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Faith + Hope = Prayer's with Evidence
January 23, 2017

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." - Hebrew 11:1 (KJV)

When we pray, we need two things in our recipe for prayer. Faith and Hope, you can't have one without the other.

Faith is believing that the thing we are praying for will come to pass. We need to be confident that when we pray God is hearing our prayer request and He will do it!

So, what is HOPE? Here's a simple example to explain hope. When a architect is going to build a building what does he need to follow, to build it correctly. A BLUEPRINT, Hope is simply the blueprint to what your hoping for.

So the next time you are pray about a situation, get the blueprint of hope and see it come to pass!

Amy M. Gonzalez - Executive Pastor

Prayer is Communication with our Father
January 9, 2017

Have you ever asked yourself these questions? Can my prayers actually change things? Do my prayers really matter all that much? Let's see what the Word says. The book of James tells us in chapter 5 verse 16 that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. We know we are righteous because 2 Cor. 5:21 tells us that we are!! So the answer to those questions is a resounding "yes"! E. M. Bounds said "God shapes the world by prayer. The more praying there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil.... The prayers of God's saints are the capital stock of heaven by which God carries on His great work upon the earth. God conditions the very life and prosperity of His cause on prayer." Maybe your lifestyle prevents you from blocking out huge chunks of time for prayer but as you go through your day you can take a couple of minutes here and there to praise Him & thank Him for all that He has done for you. Pray as you get out of bed in the morning or before you close your eyes at night ~ even as you are driving your car BUT PRAY!!! Prayer is your method of communicating with your Heavenly Father ~ having & enjoying fellowship with Him.

Donna Porter ~ Prayer Small Group Leader FHC

New Year, New You?
January 2, 2017

At the start of every new year people make promises to have a better year than the one that just ended. Most look back on the previous year with disgust, and disdain, and imagine that the new year will provide fresh opportunities to have their dreams come true. They fantasize about the new year bringing them the perfect body, perfect mate and perfect amount of money. Then, another year passes, and their lives are no more better than the year before it. It is a vicious rollercoaster.

Much of what is believed about a new year is superstitious, and bordering on cultic. The songs, well-wishing, kisses or toasts are made in an attempt to make the new year better than the previous one. If bad habits are carried into the new year then bad outcomes will be as well. There is no way of getting around this fact: You must change, if you want the coming year to be different. You and only you are able to make it better. God, Himself, will not make your year look different than the last, if you fail to recognize the mistakes you made the year prior, and then stop making them.

Marketers capitalize on the consumer’s penchant for high hopes, and faux ambition, by rolling out their newest exercise stuff right at the end of the year. They know that most people will binge eat, and binge drink, promising themselves that they will be different in the coming year. There is no special power available at the stroke of midnight that will guarantee a better year than the one that just ended, and it is time we stop fooling ourselves.

However, there are a 3 things that we can do, right now, that can help us have a better year than the last one, and I have included them here:

End toxic relationships

The fact is, if you go into 2017 with the same crowd that you ran with in 2016 (*assuming you think 2016 was horrible), 2017 will not look different than 2016. If you have aspirations of starting a business, then hang out with business owners. If you want to stop the party life, then finding a community that has fun without booze and drugs will be essential (churches are great place to start looking). If you want to loose weight, then find someone to hold you accountable, and discontinue late night eating with your local pub buddies.

Do something daily

If you have a goal or dream you want to accomplish in 2017 doing a small thing daily is better than trying to go gang busters for a couple of weeks and then quitting. I set out to write my first book last year, and I accomplished it by writing everyday. Some days I wrote a few words, and some days I wrote a few pages, but I did something daily about my goal. Massive change starts with action, and not wishing.

Stop making excuses

If 2016 was bad it is likely because your choices were bad. To be sure, some people may have had life events that were beyond their control, and in that case, my prayer is that they will find comfort and strength to move beyond them in the new year. 2008 was banner year for me, and at the end of it, I buried my 21 year old sister. I lived in a fog for 5 years. I understand some things happen that are beyond our control. For most, however, the results of 2016 were due to the choices that were made within the year and the previous years, and the best thing that you can do is own that fact without blame shifting. Blame shifting will bind you to the same decision making that got you where you were at. Tell yourself, and the Lord, that you are fully responsible for where you are right now. Ask for grace and wisdom to never repeat the choices, and then never look back.

I cannot promise you that 2017 is going to be different than the years prior, but what I can promise you, is that, if you will make healthier choices, beginning with the above 3 suggestions, you will start to have better outcomes -eventually.

Stay faithful and stay consistent, and most of all keep believing the Lord has better for you.

Paul Anthony Gonzalez - Sr. Pastor Freedom House Church

Need A Miracle? Christmas is the Time To Get One
December 19, 2016

If there is anything that Christmas proclaims, it is that miracles are possible. As Christians, we believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was born to a virgin. This reality sits paramount and is at the heart of the Christian faith. Without our faith resting in this truth, the rest of our faith would be empty and futile. If Christ was not born to a virgin then none of the foundational Christian doctrines would matter.

The virgin birth is significant due to four profound proclamations, as follows: 1.) Jesus had a Heavenly origin - He is GOD the Son (John 1:1,14); 2.) He had a sinless nature, because Joseph was not his dad, the Heavenly Father is (1Peter 2:22); 3.) He is the perfect sacrifice, and this was due to his sinless nature (Galatians 4:4,5 & Exodus 12:5); 4.) Jesus Christ is unique, for no one has, nor ever will, come into the world the way that he did.

To believe in the virgin birth is not an optional requirement for Christians. There are some things different branches of Christianity may disagree on, but this cannot be one of them. If we reject the virgin birth, we reject the rest of the life of Christ. However, when we believe it, and trust that it is true, we affirm that we believe in the miraculous, because it is the greatest miracle of Scripture. In fact, it sets the course for the miraculous, because Jesus was conceived and born miraculously, lived miraculously sinless, performed miracles everywhere He went, and died and rose miraculously from the dead, then ascended miraculously on a cloud to take His seat at the right hand of the Father. Everything about our Lord is miraculous, and it proves that miracles are possible everyday.

The essence - the very foundation - of the Christian faith is miraculous. Why on earth Christian’s struggle to believe for the miraculous is exceptionally sad, because the whole thing, from start to finish, is a miracle. Jesus, carried our sin onto the Cross - a miracle. Jesus, satisfied the just demands of the Law of Moses, and with it gave us His righteousness - a miracle. He saved us, loves us and shares His abundant inheritance with us - nothing short of a miracle. We must believe that miracles are possible, because the sum total of our faith is miraculous.

I believe that God is speaking this Christmas season, and He is saying, “Believe that miracles are possible to you and through you. You are the seed, offspring, progeny, child of the miraculous. Believe for MIRACLES, because with Me all things are possible if you’ll believe!”

Paul Anthony Gonzalez - Sr. Pastor Freedom House Church

GIVE AND IT SHALL BE GIVEN UNTO YOU
December 12, 2016

Tell a Christian about Luke 6:38 and all they think about is tithes. Sadly most Christian only love hearing "shall be given unto you, pressed down, shaken together and running over" Luke 6:38 is not all about tithes. Jesus clearly taught us to "Give". Giving here means a lot. Give all you have at work. Hate your job? Give all you have into loving it. Whatever you do , Give it your all. Why? Jesus says "Give and it should be given unto you, pressed down, shaken together and running over". Is that all Jesus says, no!. He finishes up that sentence and says "and men shall given into your bosom". What usually happens when you go to work?, You get paid. We all like getting paid, but take Luke 6:38 into work tomorrow and remember the last part of Luke 6:38. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. Want that promotion?, Want that raise?, Give all you have as you are giving to God and in the process God causes people to give into your bosom.

Brian Schreiber ~ Financial Elder at FHC

This December Blog Won’t Be About Christmas
December 5, 2016

So, ok, I promised that this blog wouldn’t be about Christmas, so I am going to stick to my word - sort of. I will fulfill my promise given through my title, but with a catch. Instead, I will write about what usually happens during the Christmas season, here, in the United States, at least, over the last few years.

There’s been a war on Christmas, or so I have been told. In fact, I used to believe it, and to be fair, there is some credence to the assumption. I am not convinced, however, that far left groups are in a full-out assault on the Christmas Holiday. Advocates of this belief point out that retailers aren’t saying Merry Christmas any more, replacing the cheerful greeting with something as anti-Christmas and evil as, Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings. While it is true that retailers, and others, have chosen to forgo a favorite holiday greeting of many in the United States, does it really constitute a war?

Don’t get me wrong, I agree that there has definitely been some sort of distancing that retailers have taken from the Christmas season, and it is true that they make gobs of money while doing it. But, does it really constitute a war? Yes, America has become more secularized over the last couple of decades, but does that constitute a war on Christmas, as well?

Now, here’s what I am getting at: There can be no war unless two or more parties, or factions, are fighting each other. In other words, there is no conflict unless there are opposing parties. What do I mean? There cannot be a war on Christmas, unless Christians engage in a conflict. Retailers aren’t sitting around saying, “Hmmm, I wonder how we can have a war with Christians this year and have them boycott our stores with stupid boycott hashtags?”

Heres why I think a war on Christmas is unnecessary and why christians should avoid the conflict:

  1. There are better things to war over, especially through prayer, like the souls of men and women.
  2. Boycotts just make Christians look crabby and judgmental
  3. Merry Christmas isn’t a phrase used in the Bible. Oh, by the way, there is zero reference to Christmas trees, ornaments, egg nog, coquito (for you Puerto Ricans out there) in the Bible, either. What is in the Bible, is, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
  4. Preachers make big bucks ranting on Facebook and having their posts go viral. They don’t really care about the supposed cultural war, they just want to buy more presents for their kids from the cheddar they make convincing you and I to share there sponsored posts. Duh?
  5. Because retail outlets aren’t churches or responsible for spreading Christmas cheer - YOU ARE.
  6. Because Starbucks is responsible for making a good cup of coffee not putting Christmas stuff on their cups - WHO CARES?
  7. Jesus wasn’t born on December 25. Oh, gasp, wince, snarl - BLASPHEMY. It’s true, just accept it. Whole denominations can’t even agree on the dates, just ask Latinos, Russians and Greeks. HE WAS LIKELY BORN IN THE LATE WINTER, EARLY SPRING.

This year I’m not participating in the war on Christmas. Nope, not gonna do it. Instead, I am choosing to remain thankful (with a Starbucks coffee and Target bag in hand) that I will be celebrating it, another year, with the people that I love and care about the most, in a nation that let’s retailers decide not to say - MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Merry Christmas!

Paul Anthony Gonzalez - Sr. Pastor Freedom House Church

This Journey of Clay…
November 28, 2016

We are called “vessels” for the Lord. I’m reminded that we, the believer, were formed and fashioned out of the dust. Carved in his image and after his likeness. And he breathed life into our being. It's interesting that when you take a piece of clay, you must pound out the air bubbles so that when the clay goes into the fire, it won't break into pieces. Think about that. Doesn't it feel at times like the Lord is trying to pound out some character issues in our life. It really doesn't feel good. But I love this scripture, that remind me of this process...

"1Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:1-5)." So trust the process, seek after the Lord and allow precious Holy Spirit to work things out in us. And watch the fruit, that will be produce in your life.

"22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit's leading in every part of our lives (Galatians 5:22-25).” Take some time today, reflect, and ask God this question, "God, am I allowing your word to come alive in my heart to produce these fruits in my life or is their some more pounding you need to do in my life to get out the air bubbles."

Amy Gonzalez - Executive Pastor Freedom House Church

Give Thanks For God's Sake:
November 21, 2016

This month, in the United States, we celebrate a national holiday called Thanksgiving. As the name implies, it is a time to reflect and give thanks for all of the many blessings that we have been given over the last year. This Thanksgiving holiday comes at a unique time since we have just concluded the ugliest presidential campaign in US Presidential Election history.

If social media is a barometer of the cultural atmospheric pressure, then it’s safe to suggest that there is a palpable divisiveness hanging in the air. Somehow, even among Christians, personal attacks and vicious, vitriolic name-calling has become appropriate behavior for anyone opposed to someone’s preferred candidate. One well known pastor took to a popular social media platform to declare that any person who voted for Secretary Clinton could not claim salvation. I guess, loving thy neighbor no longer applies during campaign seasons.

Oddly enough, I am writing this blog at 5:03 on election day. The results aren’t in, and people are already predicting the demise of the Republic if their choice loses. Sure, I have a preferred party (not so much a candidate), but I have decided that I am going to give God thanks no matter what. In fact, the Bible says that it is God’s will that we do so. Take a look at this: “…in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1Thessalonians 5:18)."

Nature, Aristotle said, abhors a vacuum, and when we stop giving thanks - heartily and vibrantly giving thanks to God - the empty space can only be filled with murmuring and complaining. Castigating political opponents, though they are not really opponents, seems ordinary and, to some, necessary. Frankly, I would love to see a political perspective that suits my philosophy, but not enough to harangue my neighbor.

In the end, I would rather give thanks that we have a nation where robust debate is permitted, than have my guy, or girl, in the White House. It is more appropriate for us to give thanks for the American heroes that have gone to foreign lands to ensure our right to vote. We should rejoice that we will experience a peaceful transition of power in mid-January, because there are still nations that have never seen such an amazing thing. For too many, bloodshed precedes changes in power. We need to focus, truly focus on being thankful, after all, it is the will of God.

Paul Anthony Gonzalez - Sr. Pastor Freedom House Church