Many people see their lives playing out like a movie they cannot control. They have come to feel like spectators watching a story unfold, unable to stop the stampeding consequences. They feel the die is cast, and nothing they do can alter the outcome. James MacDonald believes that is a lie – but while people are where they are in life because of the choices they've made, they don't have to stay there. This book is about getting beyond self-help and blame shifting and changing at the deepest and most profound level...the will.
Trusting God is the Foundation of a relationship with Jesus Christ. In Psalm 25, the Psalmist David confesses his complete dependence on God. In this compelling, two-part series, James MacDonald leads us through a study on what it really means to trust God. A life that fully depends on God demonstrates an intimate knowledge of who God is and how He deals with His people. What does that look like in your life on a day-to-day basis? Get back to the basics-to the foundational level of who God is and what a trustworthy God He is.
Pastor James launched a new men’s Bible study on Wednesday nights – Act Like Brothers: A 7 Mandate Manifesto on Christian Brotherhood. • This study is broadcast live every Wednesday on our Youtube channel and on our Facebook page at 7pm CT – join us wherever you are! • For men in the Elgin/greater Chicago area – to attend in person, supply your contacts here to receive Bible study location info.
Two thousand years ago someone named Jesus showed up on the scene, have you ever wondered how and why he changed everything? These messages from the first three chapters of the Gospel of John will bring you up close and personal with Jesus. Not the Jesus of casual conversation-but the authentic man who changed history. Meet the Jesus who made the world, designed you and me, and then arrived in HIs creation on a mission of salvation. And discover why John 3:16 is the most important verse in the Bible. When you recognize Jesus for who He is, your own longings for purpose will suddenly make sense. Listen and experience the arrival of Jesus in your life in the same way He stepped into history. Meet the authentic Jesus, Son of God and your Savior.
Encounters with Jesus are life-altering. His words are perfect, his silence shocking. His submission, suffering, and sacrifice on the Cross cannot be ignored. You must decide-are you with him or against him? In these messages from Chapters 18-19 from the Gospel of John, Jesus is confronted with multiple injustices. As He approaches the Cross, every person He encounters is faced with a defining and eternity-altering decision. Let Pilate, Peter, Joseph of Arimathea, and others lead you to consider your relationship with Jesus. Will you turn away in fear, choose to serve men, or like Joseph, step forward to serve Him?
Jesus is the resurrection and the life. He wants you to have the very same power that raised him from the dead. Will you receive it? What Jesus offers us is more than something to be thankful for, it’s more than a celebration. He wants us to experience a newness that can only come from His sacrifice, death, and resurrection. In these final chapters of John, you will find Jesus is moving toward you and offering His life-transforming power. It’s time to let Him have all that is old, aggravating, dry, and difficult in your life and exchange it for His living newness.
With each miracle and encounter it becomes increasingly clear: Jesus’ deity is on display and a clear line is drawn in the sand. On one side are those who choose to debate, dismiss and deny Him. On the other are those who see clearly and choose to worship Him. There is no in-between. Listen to these messages and decide for yourself. Is Jesus just a man, or Son of the living God?
More than just a man, he stepped out of obscurity and onto a path that changed history. Revealing Himself as the Messiah, son of the living God, so, who do you say that he is? These messages from chapters four and five in the Gospel of John unveil the undeniable truth of who Jesus is and why God sent Him for us. He walked among us, displaying His character, purpose, and God’s will for His life and ours. He is the living water, the Messiah Son of God, and the way to eternal life. Listen and experience the truth of Jesus revealed.
Others may sense it but you can’t see it. Hold up the mirror of God’s Word and take a good look-hypocrisy may have crept into your life. Lip service and action like a Christian is empty piety and leads nowhere good-but how greatly you will be blessed when you get after the disciplines of genuine faith. This message series will help you tune up your authenticity and do the things that get you closer to the One you call Savior.
When your circumstances are shattered and you have no idea how to pick up the pieces, this series in the life of the apostle Paul will help right-size your perspective in light of who God actually is.
Ask the Lord to stir your heart through this Breakthrough Prayer series – not so you can ‘get there’ and leave, but to be inspired to go after a deeper commitment to prayer that breaks through.
Answers to prayer aren’t always what we want or expect. But the privilege of prayer is about more than just getting what we want. As you faithfully and fervently bring your petitions before the Lord-being obedient to surrender what He’s showing you in the process--you’ll experience the breakthroughs God always brings to a yielded heart. In this 3-part series, you’ll learn the ins and outs of surrendered prayer as well as focusing on the specific challenge of surrendering your kids to God.
Are you living with regrets? If the answer is yes, then that makes you exactly like the rest of the universe. But there is a way forward and it’s as revolutionary to your mind and emotions as first-time sight to a blind man. Get God’s perspective for dealing with human failures, and experience for yourself the moment of clarity that changes everything. Life is all about what you do with the things you regret. Learn to resolve those things now before they drive you to despair.￼
"Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created." Revelation 4:11 Imagine the throne room of Heaven where God sits - because He can. Picture the living creatures giving glory, honor, and thanks to Him. In your mind's eye, see the twenty-four elders falling down and casting their crowns at His feet. Can you envision it? What an amazing image of God in all of His glory in His eternal home - being rightfully worshiped. In this awe-inspiring three-part series, James MacDonald takes us to the throne of God in Heaven where we stand in wonder and fall in reverence in the presence of God. Come and worship the Lamb for He alone is worthy.
The prodigal. The wanderer. The skeptic. The rebel. Each of us knows someone who has walked away from God, and it is heartbreaking and bewildering. Maybe you yourself are the one who has walked away and sees little reason to return to faith and the church... God’s invitation is this: Come home. It invites the departed to return and offers the promise of the gospel—that all wrongs and sins can be forgiven through Jesus. There is no expiration on the promise of forgiveness and the open arms of Christ, so no matter how long the wanderer has wandered, he or she is still welcome. All hurts can be healed, all brokenness mended. Just come home.
The Bible says in 1 John that the followers of Jesus are increasingly known by five “marks”-five ways that we are increasingly different from the world and more like Jesus Christ. In the 10-message study, verse by verse through 1 John, James MacDonald describes these five marks in detail to encourage Christians in their faith, to counter false teachings, and most importantly, to give absolute assurance of eternal salvation. Learn how you can distinguish yourself as a disciple of Jesus Christ, by identifying and growing in these five areas. An authentic Christian increasingly: Loves Deeply. As a true follower of Jesus Christ, you love God and others more as time goes on. Obeys Faithfully. You used to do your own thing but since you’ve come to Christ, you’re now more concerned with what God wants you to do. Lives Authentically. I just want to be real. A true follower of Christ says, “No more games. I want an honest, transparent testimony of God at work in my life” Knows Completely. A true follower of Christ isn’t content with surface knowledge of the Lord. The more you know Him, the more you want to know Him. Believes Confidently. Confidence replaces anxiety and trust is swapped for fear in the life of the true follower of Christ.
It’s no fun to go to the doctor. Few of us like doing it, but we know it’s the healthy thing to do. Certainly we don’t want to find out too late about a problem that could have been fixed. We understand all this, physically speaking. We also get this spiritually. We don’t want false hope or shallow pep talks about our relationship with God. If we have a problem, we need to hear the truth. It’s not always easy to hear about our problems, but we’re always glad to get our hearts back to a healthy place with God. What is true physically and spiritually is also true relationally. In this 6-part series on the family, James MacDonald sends us to the doctor’s office to get healthy. All of us can benefit from a few tests, a little self examination right out of God’s Word, and maybe some reviews of some family patterns. Based in the book of Genesis, the series reminds us that even the best families need some family first-aid now and then. Listen with someone you love to get healthy, then happy.
You can be successful everywhere else but if you are not successful at home, you have failed! Family matters are the most important matters. Put them in the priority position and find out God’s prescription for peace in your family. These four messages will show you the way to get more love in your marriage, more joy in your home, and more of God’s best for your family. James MacDonald will lead you through biblical truths that lay out clear and practical ways to change your family...and change your life.
We all see it...our culture is in immense decline. The good news? If your life is built on the foundation of Jesus Christ, you’re not going down--regardless of what is happening around you. Join James MacDonald in this important series as he shares six fundamental truths of Christianity. From biblical authority to our view about God and salvation, learn to prioritize what matters most--because if we lose the foundations, we lose everything.
How should Christians respond to a world that’s going under? Even in a culture shockingly disinterested in God, we aren’t told to shout at the darkness in anger or judgement. Instead, we’re to grab a mirror and evaluate ourselves. The only choice Christians have--during a time of moral, social and cultural decline--is to strengthen their foundations in the Lord. Because if the foundations are not destroyed, what can the wicked do? Join James MacDonald in this final installment of the Foundations series as he tackles subjects like prayer, quality discipleship and more with biblical clarity and truth.
Game changing Scriptures can move you from victim to victory, right-size your situation, remind you whose you are – and that He isn't finished with you yet. Get ready for seven game-changing Scriptures with the power to shatter strongholds in your life.
This shouldn’t be a novel concept, yet somehow it is… God Wrote a Book – and it is called the Bible. Every word is Holy Spirit inspired and powerfully true for you today. But do you know why? Could you convince another person, with reasonable intellectual arguments, why you believe the Bible is a supernatural book? This series is one of Pastor James’ most requested teachings. If loved ones think it strange that you are so devoted to Scripture, master this content personally. You will feel more confident, and it will all begin to make sense to them.
How Much of “Your” Money is God’s Money...It’s a question you may never have considered. Jesus died so that “everyone who believes is freed from everything” (Acts 13:39), including wrong thinking and financial bondage. The thickness of your wallet does not indicate financial health. You need to be biblically informed in order to receive what God longs to give: true financial freedom.
Nothing is more final than a funeral, and nothing is more stubbornly perpetual than an offense or wound you have experienced from another. Here Pastor James gives his most concentrated teaching on forgiveness, and shares personally how he and Kathy have lived through many life trials without bitterness toward anyone. If you have been stuck in cycles of hurt and more hurt, it’s time to have the funeral.
As the Father is to creation and the Son is to salvation, so the Holy Spirit is to Christian living. ￼Not a force but a person. Not impersonal but knowable – Jesus Christ promised His holy Spirit would be to us as He had been to His first disciples. If you long to know God’s presence in a more meaningful way, if you badly need to see God work and move and answer in your circumstances and inmost being, this teaching from Pastor James increase your awareness of the Holy Spirit in your life, through the Holy Scriptures.
Things may seem out of control, but Someone is in charge here. And the authority of the King will become more apparent. As John’s visions in Revelation 6-11 continue, you will clearly see His authority in the Great Tribulation, the Day of the Lord, the Rapture and the Wrath of God. You will be gripped by the connection between John’s visions and the recent headlines. You will no longer be tempted to get right with God later. You will see that the time is now.
Jesus Christ, the One who was, and who is and who is to come. James MacDonald takes us through the captivating 8-part study in the Book of Revelation. These messages from Chapters 1-3 are far more than a travel log or history lesson of the seven churches in Revelation. “Hope in the Glory of the King” digs deeply into God’s Word to show you who Jesus Christ is, what He has done for us, and His challenges and encouragement to the seven churches.
DON'T LET THE DICE ROLL Where you stand with God - right now - is the most important thing about you. Don't worry and wonder. Your confidence can be in the One who gives you strength now - and in the last days. Stand firm in your faith and do not let your confidence be shaken! James MacDonald will show you how to recognize the enemy and overcome his attacks. Develop characteristics of an authentic Christ follower, with eyes to detect and reject the Antichrist.
This is it - the final chapters of Revelation unveiling God's plan for the end of human history. And this is the perfect ending; a climax that will not disappoint you in any way. Every wrong will be made right, justice will be perfectly served, and you will see the unequivocal Triumph of the King. Celebrate the clear and coming truth of God's final victory, vindication, and elevation. These six messages will reveal promises fulfilled, strengthen your confidence in God's Word and fire up an overwhelming thankfulness for the faith in Christ that puts you on the winning side.
Hope is not a “when,” a “how,” or a “where.” Hope is a “who.” The second coming of Christ is the great hope of the church. And while we wait for His return, we must learn to rest in that hope--regardless of personal circumstances or the world around us. It’s time to get off the rollercoaster of “right now” and live with the confident expectation of better days ahead. In the end, Christ’s victory is ours--and that powerful reality makes all the difference.
Anchor your hope in the steadfastness of Christ. The second coming of Jesus is the great hope of the church, but while we wait expectantly for that day, it matters incredibly how we run this race to which we’re called. In this 6-part series, Pastor James encourages us out of 2 Thessalonians to throw our anchors down on the deepest hope--that God loves us--and from there shows us how to content for the faith with steadfast perseverance. Discover more deeply that hope does spring eternal--in the person, the plan and the promise of Jesus Christ.
All of Humanity Wants Peace of Mind. But actually having it is elusive. True peace of mind, found only in Jesus Christ, first requires getting rid of the things that get in the way of what He longs to provide. Identify what needs to be rejected and removed, to experience the peace that passes all understanding And discover how you can have joy in every circumstance, as you rest in the confidence that God is doing what is best.
If you have never met Him, this is a perfect introduction to God. If you have followed Him for years, this will draw you even closer. Having a proper sense of who God is, what He has done, and what He will do for you will transform everything about you. It is the only way to see yourself and your circumstances clearly. When you know Him as your Identity, your Deliverer, your Savior and your Victory, you can take who you are and where you are and fold them under His protection. As God miraculously teaches the Israelites, so He will teach you--you are intimately known and loved by the Great I AM who is in control of everything. And that, changes everything.
If you want to uncover the real meaning of Christmas, it’s all right here. Isaiah 9:6 is the greatest Christmas verse in the whole Bible. One verse worthy of four messages that will ignite or reignite--a heartfelt celebration of the birth of Christ. Listen and unwrap the significance of Christ’s birth. Because you cannot celebrate the Good News of His arrival without understanding the bad news. You cannot comprehend grace until you understand depravity. You cannot appreciate a solution without being gripped by a problem--one that you are completely unable to solve on your own. Get ready to rejoice in how God has met our greatest need--it’s a Boy!
For unto us a king is born. You already know how to get ready for the season of celebrating Christ’s arrival as a baby, but preparing to meet a king? That’s much less familiar. It’s an extraordinary event, yet God tells all believers to be ready for His royal and triumphant return and gives clear direction on how to do it. In this powerful, four-part series, you will grasp the rich meaning of His scepter, crown, throne and robe. Learn to recognize, welcome, and fully give yourself and your gifts to the King of Kings.
What’s growing in your garden? It really depends on what you’ve planted. Would you ever expect to pick corn when you planted tomatoes? Of course not--you know you can only reap what you sow. But what’s very obvious in the garden is also true in your home, in your business, and in your marriage. What you sow is also what you reap, says Galatians 6:7. What you plant in the spring, take care of during the summer, you’ll harvest in the fall. Planting and harvesting, planting and harvesting. God’s timeless and universal principles are as certain as the seasons. So what do you want to grow in your garden? Learn from Pastor James MacDonald in two challenging messages from Galatians 6:6-7 how to plant God’s truth in your life...and harvest His fruit.
Here’s the bad news; there’s only one source of true and lasting change. And it’s not you. The good news? Change is possible God wants to transform you--and He has the power to do it! Now find out how to claim His promise; He will hear you when you say with sincerity, “Lord, change me.”
It’s not about your struggles. It’s not about your circumstances. It’s not about your relationships. IT’S ABOUT YOUR ATTITUDE. Our hearts weren’t made for coveting, complaining and being critical. They were made for thankfulness, contentment, and love. Drawing on the experience of the Israelites who grumbled in the wilderness, James MacDonald reveals how much our attitudes affect our lives--and how bad ones rob us of joy and wholeness. If your heart is straining under the weight of a bad attitude and you’re ready for a serious, inside-out adjustment, there’s no better place to start than this: “Lord, change my attitude...before it’s too late.”
It’s not the love that makes the marriage, but the marriage that makes the love. Love that blesses and affirms; love that strengthens and nourishes both husband and wife; love that lasts a lifetime. Despite what some may think, this isn’t a thing of the past and it’s not impossible to attain. On the contrary, it’s God’s design for marital love as outlined in His Word. Bring fresh life to your marriage and experience the joy that comes from following God’s prescription for this most important human relationship as James MacDonald uncovers powerful truths from the Song of Solomon. Whether you’re already married or hope to be someday, this series will help you and your spouse enjoy a deepening, vibrant, heart-pounding kind of love
Just how would believing God’s promises change your life? Believing that God will do what He promises will always lead to a great life. The most mature Christian you’ll ever meet knows, treasures, and is resting in the promises of God. They cling to these assurances that God gives His people so they can walk by faith while they wait for Him to work. So what exactly does God promise? In this topical study of what will always be true, James MacDonald explores five great and precious promises that God keeps. Promise #1 - God is Always with Me Promise #2 - God is Always in Control Promise #3 - God is Always God Promise #4 - God is Always Watching Promise #5 - God is Always Victorious Enter into this study with anticipation and faith that the God who makes these promises is faithful and true...always true
It’s time to take care of what’s on God’s heart. When the God of the universe makes a declaration, He does so with absolute certainty. And in declaring that He would be “exalted among the nations,” God set forth His plan for all time. Our Heavenly Father has a very specific agenda--and it’s our job to carry it out. Join Pastor James MacDonald in this series as he plugs into God’s plan for the world. Follow along as he travels to five different countries, shining the light of our Risen Savior in some of the darkest places on Earth. Experience the power that comes from getting on God’s agenda, and learn how He takes care of what’s on our heart when we take care of what’s on His.
Sing your way into the Christmas Spirit. Have you noticed that we hear “Merry Christmas” earlier and earlier every year? It seems like people start to say it long before they actually feel it. While we may debate with some in our culture about the meaning of Christmas spirit, there is no doubt that everyone wants to experience it. This year, sing your way into Christmas with James MacDonald as he examines the biblical grounds for some well-known carols that powerfully express the true reason for the season. Tune your heart to the songs that celebrate Christ’s birth, and give our newborn Savior the worship He is due.
Get the Refreshment you need today. It’s a cycle we’ve all seen repeated in our spiritual walk: times of dryness followed by times of plenty and times of faith followed by times of doubt. But when your hunger for God starts to ebb and flow, there’s only one place to turn for the renewal you need--back to Him. Join Pastor James MacDonald as he revisits some of his favorite passages in Scripture and discover the revival that can only come from spending time in the presence of the Lord. Our Heavenly Father is the perfect antidote to your hard heart or dry soul, so drink from the fountain of His Word and experience for yourself the “times of refreshing” that Peter talks about in the books of Acts.
What does it take to get you on your feet? At times, Christians have made too big a deal of little things and too little a deal about big things. So, modern day 'evanjellycals' are reticent to fight when necessary. But, the Bible tells us what to fight FOR... This teaching from Dr. James MacDonald is the first in a verse-by-verse study in the book of Jude – and it will help prepare you to stand firm as you contend for the faith.
There are some times in life when you know you really need the Lord. Nothing else will make it. Circumstances, relationships, or your health are what you hoped they would never be. You’ve come to the end of yourself and you’re in a desperate spot. You need grace...and you need it now. Into this landscape we go in this 6-message series highlighting desperate times and God poured out His Spirit in amazing ways. In each situation we’ll meet people who had a life-changing encounter with God in battles of life and death as well as in their most private crises. Go into the fields of grace with James MacDonald and glean what you desperately need to face your deepest need. Expect the amazing.
God’s wisdom applies to every area of life, and the 10 Commandments in Scripture are among the most condensed portions of God’s wisdom and have become the basis for cultures, societal, and judicial systems around the world. In this series Pastor James applies the 10 Commandments, as given in Exodus 20, to marriage. Learn how the timelessness of God’s commands can apply to marital situations you or those you love are facing in our day.
Why do we always struggle to believe that God loves us? To really know and believe it. Possibly your human experience with fathering has muted your ability to believe that God the Father loves you completely and eternally. In fact, Scripture says He is singing a song of love over you right now! In this series Pastor James takes us further and deeper into God’s love that you may have ever gone. You and those you love can find healing of past hurts and be changed forever through the power of God's Word.
We all have regret. Situations we wish we had handled better, words we wish we hadn’t said—things we can’t go back and fix. And when regret is coupled with facing our own mortality, we begin to desperately need the reality of God’s eternality. Pastor James shares from Psalm 90 about how accepting the truth about God and His eternal nature can become your greatest comfort.
Change is hard. But God's love through Jesus is transforming – and getting free from sin and becoming who you were created to be IS possible. The actual power to change we find in Romans 8 is both the desire and the strength. So no matter how you feel, no matter who may have spoken poorly of you, God wants you to know this: There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. And that is the best news ever. This verse-by-verse study through Romans 8 is one of Pastor James’ most impactful series on the becoming the person God wants you to be – through Him.
In every state of life, people are skiing the same questions: “WHAT IS GOD’S WILL FOR MY LIFE?” If you’ve ever agonized over who God wants you to marry, where He wants you to live, which job He wants you to take...rest assured that discerning God’s will isn’t like playing Russian roulette, or continually trying to land on the mysterious dot God is hiding in His mind. In this revolutionary teaching, Pastor James MacDonald debunks common misconceptions about God’s will and shows how the will of God IS the Word of God. This 4-part series with bonus Q&A will encourage you to experience the freedom and joy that come with walking in God’s will
Why do we tend to hurt those we care for most? How do families find themselves broken? The reason is often the way we think. Beyond behaviors and deeper than attitudes, thinking determines outcome more than anything else. The Book of Romans challenges us to be no longer conformed to the patterns of the world but rather to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. God offers our only hope for victory over disposition, dysfunction, double-mindedness, and every other mental stronghold. With Him we can think differently.
What is the heart of 'church' really about? Welcoming. Loving. Forgiving. It's time for the church to become passionate over what God is passionate about – to genuinely demonstrate Jesus' welcoming heart of unconditional love and forgiveness toward the world He came to save. This is what we do.
God’s Word meets you where you are, including those places where you’re spinning your wheels, stuck in the same struggles with no forward motion. Be encouraged! The power to propel you forward is available to every believer, and the steps to break free from some common struggles are detailed in these messages. No pattern of failure can defeat you. No relationship is beyond repair. No habit of thinking can trap you. No fear can keep you from God’s conquering love. Discover hope and lasting help as you learn how to get unstuck.
You cannot live – really live – until you love God. Love to live! And you cannot really love God unless that shows up in your loving of others. In fact, the two are so closely interrelated that God is not interested in our expressions of love when we have hatred in our hearts toward another person – especially another one of His children, and most especially those of God’s family who are hardest of all to love. In Vertical Living, God will take you to the mat with the full weight of all that He is... watch and learn how to LOVE2LIVE2LOVE.