“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

Love is in the air at the Boston International Christian Church! Congratulations to our newest married couple Joe and Amelia Mack! Also to our engaged couples Peter Markarian and Jessica Polum and Andre Carreo and Mara Eagen! Finally, congratulations to the newest dating couples in the church Jackie Gomes and Aradhna Masih and Gianni DiFusco and Skyla Eastman. Do you feel the love?

 

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Joe proposes to Amelia at church!

 

With so many new dating, engaged, and now a married couple, it could be tempting as a single to ask “when is it going to be my turn?!” Certainly, disciples of Jesus have the conviction that disciples date and marry only disciples (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). Yet even in the church, we can struggle on how to spiritually go about pursuing an interest in someone we like and desire a dating relationship with. Satan can even take things further when we allow feelings of jealousy, impatience, and lust fill our hearts. The scripture above shows that God wants to give us the desires of our hearts. The condition is that we delight in the LORD! God needs to be first. God must be our ultimate desire. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. (Psalm 73:25). God must be our great reward (Genesis 15:1). Jesus commanded us to become like children to enter the kingdom of God. When you come into the kingdom, you must put away old worldly ways of dating and be completely humble to learn to date in a way that glorifies God. How do you begin a dating relationship in God’s kingdom? Here are a few biblical principles.

  1. Patience

“Love is patient…” 1 Corinthians 13:4

“So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.” Genesis 29:20

Biblical love is long-suffering, willing to wait, and patient. Patience is also a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). When someone is impatient, they are not qualified to date in God’s kingdom. Unspiritual impatience shows itself in many ways. It is not submissive to advice or input. Idolatry of dating itself or of the person is the root of impatience. The impatient brother or sister wants what they want right away. They are not at peace if someone tries to get in their way or encourages them to slow down. The question must be asked, why would someone not be willing to wait if advised to? The phrase “wait on the Lord” is used so many times in the Bible. Time allows what is in the heart to be revealed so that a proper foundation can be built. Are you willing to wait on God to make clear to you when it is time to start pursuing the brother or sister that you have an interest in dating? How does God do this?

  1. Advice and Community

“The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” Proverbs 12:15

 

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Jackie & Aradhna start dating in God’s kingdom!

In Biblical times when someone desired to marry, they sought the blessing of the community. Usually, a bride price was paid. In 1 Samuel 18:24-29, Saul (God’s anointed and yet evil king at this point) conspires to get David killed by sending him out to fight the Philistines. He tells David he will give him his daughter Michal if he brings back 100 Philistine foreskins. David trusted his God was bigger than men’s motives and submitted to God’s anointed leader. He came back with 200 foreskins and married Michal! David could submit to Saul’s direction (though ill-motivated) because he was submitted to God. The story of Jacob serving fourteen years under Laban who lies to him and takes advantage of him serves as another example of this principle (Genesis 29). The point is, you cannot stop God’s plans. If God desires you to be with someone it will happen, but you must remain submitted to leadership (Hebrews 13:17) and seek tons of advice. In the church, we strive to follow the biblical principle of seeking the blessing of the community. Everyone has a discipling partner as commanded by Jesus (Matthew 28:20) and we should seek tons of advice when it comes to making moves in pursuing a dating relationship. This helps guard hearts (Proverbs 4:23). Can you make your own decisions without seeking and submitting to advice? Absolutely! Will God bless it? Probably not. Remember, the way of a fool seems right to him. What stops someone from getting advice? Pride, and we know pride always comes before the fall. Consider these verses if you need to gain deeper convictions on seeking advice: Proverbs 12:15, 13:10, 19:20,  and 20:18. Decide today to seek the blessing of the community by seeking advice and submitting to leadership (Ephesians 5:21).

 

  1. Absolute Purity

“Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.” 1 Timothy 5:1

“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” Ephesians 5:3

 

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Andre proposes to Mara!

 

The Bible teaches that we should treat our relationships as we would our own physical family, with absolute purity. If you are single in the congregation, do you in your interactions, physical touch, and in your heart, treat the opposite sex as your own physical sibling? I am very grateful to God that my first kiss and intimacy was with Chenelle (and in my life ever since I was baptized at 13 as a teen) when I was married! Maybe you can’t say that, but I want to encourage you; if you are in Christ, God sees you as a pure virgin! Chenelle’s white dress meant something since we strove for purity in our dating relationship and prior to dating. There were many shortcomings we had and times we were too close emotionally and physically but we would quickly confess and not allow it to go that far. It is complete foolishness to think you can handle being alone with the opposite sex. Paul admonished the church to make sure there is no hint of impurity. It doesn’t even have to be the act, but if it just smells or looks like it, it is a sin in God’s eyes. In the church, we encourage everyone to go on double dates. Singles should never be alone with the opposite sex to fulfill these verses. It isn’t about whether we trust each other or not, it is that we don’t trust Satan! He is a schemer and wants to take you out of the kingdom. More people fall away from God because of sexual sin. Emotional impurity can also be a huge challenge. Late night texting, flirting, talking about marriage, or spending undue amounts of time with someone does not produce a pure heart. We need to welcome correction and accountability in this area. Paul expected the church to hold each other to God’s standard of purity. Do you have absolute purity in your relationships with the opposite sex? God will only give his daughters and brothers to men or women of God he trusts.

  1. Date Often

“See to it, brothers and sisters that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Hebrews 3:12-13

One of the most exciting parts of our church culture is “Kingdom Dates”. The Bible tells us that we need encouragement to prevent our hearts from becoming hardened by sin’s deceitfulness and eventually unbelieving! The brothers in the church are constantly tempted with the immodesty of the world and our sexualized culture. The sisters constantly get hit on and flirted with by men in the world. As brothers and sisters, we have a responsibility to encourage and protect one another. Kingdom dates are Saturday evening (or another convenient evening) where two brothers will ask two sisters on a date (or vice versa) and go out on a fun double date to encourage one another. There is nothing romantic about it or it doesn’t even mean there is a mutual romantic interest. The goal is to have an encouraging time and get to know the brothers and sisters in a pure environment. Christians need to learn to develop spiritual relationships with the opposite sex and unlearn the ways the world taught us to build relationships. Maybe you found a sister or brother that you want to start dating. Be patient, seek advice, be pure, and finally date often! That may seem strange if you like someone specifically, but love is totally selfless. Dating different brothers and sisters show you are concerned with all of God’s family being encouraged. I personally do not encourage my blessing to start dating in the church if the brother takes the same sister out that he likes every week. This shows a selfish heart which will hurt him later if things progress to marriage. If you have not wanted to go on kingdom dates with different brothers and sisters. I want to challenge you to repent and love your brothers and sisters. This also allows you to grow spiritually and see different qualities in different people to make a wise decision on who you want to date.

 

Gianni & Skyla started dating in the kingdom and powerfully lead our AMS ministry!

These are all just principles to delight in the LORD so that he will give you the desires of your heart. At the end of the day, you can make your own decisions and don’t need the blessing of the church to date if you take the unspiritual rout, but as the old saying goes, you will have to make your bed and sleep in it. After counseling many relationships and seeing the devastation that comes from not following these biblical principles, I encourage you to really consider the way you are going about pursuing a relationship in God’s kingdom. Talk to your discipler today and seek tons of advice and watch God give you the desire of your heart.  To God be the glory!

 

In Christ,

Mike Patterson

 

Taking OCD Captive

Posted: August 14, 2013 in Articles, OCD
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You can find freedom from OCD! In January of 2013 I was diagnosed with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). This helped explain symptoms I had exhibited for a while that became so strong I felt maybe it was demonic and that is very possible. Most think of hand-washers or hoarders from pop-culture on TV when they think of OCD. My symptoms aren’t as obvious; intrusive inappropriate thoughts (not desires or even temptations), constant doubts on if I had done something wrong, doubting events in my past, false feelings portraying themselves as memories almost, etc. The compulsion was to confess any thought that came in my mind or to reanalyze situations for days, weeks, or months to see if I did something wrong and just missed it. I would analyze words to make sure I didn’t tell a lie and re-record voicemails over and over again.  The doubts would be so strong that I would feel strong anxiety to confess to things I know I never did or would even desire to do. I looked for reassurance from people to confirm I didn’t do certain things. These obsessions, intrusive thoughts, and compulsions began to affect my marriage, faith, and I was very confused. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? I thought so! As I studied out the symptoms it became clear I probably had OCD and that was confirmed when I was diagnosed officially with it after going to see someone. My ebook “Taking OCD Captive” contains the methods I discovered from research and practical biblical concepts necessary for victory.

Before coming back to God in July of 2011, I use to be someone who never learned from his mistakes. I was a compulsive liar, pornography/impurity addict, and would hide many of my sins from those who could help me. God delivered me from these demons as I confessed all known sins in my past (1 John 1:9) to the men God put into my life that would guide me to through the scriptures (James 5:16). As time went on I got married to the love of my life, got back into the full-time ministry, and was even recently appointed an evangelist in God’s church one of my life dreams! Although, God put my life back together and broke my bondage to habitual sin another torment came into my life immediately after my reunion with God…OCD.

1097977_10201210285355375_87842229_nMy dreams of being in the ministry with the woman I love had been given to me and here I was outside the place we were staying still newly married crying to God not understanding why I felt guilt, doubts, for things I didn’t even do but felt strong feelings I did. Someone with OCD for example might run over a pot hole while driving. They fear maybe they ran over a kid as they dwell on it. The mind races for days as they reanalyze the event. Did they actually see a kid? Didn’t the driver in the car next to them look at them funny thus maybe they saw them run over the kid!? They can even start creating memories of doing so. In some extreme cases I have heard people have actually turned themselves in for things they didn’t even do. They could even go back to check to see if they hit someone. I’m not ready to divulge all the details of how my symptoms work at this point, but it is very similar to the example above.  I wrestled with whether OCD was a physical issue or a spiritual one. I still do believe it could be a demon or demonic. Yet as I studied the scriptures I have found most things to be both physical and spiritual. OCD is physical as the part of the frontal orbital cortex of the brain that warns us of danger and deals with feelings is overactive in people with OCD. Yet the Bible says Satan and demons can put thoughts in our heads and teach us lessons (1 Timothy 4:1-2). They become sin when we listen to them. For example, Satan put the thought in David’s head to take a census and he sinned against God (1 Chronicles 21:1-3). David sinned because he attributed a false message that Satan put in his brain to himself and acted on the thought. If he would have just ignored it and focused on ruling Israel in righteousness this event never would have happened. God is sovereign and either makes things happen or allows them for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-9

The scripture above helped me come to a deep conviction. God could take this OCD away from me but has allowed it for a reason. Maybe after all the years of lying and indulgence in sin and rebellion towards God these are now the consequences. He forgave me and restored me but wants me to learn some things in his love. God is saying to me if I was to put his words down, “Mike, I’ll give you your dreams you are my son whom I love, but to keep you from becoming conceited again this thorn OCD will be given to you so it will be impossible for you to hide even the things that aren’t sin! You will feel the guilt you should have felt for sinning about things that aren’t even sin or your sin! This will teach you son that I am enough for you, my grace is sufficient for you. That true power comes in boasting about your weaknesses.” In effect God allowed this in my life to humble me and teach me to be open about weaknesses. To date I have been able to overcome many of the symptoms by God’s powerful grace and this huge revelation.

Maybe you have OCD or are wrestling with issues of the mind. My ebook “Taking OCD Captive” is a handbook giving you the steps I took to rid myself of the majority of the symptoms of OCD. OCD is my prisoner now and through these principles that are summarized from my ebook, I have been able to live out my calling in the ministry. These steps and scriptures have helped me in this battle:

1) Acceptance (2 Corinthians 12:7-9)

Meditate on the above passage. It is hard at times but I see my OCD as a grace of God. It causes me to run to Him more for strength. The more you try to fight OCD thoughts the bigger they will get. If I tell you to stop thinking about a red shoe, you immediately are thinking about a red shoe! You must allow the intrusive thoughts to be there identifying that it is not you, it is your OCD/brain disorder/Satan/etc. I recommend a book called “Brain Locke” by Jeffery Schwartz that helped me with this step. Jesus teaches evil thoughts are sin (Mark 7:21). Yet with OCD the intrusive thoughts are the result of a brain disorder or demons not your own thoughts. For example, someone who with OCD may constantly have thoughts about stabbing their family members with knives (a common form of OCD) or even worse doing something sexually inappropriate to them. Their compulsions may be dwelling on the thoughts, hiding knives, or staying away from their family out of fear.  It has been shown with OCD, these thoughts are not desires of them at all, in fact they are so morally disturbed by them that these thoughts don’t bring any sort of comfort to the person with OCD. OCD uses the very things you find morally wrong against you. These people are actually some of the safest people.  So these aren’t “evil thoughts” but misfires of the brain or evil spirits. Let me be clear, sinful desires/thoughts must be confessed and repented of. OCD is unwanted thoughts/desires that plague the person. It is important for my audience to understand the difference between an intrusive thought and an evil thought. Intrusive you don’t want it to be there so you will do whatever compulsion to make it go away but the compulsion just makes the intrusive thoughts stronger. With evil thoughts you desire the things you are thinking. Homosexual thoughts for example would be evil thoughts if the person is homosexual or aroused by such thinking. Some who have OCD are straight, happily married, attracted to the opposite sex, and yet they are tormented by doubts thoughts of if they are gay. Their compulsions may take the form of checking to see if they were aroused by the same-sex and looking into bodily reactions. This is a real form of OCD I have read about. Schwarts in his book says when they come to say “It’s not me, it’s my OCD”. This will help retrain your brain to normal. Accepting the anxiety that comes with OCD and paying no attention to the thoughts lessens their power.

2) Take Every Thought Captive (2 Corinthians 10:3-6)

The Bible teaches us we can control our thoughts. Having OCD myself, this has been hard for me at times to believe but this scripture contains the key to doing so! Notice we are called to demolish arguments that set itself up against the knowledge of God!  The brain of someone with OCD uses find sounding arguments to convince them to doubt or give into a compulsion. Did you really lock the door? Are you sure? Can you really remember doing it? When these doubts come we must demolish OCD’s arguments by the knowledge of God. This means bringing truth into the situation. As baptized disciples of Jesus we are God’s children blessed with every spiritual blessing. Just accept the thoughts as being there, and focus on who God says you are. Remember, with OCD thoughts this is not “trying to push the thoughts out of your head”, they will get bigger because you are still focused on them. Taking them captive is acceptance of the thorn and remembering the knowledge of God. In time this will demolish them!

3) Engage in the Present (Philippians 3:12-15)

Matt Sullivan who is my disciple (mentor) discipled me on something that was very key in helping me overcome OCD thinking. He noticed that sometimes I was not fully engaged in what I was doing at the moment but was in another world in my head. People with OCD give too much thought to their thoughts. Listen, the bible says the heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9) so you are never going to figure it out by being mega introspective. Paul says in the verse above to forget what is behind and strain towards what is ahead. I believe we do this by focusing on the mission Christ gave us and what we can do now to strain towards that. When intrusive thoughts attack or your OCD is strong; accept the thoughts, remember who you are in Christ if you’re a baptized disciple, and fully engage into what you are doing in the moment mind, soul, heart, and strength. My wife suggested I download a game on my phone that I can play when the thoughts come. Remember, you aren’t trying to stop the thoughts, just engaging in something else. You will find in time you will renew your mind (Romans 12:1-3) and the OCD will continually get weaker. Some have said that there is no cure, but we know that through God all things are possible for him who believes.

OTHER SUGGESTED SCRIPTURES FOR STUDY:

Colossians 3:1-2 (We have power to choose what we set our thoughts on)

Proverbs 16:32 KJV (Must learn to rule our thoughts, not let them rule us)

1 Chronicles 28:9 (God knows what OCD is and what is your thoughts)

James 5:16-17 (Find someone who understands OCD and you can be open with about)

My prayer is that this article will encourage someone who felt as I did last year, alone, scared, and looking for answers. I pray it will help disciples of Jesus be equipped and understand those who may have brain disorders and feel out of control of their thought life. God has transformed me and I am now grateful as this continues to bring me closer to Him. If you are interested in transforming your life the same way I did, please order my ebook today: Taking OCD Captive. To God is the glory.

UPDATE: YOU CAN NOW BUY THIS EBOOK “TAKING OCD CAPTIVE” BY SIMPLY CLICKING ON “BUY NOW” RIGHT HERE:

Buy Now

My wife and I were very honored to be appointed Evangelist and Women’s Ministry Leader by Matt and Helen Sullivan on August 5th at this years Global Leadership Conference. We also received our bachelor’s degree (my second one) in ministry on August 4th being apart of the first graduating class of the ICCM (International College of Christian Ministry). Below are some pictures from this incredible milestone in our lives and a couple from us preaching.

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Heaven

Posted: July 15, 2013 in Sermons

New audio sermon on Heaven unlike any sermon you may have heard before is now online from church Sunday.

http://www.orlandoicc.org/sermons/

“Heaven” – Mike Patterson

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Help us complete our training at- http://gofundme.org/supportmikechenelle

Video  —  Posted: July 15, 2013 in Video Teachings

Unlock the mystery of the “seven spirits/sevenfold Spirit” in Revelation and watch God change your life and empower your leadership of His people! This lesson was given at a staff meeting.

Video  —  Posted: July 11, 2013 in Sermons

We serve a supernaturbiblestarsal God who wants to bring supernatural miracles through the salvation of souls on your campus! This is the first week of a quiet time series over different supernatural events were God did the miraculous and how they practically apply to our lives. It ends with a challenge to share with a certain amount of people and gives practical application for each day. Your entire campus ministry will be united having the same quiet times everyday. Unique to the series is it uses an acronym I had read about that helps teach your campus ministry to get the most out of their Bible reading. Enjoy! Click below.

SUPERNATURAL QUIET TIMES