Reaching people and making them devoted followers of Jesus Christ.
I LOVE MY CHURCH
Get Your Hopes Up
What a year it was! 2008 was a crazy, most unusual year for many people around the world. It was filled with trials and adversity. Many of us went through things we never faced before. However, donít let the news and media or government get your hopes down. Donít let them talk you into expecting a bad gloomy year.
Even in the midst of all the things we went through, 2008 was a time of great success, victory, and blessings. As a ministry, we watched Godís word transform lives WEEKLY. In this room, we witnessed many salvations. How successful is that? Nearly every week, hands went up to receive Jesus as Lord and rededicate to him. We witnessed many baptisms. We watched as lives, standing before us, transformed WEEKLY through personal ministry and prayer. How awesome was that? Our Children and Studentís ministries amplified. Young lives were directed to a spiritual walk with Jesus. More than ever before, we watched all this happen before our very eyes continuing right into homes through Life Groups.
The world and the devil do not want you to think about the great things that took place in 2008. They want you to think about the bad, the doom, and gloom. If the world and devil are successful, you will become negative. You will expect and believe for a bad year in 2009.
Though it was a year of adversity, Judy and I have realized that when we face the storms of life Ė no matter if they are personal matters, financial concerns, health issues, whatever, we need to remember the promises and the faithfulness of God MORE THAN EVER. We refuse to become negative, focusing on the bad. Itís time to remember how good God has been to us in the past, knowing he will continue in our future. David said though he walked through tough times, Godís goodness and mercy followed him every day.
Romans 5:3-5 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, HOPE. And HOPE DOES NOT DISAPPOINT US, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
I remember being positive during a stormy experience. I was told, ďDonít get your hopes up.Ē That was so wrong. Tough times are the times to GET YOUR HOPES UP. Itís when disturbing things are happening that we need to put our hope in God.
Psalm 43:5 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? PUT YOUR HOPE IN GOD, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
Donít be downcast and disturbed in 2009. Be like David, GET YOUR HOPES UP. That means realize God is in control and though the devil took his shot, it wasnít enough. You and I are still standing. IF YOU ARE GOING TO RECEIVE EVERYTHING THAT GOD HAS FOR YOU IN 2009, YOU NEED TO GET YOUR HOPES UP and watch God work.
I want to show you what God has planned for us in 2009.
(TMB) Isaiah 61:7 Because you got a double dose of trouble and more than your share of contempt, YOUR INHERITANCE IN THE LAND WILL BE DOUBLED and your joy go on forever.
God promises us double for our trouble if we do things his way. What an amazing promise to the people of God! The prophet Isaiah was speaking to people who experienced a bad year. They lost their homes, families, money, and were in bondage. They had a bad year! God PROMISED to reward them double according to their trouble. Isnít that amazing! The more trouble you had, the more blessing you receive if you remain strong in your faith.
Remember Abraham? He had a bad year during the famine, but God blessed him in Egypt and he came out with double for his trouble. Remember Jacob? He had a bad year with his uncle Laban who continually cheated Jacob. Nonetheless, God blessed him with double for his troubles. Remember Joseph? He had a bad year - thrown in prison, but God blessed him taking him out of prison and making him vice president of Egypt. David had a bad year, but God kept his promise and made David king. Name whomever. If the person GOT THEIR HOPES UP and kept their faith strong, the next year was a DOUBLE FOR YOUR TROUBLE year. How many could use DOUBLE FOR YOUR TROUBLE? This even included Jesus. Jesus had a bad year. They crucified him, but the next year he sat at the right hand of God almighty. Where do you want to find yourself sitting in 2009?
It doesn't matter if 2008 was darkÖ 2009 is bright. If you feel like you missed your chanceÖ with God, it's never too late. Even if you experienced good things in 2008Ö your best is yet to come in 2009.
What about 2009? I am telling you GET YOUR HOPES UP. I have. I have GOTTEN MY HOPES UP for 2009. Iím telling you in 2009, you are not going under. You are going over. We are not victims. We are victors. We are too blessed to be stressed. We are not natural. We become supernatural if we GET OUR HOPES UP.
God has a surprise for you in 2009.
Deuteronomy 28:2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and OVERTAKE THEE, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.
That means you were not looking for a blessing, but a blessing caught and surprised you. You might just want to get by, but God wants to bless you abundantly. You might just want to keep your marriage together, but God wants to surprise you with a great, fulfilling, happy marriage. You might just want a healing. God wants to surprise you by healing and giving you your energy and strength back. You might only want a good job. God might want to surprise you by giving you your own business so he can make you a millionaire. You might only want to pay your bills. God wants to surprise you with getting you out of debt and giving you overflow so you can bless the kingdom and others. God is full of surprises for you and his surprises are chasing you down.
How many of us parents love to surprise our children with good things? Itís even better when you are a grandparent. This past year, our third grandson, Michael Lance, wanted a ďGo Diego Train Set.Ē Thatís all he wanted. He is 3 years old. His grandmother, Judy (who makes certain our children and grandchildren get what they want), and I gave the train set to him for Christmas. We watched Michael Lance open his Go Diego Train Set on Christmas morning. As he tore the wrapping paper from the box, anyone could see the excitement in his young eyes as he yelled, ďGO DIEGO TRAIN SET!Ē I asked him later Christmas day what was his favorite Christmas present. Of course, it was the Go Diego Train Set. I was thinking about that while preparing this lesson. Some of our favorite moments of life are when Father God surprises us.
Matthew 7:11 If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, HOW MUCH MORE will your heavenly Father GIVE GOOD GIFTS to those who ask him.
God has a surprise for you in 2009, but GET YOUR HOPES UP. Stay strong in your faith. Expect Godís surprises in 2009. Be like Michael Lance and ASK for your ďtrain set.Ē God has a surprise for you in 2009.
Well Delbert, there just isnít any way. No. Because YOU donít see a way doesnít mean there is no way. Our God will make a way. He has a 1,000 ways to get you your ďtrain set.Ē
Over 20 years ago, Judy and I ďneededĒ a house of our own. We lived in a house provided by the church belonging to people who didnít like me much. I remember going house shopping and looking at every house for sale in our price range in Walker County. Finally, we found one we really liked. It was in one of the nicest neighborhoods, two story, paved drive, double carport, set up on a steep hill, and had a nice yard. It seemed perfect. We made an offer, but someone else topped our offer and we lost the house. We kept our hopes up, but there didnít seem any way we could get that house. We went to a conference and the Lord surprised us telling us we would be moving. We got home from the conference. The next day the surprise caught us. The very house we wanted was available and the owner would take our original offer. God is full of surprises. We asked. We kept our hopes and faith up. Godís surprise caught us. We got literally double the house for our trouble.
Donít let your soul become downcast. Instead, remember the good things of God that have followed you. GET YOUR HOPES UP. God has a double for your trouble surprise in 2009. Wake up every morning ask and expect it to happen. Look for it.
Be cautious whom you hang with in 2009. Tired, discouraged, negative people drain hope from you even if they are Christians. They cause you to say things and expect things you donít need to expect or speak. Speak good things. Positive, faith-filled, encouraging, enthusiastic people bless you and your family, and GET YOUR HOPES UP. Would you like to have twice the energy in 2009? How about twice the peace? How about twice the answers to your prayers? Stay away from negative people.
I want to help show you the roll church plays in 2009 for you.
Ephesians 3:10-12 His intent was that now, THROUGH THE CHURCH, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and THROUGH FAITH IN HIM WE MAY APPROACH GOD WITH FREEDOM AND CONFIDENCE.
God's not mad at us. Instead, he's MADLY in love with us. He loves his church. God intends that THROUGH THE CHURCH you receive Godís wisdom. Donít miss the connection of church and approaching God. There is a power in our coming together in church like no other place.
Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, ACCORDING TO HIS POWER THAT IS AT WORK WITHIN US, to him be glory IN THE CHURCH and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
What can you ask or imagine for 2009? God wants to do immeasurably more! I encourage you to expect greater opportunities, new possibilities, divine connections, and miraculous open doors. Expect double for your trouble. Expect God to surprise you in 2009.
Every week when we come together as a church, I am encouraged. I receive strength and energy from you. Jesus said there was more power when we came together and prayed. I have peace when we come together. I have joy when we come together. There is power working within us here.
Iíve GOT MY HOPES UP in 2009. I expect us to be twice as effective. I expect twice the lives to come to know Christ than last year. I expect our ministry to be twice as effective in everything we do.
The leadership and I are ASKING GOD for a DOUBLE PORTION of blessing upon this ministry this year. We are ready to get double for our trouble. OUR HOPES ARE UP. We are expecting God to surprise us with good things. He has great plans. That means if Life Gate receives a double portion surprise from the Lord, you do too.
You expect double this year. Watch your rearview mirror. There is something coming up on you. Itís Godís blessings overtaking you.
I want to declare over us all DOUBLE FOR OUR TROUBLE. I declare that every person here will GET THEIR HOPES UP IN GOD. Every person here will receive their DOUBLE INHERITANCE OF BLESSING FROM GOD. We will wake in the mornings expecting God to surprise us with GOOD GIFTS. Great opportunities will overtake us. New possibilities will overtake us. Divine connections will overtake us. Miraculous open doors will open for us. Stumbling blocks will become stepping stones. We will have twice the energy, twice the joy, twice the peace, and twice the success in 2009.
Dare to GET YOUR HOPES UP in 2009 and get ready for God to surprise you.