It just makes sense to read the map before you start the journey.

it just makes sense to read the map before you start the journey

Most of us are living in the default of life in our own understanding, in our own processing and in our own conclusion; and when we do that, we miss daily life in the presence of God. Psalm 67 says “You have made known to me the path of life.” It’s not an instant; just add water kind of a journey. It’s not a magic wand; it’s a path that you walk. It’s a journey that we have to make, it’s something that we have to do daily, so that we walk this path and we end up in the presence of God here with Christ; it’s a choice!

Every word of Jesus is a brilliant work of pushing back the darkness and opening up the light of God to us. Our God is a revealing God who’s at work all the time in all of life to reveal Himself to you. He’s always speaking, the question is, are we listening? And most of the time the answer is no. We’re simply not listening. But when we open our ears and we begin to listen, we see all this stuff that appears so random and disconnected, isn’t so random and isn’t so disconnected. The word of God is actively at work to push back the deceit of darkness and deception in your life, and in my life. The word of God is active to penetrate your defenses and your shields to get through to you to help you see that the only sane move in life is following Jesus. 

I’m asking you to make a defining decision, where you live by what the Word of God says and declares in life. That you read it, trusting God, that He will speak to you like a loving father to a beloved child and He will guide you and He will give you His promises for everything that you face and everything that you need; that His promises will be enough. I’m asking you to make a definitive choice to walk the path of the promise so that you can experience an abundant life in God’s presence here and now. I pray that every day you reach for the Holy word of God and you read it! Don’t buy the lies that you have to be some sort of bible scholar to do this. You don’t have to be a PHD or anything, you just have to be a child of God.

Jesus said, anyone who comes into my kingdom, can’t be like these other religious leaders with all their robes and titles and power, you’ve got to become like a little child (Matthew 18:3). You have to approach God with the trust to say “Abba, Daddy, whatever you say, I believe it!” So, don’t buy the lie that God All Mighty isn’t eager, everyday that you wake up, to speak truth and freedom and grace and hope and wisdom into your life; He is!

If you will read the Word, if you will enter into His promises, you will have peace, your life will be transformed; it will be lifted. Will you walk the path? Will you take those steps to make the promises of God more real and more relevant in your life than what you feel, what you fear or what you think? Father, in Jesus’ name I’m asking that your Holy Spirit would just stir our hearts and that we would make definitive decisions to get off the path of default, living in our own understanding, and that we would get on the path of consciously seeking out and living in your promises. I pray that you would give us the courage to pick up your Word and search for the promises that answer the pain.

Take the word of God, read it on a daily basis. Find some time during the day to set aside for just you and the Lord. Fill your mind with the Word of God and the Spirit of God will be in control of your day. The beginning of the day is always the best. I mean it just makes sense to read the map before you start the journey doesn't it? -Dr. Drew Shofner

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For God has not given us a spirit of fear.

 For God has not given us a spirit of fear

Our thinking matters more than anything. What goes on between your left ear and your right ear is your life! Proverbs 23:7 says “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” You and I don’t have to do anything to be toxic, we already are. I don’t have to work at thinking negatively, it comes naturally; all sin does. We live in a world that is toxic because it is a world that is Godless, and one of the big lies of the world is that it thinks that it can live without radical dependence on the Lord.

If you think enough about this world, it can just paralyze you, but when you fix your thoughts on God, and when you interpret life in light of God’s Word, and speak about life in ways that God spoke about life; it just changes life, and life looks very differently. A lot of us are living weak and enslaved lives because we are longing for a power we don’t have and are not using the power we do have. We want the magic to change the world around us, when God has given us the power to change the world within us!

When you live from your feelings, (how you feel about yourself, your future, other people) you’re going to live a toxic life. A lot of us are forfeiting the game of our life because we’re not willing to live in the responsibility of self discipline. As disciples of Jesus, we don’t stand on our opinions and our interpretations, but we live in the clearly revealed Word of God. This becomes the way we think, not in the toxic mess that we have grown used to.

The scripture says very clearly, in 1 Timothy 2:7that God did not give us a spirit of fear and timidity, but He gave us the spirit of power and of love and of self discipline. When you use that power to choose your thoughts for God, your life changes. So many of us are living “feeling” driven lives; downward and undisciplined, but real disciples live life disciplining every thought to become a God thought. You don’t tolerate Godless thinking!

Now, you can’t control every thought that comes into your head. Thoughts are like an airplane buzzing the runway, but you’re the traffic controller, and you don’t have to let it land! You are responsible for the thoughts that you entertain and let live in your inner world. Never discount the power of a single thought, good or bad. It was a single thought in Hitler’s heart that led to the death of millions of people needlessly; a single thought of hate. And it was a single thought in God’s mind that led to salvation of the world in Jesus Christ.

If you and I choose to live “feeling” driven lives, we are going to live toxic lives that not only corrode our own souls, but impact negatively the people around us. Think carefully, don’t be sloppy in your thinking; which is why it’s so important to open the Word of God and fill your heart and mind with God thoughts. I want your disciple life to start in your inner world and as your inner world is changed, your outer world will be changed as well. Following Jesus as Lord, means disciplining your thoughts to become God thoughts; because you cannot be a disciple of Jesus without exercising discipline. 

Jesus said, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32). So, the biblical way to deal with the mess we are in; is to deal with the truth of our feelings. “God, I feel hopeless, but I remember that you are the God of hope and I can do all things through you.”God, I feel hopeless, but I choose…"and then you fill in the blank with what is true about God. Jesus said this; “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” He quoted Psalm 22. Why? Because that’s how He felt, He was being real; there is no fake in Jesus! “But nevertheless, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Your life is what it is because you think how you think and if you’ll change how you think, you’ll change your life! When you go through the day, you can be dragged down in so many ways, but when you choose to leave behind toxic thinking for the glory of God filled thinking; there is just this transforming that happens. 

Do you know who you are? You are the beloved children of God, you are the delight of Heaven; you are the price of Christ. You're everything to God, you are! You want to know how to make life work? Wrap your heart around the gift of Jesus and the love that God has for you and just dive into that. Let yourself become the child that you’re longing to be: accepted, embraced, wanted, valued and significant. It’s impossible to be discontent in the love of God anymore than it’s possible to be thirsty under Niagara Falls; it’s just not going to happen.

Live in confident prayer, whatever it is that is troubling you, whatever it is that is threatening to destroy you, don’t let those thoughts stay; you pray! Think up, not down. You don’t have to live a toxic life, but it all begins in exercising how you think. It all happens between the left ear and the right ear; never underestimate the power of a single thought; good or bad. –Dr. Drew Shofner

Live boldly for an audience of one!

Live boldly for an audience of one!

The simple truth is that all of us here, myself included, are most of the time more concerned with the approval of other human beings than we are with the one and true creator of the universe. You and I are so timid when it comes to telling the story of Jesus and helping people understand that they are loved. That they matter to God, that there is hope, that they are called out of a low life and into a high life with an eternal noble purpose; that their life has a fight and a savior that will embrace them forever! We have the greatest story there is, and yet we are all wrapped up in our consumer mentality, in our religious distance and safety, and we are all so concerned about appeasing people and it’s just wrong!

It's time for you and I to start living our lives boldly revealing the love of the Father through the life of the Son in the power of the Spirit. I'm calling you to be brave and show courage. I'm calling you to believe what you say you believe, and to live in a way that changes your world. You’re going to rise up, you’re going to step up and realize you weren’t called to just kind of slip through under the radar in this world. All of us are insecure and all of us are fearful, but you decide you’re not going to live small and in fear any longer. I'm not calling you to be a chameleon and blend in; I'm calling you to reveal Me!

So go and make disciples, and don't just do it with people that look like you, and live where you live. Go out of your way, bump into other people and as you do, baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and teach them to obey everything (Matthew 28:19). Don't walk away from them if they are new in the faith, you teach them and you do life with them until they get it, and when they do, then they can share it with somebody else. That's the call of Jesus Christ!

If I have your approval, that is awesome, thank you. If I don't, that is awesome; and it's ok. Nothing matters more than Jesus' approval, and we have to make up our minds about whose approval we are living for. Faith resolves insecurity, and when you and I begin to believe in 'Christ in us,' we begin to live boldly for an audience of one! 

If you refuse to live up to the glory and the awesomeness of the image of God that you bear, that’s on you, but if you look in the mirror and you see someone who God loves so much that He died for you and you believe that you bear His image, and you believe that His son lives inside of you; then you start to live out your gift and your calling and you’re no longer under the radar, no longer embarrassed, no longer small, negative or lightless.

Every one of you is gifted. One of the things that breaks my heart is there are so many of you gifted people who are not using your gifts to be salt and light and the city on a hill, and we’re going to change that in the days to come; we’re coming after you! You have a high and noble purpose and that purpose isn’t to live for your own glory and your fame. You’re not here to make your name famous. You start living large for God, that’s your call! Not so that people can know your name; you live large for God so that people can know His! -Dr. Drew Shofner

Children of God

Children of God

Some of you are in good places in your family right now, and some of you are in bad places. Some of you are frustrated in your families and I just want to let you know that God cares passionately about your family and what you’re going through, and He’s here to fill your family with a new grace. In Genesis we see how the aftershock of sin and how the struggle begins to work its way through the family structure. Even in the origin of family, sin begins to cause pain. Now, God isn’t saying this is the way it should be, He is saying this is the way it is when I am not the source. We were made for God’s family, you were made for unconditional love, you were made for grace and for acceptance; you were made to be delighted in.

Family should be a place of nurturing, a place where we get our very core identity; where our hearts and hopes are shaped. Family is a place where our vision and understanding of ourselves is formed so very deeply. But so often in this world, all of that is mis-shaped, and we live under what can feel more like a curse than under the grace of God’s love. In families that are curse-full families, long records are kept and stuff is thrown in each other’s faces and there are pointed barbs and humor is used as a tool to wound; passive aggressive so that you don’t have to own your stuff. Here’s the deal, own your stuff! We shame, we embarrass, we guilt, it’s all a form of the curse brought about from separation with God. 

God didn’t place us in earthly families that it might be about us. The message of the curse is to earn love but the message of the cross is to receive love. Jesus knew who He was, He was God’s beloved and He didn’t earn His love, He just lived the love of the Father because God is so loving! Even on earth with all the imperfections, we can become people full of grace, fully dependant on God alone as our source. We can be families made for grace that accomplish God’s purpose on earth. Until we are living full of God and completely dependent on Him as our sole source of life, we will always be living under a curse and never experiencing family as God intended.

I just want to pray for our families…Father God, we’ve got one shot at this journey on planet earth. This planet is spinning fast through space, and time is passing and life is passing. The seasons are turning and in Jesus’ name, we are just asking for help in terms of getting family right. Lord, open our hearts to the depth of your Word, to the eternal truths that are revealed about you and how you made us to be a family. God help us to be willing to change. Father, build our family, bless our family and help us to accept being your family. We pray this in Jesus’ name, as all God’s peoples say, Amen! -Dr. Drew Shofner

Empty Can Never Fill Empty.

empty

You and I are by nature empty, and we’re mad about it! In our emptiness, we are desperate to fill ourselves, and so we will fill ourselves with just about anything or anyone to answer the pain, the loneliness and the emptiness.

We will fill ourselves with that which addicts us, we will fill ourselves with that which breaks the most precious relationships in our lives, we will distract ourselves from the pain of facing our need for God. Sometimes what we need is so obvious it’s not even funny, and we can’t see the forest from all the trees around us.

Some of you know Jesus and you’re still looking , some of you have been exposed to religion of various kinds and church for years and years and you’re still hurting and you’re still depressed and you’re still angry and still messing with addiction and you’re still not nice at home and still ignoring the people around you and your still empty and your bucket is just leaking and leaking.

I do not understand all of the things that have happened to you, I do not understand how parents, in their own pain, can be so mean to their own children and sometimes fill them with hell itself. Some of you are still living with those voices echoing in your head so loudly and all of these voices just add to the emptiness and makes us more desperate to be filled, and so we run from person to person, we run from thing to thing, we run to keep our lives so busy that we can’t feel a thing; we just want an anesthetic to make us numb.

The fulfillment of your life will not be found in a man or a woman, not money or possessions, not the opinions of other people or some accomplishment of this vision that you self created for your life. The fulfillment of your life can only be found in one person; Jesus. That deep unsatisfied sense that is in each of us, is our longing for God. It is the longing to connect with life as it was meant to be in Eden. It is a longing for life as we want it to be in Heaven, but we are here and now in this imperfect, pain filled world, and God wants to answer that by filling our days with His love.

I believe with all of my heart, that the reason everything had to happen in the Old Testament as it did, was so that as we move into the New Testament, Jesus could fill the world’s emptiness with the creator’s love. So that at the right time, in the right way, God could fill all of the emptiness in the world with His love, so that we could be called back to our creator and to the very origins of our soul. 
Jesus fulfilled everything in scripture, to ‘fill full’ everything in you, and to fill you with the purpose of your creation (Isaiah 53).

Your emptiness has an end, and it ends in Jesus Christ, the moment that you believe and begin the journey in following Christ, God begins the process of filling you with all the fullness of Himself and bringing together all the brokenness of your life. So here’s the question, same old same old? Business as usual? Or a life of radical filling by the son of God who filled all the pages of scripture of himself so that He could fill every day of your life with Himself as well. –Dr. Drew Shofner

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