December, 2011 browsing by month


The Three Things You Can Give God

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

The Three Things You Can Give God

Below is a blog written by pastor/ author Greg Laurie. I really enjoyed it and I know you will too!!

As we enter into a new year,here is something to remember-

When it’s all said and done, we have three things we can offer God: our treasure, our talent, and our time. Each of these is given to us by God, and each of them should be given back in generous portions.

First, there is our treasure.

I urge you to commit yourself to give faithfully and generously to the Lord in this coming year. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21 nkjv). Whenever we put our money into something, we develop a vested interest in it.

It makes sense to us that we would place our treasures where our hearts are. If we love reading books, or being entertained, or the latest technology, we spend our treasure on those things. And if our heart’s desires change, that changes where we put our treasure.

But it works the other way too: Where we put our treasures, our heart will follow.

Do you want your heart to be in the things of God? Then put your treasures in the things of God! Develop a vested interest in God’s kingdom.

The second thing we can give to God is our talent.

God has gifted each believer in different ways. Everyone has something to offer for the work of the kingdom.

Romans 12 says, “Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are all parts of his one body, and each of us different work to do” (nlt).

Finally, there is our time.

Let’s say that one day your phone rang and it was the president of the bank that you use. He told you that an anonymous donor who loved you very much had decided to deposit 86,400 pennies into your bank account each and every morning.

At first, maybe that didn’t seem like a lot. But then you figured out that it was $864 a day. At seven days a week and 52 weeks a year, those pennies add up to almost $315,000 each year!

But the bank president added one thing: “The anonymous giver said you must spend all of the money on the day you receive it! No balance will be carried over to the next day. Each evening the bank must cancel whatever sum you failed to use! Remember, what you don’t spend is lost.”

That may sound like fantasy, but here’s the reality: Every morning, Someone who loves you very much deposits into your “bank of time” 86,400 seconds, which represent 1,440 minutes, which of course equals 24 hours each and every day.

God gives you that much to use each day. Nothing is ever carried over on credit to the next day. There is no such thing as a 27-hour day.

It’s called time, and you can’t escape it. Time is ticking away right now. The Bible tells us to “redeem the time”—to make sacred and wise use of every opportunity.

Offer God your treasure, your talent, and your time. Live this year as if it were your last…because it could be.

Make those minutes count!

Why Is What You Believe Important?

Friday, December 16th, 2011

You’ve heard it said, “It doesn’t matter what you believe so long as you are sincere with your beliefs”. The idea that ideology plus sincerity makes a belief true, good or helpful — is at best silly — and at worse destructive. You can sincerely believe two plus two is, 5 but that’s silly and obviously wrong. Hitler sincerely believed that Jews were subhuman and the source of problems in the world, but such a belief is not only wrong but unspeakably demonic and evil!!!

The Bible places a huge importance on belief and faith, why?

Below is a five-fold-perspective on why what you believe is important:

One, what you believe will fuel and inform your outlook on life – your decision making – your priorities – your choices – your lifestyle and the direction of your life and how you respond to the circumstances of your life!

Two, what you believe has consequences good, bad or ugly. Jesus identified what could be called “blessed beliefs” or “dead end beliefs!” A blessed belief would be for example, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled.” (Matt 5:6) A “dead end belief” would be what Jesus was referring to when He identified beliefs that led to the destruction of the Jerusalem saying,  “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace!” (Lk 19:41-44) Their belief led them to a dead end and brought bad consequences.

Three, what you believe is like a “door”. It literally has the potential to bring realities into your life or shut them out. Jesus said, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36). So depending upon what you believe will determine whether “everlasting life” enters the door of your life or whether it remains outside the door of your life. Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.” (John 6:47)

Four, what you believe will either be the result of intentional thinking or nonthinking. Many people form beliefs about God not because of intentional thinking but because they are parroting the ideas of others. Boiled down, you’ll either determine your beliefs or someone else will. Each of us have the moral responsibility to validate our own beliefs. And each of us will be ultimately responsible before God in what beliefs we held and what beliefs informed our lives.

Five, God commands that we take hold of the management of our mental processes that shape our beliefs. God calls for us to make a turning point in our life. He calls for a paradigm shift in our life! This paradigm shift is called “repentance!” In short, repentance means to change your mind which is the key to the blessed-beliefs of God! There needs to come a time in each of our lives that we choose to have our thinking shaped and changed by the Word of God. This will result in a change in our heart which will then result in a change in our lifestyle! The most important area that our thinking needs to change is accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord!

p.s. Please join us for a new teaching series called, “Credo” beginning Wednesday, January 4th, 2012. “Credo!” (Latin = “I believe!”). These studies will be in-depth on the subjects of Bible Doctrine and Christian Growth. Don’t miss it!

Preparing For Home

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

I want to thank you for reading the blog this past week! I had planned to upload pictures and videos to share with you but unfortunately I had computer problems once we arrived. I hope to upload videos that I think you’d enjoy once we return. In short, it has been a totally blessed trip with a great group from our church!!! Thank you for your prayers!!!! I hope to see everyone this Wednesday for a special presentation on Israel and video clips from our trip 6:45 pm main sanctuary. We send our love and can’t wait to see everyone. From Jerusalem, Greg and Stephanie. Acts 1:8

The Key To Seeing, Is?

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

To be physically handicapped in the ancient world was a particular hardship and challenge.
In effect your life was relegated to begging and dependency upon others.

The Gospel of John chpt 9 tells us that Jesus took an active interest in a blind man in Jerusalem. This was a man who had been blind since birth, having never seen the light of day, the brilliance of a flower, not even his mother’s face.

 What did Jesus do? He put mud in the mans eyes and instructed him to wash in the pool of Siloam and the man was healed!

Today we visited the sight where this miracle took place in Jerusalem, the pool of Siloam.

But before we read the passage as a group at the pool, I asked everyone to consider what the key to the mans healing actually was? Was it the mud? The waters of the pool of Siloam? 

What we concluded was that the man simply listened to Jesus and responded to His directive. Though he could not see, he could hear! The key to his healing was his hearing. Would you believe that hearing is often the key to seeing? In fact often what we see trips us up. Often the key to seeing reality more clearly  begins with hearing! 

Maybe you’re in a place where you can’t “see” clearly what’s going on? You’re in a trial. Your amidst a hardship. The circumstances of your life are confusing. Here’s the good news — you can hear.

Jesus said, “If you continue in my word you will be my disciples and you will know the truth and the truth shall set you free!” (Jn 8:31-32) In other words, “do you want to “see?” Do you want to see what often you can’t see? Than “hear” and “respond” to the Lord. And you will “see”, in fact, you will be “set free!” 

Paul wrote, “At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.” 2 Timothy 4:14-17

How could Paul say this? Because Jesus said “Lo I am with you always!” Mt 28:20 The key to Paul “seeing” the Lord and being encouraged and comforted was hearing the promise of Jesus!

The question that I want to ask you is, “What does God want you to ‘see’ today?” 

Here’s what I want to encourage you to do:  open the Scriptures today with a heart to hear. Ask the Lord, “Lord what do you want me to see/ understand?” The most important reality that we all see is that Jesus is the Son of God and that we follow Him! 

Blessings on you from Jerusalem!! We send our love!!
Greg and Stephanie


Monday, December 5th, 2011

Thank you for stopping by to read the blog. I’ve wanted to write more but I’ve had a few computer and connection challenges(I’m pecking away on my IPhone). We are presently on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. This morning we’ll get on a boat and enjoy the lake and then visit Capernaum the City Matthew indentifies as “his city” in the North and during most of the Lord’s public ministry. This morning Stephanie and I awakened very early and sat on the shore of the lake facing East. We are very close to the 1st Century Magdela. I spent a lot of time thinking of when Jesus prepared breakfast for Peter and the others. After His resurrection He assured Peter of His love and the call the Lord had on Peter’s life despite his failure of denying Jesus in Jerusalem. We send our love and we are praying for you!!!

Mt of Olives!

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

Today we began by making our way to the Mt. of Olives that overlooks Jerusalem from the East. It is a view that is both surreal and breathtaking. To be atop the Mt and muse on the fact that Jesus descended the Mt of Olives riding a Donkey entering the City the very week He was crucified is beyond words. Years prior King David ascended the Mt of Olives fleeing his son Absalom in betrayal. Jesus on the other hand descended the Mt of Olives entering the City to face betrayal by Judas and to bear the reproach and sin of the world.

Below are some of the Scriptures that we read while overlooking the City. They provide great perspective on how everything is moving toward the Coming King. Some of the descriptions are graphic, describing how Jesus will bring justice to earth. But the reality is there is not a greater friend of Israel, the Jew, the sinner — the world, then the Lord Jesus Christ. He will return at the darkest hour in Israel’s history. He will return at the darkest hour in world history. He is the Savior and He is the Lord! I hope everyone reading this blog is ready for Jesus return!!

Enjoy these Scriptures!

The promise of His return (Acts 1:4-12)
Jerusalem Center Of World Attention (Zechariah 12:1-3)
Return To Bozrah (Isaiah 63:1-6)
Judges armies surrounding Jerusalem (Joel 3:1-31/2 – Vs. 9-17)
Israel looks upon the Lord who was pierced (Zech. 12:10)
Jesus ascends “Olives” as triumphal King (Zech. 14:3-4)

I hope to have some videos uploaded soon.

Shalom, Shalom – from Jerusalem!
We send our love
Greg and Stephanie


Friday, December 2nd, 2011

We arrived in Israel where we made a b-line to Mt Scopus just north of the Mt of Olives and read many
passages underscoring the person and work of Jesus in Jerusalem. It was incredible! Then we checked in our Hotel had dinner and walked to the Old City and Western Wall. We literally just got back. I’m writing this on my IPhone. Tomorrow we begin at the Mt of Olives and end up at the garden tomb. I’ll have videos for
you soon along with more insightful blogs. Thank you for your prayers and I’ll blog more tomorrow. Shalom, Shalom, Greg