Poison Control: Guard your mind

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-- His good, pleasing, and perfect will." Romans 12:2

Your wheels will continue to spin at the confusion the world throws like a curve ball until your mind is transformed, becoming more and more like Christ Jesus. 

1 Corinthians 2:16 tells us that we have the mind of Christ, however, there is a process that we must go through so that our fleshly mind lines up with our spiritual mind. It is in this process that the enemy seeks to poison us so that the transformation remains incomplete and we stay captive in bondage. 

Ephesians 6:10-18 is a familiar passage to many, and I would like to use this to compliment Pastor's sermon on "Poison Control" Sunday. 

In this passage, we are given what is called the "Armor of God." When writing this, Paul was in prison, so he saw what the guards were wearing, and since this was a familiar sight in Paul's time, he was able to create an image that others would understand. 

Priscilla Shrier has a study out called "Armor of God," and if you enjoy bible studies, I would recommend this one. In this study, she mentions that there are four parts to our souls: mind, will, emotions and conscience. The intersection, the life-giver to these four parts is our hearts. The enemy doesn't want our minds on God so he will try to get us to focus on negative standards, lie to us about the character of God, or exaggerate negative situations. The way to protect our minds is the protect our hearts. 

In Sunday's sermon, Pastor gave a few points to anti-venom applications, and I believe they apply to this post as well. 

1.) Check your view of God

What are you allowing yourself to believe about God and His character? What are you allowing into your heart that is feeding your mind?

2.) Fill your mind with the Word of God.

The Word of God, Hebrews 4:12 tells us, is living and active. It penetrates even the deepest parts of our souls and exposes thoughts and attitudes of our hearts. Remember, our hearts give life to our minds, and if our hearts are dark, so our minds will be too. 

When we spend time in the Word of God and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to us the Word of God, our minds are transformed by the words of life before us and we have no choice but to live the way the scriptures command. When that Ramah word hits our spirit-man, we become defensive of the word revealed to us and the enemy has a hard time convincing us otherwise. 

Guard your heart and guard your mind. Don't allow the enemy to sow negative seed in your mind to create offenses. He will exaggerate what is happening so that you are divided against your brother or sister in Christ. 

Check out Pastor's sermon here.

Let Freedom Ring

Happy 4th of July, Hopeton family and friends! We pray that you have had a safe celebration up to this day, and continue to be covered by His wings of protection as the celebration continues throughout this evening. 

On this day, two members of congress, John Hancock and Charles Thompson, penned a draft of the Declaration of Independence. John Adams, recognizing the importance of this document and declaration, declared that this would be a holiday that would be celebrated throughout the generations. Not only are we celebrating physical freedom, we are celebrating spiritual freedom. 

It reminds me of God commanding the Israelites to celebrate Passover in commemoration of their freedom from Egyptian slavery. 

I think, to follow in the footsteps of our Founding Fathers, celebrating our physical freedom and spiritual freedom is just what we should do each Independence Day. 

As you go through this holiday today, remember: "It is for FREEDOM that Christ has set us FREE." (Galatians 5:1) 

 

Check out this article from wall builders.com here

Fresh Fire: The Holy Spirit

On Sunday, Brad Hofen preached about the refining process of wheat. 

"In order to refine wheat, you have to have wind and fire." 

Before harvest, wheat is simply stocks with heads that hold the grain. The chaff around the grain must be discarded before cereals or flour can be made from the grain.

When being harvested, the wheat will pass through a thresher to shake away the chaff from the grain.  

When a new believer comes to Christ, they come like that unharvested wheat. In order to get to the good stuff, the chaff has to be removed. There's a process we must go through for God to use us at our maximum purpose. If we don't go through the process, we don't become bread-useable. 

The ministry of the Holy Spirit is empowering, but it is also refining. Throughout scripture, the Holy Spirit is referred to as wind and fire. Many think that the refiners fire is a horrible judgment that befalls Christians and non-Christians alike. 

There is only one fire. What matters is what it touches. Harvest time is judgment time, yes. However, if you are walking with Him and sowing good seed, fire or judgment is a good thing. If you're not walking with Him, it's not so good. 

The fire of God must stay lit in our lives. In the Old Testament, in the tabernacle, the fire that was lit was never to go out. And it's the same with us. God is entrusting us with the fire of the Holy Spirit and we must always keep it burning by feeding it on a continual basis. We must bring ourselves, our worries, our fears, our dreams and goals and lay it on the altar of the Lord. Everyday has to be a day of consecration and offering.

If you would like to watch the sermon, click here. 

 

Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire: World Revival

The world offers it's splendor and we rush upon the plunder, not realizing the dangers of strings attached. 

On Sunday, Pastor preached for a bit on the Mark 4 principles and camped on the choked seed. As I prayed about the avenue to take, I felt prompted to take a walk. I wasn't too far out before I stopped at the flower bed and saw the image that I believe will help put this in perspective. I'm sure many of you are gardeners, so you gather this aspect, but it's always good to have a reminder. 

On this end, we have what appears to be rather fertile soil. Surrounding it, there are not much weeds to cause the flowers issues. The petals are intact (aside from the small damage from the Oklahoma wind). 

On this end, we have what appears to be rather fertile soil. Surrounding it, there are not much weeds to cause the flowers issues. The petals are intact (aside from the small damage from the Oklahoma wind). 

In this patch, you can see that some of the vines have started to overtake the flowers. You almost can't tell the different between the flower petal and the weed-y vines. This is what Pastor was referring to in Mark 4:18. The splendor of the world will choke out the productivity of the plant at hand. You will not be able to tell a difference between the flowers or the thorns (or the vines in this case).  

In this patch, you can see that some of the vines have started to overtake the flowers. You almost can't tell the different between the flower petal and the weed-y vines. This is what Pastor was referring to in Mark 4:18. The splendor of the world will choke out the productivity of the plant at hand. You will not be able to tell a difference between the flowers or the thorns (or the vines in this case).

 

Why does it matter if the productivity is being choked out or not? The splendor of the world is immediately satisfying, so what does it REALLY matter?

"When sinners are careless and stupid and sinking into hell unconcerned, it is time for the church to stir itself. It is as much the duty of the church to bolt from its sleep as it is for firefighters to awaken when a fire breaks out in the night. The church must put out the fires of hell laying hold of the wicked. Sleep! If firefighters slept and let the whole city burn down, what would be thought of them? And yet their guilt would be nothing in comparison to the guilt of Christians who sleep while sinners around them sink into the fires of hell." Charles Finney, Lectures on Revival

We, the church, can do all we want: we can build a large place of worship with padded pews, hire out a great worship band, serve coffee and host fun bible studies. But, if we look just like the people we are trying to reach, what is the draw to be different? instead of creating a revival atmosphere by becoming holy just as He is holy and conforming to the WORD and not the world, and allowing the Holy Spirit to draw those that need to know Him; we create an atmosphere of false religion. 

It is important that we seek to be more like Christ. It is not something that we can do on our own, we must pursue Him and meet Him in prayer and relationship with Him in His Word. We must watch what we allow into our bodies. We must take caution. 

Our mandate is to go and make disciples. But we can't make disciples when we don't allow ourselves to be discipled. 

If you missed Sunday's sermon, click here to watch it. 

Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire: The Foundation

On what foundation is your life built upon? Upon which kingdom does your life rely? Is it the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Life and Light? Or is it the kingdom of darkness, death and decay? When trouble arises, when you are tested, what is it that flows forth from your mouth? 

Last week, Pastor preached on the condition of our hearts. Matthew 15:11 tells us that it's not what goes into a man's mouth that makes him unclean, but what comes out of his mouth.

Let's think about the digestive process for a moment. When you eat something, it begins with consumption through the mouth. It then passes through the esophagus, into the GI tract and is broken down into smaller molecules. These molecules are produced into enzymes that provide the nutrients needed to sustain our bodies. The waste is then extracted later. 

It is the same with us. What we take in through our five senses physically can impact us spiritually. The books we read or T.V. Shows that we watch and music that we listen to plant seeds in the soil of our hearts. Genesis 8:22 tells us that as long as the earth remains, so will seed time and harvest. When you sow a seed, you WILL reap a harvest.  

In Luke 6:46-49, Jesus tells of two different kinds of builders: the wise and foolish. The wise built a foundation before the house, the foolish built a house with no foundation. The result was one left standing, and the other torn down by the floods. 

Building ourselves up in the Word of God, and obeying His word IS our foundation. If we say that we believe the Lord, but we don't obey His commands, we are the foolish builder with no foundation. John 14:15 says "if you love me, you will obey what I command." 

It's a common thought that one can get away with only partially obeying God's Word without consequences. However, every thing that you do contributes to one area or the other: life or death; and, everything that you do will influence your next decision. So, say you decide to skip reading the Word of God, and you didn't quite feel anything the next day about not reading it, so you continue with the pattern. Pretty soon, you wonder why you feel so distant from the Lord. 

If you put things other than the Word of God into your body, you will reap everything but God's Word. Here's a personal example: There was a T.V. Show that I used to watch several years ago. It was during this time that I was struggling with a little depression after losing a close family member. This T.V. Show basically depicted what I wished my life could have been. I lost interest after awhile and quit watching. However, the other day, I watched an episode or two and IMMEDIATELY those same feelings of sadness and discontent swept back over me. I turned it off, because I knew what would happen had I continued. 

Here's a question/experiment for you dealing with music: What type of music do you listen to? What is your attitude when listening to it? Are you angry, or sad, or peaceful? If you don't listen to Christian music, I challenge you to stop listening to your current genre and listen to christian music for 30 days. I guarantee you that you will be able to tell a difference in your words, thoughts and attitudes. If you take this challenge, email us your testimony. 

You can negate the Word of God in your life by putting too much of the world into your system. It is important to put only the things of God into our system. 

If you missed Pastor Hadsell's sermon, click here to watch it!. 

Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire: Heart's Treasure

Is this the way you want to live the rest of your life, or do you believe that there is more for you?

Pastor covered the condition of our hearts on Sunday, explaining that where your heart is plays a role in the fresh wind and fresh fire the Holy Spirit overtaking you. 

In addition to the question posed at the beginning, I'd like to add a question for you to ponder. If this is not the way you want to live the rest of your life, what are you doing to change the outcome? If you believe God has more in store for you, what are you doing to tap into Him so that He can reveal the mysteries of heaven to you? Are you disciplined in your prayer life and Word Study, or do you count on Pastors and Teachers to pray and study the word of God for you? 

Matthew 12:34 tells us that what we speak is what's in our heart. Pastor emphasized that you will know the condition of your heart by what you speak, and what you focus on. When you awake first thing in the morning, what are your thoughts focused on? 

God desires to move in big ways, and history proves that. But He will not move if our hearts are not toward Him. 

I think that Christianity has become a fad as of late. I don't mean that it's incorrect and wrong, but that it's a label that people like having because it gives them a good image. Labels cause us to become complacent and okay with staying stagnant, it's an excuse to not change. If anything has overtaken the platform of the American Church, it's compromise leading to complacency. 

We live in an offended nation, so we compromise for the sake of feelings. As I listened to the sermon, the Holy Spirit began to speak to me concerning my own areas of compromise. How many times have I compromised around people I didn't know because I didn't want to be considered different or crazy? How many times have I toned down my stance on the Word of God because I thought I knew what would reach people the best? 

We tone down our Christianity because we don't want to be labeled as "different" or "crazy." We don't stand as we should because the thought is that we know what's best and that we know how to truly reach people. He created our innermost being. He knows our hearts and our desires. Who am I, who are we, to put ourselves in the place of God and say people want to see Christianity toned down, when in reality their very inner being may be screaming for someone to RISE UP and be DIFFERENT for the cause of Christ and follow Him like wildfire; because our following Him passionately would break the chains of captivity from them and MOVE them to be different as well. People are desperate for a move of God, but they don't know it until we are allowing God to move us.

It is time for the Wind and Fire of the Holy Spirit to wash us afresh. It is time for the Acts 2 Church to rise up. It is time that we have an expectation of wind and fire everyday. That expectation starts with discipline of your heart condition and focus. 

Where is your hearts treasure?

If you missed Sunday's sermon, click here to watch it. 

 

Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire: Re-Wiring & Re-Aligning

Placed before us is life or death, order or disorder, peace or chaos. 

Placed inside of us is the necessity to choose which. In the beginning, creation took place to carry out the commands of God and operate in the intended design. Because of the fall, we and creation were subject to death and decay, the opposite of the original design. 

Science says that everything left to itself will degenerate, unless there is an outside source.

God's Word says:

I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live. (Deuteronomy 30:19, NIV)

Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation--but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Romans 8:12-14, NIV)

His words are life and health to our bodies (Proverbs 4:22). When He breathed His breath into us, He created us with a purpose and for His purpose. Left to our own devices, we will be spectators of our own demise. If we choose the life given to us through Jesus Christ, we will re-wire and re-align our systems with their intended created order.

Re-wiring and re-aligning takes examination of the original structure. Old wiring must be powerless and removed so that a newer and stronger internal structure can come forth to operate at the maximum capacity. 

It is an uncomfortable process as the Lord burns out what is unnecessary and brands into us what needs to stay to change the entropy we head for following death. 

What is the Lord removing from your life as you submit to Him?

If you missed Sunday's sermon, click here to watch it!

Mother's Day: ROYALTY

Sunday, we celebrated our beautiful mother's who have made an impact in our lives. Pastor Hadsell brought forth an encouraging word, which you can check out here

In Sunday's Sermon, three identifiers of royalty were given.

1.) Pedigree

Members of the family have a couple things in common: they are related by blood, and they have the same last name. 

In numerous passages of Scripture, we are told that we have been bought with a price: the blood of Jesus. Because of this, when we accept Him as our Savior, our inheritance is switched to that of the Kingdom of God.

Ephesians 1:4 says the following:  "For He chose us in Him BEFORE the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He PREDESTINED us to be ADOPTED as His sons through Jesus Christ. In accordance with His pleasure and will."

Before He created the heavens and the earth, He chose YOU. Every single part of you.

Are you getting this incredible truth? It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, what family you were born into--He has already chosen you, BEFORE creation

 1 Peter 2:9 adds a greater truth:

    But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.

So not only are you chosen, but you’re chosen ROYALTY. Throw that in the devil’s face. HA! So, darling. When the enemy tells you that you’re not chosen. You stand up and tell him “My Daddy God says I’m chosen. Not only that, but I am chosen royalty.” and you straighten your tiara, stand taller and walk away like a boss. You don’t let anyone tell you what you’re not when God tells you what you are.

2.) Pursuits

As the truth of your pedigree settles deep within you, your pursuits will change. They will move from merely surviving the day-to-day to purposeful, intentional Kingdom influence and living. 

In the Kingdom, royals pursue two things relentlessly:

Throne Room audience with the King and Protective Warfare.

Worship changes when you know you're royal. When you get in His presence, something rises up in you and says "I want to know you more." When you learn to worship as a royal, the atmosphere around you changes. Hunger for Him. He births this in you.. you don't have to try and find it. Begin to worship the King. Do things that express your passion and reverence while you worship Him. 

When you're a royal, your pedigree sets you in line for something greater than you've ever imagined: HIS PRESENCE. 

Once you get into the presence of the King, you will want to go back. 

It is a natural part of a mother's make-up to pick up a sword and protect those whom she loves most. When you come into His presence, He will arm you with His sword. Once you're armed well, you'll be protective over your family. You'll tell the enemy "not on my watch, you will not have anything if mine in Jesus name." They enemy cannot stand against men and women who say "no!!"

What you pursue identifies who you are. Matthew 6:33

Pursue anointing. Pursue kingdom. Pursue His heart. Everything will be added. He will take care of you.

3.) Power

There is royal power. Wake up to it royal women of God. There's anointing available for you. Matthew 16:19. Keys give you access. They unlock things that need to be unlocked and they lock things that need to be locked.

Pastor finished the sermon by speaking a prophetic word over women, which you can access here. 

 

What's In A Name

You and I know existence to be experiential or material. In the ancient world, something existed when it had a function, or a role to play. This was often designated with a name, because a name stated it's role to play. In the beginning, we see this taking place when God created. He spoke creation into being by naming it. In the Garden, God brought forth all of the animals for Adam to name. 

In the Western American culture, we don't see or understand the importance of names. We name our kids (or pets) something that we think is "cool" and has a "nice ring to it." In most other cultures, and in biblical times, names were not carelessly thrown about. They were carefully considered, and made sure that the meaning meant something. 

As Stony preached on Sunday, a name will tell someone about your future. A name will tell someone where you're from. A name will tell someone how you live your life. Naming is a practice handed down to God--it means something. 

Stony's key scripture was Genesis 32:22-28. He talked about Jacob wrestling with God and the question "What is your name," coming up. It wasn't that God wanted Jacob to confirm His identity, but He wanted Him to face his reality. Jacob means "deceiver." If you're familiar with the story of Jacob and Esau, Jacob stole the birthright from Esau by blackmailing him, and then stole the blessing of the firstborn with the help of his mother (Genesis 25). 

When God asked Jacob "What is your name?" He was asking him to confront everything he had lived with up until that point.

We are given names other than the one given by our parents at birth. Most of the time, we internalize these names and it ends up being a self-fulling prophecy. Shameless. Unforgiven. Adulterer. Liar. Thief. 

Throughout the Bible, we see God changing names. God changed Jacob's name to "Israel," which means "triumphant with God." Holy smokes, what a name change! From DECEIVER to TRIUMPHANT. 

God changes our names too. The names we internalize that we get from others...He changes them. It's not about getting a new name..it's about WHO God is.

Check out the sermon here