My husband is retiring from the military after 32 years of active duty service. This is a big step for both of us. He hasn’t had to apply for a job since he was in high school. And since we’ve been married, he has always known what he was going to do and when he would get promotions...
Showing items for 'Alane Pearce'
As the new year approaches, it’s customary to reflect on your life and look to the future, setting goals about how you want to live the next year. I don’t know about you, but each year setting goals only gets me so far. I have great ideas about what I want to accomplish, but in...
I love the idea that church being more than sitting in a service on Sunday and I love that we are being challenged to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our community so that people can hear and see the message of Jesus’ love. But sometimes the thought of trying to help people in need can...
You might think that worship time on Sunday is all that God requires for our worship of Him. And most of us can’t imagine ourselves playing music or singing songs to God in our homes or at our job, so we just save worship for for church on Sundays because that’s where we know how to...
When we lived in Colorado we would hike often. I thought it was important to teach my then five year-old son about nature, hiking, and being outdoors in general. While I was teaching him about nature, he taught me about worship. Almost every time we started out on a trail, he would open his...
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...
In October I ended up serving at Winter Relief, although it was not quite my plan for the night. I came for the youth Bible study, but it was cancelled because the church was hosting the Winter Relief guests. I decided to go up to where Winter Relief was happening and I met a man with a...
To live as followers of Jesus, we must not ignore the example Jesus set. Jesus didn’t talk about religion in buildings. He didn’t spend his time in Torah studies discussing the merits of this teacher or that. Those things have their place…but more often than not during his...
Stephen Hord is taking life as a Severn Runner “On The Road” literally. Through the heat, through the pain, through the training, and by running races, he strives to raise a donation of $5000 to Severn Run’s On The Road campaign. This is his story. About two years ago, Stephen...
Greater love has no one than this:to lay down one's life for one's friends. (John 15:13) The greatest love is to lay down your life for your friends. Certainly we aren't called to die for our friends...are we? Well, yes. We are.If we mean to show the love of Jesus to the...
My husband is retiring from the military after 32 years of active duty service. This is a big step for both of us. He hasn’t had to apply for a job since he was in high school. And since we’ve been married, he has always known what he was going to do and when he would get promotions. We haven’t really had to worry about our future. Until now.
As for me, I’m a “recovering” control freak, which is a weird trait for a military spouse. But when things get stressful or uncertain, I default to, “If I can control all the things about this, then everything will be okay.” So, in this journey of my husband transitioning out of the military and into his next position as he continues his career, I have been trying to control freak it. Every day I was trying to gain control of the unknown by asking him if he took this step, or called that person. And I could tell I was stressing him out.
I finally decided that I needed to talk with God about it. I remember the day well. “Lord,” I said, “he is just not doing the things he said he wanted to do. He is stressed out and this is new territory for us. But God…what if he doesn’t get a job after he retires?”
Immediately I felt the Spirit say, “Do you think I can’t take care of you?”
I don’t always get immediate answers from God when I pray. Sometimes I don’t get answers at all. But I have found that when I am earnestly seeking him, or if my thinking needs to be straightened out, sometimes I will feel an answer from him like I did that day.
When I felt that answer, I took a sharp breath in. Yes! I thought. That’s right! God will take care of us now, just like he has taken care of us for all these years.
At that moment, my worry and angst disappeared. I no longer had to ask every day if my husband was taking care of things. Instead, I prayed each day, lifting my husband up in prayer. And instead of pointing out what my husband was or was not doing, I was able to talk about what God was teaching me; that he is still in control and has a good plan for us. We started agreeing that we just needed to look for what God was doing and follow his lead.
We still don’t know what my husband will be doing after his retirement. But we do know that God has been showing us some potential paths. We know that he has a specific plan for us. And we know that God will reveal that plan to us as we follow his lead, pray, and stay in relationship with him.
Now I am constantly reminded to live the truth of Isaiah 30:21, Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” I don’t have to know the path forward because I’m listening to the one who is showing me where to walk. He knows the way forward, and I trust him to show me.
As the new year approaches, it’s customary to reflect on your life and look to the future, setting goals about how you want to live the next year. I don’t know about you, but each year setting goals only gets me so far. I have great ideas about what I want to accomplish, but in application, I fall way short. I eventually give up, and then I’m right back where I started with very little to show for it.
I’m tired of empty wishes and goals that obviously don’t really matter to me. I’m tired of living a passive life, waiting for something to happen or scared of what might or might not happen. I’m ready to do meaningful things that make a difference not only for me, but for the Kingdom.
Solomon in the book of Proverbs writes, “A person plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9) I would rather have the Lord direct my steps than meet any goal that I set without him.
John, while he is writing about love in the book of 1 John notes, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:9)
Do you see the end of that sentence, “…that we might LIVE through him.” I’m betting when we let ourselves live through Jesus that we will really understand what living is.
In reading further in 1 John 4, he tells us what truly living is; “ Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4:11-12)
It seems to me that the secret to living through Jesus is love. Loving God, loving yourself, and loving your neighbor. (Matthew 22:37-40)
So this year as you set goals or resolutions or make plans for the coming year, instead of making empty promises to yourself and others, let the Lord direct your steps. Let yourself live through him by loving.
Make the coming year more meaningful by setting your goals around love.
- Show love to God by spending time daily with him in prayer and reading the Bible. Listen to what he wants you to do, and fulfill the purpose he has given you. Meet together with other Jesus followers in small groups and at church on Sundays. Make what God wants also what you want.
- Show love to yourself by eating well, stretching and exercising, and speaking kindly to yourself.
- Show love to others by helping anyone you see has a need. Trust that God will put people in your path daily who need to know his love and are looking to you to show it. Love others in big and small ways…your family, your neighbors, the people you work with, they all need an encouraging word, help with a problem, or a loving gesture that shows there is still some love in this world. Be love to the world.
When you put living through Jesus in love first in your life, you will truly understand that God lives in you and his love is made complete in you (1 John 4:12). This is surely a good way to live in the coming year.
It’s definitely the way I want to live.
I love the idea that church being more than sitting in a service on Sunday and I love that we are being challenged to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our community so that people can hear and see the message of Jesus’ love.
But sometimes the thought of trying to help people in need can be overwhelming. There are so many needs…so many ways to get involved…so many ministries that I could help with. And sometimes I admit that I even wonder how my actions could even mean anything in the big scheme of things.
But here’s what I’ve learned: We don’t have to do ALL THE THINGS! But we DO need to do exactly what God is leading us to through the pull and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
I was in Curtis Bay doing some volunteer work and I thought maybe I would stop at the store to grab some groceries on my way home. As I was coming over the hill into Severna Park I felt a nudge. It was a little whisper that urged me to watch for someone. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I knew it was from the Holy Spirit, so I decided to just slow down and look around as I ran my errand.
As I was walking into the store, I saw a man sitting on the curb. I smiled at him. He smiled back.
“How are you today?” I asked as I passed him.
“Good,” he said. “Just trying to make some money for bus fare.”
Just then I remembered that earlier I put $10 in my pocket to pay for lunch. Turns out, lunch was taken care of, so I still had $10 in my pocket. I pulled out the money and handed it to him. “Oh, then this is for you!” I said.
As I handed him the money, his eyes widened and he smiled. Just then, someone with a cart came by (this man was returning the carts that people gave him so he could keep the quarters that you insert to get the cart at this particular store). The moment seemed to pass as a gentleman handed this man his cart, so I walked inside to do my shopping.
When I finished my shopping, I headed out to the parking lot. The man I spoke to earlier was there watching the door. He approached me as I left the building and I smiled.
“You didn’t have to do that,” he said. “But thank you. Thank you very much.”
“Well,” I replied, “on the way here today I felt God tell me to help someone, and I think he meant you.”
The man told me his story. He had been living with his mother, but she died a few months back and since the subsidized apartment was hers, he lost his home. He told me how hard he has worked to try to get on a list for housing but he was having a hard time trying to make ends meet. I gave him information on The Transformation Center (a partner ministry of our church) and asked if I could pray with him. When we finished praying, he had tears in his eyes.
“You blessed me today,” he said.
“And you blessed me,” I replied.
I am convinced that God has a plan for each of us. It’s not necessarily a plan to do all the things…but God does have a plan to use you—at the right moment, at the right time—to help one of his beloved children in a real and meaningful way. We need to prepare ourselves to hear his voice, and respond to the Holy Spirit.
You might think that worship time on Sunday is all that God requires for our worship of Him. And most of us can’t imagine ourselves playing music or singing songs to God in our homes or at our job, so we just save worship for for church on Sundays because that’s where we know how to do it.
But worship isn’t just for church. Worship is personal. It is our personal response to God’s involvement in our lives. If God is involved in our lives on other days besides Sundays, shouldn’t we worship Him on other days as well?
If you don’t know how to make worship personal, you can learn how to worship God when you’re not in church by learning from what happens before and during a church worship service. The worship leaders shared what they do to prepare for worship on Sundays. And since that is where we start our week in worship, we can learn from them and then apply the principles to develop our own worship during the week.
We asked the worship leaders, “How do you prepare for worship?”
Every week the worship team leaders meet to listen to what God is laying on Pastor Drew’s heart for the church. There is much prayer involved as they God’s direction. The team then searches for appropriate worship songs that support what God is speaking and they practice and plan for the Sunday service. Another important aspect of their preparation is in developing their own relationships with God through prayer and Bible study. They all know that they would not be able to lead worship if they didn’t have an active relationship with Jesus.
So, how will YOU prepare for worship?
As with the worship team, your preparation for worship comes from an active, daily relationship with Jesus. It comes from spending time in the Word, and in conversation with God in prayer.
- Seek God’s direction for how you can practice personal worship.
- Pray, read the Bible, and practice a daily relationship with Jesus.
- Think about ways you can respond to and support what God is speaking to you.
We asked the worship leaders, “What does worship mean to you?”
Patrice Lyle said, “Worship is to give honor or reverence to something. If you have chosen to give your life to God, you owe God your worship. I can help model worship as a leader, but each person must worship God for themselves. Not as a spectator, but as an active participant. How we express our worship to God may vary, but that we worship is a responsibility we can’t ignore, nor pass off to someone else to do for us. When we respond to God revealing himself to us…we show others the goodness of God. This is worship—pouring out our lives to God in a way that attracts others to Him, and having the freedom to express our love for God in how we live for Him.
Hannah Martin said, “When I read scripture I see over and over again how spiritual victory comes after a time of worship. Paul and Silas were beaten and in prison, and it says in Acts 16 that they began to pray and sing songs of praise to God and suddenly the foundations of the prison were shaken and their chains were loosened and fell off, the prison doors swung open. Paul and Silas weren't asking for a rescue, they were worshipping...and God showed up and shook the foundations. They were freed because of their worship. Worship is my love letter to my Creator. Worship is so much more than playing and singing songs about God. It is our response to all that God has done for us.”
So what does worship mean to YOU?
Worship is a choice; a choice to give honor and reverence to God above all other things. It is something we each have to do for ourselves; we can’t rely on others to worship for us. Our worship can free us from our chains. It is our love letter to the Creator and a response to God’s love for us.
- What are you choosing to worship? Are you choosing to honor God above all other things?
- Don’t rely on other’s to worship for you; your worship is your response to God’s love for you.
- Worship comes in many forms, not just singing in church. It is showing God’s love, it is praising Him in your prison, and it is a response to His love and provision.
- How will you respond to God’s love for you today? This is the beginning of personal worship.
We asked the worship leaders, “How do you hope people would respond to worship?”
Hannah Martin said, “I hope that people would experience the presence of God, that they would begin to fully comprehend how much they are known and loved by God and that worship would be an expression of that revelation. That they would be able to freely embrace the Father’s love for them and respond to it because no one walked away from experiencing the presence of God and stayed the same. His presence changes people.”
Patrice Lyle said, “My hope is that every person who enters Severn Run for a worship service will experience the manifest presence of God in a way that encourages them to choose to respond with their lives as an offering to God. When we respond to God revealing Himself to us, we become the embodiment of 1 Peter 2:9, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, we are given the charge to show others the goodness of God. This is worship.”
So how do YOU respond to worship?
Do you experience the presence of God? Can you comprehend how much He loves you? Your worship is an expression of that revelation!
- Freely embrace God’s love for you and respond to it in a way that feels right to you…by singing, or creating, or speaking, or praising…by sharing or by helping others feel His love. This is a response of worship.
- Experience the presence of God and let that affect you! Are you happy about it? Scared of it? Amazed in it? Experience that, and respond to God in worship.
- Let God change you! Let His love mean something to you, and let it set you free. Respond to the change God has made in you—that is worship.
- Respond to God in worship with your life. Get involved, get connected, learn, grow, pray, serve. These are worship responses.
God loves you. He knows who you are and what you are going through. Let that sink in. Let it mean something to you. Then respond to God’s love for you with love back to him. Worship him in word, in deed, in spirit and in truth. Let your life be an offering to Him, a daily worship of His goodness and love.
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. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)
When we lived in Colorado we would hike often. I thought it was important to teach my then five year-old son about nature, hiking, and being outdoors in general. While I was teaching him about nature, he taught me about worship.
Almost every time we started out on a trail, he would open his arms wide and exclaim, “I just love seeing all of God’s glory!”
Isn't that the essence of worship; seeing God in something and declaring it?
Where do you see God in your life?
Sometimes to see God, you need to look for Him. It’s about intentionally seeking Him, and expecting to find Him. In Jeremiah 20:13 God promised, “You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.” (ISV)
If you look, you can see God in all things.
You can see God in the smile of a tiny baby. You can see Him in the love of your family. You can seek God in your job and you will find Him in the blessings you receive. In the paycheck you take home. In the people you help, and in those who help you. You can seek God and find Him in the beauty of spring, in the sunrise and sunset, in the way the daffodil blooms in the spring, and in the way the leaves turn auburn in the fall.
When you seek Him in your surroundings, you will find Him.
When you seek Him in the ordinary, you will find Him.
When you seek Him in your every day experiences, you will find Him, right there with you.
When you seek Him…you WILL find Him.
He will not just be there in the good times, where it’s easier to see Him. He will also be there in the trials. When you are lost in the dark, distracted by your grief, or laying sick in bed. God does not leave us, nor will He forsake us. He says, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” (Isaiah 41:13 NIV)
It is God who gives us comfort in our trouble. Who gives us a way out of our temptations. It is God who provides peace in the storm, strength for the fight, and courage for the battle. He isn’t just a God for the good times. He is a God for all times…even in your trials…in your darkness…in your distress.
This is why Paul said to focus on whatever is true, and noble, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable, and on that which is excellent or praiseworthy, in his letter to the Philippians (Philippians 4:8).
Because when you seek the good you’ll be able to see the fingerprints of God in all things.
Seeing God in your life is the first step, but that is not the whole of worship. Worship is also about declaring God’s glory.
When you seek Him, you will find Him! When you find Him, declare His goodness!
Declaring God’s goodness in your life is your personal worship.
It is a way you can daily declare the glory of God for yourself and as a witness to others.
It is a way you worship God when you are not at a church worship service.
So when you see God’s glory, say it out loud!
“Thank You for the raise!”
“Thank You for your provision.”
“Thank You for my family.”
“Thank You for showing yourself to me through this!”
“You give me peace in my trial.”
“You are my provider, my hope and my joy!”
Or, as my son declared on the trails in the Colorado mountains, “I love to see Your glory, God!”
This is the heart of worship.
Did you feel His love today? Declare it!
Can you see His hand protecting you? Say it!
Are you trusting Him to get you through a trial? Put a voice to it!
Do you have peace in an impossible situation? Shout it out!
Look for God and you will see Him.
Then when you see Him, declare His goodness.
This is worship.