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One and Not Done: Hurry Up and Wait - Monday

Posted on Mon, Nov 24, 2014

Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
 
I’ll be honest. Waiting stinks.  
 
Really, who among us enjoys a good long line or delay in gratification, or a large margin of time between the question mark and the answer?  I have never met anyone who enjoys waiting for anything.
 
It’s bad enough to have to wait in a long line at Walmart, but what really stinks is when we are trying to honor God with our lives and we have to wait for Him to act or simply to answer.  Have you been there before?  Of course you have. We all have.
 
There’s this guy in the Bible named Joseph who knew all about the pain of waiting (Read his entire story sometime starting in Genesis 37). Long story short, Joseph is wrongly accused, winds up in prison (Chapters 39-40), yet continues to honor God.  Joseph helps one of Pharaoh’s officials and asks the official to remember him when he speaks with Pharaoh.  Things went well for the official, he gets restored to his position, but… he forgets Joseph. Chapter 41 starts with the words, “Two full years later...”  Joseph honors God, but then has to wait two long years before the official remembers to pass his name along to Pharaoh!  Joseph’s entire life story reads like one big, long line of waiting.
 
But here’s the deal. Joseph never stopped trusting God in his waiting.  
 
Just because we have to wait does not mean we are done.  I’m sure Joseph felt like he was done a number of times.  But God was never done with Joseph.  In the midst of our waiting, we must keep trusting and honoring God with our lives.  As hard and as painful as the waiting is, remember the faithfulness of Joseph, trust God’s character as well as God’s ultimate plan and allow Him to lead you to prosperity in His time, in His way.
  • Read Genesis 39:21.  In the worst of situations, God showed faithfulness to Joseph in small ways.  In the midst of your waiting, look back over time and make a list of the small things God has done to remind you of His faithfulness.  Read through this list whenever the waiting gets difficult.

Chris Hahn
Lead Executive Pastor

One and Not Done: You Talkin’ to Me? - Friday

Posted on Fri, Nov 21, 2014

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.
 
Have you ever felt unworthy or unprepared to live the Christian life? Maybe you didn’t go to Bible college, you grew up in an unbelieving family or you came to Christ later in life. Or maybe, on paper, you were given all the right opportunities, but even so, you still don’t feel like you have what it takes to really follow Jesus.
 
If you struggle with any of these feelings, let me first say that I can relate to you. I think most of us have felt, at some point, like we’re not “enough.”  And that’s exactly what the enemy wants us to believe.
 
But as we wrap up this week together, I’d like us to do so by taking a look at a few truths that boldly confront these lies.
 
First, let’s look at Psalm 32:8. It says this: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”
 
You know what’s awesome about this truth? Once again, we’re reminded that it’s not all up to us. In fact, little of it truly is. We seek Him. But He promises to instruct, teach and counsel us along the way. He’s a Father who provides for His children. He’s given us His Word, and He wants to teach us. All of us. Not the select or the chosen few. He wants to teach and counsel all of His children, so that we may walk freely and securely in the fullness of His love.
 
How does He do this? Let’s take a look at John 14:26 to find out: “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
 
His Spirit is in those of us who call Jesus our Savior. God no longer leads His people from the “outside.” When Jesus returned to Heaven, the very Spirit of God was sent to reside in our hearts. As we seek Him, He will remind us of the truths He wants to forever ingrain in our hearts and minds.
 
Jeremiah 33:3 says this: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”
 
In Christ, you have the mind of Christ. The Holy Spirit of the almighty and eternal God lives within you. You are more than enough, because He is more than enough. Just call out to Him today. Do it expectantly. He has promised to both teach and love you, my friend.
  • Are you willing to set aside another five minutes (or more) today to just sit with your Abba Father? Set aside the time, enter into it with an open heart, and know He's more than able to satisfy even your deepest needs.

Katie Bodager
Life Groups Administrative Assistant

One and Not Done: You Talkin’ to Me? - Thursday

Posted on Thu, Nov 20, 2014

And Samuel replied, "Yes, your servant is listening." 
 
I love the story of Samuel found in 1 Samuel 3. If you’re not familiar with it, let me summarize it for you until you’re able to go read it for yourself.
 
Samuel’s mom struggled to conceive a child. After much heartache, she promised the Lord that if He gave her a son, she would dedicate her son’s entire life to the Lord. It happened, and the mother honored her word. This mother gave birth to a son, Samuel, and at a very young age, she took him to the Tabernacle, and she left him to serve the Lord.
 
Samuel was left in the care of Eli, a priest. One night, while Eli and Samuel were sleeping, Samuel was awakened by a voice. Thinking it was the voice of Eli, he went to the bed of the priest to respond to his call. Eli told Samuel, he hadn’t spoken, and he sent Eli back to bed. But then during the same night, it happened again. And again. On the third occasion, Eli finally “realized it was the Lord who was calling the boy” (vs 8). 
 
So he said to Samuel, "Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, 'Yes, LORD, your servant is listening.’" So Samuel went back to bed. And the LORD came and called as before, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel replied, "Yes, your servant is listening." 1 Samuel 3:9-10.
 
There are so many amazingly beautiful aspects of this story, but I’d like to draw special attention to two of them today. 
 
First, God didn’t stop talking when Samuel looked elsewhere for conversation. Samuel, the sheep, heard the Shepherd’s voice. But initially, he didn’t recognize it. He was accustomed to conversations with others. He had not experienced this kind of conversation with God before. But even so, God kept faithfully speaking, waiting for Samuel to respond.
 
Secondly, once Samuel came to realize that the voice was that of his Shepherd, he humbly listened for the message God wanted to share with him. He received the word from God, obeyed God’s direction, and the Bible tells us this in verse 19:
 
The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. 
 
So, be encouraged and challenged today. Our God is a patient, but persistent God, who deeply desires conversation with His kids. He wants to talk with you and lead you through each and every day. 
  • Have you told God lately that you, His servant, are listening? He’s got so much to tell and show you.

Katie Bodager
Life Groups Administrative Assistant

One and Not Done: You Talkin’ to Me? - Wednesday

Posted on Wed, Nov 19, 2014

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
 
God loves you. He has given you a new name and a new identity. He has given you purpose, and He promises to guide your path. He wants to give you wisdom. His peace is perfect. And He lovingly offers you life instead of death. 
 
As if all of these truths aren’t mind-blowing enough, there’s one that perhaps overwhelms me more than all the rest. He wants to hear what I have to say. And He speaks to me… with the same voice that set the world into motion.
 
A few weeks ago, I went to a conference, and my dear husband stayed home to care for our four, precious little ones. Unfortunately, just about the time I left for the conference, my hubby caught a virus. He didn’t feel so good, but the greatest challenge was that he lost his voice. 
 
Even when our family is all home together, oftentimes, our kids aren’t in one place. Two may be playing upstairs, one in a bedroom, the other doing a craft at the kitchen table. And while my husband and I try not to raise our voices too frequently, we surely do use them throughout each day to help, lead, love, discipline and direct our children. 
 
So what happens when there is no voice (or when that voice is barely audible)? Well, things can get a little crazy. Our kids need to hear our voices. Our words of affirmation and direction bring security to their developing hearts and minds.
 
Here’s the thing about God though, friends. He doesn’t lose His voice, and He doesn’t inadvertently go quiet. Sometimes His Spirit speaks in thunderous volume. Other times it’s a gentle whisper. He consistently uses His Word, and His creation speaks daily of His creativity and majesty. His voice, His words and His will are always perfect. He’s always faithful. 
 
God faithfully speaks and leads, because it’s in His very nature. And it’s in our new nature, our life in the Spirit, to follow Him. John 10:27 says, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
 
Are you one of His sheep? Have you been called to follow Jesus? Then according to the Word, you will listen to His voice, and you will follow Him. Just remember who you are today. We love Him, because He first loved us. We follow Him because He has called out to us. It’s by no greatness of our own that we hear Him. It’s He who is the perfect Shepherd -- with an unfailing love and an unfailing voice. 
 
If you’re struggling to hear God right now, join me as I trust that His Word is true. 
 
Consider taking a moment to read John 10 today. When you’ve finished reading, meditate on what you’ve read. Take 5 minutes (or more) to just sit quietly with the Lord. As sheep listen to the voice of their shepherd, let the Lord know that you’re listening to Him today.

Katie Bodager
Life Groups Administrative Assistant

One and Not Done: You Talkin’ to Me? - Tuesday

Posted on Tue, Nov 18, 2014

One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek:  that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.
 
I “misplace” my keys sometimes. I try to consistently put them in the same place when I come home. It just doesn’t always happen. The problem is that when I’m ready to leave my house again, I want them. I need them. And I find myself frustrated that they’re not where I think they should be. 
 
But you know what? It’s not until I move from wanting to find them to actually seeking to find them that I really have any chance of doing so.
 
The funny thing about my problem is that the solution is usually very near to me. In the flurry of rounding up my kids, making sure they’ve all gone to the bathroom, grabbing backpacks and lunches, and getting out our front door, I often fail to see the obvious. I’m amazed at how often, after frantically searching for my keys, I find them in the most obvious places -- not hidden in a corner, but in plain sight.
 
Our God is forever patient, kind and loving. When we are frantic, he is steadfast. And He’s always right there. Yet in the busyness of life, we sometimes have a difficult time seeing and hearing Him. So many places to go. So many things to do. I don't know about you, but some days, I find myself nearly consumed by all the activities of life. Other days, well, I’m so focused on the “what ifs” that I end up missing opportunities to see and hear the One Who already is … and always has been, and always will be. How thankful I am for the grace of God!
 
James 4:8 says, “Come near to God, and He will come near to you.” God is with you. And He is for you. He is undoubtedly pursuing each and every one of us -- with each breath we breathe and each step we take. Take a deep breath with me today, and set your thoughts upon the God who is forever calling out to you, friend.
  • Are you seeking the One who is right before you, waiting to transform your life? He’s there. Close your eyes for a moment, and ask Him to help you see and hear Him more clearly.

Katie Bodager
Life Groups Administrative Assistant

One and Not Done: You Talkin’ to Me? - Monday

Posted on Mon, Nov 17, 2014

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. 
 
Thirteen years ago, Jesus radically redirected my life. And the first two verses in the twelfth chapter of Romans became my daily meditation and prayer. Why? Because I’d spent the past several years of my life running in the opposite direction. I was somehow co-dependent, self-absorbed, and broken-hearted -- all at the same time. I felt like I’d ruined my life, and I couldn’t imagine how I could ever be healthy or happy again. My hopes and my dreams seemed forever shattered.
 
But then Jesus broke through my darkness. His love broke through my pain, when nothing and no one else could. And from that day forward, He’s been transforming me. Day by day, moment by moment. 
 
And if you know Him, I have no doubt he’s been doing the same with you. 
 
There are so many voices we can follow -- the desires of our flesh, the suggestions of our peers, and the luring temptations of our enemy. They promise to fulfill our dreams and meet our very deepest desires. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably listened to them more times than you’d like to remember. 
 
But the truth is that there’s only One voice capable of transforming us -- completely changing us -- from the inside out.  
 
Only Jesus can redeem even our darkest moments. Only Jesus can breathe hope and purpose into our lives when all seems lost. And only Jesus can transform us into all we were created to be. His Father -- Your Father -- is fully aware of every dream and disappointment you’ve ever felt or experienced, friend. He remembers the daydreams of your childhood and the secret longings you felt yesterday. And can I remind you of something else? He hasn’t forgotten one of them. And He surely hasn’t forgotten you. He never, ever will.
 
If you feel led, pray this prayer with me today:
 
Father, thank you for loving me. Thank you for accepting all that I am today, and thank you for the work you have yet to do in my life. I know you know my deepest longings, and I’m choosing to trust you with them today. You want more for me than I could ever imagine. Thank you for calling me your child. I love you.

Katie Bodager
Life Groups Administrative Assistant

One and Not Done: Wide-Eyed - Friday

Posted on Fri, Nov 14, 2014

God Is….Love
I was in a counseling session one time when the person helping me process led me in an exercise that stunned me. I was recalling a time I felt deep sadness and rejection from many years ago. After I described the details to him, he asked me to identify where Jesus was in that event. I can’t describe to you the feeling that overwhelmed me when I realized that God was fully present in my pain when the event occurred, and again as I relived it during the conversation.
 
God is infinite. God is all-knowing. God is all-powerful. God is limitless. God is big beyond all compare. And God is personal. God is not distant from you. He is near and engaged in your life. Even when you are running from Him, He is near.  Even when you are hurt or lonely, He is near. God is personal and near, because He is love. Love is present. Love is sacrificial. Love is faithful. Love is consistent. God loves you, and that is really all you need to know.
 
Earlier this week we picked one word that defined or described what was blocking us from being fully aware of God and worshiping Him daily. By now you may be back to being blocked or distracted. Fight hard right now to fully receive His love for you today. Read these words and worship Him as you receive them as His heart for you:
 
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
 
“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”  Zephaniah 3:17
 
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither life nor death, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:38-39

Nathan Head
Executive Pastor of Ministries

One and Not Done: Wide-Eyed - Thursday

Posted on Thu, Nov 13, 2014

God is… Good
Good is a bit of an underrated word if you ask me.  It’s like a third place type of word. You have good, better and best. Poor good just means something is okay. I don’t want to hear I did a good job, I want to hear I did a great job. I don’t want a good steak, I want a great steak. I don’t want good news, I want great news!
 
Psalm 100:5 says, “For the Lord is good.  His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” 
 
I don't want to argue with the ancient poet, but God is better than good. He is great! In the psalmist’s defense, the four preceding verses are powerful in calling us to recognize just how good God is.  Some days we need this simple reminder.  The truth is that God is good.  He is not bad in any way, he is right and lovely and faithful and true and... good.
 
Take a moment to:
  • Read Psalm 100.  Reflect on these verses and ask God to speak to you. If you are memorizing this Psalm, use this time for reflection and hearing.
  • Tell someone about His goodness in your life. Find a friend with whom to share something that He has done for you lately.  It’ll be good for you.

Nathan Head
Executive Pastor of Ministries

One and Not Done: Wide-Eyed - Wednesday

Posted on Wed, Nov 12, 2014

God is… Redeemer
One of my all-time favorite movie lines is, “Just when I thought you couldn’t possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this... AND TOTALLY REDEEM YOURSELF!”
 
 
A “Dumb and Dumber” movie quote tells you all you need to know about my lack of maturity, but it’s the only time I recall hearing the word “redeem” outside of church in the last several years.
 
The idea of redemption in Scripture shows up in both the Old and New Testaments.  It’s a recurring thread that runs throughout Scripture and reminds us of another amazing attribute of God.  God is a redeemer.  He paid a great personal price to inaugurate the Kingdom of Heaven, established by the sacrificial death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.  In the ancient world it was unheard of for a god to sacrifice for the people, and the expectation was the exact opposite.   Our God is not disconnected from us.  He is active and involved and has paid a great price to give us access to a current and future hope in Him.  We participate in His love and grace and goodness because He redeemed us through Jesus.
 
Let’s do a couple of things in response:
  • Take time to thank Him for this great gift. Talk to Him about His love for us. He loves to spend time with you!
  • Write out your own song or poem (make your own Psalm) as a way to worship Him for His love and sacrifice for us. You may draw inspiration from 1 Peter 1:18-19
  • If you have never accepted His gift of redemption, do it today! Contact me so we can help you process this. 

Nathan Head
Executive Pastor of Ministries

One and Not Done: Wide-Eyed - Tuesday

Posted on Tue, Nov 11, 2014

God is… Creator
I drive to work every day along a beautiful stretch of road.  This time of year it’s been stunning to see trees turn incredible shades of orange, yellow and red.  The horse farms lined with fence and miles of God’s green earth are preparing now for winter, and it’s breathtaking.  

The very first book in the Bible shapes my view of how this came to be.  I believe that God is a creator.  He created something out of nothing, and what He created ultimately points back to His existence.  Listen to how it’s described in the Bible: “The heavens proclaim the Glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make Him known.” Psalm 19:1-2
 
Going outside and looking up is a simple act that can bring awareness of God’s great work and His presence.  Yesterday, we talked about the things that block our praise of God.  We identified some things that may be hiding God’s beauty from our view.  
 
Let’s decide to look for God on display however we can.
  • List the places you’ve been where you were stunned by God’s creation.  If you have a couple of minutes, pull up some online pictures to remind yourself.
  • Take time today to thank God for the fact that He is a creator. Talk to Him about what you enjoy the most in His creation.
  • Listen with your eyes this week anytime you are outside.
  • Memorize Psalm 100

Nathan Head
Executive Pastor of Ministries

One & Not Done: Wide-Eyed - Monday

Posted on Mon, Nov 10, 2014

God is… Personal
So, as a married man, I fall into the trap of loving my wife but forgetting to tell her. I’m sure no one else struggles in this area (pray for me). But it’s crazy how I can forget to tell the one person I’ve committed the duration of my life to, just how much I love her.  Married or not, we can easily forget how much the people closest to us mean to us.
 
I think my relationship with God can be like that, too. God created everything that exists, including me.  He has provided true life for me through His Son, Jesus, and I get through entire days with little more than a passing nod or a few short moments in prayer. God is truly worthy of all my attention, love, affection, time, energy and devotion… but kids, work, errands, bills, TV, sleeping, eating, life … 
 
So what blocks our focus on the God who is greater than any fear or failure or issue in our lives?  Is it ...
  • Personal success
  • Busyness
  • The pain of a wayward son/daughter
  • An aging parent or spouse
  • Job loss, financial pressures
  • Addiction(s)
  • Unrepented sin
  • Family
  • Chronic pain
  • Worry
  • The lack of relationship with Jesus
  • Loneliness or isolation
  • TV
  • Apathy
Let’s take some time to process this together.  
  • Identify what is blocking your worship of God and then ask yourself why this gets between you and God.
  • Now, pray. Something like this: “God I’m sorry I let ____________ get in the way of us. Will you teach me more about you this week, so I turn my attention from this and back to you?”
  • This could take longer than one sitting, so please give yourself time to really identify what blocks daily worship in your life.
  • Memorize Psalm 100 this week

Nathan Head
Executive Pastor of Ministries

One and Not Done: When Pigs Fly - Friday

Posted on Fri, Nov 07, 2014

So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.
 
All week we’ve been looking at faith and how faith impacts our prayers, our part in the kingdom story God is writing, and how it helps us believe and take God at His Word.
 
Our verse today tells us that faith comes from hearing the word about Christ. This is the foundation of believing what we have not yet seen (Hebrews 11:1). To believe in Jesus Christ, who we have not yet seen and to believe in His sacrifice for us on the Cross sets the foundation for all other ways we live out that faith and grow our faith. Do you know Him? Do you know how very much Jesus loves you? John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever would believe in Him would not perish but have eternal life.” That’s how much God loves you... so much. Even still. Whether you believed in Him for the first time decades or days ago—the love remains. This love draws us to believe—to have faith in the One who loves us so much. 
 
To follow Christ requires that we believe He died for us, but also that He will come back. Remember how we started the week in Hebrews 11? Well, we’re going to end there, but with our eyes fixed on what lies ahead. The hope of heaven is why we want to grow to reach even more people in a place called Georgetown, KY. The hope of heaven is why we want to invest in students’ lives because there’s so much more ahead than just what we see now.
 
Hebrews 11:13-16 says, “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one.” Let’s fix our eyes on what will last—our relationship with Jesus. Let’s live not looking back at the country we’ve left (what’s behind). Let’s live by faith looking toward what’s to come—a better country—our heavenly one. In the meantime, let’s take as many people with us as possible. As we continue to follow God and reach people in our community and the communities around us. Let’s invite them to faith by telling them about Jesus.
  • Spend some time today thinking about heaven. What do you imagine heaven looks like? Who do you hope spends eternity with you? Who do you need to invite to know Jesus?
  • Pray for courage to invite someone to church with you before the end of the year.

Amanda Carter
Worship Leader

One and Not Done: When Pigs Fly - Thursday

Posted on Thu, Nov 06, 2014

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
 
Yesterday and today’s Scripture passages read like, “BOOM!” “Take that!” I mean, sometimes Scripture smacks us in the face with truth and challenge. Today’s passage just gave me a black eye—how are you holding up?
 
The women on my team have been studying what Jesus said about prayer. The study has been mind-blowing for me. Faith-filled prayers help keep us on track as we walk in the direction God has called us. We’d be foolish to try and advance the kingdom without spending significant time on our knees. 
 
Today’s passage provides one of the sections of Scripture we’ve unpacked in our study. There are two key elements to the commands and promises in these verses. Jesus starts with the end in mind. He says, “Have faith in God.” The starting line for faith-filled prayer is to have faith in God. What a great place to start! All prayer is rooted in our relationship with the Father that we have through Jesus. The ability to ask for big things comes from sharing a relationship with God and knowing what He’s capable of. Nothing is impossible for Him, as we’ve learned in the past few days.
 
Let’s say you know two people who own a boat and you want to borrow one for the weekend. One person is an old friend who you know really well. The other boat owner is an acquaintance you see from time to time. Who are you going to ask to borrow the boat from first? Hopefully, you chose the old friend because if not, this analogy tanked. You’d ask the old friend because you know him or her better. 
 
The next element involves faith: believing that what you ask for will be received. The key here is that through your personal relationship with God, you’ll know what to ask and how to ask. You’ll be able to have faith that God will deliver, because you’ll know the One you’ve asked and how He works. You’ll know what to pray because your heart will be like His. It’s a stunning reality. Pray in faith, but first, have faith in God.
  • What is one prayer of faith you can pray right now? 
  • What is one thing you can do to invest in your relationship with God today—besides reading this devotion?

Amanda Carter
Worship Leader

One and Not Done: When Pigs Fly - Wednesday

Posted on Wed, Nov 05, 2014

“I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty. “But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’ “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings.
 
About a year ago, my husband and I felt challenged to fulfill our ONE Campaign commitment by year end last year. This required us to take a significant amount of money (by our standards) out of our savings. Still, we wanted to act in faith and to take a step that would require us to trust God rather than ourselves. Two months later my husband received a double bonus. Literally. He got the bonus and then the same percentage on top of that. God met us powerfully by showing us that He’s capable of what we could not even imagine as a possibility. 
 
If you keep reading in chapter 3 of Malachi, you’ll see God say, “Test me in this...and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” (Malachi 3:10) Now before you write a check in faith and then miraculously wait for the Powerball numbers to fall from the sky, notice that He says “blessing,” not “mega-millions.” It’s as though God is saying, “Test me and see if I will not take care of you and make sure you don’t miss a thing by giving to me.”
 
I would venture to say that one of the greatest steps of faith we ever take is in what we do with our money. Today’s Scripture is clear: if we’re not bringing tithes as offerings to God, not only are we missing out on His promise, but we’re robbing Him. Tithing says, “I believe all I have is from you, God,” and, “I trust you to take care of me even as I give you resources that would help me take care of myself.”
 
With the year-end offering in view, what step of faith do you need to take to obey God’s word? The question is, “What will you give?” rather than “Will you give?” This step of faith is hard, no doubt, but at the end of the day, it’s good for your heart, it furthers the work of God in this city and beyond,  and it will increase your faith. I am now going to step off your toes. Thanks for hanging in there with me. 
  • Today take some time to start praying about what amount God would have you give back to Him. 
  • Maybe a first step of faith would be to simply give God more of your time. What would that look like for you?

Amanda Carter
Worship Leader

One and Not Done: When Pigs Fly - Tuesday

Posted on Tue, Nov 04, 2014

 
Imagine with me the scene of Mark 9:14-29. To be honest, many scenes in the gospels read like scripts for a drama series! A man has brought his son, foaming at the mouth and possessed by an evil spirit to be healed by the disciples. The disciples, however, cannot deliver. Jesus shows up and the dad immediately exclaims, “I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” 
 
Long story short, the spirit in the boy recognizes Jesus (because He has a pretty powerful reputation in the spiritual realm), and immediately throws the boy into convulsions. The father explains that the boy has been this way since childhood with the spirit even throwing him into water and fire trying to kill him. The father pleads, “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Jesus’ answer is classic hero-speak. He says, “If you can?...Everything is possible for him who believes.” The father immediately blurts out: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Jesus then frees the boy from the evil spirit. 
 
I am so moved by this story, both as a parent and as a follower of Jesus. Imagine the desperation of the father. Notice the father says, “take pity on us” and “help us.” This boy’s condition has not only impacted his life, but the life of his family. In his desperation, the father is also brutally honest. He wants to believe so badly and yet admits that he needs help overcoming unbelief. Sometimes we struggle to have faith for what we don’t see because our realities are inundated with what we’re struggling with. The present realities we need faith to overcome beat like a loud drum drowning out the words of Jesus, “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Let the promise of God and the faithfulness of God silence the drum. With God and with faith all things are possible. These work in tandem, not independently. We must believe God and honestly ask Him to help us overcome our unbelief. He’s able to deliver. Will you believe?
  • Make a list of things you are struggling to believe. 
  • Pray and ask God sincerely: “Help me overcome my unbelief!” Read your list to God and pray that you’ll be able to believe that with God all things are possible.

Amanda Carter
Worship Leader


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