In the Valley

We’ve all had a cold before. No big deal…right!? Unless you are five weeks old. This week has been a bit of a roller coaster for my wife and I and many who know us. As I write this, I am sitting at Children’s looking at my little girl hooked up with oxygen and monitoring wires. Earlier this week she was diagnosed with RSV. I have visited people who had their children in the hospital with this, but none of our children have had it. It is really quite scary.

We have been in the hospital three different times over this week. The first two times we were sent home because it was not bad enough for the doctor to admit her. We understood and did our best to follow instruction and care for her.

Earlier today, after having been up all night with her, it got worse…much worse. She was having a very difficult time breathing because of all the congestion. We decided to take her in for a third time. She was admitted to ICU and placed under good care.

Sheila and I were sitting here talking about the things that God allows into our lives. I commented how that this past Wednesday night I mentioned in my sermon that God often teaches us to pray as we go through difficult times. Even as a said that, I wondered what He would bring us through in order to learn to depend on Him in a greater way.

I simply write these thoughts to convey how good our God is while He allows us to go through valleys and leads us to greater dependance on Him.

I am reminded of this thought: I heard some time ago that anything that leads me to God is a good thing. This certainly makes sense in light of Romans 8:28 which says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Generation Z

In every generation God has used fully committed young people as influencers. God ability and desire is the same for Generation Z! There is no need to wait to follow God. You can follow God now! You will be amazed at how God will use you.

The Answer to Worry

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There is always something worry about! Right now you are likely worried about something. Worried about what you ate, if you are healthy, will I get enough hours this week or will I get stressed out while trying to figure out getting insurance on the marketplace. You are not alone! USA Today reported the top ten worries of Americans.

  1. Top Ten Worries of 2016 (USA Today)
  2. Corruption of government officials (same top fear as 2015) — 60.6%
  3. Terrorist attacks — 41%
  4. Not having enough money for the future — 39.9%
  5. Being a victim of terror — 38.5%
  6. Government restrictions on firearms and ammunition — 38.5%
  7. People I love dying — 38.1%
  8. Economic or financial collapse — 37.5%
  9. Identity theft — 37.1%
  10. People I love becoming seriously ill — 35.9%
  11. The Affordable Health Care Act/”Obamacare” — 35.5%

Worry! Worry! Worry! I have met some chronic worriers. I have gone through phases in my life of constant worry. It really is not very fun. It takes a toll on you both physically and mentally.

What is the answer to worry? What will usher worry out the door of our heart and mind? Though it might sound overly simplistic, trust is the answer!

Psalm 125:1 They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion, Which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.

God says that when I trust in Him, I will be just like Mount Zion. This is a mountain that stands some 2,500 feet above sea level. It is safe to say that Mount Zion is not going anywhere. It is stable, firm, steadfast, unmovable and sure. The Psalmist gives a vivid and accurate illustration of the one who trusts in the Lord.

Perhaps you find yourself troubled, anxious, worried about everything including your worry. Pause! Pray and choose to trust God with all your problems. You can sit and worry about things you cannot change or stand and trust them into the hands of Him that has the power to change them.

A little boy was loudly singing the well known hymn, “Trust and Obey” in church one beautiful Sunday. Instead he sang, “Trust and O.K.”. Little did he realize, his mistake contained a great truth. When we trust God, everything will be O.K..


Listen—Promises for the Trusting Heart

Switch Flippers

Switch Flipper

Recently I have been doing some thinking about outreach events. At Grace, we have at least four large outreaches each year—Easter, Vacation Bible School, The Big To Do and Christmas. Beyond those we schedule eleven Great Commission Saturdays, Wednesday Blitz’s and weekly soulwinning. Right now we are preparing for our Vacation Bible School. We have just finished our team training and are anticipating a wonderful event. Every year, God works in the lives of children, teens and adults through VBS. It is a tried and proven evangelistic tool. I am excited about it and our team is as well. However, a thought I have been considering lately has the potential to increase our effectiveness during outreach events.

Here’s my thought. It is easy as believers to look at outreach as an event rather than a lifestyle. Our church has an outreach event and so we flip the switch to get involved in Gospel outreach. Sometimes we flip the switch in order not to feel guilty. We go out on door to door soulwinning because everyone else is.  When the event ends, we flip the switch and go back to our former secret Christian lifestyle. I have been preaching through the Gospel of Mark and the example of Christ is one characterized by consistently preaching the Gospel. It was not a weekly, monthly or quarterly event, but a daily lifestyle. He trained His disciples this way.

If we only reach out to people with the Gospel during outreach events, we will be ineffective witnesses. We must, on a daily basis, be praying for and seeking opportunities to preach Christ.

Let’s not be “switch-flippers” when it comes to outreach. Let’s make it our lifestyle at work, as we are about our communities, at the park and wherever we go. When outreach is our lifestyle, outreach events will be welcomed opportunities that increase our impact.

What person has God prepared for you to preach Christ to today?

Called to Lead 4

As men, we must seek to invest in our leadership on a daily basis. However, even with the investment, often we will struggle to find the confidence to lead. You are not alone! Moses, Joshua and many of the Old Testament prophets experience this. Ask any godly leader that you admire if they always have confidence. You might just be amazed at what they say. God was constantly encouraging those He called by saying, “Fear not, for I am with thee.” He often said, “Be of good courage.” God cares about you and He wants to enable you to fulfill the calling He has given you.

This video will give three sources of confidence. 

Called to Lead 1Called to Lead 2Called to Lead 3

 

Don’t Be Distracted by Objections

Bibe-Starbucks

Many times we are hesitant to share the Gospel because we fear the objections that people put up. Our church is going through “Take It Personally,” and we discussed seven common objections to the Gospel. These are ideas that the lost often raise when we are sharing the truth of the Gospel with them. We should not allow objections to distract us from the central message of the Gospel. However, we must be ready to answer them.

First, let’s be sure to use Scripture. Our words are weak, but God’s Word is like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces. God promises that His Word will accomplish its purpose. We must use it! Secondly, let us always remember that our goal must always be to bring the conversation back to the Gospel. Answer every objection with Bible truth and then continue to share the Gospel.

  1. I have always been a Christian.
    • No one is born a Christian. The Bible teaches we are born sinners.
    • Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; And in sin did my mother conceive me.
    • John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
  2. I’ve asked God to forgive me many times.
    • It is a prayer of faith, believing in Christ’s ability and willingness to save, and is a one-time decision.
    • Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
    • John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
  3. This is too simple. I need to do something to earn it.
    • If you could earn it, it would not be a gift.
    • Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
  4. I’m good enough. I am not a very bad sinner.
    • By comparison to others we might look good but, God sees our lives differently.
    • Romans 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
  5. Doesn’t death end everything? How do we know there is a real Heaven and Hell?
    • The Bible clearly teaches the reality of Heaven and Hell.
    • Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
    • Matthew 6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
    • Luke 16—Rich man and Lazarus
  6. I don’t want to give up my friends and lifestyle.
    • There is nothing more valuable than an eternal soul. When you trust Christ as your Savior, He will give you the grace to desire a new life and be able to live a new life.
    • Mark 8:36–37 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
  7. I think that as long as I’m sincere in what I believe, that’s all that matters.
    • Sincerity is not what grants forgiveness or eternal life, rather a relationship with Christ.
    • Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, But the end thereof are the ways of death.
    • John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
    • John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
    • Acts 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
    • 1 John 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

*List of objections taken from Take It Personally available from strivingtogether.com