Serve and Give

May 18th, 2018

Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant . . . just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. Matthew 20:26b-28

1. SERVING IS FUN! These words of Jesus provide an example that is totally different from the selfish human framework we inherited from man’s fall — He came to serve. And through that, He altered the eternal course of humanity. We honor God when we help people (Matthew 5:16). When we abandon constant introspection and preoccupation with “me, me, me” and get out and serve others, we get refreshed. “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25 NIV).

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed. Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God. 2 Corinthians 9:8, 10-11

2. HOW TO GIVE. Since we are made in the image of God, we are called to be givers like He is — liberal and generous. When we give, it remedies greed and self-centeredness. The Bible tells us to tithe (give ten percent) from our income to our local church (Leviticus 27:30; Matthew 23:23, Malachi 3:10). Giving in addition to a tithe is an offering, over and above our tithe. Additionally, when we give our money or goods to the poor this is called alms. It’s better to give than receive, but we do also receive! We reap when we sow. It’s a win-win situation.

3. SHOW LOVE. God wants to anoint your daily routine. Start praying on a daily basis: “Here I am, God, use me,” and let the Holy Spirit use you. The little things you do for people — a text, a thank you, a door held open, an extra tip, sharing the Gospel — are the big things. If we function in these little acts of love with the heart of a servant, we can create a revolution in our world.

It’s more blessed to give than receive!
Pastor Jeff Perry
St. Louis Family Church®

DAILY CONFESSION:
I get to be a blessing to people – I don’t just look out for my interests, but I look out for the interests of other people. God delights in the prosperity of His people. When I refresh others, I will be refreshed, and when I sow bountifully, I reap bountifully! (Philippians 2:4; Psalm 35:27; Proverbs 11:25; 2 Corinthians 9:6).

tithe, noun
A tenth part. A portion of one’s annual income contributed voluntarily . . . especially a contribution of one tenth of one’s income for the support of the church.

Copyright © 2018 St. Louis Family Church. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted or distributed in any form without prior written permission of St. Louis Family Church. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. “tithe” The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Web. 15 May 2018. Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

The Equipping Power of Baptism

May 11th, 2018

Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” Acts 2:38-39

The Early Church models what Christianity is to be in the 21st century. Those believers went into the upper room, they prayed, and came out changed. The disciple Peter used to be a denier of Jesus. But in one day he was filled with the Holy Spirit and led over 3,000 people to Jesus (Matthew 26:74; Acts 2:14-41). Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we have the same mission to make Jesus known!

WATER BAPTISM. Baptism is a significant moment in the life of a Christian. Being baptized in water is an outward expression of the inward change of new life in Jesus (Galatians 3:27). The old person you once were has passed away, and the new person you are in Christ is alive and well! For a believer, going under that water symbolizes the death of the old person you were before salvation. Coming up out of the water symbolizes rising up into new life in Jesus (Romans 6:4).

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. Acts 1:8

BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT. Jesus promised that after He died and rose again, He would send us another Helper — the Holy Spirit. This promise of the Holy Spirit is for every person who receives Jesus as Savior. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is a separate event that happens after a person has become a Christian (John 20:22; Acts 1:5). It is a baptism of power and fullness (Acts 1:8). It gives us the ability to receive and function in the gifts of the Holy Spirit so that we can benefit the global Church and carry the message of Jesus Christ to the world (Luke 24:49; Mark 16:17).

God bless you!
Pastor Jeff Perry
St. Louis Family Church®

PRAY THIS PRAYER (Based on Colossians 1:9-11):
I pray that I may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding so that I will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord and please Him in all respects: bearing fruit in every good work, increasing in the knowledge of God, and strengthened with all power. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

bap·tize, verb
To initiate. To cleanse or purify

Copyright © 2018 St. Louis Family Church. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted or distributed in any form without prior written permission of St. Louis Family Church. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. “baptize” The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Web. 09 May 2018.

Why Church?

May 4th, 2018

And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day [of Jesus’ return] drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25

1. CHURCH IS GOD’S IDEA. When we study the Bible, we see people who experienced salvation through Jesus, and they had a real impact on the world. Throughout the book of Acts, the Early Church gathered together in unity before experiencing great acts of fruitfulness. They weren’t embracing a fancy philosophy; they found something with inherent, life-changing power.

2. WE GET EQUIPPED. God throws us all together with our porcupine quills to learn and grow together. Offenses will come – some deliberate, some unintentional – and they hurt. Yet, by the grace of God, we can forgive and move forward in love. When we maintain the simple, beneficial exercise of the Word, prayer, and staying in church, then we’ll grow strong in the Lord!

3. WE CAN SERVE OTHERS. Just as God anointed a group of people to spread the Gospel in the first century, God has appointed you and me to reach our world in the 21st century (Acts 17:26). As individuals, we’re meant to not only receive but also share our unique gifts, personalities, and abilities in order to strengthen and encourage each other and to accomplish much for the Kingdom of God.

Press on!
Pastor Jeff Perry
St. Louis Family Church®

DAILY CONFESSION:
I forgive others and maintain the love walk. I am intent on serving God and I consider how to encourage others to love and good deeds. I stay in church. For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in me will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:2, Hebrews 10:24-25, Philippians 1:6)

as·sem·bly, noun
A group of persons gathered together for a common reason. The putting together of manufactured parts to make a completed product.

Copyright © 2018 St. Louis Family Church. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted or distributed in any form without prior written permission of St. Louis Family Church. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. “assembly” The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Web. 29 March. 2018.

How to Pray

April 27th, 2018

But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. Luke 5:16

1. TAKE TIME TO PRAY. It’s worth it to spend time with Jesus. The great fruitfulness of our lives is rooted in meaningful, biblical prayer. When you go to God, start out with praise first and focus on God before going into your petitions. There is an abundance of wisdom and resource found in the presence of God.

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. Matthew 6:6 NKJV

2. FIND A PLACE TO PRAY. It’s important to pray as we go about the day, but it’s also important that we set aside specific times to pray without distractions like the phone, TV, or other people. Go to a quiet place where you can be alone with God and regularly spend time with Him. Pour out your heart to Him. Hidden prayer with God yields real results.

This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. 1 John 5:14-15

3. EXPECT ANSWERED PRAYER. Jesus reassured us that when we pray according to God’s will, He hears and answers us. If you’re not sure about God’s will, spend time in the Scriptures studying and finding out what God thinks about a certain area. Find promises in the Bible that correspond to your problems and meditate on those verses. And remember: when you pray, first forgive (Mark 11:25).

God bless you,
Pastor Jeff Perry
St. Louis Family Church®

PRAY THIS PRAYER:
God, I place You first in my life. You are so great and wonderful and worthy to be praised. Your will be done in my life and in the earth. I forgive anyone who has offended me. Help me to accomplish Your plans in my life. I trust You, God! In Jesus’ Name, amen!

pray, verb
To speak to God especially in order to give thanks or to ask for something. To make a request in a humble manner. To address God . . . with adoration, confession, supplication, or thanksgiving.

Copyright © 2018 St. Louis Family Church. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted or distributed in any form without prior written permission of St. Louis Family Church. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. “Pray.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 24 April 2018.

Read Your Bible: The Truth Will Set You Free

April 20th, 2018

So Jesus was saying . . . “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31-32

1. WHY WE READ GOD’S WORD. The truths in the Bible, inspired and revealed by the Holy Spirit, will bring us into the understanding of who God created each one of us to be. As we invest our time in reading the Scriptures, our minds get renewed and we trade in a smaller way of thinking for God’s amazing, big, beautiful, eternal thoughts!

2. WHEN TO READ THE WORD. Whenever you can. Read a Proverb or a chapter in the New Testament. Ponder a verse and let it become entrenched in your thinking. Listen to the Bible in the car, play it when you’re cleaning the kitchen, while you’re falling asleep – let it become a part of your world day and night (Psalm 1:2). If you haven’t read the Bible lately, read a few verses right now to push the reset button on your brain.

3. WHAT GOD’S WORD WILL DO FOR YOU. Faith is hearing what God has said and then believing Him enough to act on what He commanded. Where there is darkness, you can shine the eternal light of the Scriptures. Where there is sickness, you can take the promises of God and bring healing. Where there is despair, you can bring the Gospel and set captives free. With a humble heart, open the Bible and let it restore your mind, renew your vision, and awaken you concerning God’s purposes.

God bless you,
Pastor Jeff Perry
St. Louis Family Church ®

DAILY SCRIPTURE CONFESSION:
Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. I pay attention to God’s words. I do not let them depart from my sight; I keep them in my heart. They are life to me and healing to my body. I continue in God’s Word and I will know the truth and the truth will make me free (Romans 10:17; Proverbs 4:20-22; John 8:31-32).

truth, noun
The body of real things, events, and facts. Fact. Sincerity in action, character, and utterance. A transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality.

Copyright © 2018 St. Louis Family Church. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted or distributed in any form without prior written permission of St. Louis Family Church. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. “noun.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam- Webster, n.d. Web. 29 March 2018.

How to Grow in God

April 13th, 2018

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

GO FORWARD. When you receive Jesus, you become a new person. God wants you to grow and become spiritually strong – to learn to hear from Him and be guided by Him.

READ YOUR BIBLE. God’s Word is life and it changes us. When we get saved, God doesn’t ask that we turn our brains off, but rather that we get our minds renewed. (Ephesians 4:23). The Bible will change the way you think and help you to see things from God’s perspective.

OPEN YOUR HEART. It’s so important to keep your heart tender and completely surrendered to God. As we forgive others and repent of sin right away, we will not just survive but thrive, going forward and staying connected to God.

WALK WITH GOD. God wants to use you to do some extraordinary things. As we commit to developing ourselves through prayer, studying the Bible, and obeying God, we will see victory as we face life’s battles. He can even heal the hurts of your past and turn them into credibility when you reach out to someone else going through similar pain. Lift up your eyes and see the amazing life God has for you!

Life in Jesus gets better and better,
Pastor Jeff Perry
St. Louis Family Church®

DAILY SCRIPTURE CONFESSION:
Every day I’m growing more and more like Jesus. I forget what lies behind and I reach forward to what is ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. My path shines brighter and brighter until the full day (Ephesians 4:15; Philippians 3:13-14; Proverbs 4:18).

grow, verb
To develop and reach maturity. To be capable of growth; thrive. To expand; gain.

Copyright © 2018 St. Louis Family Church. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted or distributed in any form without prior written permission of St. Louis Family Church. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. “grow” The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Web. 29 March. 2018.

Receive Jesus

April 6th, 2018

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. John 3:16-17

1. WHY WE NEED JESUS. The Bible reveals that we all have sinned and fallen short of God’s wonderful plan for our lives (Romans 3:23). So God sent His Son, Jesus, to make things right. Sin can’t be overcome by self-help, philosophy, or good works. It’s conquered only by receiving Jesus who shed His blood and paid the penalty for us.

2. WHO JESUS IS. Jesus became part of the human race, taking upon Himself the form of man; yet He didn’t sin. He did not come to establish just another religion. He is not just one of many holy men. Jesus is the unique Being of the universe, one hundred percent God and one hundred percent man. And there is salvation in no one else.

3. WHAT JESUS DOES. Jesus came to save the world and restore what was lost. Whatever your problem, Jesus is the answer. He sacrificed his life, died on a cross, but then rose from the dead conquering sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:55).

4. HOW YOU CAN KNOW JESUS. God cares deeply for you, and from start to finish He has a good plan for your life. When we respond to Jesus and receive Him, something magnificent takes place: we’re no longer destined for hell – an eternity separated from God. Instead we get a new life filled with love and hope and joy. Call out to Jesus – He hears your prayer.

There is nobody like Jesus,
Pastor Jeff Perry
St. Louis Family Church®

PRAY THIS PRAYER TO RECEIVE JESUS:
God, In my heart I believe that Jesus truly is Your Son and that He died for my sins and rose from the dead. I repent for every time I have sinned. I accept Jesus into my life right now, to lead and guide me as my Lord. Thank You for saving me, and thank You that You have a great plan for my life!

re·ceive, verb
To permit to enter. To act as a receptacle or container for. To accept as authoritative, true, or accurate.

How to Live for God

March 30th, 2018

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. Psalm 37:3-5

1. KEEP A RECEPTIVE HEART. Think of our hearts as soil and the Word of God as seed. Jesus warns against rocky ground and says we must keep the soil of our hearts pliable. The condition of your heart will determine how the crop grows in your life.

2. CULTIVATE GROWTH. When you accept Jesus into your life, it’s important to take deliberate steps to let His truth take root in your heart so you can flourish and grow. Read the Bible, pray, go to church—all these things will help you mature in God and get rid of toxic thinking that tries to take root and choke your growth.

But the seed planted in the good earth represents those who hear the Word, embrace it, and produce a harvest beyond their wildest dreams. Mark 4:14-20 MSG

3. BEAR FRUIT. We are designed to be fruitful. Jesus allowed humanity to put the crown of thorns on His head and nail Him to the Cross so that the blessing of God could come into our lives. Because Jesus rose from the dead, you do not have to be driven by shame or guilt. Instead, God’s love can free you from sin and give you a fresh start today.

Happy Easter!
Pastor Jeff Perry
St. Louis Family Church®

To invite Jesus into your heart, pray this prayer:
God, I receive what You have for me. My heart is receptive. I hear the Word and accept it. I believe that Jesus truly is Your Son and that He died for my sins and rose from the dead. I repent for every time I have sinned. I accept Jesus into my life right now, to lead and guide me as my Lord. Thank You for saving me, and thank You that You have a great plan for my life to be fruitful! Amen.

cul·ti·vate, verb
To break up (soil) in preparation for sowing or planting. To promote the growth of. To improve and prepare (land), as by plowing or fertilizing.

Copyright © 2018 St. Louis Family Church. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted or distributed in any form without prior written permission of St. Louis Family Church. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. “cultivate.” Oxford Dictionaries. Web. 27 Mar 2018 . The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Web. 27 March 2018. Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Action Steps to Open Doors

March 23rd, 2018

But I [Paul] will remain in Ephesus until Pentecost; for a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. 1 Corinthians 16:8-9, 13-14

1. TO GET STRONG SEEK GOD. “The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1b NKJV). Life is at its best when we walk with the Lord. In King David’s moments of challenge, he did not disengage or go on autopilot. Instead He “strengthened himself in the Lord his God” (1 Samuel 30:6). That God is our God and He is the same faithful, strengthening God for us today as he was for David.

2. TO INCREASE FAITH WALK IN LOVE. “For [if we are] in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but only faith activated and expressed and working through love” (Galatians 5:6 AMP). Faith works through love! That’s how people will know we are Christians – by our love for each other (John 13:35). Disagreements and arguments come, but we can’t go wrong if we lift up Jesus and cover one another in love.

3. TO BE READY RENEW YOUR HEART. “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (Galatians 6:9). Lethargy and numbness can creep up and make us not ready for the doors God opens. That’s why we must continually renew our hearts through prayer, by getting in the Word, by taking time to encourage someone else, and by praising God.

Press on,
Pastor Jeff

DAILY CONFESSION: THE ARMOR OF GOD
I am strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. I put on the full armor of God, so that I will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. I stand my ground and put on the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness, and the shoes of the peace that comes from the Gospel. I take up the shield of faith with which I will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And I put on the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit – which is God’s Word. And I stay alert and persistent in my prayers for all believers everywhere and pray at all times in the Spirit (Ephesians 6:10-18).

ac·tion, noun
Organized activity to accomplish an objective. Habitual or vigorous activity; energy.

Copyright © 2018 St. Louis Family Church. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted or distributed in any form without prior written permission of St. Louis Family Church. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Web. 20 March. 2018. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Scripture taken from the Amplified Bible (AMP), Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

Five Steps Toward Fruitfulness

March 16th, 2018

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit. John 15:7-8a

2018 is a season of fruitfulness. As we fast and pray in the following weeks, here are five words that the Lord put on my heart to help us accomplish all He has called us to this year!

1. STRENGTHENING. Like King David did, we can strengthen ourselves in the Lord and receive His power for the next steps (1 Samuel 30:6). Throughout your day, continually reinforce God’s perspective in your heart through reading the Word or a devotional or by listening to a sermon podcast.

2. FULFILLMENT. The dictionary defines this as a “feeling of satisfaction at having achieved one’s desires.” When we finish one mission, there is always another ahead. That’s why it’s important to celebrate our accomplishments and breakthroughs by taking time to be thankful and rejoice in what God has done.

3. ACHIEVEMENT. While everyone loves big heroic deeds, it’s also the daily acts of obedience that change lives. So we get up and pray expecting results. We go to our jobs expecting God to move in the workplace. We pick up our kids from school, knowing God is in it.

4. PROSPERITY. God delights in the prosperity of His people (Psalm 35:27). It’s not something to be misunderstood or ashamed of. God gives seed to the sower, meaning we are called to take His provision and be givers to the world around us.

5. ABUNDANCE. Jesus came that we might have abundant life (John 10:10). God invites us into His abundance in every area of life. His provision is without restrictions or limitations – He wants our souls to flourish, our families to be full of life, and our finances to be healthy so that we can provide for ourselves and others.

Press on!
Pastor Jeff Perry
St. Louis Family Church®

DAILY CONFESSION:
I smile at the future because the joy of the Lord is my strength. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him. God is able to make all grace abound to me, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, I may have an abundance for every good deed. (Proverbs 31:25; Nehemiah 8:10; Psalm 28:7; 2 Corinthians 9:8)

Copyright © 2018 St. Louis Family Church. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted or distributed in any form without prior written permission of St. Louis Family Church. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. “fulfillment.” Memidex Dictionary/Thesaurus. Web. 14 Mar 2018 . “fruitfulness.” Collins English Dictionary. Web. 14 Mar 2018 .