Showing items for 'January 2018'

Showing items filed under “January 2018”

How God Works Through Adversity

 

Have you ever asked yourself that ever-unanswered question, “Why does God allow bad things to happen?” Well, don’t get your hopes up, because I’m not here to answer that—we just don’t have enough room on the internet to tackle it.

However, I can tell you how God works through bad things that happen…

He works through his people! And about a month ago, Severn Run had a taste of this. Here’s what happened:

It was a typical Tuesday morning when some of the Severn Run staff came in to work. It was shortly after the New Year, and it was quite frigid outside. As to be expected, there was some ice in the parking lot of church campus. However, on this particular day, there was a large cascade of ice flowing down from Severn Run’s back entrance into the parking spaces nearby. It was quickly obvious that this wasn’t just ice from the previous night’s cold temperatures.

As some of the staff members investigated the interior of the church building, they discovered more ‘fun’ surprises. It seemed that Severn Run had gotten an unexpected pool installed in the whole first floor of the building! Ok, so it wasn’t a pool, but there was about two inches of water across the entire first floor of the building.

After calling the local water damage experts, the Severn Run staff began the tedious task of moving everything off the first floor that wasn’t tacked down. It was a LOT of work, but since it was the middle of the week, pretty much anyone who could help was already at the church building. After a lot of sweat, and maybe a few tears, it was eventually all done. The workers showed up later to start removing all the water and doing what needed to be done to set the church building up for repair down the road. This would be where the lovely ‘airflow upgrades’ around the base of all the walls on the first floor of the building came from. Perhaps you’ve noticed?

By the time all the water was extruded from the floor and carpet on the first floor of the Severn Run campus it was Friday, and the Severn Run staff had to move everything back into place to prepare for the services on Sunday. Quite a daunting task. But, this is where God came in!

The invite went out to most of the church via social media, and oh boy did people respond! The re-setup of the church campus was scheduled for Saturday morning starting at 9 AM. When I arrived (slightly late) there were already about 30-40 people there. There was a desk up front for people to sign in and get assigned to teams, which would tackle different places around the church campus that needed help.

Pastor John, our Executive Pastor, was giving a quick pep talk before we got started. He spoke briefly of how they discovered the water, and how excited he was to see so many people there to give up their Saturday to help prepare the building to house services on Sunday. He spoke of how important it was for us to come together because he knew that God had big plans. There were people who needed to have a place to sit on Sunday morning so they could focus on a message that God had specifically crafted for them to hear. It was inspiring to think about how such a simple thing as giving up a few hours of our weekend could have an eternal impact on the Kingdom!

Once Pastor John finished, off we went. It was a furious task to get the building back into a prepared state for Sunday, but we had a lot of help, as more people came in to support. It was probably 50 or 60 people in total.

Many people went inside the Worship Center to set up the chairs – one of the biggest tasks to do in preparation for Sunday. Other groups went to help put the kids’ areas back into place, while others helped remove trash, set up other areas, or go outside to start chipping away (literally) at the ice arena in the parking lot.

It took about three to four hours for just about all the work to be finished. The ice took the longest, and wasn’t even completely done by the time we all called it quits, but enough of it had been removed to allow people to drive through, park, and walk safely into the church building on Sunday.

Sunday morning came, and the services ran without a hitch. If you attended that day and had no idea about the escapades of the previous week, about the only way you would have known would have been those ‘airflow upgrades’ that I mentioned earlier, which that are still there. Well, that and the fact that we told everyone who attended, or who viewed our services online that day. But, we told everyone because we wanted them to know that when we needed help, God responded by bringing Severn Runners in to have our back.

And, that’s exactly what God does when bad things happen.

No one can say what exactly God will or will not do when it comes to allowing bad things to happen, but it has been evident since creation that when they do happen, he calls people to respond. The pipe’s bursting at Severn Run, followed by water damage, may not fully qualify as something ‘bad’, but no matter how big or small, God responds. Sometimes God calls on others, and other times he calls to us each individually. How we respond is completely up to us. We just have to decide if we’re going to be willing.

God works through his people. Are you willing to let him use you?

The Difference Between Doing and Being

main image

Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified. (Galatians 2:16)

There is a difference between doing and being. More than the obvious differences of activity and rest—there is a spiritual difference.

Doing is about appearances. It’s about activity. It’s about the outward and the effort. Doing is “religion.”

Going to church because you’re supposed to.

Reading the Bible and praying because it’s on your list.

Joining a small group because you’ll look like you’re doing what you’re supposed to do.

Serving because it looks good on your resume.

Man is not justified by works. “Doing” for the sake of redemption does nothing but keep us busy, bothered, and stressed. Doing makes us think that we are in control of our destiny, our purpose, and our salvation. Doing keeps us focused on self instead of God.

Doing does not justify. Doing is empty and broken trying desperately to be something.

 

Being is about presence. It’s about the inward. It’s about your motivation. The dictionary defines being as, “having the state, quality, identity, nature, role, of something specified.” Being aligns your identity, your nature, your role, to Jesus. Being is relationship.

Being changes your purpose and motivation.

So instead of just going to church, you go to be with Jesus.

Instead of reading the Bible and praying because it’s on your list, you do it to be closer to God.

Instead of being in a connect group for appearances, you go to be with other believers.

Instead of serving to build your resume, you serve to be like Jesus.

This week, instead of thinking about what you are doing, ask yourself what you are being.

Are you being close to Jesus?

Are you being Jesus to others?

Are you…being the difference?

Scripture to Help You With Your New Year's Resolutions

This post was originally published on the Collide Youth Blog but is a good reminder about how Scripture can help encourage us when we are tempted or fall short of our goals.

Happy New Year! 

As 2018 approaches, the whole world celebrates the coming of a new year, and with that, comes New Year’s resolutions. The whole point of making resolutions is to become a better person in some way, which might mean losing a bad habit, or making better habits, or anything along those lines. And man is that difficult!

We face challenges every day from outside sources that are mostly beyond our control like schoolwork, jobs, relationships with family and friends, sicknesses, annoying people, and busy schedules. And then there are the challenges that we find within ourselves, like having a habit of lying, being tempted to sin, not holding your tongue, or feeling hatred towards someone. And those inner challenges can be the hardest to change. But what better time to deal with them than at the start of a new chapter in our lives? Hence, New Year’s resolutions.

So, what’s your resolution? Do you want to be a better Christian, sibling, student, daughter or son? Have you resolved to stop cursing, eating junk food, watching so much TV, or practicing some sin? Have you resolved to exercise more, share the Gospel more, be kinder to your little brother, be on time for things, READ more (because reading is great), or strive to do your very best in everything you do?

You may be wondering if the Bible actually says anything about this kind of stuff. Of course, it does! I thought I would share some Scriptures for you to consider when you experience moments that challenge your New Year’s resolution; moments of weakness, or temptation, or when you feel like giving up (because you will feel like giving up).

Choose the ones that fit your needs, and then to help remember them, write them on a sticky note, save them as notes to your phone, make them your screensaver, or even simply commit them to memory! 

Your Relationships

When you are tempted to flip out on someone

James 2:19Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.”

When others are not supportive of your resolution

1 Timothy 4:12Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”

When you think negative thoughts about others

Colossians 3:12Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”

Philippians 2:3-5 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” 

Your Body

When you feel your mouth (cursing, eating, lying) your body, or your desires (alcohol, shopping, violence, drugs, sex, food, etc.) are out of control

Colossians 3:5:10So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.”

Note: It’s important to remember that TEMPTATION IS NOT A SIN. Even Jesus was tempted in Matthew 4. But it’s also important to remember that temptation is what leads to sin, and has to be resisted. James 4:7, “So humble ourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Your Mind

When you think negative thoughts about yourself

Philippians 4:8Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

When you fail or feel defeated and you want to give up on your resolution

Galatians 6:9So, 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.” 

Corinthians 10:13No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”

Your Spirit

When you feel too timid to share your faith

2 Timothy 1:7-8For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord.”

When you are doubting God because of bad life experiences

Jeremiah 29:11-13For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me

When you are not sure that God will help you

Joshua 1:9Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

 

Naomi’s Nugget:

I can’t say it any better than this from the book of Ephesians:

“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we[d] are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:11-17

 

Read Severn Run Stories, be inspired, and stay up to date with what's happening here!