More than Mary

As [Jesus] was saying these things, a woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “The womb that bore you and the one who nursed you are blessed!”  He said, “Even more, those who hear the word of God and keep it are blessed.”  (Luke 11:27-28)

Some traditions venerate Mary, the mother of Jesus.  They speak of the favor she had with God, the righteousness she had before God, and the blessing she received from God.

Yet, Jesus says that if you follow Him faithfully, hearing His words and obeying His commands, something incredible can be said of you.

You are more blessed than Mary.

–Pastor Phillip

For or Against

Anyone who is not with Me is against Me, and anyone who does not gather with Me scatters.  (Luke 11:23)

Jesus is looking for partners in His purpose, co-laborers in His mission, not curious bystanders who want to “try before they buy” but not make any real commitment.

You may think you can follow Jesus on a part-time basis, but He says differently.

You may think you can sign up for a short-term discipleship trial run, but Jesus says the opposite.

You may think that by delaying your choice to respond to the Gospel with wholehearted commitment, you’re somehow standing on safe, neutral ground.

You’re not.

–Pastor Phillip

Spirit-led service leads to joy

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Romans 7


But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.  (Romans 7:6)

Obligation strips the joy out of obedience. Isn’t it true that when you are forced to do something it’s much harder to be happy about doing it?

This is the dominant method of religion, though.  Rules and regulations and duty and shame and fear, these are the hallmarks of a law-centered life.

But Jesus came to set you free!

If you’re in Christ, your life is no longer about being a slave to sin, which causes you to disobey God’s law.  It’s also not about being a slave to the law itself so that you’re under the constant burden of performance.  Jesus came to give you life so that your obedience to God can now come out of the overflow of His love rather than an obligation to the law.

Here’s the thing.  The hallmark of a life that’s truly free is a genuine desire to serve.  When you experience true freedom in Christ, it will produce gratefulness, a desire to obey Him, and a willingness to share His love with others.  And, you’ll discover that as you pour yourself out, you’ll be continually filled with hope because of this truth: Spirit-led service leads to joy.

-Pastor Phillip

AUDIO VERSION (Click here to subscribe to the daily podcast on iTunes.)


RADIO – 01 What is Your Name? [My Name Is…]

Podcast-graphic-[My-Name-Is]Who are you, really?  Have you ever asked that question and pondered what it means? Have you ever stopped to think about where you find your deepest sense of identity?  Who we believe we are has an incredible impact on how we live our lives, and the good news is that if we are in Christ, we have a new identity that makes all the difference!  Join Pastor Phillip Gonzales as he shares a message of hope about who we are in Christ.

NOTE: This teaching was broadcast on “The Heritage Hour,” the weekly radio program of Dr. Mark P. Gonzales.  It airs in Fort Myers, FL at 8:00am on Saturday mornings on WJYO, 91.5fm.

Lord AND Christ

“God has made him both Lord AND Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified…” Acts 2:36b (emphasis mine).

Sometimes we instinctively think of Jesus as Lord, ruler, Master, the One who calls the shots. We are comfortable with the idea that we are called to serve and obey Him, and our life is focused on doing our duty well. There is comfort in duty, in knowing exactly what is expected of us, in the feeling of accomplishment we get when we’ve been a good worker. The problem is, when we know Jesus only as Lord and not Christ as well, we are not living in the freedom and peace He has called us to. We are always on, always working, and are living as hirelings at best, and at worst even slaves…

Read moreLord AND Christ