Patterns of Breakthrough

When he [Jehoshaphat] had consulted with the people, he appointed those who sang to the Lord and those who praised Him in holy attire, as they went out before the army and said, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.” When they began singing and praising, the Lord set ambushes against the sons of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; so they were routed. 2 Chronicles 20:21-22

1. START WITH PRAISE. Praise brings breakthrough. When armies came to attack Judah, King Jehoshaphat immediately directed his people to seek God and he began praising God.

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The Benefits of Praising God

Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created. Revelation 4:11

1. IT CONNECTS US TO GOD. We are actually designed to praise God, and He alone is worthy of it. God has requested that we come before Him in praise and worship, and He is searching for the ones who will connect with Him and worship Him (John 4:23-24).

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A Clean Heart

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will be converted to You. Psalm 51:10-13

1. REPENTANCE. In the Bible, King David is the only person called “a man after God’s own heart.” But so many times we read about David sinning against God. Yet, after every blunder, David repented and learned from his mistakes. When he got in trouble, he didn’t run away from God. Instead, he humbled himself and ran toward God.

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What Is Your Preoccupation?

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle. Psalm 103:1-5

1. GOD HAS A PLAN. Do you have a vision for your life – to do and see great things? When you receive Jesus as your Savior, God redeems your life from the pit and sets you on a path of abundant life. If you’ve been in a fog of darkness and heaviness, God’s grace is available to help you to get up, get out there, and believe God and conquer.

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A New Spirit

Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. Ezekiel 36:26-27

1. SALVATION BRINGS CONNECTION. God is inviting us to know His thoughts (1 Corinthians 2:16). The new birth – salvation through Jesus – is not just verbiage. We actually become a new kind of being where our spirits can connect with God’s Spirit.

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The Mission Is Go!

And He [Jesus] said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed. Mark 16:15, 20

1. HERE IS YOUR MANDATE. Jesus commissioned His disciples to take the good news of salvation to the fallen world, and this assignment is for all believers down through the ages – including us. The mission is clear. We are called to impact our fallen world in order that people can serve Him, love Him, and know Him. Embracing the biblical revelation of God – who loves the world so much that He sent His only Son Jesus to save us – reveals our origin, underscores our purpose, and inspires our destiny.

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Help People Know God’s Love

For the love of Christ controls us. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:14a, 17-18

1. GOD’S LOVE CONTROLS US. Jesus died for all. He became a ransom and paid the price to free captive humanity. When we let God’s love inform our actions, we get to participate in God’s purposes, and we are given a ministry of reconciliation. Everyone needs Jesus – both the down-and-outers rejected by society and the up-and-outers who seem to have everything.

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Mission Possible

Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another . . . But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands. 1 Thessalonians 4:9-11a

1. LOVE ONE ANOTHER. The Apostle Paul praised the Thessalonian church for identifying and doing what pleases God and encouraged them to keep excelling. What this early church exemplified holds true today: The hallmark of Christianity is our love for one another. We can’t thrive and advance when we carry the weight of resentment. Let God deal with other people. When you show others mercy, you will receive mercy (Matthew 5:7).

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The Gift of Eternal Life

And I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. John 10:28

1. IT IS BROUGHT BY AN ETERNAL PERSON. Eternal life is the greatest blessing you or I will ever come across – immortality is what people have craved through the ages. God has set eternity in our hearts and only He, the Eternal One, the beginning and the end, can give eternal life. And we must receive this gift by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8).

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God Is Able

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. 2 Corinthians 9:8

1. HE IS ABLE TO MAKE YOU STAND. Anxiety can weigh a person down, but Jesus is the cure for anxiety. When we put all of our attention and focus on God and delight ourselves in the Lord through prayer, worship, and studying the Word—He is the one who lifts that pressure off of us and gives us abundance for every good deed!

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Rely on God

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so will My Word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11

1. GOD FINISHES WHAT HE BEGINS. As realistically as rain and snow come from heaven to replenish the earth, so God’s Word will replenish you and accomplish what God desires. Let this truth resonate in your spirit: He who has begun a good work will perfect and perform it in you—regardless if you are nine or ninety-nine (Philippians 1:6).

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It’s All Working Out for Good!

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

1. THE DREAM. Joseph had a vision for his life. But sometimes, in between the dream and the fulfillment, ridiculous stuff can happen. Joseph’s brothers threw him into a pit and then sold him to some Ishmaelites. Then, in Egypt, he was unjustly thrown into prison. From age 17 to 30 his dream was challenged, but then God opened the door.

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Understand the Times

Of the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their command. 1 Chronicles 12:32 NKJV

1. RIGHT ON TIME. God has a plan and nothing takes Him by surprise. There was a group of observant people in the Old Testament—Issachar’s tribe — and they were described in two ways: They had understanding of the times and they knew what Israel should do. In our generation, God has called and equipped us to understand our times and to know what to do.

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Called for Such a Time as This

For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Esther 4:14

1. YOUR STEPS ARE ORDERED. Your times are in God’s hands, and just as He did for Esther when it was her time to step up, He will establish your steps too (Psalm 31:15; Psalm 37:23). As you seek and pursue Him, you can trust that He will bring order to seemingly random events in your life.

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Continual Devotion

They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common. Acts 2:42-44

1. BE DEVOTED TO JESUS. The Early Church had a mission to go into the whole world and make disciples. Since Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, we still have that same assignment (2 Corinthians 5:18; Hebrews 13:8). We have the same Jesus, the same Holy Spirit, the same potential, and therefore the same direction to continually devote ourselves, saying, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15b).

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Tell People About Jesus

And He [Jesus] said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15

1. CALLED TO EFFECTIVENESS. St. Louis Family Church was established in 1988 with the goal to honor God and help people. Jesus, the Head of the Church, is doing great things worldwide, and we are part of it. Together and as individuals we have a mandate on our lives to carry light and fire to the next generation.

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Serve and Give

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).

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The Equipping Power of Baptism

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!

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Why Church?

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.

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How to Pray

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.

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Read Your Bible: The Truth Will Set You Free

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!

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How to Grow in God

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.

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How to Receive Jesus

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.

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How to Live for God

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.

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Action Steps to Open Doors

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.

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