Archive | April 2016

Coffeehouse

may 2016 coffeeIt’s time for our regularly scheduled Coffeehouse fellowship night. Join us for coffee, Italian Sodas, snacks, live music, and time well spent relaxing with friends and family. You don’t have to be a JCC member to be a part of the action. Bring a friend or two and come on over tomorrow night, May 1st at 5:30 PM

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Feeling Overwhelmed?

Perhaps you are feeling overwhelmed by just stuff. Perhaps you’re doing mighty fine. Either way this devotional will speak encouragement to you. If you don’t feel like you need it today you can tuck it away for a rainy day. Reposted from Holley Gerth’s blog.

i am with you“I sit on the back porch and stare out over open space. The scene is serene but inside my mind it’s a different story. I think of all that’s coming then I whisper these words, “I don’t know if I can do this.”

I don’t know if I have the strength.

I don’t know if I have the perseverance.

I don’t know if I have the wisdom.

Have you ever felt that way too?

Thankfully when Jesus said we could do all things through Him it included this. It included right now.

We don’t have to be strong because He says, “I will strengthen you and help you.” {Is. 41:10}

We don’t have to do this alone because He promises, “I will be with you…because I love you.” {Is 43:2-4}

We don’t have to figure everything out because He assures us, “I will teach you the way you should go.” {Ps. 32:8}

This is the secret that can empower us on the days when we feel overwhelmed, the truth we can hold on to when we get discouraged, the wild mystery that lifts life’s weight from our shoulders: It’s not about what we have in us; it’s about Who. Nothing is impossible for Him–which means with Him nothing is impossible for us too.”

(c) 2016 Holley Gerth Used with permission  http://holleygerth.com/feeling-overwhelmed/

Thomas: Surviving Our Scars

Today our devotional is reposted from Devotionals Daily. The Author suggests a new way to look at the man some people have dubbed “Doubting Thomas” – a very interesting take on this man.

But Thomas said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in His hands… I will not believe.’ — John 20:25 As Christians, we are all familiar with the story of Thomas, which we usually understand to convey the lesson that doubt is the opposite of faith and is therefore sinful and wrong. a href=’http://www.faithgateway.com/thomas-surviving-scars/’ title=’Read more’ …/a

Source: Thomas: Surviving Our Scars

Label or Love?

Today’s devotional, reposted from Max Lucado, urges us to love rather than label the people around us.

Discarded People

God calls us to change the way we look at people. Not to see them as Gentiles or Jews, insiders or outsiders, liberals or conservatives. Not to label. To label is to libel. “We have stopped evaluating others by what the world thinks about them” (2 Cor. 5:16NLT).

Let’s view people differently; let’s view them as we do ourselves. Blemished, perhaps. Unfinished, for certain. Yet, once rescued and restored, we may shed light, like the two stained-glass windows in my office.

My brother found them on a junkyard heap. Some church had discarded them. Dee, a handy carpenter, reclaimed them. He repainted the chipped wood, repaired the worn frame. He sealed some of the cracks in the colored glass. The windows aren’t perfect. But if suspended where the sun can pass through, they cascade multicolored light into the room.

In our lifetimes, you and I are going to come across some discarded people. Tossed out. Sometimes tossed out by a church. And we get to choose. Neglect or rescue? Label them or love them? We know Jesus’ choice. Just look at what he did with us.

 

(c) 2016 Max Lucado Used with Permission  maxlucado.com

In But Not Of

Today’s devotional, reposted from Christine Caine, urges us to shine our light in this dark world rather than retreat into isolation because of fear.

Read John 17:15–18

Jesus prayed for his disciples and acknowledged that though they were in the world they were not of the world.

Not of This World

During my university years, I thought I was a strong Christian simply because I didn’t do what many of my college friends did, like getting drunk, taking drugs, or sleeping around. I was defining my Christianity by what I was not doing; completely forgetting about what it was that I should be doing. The goal of my university years should have been not only to abstain from “bad” behaviors but also to actually bear witness to the abundant life of God living in me.

When Jesus said that people would see our good works and give glory to the Father in heaven, he was not talking about making religious behavior modifications but rather about displaying the fruit of an authentic Christian life. These actions flow from the fruit of the Holy Spirit working in our lives and are characterized by kindness, mercy, justice, love, and compassion. Instead of being intimidated by the darkness, I should have been the catalyst for some honest, deep communication. Then perhaps I might have influenced the choices some of my friends were making. I needed to be in their world but not of their world so that through me, God could bring lasting change to their lives.

I think it’s so telling that Jesus specifically said that he did not ask that his followers be taken out of the world. Quite the contrary, he said that he is sending us into the world. In the twenty-first century, this world is filled with immorality, iniquity, crime, violence, greed, chauvinism, gossip, sexism, slander, racism—and the list goes on. The world that Jesus has sent us into is not a distant, far-off land in the remote regions of the earth but the place in which all of us conduct our everyday lives. This world comprises our homes, neighborhoods (and our neighbors), schools, colleges, and workplaces.

The point I’m trying to make here is that if we have an unfounded fear of the world that causes us to retreat from the world, we will fail to bring light to the world—and a dark world will remain devoid of the living Church. But if we are personally transformed by God’s Spirit and build a strong spiritual core, our light will shine forth brightly from a place of strength, and we would simultaneously remain holy in the midst of the darkness.

Point to Ponder

This world was never intended to be a threat to the Church but rather the mission field of the Church, which, through Jesus Christ, has the power to change our world rather than be changed by our world! Will you let your light shine brightly?

 

 

(c) 2016 Christine Caine Used with permission

Carrying God’s Light

Today’s devotional, written by Christine Caine, reminds us of our responsibility as bearers of Christ’s light in our world. Let’s let the light of God in us shine brightly!

Read John 12:44–46

Jesus came to bring light to the world. It’s no longer necessary for anyone to walk in darkness.

Carry the Light

We have a responsibility to shine Christ’s light wherever we are. As with salt, light is an agent of transformation. Light and darkness cannot coexist. Whenever light encounters darkness, darkness is dispelled. In a world full of darkness, hopelessness, pain, and anguish, people are looking for direction, answers to their confusion, and some semblance of hope for their future. The light in our lives helps those around us find a way through the darkness and points them toward the life God has waiting for them.light in dark

It is as we shine light in the midst of this darkness that people will be attracted to God, his love, his grace, and his mercy. The prophet Isaiah declares, “Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising” (Isa. 60:1–3). Isaiah tells us that the light of Christ is attractive, magnetic, and transformational. The key is to ensure that we actually let our light shine in our everyday lives.

As sharers of God’s light, we choose the intensity of the light that we shine into our world. The strength of our spiritual core actually determines whether we are a faint flickering candle, a 75-watt light bulb, or a stadium spotlight. If our core is weak, broken and fragmented, then our light is dimmed, impeding our effectiveness in sharing Christ’s light. The degree to which we allow the light of Christ to transform our own lives determines how far our light shines in a dark world.

It will take each and every one of us to personally rise up and take our light into the darkness around us. Instead of hiding from the world or being overwhelmed by the evil of it, we need to strengthen our spiritual cores and trust in the power of God’s Spirit at work in us.

Point to Ponder

You might never know how much the light you carry means to someone walking in darkness. Are you ready to rise up and carry your light to those who are suffering? Are you willing to turn up the intensity and let your life for Christ make a difference?”

(c) 2016 Christine Caine Used with Permission