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Now displaying: July, 2020
Jul 14, 2020

Pastor Mike speaks on the 5 A's of Mental health this week.

Jul 6, 2020

Yet, as God’s servants, we prove ourselves authentic in every way... 2 Corinthians‬ ‭6:4‬ ‭TPT‬‬


'We have proved ourselves by... showing kindness, by the Spirit of holiness (by the Holy Spirit within us), and by our uncritical love for you.' 2 Corinthians 6:6 TPT


So  we decided we're going to park here for a little bit and really talk about what the Holy Spirit produces in our lives. So we are looking at Galatians at a deeper level which of the attributes of the Holy Spirit produces in our lives. 


But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control… Galatians 5:22-23


but this is what you got to understand about God he will never force you to be you are called to be. The holy spirit will convict you and the Holy Spirit Will directs you but you've got to choose to walk in the person that God wants you to be.  Secondly, you need to understand that these attributes are not ala carte That you can't say you want peace and joy and not want patience or self-control. these attributes build off of each other like we discussed last week and I encourage you the watch last week sermon and it is why I titled these sermons Driven by love because Love is the foundation. Lastly, you need to understand these attributes have an outward impact.  Many times we read them with this inward focus on self… OOOO I want joy, I want peace, and I want to be loved, but actually these are what the HS produces in you to give to the world around you!


Self-Control: egkrateia 

Mastery; More Properly Dominion Within


means strength within… It is about an inner character…It’s about being a person that reflects the character as much in private as we do in public…


Now the fullness of this is a strength that comes from God, but it is a decision that comes from us. This type of Mastery can only be accomplished by the power of the Lord. 


First, let’s understand a little about self-control…




That we have this battle between a divided self inside us… Listen to what Paul says…


And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.  Romans 7:18-19


You ever felt like that?  You ever felt that battle rising within… Paul says what a miserable person I am… You ever thought that about yourself… He goes on to say Who will free me?  Then he says Jesus… We will get into this a little later… But what Paul is saying here is that we have to first identify that there is a battle going on in our hearts!


Jesus said this…


“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23


Jesus says that Daily we have to understand this battle and daily we have to make conscious decisions on which self will have control of our sinful desires or spiritual… Now many people hear this and they become overwhelmed because they are like you mean Daily I have this choice and this battle that seems like a lot…


But the question is what in life that has value is not filled with these daily choices… You want to be a good parent sometimes you have to make conscious decisions even if you don’t feel like… Sometimes you are exhausted and you don’t want to feed them, I don't care if they are juggling knives I don't want to deal with it, sometimes you just want to scream GO TO YOUR ROOM I DONT WANT TO SEE YOUR FACE THE REST OF THE NIGHT…. But even if you don’t feel like it you know daily you have to have the discipline choose to do what is right as a parent.. 


The same thing as being a spouse sometimes you just want to be selfish and have this fend for yourself mentality I am doing my own thing regardless of your feelings or you emotions are on the rise and you just want to go off, but you have to have the discipline to make that choice


Or as a leader in your influence… Sometimes you just want to yell just do what I said I don’t feel like telling you why we do what we do… I don’t want to help you problem-solve… Just get together…You have to have the discipline choose to be an effective leader


And we make mistakes in all these just like we do spiritually, but we have to recognize its a daily battle




Regardless no matter what it's still a fight and we have a choice on where that fight will take us… that choice is fueled by our discipline…


All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it todo what it should. 1 Corinthians 9:25-27


Notice Paul says “I” discipline my body which means he is making a conscious decision to daily examine his life. An athlete understands the disciplines they need to place in their life to go to the next level… They also understand they need discipline in their lives to stay away from things that keep them from going to the next level.


Now the writer of Hebrews tells us we must throw off the sin that is slowing us down and the sin that is tripping us up and how do we do this????


'We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. ' Hebrews 12:2


Fix our eyes on Jesus- We imitate the lifestyle of Jesus he was the perfect model of our faith… When we do that it initiates something in our life we want to strive like Paul says to be perfect reflection of the design God created us to be.  We know we aren’t perfect but daily we strive to get rid of the negative things in our life and strive to be who God created us to be! All of this happens because of the death and resurrection of Jesus and that resurrection Spirit that is moving in us… 


Remember the HS will point things out but we must choose to embrace it and want to change. So we must understand what disciplines we need to add to our life and what we need to be disciplined to stay away from…


So think clearly and exercise self-control. 1 Peter 1:13


Both the Corinthians said that our bodies our souls are temples for the Holy Spirit…  So what we put in and expose ourselves to matters beyond just ourselves, but also matters because it shows our gratitude and respect towards God… 


So Paul says the way we readjust this is…


I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Romans 12:1


So we must offer our bodies to God… Let our hearts be pleasing to God… So we are going to talk real quickly the areas we need to be careful on exposing ourselves to unhealthy disciplines and what are the healthy disciplines we need to go to the next level…




What fills our speech… Avg person speaks 18,000 words a day and now with social media, many of those words are now reaching people that normally would have never been exposed to our daily speech.  What things do we expose our tongues?  Are they life-giving or life-taking because that will start to affect you?


The tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. James 3:5-6


The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences. Proverbs 18:21


You may think your post on social media is no big deal, or the way you talk to that coworker, or how you speak to your wife or children is no big deal.  It is just something small I said.  But it grows.  We have the choice of what are we going to expose our speech with because it will start to expose our future… Either future of life or death…


“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18


“A tongue that brings healing is like a tree of life. But a tongue that  tells lies produces a broken spirit.” Proverbs 15:4 


Are we going to be those that heal or are we going to be those that destroy…  So here is your heart check… Start replaying your conversations… Are you talking about people, are you constantly being negative or are elevating people and speaking life.. Also, see what fills your FB statuses and comments because those are your digital words are they life-giving or taking and if you have to wonder then I would say I wouldn't press send or speak it…. Think before you speak and think before you type and ask does this imitates Jesus because I promise if he becomes your filter it will save you a lot of heartache in life!




The very words of Jesus says,


Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. Matthew 6:22-23


Our sinful nature is a lot like the story “give a mouse a cookie”  glass of milk, then he will want a straw, then a napkin, then a mirror, etc… Which on a side note is my son Kingston!!!!


but it is especially dangerous with what we watch.  The more unhealthy things we see the more desensitized we become… Things tend to not shock us as it once was and when Jesus it says that effects your entire body its because it starts triggering your emotions, filling your thoughts, and sometimes hinders your desires…


You can really see this in culture… Things that we are appalling decades ago are normal now… Things you would never see on TV or in magazines is normal for the world, but is detrimental to your moral character… Violence, hate rhetoric, everything is over-sexualized, language is just filthy on all the sites.  


Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Romans 12:2


That means despite what culture tells us is right or wrong we must have the discipline to make the healthy choice even if its the road less traveled… Maybe there are certain shows, movies, magazines, websites that we just shouldn't expose our hearts to…


I will lead a life of integrity in my own home. I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar. Psalms 101:2-3




1 Corinthians says bad company corrupts good morals… 




That is why they say show me your friends and I will show you your future… That’s not just a school assembly cliche its a reality… Leadership Studies show that people with success that are high caliber leaders surround themselves with other high caliber leaders… 


Therefore encourage one another and build each other up. 1 Thessalonians 5:11


I want to surround myself with people that build me up… I don’t want to be surrounded by negative people, I don’t want to be around a gossip bashing festival, I don’t want to be around people that are not motivated… I want to be around people that encourage and build me up!!! 




Oh that our lives are summed up with an eternal purpose… That we live for life beyond ourselves… That we expose our hands and feet to do something with meaning in this life… 


I’ve said this before




Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Romans 12:11


Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. 1 Corinthians 15:58


Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:23-24


It is so tempting to live and work for ourselves… It is so tempting to strive for convenience and be comfortable, but it is the moments that when we live beyond ourselves we find meaning and we are stretched and taken to places we could never imagine!


Too many times we are chasing what the world calls success and but those things die when we do, but when we invest in people they carry on…


If you chase money and temporary you will never catch it, but if you chase purpose it will actually push you to greater distances… 


So let’s expose our works to purpose…




We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ 2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV


The mind is a battlefield and once we starting doubting the nature and character of God and the power of God… We start suffering spiritually…


That’s why Isaiah says this…


You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3


That we have peace when we trust that God is who says he is and our minds and thoughts are fixed and focused on that!  




Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.' Philippians 4:8-9


The way I love to look at this scripture is this… The more I read God’s word and the more I meditate on the promises of God… The more I start becoming who I was always created to be… That my inner thoughts, desires, destiny, and dreams start coming to the surface…


Do we understand who God is and what His promises truly say? Are we feeding our minds and souls with the promises of God… Because if God is for me who can be against me… What weapon formed against shall prosper… I will never drown because God is my strength… I am Gods workmanship created with a purpose… I am child of God not a slave to fear… I am a new creation the old is gone… 


For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded... But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation. 1 Thessalonians 5:5-6;8


As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 1:3

Jul 6, 2020

Yet, as God’s servants, we prove ourselves authentic in every way... 2 Corinthians ­6:4TPT


'We have proved ourselves by... showing kindness, by the Spirit of holiness (by the Holy Spirit within us), and by our uncritical love for you.' 2 Corinthians 6:6 TPT


So last week we decided we're going to park here for a little bit and really talk about what the Holy Spirit produces in our lives. Remember Paul said we got to prove ourselves authentic and Jesus says that people are defined by their actions like a tree is defined by its fruit. You are what you do oh, you are what you say, you are what you put online. Now, the great thing about Jesus in his grace is that we don't have to stay that way but we do need to identify like the writer of Hebrews says the weight that is slowing us down from being who we are called to created us to be in the sin that's tripping us up.


So we are looking at Galatians at a deeper level which of the attributes of the Holy Spirit produces in our lives. but this is what you got to understand about God he will never force you to be you are called to be. The holy spirit will convict you and the Holy Spirit Will directs you but you've got to choose to walk in the person that God wants you to be.  Secondly, you need to understand that these attributes are not ala carte That you can't say you want peace and joy and not want patience or self-control. these attributes build off of each other like we discussed last week and I encourage you the watch last week sermon and it is why I titled these sermons Driven by love because Love is the foundation. Lastly, you need to understand these attributes have an outward impact.  Many times we read them with this inward focus on self… OOOO I want joy, I want peace, and I want to be loved, but actually these are what the HS produces in you to give to the world around you!


So last week we set this up the talking about love this is outward expression towards others because we walk in this deep gratitude of the love we have experienced from God.


'But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. This is real love-not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 1 John 4:8;10


Did you see this? That God didn't love us because we did something nice for him and he felt compelled to act. no, God loved us despite our sin and the mistakes we have made and his love drove him to act despite what he never received from us because he saw the potential he created us with and he was compelled to help us reach it. this is the love he calling disciples to live in. You don't just treat somebody good because they treated you good you treat someone good despite the way they treat you because you see potential in them to be who God created them to be and you are not going to be defined by the fruits of this world you're going to be defined by the fruit of heaven and we don't function the same way.


Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.' 1 John 4:11-12


Now I want to reiterate something we received this love even though we didn't deserve it. even when we were living a lifestyle contrary to the love we’ve received God still gave us that love…


But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8


This verse is love with an action attached to them!!! They all have movement… They are not just saying I love you they are acting with Love…


It uses the same Greek word for love which is

Agapao which means

Deep and constant love and interest of a perfect Being toward entirely unworthy objects.


This is the highest form of LOVE… it is found 142 times in scriptures and they respond with action…

Though we don’t deserve it a God much greater and grander than us responded with Love that had movement to it and restored us through Jesus…


Now, remember this is the love of God calls us to give to others because this is the love we received. We see their needs and we react to their needs whether we think they deserve it by their actions.


Now, remember again from last week when we remain in that love we will experience the joy that overflows when we follow the commands of God, and what did Jesus say that command was in that passage to love others and lay your life down for someone else. so when we walk in an Agapao love towards people that may not deserve it and we lay our lives down for them that's where we discover joy!


This week we are diving into Kindness & Goodness


Popular English Bibles translate the single Greek word chrestotes into two English words: kindness and goodness.


Goodness is being good Moral excellence; virtue; the best part of anything;

Kindness is goodness in action, the sweetness of disposition, gentleness in dealing with others. 


Both of these fruits or words at the root of the biblical term means Active Character…


Kindness and Goodness is not feelings or personalities here… What it is acting on those qualities… It is allowing our actions to speak louder than our words…


Golden Rule…


“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. Matthew 7:12


This doesn't say to be nice… That when you are wronged to respond with kindness and goodness.. This actually says Take initiative in being kind and good… Look for opportunities to allow your character to have action to it and do good… 


This concept is different than other religions or philosophers…

Confucius "What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others

Buddhism:"Hurt not others with that which pains yourself.”

Zoroaster "Whatever is disagreeable to yourself, do not do unto others.”


So other concepts of this is not do harm to people just be nice… But Jesus is saying seek opportunities to make a difference in the lives of people around you!




For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10


It's like God has a divine to do list and it has our name on it.


That life is meant to be filled with purpose and we are to walk in that purpose… We are called to leave this world a better place than when we entered because he planned it as he created us his masterpieces to do good in this world…


“A life isn’t significant except for its impact on other lives.” -Jackie Robinson






When it all comes down to it it's not about our opinions, our politics, or our preferences it's about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It's about the fact that we are Brothers and Sisters in Christ and are a spiritual family. It's about people walking and restoration that only Jesus can give.


It is also not about how awesome we may think we are as a person.  We will never have enough in the tank to heal, restore, and change people… We are kind and we are good because we want people to experience the only one who is truly kind, good, and life-changing which is Jesus Christ…


Taste and see that the lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Fear the lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the lord will lack no good thing. Psalms 34:8-10


That ONLY God can give all you need a life that is long and prosperous… David understood he must push people towards God…


Matthew 5 Jesus talks about it… He says we are the light of the world and don’t hide the fact that you are radically changed by God but share it with the world…


Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. Matthew 5:16


Don’t get it twisted I do what I do to elevate the name of Jesus, but that doesn’t mean I don’t battle the Monster of Me that wants to elevate the name of Mike Carlton, elevate my opinions, lean into my preferences regardless of whether it is beneficial to the majority. I have to constantly remind myself The why behind my what. I have to always remind myself the reason behind my actions in the good times when people see my good works I have to remind myself it's all about Jesus I'm not the savior, but I also have to remind myself in the hard times when people expect me to be perfect and place impossible standards on me and the weight is heavy I must remind myself Jesus said he will carry my burden.  Have to remind myself I am Laying the seeds of the message of Jesus into people's lives and I may not be the person that sees those seeds grow and produce fruit, but down the road, someone else may be watering it and speaking life into them and I have to remind myself I'm playing the Eternal game.


When we elevate people we elevate them to Jesus! We reflect Jesus with our good works… We brag about Jesus.  My prayer is that our acts of kindness reflect the greatest kindness this world ever has seen! 




Kindness is not just the absence of negativity… And it is not just being nice… Its fighting for peoples well being because you care for them




We must care for people beyond the surface and deal with matters of the heart…


I heard it said like this “Kindness is not the same thing as being nice.  You can be nice and thats kind, but you can be kind and its not always nice.”


As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17


Thats not always easy and doesn't always feel nice… This doesn't mean that we are rude, hateful, demeaning, or angry… So if you are approaching these sharpening moments with those emotions thats not the biblical way to handle it…


This means you are willing to have tough conversations with someone.  You love someone so deeply that you are willing to discuss unhealthy areas in their lives because you want to see the greatness they are created with start making its way to the surface… 


Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. Galatians 6:1-3


This thought to help people back on the right path is common in most translations as Restore in greek “Which means set a bone that has been broken back in place” Painful… Then you would take a broken bone and put a splint on it or today put a cast to protect t so it can heal properly…The same way we as believers surround and protect in a time of healing…


Now let me explain something very clearly this isn't a public warning it's a private conversation in love. and you don't earn the right to have a private conversation with someone if you have it shown publicly you have their best interest at heart. Your Facebook post isn’t going to change anybody’s life, but your private conversations will. Notice the ministry of Jesus the greatest life change with people that work in unhealthy place has happened in the most intimate settings not from his public sermons he went to Zacchaeus house and had a meal with him in his own intimacy of a friendship, keep it down and spoke in the life of the adulterous woman one-on-one after he defended her publicly, it had an intimate one-on-one conversation with the Samaritan woman, he was insulted by the Pharisees for eating meals with quote-unquote notorious Sinners which was a deeply personal thing in the Jewish culture. and it's in those places he called them to repent and called them to be more but it was because they were friends not just acquaintances or a mass audience without a face.






If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Matthew 5:41


When Jesus tells the disciples to go an extra mile. Referencing the Roman soldiers carrying the bags. In those days 1 mile was 1000 steps. It was the law that if a Roman soldier saw a Jew walking he could make that Jew carry his bags for a mile Nothing more but a mile… Jesus is saying we respond beyond the norm…


Everybody and anybody can go 1000 steps but let’s be people doing 2000 steps. Let’s be a church that goes above and beyond because we serve a God that went above and beyond for us… He didn't just do a 1000 steps he walked 10,000 steps… He didn't just keep pardoning and covering our sins as we offered man-made sacrifices but sent his son to die so that our sins would be washed completely clean, our past sins gone, obliterated, and sent a heavenly sacrifice for us…


For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16


Didn't talk about forgiving us… Didn't just speak forgiveness and a pardon… Literally & physically sent his son to die for us!


We go beyond because we serve a God who went beyond…


'Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.' James 1:27




If I can be honest with you this has been my biggest takeaway throughout the last several months COVID. as a personal conviction as a pastor, I felt as a whole we got a little too big for our britches. we lost the intimacy of discipleship we lost the intimacy of Pastoring people.  We are great at pulling off events, but we lost the beauty of intimacy. I knew to go into this year. He’s calling us to be hashtags for the Ozarks and I knew he was calling us to look outward oh, but I think that was the start of something much deeper. he was calling us to get back to the heart of discipleship. for us as a church don't have a personal investment in others and see them grow in bloom and everything they are called and created to be.


If you can't tell especially coming out of the time home isolation what people need more than any is friendships, life-giving relationships, and a community that stirs them to be a part of something bigger than themselves. The majority of adults prior to COVID when surveyed said they were deeply alone and desperately wanted authentic relationships. The #1 way we can be For the Ozarks is by first being a healthy church, that provides a healthy community, that builds healthy relationships, where we can disciple people and encourage each other.


That is why lead people into a community… We are called and we spiritually need to live the gospel together in a community fulfilling the great commission as church body… We tether it all back to church…Because you need a life-giving community to support each other and help in your growth and in living the gospel purpose for every believer.


And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:25


Other translations say don't forsake the assembly which means the gathering or I love the MSG it says don’t miss worshiping together… We do life Together… We glorify God through that life…


All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. Acts 4:32


We are better together… We need to love and serve each other… We may not be able to change the ENTIRE world but we can change OUR world