I walked to the table and there he was. Amanuel Habtamu. Not smiling exactly, but looking expectant. Or maybe that’s just how I perceived his expression. I felt he looked expectant of me, of anybody, to follow the leading of their heart. His face seemed to say, “I am...
It’s easy to think that some people are “immune” to sin, or at least more resistant to it, based on outward appearances. Some people just seem to have it all together, and it feels like they couldn’t ever do anything wrong. The truth is that this is as far from the truth...
I guess I first should say that before I was ever a part of a small group I used to think that these groups were for “weird” or “religious” people. Even being an outgoing person by nature, I didn’t think it would be something I was comfortable participating...
As she walked around the corner at the train station, a man who appeared to be homeless, made eye contact and began moving toward her. He seemed to be inebriated. As he mumbled to her she heard, “I wan’t to be delivered from my addition today.” Walking to him, she placed her...
At the tender age of 10 Pam walked into a VBS all on her own and heard the very first and only Bible verse in her life, John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever should believe in him would not perish, but have everlasting life.” She...
Every day I open up my favorite phone app. This app allows me to stay in touch with friends, family, and distant memories. Facebook is a friend to everyone. It is the first thing many do in the morning, keeping up with trends, reading the news, and sharing life's main events. There is one thing...
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...
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...
"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...
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...
God’s people had been through a lot over their early years; they finally left Egypt very wealthy, and were on their way to the Promised Land but they were not grateful. They grumbled about the miraculous manna from heaven, they criticized their leadership, they were led by God himself in the form of fire and cloud. Yet they asked to have a golden calf built so they could bow down to it. There definitely seemed to be an absence of joy during those times. Fast forward to present times and there seems to be an absence of joy in the present day as well, at least among believers and it should not be so.
Joy is a Person and a Path
When Jesus appeared as the Savior, he brought joy in the form of his person, and a path of eternal life to be reunited with God. In Matthew 3:17, we read: And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” Jesus brings God great joy. We, as Jesus’ disciples also bring the Father great joy when we follow his commandments and share his love with others.
I’ve been meditating on a line from Nehemiah 8:10 recently. It says: ...Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” Whenever I feel down, things not going my way, anything that could go wrong seems to go wrong, I remind myself that I am weak on my own, but in God, I am strong. No need to be a grumpy, sad, overcast believer. Turn that frown upside down and rejoice because God has already won whatever battle, or condition, or circumstance for us.
Rejoice in Everything
When I read through the scripture there is so much emphasis on joy and rejoicing, it is clear that God wanted us to be happy in everything. The shepherds saw the star signaling the birth of Jesus, they were filled with joy (Matthew 2:10). A sinner repents and returns to God, heaven rejoices (Luke 15:7). If you experience any kind of trouble, count it all joy (James 1:2-8). If you are having a good day, be joyful, a bad day, be joyful. If you are having a meal together, be joyful (Acts 2:46). In this way we can show a broken world that we have something that they need.
Have you ever noticed when you go to a store that a salesperson most always will approach you with a smile and try to be very helpful? If you had to choose between a person with a smile and a person with a grumpy look on their face, whom would you want to be your salesperson? In the same way a broken world needs a joyful messenger to share a message of love.
If we live as believers and love Jesus, we have to live joyfully. We should perform a course correction in our lives if that is not already our norm. I’ve personally been working hard on myself in that respect. I’ve recently been through a nerve-wracking trial and I just stopped worrying about it and saying to myself, God’s got it. I cast my cares on him and I felt better immediately. I’ve been putting his word first, acknowledging him (Proverbs 3:6) and everything is working out for good.
I recently added a sticky note reminder to my work computer with the following items of encouragement:
- LG – let it go, and Let God,
- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and
- The joy of the Lord is my strength.
These sayings serve as daily reminders that I am loved and I need to reflect the love of God to others every day, no matter what.
As we fast approach Christmas Day, let us choose to follow the path of joy. Let us continually seek the joyful fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22) every minute of every day of our lives.
Every day we remain on earth is another opportunity to demonstrate God’s love to someone. I like to pray that God be reflected through me, especially his joy.
If joy makes us strong, then sorrow probably weakens us. There are times when we may feel we have no choice but to be sad, but we have a comforter in Christ who knows and who is there for us. Let us choose joy no matter the issue (1 Thessalonians 5:16).
We have a short time on earth and an eternity in heaven, let us act in a way that the Father will say that this is my child in whom I am pleased.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7)
We tend to admire people who are courageous. It could be firemen, policemen, or warriors. Courage often forms the backbone for movies and novels. We naturally root for heroic figures such as those in the Die Hard series or Frodo and his fellow travelers in Lord of the Rings.
Biblical heroes include David (who slew Goliath) and Daniel in the Lion’s den. They stood tall in the face of imminent death, trusting in the God who would save them.
God told Joshua, “Be strong and very courageous” (Joshua 1:7) and Joshua boldly went forward to conquer Israel’s foes.
The apostles and early church – with boldness and courage – proclaimed the gospel in often hostile environments and at risk to their very lives.
As Paul wrote, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). That same Spirit resides in us. Will we be strong and courageous like Joshua, David and Daniel? Will we exhibit the boldness and courage of the early church? Will we trust in God?
Jesus encourages us, “But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Let us all be overcomers with Christ. It is what we have been called and equipped to do.
Take heart! Jesus has already overcome the world!
Week after week, year after year, people come and go here at the Church at Severn Run. Every Sunday more than a thousand people come to visit us, and we absolutely love it, but as we all know, people bring with them a certain measure of messiness, and that messiness needs someone to clean up after it. Have you ever thought about who cleans up after your mess when you spill coffee in the sanctuary, or when your child draws beautiful booger art all over the kids’ room walls? Well, here at Severn Run we have a team of dedicated people who aren’t afraid of grime or germs. Week after week they make sure that we have a clean environment so that you don’t have to worry about where you sit, and that your kids have a clean slate each week, so their creative juices can flow…
Sean DeLair is Severn Run’s Facilities Leader, and we got some information from him about the ministry and what he does, along with some of the teams that you could serve on.
I manage and implement all church projects, make repairs, and perform preventive maintenance on all facility equipment. I also lead the Campus Care Teams. These teams keeps the building and grounds free from any distractions that may hinder the ability to worship and/or connect with the Lord. They also ensure that all areas are clean and disinfected to maintain a healthy place to worship. We also have Blake Kramer who fills a custodial position. He is co-lead for the care teams, focusing mainly on the Sunday Prep and Ready teams.
Here are the Campus Care Teams where volunteers can serve:
- Sunday Prep Team - This team meets every Saturday to touch all areas throughout the church building so it’s ready for Sunday. Preferably we have 4-6 team members.
- Environmental Team - This team serves 15-20 mins on Sundays during the 3 services doing lite campus clean-up inside. We’d like to have 3-6 members each Sunday.
- Grounds Team – This team will kick off in the spring, and will maintain grounds from mowing, weeding, mulching, and grounds care. We’re still determining how many team members we’ll need on a weekly basis.
- Maintenance and Repair Team - This team meets at different times to perform maintenance on various building equipment, and/or to perform minor repair or construction projects. The number of members depends on the project size, so it can vary between 2 to 20 members.
- Ready Team – This team is on call to help with setup and teardown for church wide events, as well as weekly meetings and services. We have 2-3 members on call during various timeframes.
The Care Teams are all critical resources for The Church at Severn Run and its staff, members, guests, community and beyond. They ensure that everything is clean and working properly, and they also play a big part in reducing the church’s operating costs so that church funds can be used more for outreach and support.
If you’re good with your hands, or not afraid of a few germs (or probably both), then we’d love to put you to work helping out around the Severn Run campus. The more people we have, the less time it takes to do the cleaning, and the safer and cleaner it is for our guests each week. If you’re still stuck on the word ‘germs’, don’t worry – we have plenty of gloves to keep your paws clean. We certainly don’t expect you to work around booger sculptures without latex armor and germ-vanquishing gear.
So, who’s ready to suit up? Let us know you’re interested by heading over to severnrunner.info, and checking the box that you want to keep the campus looking spotless, and/or do repair work.
I am often surprised and challenged by what I find when reading scripture. God can be subtle in how he reveals himself to us through his word. It is my nature to start asking questions.
“What does the speaker think I need to hear?”
“Does this make sense to me?”
“Is what I'm reading consistent with my beliefs and how I understand other parts of the bible?”
“How do I change my heart and mind so that it is?”
I have also wondered,
“Is it okay for me to feel the need to ask so many questions?”
“Why don't I just get it?”
It is okay! Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus,
...I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. - Ephesians 3:17-19
God's love is so deep and covers so much that we can not expect to ever fully comprehend it. Don't be discouraged when you have questions and things aren't as clear as you would like for them to be. God made us curious so that we would seek him, and when we seek him he promises that we will find him.
(This post originally appeared on the Collide blog for Severn Run Youth)
A traditional holiday of parades, dog shows, and getting the family together to lie around and stuff your gut. There are people who don’t like Christmas or New Year’s, but Thanksgiving is just one of the day’s that’s loved all around. Why wouldn’t it be? It’s a holiday solely focused on being thankful for what we’re given and what we’ve gotten.
But here are some good questions to ask as Christians: Where does Christianity come into play? Can Christianity have a role in Thanksgiving if the holiday came around after the Bible was written? What does the Bible say about thanks?
Psalm 107:1 says: “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” Not only does this psalm tell us to thank God, but it gives us a reason too! We should thank God because of His goodness to us. I can think of many ways that shows God’s goodness to me, past, present, and future. I was born on American soil and into a loving family. I have good, Christian friends that stick by my side, and I have the hope and promise of heaven. And that’s just naming a few! Ask yourself: “What might I be taking for granted that God has blessed me with?”
We should give Him thanks because His love never ends. It hurts when it seems like the people around us, no matter the reason, have stopped loving us. But God never will. We have the promise that God will never abandon us, holding us in a love that’s eternal. Even when we sin, He will still love us no matter what.
Psalm 107:8-9 adds: “Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” The psalm is telling us we should thank God, not just for His love, but for all that He gives us. Notice how at the end of the verses, it says that God “fills the hungry with good things”. God doesn’t just give us the things that keep us going, but things that satisfy us. We need air to breathe, but he didn’t have to make the trees that supply our oxygen so beautiful. We need food to nourish us, but God didn’t have to make it taste so good. Even when we feel lonely, God will reveal his presence to us. He doesn’t have to, but He wants to! These all sounds like reasons to be thankful to me!
Ephesians 1:15-16 says: “For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.” In these verses, the apostle Paul is thanking God for fellow Christians. You can be thankful for pastors/leaders at church for guiding you, Christian friends for supporting and loving you, Christian parents for raising you in God’s Word, or the one/ones who have helped you on the path of salvation and strengthened your faith. I thank God for a spiritual leader I knew named Jeff Nevin for teaching me more about God and leading a Bible study through the book of James that changed my way of thinking. And I thank God for a friend of mine named Kaitlyn Sharo who’s not just someone I enjoy talking to, but someone who will listen to me, calm me down when I’m going nuts, and is a godly influence for me.
Some of you may not be able to relate. You may have a really messed up family life, you might not have godly parents or supportive friends, and because of these things you might dread the holiday seasons. I get it. It’s easy enough to thank God for our phones, food, our talents, loved ones, good grades, or when life is dandy, but what about when life gives you a bag of lemons and smacks you in the face with it?
We tend to forget all about our blessings when we’re wronged, when we get caught up in our bad circumstances, when we lose something or someone, or when we just feel down.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Give thanks in ALL circumstances? Yep, ALL of them. Why does God want us to give thanks in the midst of hardship? I’ll tell you the answer flat out: God knows what is best for us, so by giving thanks, we get off of our sad selves and onto His goodness. In that way, it serves to guard against depression and loneliness. When we give thanks to God, our focus is turned away from the bad things and onto the good things in life. This increases our hope and faith in the Lord.
If you want to make giving thanks your habit then be purposeful about it. Make this Thanksgiving Day a turning point in your life. Here are some ideas for how to do it:
- Count your blessings every morning when you wake up or each night before you close your eyes. Count them physically on your fingers. You may even need to use your toes! See how many you can come up with.
- Write out your blessings in a journal every day after or before you do your homework, or chores, or dinnertime, or right before bed. Set a regular schedule to do this and stick to it.
- Purposely tell a loved one or special friend that you thank God for them and tell them why. Make it a point to do this regularly and it may just become a habit!
- Practice telling God “thank you” in the moment.
- when He gives you a good idea
- when your little brother says or does something funny or weird
- when you just tripped but you didn’t fall
- when you fell but no one saw it!
- when that difficult person does or says something that you believe will help you to grow in patience and love
- when that teacher or coach is challenging you to be better
- when you see something (or someone)beautiful
- Thank God out loud! Set aside a special time of praise once a week. Not to ask for anything, but just to express thanks to Him for everything you’re grateful for from the past week, big or small.
Naomi’s Nugget: When something happens that is disappointing, STOP! Thank God for all of things in your life that are going well or for His promise to never leave you nor forsake you.