JCC Teens have some fun events that are coming up soon. Wednesday, August 5th is the Girls Expo and the Boys Night Out from 7-8:30 PM. Then on August 12th the Kids and Teens will celebrate going back to school with an end of summer Back to School Bash from 6:30-8:30 PM. You don’t have to be a member of JCC to attend; all teens are welcome to join us for the fun. The guys do need a permission slip signed by a parent or guardian to participate in the Boys Night Out. You can download the form on the publications page of this blog, get it signed, and then bring it with you to the event. If you have questions you may call 349-0255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s devotional, reposted from Rebecca Barlow Jordan, reminds us that we are the plantings of the Lord and it is His desire for us to grow.
“My neighbor recently gave me a thoughtful gift for my garden. She knew how much I loved “yard art.” And it was even lime green and pink–colors I’ve splashed throughout my back yard. But when I planted it in the ground beside my real flowers, God nudged my spirit. This would be more than just a metal decoration. That painted flower decor would remind me of another spiritual lesson–like so much of my garden does.
I love that God can speak to us anywhere, anytime He wants. Don’t you? Here are three reminders He gave me:
Three Ways to Grow Spiritually
1. Grow Up
Just like plants, we are to grow up: Grow to maturity (2 Corinthians 13:11). 1 Corinthians 13:11 (NLT) says, When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. In the message translation of Matthew 5:48, Jesus says, “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity.”
Tiny seedlings are cute, but they need the gardener’s touch with ample nutrients, sunshine, and water, or they’ll wither. Ephesians 4:14 (MSG) adds: God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. If we remain as babies, both in our childish actions and thoughts, and in our inability to feed ourselves with all God offers: the Water of Life, nutrients from His Word, and plenty of Son-shine, we’ll wither as well.
2. Grow Down
Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you
strong (Ephesians 3:17). If the plants in my garden don’t develop strong roots, they’ll soon become weak and limp–especially in this Texas summer heat!
God reminds me that my roots must grow deeper in Him: deeper in faith (2 Corinthians 10:15, NLT), stronger in wisdom and understanding (Psalm 90:12; Proverbs 15:32; Psalm 92:12). I love what Colossians 2:7 adds: Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
3. Grow Out
Philippians 1:9 (NLT) offers a prayer that growing down will result in something more: I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. That little painted flower can remind me that my garden is not entirely for my enjoyment. It can bring others pleasure, too, especially as we share with others from the vegetable portion.
My faith, my love for Jesus, is not just to bring me joy, but it is for sharing with others. And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows (1 Thessalonians 3:12, NLT).
So every time I walk out to my garden and see that lime green and pink flower and the word GROW, I’ll remember it’s more than just a piece of yard art–and more than a special gift from a thoughtful neighbor. It will be a reminder for me to grow up, to grow down, and to grow out–with a prayer that 1 John 4:17 (NLT) will become more of a reality:
And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect.
I want that, don’t you?”
(c) 2015 Rebecca Barlow Jordan Used with Permission http://www.rebeccabarlowjordan.com/a-lesson-from-the-garden/
JCC has some great stuff planned for this weekend that we wanted to let you know about. Sunday evening the Spanish Bible study will meet at 5 PM. If you speak Spanish or know someone who does invite them to join you in attending this study. Also meeting Sunday evening is the Bikers Life Church. They will have a service at 5 PM and a “taco torcher” taco feed afterwards. If you like tacos and motorcycles – or if you just want some fun people to hang out with Sunday evening – come on over and join us. Everyone is welcome. Directions are on the contact page of this blog.
For a list of events coming up the next couple of weeks check out the recently updated Events page of this blog. Bulletins, newsletters, informational flyers, and invitations can be accessed on the Publications page so you don’t have to miss out on anything going on at JCC.
There’s nothing more disheartening to a job seeker than to hear those unmagical words: “Sorry, you’re just not qualified…” Today’s devotional by Christine Caine puts the wind back in our sails as she reminds us that we won’t hear those words from God. He’ll not send us a rejection letter because He qualifies us for whatever task is at hand.
“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?”
(c)2015 Christine Caine Used with Permission christinecaine.com