Wednesday, February 20, 2019

A Place to Belong

LifeGroups are where you find a place to belong within our church.  These relationships are critical in spiritual growth through encouragement and accountability.  It is in these small groups that you will find strength when you go through times of difficulty and trials in your life. Jesus modeled this for us with his twelve disciples as they helped each other navigate a difficult journey that led to the cross and then the explosion of the early church across the Roman Empire.

The significance of these small groups has been especially evident over the last few months as we have had several church members experience serious medical issues.  It has been an encouragement to see LifeGroups minister to members as they have gone through these significant struggles.  LifeGroups do much more than just teach the Gospel. They live the Gospel through community. Visiting, preparing food, sending cards, and praying for them was a great encouragement to them as well as their caretakers.  It has been a blessing to me when I go to visit someone to hear the names of those from their LifeGroups who have called and been by to see them.  It always is shared with a smile on their face to know that people care.

If you are not involved in a LifeGroup let me encourage you to make it a priority over the next couple weeks to find a class where you can connect with other believers in a more intimate way.  If you do not know which group would be best for you, please visit with me or Brian Buford. We can help guide you to find a place where you can belong.  No matter your age or stage of life, there are people meeting together who are going through similar experiences who would love to have you join them on the journey of life.  Do more than just attend church.  Find a place to belong.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Listening to God

Samuel was just a boy when he heard God speak for the first time.  He was lying in bed when he heard his name and assuming it was Eli in the other room, he ran in to see what he needed.  When he came to Eli the second time, Eli told him to respond “Speak, for your servant is listening.”  The third time Samuel responds to God as he was told, and God declares to him a prophecy of judgment that was to come upon Eli and his sons.

Do you ever have trouble discerning God’s will?  One of the reasons we struggle is we do not recognize God’s voice.  The absolute clearest way that God speaks to us is through His Word.  Do not miss the general call of God that he gives to all of us through His Word. Does God want you to witness to your neighbor today?  Of course, he has already made that clear in his Word.  Does God want you to be financially responsible with the resources he has entrusted you with?  Definitely, he makes that clear.  Does he want you to be active in a local church?  He has already called us to.  There are many things that God has made clear in his Word.  In these instances, you do not have to wait around for God to supernaturally give you some clear direction.

God also gives us specific callings.  God called me to be a pastor when I was 17 years old.  He made it clear to me as I sought his will for my life that it was what he wanted from me.  He calls us all to special places of services.  These callings are always consistent with the general call from His Word.  We must be listening through prayer, meditation and the studying of Scripture to know the specifics of his calling.  What God wants us to do is already clear.  Seek God for the answers to how and when.  If those answers are not clear the answer should be to use what you know and go now.  Do not use the excuse of waiting for God when it comes to obeying the commands he has already made clear.  Let your response to God’s Word be “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Spiritual State of the Union

Last night was The State of the Union Address by President Trump.  It is the opportunity for the president to push his agenda on a large stage with the ears of millions of Americans, powerful politicians, and citizens of other countries around the world.  He laid out the health of our nation and how to fix our problems.  Politics can be a picture of the spiritual state of our nation as well.  In a democracy politics are not the answer to our problems but a symptom of our problems.

Paul tells us that our battle is a spiritual battle and our enemy is Satan.  (Ephesians 6:10-12).  The spiritual state of our nation can be seen in the legislation being passed around the country.  We have a state that has legalized late term abortions.  We are now killing babies that could easily survive outside the womb of their mother.  We have legalized same sex marriage.  We do not allow the Bible to be read in public school nor prayer at our events.  Public universities have become enemies of Christian children.J

The list of spiritual struggles in our nation could go on and on.  We could talk about crime, the ending of the traditional family, crimes against children, foster care, and so much more.  With the spiritual state of our nation on a decline, what is the answer? The answer is only found when we fight spiritual battles with spiritual weapons.  We should not take a step in the morning away from our bed without putting this armor on which includes God’s Word and prayer.  When God’s people pray God hears.  The hope for America is another great awakening.  America needs Jesus.  

Ephesians 6:13-18 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.

God Provides

God provides in many different ways. I have been reading Ezra as part of my daily devotional time.     Ezra leads the people of Israel out o...