Archive | April 2018

The Next Big Thing

The world system seems to strive to keep us in a constant state of dissatisfaction. Advertisers tell us there is always something better than what we have and we find ourselves fighting to keep a heart of contentment. Today’s devotional, reposted from faithgateway.com,  encourages us to fix our eyes on the real “big thing” that God offers us instead.

When I was growing up, there was always a next big thing.

As a poor kid raised in Chicago’s Humboldt Park, I usually got the next big thing long after it had already peaked. By the time I got my first hand-me-down bicycle, skateboards were in. Couple years later when I finally got a skateboard, video games were all my friends talked about. On and on, from cassette players to car stereos, video cameras to VCRs, pet rocks to iPods, polo shirts to designer purses — there was always something that all the cool kids had while the rest of us lagged behind.

Without money to waste, because a box of Cap’n Crunch was a luxury in my neighborhood, I realized early on that there would always be a read more

source: faithgateway.com

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Fasting and Brokenness

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Brokenness isn’t ever a comfortable, easy thing. However, it is necessary for us to be able to grow into all we were created to be in Christ. Fasting is one means to brokenness. We humble ourselves and fast and pray, and God breaks stuff in us and off of us. So, even though it may not be a pleasant experience the pay off is amazing. Click on the arrow below to listen to Pastor Heidi’s message about fasting and brokenness. This is our third week in the 21 day fast. There’s still time to jump in and experience some of the spiritual benefits of fasting and seeking God with us.

 

Click on the Publications page to read this week’s bulletin.

 

A Prayer for Anxiety and Stress

Pretty much everyone has had, has, or will have at some point a struggle managing stress and anxiety. Today’s devotional by Rebecca Barlow Jordan offers an idea of how to pray when you find yourself battling those twin bullies.

Is anxiety holding you hostage and keeping you from rest? Do you feel burdens pressing in that seem too heavy to bear? When stressful thoughts pull you in the wrong direction, and you’re struggling to find balance, the following prayer might express your thoughts and help you find relief and freedom:

Lord Jesus, the stresses in my life often reach a dangerous proportion—or so it seems. My body, mind, and spirit struggle to keep up physically, mentally, and yes, spiritually. Some days anxiety stalks me like a deceitful predator, and the temptation to worry draws me in. I know better, but some days the challenges outweigh the read more

source rebeccabarlowjordan.com

Breaking up the Fallow Ground

© Fotoeye75 | Dreamstime.com

Ground that has not been worked in awhile becomes hard and has to be ploughed up before it can properly absorb moisture and be useful for growing crops. We need to allow God to break up the hardened ground of our hearts so that we can receive what God wants to pour out into us. Pastor Shayna continued the series on fasting and prayer Sunday morning this a message about fasting for breakthrough in our lives. Click on the arrow below to listen. We’re beginning week 2 of our 21 day fast. If you would like to join us please do!

 

Click on the Publications page of this blog to read this week’s bulletin

 

Healthy Regret

There’s guilt and then there’s condemnation. One tells you what you did was wrong. The other tells you that you are inherently wrong and bad. A healthy regret – guilt – about wrong things that we’ve done leads to repentance and reconciliation while the other leads to death. Today’s devotional by Max Lucado, reposted from biblegateway.com, talks about the healthy kind of regret that will lead you into freedom and life.

Photo by Ashim D’Silva on Unsplash

There is an old story about the time Emperor Frederick the Great visited Potsdam Prison. He spoke with the prisoners, and each man claimed to be innocent, a victim of the system. One man, however, sat silently in the corner.

The ruler asked him, “And you, sir, who do you blame for your sentence?”

His response was, “Your majesty, I am guilty and richly deserve my punishment.” Surprised, the emperor shouted for the prison warden: “Come and get this man out of here before he corrupts all these innocent people.”

The ruler can set us free once we read more

source: biblegateway.com

Stop Building Monuments and Start Becoming a Movement

Monument or movement – what do you want your life to be? A memento of something that was great at one point but no longer is, or do you want to be moving and changing and growing and remain vitally alive? Today’s devotional, reposted from charisma.com, is an eye opening word from God about not remaining in the same place we’ve always been doing the same things we’ve always done. (BTW –  Pastor Shayna brought a great message Sunday morning that goes along with this theme. If you haven’t listened to her message you can scroll down a bit and have a listen.)

(Unsplash/Matteo Vistocco)

Recently in prayer, I have been discussing this thought with the Lord, “God, what I do, I want to be doing it strong, five years from now and 10 years, 20 years and even 40 years from now.” I don’t ever want to be someone who is doing something great for the Lord and then kind of fade away. I want to leave a legacy for my children, my grandchildren and my spiritual children.

What the Lord has been speaking to me is, “always be a movement and never create a monument.” A monument is something the men build in order to read more

 

Source: charisma.com

Moving Forward

You cannot stay where you are if you want to move forward. It may seem like a “duh” statement, but if its so simplistic, then why do many of us continue to do the same things the same way then complain when nothing changes and we don’t make any forward progress? Huh. Maybe we need to think about doing things differently, right? Sunday’s message by Pastor Shayna urges us to begin doing things differently so we can move forward. She suggests that fasting can be a way to help us make those necessary changes. At the end of the message Pastor Shayna asks that the JCC family join Pastor Caleb and her in a 21 day fast to ask God how to move forward in this new season. That call is relevant for each of us, however, regardless of what church family we are a part of. If you need some help getting moving please feel free to join us on this 21 day fast. Whether you do a total fast, fast a meal a day, fast a food group is up to you. Be sure to add in some time with God in prayer while you’re at it. Click on the arrow to listen. Read this week’s bulletin on the Publications page of this blog.