Monday, April 30, 2012

The blessing part 3

We have talked previously about valuing the blessing and how to access it.  We are going to start talking about the tools and resources needed to utilize the blessing. The blessing of God is the empowerment to attract the resources needed to fulfill the race God has given you.  Genesis 12 contains God’s blessing of Abraham.  The blessing came first, before the covenant (Genesis 17:4 and forward).  Now we’ll look at the covenant piece of this.  God changes Abram’s name (Abram means father) to Abraham (this name means father of many nations).  Blessing always has a purpose.  The project is to be fruitful and multiply, and the blessing is the tools needed to complete the project.  This covenant is a blood covenant, a picture of marriage.  The covenant is not to be broken, and there is responsibility for both parties involved in the covenant.  The covenant is only broken when there is a breakdown in the trust in the relationship.  However, in a marriage, the blood comes from the bride, but in our covenant with God, the blood comes from the groom, Jesus.

People should know we are the bride of Christ by seeing the blessing in our lives.  Matthew 26:28 shows that Jesus’ death was to bring forgiveness of sins by sealing the covenant.  Isaiah 54:9 puts us into perspective of life on the other side of the cross, even before Jesus.  God promises He will not punish us or be angry with us for our sin.  That was all put on Christ.  God always gives the right tool for the need.  Where there is a need for fruitful multiplication, God prescribes blessing.  Jesus never blessed someone needing healing—that wasn’t the right tool.  Deuteronomy 28:4-10 defines the blessing and what it does.  God’s prescription for Abraham’s barren wife was blessing. Mark 6:30 and on shows the multiplication of the fish and loaves.  Jesus blessed what they had before the multiplication occurred (notice also that the disciples didn’t say they did not have enough money to buy the food but just asked if they should go buy it).  The result was that they all ate and were satisfied and had 12 baskets left over.  This did not just serve the disciples, but instead was more than enough for all the others.  The blessing is not for us but for others.  Let’s go back to Abraham.  It took 25 years from when he was blessed to seeing Isaac, the fruit of the blessing.  Just like him, the area of his life that was hardest to conquer was the one that was the key to his purpose.

To listen to the entire sermon go to and click on online media.  To learn more about Living Word Ahwatukee, visit

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Blessing Part 2

 We are continuing our study of the blessing.  Remember that our working definition for blessing is the ability to attract the resources needed to fulfill your purpose.  From the beginning, in the garden, God gave the blessing first, then the assignment, then the resources in order to complete it.

Today we are discussing how we access the blessing.  Deuteronomy 28 sets out the blessings afforded those who “fully obey the law” and curses for those who do not.  Notice the blessings will “accompany you” (always be with you), and that the curses will “come upon you and overtake you.”  With the law, if you broke one law you broke them all.  You had to FULLY obey and achieve righteousness in order to receive the blessing.  We as Christians have to wash everything in the Old Testament and see it through the cross.  Jesus changed the principles through which things on the earth operated (God did not change).  Galatians 3 addresses this challenge as Jewish Christians tried to reconcile this change in the early church.  God loves us unconditionally and has provided His grace and blessing not contingent on what we do or do not do.  Again, this is like grace in that it is based on our heart attitude.  If we are truly seeking God, then we can walk in confidence.  Verse 7 shows another way to achieve righteousness, by believing God.  This indicates, since Abraham was before the law, that grace and blessing existed before the law.  Our righteousness comes through Christ and believing in Him and the blessing coming through Him and not through us.

When we fail, sometimes we cease trusting in Christ’s righteousness and begin to believe in our own righteousness.  That is why we experience the consequences from the law.  Galatians 3:10 addresses this.  If we see obeying the law as our way to be delivered from the curse, we are still cursed.  Galatians 3:11 and on shows the new system by which we are to live.  Jesus became the curse for us.  Most of live in both realms.  We have areas in which we have fully submitted to God, but there are others where we believe that when we mess up, we believe that we lose the blessing and/or are subject to punishment.  The means to getting the blessing did not change, but the means to attaining righteousness changed.  Galatians 3:14 is key for this.  Colossians 1:12 says God has qualified us, not that we became qualified somehow.  We need to believe the blessing is ours, then utilize grace which gives us the power to change and overcome.  We must change our beliefs to change our actions. 1 Corinthians 10:16 (I prefer the King James, because the translation is more accurate) says “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ; the bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ.”  (NIV changes blessing to thanksgiving, which is not an accurate translation).  The word for blessing here is  eulozia, which is the root of the word eulogy, which is about saying all the great things about someone.  It is the same word for blessing as in Galatians 3:14,  It is an  action word meaning blessing is continually rising up in you.  The blood is the access to the blessing.  We have to live in grace in order to access the blessing.  If I don’t get blood to a part of my body, it dies.  The blood cleans and cleanses our body, as well as bringing oxygen and life to it.  When we choose to live by the law, we are cut off from the blood (and the blessing) and then are subject to the curse.

To listen to the entire sermon go to and click on online media.  To learn more about Living Word Ahwatukee, visit

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Blessing part 1

This is the first of a subseries in the Good Life about the Blessing.  We just finished talking about grace and how to receive and live in it.

Remember that first we need to remember that God must always be the first priority in our lives for everything to be in order.  Family, children, work, ministry, and other things should come next.  What we value is important to evaluate.  We want to be careful not to value something more than it ought to be valued, or things will become out of order.  We should value our relationship with God first, then our marriage and children.  These should be higher than the value we put on our golf clubs.  We are teaching what the blessing is, how to enter into it, receive it, enjoy it, and keep it.  Genesis 1:28  says that the first thing God does after creating Adam and Eve is to bless them and then give them an assignment (be fruitful and multiply).  In anything we want to experience blessing, we should be producing fruit and multiplying in those areas.  After that, Adam and Eve are told all that belongs to them.  The blessing provides the resources to complete the assignment.  The blessing is not good stuff given to you just so you can sit and enjoy (although we are supposed to enjoy it), but its purpose is for us to use it to work.  The word for bless is barak (used 330 times in the Old Testament and 60 times in genesis, and the Greek equivalent logio or logia is used in the New Testament about 200 times—total of 510 times total….compared to the word love, which is used 505 times in the Bible). 

In Genesis 26, starting in verse 1, we hear about Isaac in the time of a severe famine.  In verse 12, we see that he planted crops in the middle of the famine and in the same year reaped a hundred fold.  Why did he reap this harvest?  Because he was a good farmer or great man of God?  No, it is because of God’s blessing in His life.  The blessing is not the stuff, but the means by which you get the stuff.  We are to seek the kingdom and the face of God, not the things He will give us.  The blessing was the way that God blessed the work of Isaac’s hands in order for him to get the hundred fold return.  First comes blessing, then action, then fruit.  Just like when we receive the Word, believe it, do what we believe, then reap based on what we did based on what we believe.  Then it goes on to say he was rich and continued to grow in riches until he was wealthy.  People envy him and even fill his wells with dirt.  Just because your blessed it does not mean you won’t have trouble.  They even ask him to leave.

Blessing is defined as the supernatural God-given ability to draw the resources to obey God, to accomplish your God-given race, and experience pleasure, enjoying all that God has given you.  1 Timothy 6:17 is a great example of this in scripture.  God gets pleasure out of seeing us enjoy the things He blesses us with, so that part is very important.  If we are doing it on our own or the world’s system, there will be trouble that comes along these things.  If we do it God’s way, we will be able to enjoy it and bring Him pleasure and glory by doing so.

In Genesis 25 we see how Esau did not value the blessing.  Jacob valued the blessing.  He did not obtain it the way he should have.  In Genesis 32 we see Jacob wrestling with God (only God has the authority to give blessing), and he finally understands that the blessing comes from God, not from man.  If we step outside of the blessing or try to accomplish His purpose by our own means, we run into trouble.  We have to seek after the blessing and hold fast in order to receive it.

To listen to the entire sermon go to and click on online media.  To learn more about Living Word Ahwatukee, visit

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Good Life Part 5

We are continuing on grace today.  John 14 is Jesus’ “last will and testament” to His disciples.  He says He is leaving us His peace.  This is Shalom peace—also translated as prosperity, and means “nothing missing and nothing broken in your life.”  It also means you have health, wealth, joy, peace, and are highly favored.  This peace helps us understand our purpose and operate in it.  Jesus was never worried when something threatened His destiny.  He was always in control of His destiny and never was at the mercy of anyone else.  He even said they could not take His life from Him unless He gave us.

Today we are focusing on the phrase “Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.”  Perfect love casts out fear.  There is no fear in love.  Joshua 1:8 encourages us not to fear or be discouraged.  Proverbs 4:23 encourages us to keep healthy boundaries in our life, because what we allow into our heart determines our future.  If we let fear into our heart, our boundaries get smaller, and we limit our potential.  If we let Christ in our heart, our boundaries become limitless.  Proverbs 3:4-6 says that as we trust in God, He makes our path straight.  Straight does not mean easy, but it does mean direct.  A straight path can go over mountains and through valleys, but it won’t meander around aimlessly.  We can either have faith in God or accept fear and have faith in what I do not want to happen.  Facts can change, but the truth does not.  What exactly is our heart?  The heart is our soul—our mind, will and emotions.  We defeat fear by keeping our heart from being troubled.

We have never seen our face, but we trust that the mirror shows us accurately what we look like.  Thus we should also trust that God’s Word accurately tells us who we are.  You may have been abused or been through very tough things inflicted by someone else.  That person is accountable for what they did, but you are accountable for what you do moving forward.  This is not meant to discount what you went through, but God wants you to attach to His word and move forward into your destiny.  We are to forget what is behind and press forward.  If God can forget our sin, then we with the mind of Christ can truly forget those hurtful things that happened to us and move forward as if they never happened.  Instead of going back looking for stuff that may have caused problems you experience today, just focus on who you are today.  We are new creatures in Christ.  1 Peter 5:8-10 we see that the enemy is going about pretending he is a lion, looking for those who will believe his lies and believe he can devour them.  Go back to verse 6-7.  It reminds us to cast our cares on Christ so we can be self-controlled and alert.

I believe we create what we speak.  Satan also gathers information about us by what we speak in order to attack us successfully.  I speak the Word in order to convince myself and let the enemy know He can’t attack me.  We need to get to the point where our first reaction when an attack is to go to the Word.  Then we know we’ve have defeated fear in that area.  When the enemy attacked Jesus after fasting for 40 days, Jesus used the Word to defeat him.  If we try to live by the law, we will be subject to it, and the enemy will enforce it.  Once we get into faith and grace, we step out of Satan’s system.

To listen to the entire sermon go to and click on online media.  To learn more about Living Word Ahwatukee, visit

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Good Life Part 4

We are continuing our study of grace this week.  Without grace, we are unworthy to receive anything from God.  With grace, we receive His righteousness as a gift.  Our operating definition of grace is the unmerited, unearned, and undeserved favor of God.  We are given these gifts because we are His children, and for no other reason.

Ephesians 5 recounts how our relationship with God is like a marriage.  Husbands are supposed to love our wives as Christ loved the church.  He washes the bride with His word and presents her to Himself radiant, holy, perfect, and blameless.  It is not up to us to make ourselves that way, but we still do what we can not sin.  Then Jesus does what we can’t.  Verses 22-23 refer  to how Jesus took a beating in His body in order to save the church.  It also says we need to submit to Christ.  This does not mean following all the rules or accepting condemnation for our shortfallings, but it means submitting to His love.  That also means we submit to His thoughts for us and His abilities through us.  Outside of grace, we think we have to earn God’s love.  Christ gave everything when we were at our worst (that is a good lesson for having a successful marriage as well—love the person when they are not at their best). 

Verses 29-30 resonate the fact that God never hates us.  He may not be pleased with everything we do, but He never hates us, His body.  God can purify us from the inside out.  God tried purifying from the outside in with Noah, but it didn’t work.  A good example of this is Paul.  God saw his passion.  He took out the misguided part of murdering Christians and used the passion inside Paul to glorify Himself.  Let God clean it up.  There are things in my life I tried to fix for years and failed, but when I got into the Word (not about those problems but just in general), they over time fixed themselves without me trying.

Song of Songs shows a picture of our relationship with God, the Beloved. The bride starts as “My Beloved is mine,” but at the end “I am my Beloved’s.”  This is maturity.  God wants us instead of hanging on to let go (Hebrews 10:22-23).  We are not to hold onto Jesus but to hold onto hope and rest.  God hangs on to us because we can not do it.

John 14 says the Holy Spirit will teach us all we need to know and will remind us of all we have been taught.  It also emphasizes that we should have peace, not let our heart be troubled and not be afraid.  After this, people were about to push Him off a cliff, but Jesus just walked right through them.  He had a lot of peace to be able to know that was not His purpose and just walk right in.  When Jesus was in the storm in the boat, He was sleeping because He was at peace.  He woke up because His people were worried, and He cared.

To listen to the entire sermon go to and click on online media.  To learn more about Living Word Ahwatukee, visit

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Good Life Part 3

We are continuing our section on grace.  Remember that grace operates when our heart desires to do the right thing.  Yes, when we sin we do it willfully and mean to do it but if our general character is a desire not to sin, that is where grace comes in.  Grace is the unmerited, unearned, undeserved favor of God.  The stuff is not the blessing, it’s the fruit of the blessing.  The blessing is operating in a place where we are open to receive, but we are not seeking stuff.  If  we’re not operating blessing to blessing, we are experiencing a breakdown in grace. John 1:16 says that the law and grace and truth are opposed.  The law was not God’s ultimate plan for us.  The law came through Moses, but grace and truth came through Christ.  Numbers 20:7-12 and on tells the story of Moses’s mistake in bringing water to the Israelites.  He struck the rock twice instead of speaking to it as commanded.  Exodus 17 tells the story of the Israelites getting water when Moses strikes the rock after being commanded to do so.  Despite Moses making a mistake, the people still got the water out of God’s mercy.  The punishment seems pretty harsh, but we’ll explore this together.

The promised land was a physical place in the Old Testament.  It was the life God had for them, not just a place they went.  For us, the promised land is not a place we have to go, and it is not heaven.  It is the promised life, the life God has for us to live.  It requires a lot of work, applying principles, fighting off the enemy in order to obtain and keep it, just like with the Israelites.  The law could not get the Israelites into the promised land.  Joshua was the one who got them there because of the faith he and Caleb had in God’s ability to give them the land.  Faith gets us into the promised land.

Romans 4:1-13 says righteousness was not attainable until the law came, and until it was given as a gift in Christ.  There was no vehicle by which to obtain righteousness in Abraham’s time except to believe.  The man who does not work to obtain salvation but trusts God obtains it.  There is nothing we can do to be justified before God, except to believe. This requires faith (faith in His grace) because it makes no sense to us.   The law was created to give definitions for sin.  The Mosaic law was meant to be an accurate interpretation of the Law (God’s law). 

In Galatians 3:1-6, Paul addresses a group of Christianized Jews and addresses their desire to go back to the law as their reference point for attaining God’s favor rather than receiving grace by faith.  He again references Abraham and the fact that we can inherit Abraham’s blessings.  We have to receive this by faith.

To listen to the entire sermon go to and click on online media.  To learn more about Living Word Ahwatukee, visit

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Good Life Part 2

We are continuing our section of this series on grace.   In this series on grace, we’re addressing those who say “I’m standing on faith but not seeing results…I believe I believe but I’m not seeing it happen.”  We have to have a balance between faith and grace.  You might have the faith but not believe you’re worth of it, OR you might be living in grace but not putting effort into pulling on the Word so it can work in your life.

Remember that last week we talked about avoiding insulting the spirit of grace by thinking we have to be perfect to inherit God’s promises.  We also talked about the fact that grace doesn’t mean we can do whatever we want or sin more in order to have more grace.  For grace to work, we have to be trying.  Romans 3:23 refers to “falling short,” which indicates you were trying.  If we are living outside of grace, we have  a “certain and fearful expectation of judgment.”  Grace indicates that we have hope and confident expectation of good.

This week we’re focusing on 2 obstacles that keep us from that confident expectation of good.  The first is generational curses.  This means that we all live under this due to Adam sinning.  Exodus 20:5 and Numbers 14:8 talk about sins being revisited to multiple generations.  Remember that when we are born again, we are no longer under any curses.  Jesus hung on the tree to break the curses.  Remember 2 Corinthians 5:17 can be referenced here—we are now no longer subject to the things in our family.  We don’t need to be in denial if a doctor diagnoses something that runs in our family, BUT we can still connect faith and see God break that curse off of us.  We have to connect by faith in order to see these things broken off.  It does not become real in our world until we connect faith to it. 

Jeremiah 31:29-31 refers to a common expression meaning that what the fathers had done would pass on to their children.  The promise here is that this will end.   Hebrews 10:17-18 says God will forgive entirely and remember it no more, with no sacrifice required.  That includes things in our family.  John 19:28 and on recounts Jesus’ death.  He said “I’m thirsty” and received wine vinegar (sour grapes).  He received our “sour grapes” for us.  Before this, every one of us was subject to a generational curse through Adam.  In Joshua 3 tells the story of going into the promised land.  They are carrying the ark of the covenant and need to go across the Jordan River at flood stage.  God tells the priests to take the ark and when they set foot in the water, it would back up.  Notice that He didn’t dry up the water until they stepped into the water.  The Jordan is later where people, including Jesus, are baptized.  It empties into the salt sea, where nothing lives.  It is backed up (v. 15-16) and piles in a heap at Adam. Jordan means destruction.  Chris meets destruction and cuts it off all the way to Adam. 

The second obstacle is “what you sow you reap.”   It is true that everything is sowing and reaping (see Genesis 8—seed, time, and harvest).  The new testament doesn’t talk about sowing and reaping with regard to sin and punishment.  Jesus broke this by reaping what He did not sow.  He defied this principle so sin would not reap this punishment and destruction in us.  He obliterated the principle, even dying for the sin we had not committed.  El Shaddai is a name of God that means “God reserves the right to speed up, slow down, or reverse any law for the benefit of fulfilling a promise for His children.”  For example, our bodies were originally made to heal themselves, so when we are healed of an illness, God accelerates the time needed to do it, along with removal of the issues causing it not to heal itself.  Galatians 6:6-10 says the reason we sow and are generous (for God’s benefit or our benefit) determines what we reap.  Remember again we have to connect faith to this in order to live under this side of grace.  We must receive it (when we say we receive it, we exercise faith that we deserve it through Christ).  Remember this about sacrifices in the original Jewish law.  When a person brought a sin sacrifice, the priest looked only at the sacrifice and not the person.  God looks only at Jesus’s blood and not us.

To listen to the entire sermon go to and click on online media.  To learn more about Living Word Ahwatukee, visit