Monday, February 8, 2016

What Did You Just Say?

I am regularly amazed at our... Wait... MY propensity to point out how the strong man has fallen, the successful have blown it, and how I could do it so much better; while ignoring or overlooking the most glaring shortcomings, mistakes, failures and, yes, even SIN in my own life...

"Boy, it's lonely being so stinking perfect..."

All the while, Jesus, the God/Man I / "we" choose to follow was pretty straight forward on all this...

Jesus: "Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging..." —Matthew 7:1 MSG

BOOM! Jesus knows how to throw a punch, doesn't He? I mean...

Come on, Jesus! You're messing with 50% of my conversational life! Can't you ease up a little?

Jesus: "Every one of these CARELESS WORDS is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation." —Matthew 12:36-37 MSG

What did you just say, Jesus?

Words? Reckoning? Judgment? Damnation? Holy cow! You must take my conversational life SERIOUS, Jesus! I think I'll just shut up, because MY BIG MOUTH isn't making things any better. In fact, it's just digging this hole deeper!

Geez? Why are you so hung up on my clever little rants on Facebook, my snappy tweets on Twitter, those really cool memes on Instagram, and my never-ending banter at the office?

Oh, yeah... That's right... I remember what your half-brother wrote...

James (Half-Brother of Jesus): "With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he MADE IN HIS IMAGE. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth! My friends, this can't go on..." —James 3:9-10 MSG

What? You didn't just go there did you, Jesus? So, when I go off on people, I'm not just going off on some person, I'm actually going off on a person MADE IN GOD'S IMAGE! Wow! People who matter to YOU, and I guess...they ought to matter to me.

Whoa! I never thought of it like that, Jesus. So, you really do take my posts, tweets, Instagram pics, water cooler convos seriously, huh? And, the point? So should I...

After all, I've got so much in my own life that is so beneath what YOU deserve that I really don't have much time or energy to post recommendations, criticisms and snappy little put-downs to celebrities, athletes, superstars and whoever...

Crap. And all I wanted to do was have some fun... And, then, you had to go get all "Jesus" on me... But that's what you do... That's who you are...

Thank you, Jesus! Thank you for loving me enough to remind me of whose I am, who I am and who every person out there in the blogosphere is... I / "we" needed that...

POST SCRIPT: For those who miss the point... Close friends should care enough to hold one another lovingly accountable, to call out "sin" and to challenge one another to live to our greatest potential. Accountability and constructive criticism is meant to be exercised in the context of RELATIONSHIPS and LOVE.

So, if you don't genuinely, sacrificially, truly LOVE SOMEONE - you may want to think twice before you speak, criticize or offer a recommendation. In fact, you may want to think about not even speaking, sharing or posting until the LOVE OF GOD has so saturated your heart that when you speak you are speaking GOD'S HEART, not yours... Just a thought...


Now, what did you think about... Just kidding!

Monday, January 18, 2016

A New Season - Part 2

BEST YEAR EVER – Part 3
January 17, 2016 · Chris Goins · Joshua 1:1-9





The PROMISED LAND – Then and Now:
  • REST and PEACE, even in the face of challenges.

God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it. — Hebrews 4:1 (NLT)


Give me this mountain… I’ve heard that the GIANTS are there, but if the Lord is with me, I can take them on, and we will drive them out…” (Joshua 14:12)


But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you. My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” —2 Corinthians 12:9

  • A place of GOD’S ABUNDANT PROVISION and SUPPLY.

The “Promised Land” frequently gets described as “a land flowing with milk and honey” (Ex 3:4-5; 3:7-8; 3:16-17; 33:1-3; Lev 20:24; Num 13:27; 14:6-9; Deut 6:3).

God said, “I’ve taken a good, long look at the affliction of my people in Egypt. I’ve heard their cries for deliverance from their slave masters; I know all about their pain. And now I have come down to help them, pry them loose from the grip of Egypt, get them out of that country and bring them to a good land with wide-open spaces, a land [flowing] with milk and honey—Exodus 3:7-8 MSG


The expression – “a land flowing with MILK and HONEY” – means at least three things:
  •  The land was FERTILE. In other words, when you planted stuff there, it would GROW
  • The land was FRUITFUL. Not only did things GROW there, they actually MULTIPLIED
  • The QUALITY of the FRUIT produced was exceptional


IMPORTANT THOUGHT: One thing in the Bible gets compared to MILK and HONEY repeatedly! What is it?

The WORD of GOD… It gets compared over and over again to MILK (Heb 5:12-13; 1 Cor 3:12-13; 1 Pet 2:2-3) and HONEY (Ps 119:103; 19:9-11; 81:16; Ez 3:3).

Why? Because God’s Word always produces GROWTH, FRUIT and QUALITY!


It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. —Isaiah 55:11 NLT


All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. —Ephesians 1:3 NLT

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. —2 Peter 1:3 NLT

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32 NIV


  • The realization of DESTINY and PURPOSE. 

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”[a] 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.Galatians 3:13-14 NIV


After the death of Moses the Lord’s servant, the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant. He said, “Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them. I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you… No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.
“Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” —Joshua 1:1-9


FIVE PRINCIPLES FOR STARTING YOUR NEW SEASON:

1. LEARN from the PAST, but refuse to LIVE in it!

After the death of Moses the Lord’s servant… God said, Moses my servant is dead… …the time has come for you to lead these people…into the land I am giving them…”  —Joshua 1:1-2 NLT

"Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” — Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)

IMPORTANT THOUGHT: If you don't get anything else out of today’s message, I want you to get this:  God is a lot more interested in your FUTURE than He is in your PAST.  


2. Let GOD (and GOD ALONE) DEFINE who you are and what you’re about!

After the death of Moses...the LORD spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' assistant, “Moses my servant is dead. …the time has come for you to lead these people... into the land I am giving them.” —Joshua 1:1-2 NLT

Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land—Joshua 1:6 NLT


3. God’s PROMISES, POWER and PRESENCE are the ultimate GAME CHANGERS.

Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them.” —Joshua 1:2 NLT


4. GOD’S WORD is the only GAME PLAN that will bring you into your “Promised Land” and keep you there!

Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.Joshua 1:7-8 NLT


“Nothing has a greater impact on spiritual growth than reflection on Scripture. If churches could do only one thing to help people at all levels of spiritual maturity grow in their relationship with Christ, their choice is clear. They would inspire, encourage, and equip their people to read the Bible…” —Greg Hawkins and Cally Parkinson. Move: What 1,000 Churches Reveal about Spiritual Growth


Four Recommended Bible Reading Plans
I have used all of these plans and have them all to be very helpful. This year I am returning to The ESV Study Bible Plan.

The ESV Study Bible Plan

M’Cheyne One Year Reading Plan

Reading God’s Story: One-Year Chronological Plan

NT, PS, PRO In One Year (New Testament, Psalm and Proverbs)


5. MOVE in the direction of your DREAM with STRENGTH and COURAGE.


This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. —Joshua 1:9 NLT


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Big Dream? Bigger God! BEST YEAR EVER – Part 1 Extended Notes

Here are the extended notes of todays message at a2 Church. The entire podcast of the message can be downloaded from the a2 Church website at a2church.org/podcast.   


Big Dream? Bigger God!
BEST YEAR EVER – Part 1
January 3, 2016  · Chris Goins


Proverbs 29:18 (KJV), Where there is no vision, the people perish…


A God-sized VISION / DREAM Does at Least Three Things:
  •        It will cause you to GR0W!

Genesis 12:1-2 (NLT), The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others…”

Genesis 12:7 (NLT), Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants.” And Abram built an altar there and dedicated it to the Lord, who had appeared to him.

  • It will motivate you to invite others to join the ADVENTURE.

QUESTION: What are you dreaming about in 2016? What’s God’s vision for your life, your marriage, your relationships, your fiances, your health, your ministry?


The “Promised Land” and What
A God-Sized Vision or Dream Looks Like:


1. A God-sized vision starts where you are, not where you think you ought to be.

Deuteronomy 1:20-21 (NLT), I said to you, ‘You have now reached the hill country of the Amorites that the Lord our God is giving us. 21 Look! He has placed the land in front of you. Go and occupy it as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has promised you. Don’t be afraid! Don’t be discouraged!’

Deuteronomy 1:22 (NLT), “But you all came to me and said, ‘First, let’s send out scouts to explore the land for us. They will advise us on the best route to take and which towns we should enter.’”

Deuteronomy 1:23 (NLT), “This seemed like a good idea to me, so I chose twelve scouts, one from each of your tribes.”


14 Days of Prayer and Fasting
Kicks off Today
January 3 – January 17


Early Morning Prayer
Monday – Friday, 6 am
Saturday, 9 am


2.    A God-sized vision is never just about you. It’s always about the glory of God and the good of other people.

“It’s not about you… The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness… If you want to know why God placed you on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by His purpose and for His purpose.” — Rick Warren


At least six times these words show up in the book of Exodus, “Let my people go, so they can worship me…” (Exodus 7:16; 8:1; ; 8:20; 9:1; 9:13; 10:3). 

According to Isaiah 63:14, God brought Israel out of Egypt, through the Red Sea and led His people through the desert to “…make for Himself a glorious name.”


God judged ten unbelieving spies and an entire generation because in failing to believe His promise and purpose,  according to Numbers 14:23, though they were eyewitnesses to the glory of God, “…they treated me with contempt.”


Max Lucado says that you can “…reduce the human job description down to one phrase: REFLECT GOD’S GLORY.”


QUESTION: What if we began to live like that?  What if we began to live for one reason, and one reason alone – to bring God great glory? What if we made Psalm 115:1 the rallying point for our lives?

Psalm 115:1 (NLT), Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness.


3.    A God-sized vision will always point you to your “WHY” in life. It will always point you to your PURPOSE.

John Maxwell says that answering the following three questions that will point you in the direction of discovering your “WHY” – discovering your PURPOSE in life. (I highly recommend John Maxwell's book, Intentional Living for more info.)

Question #1: What makes you CRY?

What breaks your heart? What disturbs you? What moves you? What creates such a burden or heartache in you that you are motivated to take action?


A God-ordained vision will often begin as a burden.

For instance, Nehemiah’s vision began as a burden. As he began to pray about that burden, the burden became a vision and a dream — a dream of rebuilt walls, and a restored and revived nation.

Paul’s vision began as a burden. A burden to preach the gospel where it had never been preached.  


What bothers you? What burdens you? What makes you cry? What troubles you most? What keeps you up late at night? What gets you up early in the morning?

·       For William Wilberforce it was slavery.

·       For Martin Luther King it was injustice and equality when it came to African Americans.

·       For Mother Teresa it was extreme poverty and people dying without knowing they were loved.

·       For Billy Graham it was people who desperately need to hear the gospel.

The people God has used to change this planet are people who looked at an issue or problem and thought to themselves, “It doesn’t have to be like this. We can eradicate slavary, bring justice to every human being, serve the poor and minister the gospel.” A divine discontent moved them to get involved in making a difference.


Question #2: What makes you SING?

What makes you happy? What puts a bounce in your step? What pumps you up? What gets you excited? What gives you joy? What fuels your passion?

When you find something that resonates in you at a deep level. When you find something that you would do for “free,” or even pay to do it. You’ve started to get a hint as to your “why” in life.


I love the way Fred Buechner describes finding the “sweet spot” of your calling and God’s dream for your life He writes:  “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”


Question #3: What do you DREAM about?

If you could accomplish anything in the world to make a difference in the life of someone else, what would it be?

If you could do anything you wanted and knew you wouldn’t fail, what would you do?

If you could live out your wildest dreams, what would that look like?


4.    A God-sized vision is always bigger than you and will require significant risk(s). It will demand faith!


“From the outset, just about every God-ordained vision appears to be impossible.” — Andy Stanley 


“Some people say, ‘God will never ask me to do something I can’t do.’  I have come to the place in my life that, if the assignment I sense God is giving me is something that I know I can handle, I know it is probably not from God.  The kind of assignments God gives in the Bible are always God-sized.  They are always beyond what people can do, because God wants to demonstrate His nature, His strength, His provision, and His kindness to His people and to a watching world.  This is the only way the world will come to know Him.” – Henry Blackaby


“It is a dangerous business to arrive in eternity with possibilities which one himself has prevented from becoming actualities. Possibility is a hint from God. A person must follow it... If God does not want it, then let him hinder it; the person must not hinder it himself. Trusting in God, I have ventured, but I have failed—there is peace and rest and God’s confidence in that. I have not ventured—it is an utterly unhappy thought, a torment for all eternity.

“We delude ourselves into thinking that to refrain from venturing is modesty, and that it must please God as humility. No, no! Not to venture means to make a fool of God -- because all he is waiting for is that you go forth.” — Danish theologian, Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)


14 Days of Prayer and Fasting
Join the Journey

For more information on fasting, check out this link:

http://chrisgoins.blogspot.com/2016/01/14-days-of-prayer-and-fasting-making.html


To hear the entire message, check out the podcast of a2 Church 
located at a2church.org/podcast