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2014 Archives

Love Revolution: Who is Love?

The title of this sermon series this month is “Love Revolution”.

Definition of a revolution:
rev·o·lu·tion
ˌrevəˈlo͞oSHən/Submit
noun
1. a forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new system.

Love can be a noun, and a verb. Love is something I can do. Love is an idea/thing, but love is also a person.

When I was in school I was a part of UIL. UIL is where students get the chance to compete with other students in competitions such as Debate Team, Theater Arts, Drama, Math, Creative Writing, and more.

I’ve always had a thing for writing. There’s something about writing that I enjoy far more than speaking. With writing I’m able to take the time to think, press backspace, and communicate just the way I want to be heard. Speaking is different, because emotions, distractions, enunciation, and more factors come into play, and can sometimes be a fog in front of the message I am trying to convey.

I was proud to be a part of the creative writing team, and I was fantastic at it. I could come up with some of the most outlandish stories, and I loved every minute of it. One of the things our creative writing coaches told me has stuck with me, even after all these years. I don’t even remember her name, but I remember this trick she taught me, and I even still impliment it into my writing. She said, “If you really want to report a good story, you want to make sure you cover the bases of who what where when and why.”

So I went on to win medals and score very well on the UIL creative writing team, and after all these years I still write, and I still remember what that teacher taught me.

I want to apply this little tool that my coach taught me, to the “idea” of love. Love can be a noun, or it can be a verb. It’s something that you do… but it’s also an idea/concept… and it’s also a person.

Well, if I were to apply the whole concept, we’d be here for much longer than what you’re gonna be able to tolerate my voice. So I will cover the “WHO” aspect of LOVE.

Who
What
Where
When
Why

Who is love? The obvious “Christianese” answer is God, right? God IS love. It’s the very essence of His character. It’s the core of His being and it’s because He loves us that we’re even capable of loving Him in return. It’s the love of the Father that enables us to love others.

That’s why I knew that today God wanted me to come and clear up some confusion about who He is. God is love.

So why are so many people confused about the character of God?

I know people ARE confused because I see the evidence of their confusion splattered all over picket signs, Facebook, bumper stickers, and the news.

“God hates fags!”, they scream out in their confusion.
“God is angry with sinners and He is judging this nation!” he yells as he clutches his picket sign and shakes a fist at the passerbyes.

I think I even know WHY these people are confused. I believe they have only been enlightened to one aspect of who God was. They don’t know why God was angry and full of wrath, but we know that we have scripture to prove that God indeed was angry.

In order to fully understand why God was full of wrath, I want to read to you:
Romans 4:15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.

So the LAW brings the wrath of God.

But according to my Bible, we’re not under the law any longer. Scripturally, I can prove that. I’m going to list many verses here, and I’m not gonna read through every one of these verses. I’m expecting you to go through them on your own and look them up. I never want you to say, “Well Amber said such and such, so it must be true.” I want you to test all words, no matter if it is me, Rene, or the Pope up here.

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  • “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Romans 6:14.
  • Christians are ”dead to the law.” Romans 7:4.
  • “If ye be led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law”Galatians 5:18.
  • Christians are “delivered from the law.” Romans 7:6.
  • “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster “ [the law]. Galatians 3:24-25.
  • For Christians, the Law is “that which is done away.” II Corinthians 3:11.
  • For Christians, the Law is “that which is abolished.” II Corinthians 3:13.
  • For Christians, Jesus, on the Cross, was “blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us.”Colossians 2:14.
  • For Christians, the Law is taken “out of the way” and nailed “to his cross.” Colossians 2:14.
  • “When God speaks of a new [covenant or agreement],He makes the first one obsolete (out of use). And what isobsolete (out of use and annulled because of age) is ripe for disappearance and to be dispensed with altogether.” Hebrews 8:13, The Amplified Version
  • “And after that he said, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. Thus he put an end to the first in order to establish the second.” Hebrews 10:9, Lamsa Translation
  • So, it can be confusing for people who think we still live under the covenant of Moses.
  • The covenant of Moses was faulty.
  • Hebrews 8:6 …Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.

So if I take a verse recorded in the Bible, pluck it out, and slap it on a sign, I might feel more justified in my judgment and anger towards people who are different than me, but if I’m taking a verse about the wrath of God UNDER the LAW, and waving it at a potential covenant Christian…. I take issue with that.

Even Jesus said He didn’t come into the world to condemn it, but to save us. John 3:17

Hebrews 8:13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

Wow.That sounds cool. This verse here is very interesting to me. It did not make sense to me at first, because we are not a culture that understands the concept of a covenant. Covenents are serious business.

Israel’s law is given in the form of a covenant. A covenant is a formal, legal contract between two parties. Covenant’s weren’t a foreign thing to the Israelites. When you read your Bible, instead of trying first figure out “what is this scripture saying to ME?”, you will better understand the true meaning of the scripture by asking yourself “what did this mean to the original hearers?” I can’t decide this piece of scripture means something other than what the original author would have meant while speaking to actual people. They would have known that the only way a covenant could be done away with is if it were finished.

And what did Jesus say on the cross… “It is finished.”

And again Jesus alludes that he has COMPLETED the law:
Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to do away with the Law of Moses or the writings of the early preachers. I have not come to do away with them but to complete them.

So the law was completed/fulfilled/finished (depending on what translation you’re reading) by Jesus.

Well it just doesn’t end there,because if Jesus was going to finish the law and make the Old Covenant obsolete, as He said He had done in

Hebrews 10:16 16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,”

So in the old covenant, God led His people as an external force. He was the cloud by day, fire by night. He led them by laws imposed externally. But what He is saying here is that I will no longer guide my people with external laws, as I did in the past. The better covenant I will make them is when I write my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds.

You see, when you’re born again Jesus makes you His dwelling place. He will show you right from wrong. He will lead you into all truth. He will be the best tudor you ever could hope for if you’ll begin to be a student of His word.

Don’t be afraid to dig into the word of God with a fresh mind, and a fresh heart, not looking through the lense of what old Pastor Billy from the good old days taught. Instead of going to God’s word trying to figure out another doctrine, push every preconceived notion and read God’s word as if it could actually teach you God’s nature and His ways.

As I showed you today, it’s not always easy to read God’s word. Sometimes we have to do some deeper digging. We have to ask ourselves “What in the world was this supposed to mean to the people Jesus was speaking to… or Apostle Paul…. What would have this meant to Peter, who did originally speak this?”

What I’m trying to say is this: The word of God can’t mean something different to us today than it did to the original hearers and writers. That’s gonna help you study more effectively, and also, I’m here for you. I don’t have the answers to everything, but I know how to do research… and I know other smart people. Don’t look so shocked.

My hope is today that you feel encouraged, and that you have a clear picture of what God’s character is like. God is love. For God so loved the World that He gave His son to die for you. You are loved, and you are worth a lot. My Jesus is not a bad investor. Why would He even bother to die in your place if you were worthless?

There is a love that is as strong as death. A love that compelled the King to come and die the death of a criminal.

I would also like to extend an invitation to you to listen to the audio version of this sermon.

A TURNAROUND FOR YOU..

A word by Dana Jarvis

I decree you are making the spiritual journey from the bondage of Egypt into your promised land of destiny. I know you have grown weary. Do not let the murmurings and complaining attitudes rule you. It causes the faith to waiver! Your focus is upon the cup of bitter waters that you are currently drinking from.

Rest assured that your God is making these bitter waters sweet!

You shall taste and see that the Lord is good! You are going to see such extravagance in your daily life. He is delivering much into your hands so reach up and take hold. Just as he was with you before, he is with you now. You are going to drink deep of the Living Waters. The bitter waters of life have tried to steal all joy.

However I hear the Lord say, “It is done, I am the Lord who heals you. I am the Lord who will restore you. I am the Lord who will provide your every need. I am the One that is making the bitter waters sweet!”

I feel so strongly that God is removing your cup of bitter waters you have had to drink for so long. He is causing a turnaround for you in a situation that you desperately need him to move. I am speaking to several and know this word is for you. Even as the Lord led Moses and the children of Israel from their bondage at the Red Sea, it still took one step of faith. One step of faith is all it takes to cause a release from all of this. Take a moment and sow into good ground by giving into Spirit Fuel. For just a contribution of $25, $50, or even $100 or more given into Spirit Fuel is an active step and good ground on which to sow. It is a powerful ministry reaching the world for Christ. As you sow that offering, it is that act of faith that will cause the Red Sea where you are standing to part in your life. The bitter cup will be removed and the sweetness of the Lord shall begin to flow!

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My name is Amber Picota. I am a wife, pastor, published author, and mother of 3 amazing children. My husband and I moved to Virginia 3 years ago with a dream placed in our hearts by God to plant a life giving church. That church is Streams of Life Church in Winchester, Virginia. I married a crazy guy. And by crazy I mean ridiculously awesome and handsome. I see that he has stolen my heart taken me far out of my comfort zone, and shook me out of a life of complacency. Seriously, had I not met this wild man, I wonder if I wouldn't still just be living in a tiny little town, in my tiny little world, caring nothing for the big world out there, content to just not have anybody rock my boat. But then Rene came along... rocking my boat and such. I'm so glad he came along and shook things up. He awakened something within me, and now we're a dangerous combination of boat rockers. Together, through our authority in Christ, we are a force to be reckoned with: rocking boats, challenging the status quo, planting this church, and believing God for the miraculous. Together we bring heaven to Earth. My kids are awesome little world changers, and it's my pleasure to teach them and train them up in the Kingdom of God. I believe they are history makers, who were born for greatness, and I plan to train and disciple them accordingly. Who knows where God will take it from there, but I am passionate about training leaders to walk in power and authority. I have a desire to see the Body of Christ bring heaven to Earth. I have a desire to mobilize God's people into their dreams. There is a move of God inside of every believer, but most people have been stifled and silenced by dream killers. I want to stir those dreams back up because I believe those dreams are your move of God in the Earth.