Dec. 8, 2012
Hunger has no boundaries and does not discriminate. It does not matter where you live or who you are, it exists everywhere and touches just about everyone. In America, in 2011, 46.2 million people were in poverty, 3.6 million of them were seniors 65 and older and 1 in 5 children (that’s 16 Million) struggled with hunger.
ShopSmartCoupons.com, is concerned for those in their local community, throughout America and around the world that do not have enough to eat. They want to help in some way feed the hungry and have committed to donating a minimum of 25% of the commission income that is derived from the purchases made when someone uses ShopSmartCoupons.com to help feed the hungry.
At this point they are supporting the local Soup Kitchens, Food Banks, and Rescue Mission. Their hopes are to grow in their capacity to give and in the number of organizations they are able support. You can help them do that.
We encourage you to consider helping them help feed the hungry by using ShopSmartCoupons.com when you do your shopping
You may be asking what ShopSmartCoupons.com is. It is a web site that was developed to give consumers, the quickest and easiest way to save time and money when shopping. They are continuously searching throughout the internet for the best coupons, special deals and services, exclusive sales, and lowest product pricing that are available on just about anything you can think of. They then provide an exhaustive cataloged listing of those coupons, deals and discounts on their site.
So not only will you be saving yourself time and money when you shop using ShopSmartCoupons.com, but you will also be leveraging your purchasing power to help feed the hungry.
Another way you can help is sharing this with your family and friends.
Jan. 29, 2012
Jesus Way Part 1
This is part 1 of a series that looks at the person, life and teachings of Jesus to see afresh who and what God is working in and with us to be transformed into. This message looks at some hindrances we may have that need to be addressed so that we can see Him clearly and respond appropriately.
Jan. 15, 2012
Heaven Part 12
This is part 12 of the series titled “Heaven?”, which looks at what heaven will be like. This message focuses living under the influence of Heaven. What will be the effect on us, if we know what Heaven and our future life there will really be like.
Jan. 8, 2012
In The Midst of Change
This message looks at some things that do not, or rather should not change, even though we as individuals or as a community may be in the midst of change or transition.
Dec. 27, 2011
bleak, black billows of discouragement
toss over me like wily waves
and i feel jostled and unjustified.
reality of my fallen state
heaps like bitter salt
on a throbbing wound-
tormented, tattered, torn.
coursing through this madness
blind to the next blow.
these tempest waters seduce me to their funnel-
yet, still, Your light punctuates my tunnel.
Ok, maybe this poem seems slightly morbid for the day after Christmas, but while reading in Hebrews this morning I was reminded of when I wrote this.
Hebrews 4 touches on God’s promise of rest. In 4:10 it says, “For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.”
Throughout the entire Holiday season we seem to strive for exhaustion. We shop our way into debt and eat ourselves into a coma. Now that it’s the day after Christmas, I read this and was reminded that God took a day to cease His work and relax.
Not only is this speaking on a physical respite, but I also think it goes deeper. What about the emotional and spiritual fatigue we can find ourselves defeated by?
This idea of taking a breather all seems well and good, but to quit running ourselves ragged across the board we should be reminded of this truth:
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefor come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace in time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16
He understands. We put so much pressure on ourselves and set these expectations that are nearly impossible to reach, and so we burnout in every aspect of our lives.
Yet here lies the light that punctuates every tunnel; that grace and mercy can be obtained to experience true rest.
I’m not advocating that you stop striving for excellence or that you lower the bar, but take a time-out once in a while and reflect on the fact that when you do miss the mark, you’re not alone. Christ was also stretched, tempted, and exhausted; and we are constantly surrounded by others who also, at times, feel buried in defeats.
So, after you make those returns and pack away the ornaments, breathe. Take the mercy that’s freely offered, release yourself from all that pressure you’re under, and rest.
Dec. 5, 2011
It’s been a while. Miss me?
A couple of weeks ago, I spoke to the church on obedience…..ick.
If I could have picked any other topic I would have. I mean, Grace? Love? Peace? Those sound nice. Obedience, however….it just doesn’t give me that same warm and fuzzy feeling inside. Yet, it was pretty evident that obedience was a topic I needed to delve deeper into because it was the only word flashing in the darkness of my mind like some tacky, neon sign.
There were 3 points on obedience that we covered, and I’m just going to break ’em down for you a bit here.
1. It’s a Learned Process.
Even Jesus had to learn obedience. In Luke 2:45-52 we see Jesus as a child learning not only from the elders of the church, but also learning to obey his parents….even the Messiah needed a curfew!
Although obedience in it’s most practical form is learned, the desire is innate.
This kind of sounds like a tough pill to swallow, right? We are prone to selfishness. We raise children and need to teach them things like manners and how to share. With these naturally selfish tendencies I had assumed our most innate desires were toward rebellion. But, even though the first instincts of my flesh may scream “ANARCHY!”, the core desire of my spirit declares something on the contrary.
There was this psychologist names Stanley Milgram and he set out to uncover any sort of logical explanation for the deplorable things being done to people within concentration camps in WWII. You can Google it and read up on the experiment yourself, but it involved a fake electric shock generator. The person ‘receiving’ the shock was in on the experiment. The person administering the ‘shocks’ was not. Then there was the experiment conductor who served as the authoritative figure. Despite the person’s agonizing screams and claims of heart conditions, the conductor assured the shock administrator that the experiment must go on. They had hypothesized that only 1-3% of people would continue to administer the shocks, but they discovered that 65% continued. Here is what they concluded, “We now believe that it has to do with our almost innate behavior that we should do as told, especially from authority persons”.
Aristotle said, “Wicked men obey from fear; good men from love”.
Our motives may vary… perhaps it’s fear, incentives, lack of direction… But, as followers of Christ, what should motivate us to pursue obedience?
Essentially what I am saying is that although somewhere deep within us we want to obey, we daily need to learn the meaning of dying to self. We hear, and perhaps have experienced, testimonies of how people didn’t realize there was this insatiable void in their lives until they had discovered Christ. The very fiber of our DNA yearns to know and to please our Creator because somehow we know that His ways are far better than the exhaustion of our own.
2. Requires Risk
Unfortunately for most, we have not had the luxury of a burning bush, or a booming, audible voice and often we are forced to make decisions based not on immediate revelation.
In 2 Samuel 10:12-13, Joab is put in a position where he needs to make a quick decision. In his book, ‘Don’t Waste Your Life’, John Piper describes Joab’s decision making technique in that moment as using ‘sanctified wisdom’. He did not know the outcome of the strategic move he needed to make midst a battle, and yet he still believed that God would make good of the decisions he was making. As we are submitting our lives daily to God and seeking His will, we grow in wisdom. We have this tremendously generous gift of free will because God actually trusts that we can learn to make wise choices.
Esther made an obedient decision that could have resulted in death, and yet that was a risk she was willing to take for the sake of many people. It says that she was called for “such a time as this”, but what does that mean? Each moment is that time. We are all living out times of service, preparation, patience, risk- all of which are developing a lifestyle of obedient worship.
A.W. Tozer said, “Among the plastic saints of our times, Jesus has to do all the dying, and all we want to hear is another sermon about His dying.”
Sit on that one for a while…
It’s easy to leave the risk taking for others, no?
Sometimes the risks we need to take are in small things. Like, just remaining where you are. I was working in a coffee shop and for the longest time, EVERY time I walked down this one hallway, I would contemplate my purpose. Whether or not I was doing enough or measuring up. My risks seemed few and so I dubbed it the ‘Hallway of Purpose’. But in retrospect, I see how staying was imperative for that time and for the relationships being established. If we can be faithful in the most mundane of things, bigger things will come.
3. Bi-Product of Love
I did some browsing through the Thesaurus and found that synonymous to obedience is reverence, and synonymous with reverence is adoration. So, there it is, out of adoration we serve.
Although, let it be known that just because we are learning obedience and serving Him as a natural bi-product of love, this does not ensure emotional highs and surges of joy. Even Jesus pleaded with God before His crucifixion. His spirit was in such turmoil within Him knowing what was to come, and yet out of love He chose the Father’s will.
Even though we tend to miss the mark on this obedience stuff, Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need”.
There ya have it! We are learning, and risking, and facing trial and error all in the name of love and yet still there is no condemnation. We are still welcomed into this relationship and asked to be unashamed and bold.
Ok, I tried to summarize the message as much as I possibly could, and I hope it all made sense. I’ve had to take a lot of costly risks lately for the sake of being obedient to what I know is right. And although the defeats and the hurts seem to outweigh the victories right now, I know that there is purpose and I know that God is faithful.
So, get to it!
Dec. 4, 2011
Heaven Part 11
This is part 11 of the series titled “Heaven?”, which looks at what heaven will be like. This message focuses on what kind of body we will have, as well as looking at what age we will be, what will our relationships look like, will we learning, and will we still have memories from this lifetime.
Nov. 27, 2011
Heaven Part 10
This is part 10 of the series titled “Heaven?”, which looks at what heaven will be like. This message focuses on finally seeing our heavenly Father and how seeing and knowing Him will transform how we see everything else, especially ourselves. And He invites us right now to grow in our relationship and understanding of Him and have our present vision and perspective changed.
Nov. 20, 2011
Obedience – Hallway of Purpose
In this message Christina Grewelle discusses the process of learning obedience that flows from our relationship with God. She shares how risk, diligence, love and trust in our Father play a role in our pursuit of God and living a lifestyle of obedient worship.
Nov. 6, 2011
Heaven Part 9
This is part 9 of the series titled “Heaven?”, which looks at what heaven will be like. This message focuses on the aspects of space and time on the future new earth, as well as examining how our current deeds matter for eternity.