Sabbath Rest

In Matthew 11:28, Jesus calls for those who are weary and burdened to come to him and he will give rest.

Rest. Our culture says that on our days off we should fill them  with play and non-work activities. At the end of the weekend, it is no wonder we do not feel rested. We really need to take time off from our time off!

Jesus is proposing a different kind of rest. In the rest he gives, we do not just try to stay busy and fill the time with activities we do not have time for during the week. When we rest, we focus on him and allow his Spirit to fill us. We take the time to be quiet before him. We look at the world differenly: not as projects or tasks to accomplish,  but as the incredible creation it is. We’ll be kinder toward other people who otherwise may annoy or frustrate us. We’ll instead see them as God’s masterpiecs who need to be reminded who and whose they are.

It is in this kind of rest, when we focus the attention off of ourselves that we can hear the “still small voice” of God who is calling out to us and desiring to be our guide.

May we rest and experience the true fullness of life that God through Jesus Christ givesto each person who is still and listens for the voice of Truth.

Communication & Prayer

It is easier to internalize everything than talk about it. We find it easier to talk with people than to speak to God.

“Just pray about it.” We hear this a lot, but why?

*What is prayer? How do I know what to say?
*What posture should we use for prayer?
*Public or private prayer?
*How can I live a life of constant prayer?

This is the video about Saturday worship. Hopefully these thoughts can help us improve or begin a deep prayer life with our Creator.

Click here for video message.

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New Life

Ever had a day that you feel like you did everything wrong and nothing went right? Of course you have! Everyone has at some point in our lives. This is true before we encounter Jesus Christ and come to know him and it even happens after we come to know him as Savior.

Something to remember, if you’re a believer remember this and if you’re not a believer in Jesus Christ, listen up, you are a new creation in Christ. (see 2 Corinthians 5:17)

You may feel like you make mistakes and keep sinning in your life. We ALL make mistakes, but we should also remember that our sin has been bought and paid for by the same Creator who made us! If you have never personally met Jesus Christ in your heart, let me introduce him. Jesus was a man who live about 2,000 years ago. We can find much about his adult life in the Bible and about his life in other reliable historical sources. He was a man who did not sin and was tempted in every way possible that we are tempted today. Don’t believe me? Right after Jesus was baptized, he went into the wilderness (really a desert) and fasted from food for 40 days. Jesus knows what it is like to be deprived of physical nourishment. The Tempter came and said, “if you’re hungry turn these stones into bread to satisfy your hunger.” Jesus responded, “Man does not live by bread alone but by every Word from the mouth of God.” Jesus was tempted to make things happen himself rather than trust in God. We are tempted to rely on our own strength more so than trusting in God for provisions.

Then Jesus was placed on top of this tall mountain and the Tempter tempted him to jump saying, “He has commanded the angels concerning you and they will take you in their hands and you won’t hit your foot against a stone.” Jesus said, “It is written, ‘Do not test the Lord, your God.” Jesus was tempted with his very life, if he jumped his misery would have been over, but he would have missed out on the fulfilling life God had planned for him.

The Tempter placed Jesus on top of the world and said, “All these kingdoms could be yours if you just bow down and worship me.” Jesus said, “worship only the Lord your God.” Jesus had every opportunity to take the life of luxury and not have to live the life he did, but Jesus still chose to go to the cross for you and for me. The luxuries in this world stay here and do not go with us, and they only provide short term satisfaction. Jesus knew true joy and true life is living the life God intended.

Sinning means veering off the path. When we sin, we get further away from God. Our sin, my sin, needs to be paid for to bring us into the right relationship with God. Jesus died on the cross so that we have the opportunity, you have the opportunity to realize you have value and can be made right with God. Because of this, you have the chance to seek God with your whole heart and experience life as God intended. Life is not always easy, but being made right with God allows us, allows you to know forgiveness which gives peace and joy beyond understanding.

You have the choice to accept this love God has for you. Whether or not you believe in God, God believes in you and desires you to get to know him and spend time with him in the Word (Bible), with his people (church worship and community), and personal prayer time (speaking with God daily).

No matter what you have done wrong, or feel you have done wrong, God is always there waiting on you. Forgiveness and new life is yours! Jesus rose from the dead for YOU to have new life.

God created the heavens and the earth; but YOU are his most valuable creation!

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Many Blessings

So often in this life, we tend to focus solely on our own circumstances and situations. When we think others are getting things we want, or we feel we deserve, we can place ourselves into a dangerous mindset.

There is a reason the last commandment is “Do not desire your neighbor’s house. Do not desire and try to take your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox, donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:17).

Always looking at what other people have and what we don’t have makes us lose focus of the many ways we are blessed. We have many more blessings than we realize, all we need to do is open our eyes and our hearts.

The first commandment is “You must have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:2). Keeping this commandment means that we are trusting in the guidance of God and the ways God works through us. We can have so many “gods” in our life (TV, video games, computer, phone, friends, food, etc…), but none of these “gods” can ever be as personal and as life giving as Jesus Christ.

The truth is that Jesus Christ (God in human flesh) came to earth to live a life we couldn’t live and he died a gruesome death. Jesus knows how we are tempted, how other “gods” try to take control of our lives, but he still died for you and for me. 3 days later, he proved death and the world could not keep him down, so he rose from the dead (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 23, John 20). He rose to show the power he gives us through the Holy Spirit is enough to strengthen us and to show us we truly have everything we need in Christ and do not need to worry we do not have enough. You have been gifted with so much more than you may know. Seek to live a live of gratitude and you will find abundant peace and joy from the Creator of the Universe who perfectly created you.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION:
1) What are some things I am thankful for?
2) What will I do to not allow the other “gods” to control me?
3) Who can I help to remind them they are loved and adored by God?

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Worship…Take Time to Worship this Weekend

Psalm 122:1 says “I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let’s go to the Lord’s house.'”

How is it to you to go to a place of worship? The only thing that matters is that when we go to worship, we pause what we’re doing and allow the Holy Spirit of God to fill us once again. We all have busy schedules and an almost never ending to-do list, but we can also be excited to be around with other imperfect people so together we can worship the One who created each of us.

The joy of worshipping as a community comes from support and realizing we all have struggles in life but we can still be there for each other. Sharing the love of Jesus Christ with those around us in a worship service helps us to visibly see God moving in and through us to work with God and fill other hearts with peace and joy.

Where ever you might be this weekend, I hope and pray you find a place to worship and praise God (whatever that looks like for you), so that we can be filled together and go out together to bring the Kingdom of God closer to those who need it most (the outside world….and us!).

If you do not have a place of worship, you are invited to get a group of friends together and worship with us online Saturday night from 6:00pm-6:30pm central standard time. The message is “Seeking & Knowing God’s Presence” and we’ll look at and explore Exodus chapter 33.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZnpdwYGbVY (may have to copy and paste link)

We do not worship for ourselves, but to give honor and glory to God, our Creator.
Psalm 115:1 “Not to us, Lord, not to us–no, but to your own name give glory because of your loyal love and faithfulness!”

May the peace and love of God fill your heart and strengthen you today and forever more. Amen.

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Days Off

What do you like to do on a day off? My guess is that we are all alike in that we use days off to “catch up” on what we didn’t get done during the week. So, if we were to take a day off would we feel like we have to accomplish something or be able to enjoy time off for true rest and reflection.

Is it easy to take a day off? Not for most of us. A day off means we take time off of work. A Sabbath rest is what we need in order to be more refreshed and rejuvenated when we go back to work.

Having a Sabbath rest means we refrain from “work.” If we only define work as the place we go to make money, then we will do things to keep us busy and not pay attention how constant busyness is not relaxing.

So on a Sabbath day, we should really do things that are not work and honor God. For example, if mowing the lawn is not fun and showing a creative side to care for creation, why do it on a day off? There are several other examples each of us have that we don’t like to do but still do when we are “off.”

The goal for each of us is to day one whole day each week to rest and be refreshed so we can be more productive at work as well as strengthen our ability to handle people with more care and compassion.

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