Have you been able to read any of the daily engagement pieces that the staff members have written? As we participate in the Intentional 21, the engagement articles give us reminders of various facets of our walk with the LORD during this time of recalibration. One person reminded us to let go of distractions. Another suggested we ask the LORD what His goal was for us. A third encouraged us to intercede for the ones the LORD puts on our hearts and to ask the LORD for a community of believers if you need one. These are just a few of the gems the staff members shared with us. What a wonderful way to get to know the staff better and to be encouraged.
Today was such a powerful day of sharing. As Pastor Tim gave the announcements, he told of how his father walked away from his faith for a season. Then after Maria and Tim married, his father began attending Sunday services. One time he went to a Tuesday night special service, and the speaker pointed to his dad and said,”The LORD is not done with you yet.” From that time on Pastor Tim’s dad’s life turned around. Then Joel described how during the fast the first week was a struggle. However, on his colleague’s white board, he saw these significant words. “There’s no comfort in the growth zone.” Those words apply to business and this season of the fast. We may be struggling with the flesh so that we can grow closer to the LORD. Hang in there.
Pastor Josiah reminded us of our mission, Culture like Christ; our vision-Jesus.; and the mantle of revival we have. He continued his vision discussion through introducing Ashley and having her share her powerful testimony.
Ashley described her high school and college season as “one foot in the world and one foot in church.” She had given into the lie that she had “to have all her duckies in a row before” she could give her life to Christ. Instead of focusing on her relationship with Jesus, she emphasized the do’s and don’ts of the church.
Then the LORD spoke these powerful words to her. ”Ashley, come as you are.”
Ashley replied,”I surrender.” She surrendered her life, her walk, her dreams to Him. His desires became her desires. Everything was not perfect in her life, but she submitted her will to Him. Ashley added,”I allowed the Savior to change me.” She is all in, not half way in, passionately in love with the LORD. Luke 14:33 says it all.”So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.” (NIV) That is what Ashley has done.
“Giving up means A. to set apart, separate. B. To renounce, forsake. “
In Hebrews Paul wrote them,
“We look away from the natural realm and we focus our attention
and expectation onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who
leads us forward into faith’s perfection. His example is this:
Because his heart was focused on the joy of knowing that
you would be his, he endured the agony of the cross and
conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand
of the throne of God!’ Hebrews 12:2 (TPT)
He gave up heaven for a time, came to earth as a human, suffered and died for us, and defeated death through His resurrection. That way we could have eternal life. What a Savior He is who sits at the right hand of the Father.
The LORD modeled faithfulness and full surrender when He sacrificed all for us. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus prayed,”Not my will but thine.” He did not want to be humiliated, tortured, beaten nor crucified. But He did so that we could live eternally with Him. Pastor Josiah encouraged us to “ask God to change our tastebuds.”Before he would read the Bible as a task to check off, but now he is hungry to learn more about the Author of the Bible. He asks the Holy Spirit to show him what lesson he should learn from his Bible reading. The LORD changed his tastebuds as his walk changed.
Also as your tastebuds change, you learn how generous and loving our Abba Father is.
“To console those who mourn in Zion, to given them beauty for
ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for
the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteous-
ness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”
Isaiah 61:3 (NKJV)
Trading beauty for ashes, oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for heaviness-what a tradeoff and it is what our LORD does when we are all in. Instead of having one foot in the world and one foot in the church, He wants you to love the LORD with all your heart, mind, and soul. That is why “It’s better to not begin than to begin and not finish.” When you count the cost, you realize what you give up and what He gave up are not equal. You get the better deal.
From the New Testament we learn that
“everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or
father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive
a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life.”
Matthew 19:29 (NLT)
The LORD blesses the faithful. He blesses His servants, His daughters and sons. We who have surrendered our lives to Him are Beloved.
Another verse that illustrates the LORD’s favor states
“And I am certain that God, who began a good work within
you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day
when Christ returns.” Philippians 1:6 (NLT)
Does it mean that each day is going to be easy? No. It means as Jesus said,” I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5 (NLT) From Psalm 23:1 I know “The LORD is my shepherd. I have everything I need.” (NLT)
The paramount point is “Being ready to surrender is the breaking point of your personal greatest blessings.” It is a watershed moment where life will never be the same. We get to be salt and light in this sin filled world. LORD, may it be so!
1/17-Wednesday Mid week Encounter-6:30
1/19-Friday-LB potluck, worship and speaker
1/21-Sunday night prayer 6:00
1/25-Rita Dunkl’s celebration of life at 11:00. Please bring finger food for the reception immediately following the service in the lobby.
1/26-Men’s CORE 6:00pm