What is True Joy?
It’s pure and simple, “Joy” is a gift from God that’s available to all those who have been born again! And it’s our choice whether we receive God’s joy and allow this gift to remain in us every day. The joy we receive from God is “Internal.” The Word tells us that the “Joy of the Lord is our strength.” It is possible for God’s joy to remain in us regardless of our circumstances and experiences in life. John 15:11 says “I have told you these things so that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (NKJV) Joy is so powerful for a Christian. That’s probably why Satan tries so hard to steal it from us (John 10:10).
Momentary joy can be found in a lot of ways and in a lot of places. We’re joyful on our wedding day, at the birth of a baby, at a graduation or when we land that perfect job, etc. But this kind of joy is “External” (and temporary). While these experiences can be filled with a lot of joy when they happen in our lives, the absence of them can lead to a life of disappointments, frustrations, and heartache.
Let’s decide to choose “Joy” every day and spread a little joy to others along the way! Remember to keep a song in your heart, a kick in your step and a smile on your face,
A Message from Pastor Leon
If an unsaved person followed you for a day, would they see Jesus in you?
Jesus said in John 8:12 “I Am the light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in darkness but will have the Light of life.” If an unsaved person follows you for a day, will they see Jesus in you?
If an unsaved person follows you for a day, will they see the characteristics of Christ in you? Will they see someone who has a servant’s heart? Will they see someone who is slow to anger and walks in love and peace?
While no one is perfect this side of heaven, our desire should be to grow in our relationship with Christ and take on His characteristics and “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16).
Just food for thought!
Blessings to you all,
A Message from Pastor Leon "Are We All "Gifted" by God for Ministry?"
Are We All “Gifted” by God for Ministry?
Yes, we are! The truth is that God has equipped every person with gifts that can contribute and fulfill needs in the life of the church family. Proverbs 18:16 says “A man’s gift makes room for him…” I love what Peter wrote in 1 Peter 4:10 ESV “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace.” I believe the giftings these Scriptures are talking about, refer to the gift(s) we carry inside of us. These gifts cover certain aptitude, talents, and abilities. The gifts in us were placed there by God and are meant to ultimately be used for His glory.
Some Christians struggle because they don’t feel like they have a specific direction from God regarding what they’re supposed to do. Some may not feel qualified to serve. If that’s you, you’re in good company. Moses, Jonah, and Gideon were three men who felt unqualified for what God asked them to do. God called them first and then equipped them for their assignments.
I encourage you to seek opportunities of service that fit with your gift(s). If you’re unsure or don’t know where to serve, look for opportunities to just be of help where there is a need. Luke 16:10 (NLT) says “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones…” I’m sure God will reveal and give you opportunities to serve in your area of gifting. In the meantime, you can be serving while your waiting.
I encourage anyone who isn’t already using their gift(s) to serve in the ministry of the church, to take time to pray about where God would have you serve. Then, when our church doors are open again, you’re excited and ready to bloom where God has planted you!
A Message from Pastor Leon "Think About It!"
“Think About It!”
If anyone has heard me preach a few times, you probably realize that I use the phrase “Think About It” a lot. Maybe you wonder why I use the phrase so often. Well, a key to the Christian life has a lot to do with the way we think. Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” What we think determines what we speak. In other words, the way that you think controls the way that you talk. And, our actions reflect what we think.
God wants us to shape our thinking to be like His. What we think about causes us to be worldly minded or heavenly minded. Every day we have a choice for what we think about. We can think about the promises of God and be encouraged and walk in victory. We can set ourselves up for success or failure by what we think about. The power we need to overcome Satan every day starts with what we think about.
Philippians 4:8 (NIV) says “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” When you choose to receive the Word, it goes into your heart. The Bibles tells us in Luke 6:45 “… for it is out of the abundance of the heart, that the mouth speaks.”
So, when I stop in the middle of a sermon and say “Now, think about it,” I’m trying to draw your attention to the Word I’ve just shared because it’s important. Sometimes when we’re listening to a message, our minds can wander. Did you know that the devil wants us to have wandering minds?
As soon as the Word is given, he’ll try to steal it from us so that it doesn’t get into our heart. If it doesn’t get into our heart, we’ll speak from our minds when the difficulties and battles come in our lives. We will speak the problem not the answer.
So, even though there are a lot of other phrases that I probably could interject during my sermons, I’ll probably continue using “Think About It.” And my hope will be that if you hear my sermon live or on video, when I stop and say “Think About It” you’ll do just that!
Thoughts from Pastor Leon "We Serve a God that "Shows Up!"
We Serve a God that “Shows Up!”
No matter how long we’ve been a Christian, there comes a time all of us face challenges and situations that can cause us to ask whether things will ever get better or maybe if God really cares about what we’re going through. It could have been an illness we or someone we love was going through or maybe we suffered a loss that we thought we would never be able to recover from. Or maybe we experienced persecution because of our faith. It can be at those times, when we come to the place where we realize that God is all we need! “He is the God Who Shows Up.” Psalm 32:7 (NIV) says “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.”
The answers we are looking for and the help we need come from God’s Word. We just need to remind ourselves that no matter the circumstances, God is still God and He changes not. He is the God who parted the Red Sea and made a way of escape for the Israelites (Exodus 14). He was the fourth man in the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 3:25). He is the God who was with Daniel in the lion’s den (Daniel 6:12-28). When Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises to God at midnight, He is the God “Who Showed Up” and shook the foundations of the prison and opened the prison doors and brought them out (Acts 16:25-26).
I don’t know about you, but when I think about what God has done for others (and that He is no respecter of persons), I get excited. What He has done for others, He will do for me. I believe when I pray and praise Him for all that He has already done in my life, He is the God who is going to show up and rescue me no matter what problem or situation I’m facing. Psalm 46:1 tells us that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
I pray that as you go through the days and weeks ahead, you will be encouraged in your faith. I pray also that the Holy Spirit will provide opportunities for you to reach out to help someone else that may need a helping hand or encouraging word.
Remember to keep a song in your heart, a kick in your step and a smile on your face!