Category Archives: No Strings Attached

5 Things Happen When You Are Planted

Favor is when someone looks on you with grace, acceptance, a desire to benefit and give gifts, pleasure, kindness and beauty. You can find favor by being planted in God’s house.

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:46-47

In the temple or church and in small groups meeting in homes, the early church experienced favor with all people. Favor empowered them to make a difference in the lives of those around them.

5 Things Happen When You are Planted in the Church

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

  1. You Have Roots – The Giant Sequoia’s in California are the largest living things on earth. They stand tall through the power of their intertwined root system. Roots will hold you steady in the storms of life. (Click here to read more of this story)
  2. You Have Peace In The Heat – Heat comes. Life can be so hard. Roots help you take the heat. They provide perspective to help you trust God and rest in his ability to work all things out for good. (Romans 8:28)
  3. You Will Be Fresh And Alive – Being planted keeps us connected to the source of life. It keeps us ever-green in every area of our lives.
  4. You Are Unfazed By Changing Times – We are surrounded by change. Changing climates, whether cultural or relational can be unsettling. Being planted keeps us steady.
  5. You Never Stop Bearing Fruit – Jesus said, “Abide in me and you will bear much fruit?” (John 15:5) You don’t have to struggle and strive to be fruitful. You just have to stay connected, stay planted.

The church is God’s hope for the world. The church is God’s hope for you. Good things happen when you are planted!

Favor With Other People

Think of a time when another person blessed you. It may have been a boss, a family member, a friend or someone you just met. When other people want to do something good for you – something that benefits you without expecting anything in return – then you are experiencing favor with other people.

While the favor of God is something you receive, the favor of man is something you can influence. You can actually cultivate an environment in which people want to go out of their way to be nice to you, say good things about you and give you what you may not even deserve.

The Bible says in Proverbs 3:4 that it is possible to have the favor of God and man at the same time. It is a fallacy to believe that you need to be disliked by other people in order to have the favor of God operating in your life. Some Christians wear their inability to get along with people as a badge of honor . But it doesn’t have to be the case. The truth is that we can maintain our integrity without compromising, but still experience favor with people.

Consider Samuel in the Old Testament as a person who enjoyed the best of both worlds. According to 1 Samuel 2:26, Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the Lord and with people. You can follow the same biblical blueprint. God wants you to live in favor – with God and man. Favor opens new doors of opportunity and influence.

The following are five attitudes and behaviors you can embrace to cultivate the environment in which favor with other people can arise:

Humility – The more you grow in humility, the more favor will grow in your life. There is power in genuine humility.

Faithfulness – If you want favor, be faithful, which involves trustworthiness and dependability. The more faithful you are, the amount of favor in your life will grow.

Kindness – Kindness creates incredible favor. The kinder you are to the people around you, the more favor will spread in your life. Selfishness, insensitivity, fault-finding, judgmental attitudes and ungratefulness all destroy favor.

Honor – When you honor and respect people, favor comes. It has been said that the culture of heaven is honor.

Cause – Live for a greater cause than just yourself. An act of service done for others creates favor. Favor comes when you live life generously.

You don’t need to compromise your convictions to have favor with people. Billy Graham had favor with U.S. Presidents. Mother Theresa was universally admired. Both of them maintained their stance with the courage of their convictions, but they also had favor with people because they practiced the five attitudes and behaviors. They demonstrated humility, faithfulness, kindness, honor and a cause-driven life. You can, too. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you.

Speaking of favor, Shoreline was recently highlighted online for reaching our community in new ways. You can read the article by CLICKING HERE.

Favor with God

The Bible is filled with epic stories of people who found favor with God. They didn’t earn it. They didn’t deserve it. They didn’t make it happen. They didn’t work for it. They found it.

Esther experienced favor that opened doors she could never open. She was an orphan living in exile and yet she became the queen of Persia. Favor placed her in a position of influence that she later used to rescue her people. (Read more about Esther)

Joseph found favor wherever he went. Time and again when his situation looked bleak, God’s favor turned it all around for good! (Read more about Joseph)

Favor gave David victory over his adversaries. It rescued Noah from the flood. It made the impossible possible for Moses. Favor will bring unexpected blessings to your life.

So how do you experience favor?

Pray for an awareness of favor – Here is the truth about favor, God has already given you the gift of his favor.

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests. Luke 2:14 NIV

Pray and ask for favor (Job 33:26). Connect with God daily to be reminded of the favor he is already given.

Declare it so – Words are powerful. So proclaim God’s favor over your life. Say, I have favor with God and with man, and something good is going to happen to me today.

Live with expectancy – Move forward into this new year with a sense of wonder, not worry and fear. Expectancy keeps hope alive and will help you walk in faith.

This is part 4 in a series
Click here for Part 3 Complete Favor
Click here for Part 2 Redemptive Favor
Click here for Part 1 Favor For All

Complete Favor

Last week we talked about redemptive favor – favor that takes something away. Because of God’s grace, we have the gift of forgiveness. Our sins are washed away. This week we are talking about favor that GIVES you something. Because of God’s amazing grace we have the gift of righteousness – total and complete right standing with God.

 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! Romans 5:17 NIV

As a Christian, you are righteous and acceptable in the sight of God. God took our sins and gave them to Jesus. He took his righteousness and gave it to us.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV

Christianity is not self-improvement. It is a new life, a total change of identity. It is up to us to embrace our new identity. We have to let go of the mythical Super Christian. We don’t have to be perfect or do all the right things to be right with God. Rationally, we know the Super Christian ideal is ridiculous, but he remains a vague ghost in the back of our minds creating a sense of failure to measure up.

The answer involves laying aside performance pressure and resting in God’s acceptance.

Performance is where you earn favor by your own efforts. Grace is where you receive favor as a free gift with no strings attached.

In this new identity we live out of the gift of right standing. We do the right thing out of a place of security and behave in a manner that reflects what we believe about who we are in Christ.

You are accepted. You are made perfect. You are blameless before God. You are blessed with every spiritual blessing.You are an overcomer. You are complete!

Redemptive Favor

 

Do you truly know what Jesus Christ did for you?  Jesus came to earth to pave the way for you to have favor with God.  Your Heavenly Father looks at you with grace, acceptance, kindness, pleasure, beauty and pleasantness, desiring to generously give you gifts.  That’s the biblical definition of “favor.”  And it’s available for you, your family, your friends and your co-workers, along with everyone else.  It’s personal as well as stunning.  You can do nothing to deserve or earn it.  It’s a free gift to be received by choice and by faith.

As we celebrate 2016 as the year of God’s favor for everyone at Shoreline Church, we recognize that one of the greatest gifts emerging out of God’s goodness toward us is redemptive favor.  As you wipe away any misconceptions of God caused by the cloudy lens of circumstances, you can behold the magnificence of His favor and love.

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” — Luke 4:18,19

What does “redemptive” mean?  The cultural definition differs from the biblical definition.  In society, people often think of “redeeming” as atoning for a fault or mistake.  If a football player drops a pass in a game but then catches the next pass, the sports announcer is apt to say, “He redeemed himself.”  Furthermore, redemption can also mean taking possession of something in exchange for payment.  For example, you have probably used a coupon to “redeem” it for something of value.

However, the Bible defines “redemption” as a gift paid for by God Himself.  It literally means a ransoming, a debt paid for and a rescue that was purchased.  It’s like having a judge declaring his son or daughter guilty as charged but then stepping down from the bench to pay the penalty to set his child free.  Just think of the favor of God who sent His only Son into the world to die on a cross to pay for your sins – to redeem you.  Jesus would have come to redeem you no matter what, even if you were the only person on earth.

“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows… He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” — Isaiah 53:4 – 6

People engage in bad behavior because they don’t know how much God loves them.  When you understand how much God loves you, passion arises inside you to live right, honor God and live a life that truly honors the Lord.   The death and resurrection of Jesus unleashed unmerited, unearned favor pouring out into your life with no strings attached.

See God as He really is.  Join us to declare 2016 as the year of the Lord’s favor.  The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.

Favor For All

The ocean danced and colors exploded on the horizon. My fantastic new super-polarized sunglasses cut out the glare and gave me crystal clear vision. That’s what we want to do with this series of messages, No Strings Attached. We want to help you see life through the lens of God’s favor.

We have declared 2016 as the Year of the Lord’s Favor

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19

Favor means to look upon with grace, acceptance, pleasure, pleasantness, kindness and beauty. It entails a desire to benefit, to give gifts and be generous.

God is the source of all goodness. (James 1:17) There are aspects of his favor that benefit everyone – favor that is common to all mankind.

This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. Matthew 5:45 MSG

All the good in our lives, all the beauty, all the joy, all the gifts, all the benefits come from God, whether we realize it or not.

God is the giver of the greatest gifts.

  • Creation with its majestic sunsets, intoxicating mountain peaks and restful rhythms of waves on the shore is a gift of his grace.
  • Nurturing relationships with family and the beauty of friendship are a gift of his grace.
  • Our innate sense of right and wrong, conscience and moral code testify to God’s existence and are a gift of his grace.
  • The complexity and harmony of the principles that govern the universe and the wisdom to understand those laws are a gift of his grace.
  • You are the wondrously unique person you are because of his favor on you. Your own talents and abilities are a gift of God’s grace.

God’s common favor is favor for all. It enriches the lives of everyone. It is his common favor that leads us to his miraculous favor and his saving grace.