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...
Can you imagine for yourself anything more that where you are now? Can you imagine anything else more than the addiction? Can you imagine anything else more than your unhappiness? Can you imagine anything else more than searching for that next empty person to try to fill your heart? Can you...
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3 Blessed refers to a deep joy of the soul; it overwhelms all of the darkness, all of the loss, all of the grieving and all of the woundedness. Scripture says to be...
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.”
Despite how we may feel at times, we all have extraordinary stories to tell. Our lives are all uniquely different, and our stories are not something that we should shy away from. Jesus told stories in order to convey important truths in a way that people would understand. We can all relate to stories. The religious leaders of Jesus' time only wanted people to follow the rules. Rules try to enforce only one interpretation, and attempt to write the ending before the ending has even been written!
Jesus knew that following these so called “rules” would only keep people away from the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus wants us to live our lives together, unbound by rules, sharing in each other’s stories.
Make peace with your story, do not be afraid to tell it!
Your story will always be open ended, only in heaven will you find out the end of your story! Your story will go on to impact those you have loved and cared for and those you have passed it on to!
The last two months have been tough for America; we were horrified by the Orlando massacre and the Dallas assassinations. We sense evil amongst us and we can easily fall into despair.
What will happen next? How do we stop the carnage?
When senseless horrors like these occur, we are confronted with the reality that we live in a very imperfect world.
“These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
We are all broken people living in a broken world where every community, every profession, and every human system is broken.
But there is a solution to all of the chaos and healing for the brokenness.
That solution does not rely upon fallible human beings. It relies on our infallible Creator.
How do we mend a human heart? (We don’t. God does.)
No man-made laws (however well-intentioned) can change the human heart. Only Jesus Christ can change our hearts.
Jesus proclaimed, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
Jesus has overcome the world and he is, moment by moment, person by person, changing hearts and transforming lives.
Even now, Jesus is fixing our broken world by fixing broken hearts one by one. As people are adopted into his kingdom, healing will spring forth into changed hearts, which in turn, will change the world.
Senseless violence will cease to exist when the whole world realizes the truth of who Jesus is and what he can accomplish.
Let us take Jesus to the world for healing and restoration. We can rely on him. He is, after all, the Savior of the world