The Difference Between Praying and Fellowship With God

The Difference Between Praying and Fellowship With God

People who are living breathe. People who are Christians pray. As soon as a child is born, he breathes the air around him, and as soon as a person is born again in Christ, he wants to pray.

But prayer can be a struggle. Why do we struggle so much with prayer? It’s because we lose sight of the most important reason we are praying. The purpose of prayer is fellowship with God.

When you finish praying, ask yourself this question, “Did I fellowship with God today?” If what you just did was filled with words to impress others, just trying to complete a checklist, or repetitive “spiritual phrases” over and over, you didn’t really fulfill the purpose of prayer. I’m sorry to tell you, you missed the point. Jesus wants your prayer life to be sincere, He wants you to know Him, talk to Him, and feel His presence.

Christ warns in the following verses about the ways we can get sidetracked in our prayers. The hypocrites prayed like this:

*Their Posture: Standing so they would impress others.
*The Place: In the synagogues to be heard by others.
*In Public: On the busy street corners, to impress others.
*The Product: They had their reward, which was the praise of man.

In other words… they missed the point of prayer completely.

Compare what the hypocrites did to what Jesus modeled and taught. Your prayer time could be kneeling (posture), in secret (place), privately conversing with God (not public), and the result would be that you genuinely fellowshipped with God and He heard and answered you (the product).

The greatest question you can ask yourself after you pray is this, “Did I fellowship with God today?

And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Matthew 6:5-7

Do you focus on checking the boxes on your prayer list or do you intentionally fellowship with God in prayer? What changes do you need to make in order to be more connected to God in fellowship with Him?

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5 Biblical Reasons To Never Give Up

5 Biblical Reasons To Never Give Up

Are you ready to quit? Some of the greatest spiritual experiences of my life have come after I reached my limits!

1. When You Are Under Attack God Hears You

If you’ve ever felt that circumstances were against you, that you were under attack, or you were on the verge of losing in life, then you need to read everything David wrote. He wrote Psalm 31 and it is possible he wrote it when he was being persecuted by Saul.

When you feel overwhelmed and overtaken by the enemy, remember that God hears you, he preserves you, and he strengthens you.

For I said in my haste, “I am cut off from before Your eyes”; Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications When I cried out to You. Oh, love the LORD, all you His saints! For the LORD preserves the faithful, And fully repays the proud person. Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the LORD. – Psalm 31:22-24

2. When You Treat Others Well, God Rewards You

God makes promises and you can be confident that He always keeps His word. Here is a promise, you will reap a reward from God if you don’t become weary and quit.

What is it that you should do to get this reward? He calls it “well-doing.” It is the act of treating others well, being kind and doing good to others. Everything you do to encourage others, build them up, equip them, invest in them, is an act of “well doing,”

It is so easy to become weary in treating others well and to eventually give up. God knows it can be a struggle which is why He admonishes us that He will reward us if we continue to invest in people, even when it is hard! Don’t give up on making an impact in the lives of others.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap if we faint not. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. – Galatians 6:9-10

3. When You Are Called To Lead, Be Strong and Courageous Because God Is With You

God calls servants to be leaders. Jesus humbled Himself as a servant to the Father. Joshua spent years serving under Moses. Christ calls us to live as servants to God and others. This should be viewed as an honor. But, when He calls you to lead, stand up and charge ahead with strength and courage.

In Joshua 1, Moses had just died, Joshua had been serving Moses, and God said the work must go on. God called Joshua to take the lead. In this context, He said to Joshua, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

God knows that those who have the heart of a servant are the ones He will select to be the next leader, the next game changer. He also knows that those with the heart of a servant are well aware of their own weaknesses. That’s why He will continually remind you that your strength and courage are essential to the task, but that strength and courage comes from a constant awareness that He is with you!

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9

4. When You Are Ready To Quit, God Is Ready to Give You Rest

Are you ready to quit? Some of the greatest spiritual experiences of my life have come after I reached my limits! You know the feeling, I’m sure. Have you said any of these things lately? “I’m tired of this. I don’t know how much longer I can last. I don’t want it to be this way for the rest of my life.”

Jesus is smiling right now! He’s been waiting to have this moment with you. This is where He says, “You have no idea how much easier your life could be if you get rid of your current burden and join me, walk with me, and exchange what you are doing for what I want for you.”

If the burden (the yoke) you are carrying is the burden of sin, He promises His yoke, a commitment to Him is so much lighter. If the yoke you are carrying is just the heaviness of life, He says the yoke He offers will make the load so much lighter.

So whether you need to repent of sin, accept Christ into your heart, or just stop trying to live in your own strength… Jesus is ready to lighten the load for you.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. – Matthew 11:28-30

5. When You Commit To Him, You Build a Spiritual Legacy and Make a Difference

People are watching you. They are learning from your example. When you were in kindergarten you looked up to the first graders, in elementary school you thought the middle schoolers were so mature and in high school, college kids looked like full-grown adults!

Believe it or not, there are three groups of people you are influencing every day. Those younger than you, those who are your peers, and those older than you. Each is either being inspired by your testimony or to some degree, losing heart.

Wouldn’t it be incredible if your choice to “never give up” created a legacy that impacted others for generations?

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; – Romans 12:9-12

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The Beatitudes: The 8 Types of Blessed People

The Beatitudes: The 8 Types of Blessed People

Jesus delivered HIs longest sermon called “The Sermon on the Mount,” and He began by identifying eight types of blessed people.

Matthew 5:3-11

The Poor In Spirit: Empty of Self; Full of God

The first in His list of blessed people are the poor in spirit. Some people are living in spiritual poverty, wholly engrossed in the sins and lusts of the world. He’s not talking about that type of spiritual poverty here. The kind of poverty Jesus is talking about is the poverty of self. Jesus challenges us to be utterly empty of self to make room to be full of God. He promises happiness to come to those who are empty of self and full of God. And, theirs is the kingdom of heaven! That’s the future promise. That’s something to be happy about!

Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:3

The Mourners: Caring Deeply about Spiritual Things

Blessed are the mourners? Really? Jesus didn’t say it was His intention for you and me to be downhearted, sad, or spend our days focusing on negative things. But He did say, “Blessed are the mourners.”

When children of God have a genuine sensitivity to sin and feel the remorse for their willful disobedience, that is a blessing from God.

Do you care deeply about your spiritual life, do you care genuinely about your fellowship with Christ, and do you care deeply about the spiritual condition of your friends, neighbors, and family? If so, you are blessed to have such a heart of concern for things that matter to God.

Remember, the blessing you receive for mourning for your spiritual life and the condition of others will be rewarded. If you don’t see the reward here, you will see it in heaven because in due season you will reap if you faint not!

Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. – Matthew 5:4

The Meek: Happy and in Control

Meek people are happy people. They have learned to imitate Christ in their spirit, actions, and reactions. The meek are not easily offended and would rather forgive many than get even with one. Meek people are less stressed.

In their meekness, they have learned to be happier and more content. It’s not that meek people aren’t willing to stand for truth and fight when necessary, but they don’t have to completely explode to get a result. They have learned to rest in Christ, and live in His peace.

Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. – Matthew 5:5

The Hungry and Thirsty: Renewed and Refreshed

To hunger and thirst after righteousness leads to a joy-filled life. If you hunger for meat and you eat, you are sustained, refueled, and replenished to keep going. You desire food to eat to be renewed in your strength. Replenishing of strength comes from a desire to know God through His word, the Bible.

If you are thirsty, your desire is to be refreshed. When you focus on the forgiveness of sin, the pardon you have received and the love of God, you are refreshed.

To experience God and find a fullness of joy, you need to be both renewed and refreshed. Renewed by time in the word of God and refreshed by spending time in fellowship with Him in prayer, confession, and a clear conscience because of His forgiveness.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. – Matthew 5:6

The Merciful: Caring and Compassionate

There are many things God desires for us, not so much for His sake, but for our own sake. You see when you take today’s truth about mercy, and become a caring and compassionate person, it changes you.

Merciful people care. Whether or not they have the resources to fix a suffering person’s problem is not the motive of a merciful person’s heart. A Christian with a merciful heart has learned to genuinely care for the suffering, the struggling, the ignorant, the lost and the needy. Mercy doesn’t just see needs and walk away, mercy responds. If you can’t help meet the need, you invest by giving your heart of compassion. Because everyone needs a little more kindness and compassion in life.

Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. – Matthew 5:7

The Pure In Heart: Clarity and Understanding

Do you want a clearer picture of God? Do you desire a deeper understanding of Him? You can have it, and it comes to the pure in heart. The pure in heart are living the truest form of Christianity. Like unmuddied water, they have learned to differentiate between spiritual things and things that are of the world. Their motives are pure, their heart is right, and their desires rest in things that are part of the heart of God.

When you decide that the life God has given you here on earth is to be lived for Him and His will, not for yourself, your purity of heart will lead to a deeper understanding of God.

Some people struggle all their life to understand God’s work in their life. The pure in heart get to see God more profoundly.

Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. – Matthew 5:8

The Peacemakers: Joy and Impact

Jesus Christ was the Prince of Peace, the wisdom of God is first pure, then peaceable, and the birth of Jesus was to bring peace on earth. Do you see a theme here? Peacemakers are blessed of God. They have a peaceful disposition throughout life. They engage in peaceful conversations, and when peace begins to leave the discussion, they are aware and deliberate about bringing it back.

Peacemakers allow space in relationships and strive to accommodate the needs of others. When the peace is broken, they are skilled at making repairs.

Peacemakers are doing the work of God here on earth. Christ came to deliver peace and peacemakers understand when they are living peaceably, they are aligned with God’s plan. This is why they are called the children of God. They are happily fulfilling their Father’s will walking on earth as His offspring.

Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. – Matthew 5:9

The Persecuted and Slandered: Receive a Great Reward

Those who walk closest to Christ, His most committed disciples, will potentially face persecution and suffering for their faith. But wait, what about the blessed life He’s been promising all along? It seems confusing to mix blessings and persecution in the same promise.

God’s children from the beginning have suffered greatly for their faith on this earth. They have been “persecuted” and “reviled.”

Persecution comes in many forms. It could be physical threats, loss of opportunities to advance at work, fines, threats of legal action, loss of promotion, shunned in relationships, and don’t forget in some places in the world torture and death.

Reviling is verbal persecution. It’s when people say “all manner of evil against you falsely.” Name calling, slanderous nicknames, verbal abuse, gossip behind your back, all culminate to create an environment intended to make you suffer as a committed follower of Jesus.

The persecuted and reviled are blessed. (1) Because you have a home in heaven and a personal relationship with God. No one can ever take away from you the reward you have in being God’s child. (2) Because you will be rewarded in heaven. The Bible says, “Great is your reward in heaven.” (3) You are in good company. “For so persecuted they the prophets before you.” Matthew 5:12. You are among those who God honors who have truly suffered for His sake.

In your suffering, be blessed because the almighty God is with you and you are on His side. On the other side of eternity, you have a reward waiting for you that far outweighs any sacrifices you make on this earth.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:10

Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. – Matthew 5:11

Proverbs 11:24-25 – Generosity Leads to Abundance

Proverbs 11:24-25 – Generosity Leads to Abundance

Generosity

There is one who scatters, yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself.

Proverbs 11:24-25

Thought For Today

The person who “scatters” or gives, increases even more. Like casting the seed across the field yields an abundance of corn, God blesses generosity by increasing what we have. He replenishes our supply through our acts of giving. But, when we hold on to everything and store it for ourselves, we miss the point of God’s provision and the joy that comes through generosity. He says, “He who waters will also be watered himself.”

Through faith-filled giving, God promises to return the blessing by providing more.

Ken Turner

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Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 – Friendship: A Threefold Cord Is Hard To Break

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 – Friendship: A Threefold Cord Is Hard To Break

Friendship

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Eccesiastes 4:9-12

Thought For Today

In Ecclesiastes, Solomon continues his life-changing message, living for this world leaves us empty. He nails it down by revealing two life choices that lead to very different results.

The selfish life is a wasted life. The person who lives for himself and chooses work, success, and riches over relationships leads to emptiness.

Eccl. 4:8, There is one alone, without companion: He has neither son nor brother. Yet there is no end to all his labors, Nor is his eye satisfied with riches. But he never asks, “For whom do I toil and deprive myself of good?” A vain life and a grave misfortune.

The sociable life is a cure for emptiness. Choosing friendship, and investing in relationships bring many advantages. Strength, companionship, and resilience come to those who choose relationships as a priority. A threefold cord is hard to break.​

Ken Turner

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High Impact Teens and the Ghana Project for Young Pastors

High Impact Teens and the Ghana Project for Young Pastors

In 2009 things were a little tough in the world of ministry, to put it mildly. We were one year into the founding of our outreach ministry and you probably remember, the economy was not good! I was working in my office in the basement of our home in Indianapolis on what was a very discouraging day. The phone rang and that changed. It was a missionary calling from Ghana, West Africa.

I answered the phone and it was Fred Kearney. We had never met. But here is what he said. “I walked into my office today here in Ghana, and a book was on my desk. It was a High Impact Teen one-year spiritual journal. I couldn’t believe it because I’ve been looking for something like this for the teens we are reaching in Africa. The youth don’t have anything like this over here. So I called the phone number on the back cover of this book to see if there is any way we can get these for our youth?”

No one knows how my High Impact Teen journal ended up in Africa, on the desk of a missionary.

We worked together and were able to ship about 100 HIT Journals to the youth.

Here is a picture of some of the youth smiling with excitement with their NEW HIT Journals a few years ago!

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A few years later, Fred Kearney called again. They were hosting a youth conference for several hundred teens from cities and villages all over. We reached out to our supporters and were able to help by providing a few hundred HIT Journals.

So, now here we are with a new UPDATE TO THE STORY.

Two of the teen guys who used the HIT Journals (or as Fred Kearney says… they devoured everything in these journals) are now grown. Both of them are 25 years old and God has called them to be pastors. Both of them are planting new churches in Ghana. Fred Kearney’s parent church, Lighthouse Baptist, will now have three other churches to bring a total of four vibrant churches reaching the lost of Africa. The two newest church plants are being pastored by these two young men.

Because the High Impact Teen Journal has been such a vital part of their spiritual development as teens, they want all the youth in their churches to use it as well in order to become grounded in the Word. They are requesting 100 HIT Journals for each of the two churches, or 200 HIT Journals. 

For a gift of $15, you can sponsor a teen in Ghana to be discipled by one of these young pastors with the High Impact Teen journal. Can you help sponsor one or more and invest in these youth who are hungry for the Word of God?

Let’s join hands and help Fred and Antoinette Kearney and invest in these two young pastors, Samuel and Prosper!

Check out their photos and a video below of these young pastors!

In Christ,
Ken Turner
Click the DONATE button to give online.
Select High Impact Ministries, and Ghana West Africa – HIT Journal Project.
Or you can mail a gift to High Impact Teens, PO Box 1325, Dayton, TN 37321.
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https://youtu.be/6M6eAfnOCr8
Helping Youth In Juvenile Detention

Helping Youth In Juvenile Detention

ARE YOU A STAFF MEMBER OF A JUVENILE FACILITY?

A Message from Ken Turner, Founder of High Impact Teens

I lead a youth outreach called High Impact Teens and we are involved in several juvenile centers here in Tennessee. I’ve worked closely with Misty Neeley, the State Executive Director of the Office of Juvenile Justice, to keep our network of ministry partners informed of the needs of our youth across the state. We are currently working with volunteers at Mountain View YDC in Dandridge, Stones River Academy in Nashville and Wilder YDC in Memphis.

I wanted to reach out to introduce myself to you and let you know we are available to help as needs arise. We have a few ways we are currently trying to help our youth in juvenile facilities.

1. We have approximately 1,000 Christmas cards with envelopes available if youth who are detained would like to send a card to a loved one this Christmas. I’d be glad to mail a supply to the facilities who need them.

2. We have Bibles and devotional books available for teens who would like to have them. Some of our devotional materials are written by teens who were in detention and found ways to put into words powerful messages to youth who are struggling today.

3. We are building a network of churches and ministries across the state to help recruit more volunteers to serve in our juvenile centers and donate to specific needs that arise throughout the year.

If any of these things could be helpful to you or a facility you are associated with, please feel free to email me and I’ll be glad to help by sending these materials or collaborating with you to get more volunteer support.

Ken Turner

*Learn more about how to impact high-risk and fatherless youth at www.kenturnerministries.org


423-381-0018 phone
423-402-8995 fax

kenturner@highimpactteens.org
_____________________
Office Address: Ken Turner Ministries: High Impact Teens, 289 Main Street, Dayton, TN 37321
Mailing address: Ken Turner Ministries, PO Box 1325, Dayton, TN 37321


CHURCH MEMBERS, VOLUNTEERS, THOSE WHO ARE COMMITTED TO MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF YOUTH

Our goal is to touch the lives of 1,000 youth in December by providing Christmas cards for youth to send a loved one, a Bible, a teen devotional book, and a small Christmas package! Through our outreach ministry to youth in juvenile centers across Tennessee, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, we are giving them the hope of the gospel. Because of your prayers and gifts, we can reach into these places where 85-90% of youth are fatherless.

Churches and individuals have joined together as a team of donors and prayer partners… Join us and give a gift today to provide hope to high-risk and fatherless youth.

Discernment: Improving Your Spiritual Insight

Discernment: Improving Your Spiritual Insight

Are you a discerning person? Do you have the ability to match what you see with what you feel, think, hear and believe?

Discernment, spiritual insight, and Biblical wisdom are essential in the Christian life.

If you have accepted Christ as your Savior, you have a relationship with Him. The relationship grows stronger by walking with Him, fellowshipping with Him, prayer and study of His Word, the Bible.

As you walk with Christ and develop your spiritual life, you become more discerning because you filter your life experiences through His teaching and His wisdom.

The apostle Paul was warning the Colossians in today’s scripture about a philosophical war among them. The Jews of the day were struggling to hold on to the Jewish traditions that were intended to “lead people to the Messiah,” and they were continuing to insert this philosophy as a requirement for spirituality.

The gentiles of the day were mixing their “philosophies of life” with the teachings of Christ. Both of these approaches were creating a head-on collision with the pure teachings and truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. By holding on to the world’s philosophy and then adding the teachings of Jesus to it, you create a life that competes with your commitment to the teachings of Jesus. The result is a diluted version of the true gospel.

Do you have discernment and spiritual insight? 

Are you looking at life through the lens of scripture or are you making excuses with yourself about the choices you make based on a mixed philosophy of the current culture and the teachings of Christ?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to test your discernment and spiritual insight (and your genuine commitment to Christ).

1. Are you basing your relationship with Christ on a solid commitment to Him as your personal Savior? Could you give someone a “when, where and how” you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? Or are you just trusting in someone else’s spirituality to get you into good standing with Jesus, like a parent, grandparent or spiritual influencer? You don’t want to leave your eternal destiny to chance. If you are unsure, please get this figured out. Talk to a pastor, a godly friend or family member and solidify your understanding of whether you are a true believer or not.

2. Are you pursuing a path toward spiritual maturity, with a desire and commitment to grow, to become deeply rooted and established in Christ? Are you regularly reading the Bible, spending time in prayer and choosing to spend time with friends and mentors who are mature, discerning Christians?

3. Are you living according to God’s truth and committed to obedience to Him? Be honest with yourself here. Do you ever lie or are you committed to always telling the truth? Do you love God more than money, power, status, pleasure, and praise of people? Are you committed to God’s standard of moral purity? Just because the culture says something is okay, that does not reflect the teachings of Christ in areas of morality and moral purity. Have you committed to remain sexually pure and save yourself for the marriage relationship, as God established? Are you committed to a life of hearing God’s voice, submission to His will and surrender to His plans?

4. Are you committed to turning to God and His word as the standard, the only measure, for answers to questions about how life should be lived here on this earth, how you should think, act and believe?

Jesus isn’t only interested in handing out “free tickets to heaven” even though many people view their relationship with Christ as just that. They want to pray a prayer, get their ticket and go on to live their own way. Jesus is calling us to a life of full commitment to Him, not a diluted version of faith. Don’t let the world, culture, and philosophies of friends and influencers cheat you out of the incredible life plan God has for you. Commit today to clarify your commitment to Christ, commit to obeying His Word, and turn to His word as the standard for all decisions that direct your thinking, actions, and purpose.

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8

Jesus transforms! Don’t just accept His gift, commit yourself to the spiritual journey He offers. Develop discernment and spiritual insight by following Him and the teaching of His Word.

Ken Turner

The 30 Minute Prayer Plan – Elements of an Effective Prayer Life

The 30 Minute Prayer Plan – Elements of an Effective Prayer Life

Jesus said prayer was important. It’s actually an essential part of our relationship with God. Read what Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 26:40. And He came unto the disciples and found them asleep, and said unto Peter, “What, could ye not watch with Me one hour?”

Jesus actually said it should be possible for us to spend an hour in prayer. Have you ever spent one uninterrupted hour in prayer with God? No distractions, no interruptions… just you and God… in deep conversation.

Having a high-quality prayer relationship with God is possible. Possibly one of the biggest challenges is just knowing “what to talk about” during your prayer time. The Bible gives us answers to many elements of prayer so let’s take a look at some of them.

Here’s a 30 Minute Prayer Plan

*Over the next seven days, commit to spending 30 minutes each day in prayer by spending 5 minutes on each of these elements of prayer. Find a quiet place and enjoy some uninterrupted time with God.

1. Praise: Praise God for who He is.

Focus on His character and His traits as the one true God. God is worthy of our praise. To praise Him is not the same as thanking Him. Thanking Him focuses on what He has done for us but praising Him focuses on who He is. Praise Him for His glory, power, creation, holiness, righteousness, greatness and more.
Psalm 150:1-2, “Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.”

2. Thanksgiving: Thank Him for what He has done and is doing in your life.

To enter His gates with thanksgiving and praise is to enter into His sanctuary. His sanctuary is an illustration of His place of worship. When we come to Him in public or private worship we should come with a heart filled with thankfulness and our praise should overflow. Thank Him for all His blessings in your life. Thank Him for salvation, spiritual blessings, friends, family, health, provision, etc… Make a list of His blessings in your life and continually thank Him and praise Him.
Psalm 100:4, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.”

3. Intercession: Pray for others and for their needs.

Part of the design of Christianity is this, Christians are praying people. And we don’t need written, formal prayers because when you have a personal relationship with Christ, you understand that you can fellowship with Him. We have the obligation to pray for all people. Supplications are prayers against evil happening to others, prayers are for God’s goodness and blessings, intercessions and thanksgiving are made for all the good that God has already provided. Take time to pray for others. Notice that He doesn’t instruct us to pray only for those who are just like us, but to pray for “all men” or all people. If we have the power to communicate with Him and receive answers, why would we not pray for everyone?
I Timothy 2:1, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.”

4. Supplication: Pray for your own needs asking Him to meet those needs.

Instead of worrying, pray. Christians are supposed to live without care. Matthew 6:25 tells us to “take no thought for our life.” To live without care is to understand and practice the habit of trusting God with past and current troubles, wrongdoings, struggles, trials, and pain.

If I live in an anxious state of mind about all the difficulties I’ve faced in life, my mind will become filled with emotions that fuel a distrust for God. But God gives the antidote for worry when He says, “but in everything pray.”

Not only should Christians pray at specific times, but we should also pray spontaneously as an antidote to worry. Every time you begin to stress about something, pause and pray, asking God to take that burden and stress away and complete the prayer by thanking Him for all He has already done in your life.

When you turn stress into reliance on God and counteract it with gratitude for His blessings, you foster a completely different mindset that leads to more trust in God and more expectation of His future care and blessings on your life.

Philippians 4:6, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

5. Confession: Confess your sins and ask Him for forgiveness.

Christians are in the family of God. The family of God is a family of sinners. If you don’t admit this is true, you are deceiving yourself! (His words, not mine. =) Let’s establish this fact once and for all. Just because a person is a Christian, that does not make them sinless. But many Christ followers live as if they don’t need to acknowledge their sins.

Take time regularly to confess your sins to God. He waits and desires this moment with you. He promises when you confess your sin, He will faithfully forgive you of those sins and cleanse your heart. The anguish, pain, guilt, and lack of peace with God will go away with each moment you take time to receive His forgiveness. When you pray, include confession and experience joy.

I John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

6. Listening: Sit quietly. Listen to His voice after asking Him to speak to you.

Sometimes God’s children may feel discouraged but don’t feel dejected. Know how to be still, be calm, and rest in the assurance that God is on the throne and He has declared that His plans will be done. He is God over all. Take all those worries and anxieties and process them by surrendering all of it to the will of God, trusting in His power to overcome. Be still, sit quietly, listen to His voice and embrace the peace that passes all understanding that only He can provide.

Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”

“Satan dreads nothing but prayer. His one concern is to keep the saints from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, he mocks our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray.” Samuel Chadwick, Author of The Path of Prayer.

Rise Up! Easter Outreach 2019

Rise Up! Easter Outreach 2019

Rise Up! Easter Outreach 2019

Sponsor a teen this Easter and provide a gift bag including a message of the gospel,
an explanation of the real meaning of Easter, a Bible, a spiritual journal and a small gift.

Why Give?

This Easter Sunday, High Impact Teens will be delivering gift bags to juvenile centers in order to lift up struggling youth. The concept is simple; teens will receive a gift bag with a paperback Bible, a small “Rise Up Spiritual Journal” we’ve created, and some Easter candy. The Rise Up Journal will include the message of the gospel and the real meaning of Easter with an ongoing Bible reading plan and journal pages.

Make a Difference

Sponsor a teen and help them “Rise Up” and become a NEW person this Easter.

$10.00 sponsors one teen!

Make A Difference, Give Today

5 Benefits of Seeking God’s Wisdom

5 Benefits of Seeking God’s Wisdom

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. – James 1:5

When Life Doesn’t Make Sense, Ask God For Wisdom

Did you know that God gives wisdom and He will gladly give you all the wisdom you need under one condition? What is that one condition? You have to ask for it. It is that simple. In James chapter one, Christians were experiencing all kinds of trials, but those trials were producing the benefit of patience and maturity. It’s God’s nature to bring good results amid bad experiences.

If you are going through tough times right now, chances are, you are very confused at times. In your confusion, you need wisdom and clarity. God promises that if you ask Him for wisdom, He will give it to you liberally. And He will give it to you without reproach. You don’t have to “deserve wisdom” or have it all together to get His wisdom. You just need to ask for it, and it really is that simple. It’s a promise from God with no strings attached.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. – James 1:5

When You Rely on God’s Wisdom Your Life Is Filled With Peace

The pure wisdom God offers leads to peace. It leads to a peace that passes all understanding. The wisdom God provides is first and foremost pure wisdom. It is free from a mixture of impure motives, selfish agendas or lies. God gives true wisdom born within His heart of unconditional love for you. His wisdom is rooted in ultimate truth, and if you ask Him for it, He will give you unlimited access to His wisdom. That kind of wisdom living will flood your life with peace. Peace in your family, peace at work, and peace in your spiritual life.

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. – James 3:17

When You Find God’s Wisdom, You Have Found His Treasure Chest For Living

How would you like to wake up one day with all the resources you will ever need for the rest of your life?

Several years ago I met a guy in his early 4o’s living Indiana. He was working on a Bible study project, and I met with him to learn more about it. While explaining the magnitude of the project, he also shared how he got started on it. He was working for a company, where he had been in his “cubicle” for years, and one day a manager stopped by his desk in October and said, “Since you own shares in the company I think you should know that the company was sold. So, you can continue to work until the end of December, or you can go home today. Whichever you choose, you now have enough money from the sale that you will never have to work another day for the rest of your life.”

He went on to explain to me that the next twelve months were the most difficult days he’d ever experienced in life. His loss of purpose, loss of focus and confusion about life hit an all-time high. It took a lot of work to get back to feeling “normal and happy.”

God promises when you find wisdom, God’s wisdom, it’s like you have just discovered a treasure chest for life. You will be happy; you will have understanding, your five talents will become ten, your days will be better, your paths will be more pleasant, and more peaceful.

Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding; For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, And her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. Length of days is in her right hand, In her left-hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, And all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, And happy are all who retain her. – Proverbs 3:13-18

When You Choose Wisdom You Are Buying Opportunity

The choice is not as complicated as it may sound, either walk circumspectly (accurately, exactly) or carelessly. To walk circumspectly is to embrace the guidance and the directions our heavenly Father has given us. It’s a commitment to use caution, to crosscheck our move before we commit so that we know we are not carelessly going the wrong way.

Walking circumspectly redeems the time. It is literally as if you are buying opportunity. If you want to make the most of this one life God has given you, stop, think, pray and ask God for wisdom along each step of your journey.

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. – Ephesians 5:15-17

When You Have Reverence For God, You Gain Knowledge For Life

The fear of the Lord is a healthy, reverence for Him. If you want to attain all the knowledge, He has to offer you, start with the foundation of reverence for God. When you elevate your view of God, valuing and respecting all that He is, you will be rewarded with wisdom for all areas of life.

The alternative is not great. Fools despise wisdom and instruction. A foolish person ignores God, doesn’t value His word, and has no regard for His voice in their life. Wisdom will not come to this person and life will continue to be hard.

Make Him central in your life. Value His word. Listen to His voice.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction. – Proverbs 1:7

7 Habits of Growing Christians

7 Habits of Growing Christians

Growing Christians aren’t advancing in their spiritual walk by accident.

Spiritual maturity comes to those who understand the concept of a “Christian walk.” Just the word picture itself tells you it takes steps, deliberate steps, to move forward in victory and spiritual growth. Just like a healthy person needs water, food, and air, a healthy spiritual life comes to those who understand what you need to be spiritually healthy. Think about the following “spiritual needs” list and see what is going well and what may be missing in your walk to spiritual maturity.

You Need To Connect With God’s Mission Field

Throughout scripture you see God identifying three key people groups, and it’s clear He wants His children to pay close attention to them as well. They are the fatherless, the widows and the poor. When you think about your “ministry involvement” remember that anything you are doing for the Lord is important, but don’t ignore “the least of these” He has placed around you. Your connection to God’s mission field will do wonders for accelerating your own heart for God.

When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. – Matthew 9:12
Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. – James 1:27

You Need To Practice Repentance

Being a good Christian is not about achieving perfection. As much as you or I may desire to do everything right, we just can’t. There are days we will blow it. A mature, growing Christian learns to seek God’s forgiveness regularly. Be careful not to fall into the trap of trying to prove to God and others that you are always right. Be humble enough to acknowledge sins and quickly ask for forgiveness. Admitting you are wrong, you have sinned, or that you made a mistake doesn’t make you a weaker Christian… it makes you a stronger one.

I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. – Psalm 32:5
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. – Psalm 51:2
He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. – Proverbs 28:13

You Need To Be a Giver, Not a Taker

The Apostle Paul had the hands of a leatherman! He pointed this out in his message to his converts in Ephesus. He was giving his final piece of “spiritual advice” after spending three years with them, deeply investing in their spiritual development day and night. So what was the comment about his hands? What was the point?

Many people who came to Christ in Ephesus were people of means. They had nice things, very nice things! They wore fancy clothes, they had lots of money and looked great in public. Paul was a tentmaker. He said, “I have coveted no one’s gold or apparel, these hands have provided for my necessities.” Paul was reinforcing a powerful truth. God has provided everything we have. Some people experience a wealth of resources, Paul neither condemned nor coveted other Christian’s material success. He was very comfortable with people who had much and people who had little.

Imagine this scene. Paul reminded them of this final truth. Our inheritance is coming in eternity. It is so much more blessed to give than to receive. He prayed with them. They walked him to his ship. Everyone cried. They knew they would likely never see him again and their heart was filled with this reality, “I’m going to miss this man’s teaching, I’m going to miss his influence and friendship.”

“Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn every one night and day with tears. “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. Then they all wept freely, and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spoke, that they would see his face no more. And they accompanied him to the ship. – Acts 20:31-38

You Need Fellowship and Community

The culture of true friendship is in danger of collapsing. Everyone sees it, everyone feels it, but so many ignore the obvious solution. The revival of true friendship could be the beginning of a spiritual revival among us. People are hurting, lonely and feel disconnected. Where do people look for the example of genuine friendship?

They look to the Christian community. We are the ones who experienced the unconditional love of God through His Son Jesus Christ. We are those who genuinely are commissioned to love those around us. It starts with loving our family well and it spills over into all our friendships.

Be generous with your words, actions, and even your resources toward others. Notice the last phrase of today’s passage. Be especially supportive “to the necessity of the saints.” Many among us have needs, but those who have sacrificed for their service to God in ministry are mentioned here as the ones who are often forgotten. Be a dear friend to them, care for them and be a partner in the calling of God in their life.

Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
Romans 12:9-13

You Need Compassion

It may be hard to wrap your mind around this, but have you ever considered that God is happy that some of His children are blessed with an abundance of wealth and resources, and He is also pleased that some of His children are poor? Why would God be okay with this “inequity?” In God’s sovereign plan, He knows what He is doing. One of the most powerful and spiritual acts of humanity is compassion. Having extra places you in a position to be compassionate, and when you are compassionate, your heart is aligned with God’s heart.

Those who live without an abundance of material resources learn to trust God in a unique way and model this trust to those who have more than they need. Each of God’s children, whatever their status by the world’s measure, encourages the other to abide in Him.

But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? I John 3:17

You Need To Trust the Bible Fully

The Bible isn’t just any other book. It is God’s word to us and it has the power to transform your heart, your mind, and soul. Don’t fall into the trap of ignoring this spiritual resource God has given you. Turn to it regularly as your source of truth, wisdom, and guidance.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Colossians 3:16

You Need To Love God More Than Material Things

Sometimes people think God is against material possessions. He’s not. It’s okay to have nice things. God blesses ingenuity, innovation, and hard work. Take whatever level of success God has given you and use it in ways that would please Him. Don’t love things, love God and love people instead. All the possessions you have are going to fade away, but your investment in your relationship with God and your impact on others will be rewarded for all eternity.

Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Rev 3:17-19