Archive | November 2015

Ways to Get Through a Disappointment

Today’s devotional, by Christine Caine – reposted with permission, gives the reader some solid hints on dealing with the inevitable disappointments that are part of our human experience.

Read Habakkuk 3:17–19

The prophet Habakkuk states his commitment to rejoice in the Lord and gain strength even when times are difficult and there seems to be no end in sight.

Five Important Toolsdisappoint

God knows when we need to be nurtured and healed, refreshed and sustained. He gives us five important tools for the journey—tools that will help us and equip us to help others as well.

  1. Comfort in the Church. When you’re hurting, going home is the best thing to do, and church is the believer’s spiritual home.
  2. Power in Worship and Praise. The beautiful lyrics of the song, “Blessed Be Your Name” by Matt and Beth Redman goes: “Blessed be your name on the road marked with suffering, though there’s pain in the offering, blessed be your name.” The weight of grief and the burden of feeling alone spill out as we lose ourselves in worship and praise. Peace and confidence in the Lord’s love and care pour in. We magnify the Lord instead of our disappointment. We remember his mercies more than our hurt.
  3. Strength in Choosing the Joy of the Lord. Happiness is based on circumstances, while joy is based on God’s love and faithfulness. Happiness is rooted in positive emotions, while joy is something more. It’s a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23), something that God divinely gives us through the power of his Holy Spirit. Joy is like a medicine when our hearts are sick and the pain seems unbearable.
  4. Wisdom of His Word. God’s Word is full of his promises to us, and when we read it, we’re reminded of them. The psalms, in particular, have helped me through heartache because in them are some of the most pure and honest heart cries ever written. God has a plan and purpose for my life, as he does for each of us, beyond this moment of disappointment. We need not be passively resigned to the problems in life. We need not give up and stop fighting for what we believe in; there is always hope, and as long as there is hope, we can move forward—and bring others with us.
  5. Love of Family and Friends. A friend will help us move forward through our disappointment and into God’s promises. When we can’t see anything but the fog of grief, a friend can help clear the way, help us laugh, bring a smile—and like medicine––the mirth helps us heal.

Point to Ponder

Disappointment is inevitable—for you and everyone else. It’s part of life. But God has given you tools to help you move past the disappointments you encounter and on to a joyous and productive future. You aren’t alone in your sadness, God has given you something to work with.

(c) 2015 Christine Caine Used with Permission  christinecaine.com

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Reducing the Risk Class

JCC values our kids, teens, and at risk adults and take every precaution to ensure that they are protected. So, in addition to a ministry workshop JCC also offered a Reducing the Risk seminar, also taught by Vanda Hoecher, for those individuals interested in working with children, teens, and at risk/vulnerable adults at JCC. This class is a requirement for anyone desiring to work with any of the above mentioned groups in addition to the other requirements of church membership and passing a background check. Click on the arrow below to listen to the audio version of the class. The written material is also posted below and can be accessed on the Publications page of this blog.

 

Reducing the Risk 2

JOY Giver Ministry Workshop

Someone once said “In order to feel a part you have to be a part” This is a truth we’ve seen played out over the years. Those who feel most satisfied and connected to a church family are the ones who are most actively taking part in the church body through some form of ministry. Ministering together with others builds relationships, and fosters camaraderie and a sense of belonging.  To enable individuals to become more connected to the JCC family JCC held a ministry workshop taught by Vanda Hoecher entitled Joy Giver Workshop on the 21st. This workshop is designed to introduce interested individuals to the various ministries available at JCC that they canvandas class 11-21-15 c become involved in. If you missed this class we now have the audio and written version of the class available here on the blog. Please avail yourself of this great opportunity for ministry preparation, and get involved today.

We must decide if we want to be a spectator or a participant. Every church goer has a choice to make. He can park in his usual spot in the church parking lot, make his way to a comfortable seat in a favorite row, watch a good service, chat with friend and then go  home OR he can throw himself into an adventure by rolling up his sleeves, joining a team of like-minded servant, and help build the local church God called him to be a part of.”

It is our sincere desire that you choose to be a part of the growing ministry family at JCC. If you are not a member of JCC yet or you want to become involved in JCC’s Kids/Teens ministry or ministry to vulnerable adults you can visit the Publications page and download an application for primary screening and  church membership Save/download the form, fill it out and then email it to info@akjoy.com

 

Click on the arrow below to listen to the class

Access the printed materials from the class below including a list of JCC’s current ministries and a ministry assessment test to help you discover your areas of gifting and find your place in the Body of Christ. These documents are also available on the Publications page of this blog.

Joy Giver Workshop Joy List of Ministries Updated S.H.A.P.E. Profile Worksheet SHAPE Guide

 

Gratitude in the Midst of

Today’s devotional by Margaret Manning Shull, reposted from A Slice of Infinity, helps us take the concept of thankfulness from a fluffy, once a year observation to an every day in-the-midst-of, where-the-rubber-meets-the- road concrete practice. Click on “read more” to continue reading with us.

 

“Gratitude can be easily forgotten in a world filled with terror, fear, and heightened concern for safety. It is not Gratitude rockdifficult to understand a pervasive mood of suspicion and guardedness given the recent events in Sharm el Sheikh, Beirut, and Paris. A hand-wringing anxiety replaces the open-heartedness that accompanies gratitude.

More than this, it can seem naïve or insensitive to articulate gratefulness in the midst of human suffering. How can I be thankful when so many around the world suffer in unspeakable ways? It feels more appropriate to maintain a somber outlook as a way of finding solidarity with those who are hurting. Being grateful for personal ‘blessing’ seems to add salt to the wound.

Perhaps this is why it is always amazing to encounter those who find gratitude to be healing even in the midst of loss and tragedy.” read more

 

(c) 2015 Margaret Manning Shull A Slice of Infinity  Used with Permission http://rzim.org/a-slice-of-infinity/gratitude 

If Everyone Was Just Like Me

Sunday’s message by Pastor Marlan causes the listener to question  what our church would look like if every person behaved the same way we do. That’ll make you stop a moment and take stock! Would I want to attend a church in which everyone behaved just like I do? Would you? Click on the arrow below to listen to the message. As you listen search your own heart and prayerfully consider how to become the kind of person you would like to sit beside in church every week.

 

Don’t forget to pop on over to the publications page to access the bulletin for this week.

Your Children Will Return

Here’s an encouraging message reposted from Francis Frangipane’s blog for those who are in the midst of the struggle with the enemy for the souls of their kids. It is also an encouraging reminder for the wandering sons and daughters that they have a Father who loves them even in the midst of their wanderings and stands ready to welcome them home.

“No one can tell me that fathers and daughters can’t have close relationships, or even become best friends. People are almost envious of the love my dad and I share. The only time we argue is about who loves who the most. But our relationship was not always this warm. There was a time when I felt I had lost my ability to love my father. I was a teenage Christian in a public high school. My Christian background made me different. I was new, craving acceptance. My father’s rules seemed to be the source of my rejections.

Fueled by my insecurities, in my eyes my dad became the root of my problems. While I set an adequate standard and struggled to live by it, he was strict. I was angry because he refused to back down from the standard he knew was right. He refused to appeal to my ignorance in order to keep my acceptance.

Things were going from bad to worse during those years. We hit bottom the day I looked him square in the eyes and told him that I hated him. They were harsh words, but it was a hard time. I didn’t really hate him. I hated me. I felt I wasn’t bad enough to be accepted by my friends and not good enough to be accepted at home. When these feelings take over your life, you search for something—anything—to blame. I chose my father. He carried the blunt of my pain. He even became my enemy.

In my heart I knew I didn’t hate him. I was angry and confused. I felt he wasn’t concerned with how I felt. It seemed he had made no room for compromise with my situation. He risked losing my love to save my soul.

It was a hard time for us both. He suffered the pain of rejection as I did. He suffered the hurt and the loss, but from a different angle. His fear of the Lord withstood his fear of pain. He loved me, but he had a higher obligation than my favor and my approval. I’m sure at times he wondered if he was doing the right thing. There must of been times when he felt like his prayers were hitting the ceiling and bouncing back at his feet.

At times I’m sure he considered lowering his standards. It would have made things so much easier than wrestling with the power of an independent, strong-willed child. These considerations may have come, but he never gave in to them. He stood firm and prayed harder.

The “prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16 KJV). Many times he cried out to the Lord in anguish and in frustration. “What have I done wrong?” My father has a wonderful ministry to God in prayer. I think I had something to do with the character God worked in him during those days. Before he ever prayed for cities and nations he was on his face praying for me.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6). That verse was a promise that he would hold on to. “Your sons and daughters will prophesy” was another promise he stood upon (Joel 2:28). He had given me to the Lord, set a godly standard and held God to His word.

At the same time, I was wrestling with my salvation. My desire to be accepted by my non-Christian friends at school warred against my desire to be with the Lord. James speaks of a double-minded person being unstable in all of their ways (James 1:8). I was completely unstable. I walked on a line between Heaven and hell. I wanted the best of both worlds and was satisfied in neither.

Although I had been brought up in the church, the world had taken its toll on me. My eyes had been blinded to the sin in my own life, further separating me from God and parents. It was so hard for me to see my way out.

When a child is brought up in a Christian home, regardless of what may happen, there is a seed that has been planted in their heart that continues to grow. It’s an amazing seed because it can grow in the dark without water; it can even bloom in adversity. The reason we can never outrun God is because He is that seed growing within us. Once you have tasted the presence of the Lord, nothing satisfies you like He can. Sometimes those who seem to be running the hardest from God are doing so because He is so close to them.

On the outside my witness was weak and I was in bondage to my unsaved friends. But inside my heart cried for oneness with the Lord. I hated my double-mindedness as much as my father did. My whole life I wanted strong Christian friends to save the world with me. I wanted the support, I just never had it. I did the best I could, but I lost my sensitivity to sin, and the more I was with non-Christian people the more deceived I became.

Paul warns us to not be deceived: “For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousnes?” (2 Cor. 6:14). I didn’t realize the impact my unsaved friends had on me. The more I was with them the more I conformed to them. When I look back, I know, unless my parents had been praying for me, I would have been on my way to hell.

Sin has a way of moving in and taking control. But “love is as strong as death” and “many waters cannot quench love” (Song of Sol. 8:6,7); “love never fails” (1 Cor. 13:8). And prayer is the highest power through which love is released. I had to relearn how to love. My love had become completely self-centered and conditional. I had failed to realize that my father and my Lord loved me unconditionally. I had only to try. I had only to bridge the communication gap to understand that God had loved me before I was even aware of His standards. And my dad loved me for me alone, not for something I had to become.

My relationship with my father is wonderful, and that’s the truth. God has proven faithful in the working of both our lives. The Lord has bridged the gap and filled it with love. It took me leaving my environment and being planted with Christian people who faithfully loved me. It also took my will to change, but it did happen.

Listen, please don’t give up on your teenagers. Don’t sacrifice God’s standards of righteousness to appeal to their carnal nature. They can’t respect you for it and God won’t honor it. Your children were not consecrated to Satan; they were dedicated to the Lord. He has had His hand on them and He will not forget them. He has heard your prayers and He is faithful to your cries. He is your God.

Prayer works. I’m living proof of it. I look back now and see how many times nothing but the miraculous dedication of loving parents took me out of hopeless situations. The Lord will not forsake His children. He will not turn His back on them. We are never too far from His reach. Believe the promises of the Lord. He is not a liar. He honors a steadfast heart. Hold on. Your children will come back to the Lord.”

 

(c) 2015 Joy Frangipane Marion/Ministries of Francis Frangipane Used with Permission  http://francisfrangipanemessages.blogspot.com/2015/11/your-children-will-return-by-joy.html

The Crux of the Story

Today’s devotional is reposted from the Slice of Infinity blog. Click on “read more” below to read the whole devotional.

“…With all of our material gains, there is still a hunger for the spiritual. In virtually every part of the world, students linger long after every session to talk and plead for answers to their barren lives. All the education one gets does not diminish that search for inner coherence, an imagination and a storyline for one’s own life.

There is a yearning that even the most cavalier attitude does not weaken. Moreover, there is indeed a story and one who stands at the center who answers this yearning. Only in the gospel message that culminates in worship is there coherence—which in turn brings coherence within the community of believers, where both individuality and community are affirmed. The worship of the living God is what ultimately binds the various inclinations of the heart and gives them focus. A worshipping community in spirit and in truth binds the diversity of our culture, the diversity of our education, the diversity of our backgrounds, and brings us together into a corporate imagination and expression of worship.

With all that the cultural terrain presents to us, the injunction that “to find one’s self, one must lose one’s self,” contains a truth any seeker of self-fulfillment needs to grasp. Apart from the cross of Jesus Christ, I know of no other hope.” read more

(c) 2015 Ravi Zacharias Used with Permission