Relevant—Part 2 [Devotional]

 

Going Deeper with the Message:

You Are a Superhero
by: Michelle Lemley

Our society values independence. We see it as a mark of pride, a badge of honor if we do everything ourselves and people say, “How does she do it all?” I like to think that I’m juggling life well, but sometimes when I try to do it all, I just fail at a whole bunch of things.

My family is used to coming to me for everything, and I love being their go-to. I cherish that my kids think of me as a superhero with the power to kiss away their hurts and find any missing toy. But sometimes it’s too much for even Super Mom. And this is when it’s time to assemble my Parenting Pros, the team of elite guardians who can answer any question, solve any math problem, or diagnose any mysterious ailments. Sometimes this team is just there for a text or phone call, or sometimes they’re there to do it all when mom and dad need some time away. Big or small, I am learning to rely on my circle of friends and family to make sure I’m doing the best things to raise these boys up to be the men God intends them to be.

On Sunday, Pastor Tim continued our series about the relevance of the modern church. He described the church as a spiritual family which enables us to support one another in 5 important ways:

1 — developing spiritual maturity
2 — meeting physical needs
3 — receiving unconditional love and forgiveness
4 — allowing us to make a unique contribution
5 — impacting the world for Christ

Just as my family extends outside of my home, the church family includes more than just the leaders or staff who prepare services. We all have a role to play in creating our spiritual family. All who have accepted Jesus become adopted into a communal kingdom which has the power to be the church we want the church to be. We need each other to lean on. Just as a forest of trees stands stronger than a tree on it’s own, when surrounded by supporters, we can hold each other up in turbulent times. And if that forest is rooted by the stream that provides everlasting life, we have the ultimate source of strength and resilience to spread to all those around us.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 reads: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

God has designed us to work with each other and to help one another. And the third strand of that cord is the Lord himself, who strengthens our relationships and binds us more tightly to one another. It is through Him that we are able to connect with other members of our spiritual family and impact the world for Christ.

I encourage you today to become more invested in our spiritual family in one of the 5 ways that Pastor Tim outlined. Find a way to use your God-given gifts to be a Super Supporter of someone around you.

 

 

Prayer Plan // September 2021

Prayer Plan //
September 2021

Spotlight

We desire to regularly come together and lift up specific requests to God.

  • Volunteer needs to be met in our ministries
  • Students who have food insecurity during summer months
  • Biological families of the foster children in WV
  • Those affected by the building collapse in Miami
  • The ongoing conflict in the Middle East

ACTS Method

Many believers have found the A.C.T.S. method for prayer helpful. This acronym is based on Jesus’ prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 and contains 4 pieces that are essential to prayer: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.

5

Adoration

Praise God for who He is & what He has done.

5

Confession

Be honest before God about the sin in your life. Acknowledge the ways that you have sinned against God and others with your thoughts, words, and actions. 

5

Thanksgiving

Thank God for what He has done in your life and in the lives of others.

5

Supplication

Ask God for specific requests and trust that He will answer your requests according to His will, not our own. 

Pro tip

Keep a prayer journal! Writing your prayers down will not only help you stay accountable to consistently communicate with God but will also provide you an easy way to see what God is doing in your life!

Spotlight

We desire to regularly come together and lift up specific requests to God.

  • Volunteer needs to be met in our ministries
  • Students who have food insecurity during summer months
  • Biological families of the foster children in WV
  • Those affected by the building collapse in Miami
  • The ongoing conflict in the Middle East

Concentric Circles

One helpful way of thinking about prayer is to think of concentric circles, you know the circle that’s inside of a circle, which is inside of another one and so on. If we visualize our prayer life in this way, it can help us to pray for all the people and situations in our different “circles.” For example, your smallest circle would be your home, then your community, and eventually your world. For some of you, there might be other circles you want to add in such as: your job, your church, your extended family, etc. That’s great! This is a flexible method that molds to help you pray for everyone in your life.

5

YOUR HOME

5

YOUR COMMUNITY

5

YOUR STATE

5

YOUR COUNTRY

5

YOUR WORLD

Pro tip

Keep a prayer journal! Writing your prayers down will not only help you stay accountable to consistently communicate with God but will also provide you an easy way to see what God is doing in your life!

Spotlight

We desire to regularly come together and lift up specific requests to God.

  • For volunteer needs to be met in our ministries
  • For all the students as they transition back into a new year of school
  • For the teachers, faculty, and other personnel as the prep for the new school year
  • For all the local families who are in need of quality employment
  • For those affected by the wildfires on the West Coast
  • For an end to come to all ongoing COVID concerns

Key Relationships

We all have key relationships in our lives; relationships that are highly important to us. Unfortunately, it can be easy to go through our days and weeks forgetting to pray for those people in our lives. One helpful way to combat this is to be intentional about praying through our key relationships like Paul was. We see this in the opening of his letter to the Philippian Church: “I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer” (Philippians 1:3-4). Set aside time each day to pray through your key relationships: I.e. God, family, neighbors, friends, co-workers, etc.

Pro tip

Keep an index card (or notes section on your phone) with the names of all the people you are praying for this month. Rather than pulling out your phone and hopping on Facebook – take that time to pray through your key relationships.

Scripture

What better thing to shape our prayer life than God’s own Word? When we engage God’s word, there are three key things we can do to get the most out of it. Read. Reflect. Respond. Read through the text. Reflect on what you just read. What stands out? What questions do you have? What did you learn about God? Yourself? And finally respond. God speaks to us through His Word. As we take in what He has given us, it is natural to reply back to Him in prayer. This month we are looking at Psalm 1.

Psalm 1  

How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked or take the path of sinners or join a group of mockers! 

Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s Instruction, and he meditates on it day and night. He is like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. 

The wicked are not like this; instead, they are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not survive the judgment,and sinners will not be in the community of the righteous.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.

Response

Father God,

Help me to not be influenced by the chaos of the world around me but rather to delight in You and Your Word day and night.

Help me to plant my roots in the overflowing stream of Your love.

Help me to know that You will bear Your fruit through me in its season.

Help me to not be blown away by the winds of this world but be blown away by the strength of your love for me. 

Help us to stand together and lean on one another during turbulent times.

Thank You for watching over us and protecting us from whatever would lead us to ruin.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

Spotlight

You can pray for the crisis in Afghanistan and lift up these requests to God:

  • Pray for God’s protection over all His people in Afghanistan.
  • Pray for the wisdom and discernment for all our leaders that they make wise decisions.
  • Pray for the families of our service members and Afghans who were tragically killed.
  • Pray for the safety and provision of the U.S. and Afghan military forces.
  • Pray for the safe passage of all the people who wish to leave Afghanistan.
  • Pray for the thousands of refugees that have been displaced from their home.
  • Pray for the Afghan women and girls that the basic freedoms they’ve enjoyed over the past nearly two decades would remain intact.
  • Pray for the missionaries and aid workers who remain in Afghanistan.
  • Pray for the believers in Afghanistan that they would find fellowship and for the Afghan church that it would grow.
  • Pray for hope in a situation that continues to look bleak that God would bring beauty from ashes.

Pro tip

Make it a habit of every time you read scripture to pray through it.

Relevant—Part 1 [Devotional]

 

Going Deeper with the Message:

Rescue Mission
by: Andrew Archer

On Sunday Pastor Tim kicked off a new series titled “Relevant.” In this series we are asking the question, “Is the church still relevant?” In other words, “Does the church have something to offer the world?” Throughout this series we will be making the case that the church is not only relevant, but essential. The first, and perhaps most important, way in which the church is relevant is that the church has a message that can change the world one life at a time.

The message that we have is that:

”[The Father] has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves. We have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, in Him” – Colossians 1:13-14

While we, the church, have this message and it’s our responsibility as ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:18-20) to bring this message to the world; it can be hard to do.

In our current cultural climate, talking about faith can often be taboo. Many people respect what others believe, even if it’s different from what they believe; however, they don’t want anyone to talk about their beliefs to them. Not only does that create an obstacle for sharing the Gospel but I also think many people, including some of us in the church, misunderstand the Gospel as well and that perhaps presents an even bigger hurdle. When I talk with people about faith they often think that Christianity is all about following rules and getting in trouble when we don’t. When we view Christianity as such, it is natural to be reluctant about sharing that with someone else—what awful news that would be!

However, I believe that if we truly understand the Gospel message—how it is not one of condemnation but rather of great hope—then sharing it with the world should excite us! Jesus put it this way right after he spoke the most famous verse in the Bible:

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” – John 3:17

Jesus’ mission wasn’t condemnation—it was rescue! Most people agree that we live in a broken world, it’s challenging to argue otherwise. We get the great privilege of sharing about the One who came to save us from our brokenness!

This week, make a list of three people that you want to share the Gospel with. Write their names on an index card, in the notes app on your phone, or somewhere else easily accessible. Pray for them every day. Pray that God would soften their hearts to receive the Gospel. Pray that God would give you opportunities to share the Gospel with them. And don’t simply share the Gospel with words, live it out as well. Love these people in the way that Christ loved us—by laying His life down for us.

 

 

Living out the Message:

Yet Will I Trust Him
By Barb Barnhart

This week, Andrew shared with us about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These three men can be seen as the epitome of trust. No matter which way the results from being thrown into the fiery furnace went, they would still trust God. Their response to King Nebuchadnezzar was:

But even if He does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.” –Daniel 3:1

Job was another person in scripture that demonstrated trust in the midst of adversity.

“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him” –Job 13:15 (KJV)

Two years ago, my brother was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. I got the call on Valentine’s Day of 2019. This was my fiery furnace! I watched my brother, who was physically fit, go from a strong 190 pounds down to a weak 130 pounds in less than five months. All the while, I prayed that God would heal him. His family needed him. I needed him. He was so very sick, unable to eat or do any of the things he had loved. Yet he trusted God. He knew that no matter what happened, He would be with Jesus one day.

This is part of my journey where the statement, “yet will I trust Him” became a question. Yet will I trust Him? My trust was very small and seemingly insignificant. Yet I will trust Him. When my brother passed away in July of 2019, my trust was at a very low point, hanging by a thread. I was angry and sad! My brother needed to be here to see his youngest son, who is on the Autism spectrum, go to Life College at Coastal Carolina University. He was supposed to walk his daughter down the aisle at her wedding. Right now, he should be holding his brand new baby granddaughter. Moment by moment I hold tightly to God’s promises, though I don’t understand. Yet will I trust Him!

This trust I have in my Savior is one that grows as I purposefully believe that He is at work in my life. I cry. I read His Word. I sing His songs of praise. I pray. 

I know that everyone has had or will have a fiery furnace time in their lives. We each must decide how to hold onto the trust we have in Jesus. It is a blessing to know that as we walk through the furnace of our despair, we are not alone. God is with us. Caring for us. Protecting us. Loving us. You can decide…

YET WILL I TRUST HIM!