Sermons

"As a man thinks in his heart so is he." Prov. 23:7. Therefore it is imperative to receive good instruction in the Word so that we may have our hearts transformed to think like God thinks. The Bible tells us, "be not conformed to this world, but be transformed!" It then tells us how; "by the renewing of our minds." Rom 12:2. Our job is to get the Word in us, and then the Word will do the work. But this happens only when we understand it correctly! That is why the Lord gave us gifted and anointed teachers in the body of Christ; To effectively sow His Word into us. Though the world throws it’s problems at us, the Word of God teaches us how to face each and every situation of life and to do so victoriously and with Joy. The Lord did not say that we just have to put up with the problems in the world. He said that "We are to be more than conquerors through Him who loved us!" Rom. 8:37 As we hear the Word through anointed teaching, it comes alive inside of us and begins the transformation process. Hallelujah! Good teaching brings life! Good teaching will set you free! Come sit under the teaching at Agathos, and you can be assured to see more victory and more joy in every aspect of your life!

Promotion Through Pruning

7/3/16
- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary Blog Post

“In theory only” is called religion. It’s form, no function.  It’s form, no fruit. Jesus hates that.  In John 10:37, Jesus said “if I don’t do the works of my Father, don’t believe me.” That’s the standard. The Holy Spirit is wanting to convict you of things in the Kingdom that you haven’t seen yet. But, if you are not bearing much fruit, the Father’s heart is to lift you up - not to cast you out! (Jn. 15:2) Fruitfulness is actually natural for a believer. Fruitfulness consists of both fruitful “works” (Eph. 2:10) and fruitful “ways” (Galatians 5). "Every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” There is only one reason God prunes you - that you would bear more fruit.  

Pruning looks like being transformed by His Word (Romans 12:2), being led like a sheep with a shepherd, or like being chastised (Heb. 12:11). Remember that pruning is progressive and makes you better equipped to bear fruit. We can trust God to prune us according the plans He has for us. The more we act, the more we grow, and the more we grow, the more we get pruned. The goal of pruning is not to avoid it, but to embrace it.

The Value of Fruitfulness

6/19/16
- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary Blog Post

When you expect more, you get more!  Jesus expected His relationship with His Father to make an impact in the lives of others, but a religious spirit tries to replace fruit with just words. 1 Cor. 4:20 says “for the Kingdom of God is not in word but in power!”

Those that are the most fruitful in the Kingdom of God know what the Word of God says, believe it, and practice it!  Wherever you are fine with fruitlessness is where the enemy will steal from you. We have to value fruitfulness.  Jesus said in Jn. 10:37 that if He didn’t do the works of the Father that we should not believe Him!  That’s the standard.’
 
But the pressure is not on us to bear fruit!  A self-righteous root will never bear kingdom fruit! God’s curse is on self-righteousness, but God’s blessing is on another root! Jesus said “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (Jn 15:5) Jesus’ disciples bear much fruit! Fruitlessness in the Kingdom is caused by being your own root - trusting in yourself. Fruitfulness is caused by being in Christ!
 
What do you have faith rising for in your heart? Hebrews 11:1 (ESV) tells us that faith is a conviction—of things not yet seen. The Holy Spirit wants to convict you of the things you haven’t seen yet!  He wants to convict you that there’s more.  May our hunger become so thick that we cannot have it any other way.

Dealing with Unforgiveness and Offense

6/5/16
- Brad Ettore
Audio Written Summary Blog Post

As believers, we all know that we are supposed to walk in love, but are we loving others like Jesus loves us?  We may think that the love walk is hard. But when you start believing correctly the love walk is really, really easy. In fact, you will actually find that not walking in love is infinitely times harder than walking in love.

 
The first reason to walk in love is because your Father wants you to!  The second benefit to walking in love is that it is how we experience God’s fullness. Jn. 15:9-12 says that if you obey God’s commandment—to love one another as I have loved you—your joy will be FULL!
 
Loving people is not about feelings.  God says “Overcome evil with good!”  Every part of Christianity is about whether we are going to be moved by our feelings or by the Word of God.That is our choice at all times. When I fail in my Christian walk, I always fail for the same reason—I was moved by my feelings instead of the Word. When I am successful is when I make a decision to be moved by the Word irregardless of my feelings.  The whole reason our feelings even get involved is because we are still way too alive! God says we are to die to self! Someone has said “you will never be greatly used by God until you get your ‘I’ punched out.”
 
The greatest hindrance to loving people is unforgiveness. Unforgiveness is always triggered by offense.  Our Father doesn’t want us to harbor unforgiveness.  We need to know that unforgiveness is a toxic poison in the heart.  It will literally cause you to physically decay. It will cause you to mentally bog down. It is emotionally destructive.  We need to realize that ALL unforgiveness in the heart is demonic in nature. Unforgiveness is NOT of God.  Unforgiveness is you and I drinking poison—hoping that they will die. So, let’s find a better way to deal with it!
 
So, how do we walk in love and constant forgiveness towards everyone?
  1. By possessing correct theology (or in other words, thinking like God thinks).
  2. We must have faith in our God-likeness.
  3. We often have a hard time forgiving someone because we mix the concepts of forgiveness and reconciliation, but God does not say “be reconciled to everyone.” NO. He says “forgive everyone.”  Reconciliation takes both parties, forgiveness only requires you. “With everything that is within YOU, be at peace with all men.”
  4. You and I are not the judge of the earth. Your Father asks you to give to them what He already gave to you in a much bigger way. God is saying “I forgave you of a massive debt. I am asking you to do the same for them.” God is actually going to balance all the books at the end perfectly! We can release them to the only lawgiver that there is and no that He is perfect in His ways!

Life and Life Abundantly: More Than Theory

5/29/16
- Peter DeWitt
Audio

Jesus came to give us life, and life abundantly. (Jn. 10:10)  But the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy.  The abundant life the Lord has for you is not in theory only!  When we are willing to know God in theory only, the enemy can steal from us in reality.  Jesus had no value for words without works (see Jn. 10:37).  Likewise, James had no value for faith without action.  In Luke 18, the blind man put action behind his faith when he cried out to Jesus.  The crowd tried to silence him, but he cried out all the more. Jesus recognized and responded to his faith: "what do you want Me to do for you?"  And that's the question for you today as well.  What do you want Him to do for you? What part of your walk with God do you want to promote from theory to reality?

Being Known by God (Part 6)

5/15/16
- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary Blog Post

Good students ask questions. We all have questions on our heart to ask God. The Lord today is saying “what do you want to know about?” Jesus said "Ask and it will be given to you … for whoever asks receives.” (Mt. 7:7-8) We need to go to God with our questions! Our experience as a student is determined by our initiative. If you sit in the back of the class, you cannot expect to have a front row experience with God! If you are not asking questions, you are not a student. Disciples are students. If you are not asking questions, you are not playing the role of disciple. In the New Covenant, you can go straight to God to ask Him questions for yourself! God wants to be the instructor in every area of your life! Be specific -phrase your questions to God in such a way that you can do something with His answers. Start asking Him questions about something - with the expectation of being changed by His answer. If you are willing to turn at the Lord’s direction, He will make His words known to you. (Prov. 1:23) Raise your hand (and your voice); He wants to make His secrets known to you! (Jer. 33:3) God does not want to just to puff up your heads without changing your life. God has prepared special revelation, special inventions, special innovations, special insight for you – with your name on it – in Heaven. Do you realize that you are God’s #1 choice to bring impact in certain areas of this world? When you are a friend of God, He tells you more! (Jn. 15:14-15) You are His friend if you do whatever He commands you. The Holy Spirit wants to teach us in every area of our lives! When you are obedient to the insight and direction He has already given you, He will give you more. Faithful with little … given much! Engage with God, inquire in His temple. Ask Him questions!

Loving Unbelivers

5/1/16
- Brad Ettore
Audio Written Summary Blog Post

“For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”(Rom. 5:10) When were we reconciled according to that verse? Was it when we accepted Christ into our lives? No! It was when we were still enemies that we were reconciled - before we accepted Christ! But how could reconciliation for the whole world have already occurred? It was Jesus’ death that paid the price! It has nothing to do with us. It was an agreement between the Father and the Son. Jesus came and paid the price for our sins and the Father said “accepted.” The whole world, literally, has been forgiven of their sins. However, that is not salvation.His death brought reconciliation, His life brings salvation (eternal life). If you believe God is angry and hating sinful people, it will affect your actions towards others! This is an era of reconciliation. God imputed everyone’s sins to Christ.  He is not holding any of them against anyone!  Yes, there will be a Judgment Day - but it’s not today!  Prior to The Judgment Day, the world has the opportunity to come to the Lord now with no animosity between them and God - so that they might receive His Son. God is already at peace with all people! And since there is no animosity between the God and the world, neither should we have ANY animosity between us and them!  Just love for them.

4/17/16
- Brad Ettore
Audio Written Summary Blog Post

Jesus gave us one commandment: that we would love one another in the same way that He has loved us.Our love is the signpost for the world to know Jesus! Loving people is being like God. Consider this: what is the one thing we can know that the Father is doing with everyone on the planet at all times? He is loving them! Why does God not hate sinners? Isn’t He just in His judgment of sin? Of course God is completely just in the judgment of sin; God has already punished their sin!God has already forgiven the sin debt of all people, but they have to CHOOSE to receive that gift. The world is just one step away from all the blessings of God in their life - and that is to receive salvation. This is the New Covenant and it is based on one single commandment and that is to love! You cannot love parents and hate their children. If you want to have the greatest relationship with God, the greatest joy, the fullness of God in your life, you can do it by loving other people! Throw off judgment - it is none of our business! It’s taken care of - God’s got it! All we have to do is love!

Trust in God, not Money (part 2)

4/3/16
- Brad Ettore
Audio Written Summary Blog Post

In order to understand God’s perspective about money we need to be spiritually minded and not carnally minded. So, here is the Biblical view about money in one statement: Money isn’t the issue; trust is. “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mk. 10:24) Money doesn’t give you significance. There is only ONE PLACE that TRUE significance comes from - it’s from service. God will give you more and more as long as we prove to be good stewards with what He has given us. “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.” (Mt. 25:21) Remember that "finances" is not the big thing. It is actually the training wheels that God uses to teach His children to trust in Him.The tithe is the first rung on the latter. Giving is the second rung on the latter, but God has so much more for His children! He uses money to teach us. God has true riches for us that are far better than money! (Lk. 16:11)

Being Known by God (Part 5)

3/20/16
- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary Blog Post

God doesn’t want a one-way relationship with you. He wants us to be known by Him, but being known by God is not a relational auto-pilot experience.One of the keys to being known by God is we have to have time with Him. The Lord wants to have a thing, a special thing, with you. He doesn’t want the new testament believers to stand back from His presence while one believer is in front of the Lord face-to-face. The face-to-face relationship is available for each of us!  One of the best ways for God to get to know you is that He will ask you questions. When God asks you questions, He invites you to discover the answers with Him. The process of discovering answers with God actually causes you to own the answers once you’ve received them. God will ask us questions but He wants us to ask Him questions too!  When you read the Word, ask God questions about what you are reading! God also wants the experiences that you have day-to-day to provide opportunities to develop understanding of Kingdom principles … but in order to develop that understanding, you need to ask “why.” When you seek the Lord in your day-to-day life He develops understanding - because you have been crying out for understanding. (Prov. 2:1-7) You literally become a pillar of understanding that people flock to in order to hear what you’ve heard from the Lord. This understanding comes from asking Him questions! When you ask Him questions, it invites Him to be a teacher in your life. And what a blessing it is to you and others when you are His student!

Being Known by God (Part 4)

3/6/16
- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary Blog Post

Our relationship with God is a two-way street, but you do not want to be the foundation of your walk with God.  He’s the Rock, not us!  Being known by God is wonderful, but it is not a relational auto-pilot experience. As it relates to our personal relationship with Him, God, Our Father, as omniscient as He is, generally chooses to make Himself dependent upon our invitation to be known by Him.  We have to invite Him in!  Allowing God to ask us questions is a great way for Him to get to know us.  The Lord’s questions in our life cause us to reflect or self-assess.  The Lord's questions will also challenge us, test us, and encourage or draw out our faith.  Great teachers ask transformative questions.  When God asks you questions, it causes you to own the answer. God’s questions invite us to be a student.  And then our questions invite Him to be a teacher.

Being Known by God (Part 3)

2/21/16
- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary Blog Post

If you are one who follows Christ, there are two central things that you do: you hear His voice and He knows you. (Jn. 10:27)  When you hear God’s words, you Know Him; when God hears your words, He knows you. If you want to be known by God, the first thing you should do is to ask Him to know you! The reason David was so well known by God was because David had asked God to know Him! (Ps 139:23-24) "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." When the Israelites were in the wilderness Moses pitched a tent outside the camp where people could go to meet with God. This is a key point in knowing “how to be known by God”: go on dates with God. He wants you to have your own thing, your own history with Him! He does not want you to somehow become vicariously satisfied in living through someone else’s intimacy with Him. God wants to know you personally. Talk with the Lord. He wants to make history with you!

2/7/16
- Joshua Weir
Audio Written Summary Blog Post

“But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” (Mt. 7:14, NLT) When we think that the road is supposed to be easy we are set up for disappointment and a lack of staying power. The path to experiencing true life here on earth is going to be difficult. (Jn. 16:33) But, the life you really want is down that difficult path! Pain is inevitable, but gain is optional. When we run away from the difficulties of life, life is hard. When we press into the difficulties of life, life is easy. When we stop frantically trying to preserve our lives (avoid pain) there will be nothing that we are afraid of! The result of pressing into seeing change in our hearts is that good things begin to happen! Change is hard, but we are not alone. We can invite a truth teller, someone who believes in you, to start speaking into your life so that they can push us beyond our own limitations. And we can invite the one will "never leave us nor forsake us" into every difficult place as well. Lean into the squeeze, the difficulty, the struggle, and you are going to find zoe life on the other side of it!

1/31/16
- Lewis Gordon
Audio Blog Post

Who is the Lord?  What's on His resume? One thing God says very plainly about Himself is that He is love! (1 Jn. 4:8) So if God is love, you can find the word "God" and replace it with love in order to gain more insight into His nature. Look at 1 Cor. 13.  "Love is patient." So, God is patient! We also see there that God is kind, not envious, and never fails! We see that "Love" formed the world! (Gen. 1) and that we were knit together in our mother's womb by Love Himself! (Ps. 139) Love is much more concrete than we may think. God loves us in a sacrifical, giving way as is perfectly evidence by the Lamb of God - slain before the foundation of the world so we can spend all eternity experiencing and discovering His great love for us!

1/31/16
- Christoper Wyant
Audio

In 1988, while waiting at a stoplight, a truck Christopher was driving was plowed into from behind.  After the collision the truck was not in terrible shape because the other car had rammed into the large, steel lift gate on the back of the truck.  Christopher tried to shake it off too.  But, about 6 months after the collision,he started waking up in the middle of the night unable to feel his arms.  He also started having neck pain and lower back pain around the same time.  The back pain got progressively worse through the years such that every few months it would flair up and the back pain would be so debilitating that he couldn't stand up and even at times could not get out of bed.

About 23 years later (2011) Christopher started attending Agathos.  During that season we were focusing on praying for people with back pain but Christopher never felt like he qualified to "stand up for prayer" because his back usually wasn't hurting a lot at that exact moment.  That fall, Christopher went on a men's retreat.  On the drive back from the retreat, two other guys from church and him were talking about the power of prayer.  So, Christopher said "I always have back pain but I never have it when it's time to pray."  One of them encouraged Christopher "don't let that stop you from claiming the promise or getting that healing!"  The other said "why don't we just pray for you right now?"  Christopher grew up around prayer and "knew about laying on of hands and seeing people healed" but "expecting it (healing) is a completely different thing."  Christopher was not having a "flair up" but was experiencing his normal, low-level back pain.  The second the two guys touched him and started praying, Christopher INSTANTLY stopped hurting!  Christopher thought "that was cool, but it is not unusual for the pain to come and go" so literally while they were praying for him he was shifting in his seat to see if he could make the pain come back.  The pain did not come back!!!  That was in 2011.  He had the back pain since 1988.  It is now 2016.  It has not come back!!! 

Now, it is worth noting that over the normal course of life (in late 2015) Christopher started feeling some pain come up in his lower back.  He said to himself "this can't be because God healed me!"  He literally got angry and said "the devil is NOT going to steal my testimony!"  "I am not giving up that victory and I am not letting that go!"

Trust in God, not Money

1/17/16
- Brad Ettore
Audio Written Summary

We see in Mark 10:17-27 that the issue isn’t money. It’s trust; WHERE is your and my trust? We think our trust is in God but sometimes we need to pull aside, get off the highway of life and consider our heart. God is there, at the deepest depths of our hearts, ready to undo and straighten out anything that needs undone or straightened out! We make adjustments in our hearts by meditating in God’s Word.  Ask yourself the hard questions. “What do I actually think about money? Really.” There is NO problem AT ALL in having money. The problem is in letting money have you. If there is a problem about money in your heart, don’t be afraid of it, but instead take it to God and let God work the solution in your heart. He is faithful to do it!

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