Today’s devotional is from Holley Gerth. Lord, help us be bridge builders!
“Jesus didn’t climb ladders…He built bridges.
Instead of reaching up for success He reached out in love.
We can do the same.
Because God isn’t looking for “success stories.” He’s looking for servants.
He’s not choosing the “best and brightest.” He’s using the obedient.
He’s not putting a call out for “entertainers.” He’s searching for encouragers.
You are a bridge builder too, friend.
When you smile at your coworker.
When you stretch out a hand to someone different than you.
When you pick up the phone and call that person who just needs someone to listen.
No one may know. No one may see. There will probably not be a headline, tweet or Facebook status about it.
But it matters.
More than you know.
More than you can see.
Not just for today…but for eternity.
We build bridges for God’s love to travel across. And we never know just how far it will go.”
Rain or shine – that’s what they said; the picnic will go on rain or shine. So in two’s three’s and van loads those bold and brave Alaskans at JCC hied themselves out to the Eklutna Lake campground for the church picnic just as soon as Pastor said the final “Amen”. The teens, having camped out the previous night at Eklutna, had the picnic table at the ready and the foil wrapped porkloin cooking on the campfire as the hungry JCC family began to arrive. A tempting array of snacks vied for space with the baked beans, potato salad, watermelon and pork loin and bid the eaters come and dine. From what had been a clear, sunny sky a few little rain drops began to fall. Coats and umbrellas began to materialize as the rain increased, but the crowd kept on eating and talking as if the shower was merely a minor inconvenience. Before long the little shower had transformed itself into a downpour and the ladies quickly began shuttling the goods into the teens’ camping trailer for safe keeping. The picnickers floated off to their vehicles as soon as everything was cleaned up and made the trek back to Anchorage and dry clothes. In spite of the rain the food was delicious and the fellowship delightful. Thank you to everyone who ventured out despite the wet weather and joined us for the fun. Special thanks to the teens and the teen sponsors who prepared the main entrée and had everything all set up for us.
Jesus died on the cross so that our sin could be done away with and we could be reconciled to God. He desires to have fellowship with us and live lives connected to Him. However, it is imperative that our connections and fellowship with one another remain unbroken so that our connection with the Father can be strong. Judging one another and holding bitterness and unforgiveness in our hearts hinders not only communion with one another within the body of Christ, but it also chokes off that deep, meaningful communion with God. Click on the arrow below to listen to Pastor Marlan’s message on how passing judgment on the family of God can break off communion with God, and how to get free of the habit of pre-judging – prejudice – and restore communion with the Father.
Today’s devotional thoughts are from Christine Caine.
Qualified by God
God not only chooses us for himself—he also chooses us to do his good works on earth. The amazing thing is that throughout Scripture and history it seems God has chosen the most seemingly unlikely and unqualified people to fulfill his plan and purpose on the earth. Most often, the response of those people has been to insist on their own unworthiness. And if they don’t—the people around them may do so, loudly and shrilly. And therein lies a danger: If we allow other people to tell us what we are and are not qualified to do, we will limit what God wants to do with us. We may never get to those who need our help.
What is impossible with people is possible with God. We just have to believe that God has called us to go into the world in his name, and not listen to the crippling or even paralyzing labels and limitations imposed on us by others. Whom God calls, he qualifies—and he chooses everybody to do something specific, something that is part of his design. In fact, the Bible shows us that since the beginning of time, God has chosen the unlikely to do the unimaginable:
• God called Moses, who was nearly eighty years old at the time, to tell Pharaoh to free God’s people (Exodus 3–4). But Moses insisted that he was not eloquent and no one would listen to him.
• God called Gideon “a mighty warrior,” and told him to save his people, who were being relentlessly ransacked by their enemies (Judges 6–8). But Gideon, who at the time God called him was working in a hidden place because he feared the enemy, couldn’t imagine how God could use a coward to fight for his people.
• God called Jeremiah, a teenager, to deliver news to the Jewish people, but Jeremiah feared that, as young as he was, he wouldn’t be taken seriously.
Moses, Gideon, and Jeremiah would have missed out on their moment in history if they’d been allowed to get by with those excuses. We wouldn’t even know their names. We know who they were because God refused to accept their excuses and insisted they accept his assignment—and then provided them everything they needed to succeed in it.
Point to Ponder
Are you declining God’s mission for your life because you claim you’re not up to it? Don’t sell yourself short. God qualifies those he calls. Will you prepare your heart to accept your appointment with destiny?
Grab your lawn chair or blanket and a side dish or dessert and head out to Eklutna Lake this Sunday July 27th after the morning service at JCC. We’ll be meeting at Campground A where the youth will be camping Saturday. There will be transportation available for those that need a ride to and from and picnic. Several parking spots are adjacent to the camping area if you are driving out. Any and everyone is welcome to attend even if you are unable to bring a dish to share. If you would like more information you can contact 349-0255 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Bikers Church will be having a service this coming Sunday evening at 5 PM. This is not strictly a Joy Christian Center function, it just happens to meet at Joy Christian Center. This is not a covert sheep stealing operation, this is a get together for Bikers around town regardless of what church you normally attend. The goal is for Bikers of like precious faith to get together and transcend any labels we may be called by and gather as the part of the Body of Christ that loves Jesus and likes to ride motorcycles. So come join us! We won’t ask you to join up or pay up, just enjoy fellowship with other bikers.
“Go with the flow” is somewhat of a popular term indicating the benefits of going along with popular ways of thinking, doing, and being. While “going with the flow” may work well if you’re tubing down the river, it does not work so well in the arena of faith. It is vital to know what you believe and why you believe it. Occasionally on TV you will see a large group of individuals chanting and holding signs demonstrating in favor of or against one thing or another. When TV reporters interview some of the people in the crowd two main types of participants emerge: the ones who know why they’re there and whole heartedly believe in whatever cause they are a part of, and the ones who just thought it sounded like a good thing to do. They may not even be fully aware of what they’re taking part it; they just were “going with the flow”.
The Apostles Creed is a powerful statement of the tenets of the Christian faith. The Creed makes expansive declarations that encapsulate the foundational beliefs of Christianity in a brief two or three paragraph document. It is easy to rattle off the Creed “by heart” without giving much thought to the words we’re saying. However, it is vital that we contemplate what we so glibly recite so that we know exactly what we believe and why we believe it. Let’s be like the person who knows what he or she believes and is willing to take to the streets to defend their beliefs and not like the person just going with “the flow” because it seems like a nice idea. Take a “selah” moment to meditate on our Christian Creed along with Pastor Ruth today and internalize anew the what and the why of your faith.