Many of us have politics on our minds during these days. We are walking in fear and trepidation as we fully don’t know what will happen on November 8th or in what direction our country we go. Here are a few reminders for the days and weeks ahead:
- Look to rise above all the noise.
We live in a culture that is filled with shouting, name calling, and belittling people all the time. We are called to be a people who live in the world but are not part of it. Jesus’ followers are called to be salt and light, and in so doing we will push back the darkness, the noise, and the chaos our world seems to be in at the moment.
Learn to respect all. Pray for those who hurt you with their words, and we need to be a people who know the truth of scripture, live the truth in love, and look to bring others to follow Jesus no matter what.
2. God won’t be surprised by the results.
I promise God won’t be surprised when CNN declares the winner. We live in a time and a day when many Christians love to talk about faith but many don’t want their faith tested or stretched. This will be a time that will test and stretch your faith especially if you did not vote for the winning candidate. Please know that God is not surprised, and God is calling the church to continually stand up and be the church during these times.
3. Don’t get distracted in the minutia.
The entire goal of our existence is to bring others to a life saving relationship with Jesus Christ and to enjoy Jesus forever. Please don’t get bogged down in the political name calling and noise of this generation. Politics are important. It is important to know the candidates and to vote your values, but please know that God raises up leaders both elected and not to accomplish His will all the time. He’s been doing it since Creation, and I know He will continue to do it until the Kingdom fully comes.
We live in a crazy time to be the people of God. In many moments it seems that our world is spinning out of control, chaos and violence rule the day, and we often have more questions than we do answers. God chose us to witness to Him during these days, and I cannot think of a higher honor for us.
I’m constantly floored that the God of the universe trusts us enough to make His name and mission known to the world. God also equips us to be able to succeed in this mission. We aren’t just tossed in the “deep end” of the world without everything we need to succeed. Despite our failures, ignorance, limitations, and baggage God still uses the church to accomplish His mission of making disciples and grow the church. Prayer is one of the most powerful weapons the church has in breaking down barriers and making disciples for Jesus Christ.
Prayer is very powerful and can be very effective, when used in Jesus’ name. During our looking and study of prayer we saw that many of us do pray, but our prayers our focused inward and on our own glory. The question we looked and continue to look at is what would happen if we began to pray, pray powerfully, and pray consistently for our church? Prayers move the heart of God, and we know that God is honored and glorified when His children pray first and foremost for His will to be done. What would our church look like if we committed to praying four times a week for our church, its witness, its leaders, its vision, and for the church to make vibrant, effective disciples of Jesus Christ? I don’t know about you, but I’m through wondering, and I want to see the power and glory of God exude from Second Ave. to touch the world! Let’s begin by committing to praying for our church four times a week, every week!
Samuel’s first step of faith is taken by someone else (his family) that step is bringing him to be part of the worship of God and the ways of God’s family.
The second step in Samuel’s faith journey is that he lives alongside worshipers of God, and learns to live and act like a follower of God. This is still before he comes to faith in God.
Third, Samuel is trained in the things of God. Learning how to minister before the Lord. This is also before he comes to faith.
The fourth step for Samuel is that he hears God’s call.
The Fifth step in his journey of faith is that Samuel acknowledges God by faith, and with the help of another.
Then sixth, Samuel accepts God’s instruction and carries out the work of the God as his Lord.
Where are you in these steps of faith? Would you like someone to help, to provide a little guidance or prayer. We will be so happy to help you. If you are a woman or girl we’ll point you to a woman who can help you on your faith journey. If you are a guy, we’ll have a guy team with you. We’ll keep you in our prayers as well.
Below is a summary of Samuel’s steps of faith. If you are already part of our faith community you have two evangelistic responsibilities:
- Make sure you help live the love of God and the forgiveness of Jesus into our faith community, so people who come here can taste and see that the Lord is good.
- Invite friends, relatives, associates and neighbors to be part of this faith community.
Samuel’s Steps of Faith for Today
1. Become part of the faith community
2. Learn to live like a follower of God
3. Be trained to serve God
4. Hear God’s call
5. Acknowledge God by faith, with the help of another
6. Accept the responsibilities God has for you in this faith community
On Sunday June 28, 2015 we begin a new series on The Lord’s Prayer. Jesus taught us to pray. Consequently, prayer is so central to our faith. When His disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, Jesus was specific and yet comprehensive in his response. The prayer he taught them was one he re-purposed from a traditional Hebrew prayer. When Jesus retooled this prayer he made sure it was a community prayer. We will take a number of weeks to look at the phrases of the Lord’s Prayer to understand what it is we are to be praying. and how does it apply to the circumstances to our lives today. Here is how will look at the prayer week-by-week.
- Our Father who is in heaven
- uphold the holiness of your name.
- Bring in your kingdom so that your will is done on earth as it’s done in heaven.
- Give us the bread we need for today.
- Forgive us for the ways we have wronged you, just as we also forgive those who have wronged us.
- And don’t lead us into temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.
Come join us on Sundays at 8:15am (traditional) or 10:45(contemporary) for worship. These are the words of LIFE.
On Sunday, I challenged us to be devoted to sharing together in the meal that forms our identity as children of God. Here are the four actions I’m proposing:
1. (Family Level) Begin now to find creative ways to retell the whole story over a meal at home.
From the Creation to Jesus’ return, be sure to stress our part in the story.
2. (Personal Level) If you don’t know the story, the whole story, It’s seriously time to learn it. Stay tuned for a Sunday School hour program of 5-6 weeks on learning to tell The Story
3. (Church Level) Don’t miss Communion! It forms you into the image of Christ.
4. (Pastor Level) It’s on me and the worship planning team to find ways to enhance the Holy Communion experience to make it more effective at building our identity as part of God’s grand story.
Let me know how I can help you.
That question is a famous line from the mouth of Judas in the rock opera, Jesus Christ – Superstar. In Superstar, Judas also asks, “Who are you? What have you sacrificed?” I don’t know how Tim Rice, the lyricist for Superstar, expected us to react to those questions. However, I think these are really important questions that every Christian should ask and have settled in their own mind.
During the weeks leading to Easter, here are the questions to be thinking about and using to search the scriptures. How would you answer those questions?
- Who did people in Jesus’ day say he was?
- Where they right? If not how so?
- Who did Jesus say he was?
- What did Jesus Sacrifice?
We’ll be working on these together in worship over the weeks leading to Easter 2015.
So we’ve seen that the “Why” of our 2015 plan – of our life-plan – is because the King is returning and he plans to reward us all as or actions deserve. The “WHAT” of our plan is the Great Commission to go make disciples of all nations, and the “HOW” of our plan is to “LOVE” each other and the world using God’s resources to create an eternal family — a family that calls us all into God’s love. These points are not simply optional, spiritual-development goals, this IS the life of a believer as God has defined it. How will these three corners of God’s life framework be the frame for your 2015?
The best way to start is to include a bit of each of these points in your schedule and plan for 2015. Think about the challenges I made each week. (1) Be able to identify the things you are doing that count beyond this age – that gain eternal reward. Write them down and be sure they get priority. (2) Choose one mission/ministry where you will serve and one where you will invite others to join you? (3) Invite someone you don’t know well to share a meal and to create an eternal friendship together.
Take some time to intentionally plan how these three strategies will be included in your life in 2015. Then, on a monthly basis, do a self-check to see if you are on track at working the plan. Jesus Christ is your model. Turn to him often in your pursuit. And The Holy Spirit is given to you to assure that you have the power and wisdom to succeed at these Kingdom strategies. God’s blessing on your 2015 plan!! It will be amazing and the end of the year to look back and see the progress for God’s loving reign.
“Plan the work, then work the plan.“ Have you heard this phase? It turns up where anyone really wants to succeed at their objective. In Lewis Carroll’s story, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the Cheshire Cat makes this same point in the negative, saying, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”
If we hold our personal life-plans up to these tests, how would we fare? Have we a plan or are we just letting ourselves end up where we may? If we have plans, what are they based on? Why are we on this planet, What is it we are to do and how are we to do it.
During the remainder of January, on Sundays at 8:15 and 10:45, we’ll look at some guidance from scripture regarding a 2015 life-plan – a plan that would come from the very center of God’s heart for us. The Why, The What, the How. – Don’t miss this! Come be part of our Worship at Second Ave.
We need a few more leaders for our prayer vigil. Will you lead an hour? We are praying and fasting this month, asking for God to send a fresh fire of God’s Holy Spirit into our hearts, lives and our community. This vigil will take place on 11/22-11/23. Everyone who is not leading an hour, please sign up at church to pray with one of the leaders for an hour.Continue reading “Prayer Vigil!”
During Advent (the for weeks leading up to Christmas) we have number of ways for you to celebrate the birth of our King! Be sure to see our Christmas worship schedule including a combined worship service on December 21st. Click here to go the our SCHEDULE link, or click SCHEDULE above.
Fasting is simply abstaining from something that we are used to having in our lives. We take part in fasting because it can make us very aware of our need for God. By removing something that feeds our body, mind, or spirit, we become hungry for God. This hunger then drives us to more intentional prayer.Continue reading “A Call to Fasting and Prayer”
I’ve challenged you to add a commentary to you Bible reading plan, so that you gain insights into the original culture and world. This will help you understand the passage the same way the first hearers and readers did. Bottom line, beginning Bible study by understanding this FIRST MEANING of the passage helps us better interpret it for our lives in our day. Follow this link to find recommended commentaries on the Psalms specifically, and on other Bible books in general.
On 10/26/14 my challenge is to read the passage you are studying several times:Continue reading “Reading the Bible for Spiritual Maturity”
Be sure to come back regularly and see what’s planned for Sunday morning… Click here or under the SCHEDULE tab, you will find “Upcoming Sunday Themes“