A little bit on fire this morning…
What is our focus on? What expectations do we have from serving in the church? Have we become to self-serving?
We as a body of Christ are called to work together in unity with love to serve each other and the community. Not because it is a duty as a Christian, but because this is how Jesus lived. And we are called to be imitators of Jesus. When Jesus was performing miracles and sharing the Spirit of God the only thing he was expecting to get out of it was the glorification of the King and creator. He was not in it for himself. He trusted that God would provide for him and so he provided for others without asking God what he could get out of it.
It is such a privilege to serve God and feel the Holy Spirit working in our lives. It’s amazing when we see God’s plan coming together, or when we see someone who was lost and without hope realize that they are loved beyond measure and Jesus has taken away all the wrongs and all the wounds of their past and we see them baptized with the Spirit. How glorious is it when we see the works of Gods hands? That is the point and the expectation we should have when we serve the Church and Christ. That we will glorify the Kingdom and bring others to know their salvation. We can not be serving ourselves when serve in the church and asking “what’s in it for me”.
I’ve been pulled to Acts 2 several times recently and with verse 42 we see how believers who were newly baptized with the Holy Spirit went on to work in unity and sold their possessions and gave to anyone who had a need. Those who received their gifts then met in fellowship and became newly baptized themselves. The Holy Spirit kept on working and growing because the believers did what ever they could to serve and show that God was in them without asking what was in it for them. And so they were blessed and kept on growing in numbers bring glory to God.
Week of May 27th 2012
This week the subject is easy to understand but a little bit harder to apply and must be in constant practice. Focus. Paul all throughout Romans 12 has been explaining to us where our focus should be; Surrendered to God, renewed, humbled, serving with love using our gifts, and being sincere never lacking fervor as we serve. That’s a lot to focus on and a little over whelming! You might be crying out to God saying “Father, How am I supposed to do all of this, I’m only human?!”
Let’s read verses12-13
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithfull in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.’’
Another word for joyful commonly used here is rejoicing. Here Chip Ingram is telling us rejoicing and being joyful in hope is focusing on the trust we have in God and what he has given us. Next we are to be focused on patience and persevering when we are stressed, or in hardship. God will use these times to test our faith, and help us grow as we gain patience by being faithful in constant prayer both for ourselves and others. This leads us to the last section. Serving others and loving them by sharing our time, our services, our home, our prayers and even our money when we see the need. We should be actively pursuing the needs of others and focusing on just beingin the Spirit of God. Chip ends the chapter by saying “Let’s stop going to church; let’s be the church!”
We thank you for bringing us together so that we can feel your presence and love in each other. We feel you working in this group and ask that your spirit continue to dwell in us as we form a strong, supportive, loving community. Open our eyes when we are focused on selfish motives and fail to see the needs of others so that we can continue to serve with love as you have loved us.
With thankful hearts we pray, Amen
2 Corinthians 4:16-17
“Therefor we do not lose heart.Though outwardly we are wasting away,yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
Brothers and Sisters- My back hurts,my eyes hurt and parts of my body seem to be falling apart. But it’s amazing how wonderful and full of life i feel when I hear God talking to me through the Bible.When we respond to all the pains and worries of life with faith and continue to grow with God in our study and prayer we are achieving glory. And that glory outweighs all the troubles of life. Amazing. Verse 18 goes on to say “So fix your eyes not on what is seen,but on what is unseen. for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Thank you lord for all that you give that is unseen. Give us eyes with vision for only you; so that our faith will never waver.In Jesus name,Amen
salvation and sweet dreams
Week of May 20th 2012
What is keeping us from experiencing authentic community?
Authentic community occurs when the real you meets real needs for the right reasons in the right way.-Chip Ingram
In past weeks we talked about not worrying about pleasing people and finding our self-worth in their approval. Several times now you have heard (or read) about how important Action is in serving God. We shouldn’t just say but actually do. Chip Ingram tells us in this chapter about a time when he was young and his pastor called him out on his misguided motive for serving. The general concept of his story is very common. We all want to be liked, appreciated, and recognized for a job well done, but all of those things are just self gratifying. We can’t be serving God, if in the back of our minds we really are looking for a pat on the back. In this chapter we have been challenged to check our motives by how we respond to not getting the pat on the back.
Secondly think about the verse we just studied last week. Being devoted in brotherly love and honoring each other above our self. Now read the verse at the top of the page. Never be lacking Zeal means never being lazy! Chip defines laziness as not doing what you know needs to be done, when it needs to be done. If we know that there is a brother or sister of ours who needs help but we are lacking zeal and fervor, because possibly we “just don’t feel like it” then how are we honoring them in brotherly love with the servant heart that we have been called to have in Romans 12?
It is important to keep these things in mind and do some self-evaluation. Here are some questions to meditate and pray on. Are you serving God passionately by putting yourself aside and focusing a loving heart on how you can help your brothers and sisters, and not what you can get out of it? Have you fallen short in being authentic in your community and need God to help you realize your motives? How will you apply this into a real, devoted, loving change in your community?
All Mighty Father,
We thank you for never lacking zeal or fervor when it comes to loving us. Show us how to make change in our lives and focus pure motives for serving you. Let your Spirit guide us to those who need our help, and give us the love to serve passionately; so that glory will be given to you and you only. In the Saviors name, Amen
How do you stay in the Holy Spirit? What should you do to keep focused in your doily life?
Romans 12:2- Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is -his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Some people would say you have to read the Bible every day, others would say you have to practice what you preach. Both of these answers are correct. In Romans 12 we are commanded to renew our minds daily as an act of worship and an effort to become closer with God, and the purpose he has for us; but it is also important for us to take what we learn from our time in scripture and apply it to how we live out our daily life. There is a third thing that is needed to keep us focused, grounded, and humble.Prayer. Thessalonians 5:17 pray without ceasing. The time we spend in a conversation with our Father where we both speak and listen is so important. Our prayer life feeds our growth,shows us who God is and who we are IN him.
There is a cycle that we get by doing these three things. We read and study the word of God. Then we pray with the knowledge of God’s power, wisdom and love from that word. Then it will show through our actions as we become more Christ like. It’s not easy at first but just like playing music or a sport the more you do it, the easier it will be.
But what if I do these things and I still fail at being in the Holy Spirit?
First I will say…You’re not the only one. Because we are not God, we will fail. That’s why we have the sacrifice of Jesus. Also, you should keep in mind that our Father isn’t going to love you any less because you messed up. It’s what happens next when you realize you weren’t in the Spirit that counts. First; get back to prayer Praise,Confess,Thank, and Ask. Then get back into the word and reflect on how you might apply the scripture to your situation. Lastly, Just Do lt. When you leave your house and go to school keep that scripture in mind and put it to action. Share it with a friend,or write it down so you have it as a reminder. The more we apply our knowledge from scripture and prayer into how we behave the deeper our relationship with our Father will be. As a result, the stronger we will be in the Holy Spirit.
Week of Feb 19th 2012
Hey Everyone ! Starting today we would like to begin a weekly devotion to help us renew our minds throughout the week and keep everyone up to date even if you can’t make it on Sundays or Wednesdays.This email will also keep everyone in the loop with Crossroads events and prayer requests.Currently we have been looking at Romans 12 :1-2. We’ve talked about Surrendering our life to God.What that is and what that looks like.This week we are addressing why the Christian life is so difficult.
Romans 12:2 says
“Do not Conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve whats God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will”.
“Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world”-The behavior and customs of this world are often self-indulgent and corrupting. Many Christians decide that most worldly behavior is off-limits for them. Our refusal to not conform to the worlds system however must go deeper than the level of behavior and customs. It must be firmly planted in our mind. “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind”. It is possible to avoid most worldly custom’s and still be proud, covetous,selfish,stubborn and arrogant.Only when we let the Holy Spirit renew,reeducate and redirect our minds are we truly transformed.This week take time to think about what worldly things are keeping you from a closer walk with God. Recognize the battle that you as a Christian are facing today. Chip Ingram breaks it down like this,”Stop allowing yourselves to be molded by the influences and pressures of this present world we live in. Stop allowing Satan to dupe you, con you, use you, trick you ,promise you life and love and power through a seductive world system that will only deliver disappointment,defeat,depression and make you a slave to sin.” “But allow God to completely change your inward thinking and outward behavior by cooperating wholeheartedly moment by moment with the spirit’s renewing process”.
So as you are going through your walk this week think about what worldly things you are conforming to. Then pray and meditate with God to be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
For more on this topic visit http://r12online.livingontheedge.org
*New life Application study Bible, Zondervan
*Living on the EDGE, Chip Ingram
Baby Harlan, precious 5 day old little boy. Aunti April loves you!
Summer in NYC is a great time. Central park is filled with life as people come to relax, let loose and take a break from the “Gotta move faster” attitude of the city. Mr. Softy brings cold treats on hot days all over the city as street fairs show down city blocks all summer long. After a cold long winter we can’t wait for the sunshine of spring and summer, and to hear “the Yankees WIN the game!” That is what summer is all about right?Enjoying life, relaxing and taking a break, a vacation from life and for many soaking up the sun.
Now this relaxing time for ourself is almost a necessary part of the New Yorker renewal process, but as always when we have to be careful not to get burnt. Spiritually as well as literal.
Warning: Summer has temptations!!!
Family vacations or even a day or weekend trip will test a family in tolerance and patience. Going to a park or beach that will be filled with mostly naked bodies will temp your thoughts and actions from being pure, respectful and lustful. And the die-hard fans at the game are bound to throw about less than ideal language and could very easily temp you into going along with the crowd. Satan is sneaky and loves the summer time. He knows that when your tired and ready for a break from life and he has a chance to encourage you to be self-indulgent, and consumed by the idea of ” I’ve earned a break, I wanna do what ever I want.I want it to be all about me , I don’t wanna think about anything or anyone else”. I’ve been there, we all have. And it’s good to take a break, to take time for renewal, and rest. There is nothing wrong with those needs, but these are times where we can be easily swayed and distracted by the world, and forget to set ourselves apart. If we remember our calling to live and love soaking up the light of the Son then the Holy Spirit will be in us protecting us from getting burnt during our self renewal this summer.
Simply the Basics
We are called to live in Love, and Honor like Christ, and to hold strong to our faith and surrender ourselves fully up to the will of God in the work of the Holy Spirit in us. We are to put God first,surrender ourself .(Rom 12) Do not worry about meaningless things. (Ecclesiastes 1) Pray Continually (1 Thessalonians 5); for strength, guidance, forgiveness and Thanksgiving. Serve, and love others like Christ ( Philippians 2).
Want for nothing, and trust God to provide you with the resources you need.(Matthew 6.) We are not to be greedy (Hebrews 13). Remember that Jesus Christ is the Bread of life (John 6). He is the ONLY one who can give us fulfillment. Be wary of selfish desires. Satan lingers to make God’s Children fall. (Gen 3) And always remember that God is our Father knows everything .Our good and our Sin,yet he gives mercy when we are ashamed and he gives us strength when we are weak. Nothing on heaven or earth will separate us from the love of God. (Romans 8)
I write this because it is so easy to get caught up in our day, in our responsibly, and in ourselves. And lose sight of what is important; what God is calling us to do, and to be. It doesn’t mater who we are, or what labels or titles we hold. The only title that matters is Child Of God. It is so so important for us to everyday keep an open humble dialog with our Father in prayer , to not just read but study the Bible, to seek his wisdom and guidance for every moment in our lives, and to practice the example of Christ ; Being humble, selfless, forgiving, wise, gentle, honest, and above all loving.
~Filled with the Spirits love,