Thursday, April 24, 2014

Can we trust Him in all circumstances?

Have you noticed how when something good happens to us we call it “a God thing” or we say “God was at work in my circumstances.” However, if the lab report comes back positive for cancer, the job offer didn’t come to fruition, the house offer fell through, or the school didn’t accept the application, we are silent. Is God not at work in those kinds of things? Is God at work only in my circumstances when things go the way I want them to?
The Bible says “your ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say: ‘this is the way you should go, whether to the right or to the left.’” Isaiah 30:21

In faith we know this to be true. He makes my paths straight as I lean on Him and acknowledge Him. (Proverbs 3:5-6) God says He is the only one capable of interpreting circumstances, both the good and the bad. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways…as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than yours and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9

“God works in all things (good and bad) together for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

When I see the circumstances the way God does, He says “you will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the tress of the field will clap their hands.” Isaiah 55:12

Will you trust Him with the details of your life? Will you surrender to His sovereign control of all things? Praise God! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” Romans 11:34

He is interested in directing your steps. Will you allow Him? He sees the path before us and calls us forth in faith (read Genesis 22:12), showing us there are no coincidences in His design, only God managed circumstances (both the good and what may appear to us as bad).

P.S. You don’t want to miss the Easter Offering celebration presented to three local agencies as well as a new series kickoff call Mind Games: Attitudes that will change your life. Join us and bring a friend Sunday at 9:00am or 10:30am.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Miracles of Easter

In preparation for Easter, I have been reading from the gospel accounts those events that transpired during Jesus’ last week leading up to the resurrection.
I had forgotten many of those miracles that occurred during his crucifixion and resurrection. Since I had forgotten them, I thought maybe you have too. I am listing six miracles, the scripture references, and the significance of each one. My encouragement to you is to spend some time this week interacting with each miracle and growing in appreciation for what they represent to your own anticipated resurrection.

The Miracle: The miraculous darkness
The Scripture: Luke 23:44-45
The Significance: Symbolizes the inconceivable suffering of Jesus. God is light, sin is darkness and Jesus is paying for our darkness.

The Miracle: The tearing of the temple curtain
The Scripture: Matthew 27:51
The Significance: Jesus was torn completely so that through His sacrifice we might come immediately into God’s presence.

The Miracle: The miraculous earthquake
The Scripture: Matthew 27:51
The Significance: It is the reaction of physical creation to the work of redemption. Creation had been effected by His victory.

The Miracle: The miracle of the open graves
The Scripture: Matthew 27:52
The Significance: His death destroyed the power of death.

The Miracle: The undisturbed grave clothes of Christ
The Scripture: John 20:6-8
The Significance: Jesus’ body was gone but it was not removed by human intervention.

The Miracle: Revivals to life in the graveyard
The Scripture: Matthew 27:52-53
The Significance: Jesus’ resurrection assures the saints' resurrection into life.

Enjoy the miracles of Easter!

P.S. Have you ever doubted the reality of something? Have you ever questioned if something is really true? Thomas, one of the disciples did. His doubt led him to faith. Come and join us on Easter morning at 9:00am or 10:30am to discover how doubts can lead us to faith. Bring a friend with you!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Easter is coming. Are you prepared?

Most of us do a good job preparing for Christmas. Signs go up telling us something special is going to happen. We hang wreaths, light candles, trim the tree, wrap gifts and string lights. But how do you prepare for Easter?
For Easter, many of us as Christ followers do nothing more than dye a few eggs, buy a new outfit and BAM! You’re done. All set. Finito. And yet Easter is the most important day of the year…or it should be. It’s the day we celebrate the central event of history, the day Jesus rose from the dead, the event that validates the cross of Jesus. How do we prepare ourselves for this glorious day?

This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday. Starting on that day, commit your whole week to preparing yourself for Easter. Read Luke 19:28-44 and Matthew 21:1-11. Apply three things from this story. First, do what Jesus says. He told two disciples to go get a donkey at a village. They obeyed. Is He asking you to forgive someone? To give something? To take something? To say yes to something? To say no to something? Whatever he says to you, do it.

Second, feel what Jesus feels. As He approached Jerusalem, He wept over the city because they did not recognize the time of God’s coming to them. His heart was broken because of the people. Will you let your heart be broken for those who are hurting, those who are wandering, those who are searching and those who don’t know they are searching? You know who they are; your neighbor, coworker, roommate, brother, sister, mom, dad, close friend, casual acquaintance, those who haven’t experienced peace, deliverance and freedom through faith in Christ.

Third, tell who Jesus is. As He entered Jerusalem on the donkey, people asked, “Who is this?” This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee. To prepare for Easter lets start on Palm Sunday by telling our coworkers, friends, family, classmates, and so on who Jesus is. Tell them He is risen, He is risen indeed.

P.S. There are certain things that make changes come about, but there is one thing that changes everything. Want to know what it is? Come worship with us Sunday at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. to find out.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Disappointments: Has God failed you?

Disappointments come in all shapes and sizes. You know the disappointment of not making the team or a musical group. Some know the disappointment of not being hired for a certain job. Others have had a dream shattered or plans changed.
I’m sure Abraham was disappointed in the behavior of his nephew Lot. Joseph was disappointed in the treatment he received from his brothers. The heart of Moses surely was broken again and again because of the sins of the nation of Israel. King David had great plans for his family, yet some of his sons were so sinful they almost wrecked the nation. Paul had disappointments when some of his helpers failed him and deserted him.

Jeremiah knew a lifelong list of disappointments, suffering, unanswered prayers, rejection by people, family turned against him, overrun by his enemies. You talk about disappointment and a broken heart-Jeremiah is the poster child for such things.

He wrote in Jeremiah 10:19 “Woe is me, because of my injury! My wound is incurable. But I said truly this is a sickness and I must bear it.” This verse teaches us a couple of very important principles. First, expect disappointments. Life is not always going to be sunny and clear. There will be days and perhaps weeks when life is stormy and dark. Everyone will have their share of disappointments. The Lord never promises us an easy life, so expect disappointments.

Second, our disappointments are in the hands of God. God knows what is happening. God is in control and He was ruling over Jeremiah’s life and is ruling over your life.

When disappointments come (and they will) don’t let the enemy say “God has failed you.” Disappointments are His appointments. It takes faith to believe and rest upon that truth, but it is true-God is still on the throne and He is going to accomplish His wonderful purpose in our lives-if we let Him.

If you fight circumstances and become bitter, then God cannot accomplish in us and through us all that He has in mind. If we yield and trust Him to do what is best, then all things will work together for your good. (Read Romans 8:28)

Jeremiah did not blame God, try to pass the buck, fight circumstances, or try to change God’s mind. He accepted by faith the burden of his grief, and he trusted God to work out His perfect will. And so should you. Yield to God today and let him do His perfect work in you.

P.S. Have you ever been stressed? Overwhelmed? Have you been late for a meeting? Overcommitted to your schedule? Do you ever feel there is no time to relax? To unwind? If you answered yes to any of these questions-join us on Sunday at 9:00am and 10:30am to discover how to build margins in your life. And bring a friend with you!