foundational.

Faith is believing that, and behaving like, God is telling the truth. James 2:17-19. Faith produces optimism, but optimism is not faith. Peter’s faith was just underdeveloped faith. It was faith to get him out of the boat, but not faith to keep him on top of the water. It’s one thing not to go back when you can’t, it’s another, when you can still see the boat.

You cannot will yourself into faith. You can’t just decide. Faith is a process. The decision you make is to do the things that bring faith. You can’t live today, off yesterday’s faith. Faith is like a float and it will float away if you don’t hang onto it.

3 Things We Have To Know To BUILD FAITH THAT IS KEPT:

  1. Who God is.

    1. Matthew 14:28. Peter called him “Lord”.

    2. When some people say they know God, they just know His name. When you are in need of provision, the word “God” is not enough. Some of us know Jehovah Jireh!! Just knowing that He exists, doesn’t help you in crisis. He is Emmanuel — He is with us.

  2. What God said.

    1. Matthew 14:29. Peter didn’t go until Jesus said come.

    2. You gotta know what truth is, if you’re going to believe that God is telling the truth.

    3. Your faith, your conviction, rests on whether or not God is a truth-teller.

    4. Numbers 23:19-20

    5. My faith is built on the truth, not the facts! The Word of God is like a car wash!

  3. What God did. Jesus asks him why he doubted.

    1. Faith is not a denial of reality, it believes God to change it. What have you seen God do? Strong faith is tied to a strong memory. Not remembering everything, it’s remembering the right things. Sometimes that requires relabeling things that you mislabeled when you were at a different place in your spiritual journey.

Maybe we should stop acting like faith is illogical, ‘cause maybe DOUBT is. Maybe when you start looking at the evidence of faith in your life, you have more reason to BELIEVE than to doubt!



  1. After hearing this sermon, would you consider yourself a person of little (underdeveloped) faith, or big (developed) faith?

  2. Pastor Dharius said, “You cannot will yourself into faith. You can’t just decide. Faith is a process.” What has that process looked like so far in your life?


  1. Matthew 14

    1. Verse 13: Why do you think Jesus went to be alone? Put yourself in that moment, really try to think about what emotions he might have been feeling…what that conversation between him and his Father might have been…why he needed to be away, even from the the disciples.

    2. He didn’t get to be alone though, because the people followed Him, and He had compassion on them. In your moments of anguish or grief or anger, do you have compassion?

  2. James 2

    1. What does verse 12 mean?

    2. What does verse 15-17 mean?

  3. If you missed Eran Holt’s message at Heart & Soul on September 29th, give it a listen here (starts around minute 28).

    1. Candace’s notes on the message are found here.

    2. What did you find most interesting about this message?

    3. What did you find most helpful about this message? What will it help you to do?



Wrestle Until You Win



Genesis 32:24-28

You are a wrestler - what are you wrestling with?

Many are wrestling with rejection.

  • “Rejection”, Latin roots = to throw backwards

  • It’s a wound to the soul. Soul wounds are different types of wounds because the bleeding is invisible.

Jeremiah 6:14 - you are putting bandaids on something that needs stitches.

  • Wounds that are not cared for properly can lead to infection.

  • Rejection can lead to infections.

  • Some people—timidity isn’t their identity, it’s an infection.

    • apathy, people-pleasing, approval-addiction

  • Your history does not have to be your destiny! What has happened to you, does not determine what can happen for you!

  • God wants to introduce you and me, to a you and me, we haven’t met yet!

    • stronger, more focused, wiser

  • That becomes unlikely and sometimes impossible, when we don’t wrestle to win.

Wrestling is unpredictable.

  • Jacob’s story is inundated with rejection. His father blatantly shows favoritism toward his brother. All rejection isn’t created equal.

  • Sometimes you feel like you’re on top of things, and sometimes the things are on top of you.

And Jacob was left alone, and he wrestled.

  • All isolation isn’t evil.

  • There are times when God uses isolation for our transformation. An opportunity to do some soul-searching.

  • In vs 24, he thinks it’s one thing. In vs 28, he sees it’s God.

    • God doesn’t always show up looking like God.

    • Sometimes God shows up opening doors….sometimes God also shows up closing them.

    • He is the same, and GOOD, in both.

  • Could it be that Jacob was also wrestling with himself?

I will not let you go until you bless me.

  • I will not stop putting forth my best effort, until I become my best self.

  • There are times that we all suffer from “fate fatigue” and we wanna give up on US.

  • His request was not to receive something, his request was to become someone.

  • There was a place in him that was wounded so deep, that noTHING had been able to fix.

The wrestler always had an advantage when he knew the other’s moves:

  1. Rejection can be a result of people’s vision, not your value.

    1. The issue is not always you and I. Sometimes the issue is other people’s eyes. You’ve been created in the image of God. Just because they can’t see value, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

  2. Rejection can be a result of people’s issues, not yours.

    1. Matthew 7:1-5.

  3. Rejection is God’s direction.

    1. “I called it unfair then, I call it God now.”

    2. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. If you can make it through the night, morning is coming for you!

    3. It’s a fixed fight, and you will win if you don’t quit.



  1. Read Matthew 7:1-5. Do you think we can ever really get rid of the log in our own eye? What do you think Jesus was trying to say here?

  2. If you began to think of your own hardships in your life as God’s redirection instead of rejection, how do you think that would change things?

  3. Do you have regular times of soul-searching in your life? How do you do it?


  1. Genesis 32

    1. Notice what Jacob does when threatened (or at least, when scared) in verse 9. What promises do you remind yourself—and God of—when you feel threatened? Make a list.

    2. Notice that Jacob used wisdom next, verses 13-21. Think about any hardships you’re facing right now. What might change if you asked God for wisdom?

    3. Some fights change you, verse 28. Can you envision what positive things might come out of the hardships you are facing right now?

  2. Jeremiah 6:14

    1. Read this verse in context, meaning, read the rest of Jeremiah 6. If you need help understanding Jeremiah, watch this video.

    2. What do you think would give the people actual peace, instead of superficial treatments? What would give you actual peace?



I Struggle Too


Someone complimented me lately saying that they admire my strength. I replied with, “I don’t have a choice,” to which he replied, “yes, you do.”

I’ve been thinking about that statement ever since, especially because the last week has been particularly difficult. I struggle too. And I haven’t always been this strong, or quick to bounce back, or decisive. In fact, I don’t see myself as any of those things most days. But I think my complimenter was right. We all have a choice.

“God won’t give you more than you can handle.”

“Don’t speak that! Confess healing!”

“All you need is Jesus.”

Some ideas to try when you’re struggling:

  • Rest, but don’t withdraw. Hebrews 10:25

  • Meditate, but don’t go silent. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

  • Ask questions, be slow in coming to conclusions.

  • Lean in, not out.

  • Do something new or special.

  • Remind yourself of who God is—and who you are.

  • Make a list of the fears and cross them off as you pray over them.

  • Encourage someone else.


Study the passages above.

Add 3 suggestions of your own to the list above!



Sober Mind


I got an unfortunate front-row seat, this week, to a real-life demonstration about the effects drunkenness can have on a life. Of course, this wasn’t the first demonstration of this nature that I’ve witnessed, and I’m sure that most of us have similar stories they could recount vividly. It only takes once for a reputation to be ruined, a friendship destroyed, even a life lost. It seems that for most of us, it’s a lesson that must be learned the hard way.

But what if it wasn’t?

Seeing the destruction that one drunken evening caused, I began to look up what the Word had to say. I began to think about way that we can teach our young people (although it’s not just a young-people-problem!) to stay away from those temptations.

I’ve come to believe that being of sober mind is more than just about alcohol. We can lull ourselves to sleep, dull our senses, and deaden our minds in many, many more ways than that!

We were created to rule over and subdue the earth. To worship God and be productive. To use our gifts & talents to help others, in God’s image.

We can’t do any of that, if we’re not sober. Not just physically sober from alcohol and drugs, but also emotionally sober. In control.


I Peter 5:8, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.”

Ephesians 5:15-18 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

“You’re as intelligent as you want to be”

“This incredibly malleable brain is actually subservient to the mind.”

“Ask yourself, answer yourself, and discuss with yourself.”

“You’re not a victim of your biology.”


Pick 5 of the following verses to study:

Ephesians 5:1-20

  • What does verse 18 mean?

1 Peter 4:1-11

  • What does this passage mean?

Proverbs 20:1, 10, 11

  • Write down one takeaway from each of these verses.

Proverbs 23:28-35

  • What does this passage mean?

Romans 13

  • How can you apply verse 1 in your life?

Proverbs 31:4-7

  • What does this passage mean for Bold & Brave leaders?

Matthew 18:1-10

  • What does verse 6 mean?

Galatians 5:16-25

  • What do verses 19-21 mean?

Romans 14:15-21

  • What does verse 21 mean?

2 Corinthians 10:5

  • Why should we take our thoughts captive? And how?

Romans 12:2

  • How does this verse line up with Dr. Caroline Leaf’s research?



It's Not My Fault


From Lori:

How many of you know someone who it’s always someone else’s fault?

I worked with a girl who was placed on leave restriction because she took off work all the time, she took another job and was again placed on leave restriction, she then left the state and got a job elsewhere and had her probation period extended due to excessive leave. She always said her boss was out to get her, or so and so doesn’t like her or their policies are stupid however, the common denominator in all 3 instances was her. She continues to have leave issues instead of taking responsibility for what is required for her job, what is expected.

How much less stressful would her job be, her life be, how much better her attitude would be if her boss’s didn’t have to reprimand her if she would have taken responsibility and corrected the issue – by her own actions and her own attitude.

“My attitude is a result of your actions” - BLAME – we can control how we respond to people and negative situations. What we can NOT control is someone else’s actions, attitudes. However, you will feel better about yourself by being kind to someone who is unkind, instead of having regrets later for saying something at the spur of the moment.

Proverbs 28:13 “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”

Matthew 7:3-5 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.

Romans 2:1 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things


  1. We cannot improve what we will not own.

  2. We cannot adjust what we keep ignoring.

  3. We cannot catch blessings, if we keep casting blame.

In order for us to experience evolution, we need to develop the skill of discerning the difference between a reason and an excuse. Just because the reason is real, doesn’t mean the excuse is right. The reason says something about the situation. The excuse says something about me.

Some helplessness is learned. A mental paradigm where a person sees themselves as powerless, therefore, their welfare and wellbeing is at the mercy of what happens to them. Their circumstances become sovereign, instead of their savior being sovereign.

To live well, you gotta live with boundaries. It’s not God restricting them, it’s God protecting them.

Human beings become their best, in the context of accountability. If you don’t inspect what you expect, what you expect will become suspect.

I would not link up long term with anybody that does not believe in accountability. God cannot teach anybody anything, who thinks they already know everything.

God is teaching us how to confront: when you ask a question, you already know the answer to, it helps you see how many problems you really have.

An orientation toward excuses since Adam & Eve.

We must perceive our part, and overcome our excuses.

Leprosy is a metaphor for our sin nature. You don’t pick your strengths and you don’t pick your weaknesses.

Our reasons to be here don’t have to become the excuses that cause me to stay in this condition. I won’t die here!

2 Kings 7:5-8 MSG

What story are you telling yourself when you hear the sound?

3 Lessons to learn from the lepers:

  1. At some point, they stopped the sulking.

    1. Sulking is human, and at times, it’s an appropriate responses, because it can be grieve. It’s okay to grieve.

    2. As long as I’m sulking, I’m not emotionally sober.

    3. The most under-appreciated life-skill: decision-making. Some of the most spiritual people, make some of the worst decisions. Whenever God doesn’t give me an answer, He wants me to use wisdom!

  2. They understood the power of partnership.

    1. God’s math is multiplication, not addition.

    2. When you partner, your results are multiplied.

    3. Do you have wise counsel in your circle? They can only mentor you and advise you, to the degree that you expose yourself.

  3. They took the initiative for improvement.

    1. Nobody came to get them where they were, they had to go to where help was.

    2. How long are you gonna wait for someone to come save you?

    3. What if God meets you on your way up?

    4. The grave wasn’t Jesus’ fault, but the resurrection was his responsibility!

It’s not my fault, but it is my responsibility.



Can you think of another place in the Bible where we are instructed to take responsibility for our actions?



I Will Fight


We just came off of a sermon about coming OFF the mountain and getting to work, and we’re headed into a sermon series called “The Couch Potato”, all about the hard work that goes into being a disciple of Jesus Christ.


There are some things in this life that are worth fighting for, and there are some things that are NOT… being able to discern which is which.

If you are Christian, guess what? You opted in to a fight! You have to fight for other people to get rescued too. Your faith is worth fighting for. Your prayer life, your Godly relationships, your marriage, your singleness, your church, your city…

When your faith gets tested, will you fight for it, or will you flee?

Romans 7:15-25 TPT

  • I can’t will myself out of my sinful desires.

  • “the unwelcome intruder of sin hindering me from being who I really am”

  • “I will fight” should be your declaration!

Fight for complete alignment, or you will miss your God-given assignment.

  • Maybe you are one location-shift away, from being aligned again—in your assignment.

  • So many Christians—they know something’s wrong (worship, relationships, but no one can tell)..they just live with it.

  • There’s a harshly clear answer: OBEY WHAT HE SAID.

    • Every single thing God commands us to do—to fight for—are to help keep us aligned.

  • If we can fight for trying to do things God’s way, we can eliminate the painful consequences of trying to do things our way.

Embracing the pain of growth, is better than carrying the shameful consequences of sin.


Read the book of Hosea.

Read 1 Corinthians 13 in The Passion Translation.

  • What really stuck out to you about this passage?

  • If you had to memorize one verse, which one would you pick?



Without The Disciples


It’s undeniable that Jesus Christ changed the course of history forever. From how children are viewed and understood in our culture today vs. how they were viewed in ancient culture, to medicine and hospitals, to education and equality…the list goes on and on. His teachings and views on morality and grace were revolutionary, and continue to be today. Six Surprising Ways Jesus Changed The World

This week, I struggled with the question: Would all that have been true, without the disciples?

Obviously, the answer is no, because when Jesus does something, it’s perfect, and he chose the disciples and commissioned them. But it’s an interesting question, because we’ve been exploring the balance between what is God’s job, and what is ours lately..

What’s our responsibility as disciples? 10 Qualities that Move You From A Believer to a Disciple


Study each of the qualities & scriptures from the above article 10 Qualities that Move You From A Believer to a Disciple.

  • Which qualities would you say you have the hardest time with?

  • Are any of them surprising or challenging?

  • Pick one of the verses & go deeper.

    • Do a SOAP Study.

    • Find a parallel verse.

    • Find a Bible character that exemplified that quality.



A Heart Attack


A Heart Attack

Sermon Notes

  • Recovery is necessary, because loss is inevitable. Everyone who lives in one way or another will face loss. It rains on the just and the unjust. Life happens, it bring loss.

  • We live in an imperfect world, and this imperfect world is filled with imperfect people; and sometimes you and I become victims of someone else’s imperfection.

  • Sometimes life happens, other times people happen. Thievery, lying, betrayal, exploitation, drunk drivers, it is the back side of the blessing of relationships. The same person that is close enough to make you smile is the same person who is close enough to make us cry.

    • Sometimes life happens, sometimes people happen, sometimes we happen. Every decision we make is pregnant with the potential to produce a season.

    • Some seasons are seasons of gain, some seasons are seasons of loss.

    • We need to learn to deal with loss without losing.

    • One way or another I’m going to find a way to win, The quintessential question is “What do YOU believe about loss?”

    • Can God Fix it? Can God turn it around? Can He turn me around?

  • The Gospel is a powerful story about Jesus’s ability to recover from something no one else could recover from. The resurrection is a powerful picture, the epitome of recovery.

    • When Jesus got out of the grave it was a powerful picture of how he could recover from the grave and the betrayal that put him there.

  • RECOVER!! No matter what RECOVER!

  • It’s not what you believe about loss, but what you believe about recovery.

  • The people were weary because they were anticipating a time of harvesting but the locust kept bringing loss.

  • God tells Joel to tell the people of Israel to be glad not by what they see, but about what He sees that is coming.

  • Don’t let the drought cause you to doubt who you are!

    • You should have the expectation to be the exception. What happens with you is not going to be reflective on what happens to everybody else. You are His child.

    • He made it rain before, just because he is not doing it now doesn’t mean he stopped doing it.

  • Don’t let the drought make you doubt who He is.

    • He will orchestrate elements in the atmosphere and create all the appropriate conditions that are necessary to make the clouds fill up with moisture to the degree that they have to release themselves with rain strategically and specifically on the fields you need it to rain on.

  • When you push out Gods presence you forfeit his protection!

    • (manifest not omnipresent) Presence.

    • You are not able to able to benefit from his presence when he has not manifest his presence.

  • Could it be we engage with restoration when we are able to engage in the practice of recovery?

  • When disaster hits your life you don’t just lose the harvest you lose heart

  • Locust can take your hope, optimism, dreams, expectations, drive, focus.

  • The enemy is not always out to kill you sometimes he is out to steal from you.

  • If we don’t understand his intentions we will celebrate survival when the enemy sent the season to rob us.

  • We will celebrate survival when in reality he robbed you and broke you down, you gave up, quit and lost heart

  • If he can break your will you can’t recover. When the enemy gets your heart, he’s got your wiil. When he has your will, he has your life.

  • 3 Steps to recovery

    • 1. Acknowledge You cannot defeat what you deny; you can’t fix what you can’t face. Faith is not the denial of the fight. You survived but you lost something in the season. PRIDE & PAIN.

    • 2. Identify it It’s one thing to know you’re not the same; it is another thing to know what left you. Whatever took what belongs to you is not bringing it back, you have to go get it.

    • 3. You have to own it You are not responsible for your hurt but you are responsible for your healing. Do you believe Joel?


Read the book of Joel.

  1. What areas in your life have been consumed by locust, be truthful and look deep.

  2. What dreams have you shelved what have you lost?

  3. How can you recover? Find a verse that can become your mantra during this recovery.



The Disappointment of Freedom

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Studying the Exodus story this week has been revelation on top of revelation, and I definitely won’t be able to fit it all into the sermon this weekend about the PASSION that Moses had for God. One of the things that stuck out to me so much was the “levels” (for lack of a better word) of God that Moses seemed to move through and crave.

God seemed to progressively reveal who He is to them. “There’s a reason that God does not show you everything all at once. It’s called mercy.” - Steven Furtick.

Just from my own quick observation:

  • Rescue - Freedom

  • Provision

  • Security

  • Presence

  • Law

  • Glory (God’s glory is his kindness)

Freedom is not the solution to problems, it’s only the beginning. We must have a new wholehearted embrace for what the Torah is — a guide to proper living— and begin to walk in health. I heard a Steven Furtick sermon lately where he talked about the disappointment of deliverance. Where the Israelites were out of Egypt, but not into Canaan yet. We can all relate to this in adulthood, right? We think, as teenagers, that all we need is freedom, that once we turn 18, THEN the party will begin! But then we become adults, get the freedom, and realize a few things.

And so, I believe that it’s important to learn how to live in exile. Because freedom is the answer to your slavery problem, not your soul problem, and it’s not ALL God has to offer. And after you get free, there are some more things that God wants to show you.

“The Way of Exile” is a lesson in how to live as passionate followers of Jesus in a society and context that doesn’t respect that.

But there’s so much beyond freedom that we can experience of God! Moses understood that.

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  • Moses’ Mountaintop Moments

    • Exodus 19

      • Can you see God trying to move them from experiencing Him in the context of rescue, and into the context of provision and security? Is there anywhere in your life that God is maybe trying to move you into a new season?

      • Why do you think God was so adamant about the people not coming up the mountain?

    • Exodus 24

      • Can you think of another time God used blood to act as a covenant with us? Why do you think he uses blood?

  • Moses’ Passion

  • Moses’ Request for More Presence


Need some new music?
Here’s what I’m listening to this week:



The Mountaintops

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Our 3rd annual CHURCH CAMP Sermon Series begins this weekend…and I have to admit…I’m a little torn. I’m torn, not because I don’t know what to teach, but because there’s SO MUCH I want to teach. I’m praying that I’m capable of pulling it all off, to be honest.

I have all these experiences in my memory, having grown up in the church. Are you familiar with the term “mountain top moments” in the church? It’s the experience of extreme presence of God. The moments spent at camps around altars, or in a week-long conference worshipping and praising every day all day. When God seems to heal your heart, inspire your soul, and inform your mind all at once, and you feel so close to Him, so changed, that you think everyone must see the change in you so clearly. Your perspective, your mindset, your place in the world, all seem to shift so powerfully.

I have this picture in my mind of the mountain top experiences in the Bible. I imagine that they are the physical representation of my camp or conference experience. I picture the work it takes to get to the top, the exhaustion, the sleepless nights and long days. Always looking ahead, how much longer, how much father….building your expectation, rehearsing the questions over and over in your mind.

When you finally arrive, God speaks, the very world shifts before you…

  • In Exodus, Moses met with God on the mountain, and when he came down, his face shined!

  • In 1 Kings 18, Elijah asked God to defy the prophets of Baal and rain down fire from heaven on his altar. An entire nation of people convinced in a moment.

  • In Matthew 17, Jesus was transfigured and for a moment, Peter, James, and John got to hang out with Moses and Elijah, can you imagine overhearing that conversation? Who would want to leave that place?

All of these incredible moments happened on mountain tops. How do you stomach leaving that place?

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  • 1 Kings 18

    • verse 19, “Now summon all Israel to join me at Mount Carmel, along with the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah who are supported by Jezebel.” 

      • God’s not hiding from a fight.

      • Are there any situations you’re hiding your faith from?

      • Do a little research…what kind of gods were Baal and Asherah?

    • verse 21, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” But the people were completely silent. “

      • Wavering means you’re going no where.

      • Is there anything that you’re wavering on? How can you fix it?

    • verse 22,Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only prophet of the Lord who is left, but Baal has 450 prophets.”

      • EVERYone can be saying one thing, but EVERYONE can be wrong.

      • Is there a place in your life where you’re following the crowd, instead of following God?



For Such A Time As This


Tonight, we talked about the book of Esther! To understand this book even better, check out The Bible Project’s overview.

Some fun facts about the book of Esther:

  1. It’s the only book in the Bible that never once mentions God specifically.

  2. King Xerxes is the Persian king mentioned in the movie “300”.

  3. Haman the Agagite was a descendant of King Agag in 1 Samuel 15. Saul was supposed to have killed him and prevented this whole mess generations ago.

  • Read the book of Esther. 10 chapters.

  • If you only have time for a part of it, read chapter 4.

    • Mordecai seems to have faith in God, but also thinks there’s a piece that is OUR responsibility. Where do you think that line is? How do you find it?

    • Read this article: Fasting for Beginners. Is there anything on here you could try this week?



Jesus Has Left The Building


This week we listened to Dharius Daniels “Jesus Has Left The Building“ in his “I Quit Church” series. If you missed it, I encourage you to listen to it!



MATTHEW 21:12-14

Have you ever found yourself in a place or space, when someone walked in the room that made you wanna walk out?

  • Not only is this reality relevant for people, but it is also relevant for God

  • When God walks in the room, there are some things that must walk out.

  • Praise is a spiritual discipline, and not just some empty exercise. Praise is an invitation for divine habitation. When praise goes up, God comes down. When God steps in, somethings must step out.

  • I need Him like I need oxygen. Like my body needs blood. When I have HIM, and when He comes into my space, things that are not like him, get evicted out of my space .

  • The converse is also true: when God walks out, some things walk in.

  • You cannot improve what you are unwilling to assess.

  • The entrances of Jesus represented the ending of one type of representation of church.

  • You have evolved into an institution that is inconsistent with God’s intent.

    • exploitive, entertaining, and irrelevant

  • Hebrews 8:6

    • testament = covenant.

    • New Testament = new covenant

  • We not only need God’s help to hold on, we also need God’s help, to let go.

  • You’re a steward, not an owner!

    • Stop painting walls that don’t belong to you!

  • If you do some assessment, you’ll probably find some things that you need to stop doing.

Five Things We Need To Consider Stopping:

  1. Stop church that likes Jesus, but isn’t LIKE Jesus.

    1. The word “Christian” means Christ-like, not liking Christ.

    2. Ghandi said, “I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians, because your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

    3. Disciples means learner, apprentice, mentee. “Make people like me.” Learning the virtues (character traits), the values (priorities), and the vantage points (the way he sees things) of Jesus.

    4. Matthew 28:19 - the job description of the church

  2. Stop doing church in a way that makes external judgements without addressing internal issues.

    1. God did not call the church to be a critic, God called the church to be an example. Salt & light. To MODEL an alternative way of living.

    2. Like Zaccheaus, they’ll climb a tree to get to you. Like Nicodemus, they’ll come to you at night.

    3. Matthew 7:3

  3. Stop church that is arrogant and ignorant.

    1. It’s dangerous to be either one of them, it’s lethal to be both.

    2. God’s WORD is true, and right, but that doesn’t mean our interpretation always is.

    3. When a tribe is arrogant, and ignorant, they think their interpretation always lines up with Gods’ intention, and so they become unteachable. OR they become ONLY teachable by anyone in their tribe, which means everyone in the tribe, has the same blind spots.

    4. We don’t get to pick, who God uses to teach us! Luke 10, The Good Samaritan story.

      1. Jesus said learn from the Samaritan, but the Samaritan’s doctrine was wrong.

      2. Some people, who might be wrong in some areas, aren’t wrong in every area. And we have to learn from people who are NOT in our tribe!

  4. Stop church that puts its preferences over God’s priorities.

    1. Are we really concerned with what God wants in church, or what we want?

    2. People try to use corporate worship, to make up for a devotional deficit.

    3. It’s hard to reach people, if you’re not thinking about people.

    4. Because God’s kingdom is not this or that, it’s this AND that.

  5. Stop church that’s too sacred to say “I’m Sorry”.

    1. Church is not God. God is perfect, we aren’t. God never gets it wrong, we do.

    2. Lemme tell ya what’s wrong with you pastors: You anointed, but you think that means you omniscient.

    3. Proverbs 15:1, “A soft answer, turns away wrath.”

    4. Some of us need to apologize to people we thought we was ministering to.

      1. You using my words, but you do not have my heart.

    5. WE are the church. Church changes when WE do.

    6. Correction. Self assessment and self adjustment


Study John 6

  • What do you think Jesus was trying to teach them toward the end of this chapter?

Study Luke 4:14-30

  • What can we learn from why Jesus’ hometown rejected Him?

Study Mark 10:17-27

  • Why do you think the man walked away?



Blessing Pirates


There’s a Hillsong United song, “As You Find Me”, that contains the lyrics:

I have wrestled
And I have trembled toward surrender
Chased my heart adrift
And drifted home again
Plundered blessing
Till I’ve been desperate to find redemption
And every time I turn around
Lord, You’re still there

When I heard that lyric, “plundered blessing”, it captured me, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. The rest of the song is amazing too, but during this FULL HEART GREAT GAIN series we’ve been in as a church, I just can’t shake the concept of plundering something that God has GIVEN me, and what that means.

So, of course, I went to the Word….and the dictionary.

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I found this odd little story in Daniel 4, where a king gets so big headed, so arrogant, that he’s driven to madness for 7 years, and then when he comes back to himself, he surrenders himself to God, and God restores everything that he had before.

Plundering blessing, to me, now means:

  • squeezing every ounce of goodness out of a blessing, until it’s not good anymore.

  • loving the blessing so much, you start worshipping it, instead of the God that gave it to you.

  • mining a blessing for only the parts that make you feel good, and ignoring the parts that could help others.

  • ignoring God’s commands, but taking the blessing for yourself.

Can you think of other examples of people plundering blessing in the Word?

  • Adam & Eve…had everything, but still wanted more.

  • Jonah…had God, didn’t matter who else in the world didn’t, as long as he was comfortable.

  • Saul…allowed his men to take anything they wanted, when God specifically told them to destroy everything.

  • David….had all the wives and concubines he wanted, but had to have one he couldn’t have.


Study the book of Daniel.

  • What can we learn from chapter 3?

  • What else can we learn from chapter 4?

Can you think of any areas of your life that you may be plundering God’s blessing?

Can you see other Bible examples of this?



Fight Like A Girl


Today we read about Deborah in Judges Chapter 4. We saw how God listened to the Israelites’ cries for help after they had turned their backs on him for 20 years. He promised to deliver them from the Canaanites and incorporated two important women (Deborah and Jael) to help carry out His plan. We also looked at what made Deborah such a great leader. Some of her best leadership qualities was that she….

  1. Listened to God ( v 4:5)

    1. He told her His plan, and she communicated that plan to Barak boldly and without fear.

  2. Lead with a servant’s heart (v 4:9)

    1. When Barak lacked the bravery to carry out his part of God’s plan by himself, she was brave enough for the both of them and agreed to accompany him without hesitation. She did this even though God didn’t call her into it.

    2. We also talked about the significance of this, being that she was a woman leading a very patriarchal society. Not only did he not question what she was telling him, but he also practically begged her to go with him because he was too afraid to go on his own.

  3. Motivated her people (v 4:14)

    1. At this point we know Barak isn’t exactly known for his bravery. In this verse we see Deborah motivating him and giving him a pretty epic pep-talk.

  4. Praised God and gave HIM the glory ( v 4:9, 5:2)

    1. In 4:9 she reiterates to Barak that the glory will not be his, but God’s. And oh, by the way Barak, you’re not going to be the one that will even kill Sisera. The person who will ultimately kill Sisera will be a women. Talk about a humility-check.

    2. Chapter 5 is a song written by Barak and Deborah about the battle. It praises God and gives Him the glory….it says Jael was pretty boss too though.

On that note…we also looked at Jael, the unlikely hero of this story. She saw an opportunity to do what was right and used the tools God gave her to be an instrumental part of the Lord’s victory….even though she wasn’t an Israelite. Through her part of the story, we can see that you don’t necessarily need to hold a formal leadership position to serve and glorify God; all you need is to recognize the opportunity He has given you and be willing to act on it!


Homework for this week:

  1. Read Judges 4 on your own. Was there anything that stood out to you about Deborah’s story that we didn’t discuss tonight?

  2. Think about the groups of people you lead, or are interested in leading. This could be your kids, nieces, nephews, other family members, coworkers, etc. How can you apply the principles covered at LEAD night (if you were there) and Deborah’s leadership qualities we learned tonight to be a better leader/servant of God?



Where You Found Me


Your love is too good to leave me here.

”Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate” . -Rick Warren

This quote has been used to many times to bash others regarding specific beliefs and life choices however that doesn’t negate the truth behind the quote, sometimes we need to love people enough to challenge them into growth. God loves us not just to rescue us from the mire and mud but also to compel us to grow by challenging the attitudes, mindset and traditions in us that hinder that growth.

Through the Bible God shows his love by meeting people in whatever circumstance they are, in the middle of sin, shame, hurt, danger, rebellion, and defeat. He reaches out regardless and offers forgiveness love, hope, relief, freedom. The amazing thing about encounters with God is that he will not leave you the same way he encountered you. There has to be a radical change. He will not let you sit in the attitude of dormancy. He will challenge, he will in the most loving way possible (and sometime not so loving) urge you forward. If he left us where he found us how would we grow?

God’s biggest show of love comes from the times he challenges his people where they are. Where he confronts them on choices and behaviors they have carried on with that are opposed to his word. Sometimes he confronts them for just staying still. We believe that his discipline or that messes in our life are because he wants to control us because life is just hard, because we are fated to always be in a hard place but this isn’t true. Hardship polishes us, the fire forces the dross up, pressure brings out the gifts and qualities needed for us to succeed and grow. Just because we have always had certain behaviors doesn’t mean they are healthy or beneficial for growth. Hardship, stress, difficulty force us to deal with behaviors that otherwise we would ignore or just not realize are keeping us from the fullness of God plan for our life.

God is a gentleman and will only take you as far as you want to go,
Do you want to remain as is or do you want to accept the challenges and become His version of you that is so much more than we can see…


Below are examples of God meeting people where he found them and not allowing them to stay the same.
Read the scripture and pick 2.

Why did their story resonate with you? How did God impact their life.

  • Zaccheus: Luke 19: 1-9

  • Abraham: Genesis 12:1-7

  • Hebrew 11:8-12 Saul(Paul)

  • Acts 9:1-19 Hagar

  • Genesis 21:14-20

  • Read John 8:1-11

    • Where did Jesus find this woman?

    • How did he change her life?

    • What were the benefits of this encounter with Jesus and what where the goals for her life?



Frustration is Your Friend


Notes from Part 1

·       Frustration is your friend. Frustration ignites transformation

·       Life will not go as planned. The only thing that is predictable is the unpredictable

·       The immature have to stay in crisis to stay committed. Many people don’t know how to evolve in their reliance on God. Spiritual immaturity is preventing your own success.

·       We will never see what God has in store for us if we are obsessed with what he has for everyone else.

·       Move without the detail- walk by faith, not by sight

·       The plan God created for you future better than any plan you could create for yourself

·       God WILL outdo himself in your future.

·       Saul v David, The people’s pick v. God’s pick, what people thought they wanted V what they really needed. Move on from Saul to get to your David.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” –Jeremiah 29:11.  Letting go of the life you thought you wanted is way easier said than done, and it won’t happen overnight; it’s a process. At the core of that process is the ability to fully submit to God’s will which requires complete, whole-hearted trust in God, His plan, and his Promises. This week I want you to reflect on this particular promise and how you can apply it to your own life.


This week’s assignment

·       Has there been a situation in your life that you felt stuck in or were frustrated with? What could God have been trying to get you to move on from?

·       Samuel’s story didn’t end with him taking the oil to Jesse’s house! Read the rest of 1 Samuel 16 and do a SOAP note.  



The Life You Thought You Wanted

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Moving On from the Life You Thought You Wanted


Jude 1:9

An aspect of God’s existence that is not overtly spiritual, but it is uniquely important: God is a planner.

God does not act reactively or impulsively. God is strategic, intentional, methodical in executing his intentions for his people. Whatever is a surprise to YOU, is not a surprise to HIM.

Jeremiah 29:11

I’m not going to tell you what the plan is, but I am going to tell you what the plan does.

God created the answer before the devil created the problem!

The principle of perspective. Where you sit, determines what you see. What you see, determines what you do. God’s providence = pro means before, video means to see.

When you live a life that thinks generationally, you are blessing people from the grave.

Deut 34:5-6

If we’re going to move on from the life we thought we wanted, we must be willing to move on without closure we thought we needed. Some people are still stuck in the past, because we’re waiting on closure. You’ve placed your future in the hands of someone who is probably unwilling to acknowledge the damage they did in your past. YOU MUST BE WILLING TO MOVE ON WITHOUT ANSWERS.

God only gives closure when closure is necessary for you to move forward. Bury that thing so that you can move on. You don’t need closure, you just need a calling, to get you from where you are, to where you need to be. Your future is calling you!

God gives us answers to questions we NEED to answers to, not the answers to questions you WANT the answers to. Lean what you DO know! For my good, and for His glory!

  • What I do know: weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning!

  • What I do know: no weapon formed against me shall prosper!

  • Trust must be present when answers are absent. Some people are stuck because they’re waiting on answers.

4 Steps We Can Take To Move On

  • Admit the emotion

    • Israel had an emotional attachment, to someone who had served them well in a previous season, they were in love with someone who could take them no further. Someone who was unequipped for their future. A season God had no intentions of them revisiting.

    • When we want something REAL BAD, we think that MUST be God.

    • When we are highly emotional in any way, it impairs our discernment. We will do things we would not normally do, when we are emotionally sober. Emotionally intoxicated.

    • Admit the emotion = increase your discernment. God, is this you? Or is this me?

    • If not, we will be entrapped by what we don’t expose.

  • Acknowledge the entitlement

    • Someone wanted an answer to what happened to Moses!

    • God’s like, wait time out, you wanna talk about what you deserve?!

      • Let’s talk about the stuff only me and you know.

    • I sent Moses as a gift to you, in a season you did not deserve him. And now that you are better than you were, you have forgotten how you used to be, and now you feel entitled to a GIFT.

    • Entitlement: I don’t have it, but I deserve it.

      • Appreciation: I don’t deserve what I do have. THE ANTIDOTE TO ENTITLEMENT.

      • Gratitude breaks the back of entitlement.

      • You can only move on from the life you thought you wanted, when you realize you’re not entitled to it.

    • A church about transformation, not just inspiration…we have to say things that comfort us, but also challenge us. More concerned about how we think, than how we shout. ‘Cause you can dance your way into a sweat, but you cannot dance your way into the next level!

  • Refuse to revisit what you can’t revise

    • For some of us, today is a worship service. For others, today is a funeral service. We need to bury some things…some reminiscing is counterproductive!

    • The enemy is using our mistakes to keep us in a maze of misery.

    • Once you’ve learned all the lessons from it, you’ve got to put that body in the ground.

    • “Remember Lot’s wife” Luke 17:32

      • Don’t look back! Because you can’t run forward and backward at the same time. Whenever you run into someone that’s salty, that’s someone that keeps looking back.

  • You must trust the Savior with our satisfaction

    • We trust the Savior with our salvation/sanctification, but do we trust Him with our satisfaction?

      • No surgeon operates on themselves.

    • Do you believe God knows what it takes to make you happy?

      • Jeremiah 2:13, my people have committed two sins, they have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns, that are leaking water.

      • Something is holding your happiness, that has holes in it.

      • I want to be satisfied, not frustrated.

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  • Luke 17:20-37

    • What’s your takeaway from this passage?

  • Jeremiah 2

    • What do you think verse 13 is talking about?

    • What do you think verse 32 is trying to say?

    • What’s your takeaway from this passage?



The Lies We Believe

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Satan tempts us today, in much the same way, as he tempts Eve…and he’s sneaky! It doesn’t often come in the way that we think it will. It may come as doubt, or fear, and it’s up to us to stop the doubts!

Genesis is an incredible look how Satan tempts us, but it’s often a little hard to understand.

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Satan didn’t necessarily lie- he bent the truth. Isn’t this the same thing though? How often do we tell our kids that not telling the WHOLE truth is the same as lying…this is what Satan did in the garden! The serpent was right, Adam and Eve didn’t die when they ate the fruit. What died in the garden was their innocence; the perfect life God had created for them. But how did Satan get Adam and Eve to believe him when they could literally see God and talk to Him directly? He planted seeds of doubt. He knew what God had said and twisted it just enough for Eve to doubt what God had said. How often do we do this in our own lives? That we doubt if God actually has a plan, or that his timing is perfect, or that he really has our best interest? Sometimes there is a disconnect between what we logically know and what we emotionally feel, and that is when those seeds of doubt can be planted. It is important for us to recognize those seeds in our own lives and take our thoughts captive when they are planted.

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  1. Start to recognize the seeds of doubt. Practice taking those thoughts captive and replace them with The 40 I Am’s.

  2. Find your 5 favorite verses about doing good deeds for others for Melissa’s challenge.

    1. (Let Candace know if you can help with fruit or desserts for the Memorial Service June 15th, or set up/tear down that day.)

  3. Finish watching the Bible project videos above. What were your biggest take-away’s?

Melissa lived her life for others. She was constantly giving of herself to help someone out, her friends describe her as “not able to see another living thing go through pain, without doing something about it.” In her last moments, she asked her husband for two things:

  • 1. That her service would be at FV, and there would be a salvation message.

  • 2. That we would strongly challenge every person to do one good thing for someone else, every single day.