God has granted you the ability to grow

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence…  For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith…”  (2 Peter 1:3, 5a)

God’s amazing grace is the most incredible gift imaginable.  It is His undeserved favor, His unbreakable love, His unstoppable redemption, and if you’re in Christ, it is His irrevocable gift to you.

But it gets even better than that.

God has not only given you right standing with Him, but also the power to stand for Him.  He has given you the ability to learn and grow, to increase your knowledge of His love and amplify your experience of His power.

God’s plan for you is not that you would become a weak recipient of spiritual welfare, but a strong participant in spiritual warfare.  His grace is not the enabling force for you to sit back and do nothing, but the empowering strength for you to stand up and do something that matters with your life.

Never forget that you have great power in Christ, and with it, a great opportunity and responsibility to follow Him in deeper and deeper ways.

Rest in His grace, then work for His glory as you are strengthened by this truth.

God has granted you the ability to grow.

–Pastor Phillip

The Father’s Delight (Luke 3:22b)

You are my beloved Son.  I take delight in you.  (Luke 3:22b)

The steadfast, unchanging posture of God the Father toward God the Son is not dutiful acceptance, but glorious delight.

The scandalous, unbelievable truth of the Gospel is that for those who are united with Jesus by grace through faith, the position He has before the Father is now given to us.

That means if you’re in Christ, God doesn’t just forgive you out of duty.  He deeply loves you out of delight!

He doesn’t just take away your sin.  He takes pleasure in your salvation.

–Pastor Phillip

Consistent Fruit (Luke 3:8)

Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance.  And don’t start saying to yourself, “We have Abraham as our father,” for I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones!  (Luke 3:8)

There’s no point in saying “Jesus changed my life” if your life hasn’t really changed.  Anyone can pray a prayer at a youth camp or an altar call and feel like they’re a brand new person.

True salvation is evidenced not by “feeling brand new” in our heart (though that’s a nice bonus), but by becoming brand new in the real world.

This doesn’t mean that if we aren’t instantly changed in every area that our salvation is a sham.  Rather, it means that instead of using Jesus as a free pass to live like we used to, we follow Him as an empowering example to live like we should.

–Pastor Phillip

Your father wants you to come home

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Psalm 78

YOUR FATHER WANTS YOU TO COME HOME

Their heart was not steadfast toward Him; they were not faithful to His covenant.
Yet He, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them;
He restrained His anger often and did not stir up all His wrath.
He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again.

(Psalm 78:37–39)

Your failures are no surprise to God.  When your love for Him grows cold, when serving Him gets old, when following gets wearying and your heart drifts towards other things, God is not caught unaware.

Yet, He still loves you just the same.

God’s mercy is so great that through Christ He has already atoned for your lack of love towards Him, and now He simply wants you to come back to where you belong.  He remembers you are weak and He wants you to remember how He is strong so that instead of continuing to run from Him, you’ll run to Him.

Whatever the state of your heart or your life, be encouraged to respond to this truth today: Your Father wants you to come home.

-Pastor Phillip

Jesus turns your darkness into light

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Ephesians 5

JESUS TURNS YOUR DARKNESS INTO LIGHT

At one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Walk as children of light, for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true…  (Ephesians 5:8-9)

People living in darkness often don’t know they are.  All of us at one time were the same way, deceived by Satan and destined for hell.

Then Jesus stepped in.

Jesus takes darkness and redeems it with His light.  He takes sin and redeems it with His blood.  He takes sickness and redeems it with His healing.  He takes shame and redeems it with His forgiveness.  He takes sorrow and redeems it with His joy!

If you’re in Christ, your life has a calling to goodness and righteousness and truth.  Yet, the way to get there is not through lots of self-effort.  It’s through the light of Jesus burning brightly in your soul.

Whatever is dark in your life, let go of it and let the light of Jesus take its place.  Whatever is broken in your life, trust God in it and let the light of Jesus make it whole.

Surrender to His love today and let it overflow into a life that pleases Him.  If you trust Him, that’s exactly what will happen, because of this hope-inspiring truth: Jesus turns your darkness into light.

-Pastor Phillip

Jesus bled to bring you close

God’s Hope for Your Heart Ephesians 2

JESUS BLED TO BRING YOU CLOSE

Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.  But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:12-13)

Sin separates from God.

Sin drives a wedge between the souls of humanity and the Spirit of our Creator.  It cuts us off from the life of God, the peace of God and the power of God… But the blood of Jesus reconciles.

In Christ, no matter how far you are from God, you can be brought near!

In Christ, no matter how far your relationship has fallen, you can be brought back!

In Christ, no matter how distant you may feel, you can take heart in the hope of this powerful truth: Jesus bled to bring you close.

-Pastor Phillip


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God has a lavish redemption for you

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Ephesians 1

GOD HAS A LAVISH REDEMPTION FOR YOU

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight…  (Ephesians 1:7-8)

Jesus is not a stingy Savior.  He doesn’t step in to do the bare minimum in your life, to give you just enough grace to get by.

No, Jesus shed His blood extravagantly, overwhelmingly, generously on your behalf.  No matter how deep your debt of sin may be, the river of God’s grace poured out in Jesus’ blood is far, far deeper.  No matter how wide your guilt or shame may be, Jesus’ arms are stretched wider still.

Rest in this.

Rejoice in this!

Respond to this with a life of worship and gratitude.

No matter what your past or present may look like, remember the hope of this truth: God has a lavish redemption for you.

-Pastor Phillip


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Jesus came to set you free from sin

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Galatians 1

JESUS CAME TO SET YOU FREE FROM SIN

[The Lord Jesus Christ] gave Himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever.  Amen.  (Galatians 1:4-5)

Sin is slavery, but Jesus came to set you free.

Sin separates from God, but Jesus came to unite you with the Father.

Sin brings death, but Jesus came to bring you life.

Sin produces bondage to the patterns and principles of a broken world, but Jesus came to provide deliverance.

When sin is enticing you, remember, it’s only entrapment.  When God seems restrictive, remember, He is releasing you to a greater freedom.

When temptation seems too strong for you to bear, you will find the strength you need to stand as you keep your eyes fix on the hope of this truth: Jesus came to set you free from sin!

-Pastor Phillip


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Jesus wants to free you from regret

God’s Hope for Your Heart from 2 Corinthians 7

JESUS WANTS TO FREE YOU FROM REGRET

As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting.  For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.  For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.  (2 Corinthians 7:9-10)

Everybody has their scars.  As travelers in a broken world, nobody makes it out without some pain, some hurt, some mistakes.

But you don’t have to live there!

When we look at our lives and see clearly the wrongness of our sin, sometimes a sadness settles in and fills our hearts with guilt.  We are ashamed of what we’ve done.  We’re afraid of doing it again.  We are anxious that people might find out and turn us away.

But God has a different plan for His children!

When the Holy Spirit opens your eyes to see your own sin, His purpose isn’t for you to be frozen by regret, but for you to find freedom through repentance!

Worldly grief will drive you down into isolation, but godly grief will spur you up into the presence of God and motivate you to lay your burdens down to be forgiven and healed.

Godly grief will help you deal with your failures by moving you to bring them to the cross of Christ.  There, repentance will keep you from crucifying yourself over and over again for sins that Jesus already died for.

Don’t harden your heart and deny your sin, but don’t let the enemy use it to destroy you with regret, either.  Take it to Jesus.  Let Him redeem it.  Let Him restore you.  Let Him remind you of the forgiveness you have in Christ.

Run to Him in faith and surrender today as you walk in the hope of this truth: Jesus wants to free you from regret.

-Pastor Phillip


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You are a precious possession of God

God’s Hope for Your Heart from 1 Corinthians 7

YOU ARE A PRECIOUS POSSESSION OF GOD

You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.  (1 Corinthians 7:23)

Commerce buys and sells things of value.  Slavery values things differently.  The more someone pays for something, the more valuable it is to them, but those buying slaves place little value on their purchase.

When we give ourselves to the things and people of the world, we are submitting ourselves to a system in which people are just cogs in the machine.  We are used, not valued and cherished, and then simply tossed aside when we’ve outlived our usefulness.

But Jesus knows you are more valuable than that!

Jesus was willing to pay the enormous price of His own blood in order to redeem you.  Jesus was willing to suffer separation from the Father in order to buy you for Himself.

Why?  Because He sees you as incredibly valuable!

That’s why He gives you boundaries, to safeguard His investment in your value.  That’s why He gives you commands, to nurture and help you become all He knows you can be.

Don’t listen to the lies of the world about where true “happiness” is found.  Don’t become a slave to the system by pursuing the false “freedom” of the world.

Genuine joy comes from living in light of what you are: a loved, cherished, valuable person purchased by Jesus Christ.  So don’t let anyone or anything take from you the hope of this truth for all who are in Christ: you are a precious possession of God.

-Pastor Phillip


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