Archive | June 2015

Youth Rally

Only one more night to be a part of the Youth Rally at JCC. Tomorrow night, July 1st at 6:30 PM we will have a Youth Rally for junior high and high school aged students. There will be some great music, an awesome message, and a drawing for prizes. Don’t miss out! Call 349-0255 for more information.

youth

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Get Out of Bed

sleepingEveryone likes to be comfortable. Most of us like to sleep in when we can; the pull of that warm, comfy bed is hard to resist – especially when there is something that we’d rather not face or do. It’s so much easier just to roll over and pull the covers over our heads and go back to sleep. However, that is not the life that we are called to as Christ Followers.  Click on the arrow below to listen as Pastor Aaron, one of the VBS leaders from the AIM team, encourages us to wake up, throw off those blankets, get out of bed and be about our Father’s business.

 

click on the publications page to read this week’s bulletin

 

 

Bridge Over Troubled Waters

Today’s devotional is a word reposted from Cindy Jacobs of General’s International ministry. Let God encourage you through this message today.

“And I saw that the waters were so troubled underneath this bridge that we as God’s children were looking at it and we weren’t looking at the bridge, we were looking at the troubled waters, and as I stood and I knew I represented the body of Christ, I was looking at this bridge and it was dark walking up onto that bridge so I could not see where I would be walking and so the darkness of the night, I knew I was in transition. I needed to cross that bridge, but both that and the troubled waters disturbed me so much. I felt disturbed.  I was having to fight concern almost to the point of fear for my future as I crossed that bridge.

And the Holy Spirit began to speak this word to me, and He said, “I am the one that will take you from point A to point B, but you have to be the one that steps on the bridge. I am the one that is there for you, and I am planning your future, but I’m not going to show you the future in the way you want, because I am building your trust factor that I am a sure bridge. And in a season of transition, whether it’s a transition in your level of faith or whether it’s circumstances that you don’t know how to walk through, you don’t know how I’m going to work these things out for you. You only are looking at the waters that are troubled and the darkness of the night. But I would say to you, you must step onto the bridge. You must be willing to make the steps and know that it is I who am beckoning you to enter new levels of trust. I am beckoning you to look at me, your bridge, not the circumstances around you. So know this, I am speaking to you today and I am nudging you even, step out! Step out!I am your firm footing. I will make your feet like hinds’ feet in high places. I will give you assurity to walk.”

And the Lord says, “And you have been saying, ‘Lord, you’re going to have to show me before I make the steps’. And I am saying that is not the way it’s going to work. For you will not move into presumption, but you must stop looking at the circumstances that are troubled waters to you and you must stop looking at the fact that you can’t see where you are walking and the eventuality of it. You must trust me,” says the Lord.

“And I will speak peace in to the waters and I will be that person for you that you need. I will comfort you today,” says the lord.

“If you trust me, I will be with you for I am your bridge over troubled waters,” says the Lord. ”

 

(c) 2015 Cindy Jacobs Used with Permission http://www.generals.org/articles/single/cindys-word-from-the-lord-on-june-17/

Going on Now

There’s still plenty of time to sign your kids up for VBS and Joy Christian Center. Thursday, June 25th through Saturday, June 27th 9 AM to 3 PM at 4335 Laurel Street. Fun and games, food, music, crafts, and best of all it’s FREE. Call 349-0255 if you have questions or need more information.

journey 2015

One Man

Today’s devotional, reposted from Francis’ Frangipane’s blog, is a timely reminder to pray for our nation. It is easy to begin feeling hopeless because of the rampant sin and violence around us, but we can do what Abraham did and pray confidently, expecting that the same God who listened to Abraham will listen to us as well.

prayer  handsGod’s Response to Redemptive Intercession
When Abraham was confronted with the possibility of Sodom’s destruction, he did not immediately jump on the “Destroy Sodom” bandwagon; instead, he went before the Lord and prayed for mercy for the city. Abraham’s prayer is an amazing study on the effect a mercy-motivated intercessor has on the heart of God. Indeed, my objective here is to gaze into the heart of God as it is revealed in the discourse between the Lord and Abraham.

When we look at Abraham’s prayer, we discover an amazing power granted us in intercession. And what is that? God is looking for a mercy reason that would justify Him delaying or canceling wrath. We must not belittle this principle, for in it is great hope for our land as well. The mercy reason for delay is found in the compassionate prayer of an intercessor.

Let us consider the Lord’s initial response to Sodom’s sin. First, He revealed to Abraham, His servant, what He was about to do. Why? Wasn’t the evil so dark that it deserved to be destroyed? Yes, the wickedness in Sodom fully deserved divine wrath. Yet that is not why the Lord revealed to Abraham the pending judgment. The Lord informed Abraham of what was coming not so His servant could criticize, but so Abraham would intercede for mercy. Remember, God delights in mercy (Mic. 7:18) and takes “no pleasure in the death of the wicked” (Ezek. 33:11). The Lord always seeks for opportunities of mercy. Therefore, let’s take note of how Abraham approached the Almighty:

“Abraham came near and said, ‘Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will You indeed sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?'” (Gen. 18:23-25).

Notice, Abraham did not pray from a place of anger. He never said, “God, it’s about time You killed the perverts.” There was no finger-pointing vindictiveness in Abraham’s soul. Somehow we have come to believe that non-compromising Christians must also be angry. Abraham never compromised with Sodom’s depraved culture, yet he was above fleshly reaction. In fact, throughout his prayer, Abraham never mentioned what was wrong in Sodom. He appealed, instead, to the mercy and integrity of the Lord.

This is vitally important for us, because Jesus said, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham” (John 8:39). One of Abraham’s most noteworthy deeds involved his intercessory prayer for Sodom, the most perverse city in the world!

Abraham first acknowledged the Lord’s integrity, then he spoke to the Lord’s mercy.

“Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will You indeed sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty?” (Gen. 18:24).

The Lord knew that it would be unjust to slay the righteous with the wicked; Abraham’s prayer did not enlighten the Lord of some unknown fact. But the nature of life on earth is this: God works with man to establish the future, and in the process of determining reality, He always prepares a merciful alternative. In other words, urgent, redemptive prayer shoots straight through the mercy door and enters God’s heart. This door is never shut, especially since we have a High Priest, Jesus Christ, ministering at the mercy seat in the heavens (Heb. 8:1). It is open each and every time we pray.

Listen to how the Lord answered Abraham’s prayer for mercy: “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare the whole place on their account” (Gen. 18:26).

How the truth of God’s mercy flies in the face of those so eager to judge their nation! Incredibly, the Lord said He would spare the whole of Sodom if He found fifty righteous people there. Now keep this in mind: the Hebrew word for “spare” means more than “not destroy”; it also means “to forgive or pardon.” This is a tremendous revelation about the living God. He will minimize, delay, or even cancel a day of reckoning as long as Christ-inspired prayer is being offered for sinners!

Time and again throughout the Scriptures the Lord proclaims an ever present truth about His nature: He is “slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness” (Exod. 34:6). Do we believe this? Here it is, demonstrated right before our eyes in the Scriptures. He tells us plainly that a few righteous people scattered in a city can preserve that area from divine wrath.

Abraham knew the love of God. He was an intimate friend of God’s. Abraham, in truth, had a clear view into the heart of God based on his own experiences. This interceding patriarch had seen the Almighty bless, prosper, and forgive him, so he pressed God’s mercy toward its limits.

“What if there are forty?”

The Lord would spare it for forty.

Abraham bargained, “Thirty?”

He would spare it for thirty.

“Twenty?”

He finally secured the Lord’s promise not to destroy the city if He could find just ten righteous people there. On God’s scales, wrath is on one side and mercy on the other. Put the entire city of Sodom with all its sin and perversion on one side. The scales tip toward wrath as the weightiness of advanced wickedness runs rampant through an entire city. Let’s assume that there were two hundred thousand evil people in Sodom. It is weighed heavily on the side of evil. Yet on the other side, place just ten righteous individuals. As the ten are placed on the scale, the spiritual weight of the righteous, with just ten, tips the scales toward mercy!

In God’s heart, the substance of the righteous far outweighs the wickedness of the evil! Herein we discover what we are seeking in the heart of God through prayer: the Lord would spare (forgive) sinful Sodom, with its gangs of violent homosexuals, because of the influence of ten godly people who dwelt within it!

How About Your Community?
Now, let’s think of your city: Are there ten good people among you? Consider your region. Do you think there might be one hundred praying people living within its borders, people who are pleading with God for mercy? What about nationwide? Do you suppose there might be ten thousand people interceding for your country? God said He would spare Sodom for ten righteous people. Do you think God would spare your nation for ten thousand righteous?

I lived in a metropolitan area in the United States that has about two hundred thousand people. I can list by name scores of righteous individuals, including pastors, intercessors, youth workers, black folks, white folks, Hispanic folks, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Christian business people, moms, dads, godly teenagers, praying grandmothers, secretaries, policemen, and on and on who live there — far more than the ten righteous needed to save a place like Sodom. There are many who care about this city.

Think about your church and the greater church community in your city. Aren’t there at least ten honorable people who sincerely care about your community, who desire that God would bring revival? Remember, the Lord said He would spare Sodom for the sake of the ten.

My plea in this message is that you would see yourself as one who is standing in the gap for your city. See if there are others in your community who will pray with you. The power of prayer can release a tsunami of mercy that can topple strongholds and set captives free in your region.

Finally, let us not give up our communities to the influences of hell. God is able to raise up a standard against wickedness. In fact, He says He looks for a man who will stand in the gap, that He might not strike the earth in His wrath. Will you be that one? You see, the true measure of spirituality is not how angry we become toward sinners, but how Christlike; our mission is not to see men destroyed, but redeemed.”

(c) 2015 Francis Frangipane Used with Permission http://francisfrangipanemessages.blogspot.com/2015/06/one-man.html

Men of Faith

OK, all you guys that don’t have kids; just because this is a Father’s day sermon doesn’t mean you get a day off; it applies to all men. And, Ladies’ while this message is directed to men because it’s Father’s Day, the implications of this lesson are as applicable to women as to men any time of the year.

Men-of-faith-KARENWe all have choices, and we’re responsible for our lives and growth in Christ. God sometime brings and other times allows situations into our lives that are opportunities to grow in faith and obedience. It is our job to make good choices in these situations that will honor God and help us grow in righteousness. Not everyone appreciates someone who walks in faith and righteousness, so you may get a slap in the face instead of a pat on the back when you make godly choices, but make them anyway. Other’s disapproval of your right choices does not excuse you from your responsibility to make those God-honoring choices. Click on the arrow below to listen to Pastor Ruth’s message on being a man (or woman) of faith.

Ordinary

To us humans with our addiction to all things over-the-top latest and greatest extraordinary the ordinary life we live just doesn’t seem very inspiring or appealing. Today’s devotional by Adela Just, reposted from General’s International, suggests that we rethink our views on what it means to be ordinary and live an ordinary life.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9

“When I was a teenager, growing in my relationship with God, all I wanted was to do something “big” for Him. I wanted to change the world. Part of this desire was the overflow of a sincere love for the Lord, but part of it was the response to the language that was all around me—the need to see a huge move of God, the call to lay down your life and do something great for the kingdom, the urgency to make a difference.

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with any of those words, concepts, or longings. I love when God moves! I love the stories of times He has poured out His spirit in unique and unusual ways, and entire regions or cities were transformed. I respect people who have taken tremendous risks in order to reach others with God’s love, and I am so encouraged to hear about the ways God honors their sacrifices. I still want to make a difference; if you love people, I don’t think you can help having that desire.

But as I get a little bit older—and hopefully, a little bit wiser—I recognize more and more the value of everyday, ordinary faithfulness. Most “great” things don’t just suddenly happen; instead, they are the result of one step at a time, one day at a time.

In the Bible, we are only given brief glimpses into the lives of men and women of faith; as a result, we only really get the highlights and the climaxes. Think of Abraham, leaving behind everything he’d known in Ur to follow God on a journey into the unknown. We are given a few key stories about his encounters with God and a handful of other life events. But how many days were spent just walking? How many days were spent pitching tents and tending flocks and waiting for further instructions? How often was he tempted to stay put or maybe even to turn back? He had to choose faithfulness one ordinary day at a time.

Abraham is not alone. Joseph spent all those years in prison, choosing character and integrity, even when it likely seemed futile. David had many years learning leadership and humility between the time he was anointed as king and the time when he actually became king. Esther was married to Xerxes for a long time before she began to see why God had brought her to the position of queen in a foreign land.

Even in Jesus’ time on earth, we are only given the highlights of His ministry. But in all those years before He was publicly launched and even during the time He was actively ministering, He was choosing to be faithful to the will of the Father one day at a time.

When we merely have to flip over a few a pages to get from one major event to the next, it is easy to forget about the mundane passage of time. We tend to refer to the men and women of Scripture as “heroes of the faith,” but they would probably be surprised to hear themselves labelled in such a way. They were men and women who had to choose faith and trust day by day. They had to deal with the voices of fear and doubt and decide if they would listen to them. They failed and got back up again. They did the best they could to live according to the reality of who God was in their lives. And from the place of ordinary faithfulness, God birthed extraordinary things.

We tend to think of God using us or doing something great through us as a big, glamorous thing, but in reality, much of our spiritual journey is a steadfast walk by faith, not by sight. It is about being consistent and trustworthy with the little things—and I have a feeling that many of those “little” things will turn out to be a lot more significant than we thought once we get to view them through the lens of eternity.

Perhaps some of you have been feeling discouraged or even disappointed. Maybe you thought your life would look a lot different than it does. You might have longed to do something really significant, and you are wondering if you did something wrong or missed your chance. But don’t miss the glory of what God is doing right in front of you because you are expecting it to look a certain way.

Are you loving people? Are you striving to work with integrity and honesty? Are you serving others? Are you being a dependable friend? Are you walking in humility? Are you doing your best to walk in reconciliation? Are you choosing contentment and gratitude in a world driven by greed and selfish ambition? Most importantly, are you building a life based on who God says He is and what He promises? And on the days when you don’t do these things as well as you would like to, are you getting back up and trying again?

Then you are doing something significant for God’s kingdom, and you are making a difference. It makes a difference to the people you encounter every day when you do your best to reflect God’s heart in your words and actions, even if you do not realize or see the eternal work taking place.

To the faithful, God shows Himself faithful (Ps. 18:25). He looks to strengthen the hearts of those who are fully committed to Him (2 Chron. 16:9). He sees you, even when it feels like no one else does. Don’t lose heart. Keep choosing Him one ordinary day at a time, and trust that He will use your faithfulness in extraordinary ways.”

(c) 2015 Adela Just General’s International Used with permission http://www.generals.org/articles/single/ordinary-faithfulness/