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Development

Hearing God’s Voice: Seven Ways to Test a Voice

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Don’t believe everything you hear just because someone says it is a message from God; test it first to see if it really is! 1 John 4:1 (LB)

Anyone who wants to do God’s will can test this teaching and know whether it’s from God or whether I’m making it up. John 7:17 (Msg)

The Bible tells us that the heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9). In other words, our hearts are unreliable and we cannot always trust what they’re telling us. So how, then, can we know if what we’re hearing is from God? In today’s episode, we’ll discuss seven ways you can test a voice to discern if it’s from God.

  1. DOES IT AGREE WITH THE BIBLE?

Luke 21:33 (NIV), Proverbs 12:19 (NLT), Galatians 1:8 (NLT)

  1. DOES IT MAKE ME MORE LIKE CHRIST?

Philippians 2:5 (NCV), 2 Corinthians 10:5 (GW), James 3:14-17 (NIV)

  1. DOES MY CHURCH FAMILY CONFIRM IT?

Ephesians 3:10 (NIV), Proverbs 11:9 (GN), Proverbs 11:14b (KJV)

  1. IS IT CONSISTENT WITH HOW GOD HAS SHAPED ME?

Spiritual Gifts | Heart | Abilities | Personality | Experiences

Your SHAPE reveals significance!

Ephesians 2:10 (NIV), Romans 12:6 (LB)

  1. DOES IT CONCERN MY RESPONSIBILITY?

John 21:22 (NIV), Romans 14:4 (NIV), Romans 14:10, 13 (Ph)

  1. IS IT CONVICTING RATHER THAN CONDEMNING?

CONVICTION (from God) VS. CONDEMNATION (from Satan)

Conviction exposes what’s wrong, while condemnation attacks your value.

Romans 8:1 (NLT), Revelation 3:19 (Amp), Revelation 12:10 (NIV)

  1. DO I SENSE GOD’S PEACE ABOUT IT?

We need God’s presence in the midst of fear and uncertainty.

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10 Ways to Hear God’s Voice

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1.Realize you were born for a relationship with God. It’s the primary reason you were created. Many people ask the question, “What’s my purpose?” Here’s the primary answer, according to scripture—to be in relationship and continual conversation with God.

In the book of Genesis, God creates Adam for relationship with Him. This is the default mode of humanity! You were literally created for the purpose of being in a relationship with God where He speaks to you, listens to you, and provides deep connection. 

James 4:8 Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.

2. Check your motive for wanting to hear God’s voice. You cannot fully realize your purpose until getting a heart check at your motive. 

Proverbs 21:2 Every way of a man is right in His own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.

1 Thessalonians 2:4 But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the Gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. 

3.Readjust your expectations. Don’t just expect to hear from God.

In 1 Kings 19:11 Elijah, the great prophet of God, experienced the WIND, EARTHQUAKE, and FIRE…then it was actually in a small, still voice that God used to speak to him. 

You might be in a season of wind, then a season of shaking, then a season of burning up, all so that you can hear the still small voice of God. Sometimes God will separate you from the emotional experiences to show you how reliable His voice really is. (listen to the podcast audio of this teaching here) 

4.Sharpen your hearing with humility.

Phillipians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves.

You’ll hear God’s voice most clearly when you are trying to hear it for someone else! If you don’t particularly hear God for yourself, you may experience breakthrough asking Him to speak to you an encouraging word for someone else! 

5.Don’t try to force it.  The best way to get new information from God is to be obedient to what He has already told you. Re-read that! 

6.God Communicates through many forms, but often uses your mind. 

Philippians 4:8 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. 

7.Renew Your Mind 

If God is primarily speaking to you through your mind, it is very important for your thought life to be in alignment with His word. Renew your mind by praying, reading scripture, and setting your thoughts on Him

8.Interpret the Written Word with the Living Word. The Holy Spirit teaches all things (John 14:26). This is why reading scripture with the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of you is such a different experience. He will teach you all things, give you fresh revelation and insights, and help you unlock the mysteries of scripture. 

9.Learn God’s character to discern His voice. He will never contradict his word. The more time you spend seeing how God has acted in circumstances across History, the more aquatinted you’ll become with His loving goodness. 

10.Set aside time to intentionally listen.

Prayer is a dialogue, not a monologue. This means that your prayer time should include listening time. He’s speaking too!

There’s noise …let’s take time to listen now…drop a comment with what God said to you!

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How to Overcome Stress

By | Development, Leadership | No Comments

Over 70% of Americans report that that struggle with this one thing.

STRESS.

Symptoms include: mind racing, insomnia, fatigue, irritability, anger. These are physical or psychological effects of STRESS according to the American Institute of Stress *yes, this actually exists. 

Stress comes into all our lives to varying degrees. So what causes it and why do we experience stress? Here are the top causes:

  1. Work
  2. Finances
  3. Relationships
  4. Health
  5. Media Overload 

How, as Christians, should we deal with stress? Today, we are going to discuss four ways to overcome stress. 

1. ADMIT THERE’S A PROBLEM

Psalm 32:2

Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!

You cannot address a problem you’re unwilling to admit. Death among men is primarily greater because we won’t admit there’s a problem. We don’t go to the doctor. We won’t seek biblical counsel from a pastor. We won’t seek advice from a connect group leader.

Admit there’s a problem, not just that you’re stressed (there’s a difference!) 

2. STOP MEDICATING THE WRONG WAYS!

Cigarette style solutions: do you have cigarette style solutions? Maybe you do and don’t realize it. This is the science behind a cigarette: it simultaneously speeds up your heart rate while sending signals to your brain that you’re calming down. It’s deceptive. 

What’s a cigarette solution to stress? Something that tells your mind you’re feeling better while destroying some other part of you! BOOM!!

Oh, that new relationship —that’s a cigarette solution. You never resolved the issues of the last relationship. This is signaling to your mind that you’re feeling better, but how you do relationships is destroying you. 

Oh, the way you just spent your money—that’s a cigarette solution. It just made you feel better to have retail therapy, but while your mind feels better, your budget is being destroyed. 

The lie of cigarettes is that you FEEL better while the carcinogens are killing you. The lie of most of our solutions to stress is that they are making us FEEL better while they’re ruining our lives!

The price we pay for the feeling is greater than the cost of the stress we sought relief from. 

Psalm 107:28-30

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distresses. He caused the storm to be still, so that the waves of the sea were hushed/ Then they were glad because they were quiet, so He guided them to their desired haven. 

Notice the revelation in this scripture: I cried out to the Lord FIRST. Then I allowed Him to bring me out (this is the hardest part for us). Then He guided me to safety.

3. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF

1 Corinthians 10:31

whatever we do, we do it for the glory of God. The way we live makes God look good when we glory Him in our actions. 

Stress takes our energy and causes brain fog. 

In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he addressed this mind/body connection. He advised them to take care of their bodies because our bodies are a living temple (like a mobile church), a dwelling place for the Spirit of Christ. 

When we were children, the most natural thing was free movement. We danced at the marriage conference, something spiritual was connected to something physical. 

I’ve seen people cry in workouts because the physical movement was connected to the release of mental stress. Mental stress can even manifest as physical ailments. 

Jesus described being a true believer as coming into a child-like Kingdom…I think part of the restoration is the restoration of free movement. 

You are 25% less likely to develop depression or anxiety, according to the Anxiety ND Depression Association of America, if you regularly exercise. 

One of the most spiritual things you can do is go for a vigorous prayer walk.

4. SEEK GOD, DECLARE HIS WORD

We are spiritual beings have a physical experience, not physical beings have a spiritual experience. 

We live in a spiritual war zone. The most important battle is spiritual because what we see is temporary, but the unseen, spiritual world is eternal! The real war is over eternal territory. 

You must be armed with scripture. Something I want to make a regular question between V1 Church people is, “what’s your scripture?!” 

When someone is telling you about what they’re going through…what they’re stressed about, “What’s your scripture?!” 

Remember we said that a cigarette sends a signal to your mind that things are better, but wreaks havoc on your body? 

Scripture is the opposite….you declare scripture even when your mind still isn’t right and things begin to align in your life. Sometimes your mind is the LAST thing to get the signal when scripture is being declared….but God didn’t ask us to figure it out, He asked us to align with HIS thoughts, HIS ways.

We conform our thoughts, we mold our mind, to His thoughts.

Let’s go through the four steps together now. 

Take a moment with God.

ADMIT to Him what’s stressing you out. Stop making excuses, and just cry out to God. He knows, and He’s there listening.

Next step, REPENT! Stop medicating the wrong way. Examine all the ways you use to distract yourself from stress and make yourself feel temporarily better. Now give those over to the Lord.

Next, CONFESS that you are going to take care of yourself! You are valuable, and the world needs you. So feel free to invest in yourself (guilty moms etc. You are WORTH it!!) You can not care for others the way God asks you to if you yourself are not well cared for.

And finally, DECLARE HIS WORD! Find some scriptures to hang on to, and repeat to yourself when you are struggling. Print them out, post them in your office, your car, your bathroom mirror. Find ways to remind yourself of His truths throughout your day.

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU

This free ebook resource, “New Year, New Me” will take you from chaos to clarity.

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Overcome Self-Pity

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In John 21, Jesus comes back from death and invites the disciples to breakfast. They had all recently failed him. They scattered out of fear before the crucifixion. They had returned back to the mundane after the crucifixion, even though they spent three years in ministry training, witnessing the majestic. 

But what I love so much about John 21 is that Jesus never mentions any of that…He simply invites them back to the table when He returns. He prepares food for them and then invites them back to a place of intimacy and provision. He invites them back to the place for proximity. He invites them back to family. After breakfast, Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me?” …and then proceeds to give Peter his next assignment. 

Isn’t it just like Jesus to give you another assignment after failure? Isn’t it just like Jesus to refuse to allow you to default back to the mediocrity of your old life? 

I failed marriage and I failed fatherhood—BUT GOD. He keeps inviting me back to the table. He keeps giving me new assignments. He keeps honoring me while I become what He’s honoring in faith. I don’t know who this is for, but Jesus always makes it harder for us to go back to the life we left to follow Him. The best is waiting for you at the table. Come eat.

After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. 

Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.

When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.

(John 21:1-13)

Do you love me? FEED MY SHEEP. 

Jesus is putting something on display. He is feeding them breakfast. Jesus is inviting them to the table….and asking that they now invite others to the table. When Jesus appeared they didn’t recognize it was Jesus, but they obeyed… 

Peter and the disciples were going to be sent out to groups of people that would not know Jesus, but will obey and respond to the call. 

Jesus is inviting us back to the table with him…. 

But He is also asking us: will you continue to invite people back to YOUR table when they reject you? When they gossip about you? When they hurt you?

Peter, if you love me, love people the way I love you.

The disciples may not have listened to a carpenter tell them how to be fishermen. Sometimes we have our own mind made up. We are so secure in how WE do things, in how WE do ministry, but if we will be fishermen who are willing to listen to a carpenter, and put our nets down on the other side, we will have more than we can contain.

Jesus is always inviting us to the table. He keeps inviting us back. 

Jesus intentionally did not mention to Peter his failure. As a matter of fact, previously, He sent an angel messenger to tell His disciples and ALSO tell Peter, I am risen! In other words, look Peter right in the eyes and say, “Peter, your ministry isn’t over, it’s just getting started!” Jesus is risen!!

Breakfast is a ritual. Jesus invited Peter back to the ritual.

Sometimes, we are too busy striving to honor the ritual, too busy trying to make it happen for ourselves that we forgot the ritual. You’re not too busy for church…you’re striving too much to stop for the ritual. 

Working hard without Jesus hardly works. Obedience to Jesus always carries bigger results than hard work without obedience.  

Self pity occurs when we are more concerned with what we think we should have than what God already gave us. 

Self pity occurs when we are more concerned with what we want to do than the mission right in front of us. 

Self pity is a barrier to progress. It’s easier to return back to something familiar, to mediocrity. To go back to breakfast and miss the ritual.  But you can’t even be good at your old life. You old life doesn’t satisfy. 

JESUS in His mercy comes TO YOU. 

Even when JESUS is attempting to save you, you won’t be able to recognize its HIM DOING IT. Jesus is trying to use CHURCH and PASTORS but you can’t recognize HIM.

The disciples couldn’t recognize Jesus, but they obeyed. Sometimes you can’t tell it’s Jesus, but you still need to OBEY.

How do you get freedom from self pity?

BE WILLING TO TRY SOMETHING A DIFFERENT WAY. GO BACK TO THE TABLE.

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10 Enemies of Process

By | Development, Video | One Comment

10 enemies of process.

1. Self Pity

2. Fear

3. Counterfeit Vision

4. Compromise

5. Shame

6. Haters

7. Comfort

8. Impatience (False Start)

9. Inconsistency (faithfulness) You’ll be eating faithfulness while you’ll be sitting at the table with inconsistency

10. Selfishness

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How to Simplify Systems for Personal Growth

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But how many times do you get distracted in a typical day? Ten? Fifty? A hundred? Research indicates that the average worker is distracted once every three minutes. We’re swimming upstream against a flood of emails, notifications, texts, and drop-in visitors. You just can’t be productive in that environment.

The good news is that regaining your focus is easier than you think. Just a few simple practices can slam the door on interruptions and give you the focused time you need for high-leverage work. These are things you can start doing right now, today.

Here’s what’s you’ll gain from this episode—

  • Practical tips for creating “alone zone” for deep work.
  • The practice of “meeting free Thursdays” and how it’s impacted our business.
  • Apps and sites that can help you block distractions.
  • The types of food scientifically proven to increase mental acuity.
  • The scientific link between music and problem solving.
  • The best methods for timing breaks to keep your mind fresh.
  • How to use your the one tool you use the most as a firewall against unwanted meetings and visitors.

Plus, our producers surprised us with a pop quiz about our favorite productivity hacks. It was a ton of fun!

After you listen, we hope you’ll choose at least one or two of these simple practices and start using them today. You’ll be amazed at how it will boost your productivity.

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU

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Default Mode: Do You Want to Get Well?

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I want to start this post by taking you back 2000 years ago to a pool called Bethesda, beside which is a man who has been unwell, an invalid, for 38 years. This man lies beside the pool and watches as others go into it and receive healing while he sits there at the edge day after day after day.

Fast forward 2000 years and you see you, phone in hand. You’re scrolling through Instagram loving the post of the couple who just bought their forever home while you’re still living in a 600 square foot apartment, or the post of your best friend who just got engaged while you’re still single but so very desperate to mingle, or the post of that V1 Dream Team member who recently surrendered his life to Christ and has experienced radical growth and freedom while you’re still searching for yours after all these years of following Him.

And what happens next is the same thing that happened 2000 years ago, Jesus walks up to you, just as He walked up to the invalid, opens His mouth and asks, “Do you want to get well?” Now I can’t be positive but at this point I’m sure both you and the invalid are offended, because you would think the answer to this question would be an automatic yes. However, the invalid’s response was not yes, but an excuse: “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” What would your response be if Jesus came up to you and asked you, “Do you want to buy a house?” Would your response be, “Yes,” or, “Well I live in the most expensive city in the US?” If He asked, “Do you want to get married?” Would your response be, “Yes,” or, “There are no good, Christian men?” If Jesus asked if you want to be set free would you respond, “Yes,” or would your response be, “My pastor doesn’t have time for me?”

When you are in default mode you will not even take the opportunity to get well.

People who are in default mode, when asked if they want to get well, will always have an excuse. But thank Jesus He doesn’t take our excuses when we offer them! We can give Him an infinite amount of excuses, reasons, for why we can’t “get well” but even in the midst of all of those excuses Jesus can still deliver the cure, because the details of your circumstance really do not matter to Jesus. They do not stop His ability to heal. Jesus told the man to pick up his mat and walk and he did it despite his circumstances and excuses.

https://twitter.com/mikesignorelli_/status/1128632008291291137

But the first step to getting free is to get real. We have this idea that we have to clean ourselves up first, that we have to make ourselves a candidate for the cure. This story of the man at the pool disproves that. This man didn’t put on his Sunday best and show up to church so that he qualified for his healing. No, Jesus came to him in his funk and He will come to you in yours because you are loved by Jesus despite everything that you do and you will never be able to fathom the extent of His Goodness in your life!

Some of you still don’t believe me because you have too much religion in your heart and not enough relationship with Jesus. Religion can only change your behavior, not your heart. You’re disqualifying yourself from the miracle because you think you haven’t done enough: you haven’t fasted enough, read His Word enough, you still have alcohol in your system, whatever it is. Let me rock your whole perspective on that: when asked who healed him, the former invalid didn’t even know Jesus’s name! Jesus wants to radically change your life before you even really know who He is! Now I do believe that belief is a prerequisite to a miracle, but sometimes in God’s goodness, even while we haven’t figured it all out, He just wants to overwhelm us with His goodness.

It is not your works that will heal you. Default mode has made you predictable. The enemy knows what you’re going to do next. He knew the invalid would just sit and wait by the pool just like he knows your default when life gets tough is to stress eat, down some alcohol, spend money you don’t have, etc. But thankfully God knows the x-factor: your destiny, your purpose. You want to get out of that predictable default mode, become unpredictable and reach your destiny? Actually do what Jesus is telling you to do! Do that early morning workout instead of hitting the snooze button five times! Invest in yourself so you can learn the skills that will get you a job that you actually love! Plant yourself and serve in your local church because #gafftapesaveslives and you are more likely to receive healing and freedom in serving than you are in a meeting with your pastor!

Lastly and most importantly: stop sinning. Healing the man at the pool of Bethesda was a miracle, but another miracle happens when Jesus tells you to stop sinning and you do it. Despite the fact that the miracle of walking and the miracle of stopping sinning require the same amount of obedience most Christians will believe in the miracle of walking, but not the miracle of being able to stop sinning. Yet the purpose of every miracle is, “Stop sinning.” Do not use your freedom to run back into the bowels of hell, back into default mode, but into the arms of your Savior.

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU

This free ebook resource, “New Year, New Me” will take you from chaos to clarity.

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