Keep It Going

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Keep It Going

We hope that you enjoyed journeying with us through the scriptures and looking at what the Bible has to say about "The Church". 

If studying God's word or doing a daily devotional has become a new habit for you, we would encourage you not to stop now. Spending time with God is an essential private discipline to a growing relationship with Jesus. 

Continue the daily journey in God's word by choosing a free YouVersion Reading Plan today. Don't let this daily habit of being in God's word end here. 


If you missed church on Sunday you missed the Big Announcement about the Future of Faith Mountain. To get the details, click here.

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Someone

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Someone

What comes to mind when you hear the word “Missionary”? For me, I always think of Jim Elliot. He and four other men went to Ecuador in the 1950’s to bring the Gospel to the Waodani Indians. They unfortunately lost their lives in the process; killed by the very people they were trying to reach for Jesus. (if you’re interested in learning more about Jim Elliot there is an awesome movie based on the true story of his life titled End Of The Spear you should check out!!)

Another question; what do missionaries do? What is their main purpose in life? Most Christian missionaries would say their primary purpose is obedience to the Great Commission. Acts 1:8b states it this way: “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Put another way it’s Jesus saying, “Go and tell everyone everywhere about me.”

So, missionaries are people who uproot their entire lives and move to a foreign country to tell people about Jesus, right? Or… not? While that may be our “stereotype” of missionaries… it’s a false one. When Jesus called believers, it was a call to all of us to be witnesses for him and he specified exactly where; Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and the ends of the earth. Our overseas missionaries have the ends of the earth part covered. “Someone still needs to reach Jerusalem, and Judea/Samaria – our own backyard. That “someone” is us.

As you look around our neighborhood what do you see? I see people… people just like us. Many are economically challenged. Some are physically limited. I see severed relationships, addiction, hurting children, hatred among friends, broken families. And, more devastating than any of these difficult life situations… I see 135,000 of our neighbors who don’t know Jesus; and this life is as good as life will ever get for them. Unless… unless “someone tells them.

Tells them what? That there is a God who loves them. A God whose Son died to save them. A God who promises a better life now and eternal life in the future for everyone who believes. Our purpose statement here says that “We Exist To Love People To Life”. The most loving thing “someone” can ever do is share the truth about Jesus with those who don’t know Him. 

Whether we know it or not, we are all called to be missionaries. Our mission field is right outside of our front doors; in our communities, our schools, our places of work and often in our own families. Consider the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 10:

“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?”  Romans 10:13-14

You and I are “someone”… let’s choose to tell them.


Thought

How might seeing yourself as a home town missionary change how you interact with people in your life? If you were on mission with this mission; if it became your purpose would you be more likely to look for and take opportunities to share Jesus with others?

Verse

“So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” Romans 10:17

Prayer

Dear Lord, you have called and commissioned me and all Jesus followers to share the Good News. You command us to be your witnesses and make disciples of all nations. You empower us through your Holy Spirit. Empower me now to be obedient; to be someone willing to tell others about you. Amen.

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The Right Thing

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The Right Thing

The greatest sermon ever preached can be found in Matthew chapters 5-7. It’s called the Sermon in the Mount. In it, Jesus teaches about the ideals of Christian living. Jesus followers don’t hate their enemies, they love and pray for them. We give forgiveness rather than take revenge. We go the extra mile. We treat others the way we’d like to be treated rather than the way we have been treated.

Jesus instructs us to always do the right thing instead of the “natural” or easy thing. I get that, intellectually and spiritually, but I find it oh so hard to put into practice. Why is it that the right thing is so rarely the easy thing?

In January of 2015 circumstances brought a 5-week old infant into our lives. He had nowhere to go and his parents were unable to create for him a safe loving environment. It became clear in a matter of only a few months that this little man would be in need of a forever home as the situation with the biological parents could not be resolved. It also became clear in those few months… that he had stolen our hearts. We fell madly in love with him.

We were told by Child Protective Services that we had a great deal of influence over his future. The situation was such that we could choose to adopt and raise him ourselves or we could choose another couple to become his adoptive parents. We raised him for the first 15 months of his life. He was our son despite the fact he was not biologically ours. The easy thing and what we desired most, for us, was to keep him. But was the easy thing… the right thing?

Through much prayer and wise counsel it became clear that the right thing for that precious little man and for a young couple who deeply desired but had been unable to have children…the right thing was for us to let him go. Why is the right thing often so hard?

Fast forward to November 2016. We find ourselves in a courtroom as a judge signs the papers and declares this couple and our “once upon a time” son are now a forever family. In that moment we knew, God confirmed… the hard thing was unquestionably the right thing.

Our lives are filled with choices. Often the right thing and the easy thing are quite different. When asked to serve, the easy thing is to decline… but is it the right thing? When given an opportunity to invest yourself in short term missions the easy thing is to decline… but is it the right thing? When given the opportunity to go start a new work for God through church multiplication, the easy thing is to decline… but is it the right thing?

Doing the right thing is often counter-cultural in today’s “what’s in it for me” society. However, that is exactly what the Lord encourages us to do. As we choose to love and serve others by putting their needs before our own, we will actually live happier and more fulfilled lives. So, doing the right thing in every circumstance will not only bless our friends, neighbors and even our enemies, but it will especially be a blessing and a gift to ourselves.


Thought  

As we face the choices that will guide our futures I pray we will always ask the question, “What is the right thing?” And I pray we will do the right the even when it’s not the easy thing.

Verse

“Do to others what you want them to do to you.” - Matthew 7:12

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” - Galatians 6:9

Prayer

Dear Lord, help me to always choose right over easy. Show me your plan and give me the courage to follow it instead of my following my own. Give me such deep faith and complete trust in you that the right thing actually becomes the easy thing even though it may not be seen that way by others. Amen.

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Change

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Change

Greek philosopher Heraclitus is credited with the quote, “Change is the only constant in life.”

While most of us likely agree with his thought…most of us would also agree that we do not like change. We don’t embrace it. We don’t look forward to it. In fact, many of us would say we dread it.

But is it really change that we fear; or is it the transition?

"It's not so much that we're afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it's that place in between that we fear... It's like being between trapezes. It's Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There is nothing to hold onto." - Marilyn Ferguson, American Futurist

Change is situational - a new building, new boss, new policy. Transition is the psychological process we go through to come to terms with the change. Change is more external and transition is more internal.

Transition involves a journey from one identity to another. In between the ending of the old and the beginning of the new… is transition; and that takes time. There are some things in life you just can't rush. It takes nine months to have a baby no matter how much you might wish for the process to go more quickly… especially in those last weeks. In the end, life as it was before that child came is gone and a new exciting life with that child begins. Doing without the 9 months of transition would have been nice but unrealistic.

Think about the wilderness experience with Moses and the children of Israel. Moses caused an ending when he led his people out of Egypt. The new beginning would come upon the entering of the Promised Land. But it took 40 years of transition. It took 40 years, not because they were lost, but because it took 40 years to get Egypt out of the people and prepare them to accept a new life and new reality. It was their time of transition.

While transition is rarely fun it is also not a meaningless waste of time; it’s actually where the battle of change is fought and either won or lost. It is during transition that we ask the hard questions.

Psychologists tell us that all people perceive change as a loss. One of the first questions one naturally asks is, "What will I lose as a result of this change?"

What if we, THE Church, chose a different perspective and asked different questions? What if instead of “what will I lose?” …we were to ask, “what will be gained?” “How will this be good for me and for God’s Kingdom?” 


Thought

The next time you face change, transition and all that comes with it…focus on the unchanging nature of God. Remember, “in the beginning God made the heavens and the earth”; and he has not changed. Because of that he is more than up to the task of supplying of all our needs and answering all our prayers in the midst of change. Just as he has always been!

Verse

I the Lord do not change. – Malachi. 3:6

Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, and today and forever. – Hebrews 13:8

 

Prayer

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen.” - Reinhold Niebuhr

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Generosity

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Generosity

I learned a lot of things from the church. Good things… life lessons. One of the hardest and yet most important was this, “generosity has nothing to do with your financial position. It has everything to do with your heart condition.” Rich people aren’t naturally generous. Poor people aren’t naturally less than generous. Generous people are generous.

My heart condition has always been to worry that I won’t have enough. I need to take care of me and mine and if there’s anything left maybe I can give some. This reflects a heart condition that lacks trust in God and his ability to provide.

Over the years, I’ve either had a change of heart or been given a heart transplant. Through OUR Church I’ve come to embrace and enjoy generosity. I’ve learned that what God can do through me is not limited to what I can provide… it’s only limited by what I’m willing to give. God makes a clear promise in 2 Corinthians 9:10-15 that we will be enriched in every way so that we can be generous in every way. I read that to say as I give of my time and talent and treasure God will enrich me in time, talent, and treasure… so that… I can give more.

Generosity isn’t meant to be hoarded; it’s meant to be given. God’s generosity should spill out to those around us. Not for our glory but for his. We never have to worry about having enough because God’s provision never runs out.

What God can do through us is not limited to what we can provide. It is exponential and unfathomable when we live in obedience, expecting His provision and sharing generously the gospel of Christ and what He has and continues to give us.


Thought

How can we battle against the lie that what God can do through us is limited to what we can provide? 

Verse

Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. – 2 Corinthians 9:13

Prayer

Create in me a new heart, O God. Fill my new heart to overflowing that it may spill out on those around me. Give me faith and trust in your provision. And may that faith and trust be shown by my willingness to give of myself and my finances. 

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Values

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Values

Many people sincerely want to live godly lives. But we can have conflicting ideas of what that means. We want our behavior to reflect our devotion to God but often it reflects more our attachment to the world. So we work hard to change our behavior… and find that difficult to do.

It is often said, and I believe accurately so, “Values drive behavior.” What if we stopped trying to change our behavior and instead focused on changing our values? Might we then achieve the behavior we sincerely want…one that reflects our devotion to and love for God?

Worldly values (our sin nature) include wealth, power, pleasure, fame, vanity, status. Notice each of these values are focused on me… not Thee (God). These are the most important things to people who perceive no power or purpose beyond themselves. Worldly values promote behaviors of jealousy, resentment, conflict, greed, anger, revenge, superiority…

Biblical values, godly values… are often the opposite of worldly values: kindness and respect for people instead of power over them; humility instead of status; honesty and generosity instead of wealth; self-control instead of self-indulgence; forgiveness instead of revenge.

Christian values drive behaviors that promote love and peace among people in line with the purposes of God. We will never achieve perfect behavior in this life, but those who strive to build Christian values into their lives will find that their behaviors begin to match more often their desires to live godly lives.


Thought

What are my values? Have I ever really taken the time to consider them? Where did I get them? What am I willing to do to change my worldly values to godly values?

Verse

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division,  envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these… But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! – Galatians 5:19-23 (NLT)

Prayer

Dear Jesus, help me to value what you value. Teach me your values and may the Holy Spirit produce those values within me. Help me to choose love over hate, forgiveness over revenge, purity over impurity, generosity over greed. May my behavior truly reflect the One in whom I believe.


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Purpose

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Purpose

In his book "The Purpose Driven Life," Rick Warren says, "You cannot fulfill God's purposes for your life while focusing on your own plans.” This quote, I believe, is so much deeper than it appears. On the surface it seems obvious, perhaps even trite, that I cannot fulfill God's purposes when I am not focused on them. It's the kind of statement that make you say, "duh". 

When you give close consideration to what Warren is saying, you realize that he is actually speaking about the human condition. That the things that are important to us as humans do not align with the things that are important to God. He is saying that left to our own devices, we seek to gratify ourselves rather than fulfill God's plans for our lives. As I look at my own life, how can I argue? I so often find myself looking to meet my own wants and needs before seeking what God wants for me. 

Jesus says, in John 10:10, that he came so that we would have life. Not just that we would be breathing, but a life that is full, a life that is great! So what are we do to with the passages of scripture that implore us to give of ourselves? Aren't these in direct conflict with the concept of full life? How can my life be full, when I give of myself consistently? 

These types of questions plagued me for years, until I began to put them to the test. When I began serving I saw how I was the one blessed through my service. When I began giving I learned that it truly is better to give than to receive. When I saw God use me in the lives of people, I realized that this is the full life that He offers me. I can honestly say that I have never been more fulfilled in my life than when I am serving Him through the local church. I have learned that using my gifts in the church is fulfilling God's purposes or my life and it is incredible. I'm not perfect, not even close, but with Christ in me I can experience this full life he offers. 


Thought

God's purposes are so much greater than our own. He asks us to serve, not because He wants something from us, but because he desires something great for us. Am I living for His purposes or focused on gratifying myself? 

Verse

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;  if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. - Romans 12:6-8

Prayer

Thank you Lord for having a plan for me and giving me gifts and talents to use for your glory. Help me to focus on living for your purposes rather than my own. 

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Exercising Our Gifts - A.W. Tozer

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Exercising Our Gifts - A.W. Tozer

The task of the church is too great for any one person to compass and too varied for the skill of any one person to accomplish. God has met this difficulty by dividing the task and giving to every man gifts that enable him to do his part. By distributing the work, He lightens the burden for all and makes possible smooth carrying out of His purposes among men. That is undoubtedly the reason behind the gifts of the Spirit given to the various members of the Christian community. Here, as elsewhere, the manifold wisdom of God is revealed. Not all men can sing; at least not all men can sing well enough to be heard in public. Only a limited number are called to preach. Real teachers are scarce because the gift which enables a Christian to teach is not given to many. Even the humbler gifts, such as "helps" and "governments," are given to relatively few. The gift of the evangelist is not given to all, or the pastor's gift or the gift of wisdom. Blessed is the man who knows his gift and who seeks to exercise it toward the other members of the body of Christ as a "good steward of the manifold grace of God." A revival of true New Testament Christianity must surely bring with it a manifestation of spiritual gifts. Anything short of it will create a just suspicion that the revival is something short of scriptural.


Thought

God has gifted each of us to serve other members of the Body in particular ways. It is our responsibility, in conjunction with other body members, to identify our gifts and faithfully exercise them. The health of the church demands it!

Verse

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms." - 1 Peter 4:10

 

Prayer

Father, show me the unique gifts You have given me with which to serve You and Your Church. Remind me that those gifts are from You and are to be used to build up Your Church.


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Family

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Family

A book that I read a while back really helped shape my view of church as family. That book is, "Messy Church: A Multigenerational Mission for God's Family" by Ross Parsley. Here is what he says in the opening pages:

The family analogy is the best picture of what a healthy and vibrant church community is supposed to look like. If you think about it, families are perfectly designed for discipleship: constant access, consistent modeling, demonstration, teaching and training, conflict management and resolution, failure, follow-up and feedback. And this should all happen in an attitude and atmosphere of love. Children are raised, parents are matured, and grandparents are valued all at the same time.

I absolutely love this picture of the church! Church is supposed to be a safe place to learn and grow. A place where we can spectacularly fail and have people there to encourage us as we pick up the pieces. A place characterized by love! A place where you are "loving people to life". 

This picture of family is unachievable without every generation playing there role. If you think about it, a family with only grandparents is dying, a family with only parents is lonely, and a family with only kids is in trouble because there is no one to guide them along the journey. Church is no different! We need every generation to play their part. That is when the church is at it's best.  When everyone sees that they have a part to play and looks out for the other family members, making it a safe place to learn and grow. 


Thought

What role do I have in this family? Am I helping to create a safe environment for learning to happen? How can I truly participate in this family?

Verse

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. - Philippians 2:4

Prayer

Lord thank you for this family called the Church. Help me to be a loving and contributing member of this family, willing to look out for the needs of my family before my own. 


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One Big Happy...

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One Big Happy...

When you find out that you are going to be a parent you often receive a lot of advice (sometimes solicited, but other times not so much). Advice such as: "Time goes so fast. Make the most of it." or "Don't forget to continue investing in your marriage." One thing I remember reading was, "When your kids fight it’s one of the most devastating things." My kids are still small (so the fights are too), but I have found that I can't stand when they do fight.

Imagine what God feels like when His children fight. When we are bitter, unforgiving, and hurtful towards others. One of the great beauties of the Church is that when Jesus died He didn’t just die for us, but He also died to unite us. To make a new family. There is no dividing wall between who makes more money or who has more accomplishments. Our nationality is irrelevant and our demographics are of no importance.  Through our faith in Jesus and His finished work on the cross we are family and completely equal.

We are not the same, but we are of the same family. We do not forfeit our identity or our personhood, but our identity is changed as we are adopted into the family of God. We are not just any ordinary family, but a family with a purpose. We are a family with a mission. His mission. To seek and save that which is lost. 


Thought

Do you believe every Christian is a family member of yours? How would things change if you did?

Verse

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household. - Ephesians 2:19

Prayer

Lord, help me to see my fellow Christ-followers as you see them. To treat them as family, to live in with them harmony, and to fulfill your mission along side them.


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From "Come and See" to "Come and Be"

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From "Come and See" to "Come and Be"

In John 1 we read of two disciples of John the Baptist intrigued by Jesus. Jesus invites the to come and see. It is through seeing that Andrew (Peter's brother) declared, "We have found the Messiah." He immediately sought out his brother to share this good news.

Much later in his life, as he is writing to believers, Peter tells them to know "come and be". He is declaring their identity in Christ as a people set apart with a purpose. He doesn't tell them to try being holy, but proclaims that in Christ they are holy.

Often times we as Christ-followers are so concerned with trying to be Holy that we forget that in Christ we are holy. The difference seems subtle, but its impact on our lives is profound. One is filled with frustration while the other is a fulfilled life that depends wholly on Jesus. It is time to stop trying and start being.


Thought

Am I trying to be holy or living out the holiness I already have in Christ?

Verse

 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. - ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭2:9‬

Prayer

Thank you Lord for giving me Your holiness. Help me to live in that holiness and stop trying to do this on my own.

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Narcissus Goes to Church - Eugene Peterson

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Narcissus Goes to Church - Eugene Peterson

The Greeks, as so often in human experience, provide us with just the right story about the Me problem, the seed story of selfish. It is the story of Narcissus.

Narcissus was a gloriously handsome young man. All the girls fell in love with him. They adored him, threw themselves at him, treated him like a glamorous celebrity with all the attributes of a god. But Narcissus paid the girls little mind. He rebuffed ignorance and dismissed them. He scorned their adulation. Narcissus had no time for them; he was all the company he needed. He could not waste time on anyone; he required his full attention.

One of the girls (that Narcissus slighted) prayed to the gods for redress, a prayer that was immediately answered. Greek deities love answering these kinds of prayers. The great goddess Nemesis was right there to answer the prayer of the girl with the broken heart; she heard and stepped in to take care of Narcissus. She decreed, "May he who loves no other love himself only.”

One day as Narcissus bent over a pool to get a drink of water, he saw there his own reflection. Wow! He already knew he was important; he knew all the girls were falling all over themselves to get his attention. But he had no idea that he was this good-looking. He fell in love with his reflection immediately. He exclaimed, "Now I know what all those girls see in me, no wonder they are in love with me—I'm in love with me! How can I ever bear to quit looking at such loveliness that is me mirrored in that water.”

Narcissus couldn't tear himself away from his image. Kneeling at the pool he pined away, fixed in one long, adoring gaze. The whole world was reduced to that image, the Narcissus-adoring self. Narcissus got smaller and smaller and smaller, until there was no Narcissus left; he had starved to death on a diet of self. Selfism is suicide. All that is left to this day is a white flower that we call Narcissus, a frail memorial in the cemetery of selfism.

Narcissus would seem to be an unlikely character to show up in companies of Christians. And yet the progeny of Narcissus keep showing up in our communities of created and saved souls. They are so glaringly out-of-place in the context of the biblical revelation defined by the birth, death and resurrection of Christ, one would think that they would be immediately noticed and exposed. More often they are welcomed and embellished, given roles of leadership and turned into celebrities.

It is an odd phenomenon to observe followers of Jesus, suddenly obsessed with their wonderfully saved souls, setting about busily cultivating their own spiritualities. Self-spirituality has become the hallmark of our age. The spirituality of Me. A spirituality of self-centering, self-sufficiency, and self-development. All over the world at the present time we have people who have found themselves redefined by the revelation of God in Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection, going off and cultivating the divine within and abandoning spouses, children, friends and congregations.

But holy living, resurrection living, is not a self-project. We are a people of God and cannot live holy lives, resurrection lives, as individuals. We are not a self-defined community; we are a God-defined community. The love that God pours out for and in us creates a community in which that love is reproduced in our love for one another.


Thought

We are a God-defined community, not a self-defined community.

Verse

And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. - Romans 5:5

Prayer

God, please allow me to serve the needs of others over the desires of self.


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The God of the Broken

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The God of the Broken

It is amazing the people that God uses to do his work isn’t it? I mean, look at the characters that He uses in the Bible: prostitutes, thieves, teenagers, super old people, and even murders. Jesus builds His church, but how? By ripping down the gates that hold the human heart in hell-bent sin. Just look at the three people He uses to build the church in Philippi. A business woman, a demon possessed slave girl, and a pagan city employee who worked in the local jail. 

 

First, He used a business woman named Lydia. Acts 16:14 says that the Lord opened her heart to give heed to the word. .

 

Second, God used a demon possessed slave girl. In Acts 16:16-18 we are introduced to this girl who is in slavery both to man, and to demons. 

 

Finally, Acts 16:22-30 tells Paul’s work in the life of the demon possessed slave girl is the reason he and Silas are thrown into prison, but God wouldn’t let this unstoppable movement stop. So He sends this massive earthquake and frees Paul and Silas. At this point the jailer is so in trouble that suicide is his only option. God intervenes. In this man’s darkest hour God shows up. 

 

The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household.

Amazing isn’t it. People who many of us would say are too far gone, but God used them to move His church forward. So maybe you believe you are too far gone too. Could it be that this is just where God wants you to be? 


Thought 

No one is too far gone to be used by God. How is God using me?

Verse

And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. - Acts 16:32

Prayer

God, I am broken, only you can turn this around. Use me. Send me. I will go.


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Defining Church - A.W. Tozer

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Defining Church - A.W. Tozer

It is time for us to reconsider this matter of the church. Most people think of the church as a familiar social fact. Their attitude toward Protestantism generally is that of a matter of course, and people, even average Christians, think they are in favor of the church. They favor the church much the same as they support motherhood, decency and sanitation. It is as accepted as a convention that we never question or doubt. If anybody does question or doubt, they are considered communists or atheists. People will even pour out their money to support social convention. But I wonder how many ever sit down and say, "What is this? Maybe the church is just something that is here; it doesn't have any value and doesn't have any reason for being here." How many present-day Christians have ever searched the Scripture with a serious burden on their hearts to know what the church is? Is it simply a convention that is carried on? How many Christians have ever prayed earnestly for light from heaven about it? It seems that the average person spends more time and intellectual labor each year filling out income tax forms than he or she spends in a lifetime trying to learn from the Scriptures and from the light of the Spirit what the church is and what he or she ought to do about it. Why is it in the world? What did Jesus mean when He said, "On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it" (Matthew 16:18b)? If people were to chew their pencils and walk the floor and go out for a walk and come back and work on it and search and think and discern and divide and go through all that they have to go through to make out their income taxes every year, I believe that they could come up with some wonderful answers.


Verse

And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. -Ephesians 1:22-23

Thought

What is the Church? "Church" as part of the name on the outdoor sign or as a social institution with a plethora of activities may be only a part or may not be the Church at all. What is the Church in biblical perspective?

Prayer

Lord, as I study Your Word the Church emerges as something so close to Your heart, so vital to Your purpose, so enabled by Your Spirit. No wonder Satan seeks to distort my understanding.


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The Church: the Body of Christ - A.W. Tozer

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The Church: the Body of Christ - A.W. Tozer

The universal Church is the body of Christ, the bride of the Lamb, the habitation of God through the Spirit, the pillar and ground of the truth. The local church is a community of ransomed men, a minority group, a colony of heavenly souls dwelling apart on the earth, a division of soldiers on a foreign soil, a band of reapers, working under the direction of the Lord of the harvest, a flock of sheep following the Good Shepherd, a brotherhood of like-minded men, a visible representative of the Invisible God. It is most undesirable to conceive of our churches as Works, or Projects. If such words must be used, then let them be understood as referring to the earthly and legal aspect of things only. A true church is something supernatural and divine, and is in direct lineal descent from that first church at Jerusalem. Insofar as it is a church it is spiritual; its social aspect is secondary and may be imitated by any group regardless of its religious qualities or lack of them. The spiritual essence of a true church cannot be reproduced anywhere but in a company of renewed and inwardly united believers.


Verse

And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Ephesians 1:22-23

Thought

That local church of which you are a part is one expression of the Church, the body of Christ. You cannot demand of other believers levels of Christlikeness and spiritual maturity that you yourself are not modeling. You are as much Church as are they.

Prayer

Father, thank You for the Church. Weak as I am and as my brothers and sisters are, we are members of the body of Christ. Your Spirit lives in us!

 


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The Unstoppable Force

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The Unstoppable Force

Throughout the month of February we will be putting out devotionals for you to engage with. Our purpose is twofold: First, we know the power of being in the Scripture daily. Our desire for you is to develop the personal discipline of hearing from God daily. Second, we want you to fall in love with the church. Not because it makes us feel good, but because the church is the expression of what Jesus is doing on the Earth. We love Jesus, and we love the things that He loves.

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