My Strength Comes From the Lord

Probably one of the most popular verses in the Bible is Philippians 4:13, which says, “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” Many people take this verse to mean that with Christ on my side there is nothing that can stop me from doing anything. However, God doesn’t give all of us the abilities to be great athletes. God doesn’t give all of us the top IQ’s that only Einstein would be envious of. God doesn’t give all of us the talents to perform with the greatest musicians on the greatest stages in the world. Most of us are just average Joe’s that can do great things every once in a while.

In order to get the true context of this verse, we must look at it in the context that Paul wrote it. Back up and begin reading at verse 10.

10) I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11) I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12) I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13) I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Paul was writing this letter from a prison in Rome. He reminded the church at Philippi that he knew what it was like to be in need and he knew what it was like to have plenty. He encouraged the church by saying no matter what I go through I can handle it because my strength comes from the Lord.

These words are encouraging to us. No matter what we face in this world, our strength comes from the Lord. It is Jesus that keeps us going when we hear bad news from the Doctor. It is Jesus that keeps us going when we are laid off from our job. And it is also Jesus that gives us the strength to rejoice when good things are happening in our life. There is no other place that we need to look for strength besides Jesus.

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Freedom!

I want to take a minute and express my gratitude towards all the faithful supporters of Cliff Terrace Church. On June 11, 2018 we sold a piece of property that the church had which enabled us to pay of a church debt that to my knowledge was a part of this church since the beginning.

Our church was established in 1975. I don’t know all the history, but I do know that the current mortgage that we just paid off at least started with the building of our current sanctuary, which was built in 1983. I do know of the church’s situation then.

Today, I am happy to say that it has been a long time coming but we are finally there. Our church, after 43 years is debt free. What a feeling it is? I am overwhelmed with joy and excitement.

However, our work is not done. It is just the beginning. I believe God has more in store for us. I don’t know what all the future holds but I am ready. I am ready to see what God is going to do.

As a church we must prepare for what is coming…

Where Does God Want His Church to Go?

The task that Christ gave all of us to do was to make disciples. Matthew 28:19 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:8 says, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

I believe that Jesus wanted His disciples to bridge the gap between the church and the community. Jesus did not expect His disciples to stay inside the four walls of the church building. He wanted them to build relationships, go into the marketplace, and make friends with unbelievers.

The biggest way to do that today is YOU! You is what will help us bridge the gap. On your job, in your neighborhood, at the grocery store, at a restaurant and so on. Don’t wait for people to come to you and ask about the Gospel. You go to them and be the church. Show people the love that Christ shown.

So, how do we do that? It’s actually quite simple. You could pay for a person’s meal behind you in line at the drive through. We hear about people doing this all the time. You could buy someone’s groceries that is in line ahead of you at the grocery store. Get a group together and give out bottles of water at a park. Here is something that might be new to some of you, be friendly.

When driving down the road, don’t cut people off. Some day when you have extra money in the budget, take out $20 in quarter and go to a laundry mat and hand out quarters to the people there washing their clothes. Just Be the church and bridge the gap.

That is what Christ meant by Going into the world. Build a bridge from the church to the community so that people can cross that bridge. It starts with YOU!

Miracle of the String: She Took Action

In the story of the woman with the flow of blood found in Mark 5:25-34. Not only did this woman hear about Jesus coming her way, not only did she decide in her heart to step out in faith, but this woman put her faith into action.

In any event that you attend there are two types of people: you have participants and you have spectators. The participants are the ones that get involved in the action. They are the performers on stage. The players on the field in a sporting event and so on. The spectators are the people that sit back and watch the action unfold.

This woman decided in her heart that that day she was going to be a participant. She knew that if she could just touch the string of Jesus’ cloak then she could be healed.

So, with all her might she pressed through the crowd and with one last motion she stretched out and grab a string and instantly the flow stopped. Power flowed out of Jesus and into the woman and she received her healing that day.

The amazing thing about the miracle that day was Jesus did not touch her, she touched Him and her life was changed forever that day. This shows that when we reach out in faith Jesus is there waiting to give us our miracle.

Today if you are needing a miracle, reach out to the one that can give you your miracle.

Miracle of the String: She Spoke the Words of Faith

In Mark 5:25-34, we read a story about a woman that dealt with an issue of blood for twelve years. This woman was desperate and needed a miracle. The first step of faith that she took was “She heard of Jesus”. But her steps of faith didn’t stop there. The next step that she took was “She Spoke the Words of Faith.”

I don’t mean that she spoke these words out loud, but she spoke these words within herself. Verse 28 says, “For she said, ‘If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.'”

She had heard about Jesus. She knew of the healing power that flowed from Him and she knew within herself that if she could press through the crowd and just touch the string on His garment then she would be healed.

Words are powerful. There is power in the words that we speak.

Proverbs 18:21(NIV) says, “The tongue has the power of life and death…” We have the power, through our words, to speak life and death into our situation. We have the power to speak to our faith.

There are times that we belittle ourselves. We talk down to ourselves and say things like, “God doesn’t care about me.” Or “God won’t heal me.” The truth is God loves us and all He wants is the best for His children.

Part of putting our faith into action is speaking life into ourselves and speaking to ourselves in faith. You need to change the words that you say to things like, “I can be healed.” And “I can receive a miracle.”

The words we speak does matter. We need to speak life into us.

Miracle of the String: She Heard Jesus

Mark 5:25-34 is the story about a woman that had a flow of blood for 12 years. She was desperate for a miracle. She had gone to doctors. Spent lots of money. She was considered an outcast and was needing a miracle.

There were three steps that this woman went through in order for her to receive her miracle from Jesus that day. Today, I want to look at the first step which was She Heard of Jesus.

What happens if you hear about something special and you don’t respond? You don’t receive that special something do you?

For instance, if I told you that I personally wanted to give you $1000 and all you had to do was come see me, you would miss out on that $1000 if you didn’t come see me, right?

The woman with this flow of blood issue did just that. She not only heard that Jesus was coming but she decided to take action.

Jesus has spoken to us in His word. He has given us instructions on what He wants us to do. All we have to do is follow His word and be obedient to what He is telling us. This woman responded to the news that Jesus was coming, you need to respond to what Jesus is telling us in His word.

Learning to Fully Trust God

A few weeks ago I preached a sermon on John 14:1 which says, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.” This word from Jesus came at a time when the disciples could see no hope. They had been told that Jesus, their Messiah and friend would be going away. They had been told that He was going to die. They were told that one of them would betray Jesus and Peter was told that he would deny Christ not once, not twice, but three times. The air had been let out of their sails. So Jesus tells them, trust me I got this.
Since I preached this message I have seen God use opportunities to test how much I trust Him. We have seen this through change that has taken place at the church I pastor. We have seen this through people that have left our church. We have seen this through power outages at the church and just recently through my car breaking down on the way to my aunt and uncles 50th wedding anniversary party. Each time it was like God was saying to me, trust me I got this. And each time I have seen God blow me away with how He’s responded and I continue to see His response.
I have always trusted God with my life and ministry but not to the extent that I have recently.  I have chosen to not move or do anything until I have heard from my heavenly father that loves me very much. I choose to put my entire life in His hands.
Many times people try to solve their own problems without consulting God and we wait until chaos happens before we call out to Him. I choose to consult with Him before the storm and trust that when the storm comes that that storm is part of the process He using to answer my need. When the storm comes, Jesus says, “trust me, I got this!”