Showing items for 'April 2017'

"BREATHE" Easter 2017 Spoken Word

Posted by Hannah Martin on

"BREATHE" Easter 2017 Spoken Word Written by Hannah Martin     (The fall)The fall of humanity, is when the fog beganOur desire to be God almighty, instead of humanDegenerate by disobedience, we chose a living deathWe try and fight against it from our first cry to our last...

The Death of God

Posted by Hannah Martin on

All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.    We have left God’s paths to follow our own.Yet the Lord laid on him    the sins of us all.(Isaiah 53:6)  We all have the choice to hold the hammer, to pick up a nail and drive it...

Showing items filed under “April 2017”

Your Story : Your Witness


But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.

(1 Peter 3:15 ESV) 


Most of us claiming the resurrection of Christ act like we don’t have a story to tell. We might think we can’t be a witness for Jesus because our story isn’t “good enough.”

That is simply not true.

A witness is an "attestation of fact, event, etc., from personal knowledge;” (source) Witnessing has nothing to do with our goodness, or our imperfections. Each of us can speak with authority based on our personal knowledge of the situation.

Personal knowledge is an important element of a Christian witness. And personal knowledge is something God promises us as we pursue a relationship with him.

And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. (1 John 5:20)

What is your personal knowledge of Jesus? What is your personal knowledge of the hope that Jesus’ resurrection gives to you? This is your story. This is what you can share.

As a Jesus follower you have personal knowledge of what Jesus has done in your life. You have personal knowledge of how Jesus changes your heart. You have personal knowledge about why you trust him. You have a story about giving up your life and following after him.

Your story doesn’t have to be dramatic. It certainly won’t be like anyone else’s story because you’re unique. But you do have a story...a story about the day you invited Jesus into your heart...a story about how he reveals himself to you. This is what we must share.

Have you prayed prayers and seen answers? This is your witness. 

Have you seen miracles - even small ones? This is your testimony.

Have you seen Jesus revealed in and around you? This is your story.

Your witness, your testimony of fact from personal knowledge and relationship with Jesus, is your story about how Jesus is real to you. 

No one can refute it.

As a disciple you must share it.


And God will use it to bring glory to himself.

 


If you would like to receive a weekly devotional like this in your inbox each Thursday, sign up for the Weekly Life Lifters here!

Posted by Alane Pearce with

#MyStory : Convicted and Blessed to Tithe

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All my life I’ve been told what to do.

I grew up as a PK (Pastor’s Kid), so I’ve known what tithing is and why we do it for as long as I can remember.

The problem is, the humanity in me has told me that I had a million logical reasons not to. I’m also not afraid to admit that for a good portion of my life, I just plain didn’t care. This took me down a dark path my first five to six years in the military, and not tithing is the least of the transgressions I’d rather soon forget. But, my life changed a few years back and I finally found that what I knew my whole life was not only realer than I could imagine, but that it finally mattered to me. However, even though my heart was in a better place, tithing still wasn’t on my ‘to do’ list. I think that I started tithing more, but it was intermittent at best, and depended on what I had left instead of giving up front.

Fast forward two years and here we are showing up in Maryland. We had had an awesome church back in California. I knew that it would be tough to replace, but we began looking for a church immediately. The very first church we tried was Severn Run. I instantly knew that I was home, and my wife felt the same way.

As time has gone by these past two years since we started attending services here, we’ve plugged in to various outlets and groups of the church. I went to Fight Club for a little while, and my wife has been a big part of the Mom’s connect group. I joined the writing team (and of course, I’m still here), and my wife helps watch the kids every other Sunday. Despite that, it wasn’t until the “On the Road” campaign that started last year that we actually started tithing a set amount on a consistent basis. At that point, I committed to give more than I ever had before in my life, but the thing is it still wasn’t 10%; it still wasn’t as much as I could have been giving.

I like to think that I’ve always been generous with my money, but the funny thing is I was never generous to God; the one place where my money was fully deserved and where it’s use would go beyond a full belly or short-lived smile. Not that those things don’t matter, but I know that God can do a thousand times more of those things than I ever could, if only I would give to him.

Recently Pastor Drew had talked about “The Given Life” and his series of messages spoke to my heart. I knew what I needed to do, but week after week I struggled to do it. I looked at how much 10% would be, and it felt like a LOT to me. I thought that it was doable, but that perhaps some things might have to give if I was going to make it work. I put it off for a few weeks, but finally I broke down and knew that I couldn’t wait any longer. I knew what I needed to do.

So…I did it.

We use online giving, which is great because I’m super forgetful and don’t ever carry around much cash. There’s no way I could be consistent if that feature wasn’t available. So, I went in there and updated my giving to ensure that I was in fact giving away 10% of my paychecks on a bi-weekly basis. I didn’t quite know how it was going to look those first two weeks that it started to come out, but I trusted God to take care of us.

I also felt compelled to share what I had done, so before writing this blog post I shared what I had done on Facebook, and added a little challenge to the friends I had who went to Severn Run. I felt like I should do this because of Pastor Drew’s words on how our church’s average was well below the national average. I don’t know how much all our friends give, but that’s not the point. I did not want it to seem like I was boasting, but I felt that people needed to see that step of faith and feel challenged to do the same. And if what I did might do that, even for one person, then it was worth it.

So, April 1st came and the first installment of my tithe came out. I was sitting on the computer downstairs playing videogames, because that’s what I sometimes do on a lazy Saturday morning, when my wife comes down and brings me a letter she just got in the mail. Inside the letter was a rather large check that neither of us were expecting, along with a letter. The check was from a stocks fund set up by my wife’s grandparents that was supposed to be distributed evenly to all the grandkids. Instantly I was blown away. I didn’t even think for a second that this was by accident. I knew that only God could do timing like that. For so long I had avoided doing what I should, and when I finally did it and put my trust in God, he was already ready to take care of us.

I don’t think that it always happens this way, or in this kind if perfect timing, but I do know that God rewards faith. I don’t know that everyone will see as ‘tangible’ a result of their faith as I did, but I do know that in God’s perfect timing and ways, he is always looking out for us. Because only God could set in motion events years before the day that I would finally say that I had the faith to step out of my circle of safety and into the waves of uncertainty. I don’t fully know what lies ahead, but I know that if I keep my eyes on him, I will never have to fear sinking below the surface.

My only hope is that through my giving, others may come to know the peace that has transformed my life and has given me the strength to do what’s unnatural to my humanity. I know that it will make all the difference.

"BREATHE" Easter 2017 Spoken Word

Breathe

"BREATHE" Easter 2017 Spoken Word 
Written by Hannah Martin
 
 

(The fall)
The fall of humanity, is when the fog began
Our desire to be God almighty, instead of human
Degenerate by disobedience, we chose a living death
We try and fight against it from our first cry to our last breath
The suffocating fog, is the result of our sin
It holds and keeps us captive unable to breath in
Powerless to escape it, we stay in our darkened cells
With chains of addiction and loneliness, this is our living hell
Our pain becomes our normal, our sin becomes our friend
As we sit in our distorted comfort believing there will not be an end
Our souls cried out for a rescue, begging for someone to come
Is there no one who can save us from the prisons of the evil one?

(Jesus’ LIfe and death)
The heartbeat of heaven descended on the Earth
He breathed the same air, he walked the same dirt
He was God in the flesh living here among us,
The creator in the creation sent to redeem us
Leaving his title, He stepped down from his throne
He wrapped on our flesh, made this planet his home
He brought sight to the blind and brought steps to the lame
Healing the lives of the very souls that he’d made
The love he had for you outweighed the pain of the cross
He knew what laid before him, he’d counted the cost
All the flesh that was torn, all the blood that was shed
He decided, it was worth it so you could live instead
We can’t imagine his suffering, we cannot measure his pain
As he hung there, his body bearing all the weight of our shame
The prince of heaven surrendering to death’s snare
The armies of heaven awaited orders for the father to send them there
But God slowly turned his head, took his eyes off of His son
The Son cried out to his father, it is finished, it is done
His body still and lifeless, no pulse, no breath
The creator of the heavens and earth hung silenced by death
Please don’t miss this next point, every word of it is true
As he passed from life to death all he thought about was YOU
The darkness was rejoicing, declaring they had won,
Evil was victorious, for in hell’s arms laid heavens son


(Victory)
But as the dawn began to break on day 3 of hell’s victory
Christ opened his eyes, and took a breath, his heart began to beat
A thunderous quake of glory shattering death’s stronghold
He stood and shook death off like nothing, as the giant stone was rolled
The evil of hell was no match for him, he’d conquered death and grave
The darkness left defenseless, leaving no man satan’s slave
Our God cannot be conquered, He has no match, He has no equal
Did satan really think he could separate God from his people
The curse that was upon us has been lifted in Jesus’ name
For now we are no longer slaves, our ransom has been paid
Sinners rejoice! Your fate has changed, for you have been set free
Your chains of sin fell off of you when he opened his eyes and BREATHED!

Don’t tell me He’s not enough for you, he took on hell and won
The resurrection is our promise in life we can overcome
The fog has now been lifted! The darkness has been exposed
The suffocating hold was broken when the Son of God arose!
There’s no situation, no circumstance that he cannot redeem
Give him all, even the deadest parts, new life in them He’ll BREATHE

 

Posted by Hannah Martin with

I'm a New Believer - Now What?!

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So you are a new believer! Welcome to the family! You're excited to begin your walk and wondering… What's next? 

You may also be asking things like…

  • How do I become a part of the church?
  • How do I grow in my prayer life?
  • Should I get baptized?

Here's a good place to begin answering some of those questions.

 Grow In Your Personal Relationship with God

Just as we would develop our relationship with a spouse by spending time with them and being in constant communication, we need to develop a relationship with God by spending time with him and being in constant contact.

We communicate with God through prayer throughout each day as we seek guidance and assistance. It is also important to make “quiet time” a priority. A “quiet time” is a time we set aside each day to focus on discussing with God our triumphs, our failures, and our struggles. Many people also read personal Bible studies or devotionals during their quiet time. There are many great resources for these studies online.

You don’t even have to follow a plan to grow your relationship with God. You can simply read a few chapters in your Bible (the books of John or Matthew are a good place to start), and after you read, pray and ask God what he wants you to know from what you read. This kind of daily communication with God will help you grow in your faith and learn how to communicate with and listen to God.

Baptism

Baptism is an important symbol of our decision to declare Jesus as Lord of our lives. There is nothing magical about the personal experience, but baptism brings attention to what God is doing in our lives and that is what makes it such a critical step in a new believer's walk. We have a huge celebration when a new believer rises out of the water, and there is an even bigger celebration in heaven.

Join the Severn Run community

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)

Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them. (Matthew 18:19-20)

Throughout the bible, we are encouraged to connect with other believers. An easy way to begin connecting is to join the church. This simply requires attending a Membership Matters class one Sunday afternoon, where we discuss the passions of the Church at Severn Run and hear about all of the places where we can play our parts within the church.

A common saying at Severn Run is that “life is better connected”. This sums up the idea behind Connect Groups, where a group of believers share real-life together. There are Connect Groups covering all stages of life, often with multiple times to fit different schedules. Connect Groups give us the opportunity to grow into real and honest relationship with others. This happens through shared life experiences, friendship and encouragement during our walk with Christ.

Serve

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1)

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. (Hebrews 6:10)

The final passion of our church is to serve others. There is a limitless number of ways to serve, but what is important is that we find our gift. We find our gift(s) by prayerfully looking for different opportunities to serve and being willing to say “yes” to God when those opportunities arise. This may require us to step outside our comfort zone, but when we have faith, that is when God can really take over in our lives and do wonderful things.

Finally, finding a friend to help you walk through your new faith journey will help you tremendously. The Church at Severn Run is eager to walk beside you as you learn about God’s love for you. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need any help. You can call the office at 410-551-6654. You can email us at

Posted by Zach Baum with

Our Hearts and Minds are on the Western District

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In the middle of what was supposed to be a restful night’s sleep, Bob Ogle heard from Jesus. It was 3 AM and He had a response for something Bob had been pondering.

Bob & Rose OglePastor Drew always encourages Severn Runners to serve outside of the walls of our church building. Bob and his Connect Group, Hearts and Minds, had been exploring options for where their group could become involved in Loving Well and Living Jesus in our community. At 3 that morning Bob felt his heart turn toward the men, women and families represented in the Anne Arundel County Western District Police Station.

Hearts and Minds decided they would utilize Valentine’s Day to share “Boxes of Love” that included a donated Chick-Fil-A gift card, a hand-written note, several edible goodies, and a laminated “Policeman’s Prayer” card. They prayed over the boxes and delivered them to the station on February 13th so that the officers coming in at midnight in the wee hours of Valentine’s Day would receive a box at the beginning of their shift.

On Valentine’s Day at 11:30AM, this “unofficial” response came via the Severn Run website:

“I wanted to take a second to thank you all for the Valentine’s Day gifts you brought to us at the Western District. I can’t explain just how much these acts of community service mean to myself and my colleagues, and how appreciative we are when our community reaches out to thank us.

This message is not being sent to you as representative of the police department, but as a fellow citizen and community member who is extremely moved by the gesture your church has made to us as law enforcement officers. I want you all to know that I am thankful to be able to serve you, and that coming in today to the box on my desk helps me to maintain the perspective that despite the troubled times we find ourselves currently facing in our profession, we have the support of our community. Thank you all.”

Signed “Thankful Detective”

Hearts and Minds are continuing to grow their relationship and ministry with the West County department. They performed lawnmower tune-ups for the officers, and recently teamed up with the Moms of Severn Run Group to host a Police Appreciation Breakfast in the Severn Run Atrium.

The Mom's and Hearts and Minds Connect Groups serve breakfast for police. The Mom's and Hearts and Minds Connect Groups serve breakfast for police. The Mom's and Hearts and Minds Connect Groups serve breakfast for police.

“You can really form relationships over a heaping pile of bacon!” Bob mused. “The officers got to see that we are not the ‘caricature of religion’ that Andy Stanley talked about in Go Fish and truly had a good time just getting to know us.”

A Severn Runner gets to try out a police cruiser.The morning was lively and fun as officers let the kids attending the breakfast sit in their cruisers and blast the siren, and warm conversations abounded.

Next, Bob and the Hearts and Minds Group are planning to host a car wash and cook-out for the officers in the coming months.

“Our goal is to never let them forget that there are so many out there who respect them, admire them, and appreciate the sacrifice that they (and their families) make to keep us safe. AND to pray for them daily.”

You too can make and impact like Hearts and Minds! Find a Connect Group that is actively serving in the community or join a ministry that reaches beyond the walls of Severn Run--until Heaven is Full!

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