Author: Olivia Andrade

Path that Leads. Steps that Give.

“As a disciple of Jesus, I am called to follow Him and His pathway. I cannot pick and choose how I follow Him.” Marcial Samaniego //

Following Jesus is more than a one-time declaration. Yes, if you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord, you will be saved (Romans 10:9), but it does not end there. The difference between a believer and non-believer is not only a decision to follow Jesus but also a journey of choices to pursue God’s plans and not your own. Making the decision to follow Jesus is absolutely crucial and often kickstarts this new path we have access to, initiating a lifestyle of saying yes to Jesus, obeying and surrendering, and trusting His plans.

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Matthew 7:13-14

We are meant to be those who don’t just enter the gate but walk along the path that leads to life. Actually, we are called to run!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

There is a race set before you, and you stay on that path by keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus. It may take your life in different directions or to places that you would never have expected, but if you are following Jesus and are where He has led you, then that is the best place you can be. However, if we never take time to fix our eyes on Jesus and ask for His direction, we could be off the path and not even know it. It is not necessarily a matter of a bad path versus a good path. It’s between our good and God’s best.

It may have been a long time ago or just recently that you took time to ask God for His direction. You may already have ways that you do this, but if you are looking for something new and fresh, here are a couple of ways you can pause, focus on Jesus, and seek His path.

Study the life of Jesus.

To walk in His pathways, whether directionally specific or how to live like Jesus, we first have to learn them. We can’t live like Jesus if we don’t know how He lived. When is the last time that you read the Gospels and asked yourself how you could live like Jesus today? To know and walk in the paths God has for us starts with us knowing how Jesus lived, and we learn that through relationship with Him.

Ask questions and listen.

Maybe you need direction for the next season of your life, but you feel like you are getting no direction from God. Sometimes we don’t know what to do because we haven’t even asked the Holy Spirit. Or even if we are asking questions, they may be the wrong questions, but we will only realize that when we listen to Him. Take time to ask the Holy Spirit, where are you right now? As a follower of Jesus, what path are you on?

Surrender and obey.

The path that God has for you is better than anything you create. Do you genuinely believe that? Deep down, do you think that He has steps for you to take that for your good and His glory? Resolving this inside of us sets us up to surrender and obey. Surrender our expectations and plans and obey where Jesus is leading. As we keep our eyes fixed on Him, it truly is worth it.

Nations Sunday

“There is a part of God’s heart that we will only get to know when we get our lives involved with the poor and needy.” Don Steadman //

If you’ve read the Bible for any amount of time, read any chapter, or sang any worship song, there is a characteristic of God that we all know: his heart for the poor.

God is described in Psalms as a “father to fatherless, a defender of widows” (Psalm 68:5-6). He “raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; He sets them with princes” and, “He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children” (Psalm 113:7-9). God’s heart for the needy mark Him, and His love for them isn’t just deep, but extravagant.

It’s one thing to know God cares for the poor—logically, that makes sense. But what is God’s heart for all the peoples of the earth? And why?

“He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me? declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 22:16).

There is a part of God’s heart that we will only get to know when we get our lives involved with the poor and needy. It is the vein of loving God and loving others, and when we relinquish that responsibility to everyone else but ourselves, we give up a piece of God that we will never know and miss out on the grander story.

Most of us think missions are a “good thing”, but for someone else, the “holiest” of us. We fail to realize it is a commission given to all of us and is a direct invitation into the grander story of salvation through Jesus. This invitation, to step into the metanarrative of how God is at work in the earth, is ingrained into who we are. We are all made in the image of God, and He cares about the poor and needy, those who have not yet heard. How can we not respond to what is on His heart? It’s not that people don’t need or want Jesus – they just don’t know Him yet. How do they get to know Him? There is an open invitation for us to fill that role:

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of Jesus of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:13-15).

God wants us to step into relationship with people all across the world and share the good news with them. It’s not that we have to, but that we get to. When we do, we get to know the depths of God’s love and in our affection for Him, share that with others. We’re invited to take the Gospel, pack it in our hearts and carry it across the seas for those who don’t yet know it.

How then can we practically step into caring for the needy and begin to shift our own perspectives?

Pray

Ask God what you can lay down for others. This could be anything from time, money, fear or pride, anything keeping you from stepping into the grander story of God. Ask God what is hindering you and how to surrender to His story. Be specific with how you are going to obey.

Give

There are a ton of missionaries and non-profits currently working to spread the Gospel. Is there someone you can support in not only prayer but also in giving? Where can you put your finances and see the Kingdom of God advanced? As the body, we are all working toward one goal!

Go

Where is God inviting you to go? Whether it is short term or long term, overseas or in this country, we are all called to go. God can highlight specific people and places to us; pray and ask God where He wants you!

40 Days of Breakthrough Celebration

This past Sunday, we officially wrapped up our 40 Days of Breakthrough series. Whether you were with us the whole time or jumped in partway through, this was a rich series that we encourage you to revisit in the months to come! As Senior Pastor Jimmy Seibert said, breakthrough is not an experience. It is a lifestyle that we daily choose and live. 

Here is a quick recap from the areas of breakthrough we covered each week.

WEEK 1: Relationship with God

John 14:6

“The God of the breakthrough has a name, and His name is Jesus. He is the answer to everything, and He loves us.

More than anything else, our relationships with God takes first priority. This shouldn’t be a surprise to us. Whether we choose to acknowledge Him or not or place Him first in our lives, Jesus is central. If this is not anchored in us – the importance of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection – we are cutting ourselves off from the relationship God has given us access to. This relationship is not only the most important but also should take first place above anything else. Even good things, like spouses, kids, or calling, cannot replace a relationship with God. Like Jimmy said, breakthrough has a name, and His name is Jesus. Are you pursuing the breakthrough? Or the one who gives the breakthrough? Does He have your first love? 

WEEK 2: Sin

Colossians 3:1-10

“I no longer identify as a slave, but I identify as a son. Therefore, I have victory over sin.”

It can be easy for us to believe, especially if we have been caught in habitual sin, that our lot in life currently is our lot in life permanently. We know that is a lie however, because Jesus came to give us life and life to the fullest (John 10:10). Freedom from sin is not a formula, but there are steps we can take to placing ourselves before God and others to find the breakthrough we are looking for. One way to do this is to realize that desperation trumps information. When you read the Gospels, Jesus is always inviting people to draw near and listen if they are hungry. Are you desperate enough that you are willing to press in even in the midst of your sin? And if you really want to get free, you need to stop hiding. We think that keeping things in the dark protect ourselves and protect those around us. In reality, it is protecting the very sin we want to get free from. Another challenge is to take one radical step of obedience. Too often, we get stuck thinking about getting free instead of taking a radical step. What one step do you know you need to take?

WEEK 3: Emotions

Romans 8:28

“The people who have the greatest ministry on the earth are those who have been the most broken because they have found Jesus to be faithful in the middle of their brokenness and proclaimed His goodness in the midst of their pain and it sets captives free.”

Think of a time when your emotions were very high and maybe even got the best of you. It could be a while ago or perhaps very recent. If we are honest with ourselves, our emotions can get us into trouble, and then we shape our theology around that in order to explain it. However, that was never the way that it was supposed to go. First, you need to resolve your theology, what you think about God, His goodness, faithfulness, etc. Then when we encounter trouble, it does not shatter us because we have already resolved the character of God, and so while our emotions may be impacted, they no longer are the driving force. God is the one meant to lead us, not our emotions.

WEEK 4: Relationships

Mark 11:25-26

“Your ability to see the flow of the river of God in life and relationship is directly blocked if you will not forgive and bless people in your life.”

If you are harboring unforgiveness and offense towards the people in your life, you may think that you are justified or in the right, but in truth, you are blocking the flow of God and what He wants to pour out in your life. Is that something that you really want to do? Letting go of unforgiveness and offense starts with prayer. Daily prayer, because we are hurt and offended daily, and if we are not faithful to attend to little wounds, they very quickly can become big. As you pray, receive and hold onto the promises of God and know that they are not just true for you but also for the person who hurt or offended you. Forgiveness is not just for us to receive, it is also meant to be given, and as we fill ourselves with the Word of God, we no longer live by the words of the world. While this transformative work is going on inside of us, we need to continue to engage with people. People are not the problem; sin is. Even as hurt happens and there needs to be forgiveness, remember that we are given a ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). If we are isolating ourselves from people or withholding forgiveness, we are not allowing ourselves or others to receive reconciliation. Who do you need to extend forgiveness to today? Are you spending time in the Word of God to allow it to transform you from the inside out?

WEEK 5: Finances

Matthew 6:24

“It is not about having money or not. It is who is God over your life.”

Who do you spend more time thinking about? God? Or money? What you think about becomes your focus, and what you focus on can become what you serve. To keep it short, live simply, work diligently and give generously. You weren’t put on this earth to make money; you are uniquely made and placed in this time to bring glory to God. By remembering to live simply, you remove yourself from trying to keep up with the Jones’s, not allowing comparison, competition and jealousy into your heart. Can you live with an attitude of gratitude? As you work diligently, this is not about performance. It is partnership with God even as we trust Him to provide. One test to see how tightly you are holding your money is to see how hard it is for you when you give it away. Are you giving out of obedience or because it is a joy for you to give? By giving generously, we are inviting God into our finances as we relinquish control and remember not just to believe that everything is God’s but to live like it.

WEEK 6: Calling

Proverbs 3:5-6

“We all have assignments, but we have one calling. That is to be a surrendered people to the living God and to do all for the glory of God.”

Calling is more than assignments or vocation. It is about trusting God with all of our lives, from the big picture to every small moment. Do you genuinely believe that you can trust God with your life? If not, it may take revisiting other breakthrough areas such as finances or relationships because if we can’t trust God in those “smaller” areas, can we trust Him with the entirety of our life calling? Trust is essential. And as we trust God, we realize that it is not about us. We are created by the Creator; we know we are invaluable to Him because of the price Jesus was willing to pay, and we are nothing short of miraculous. But still, our calling is not about us. It is about glorifying God, living surrendered lives and giving ourselves fully to whatever assignment God has for us in the present. It is about living Proverbs 3:5-6, trusting God with all of our hearts, not trusting our own understanding and trusting and acknowledging Him. When you read that verse, are you able to live each component? What area can you revisit to continue to build your trust in God as you surrender your calling?

40 Days of Breakthrough // Calling

“There is great peace found in the foundational understanding that we are invited into intimacy with a person, not a principle.” Jimmy Seibert // 

In all the areas of your life that need a breakthrough, whether it’s in relationships, emotions, or finances, you can boil everything down to one major problem: trust in God. It is why we bury bitterness deep in our hearts and why our fists are gripped tightly around our money. Why do we find ourselves refusing to relinquish control to God yet beg Him for vision when it comes to the purpose of our lives? We won’t surrender our marriages to Him and would instead figure out how to make ends meet on our own. But when it comes to making a decision, we ask God for a supernatural sign to point us in the right direction, and then casually carry on. It’s a reality we’ve normalized in our relationship with God, asking for guidance only when necessary. We logically know we should trust God, but truthfully, most of the time, we don’t. It leaves us feeling lonely to a seemingly distant God.

How do we expect to hear God directing us in our decisions if we can’t trust Him with our money or relationships? How do we go from making one-time decisions with God to a lifetime of listening to God’s plan for us?

Trust

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” Proverbs 3:5-6.

Finding your purpose with God starts with understanding that it is not about you. We live in a world where we think we don’t really need Jesus; we think we are good enough and can manage ourselves. Or, we feel we have out-sinned Jesus and are too far gone. Both are arrogant, selfish and both miss the heart of God’s desire to partner with us. We are created beings, made to glorify the Creator; we are invaluable to our Father and nothing short of miraculous. We are not the point but are invited into the point—relationship with God. When we understand this crucial point, we will remove ourselves as the point and humbly come into a right relationship as creation.

Trust With All Your Heart

God doesn’t ask for a piece of our heart—He wants all of it. A shared heart isn’t full surrender or full affection for a God who has wholly and fully proven His love for us. We live in a world that romances our hearts and takes pieces of it—social media, porn, sex, food—anything can claim our affection, but these will all prove to be empty and dissatisfying. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

God doesn’t just say He loves us – He has proven the depths of His love for us and pursued us while we were still sinners. God aches and desires relationship with us more than we ever will with Him, and He proved it by sending His only son to die in our place. When we understand the depth of His love for us, our affections are stirred and pour out in overflow for Him. Giving Him our full heart is no longer a chore but is through weeping reverence.

Trust Not in Your Own Understanding

When trying to understand our purpose and where to go next, we need to turn to God. We can trust His judgment and His good advice. “The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17). Seeking first the opinion of God isn’t just out of obedience, but out of love and affection for Him. Just like any relationship, when we spend time talking with God, our hearts are filled with more of Him and His plans for us are further revealed, even if it’s just the next step. This furthers our understanding that we are fully dependent on God and not ourselves.

“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors, there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14). With a million voices and noises competing for our attention, honing in on the voice of God and the counsel of godly people can make all the difference. When pressure hits and you need advice, who is it that you call? We can’t confide in bitter, foolish friends expecting righteous advice. Surround yourself with godly people and find comfort knowing the lens they view the world is through God.

Trust and Acknowledge Him

It’s key to remember that as believers, we aren’t following a principle, moral system or laws. We walk with and follow a person. It is less about what we do but the fact we get to do it with God. We are privileged to walk with Jesus through every circumstance, trusting that in everything we do, it is for a grand purpose and to glorify a grand King. “The steps of a man are established by the Lord when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand” (Psalm 37:23-24). We are told our steps are determined by a God who delights to walk it with us. There is great peace found in the foundational understanding that we are invited into intimacy with a person, not a principle.

Trust is foundational to our relationship with God and our relationship with everything and everyone else. When we remove ourselves, our anxieties and misunderstanding, we can step into sweet intimacy with Jesus, trusting Him and His will for our lives.

40 Days of Breakthrough // Finances

“We need to come in alignment with God and rest in the truth that He is enough; He is trustworthy with everything, including our finances, and we aren’t just commanded but invited into intimacy with Him through stewarding our money well.” Jimmy Seibert // 

Money is a hidden part of our lives that very few people will ever see, yet we deal with it every single day. Whether tangibly exchanging it or mentally stressing over it, our finances are woven into the very fabric of our culture. It is the heartbeat of how we function, as to how much we make primarily categorizes us into classes and cliques, shows what we value and feeds an appetite that is never satisfied. In America, we are amongst the wealthiest countries in the world yet are the most stressed about one major thing: money. No wonder there is upwards of 2,300 mentions of money and possessions in the Bible with one main takeaway—you cannot serve two masters.

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6:24).

As believers, we live in a culture that cultivates the idea that we love God first, but perhaps we love money second (and based on how we steward our money, it could be argued we live the other way around). How can we posture our hearts toward money and find a breakthrough in our finances?

Live Simply

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned that in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:11-13). Paul is speaking from firsthand experience in desperate need and glorious abundance—and in both, he challenges us to choose contentment.

In a culture where our fists are tightly gripped on the American Dream and keeping up with Jones’s, finding contentment isn’t just a battle of comparison but a battle of gratitude. It’s easy to let jealousy and comparison seep in; we adopt them naturally, and they rob us of freedom in our finances and freedom to trust God with our finances. Ultimately, jealousy and comparison disorder our hearts to be filled with a striving mentality and selfish ambition over resources that aren’t ours, anyways. This isn’t to say there won’t be times of great need – there will be – but what does it look like to have an attitude of gratitude and look to God and community to support us? We know God satisfies all things, and when we focus on how we can honor God with what He’s given us, our fists can loosen and we experience the fullness of peace in our finances (Psalm 145:16).

Work Diligently

The above sounds easy enough, but there is a catch: we are invited into a partnership with God to work diligently for Him. This isn’t striving or a works-based relationship; but, a coming under the sovereignty of God. Proverbs 14:23 says, “In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only in poverty”, affirming and encouraging our hard work. God isn’t telling us to prove ourselves for blessing and resources – He invites us into intimacy with Him and the privilege of working solely to glorify Him. Regardless of what you’re doing, when you honor God and work hard, you put yourself in an environment that trusts God will meet needs, whatever those are. 

Colossians 3:23-24: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.” You are serving the Lord Christ. The challenge is to remind ourselves that when we work hard, it is for God and it is an intimate piece of our relationship with Him. 

Give Generously

So, you’ve established a heart of gratitude and are working hard – now what? A key piece of our lives as believers is to give generously. You don’t know just how tight you are gripping your money until you are asked to give it away. Firstly, we tithe to the local church out of obedience. To be clear, 10% is just a starting point and was created to honor God and give our resources back to God freely. God knew what He was doing when He gave us a hard percentage – it’s adjustable to each person but is still sacrificial. It gives us a clear place to begin and calls for us to ‘put our money where our mouth is.’ Secondly, we give out of compassion for people, and we do it joyfully: 

“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7). 

When we give generously to others, we are creating an environment for God to work through our money; it invites us to relinquish control and extend a gracious gift to those who are undeserving, just like we are undeserving. Remember, everything is God’s anyway – not ours!

We need to come in alignment with God and rest in the truth that He is enough; He is trustworthy with everything, including our finances, and we aren’t just commanded but invited into intimacy with Him through stewarding our money well. When we live simply, work diligently and give generously, we step into a heart posture that honors God and depends on God for provision. It is sacrificial, hard and counter-cultural. But it is a key area to experience breakthroughs and create space for God to work in and through our lives.

40 Days of Breakthrough // Relationships

“The biggest breakdown in offense and forgiveness isn’t God—it’s our unwillingness to cooperate with the authority and truth of God’s word.” Jimmy Seibert //

Relationships with friends, family, spouses and even our enemies are tricky. Friendships are messy, family is family, and well, there may be a list of enemies that we keep. As we move throughout life, accumulating relationships, we also gather something else: offense. It’s as old as Adam and takes root deep within us, often left untended and stuffed down. Offense can sprout from one snide remark from your spouse or the betrayal of a close friend.

If we’re honest, we all probably keep a list of everyone who has wronged us, always ready with a full account to argue our case with God. The problem with keeping debts, taking offense and letting pains accumulate? Offenses will grow deep roots within us and keep us in a heart environment of unforgiveness and bitterness. If we continuously choose an offense-reaction in a broken world, we will adopt lies as truth and forfeit forgiveness. Choosing forgiveness and taking practical steps toward reconciliation is really, really hard. But not as hard as the reality of how unforgiveness on our account keeps us from healing and experiencing God in His fullness. How, then, can we find breakthrough in all of our relationships and manage our hearts for offense?

1. Pray. It’s not a cliché first-step or an after-thought; prayer and forgiveness is a daily process to keep our hearts from clinging to offense, between you and other people, and even you and God (Matt. 6:11-14). The process is daily because we are offended daily, and little wounds can become big wounds if left untended. If we make forgiveness a daily habit, we actively acknowledge a wrong against us (or a wrong we committed) and are able to choose the response of forgiveness or repentance. We also get to step into praying for our enemies; forgiving someone from a distance is one thing—and it’s a good thing! But, praying for blessings, grace and mercy over our enemies is another, and it’s one that forces more intentionality and spiritual maturity on our part (Matt. 5:43-45).

2. Hold onto the Promises of God. The biggest breakdown in offense and forgiveness isn’t God—it’s our unwillingness to cooperate with the authority and truth of God’s word. The word of God keeps daily blows of offense from a broken world from coming in as truth. If we are going to fight against offense and build strong relationships, we need to know the word of God and know that it is true for everyone. The sin that lives in me is the same sin that lives within my worst enemy and only the truth of the cross is enough to cover us both. Forgiveness isn’t effective if it’s only for me—forgiveness is effective because it is an extension of the Gospel and applies to everyone, every time, no matter the sin (Col. 3:12-15). That is not to say sin doesn’t have very real consequences, but God’s grace is true, and forgiveness allows for full restoration to begin within us.

3. Engage people. We engage God with prayer, but we also have to engage people knowing from the beginning that they will hurt us. We are always going to get hurt because we live in a broken world, but the challenge is to forgive before we ever get the privilege of the whole story. As believers, we are called to bring reconciliation, and when we withhold forgiveness, we hinder reconciliation with others and in our own hearts. We are welcomed and encouraged to confront hurts with one another, but the moment we back away from relationships and build walls instead, we create a blockage for healing and reconciliation. Press into people and lead with forgiveness.

4. Fill yourself with truth. The last key to breakthrough in our relationships, and easily the hardest, is the personal change of being filled by the word of God instead of the words of the world. The world tells us we are justified in our reactions, validates our pain and divides us with a lack of repentance and lack of forgiveness. We keep lists and make sure we get revenge, forever cursing our enemies. The word of God argues in 1 Thessalonians 5:12-15, “Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else”. Counter-cultural, to say the least, but peaceful and desirable in a world of sin.

40 Days of Breakthrough // Emotions

“We will walk through troubles, but our theology and what we believe about God is where our emotions can flow out of”. Carl Gulley //

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good.” This verse is easily one of the most popular yet most misunderstood and least believed amongst believers. Why is that? I would guess, it’s because we know God is good, but we don’t really believe He is. Our life experiences have shaped our hearts to believe otherwise: sickness, death, financial stress, injustices and an unending list of living in a broken world tether our emotions to our experiences which directly influence what we believe and how we respond.

The way you and I view the world isn’t usually based on truth; actually, it’s often based on our emotions derived from our experiences. What is dangerous about this? When you live in a broken world, the reality is not if troubles find you—it is when. It is in the depths of our troubles we find out if what we believe about God is rooted in our ever-changing emotions or in scripture. If we are rooted in our emotions, we will be believing in a god that is unreliable and not good—not a true god. It will be through this false perception of God that we will make bad decisions, blur our vision and keep us living in a world that simply, isn’t true.

So, how can we structure our lives to use our emotions but not be controlled by them?

1. Train your emotions. Our emotions are good—they are God-given for a purpose—but they need to be trained in how to use them. Our emotions show what is in our hearts and ultimately, what we believe. If lashing-out in anger is our normal response under stress, we know that we are believing a lie somewhere and our perspective is altered because of it. If we don’t understand what our emotions are rooted in, we will have the same response over and over. The challenge is to train our emotions to be aligned with the word of God. Our emotions are real and valid, but if we let them loose, they will misinform us and misguide us. If we are to train our emotions and we can recognize where our vision is skewed, we can train our hearts to inform our emotions.

2. Shift your perspective. The way we view and understand the world around us flows through our emotions, but our emotions are unreliable and ever-changing. Our vision can become blurry and God’s work in our lives can be unrecognizable. If we train our emotions to align with scripture, we can check our vision and see clearly the ways God is working through us and for us.

3. Build a right theology. It’s easy to say, “don’t let your emotions rule”, but when you’re sitting in a hospital room or in the middle of a breakup, our emotions quickly bubble over and shape what we believe about God. A hospital room isn’t the place to create a theology because we’ll be making a theology based on our emotional response to our circumstances instead of the truth of a good God. Our emotions are unreliable and we live in the reality of a broken world. When we build our emotions on scripture, we are anchored in truth and we can shape a reliable and true perspective of God. It is in an unwavering belief in the characteristics of God our emotions can flow freely because they will be informed by scripture.

Breakthrough in our emotions requires us to pinpoint where our emotions are coming from and why, shift our perspective and anchor our hearts in scripture to believe and rest in a God that is good. Our emotions are a good gauge but are not who we are; when we trust in the goodness of God outside of our circumstances, we can inform our hearts to be less reactionary and hold firm to a right view of God.

40 Days of Breakthrough // Relationship with God

“Our belief and understanding in Jesus determines whether we live in the abundance that God offers or in continued distance from God.” – Jimmy Seibert // 

It’s easy to know biblical truths about God: His mercy, grace, love and acceptance easily come to mind. But, we often don’t live in that truth; we live in a world of sin, shame and guilt. Living in the latter can leave us feeling distant from God because we are giving up freedom in truth for shackles in lies. We forget that access to the reality of abundant grace is through one: Jesus (Romans 5:17).

So, why do we have access to God’s abundance but choose to live on the side of sin and shame? Usually, it’s because we’ve put ourselves as the ultimate authority in our lives. We’ve put desires, materials, relationships and accolades in a seat where only God can sit. When we follow our ways instead of God’s ways, it will end in destruction every time.

We really do have access to a life that is abundant and thriving within the reality of mercy, grace, love and acceptance. Finding breakthrough in our relationship with God and the world we live in starts and ends with putting God back in the place He is meant to be: first.

First Importance.

 We can’t move forward in relationship with God without being secure in the importance of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Without this sacrifice, we have nothing to bridge the gap between us and God. When we believe in the fullness and completeness of the resurrection, our hope is secured not only for eternity but for today. There is power in the impossible and there is hope for our relationship because of the truth of the gospel (1 Cor. 15:3-4, Heb. 4:16). 

First Place.

“He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also the head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything” (Col. 1:17). God’s place is first with:

  • Our time
  • Our family and relationships
  • Our money
  • Our work

Compartmentalization has no place when it comes to the reign and rightful place of God within every aspect of our lives.

First Love.

Breakthrough isn’t just a power or a process—it’s a person. Our hearts are the control center of our desires, thoughts, intentions, understanding and will. From our hearts flow the springs of life, which means whatever has our affections will control everything else in our lives (Proverbs 4:23). It is through a relationship with Jesus that we grow in intimacy with Him, resulting in affection and love for Him.

These 40 days are all centered on breakthrough. But if we don’t get this first one, conviction in the power of Jesus’ resurrection and God’s rightful place in our lives, none of the other breakthroughs matter. Because ultimately this is about strengthening our relationship with God, and He is such a good Father that His heart is to bring us breakthrough in all areas of our lives, but even more than that it is about relationship.

Activation //

  • Realistically, when you look at your life, what place does God have? Where is He in your priorities?
  • If you don’t yet have a breakthrough you are believing for in your relationship with God, take time to ask Him. Ask for His heart and perspective in your relationship, see places of growth and ask Him for breakthrough.

Whether following Jesus is new for you or you have been doing this your whole life, breakthrough starts and ends with Jesus. He is first importance, takes first place and is our first love.

We hope to see you next week as we continue our series!

How To Find Breakthrough

“You were made for breakthrough by the Spirit of God and the people of God.” Jimmy Seibert // 

When it comes to breakthrough, it can seem as if our circumstances rule; addiction, anxiety, finances and relationships are all areas we want breakthrough but feel like it will never come. We are often hopeless amidst our circumstances, faced with big giants and even bigger unbelief. But, as believers, there is more in store. Breakthrough isn’t for some of us, but all of us; God is committed to breakthrough more than we are and intervenes on our behalf. He raises us up, anointing us for change well before we even want it. And, He doesn’t want to help us just a little bit – He wants to let the water flow.

Let’s take David, for example. He was rejected by man but anointed by God (1 Chronicles 14:8-11). He didn’t have to raise himself up amidst his circumstances, but God was with him and was committed to a breakthrough in David’s life way before David was. Breakthrough changed the trajectory of his life – and the lives of thousands of others.

So, the question is, how do we find breakthrough?

PRAYER

Everything begins with an honest prayer of the heart. David openly and honestly cried out to God, pouring his heart out. Many times, we are great at pouring our hearts out but forget to ask God what to do next. When we are honest with God and give Him space to speak, He will lead us to action, and this can get us on the path to breakthrough (1 Chronicles 14:10, Luke 18:1). When we cry out to God, He shifts our perspective from a focus on unbelief, but to a remembrance of the goodness of God and His commitment to us. Pray to God honestly about where you are needing a breakthrough.

PROMISE

Scripture is God’s revealed will for us and His words are promised; they never come back empty and we know He hears us (1 John 5:14-15). We can be confident in the requests we’ve made known to Him and stand on the solid truth of scripture. What is the promise from God related to your need? Find scripture to cling to and declare it over your life!

PEOPLE

Seeking change on our own doesn’t work. We were meant to partner with brothers and sisters in Christ to fight and celebrate one another. We see in Mark 2, the story of a paralytic man who is lowered into the house by his four friends to seek radical healing from Jesus. His friends were just as desperate as he was for breakthrough and this is where glory is found; it’s not within personal breakthrough but battling with our friends and celebrating victories together. Who are you believing with for breakthrough? What are they believing for? (Mark 2:4-5)

PERSONAL CHANGE

Breakthrough calls for a commitment to real change. This is the point where direct action is needed to change a habit or a mindset (Romans 12:2). We can’t passively pursue change – we are called to partner with God for a real breakthrough. As we repent, we turn away from old habits and turn to Jesus as we are led to the promise of a breakthrough that is coming. In the area you are believing for a breakthrough, what habits can you change?

PRAISE

Throughout the process of breakthrough, we need to adopt a posture of praise: praise before, praise during and praise after. We can present our needs, rest in His promises, declare His victories – it’s all praise. An environment of praise gives God every opportunity to move in our lives, even if we haven’t yet seen our breakthrough. Our circumstances don’t matter and don’t keep us from experiencing breakthrough (Acts 16:25-26).

Everywhere Jesus went, He brought breakthrough – the circumstance didn’t matter. A paralyzed man, raging seas, even death. Jesus demonstrated breakthrough emotionally, physically and spiritually, and through the resurrection, demonstrated the ultimate breakthrough. We will never be hopeless in our circumstances because Jesus has already claimed the ultimate breakthrough.

Whales + Worms // Part Five

“One man for all time.” – Carl Gulley //

This week, Lead Pastor Carl Gulley finished our series, Whales + Worms: Our reluctance. His relentlessness. We’ve learned key lessons throughout the series and ended by highlighting the correlations between the story of Jonah and Jesus.

GOD CONTINUES TO DO THE UNBELIEVABLE

In the story of Jonah, we see the unbelievable happen many times, but we might think it is just that – unbelievable. Did all of that really happen? Similar to the Pharisees in Matthew 12, we ask for more signs, not because we haven’t seen the wonders of God, but because we find ourselves wanting proof and wanting more. To this, Jesus answers the Pharisees with the unbelievable in Matthew 12:40, “For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth”.

Here, we see Jesus do two things:

  • For any skeptics, He confirms the story of Jonah. It wasn’t a myth; it was real.
  • He is hinting at a prophetic picture of resurrection, which had never been done.

THE RESURRECTION STORY

Jesus is comparing Jonah’s time in the whale to His own death, burial and resurrection. Up to this point, there had been miraculous signs, but Jesus was saying that something else would be the catalyst for our faith. Jesus was claiming He would die, come back to life and bring everyone who is spiritually dead to spiritual life – or resurrection. To the Pharisees and to us, this is unbelievable. So, the question isn’t if we believe the story of Jonah: it’s if we believe in the resurrection.

If the resurrection did not occur, then Jesus was just a good man. But, if the resurrection is true, then we can run to God with assurance of reconciliation and resurrection. If we truly believe in the resurrection, we can believe for the unbelievable in our own lives. What needs a resurrection in your life?

Whether you were with us throughout the series on Jonah or you only caught the last sermon, we encourage you to go back and listen to the full series and apply each sermon. Below are the questions and application points from each week. Take time to ask yourself and God these questions, pray these prayers and see what God will do in and through your life.

RECAP & ACTIVATION //

  • Week 1: What are you running from that you should be running to?
  • Week 2: Pray specifically, with strength and using scripture. These are what we call “Underwater Prayers”.
  • Week 3: Who are my Ninevites?
  • Week 4: Pray “God, please send a worm to attack whatever leafy plant I am sitting under.”
  • Week 5: What needs a resurrection in my life?

We believe that as you ask these questions, you will experience God move in your life and bring growth into these areas for resurrection!