“All the believers were ONE in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything the had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 4:32-35)
“Generous God, Your Spirit dwelling among Your people, working Your salvation deep into our daily lives, is a thing of beauty—powerful grace, freely flowing forgiveness, lavish giving. Continue to make us full players in Christ’s redemption story through the Holy Spirit. Amen.” (Westminster Shorter Catechism 29)
Blessings Pastor Robert
My oldest just turned 13. I can hardly STAND it! A teenager *gasp*!! I remember turning 13 like it was yesterday. I was painfully shy and tall. I wanted more than anything to hide from everyone and fade into the background. But as I navigated those awkward years, I learned to stand tall. I see […]
“Which disciple do you think you are most like?” This was the question I recall that started a conversation not long ago from my pastor. Honestly, I returned the question to him knowing he’d say Peter. I am a bit impulsive and can be more than just a little direct.
Being the first-born, most first-born children will agree, you find yourself in a leadership role at a very early age. In this position you necessarily feel those burdens of setting the example and the need at times to choose a course and stay with it, believing it will work out and that you have the unction to get it done and see it through.
Then, by God’s amazing grace you discover that you need redemption, salvation, a savior who you can trust and lean on. In accepting Christ there is relief and hope. Now, all of that energy you had as the first-born becomes focused on intentionally living out this new life. So you are still the example for younger siblings except, now you are not focused on setting an example for them. Now you are focused on Jesus and in that focus, brazen statements are made. Commitments are made that without the Holy Spirit’s power can never be kept.
Over the course of my life, I have found myself joining Paul in being content in all situations. “I know how to live in poverty or prosperity. No matter that the situation, I’ve learned the secret of how to live when I’m full or when hungry, when I have too much or when I have too little. I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:12-13 (God’s Word) We have had plenty in our life and we have had very little and eaten what we could. Sometimes, having less has been the greater blessing.
The greater struggle is in learning to be content in my spiritual walk. Knowing that regardless of what I feel, faith is not about what we feel, Christ is with me in the trenches through His Holy Spirit. When I am seeking Him with all I have and He “seems” very far away, He is closer still than my own breath. Lord help me to know Your presence at all times and in all things—to be content in Your blessed presence when known and when unknown without any doubts!
I recently read a devotional and agree with the author that, God sets a grand tapestry before us for our pleasure to view. He also sets before us a field of harvest that needs workers. I pray in both that He will fit me for His use and that I will always be found faithful to be available and submissive to His call and will.
Blessings and Peace Always,
The majority of US citizens call themselves Christians and yet the importance of church outreach within the local community cannot be overstated. The disciples were not labeled Christian until they had been scattered due to Stephen’s death and the Good News was being shared in Antioch. (Acts 11:19-26) Whether they were called disciples or Christians it was the same to them because of their relationship with Jesus. Even though Jesus had ascended, He was still an active part of their lives. This has been lost somehow in our culture today and we need to refocus on the local community because outreach will enable us to give, guide, and grow.
By giving ourselves in service to our communities through different charitable needs, we will live out Jesus’ command to love our neighbors as ourselves. We will be able to learn about material needs and then be able to assist in meeting those needs. Many organizations working to meet local needs do not have the resources to have a permanent meeting place and making our church facilities available will aid in meeting the need for a safe and secure location for their meetings. We are able to give to our communities by reaching out in service, helping with needed material items, and through the use of our facilities.
Through active outreach we are able to help guide our communities. By living out our relationship with Christ, we will point the lost to Jesus. Sacrifice our time to stop and help regardless of our busy schedules will show that people are more important than things. Mentoring programs for children and youth are in great need and as Christians we should be involved to allow Jesus to work through us as a positive influence in their lives. Through living out our relationship with Christ, we will be able to guide our communities back to Jesus through sacrifice and mentoring.
Growth of God’s kingdom will become a result of our newly formed relationships. The knowledge we gain will help us to better understand the needs and challenges of our communities at large. Christ’s church, His body of believers, will grow stronger and shine brighter to become the beacon on a hill. Stronger relationships in the community and increased knowledge of needs and the positive impact on Christ’s church will all grow as a result.
Allowing Jesus to live actively in our lives in an ongoing relationship is crucial. Because church outreach will give, guide, and grow in the local community; the level of importance will be realized.
*This work was originally submitted for an assignment in English Composition. It is posted here for your consideration and response.*
Blessings and Peace Always,
Children of Light. The beauty of our children and how our Father fills them in ways that we seem to miss. It really is a beautiful sight to behold, watching our children being who God created us all to be….filled with joy and wonder. In the linked blog entry by Julie Harris, we again get to see how as adults we can and all too often go through this life in stoic fashion. Missing the moments of mystery and wonder. The opportunity to live in a carefree fashion even though we have responsibilities.
In Matthew 18, Jesus makes the point very clear; “Jesus called a little child to his side and set him on his feet in the middle of them all. “Believe me,” he said, “unless you change your whole outlook and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven. It is the man who can be as humble as this little child who is greatest in the kingdom of Heaven.” ~J.B. Phillips New Testament (Phillips) We have no choice if we want to see Heaven.
We are driven by the need to perform, to accomplish, to be more…. more than what exactly? What more could or should we desire than to be in a relationship with our Creator God through HIS plan of redemption – Jesus Christ? HE has planned more for us than we know and His way involves our becoming just like our children.
Our children are dependent on us for everything and yet in their dependance, they are completely free to just be who they’ve been created by our Father to be, children loving life! Struggling to learn and grow, experiencing highs and lows. All the while, they know we are there to help, nurture and guide. They ARE the picture of what HE calls us to be in this life as we journey to the next.
At our best, we are but a shadow image of HIM in displaying love and providing for our children. Yet we push through and do all we can for our children for HE has planted HIS glorious seed within us to take up this charge. Knowing this and seeing how important it is that we allow and encourage our children to enjoy life to the fullest, is it any wonder that Jesus calls us to return to this humble state?
I humbly submit, if we will become as children once again, HE will show us wonders beyond compare. HE will show us a life we have yet to know or experience. HE will return the sparkle to our eyes that will bare witness to all of HIS glory. I believe HE wants more in this life for us than being driven to excel in a life that is so very fleeting.
Let’s become like children again, filled with wonder and hope. Excited by what the day will hold and eager to stop and join in the playfulness of our children’s lives!
Blessings and Peace to you always,