John 1:1 says, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word (God) became flesh (Jesus) and dwelt among us; to reveal Himself to us. The one who became, invites us to become. The Word is understandable, it is hope filled and life...
Real salvation begins with brokenness and it results in profound yielded living; we are broken to begin and yielded to the end. To be a believer in Jesus Christ is to realize that it's His thoughts that count and not ours. (Isaiah 55:8) Real believers seek the thoughts of God in the detail of...
This is the heart of God - He will wipe away every tear from our eyes. One day when the curtain rises, and life begins without any mixture of darkness; you will find the hand of God on your face, wiping away all the regret, all the pain, all the rejection, all the abuse, all the hatred, all the...
When we are cynical about people, the future, the church or anything else, we are advancing the agenda of hell and hindering the work of heaven. Negativity can be a word that you speak to somebody, that's just a critical, well-aimed word from hell, to demean and diminish others. We are...
God came down to planet earth and became one of us, to lift us by grace and truth to a life that is new forever. When we believe we are released from our slavery, we are released from all of the destructive gravity of sin. This gravitational pull is so strong, it drags us into addictions, it...
When you miss grace, you're always going to stay away from God like a stern parent that you can never please. Religion leaves you stuck, and wears you out. It tries to appear perfect, and tries to force a change that always seems to snap back into old patterns. When you live without grace, you...
Matthew 7:1-2 says, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." If you and I, in our arrogance chose to judge others, look down on others, de-value others, to diminish the worth...
1 Peter 2:10 says, "Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy." Everyone who receives adoption as a child of God enters that new life through His mercy and grace. We cannot be a church of the living...
The Bible is first about a person; Jesus. It is a story that leads up to one story in Jesus, and that story reveals the very face of God on planet earth. The story rose on the third day and the story lives in this day for you and I to choose not to live small overwhelmed lives about us...
Ephesians 4:29 says, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." Do you handle other peoples reputations gently? Do you handle their failures gently or are you quick to point...
The pastor graciously invited the team to his church for refreshments. Joe ducked through the doorway of a shed no taller than 4 feet high and 10 feet long. It had no electricity and the walls were made of mud. He and the nine members of his team sat shoulder to shoulder, crammed into what they were told was a church building. As he sipped his tea and nibbled biscuits, Joe realized that after being in the country of Nepal for less than 24 hours, he was already getting a glimpse of the kingdom of God.
Joe began his journey in Hawaii, at the training base for Youth With a Mission. Out of the group of trainees, 9 would become his lifelong friends. After two and a half months of training, they were ready to head to Nepal.
It was in Katmandu, inside the church (shed) of the pastor, that Joe understood for the first time the gift of the mission he was about to undertake. That he would be forever changed not because of anything he was going to do but because of how the Holy Spirit would use the people of Nepal to teach him about being in relationship.
In Katmandu the team worked a lot with the church youth. They went into the slums to share the gospel through the season of Christmas, lead music, minister to shut-ins, and do intercessory prayer at Buddhist and Hindu temples.
After about 3 weeks they boarded a bus to ride 25 hours over dirt-packed, rutted, winding roads to the eastern Nepal city of Dharan. They spent another 8 hours driving and 10 hours hiking to a village that was building an orphanage to house abandoned children.
The team helped with the construction of the orphanage. In doing so, Joe met a village woman who had been taking orphans into her own home for years. She and her husband housed and fed the children and taught them to farm. This woman was not a Christ-follower. However, some of her adopted children became recipients of Operation Christmas Child boxes. In the boxes they received, she found and read the gospel message in Nepalese. She accepted Christ and is now starting a church in the village.
Next the team traveled 36 hours in the opposite direction to west Nepal. They served at a medical camp in a remote village where they treated some seriously affected individuals. In addition, they helped in church ministry by preaching the gospel, leading soccer camps, and taking food to the slums.
The Himalayas can be quite chilly in February so the team sought warmth within the mud walls of an out-kitchen. As Joe huddled next to the stove a young orphan began to describe the hopelessness of being born into the caste system. With no ability to rise any higher than the lowest caste, he found little will or reason to work hard. Joe shared with him that God sees his unlimited potential. That God has a special plan for him and that he is unique and priceless. But as God often does, even as he was sharing with the boy, God showed Joe his own worth and identity in Christ.
Over the course of six months, Joe had some amazing experiences. God showed him the importance of relationships. People are the same in Nepal as they are in Severn, and those people want to be seen and be in relationship with others, and with Jesus. Joe learned the importance of being able to depend on his teammates for everything from safety, to borrowing items, to living and traveling together, to prayer. Most importantly, Joe realized, “God is bigger than I allow him to be”.
So true. We all need to BELIEVE BIG and allow God to do what only he can do!
Joe has just accepted a position to be a leader with YWAM this fall, read more about it from his personal blog here. If you’d like to support Joe and celebrate God's call in his life, and Joe's willingness to serve, please follow this link to get more information.
The truth is, most of us believe we're dealing with a disappointed God who's angry instead of a loving father who's forgiving! No matter how old you are or how much you have failed, God's dreams are not over for your life!
If you could only get a glimpse of how near God is to you, all the pain and loneliness that you may be feeling and carrying in your life would be overwhelmed and overcome by the nearness of the love and joy and peace of Jesus Christ.
He is a God of new beginnings, not only of second chances, but our God is a God of infinite grace for those who dare to believe in His goodness!
As we walk into the future, life doesn't have to get worse. Day by day, things can honestly move forward and get better because of Jesus, and why not experience the very best we can before we see Jesus face to face? - Dr. Drew Shofner
If we don't believe we can win, we won't even try, but if we believe we've already won, we'll live The Win boldly! Some of you today need to resolve the question of whether you're a loser or winner in Christ. I'm not talking about your feelings, I am talking about a decision you make in your heart of hearts, based on Jesus and to say that "I believe that Jesus Christ has handed me the win and that He is with me. Not because of who I am first, but because of who He is!"
You need to resolve whether you believe, in all of your pain, all of your trouble, all of your trial whether Jesus is with you. Most of us are not living our lives boldly in the world to change it for Jesus Christ-- we're playing another game. The church is the hope of the world and we have to decide what we believe as time moves forward!
You need to start living your life in a larger way!
You need to celebrate your giftedness and you need to unleash it on the world creatively!
You need to use your giftedness in the church, I'm not talking about this building, The Church is the living and breathing body of Christ! People whose lives have been changed by the gospel, the good news of the grace of love!
I'm asking you church, in the name of Jesus, to resolve the question of whether or not you believe He is with you in a victorious, unstoppable, victorious kind of way!
"Are you with me Jesus?"
If you don't answer that question, you may be forfeiting the rest of your life, the dreams of God and of hundreds of other people who could have used your creativity, your gifting, your largeness, but you shrunk back and you lived small because you believed you weren't good enough for God to be with you!
I want you and I to dare to believe: what we believe and knowing that we've already won, we can live with a new kind of confidence and we can live differently from this point forward!
I'm praying that the church of the living God rises up and when they hear Jesus say, "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age," that there is a new confidence and spring in our step because we're not just walking through life as failures, we're walking successfully in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, Lord of Lords, coming soon to all of us!
That's our destiny and that's our way of life! -Dr. Drew Shofner
Pastor Chris gave us four nuggets to believe to help you finish your race:
1. Believe that whatever adversity comes your way, God has determined and prepared for you to be able to handle it!
2. Believe that you are not the only person in your situation, others have been there before and they've survived it!
3. Believe that with God's help and with the help of other Christ followers who are situated around you, you can defeat the enemy in the power of the Spirit!
3. Believe that the God who sent His son to die on the cross for your sins, is the same God who loves you right now through your struggle!
And when the naysayers come to remind you and call you out of your name, remember this - It's not what people call you, it's what you answer to!
Throw off all hindrances, God wants you to know that you are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who are cheering you on, so stop listening to the wrong voices and finish your race!
This summer, the Church at Severn Run was SUBMERGED! The entire campus was flooded. Don’t worry! It wasn’t with water, but with Jesus and kids and a whole lot of laughter!
I felt God pushing me to volunteer. I am in school, a mommy, and recently transitioned from working 60+ hours as a restaurant assistant manager…I was tired. With finals in two classes and an additional two just beginning, I was busy.
At least those were my excuses.
I thought that I had missed the deadline. Then one Sunday, while I was sitting in the service, they announced they still needed and were accepting volunteers. Once again, I felt Jesus nudging me. So I did exactly what He told me to do.
I didn’t know where they would have me helping out, but then I got the email from Pastor Steve. I was assigned to the 10 year old group. Monday morning rolls around, and I drag my three year old out of the bed at 6 a.m. He, like his mommy, is not a morning person. So we head to the church, still not completely excited about the idea of being there.
By the end of day one, I was amazed at the change in my heart. I was so excited for the next day! I began praying not only for God to work in their hearts, but also in my own.
I can definitely say, “If you want to have fun, all you have to do is ask a room full of 10 yr. olds what questions they have for Jesus.”
Our lesson was on Nicodemus coming to Jesus by night. At the end of the lesson, we asked, "What are the questions you have for Jesus?"
I was not prepared for what would follow. We got many, many questions. In fact, so many that we had to skip game time at the end to finish asking questions. These questions included:
- What is Jesus’ favorite color? (This I expected.)
- Do animals go to Heaven?
- Does God really care about me?
- So what happens if someone hears about Jesus and says maybe later, but they die before they can pray?
- What happens if a baby dies and can’t get saved? (Broke my mommy heart!)
- Why was Jesus born?
- Why did God create Satan?
- So God created everything… so he has magic? Like Harry Potter? (NO! Jesus is not Harry Potter. PLEASE do not go home and tell your parents Jesus is Harry Potter!)
- If God created everything, who created Him?
- If God is God, and there’s only one God, then how did He send His SON? (Wow! You kids are good.)
In complete honesty, there were about 50 more questions that Miss Jess and I had to address. At the end, we handed out little cards that asked the children to choose an answer:
- I have already accepted Jesus into my heart as my Savior and Lord.
- No, I am not ready to talk about Jesus.
- I want to know more about Jesus.
- YES! I am ready now to accept Jesus as my Savior and Lord.
Two little boys, handed in cards saying “YES! I am ready now.” In the rally that day, I stood there as little guys prayed and accepted Jesus as their Savior. I took a picture with them and told them how VERY happy I was for them.
I came home and told my husband that I was “falling in love Jesus-style.” I spent three days with these kids and my world was flipped upside down! I saw their hearts.
The motto for this week was “Jesus knows. Jesus sees. Jesus saves.” Boy, was it true!!!! These eleven 10-yr olds snuck their little way into my heart in less than a week. Jesus really does know, see, and save. He used these little children to completely change my heart! I will forever be grateful for the days I could spend with these children!
But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”