This morning is truly a celebration!!!!! We are entering into a week in which as believers in Jesus Christ we are celebrating the way Christ made for us!!!! The band and the choir have set us up this morning to celebrate this week, and not just this week, but every week!
It boils down to faith though! Where does your faith find itself? Is it in God or in others? We are challenged by the words of Matthew 14:22-33 a picture of faith played out before us!
New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Walks on the Water
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear .
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Faith…”You call me upon the waters, The great unknown where feet may fail, And there I find You in the mystery, In oceans deep my faith will stand, And I will call upon Your name, And keep my eyes above the waves, When oceans rise, My soul will rest in Your embrace, For I am Yours and You are mine.” It is our prayer that you are allowing the Spirit to lead into places of incredible faith!!! And then we are challenged by John 14:12
12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
“The ground began to shake, The stone was rolled away, His perfect love could not be overcome, Now death where is your sting, Our resurrected King has rendered you defeated” THE LAMB HAS OVERCOME!!!
He has overcome and we need to be awakened!!! There is a world right outside our door literally that needs Jesus. These are days of desperation, we live in a broken generation and more than now our FAITH means more than anthems!!!! Be challenged! It is our prayer you will all be challenged to not be ashamed that our God is not dead and He wants to be involved in our lives and the lives of others that God has put you in contact with
Set our hearts on fire!!!
I am so excited about the “Me to We” series! I believe we are being challenged by God to think bigger and outside of the box as well! I wanted us to start off in the right frame of mind immediately with “Awakening”, praying that God’s word unfolded today would spark within all of us an awakening!
For me this morning having you all sit in different areas was really hard for me, because I am so use to seeing your faces in the “usual” spots that it through me off a little, but it was all good! This morning we were blessed by the choir singing “Will Be Christ To You” which really prompted me to think about the “me” in our congregation that is hurting and struggling and then the massive life changing thought of the “we” out there that has no hope what so over! As followers of Christ we have a responsibility to keep our lives on track with the Lord, we cannot just sit back and think He is going to do all the work! We need to constantly challenge ourselves to open our eyes to His work both in our lives and the world around us! It is a life of complete surrender to Him! Jesus made the most complete sacrifice for us to have eternal life with Him! A foundation on which we place our faith! I absolutely was moved this morning singing “My Faith Has Found a Resting Place” because I am so blessed!!! But how often do we forget? The Holy Spirit really challenged me with the fact of that reality. I felt moved to have people stand who have been struggling lately…struggling to put one foot in front of the other. So I invited us to just listen to the song “Enough” and then at the end asked those who have been struggling to stand so I could pray for them! It was an overwhelming emotion for me, and a privilege to pray for them today and this coming week! You know it is important the we continue to work on the “me” part of our life, keeping God first as we minister to the “we”.
We have a God who rescued us! Are there people in your life…the “we’s” that you need to extend that rescue to? My prayer is that God will set our hearts on fire and that New Castle will never be the same…that the impact we make for the kingdom would transform our community! Just some thoughts!!!!
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”! Looking over 2013 it has been a huge change for my life. I often feel like a 20 year old stuck in a 30…no wait 42 year old body! Watching my family change and going through those transitions have made my journey interesting. My wife has face some pretty crazy health issues, watching my family grow up. A son who is in middle school, a daughter who is now in high school, a nephew who I once held in my arms is now graduating college. Me facing health issues that made planning Christmas more of a challenge! (a result of being 42)
Then right after Christmas we received a phone call that they called hospice in to take care of my Aunt who had been struggle over the past years with many surgeries and health issues! They asked us to come to Cleveland because they are not sure how much longer she will be her with us. So this past Thursday we drove right into the storm called “Hercules” towards Cleveland! “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”. We visited and shared stories, we laughed and we cried and then we said good-bye…maybe for the last time. I am not used to this new phase in life, BUT “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”!
As I reflect on my life and realize the legacy of faith that I had and have the privilege to be a part of is amazing! Jesus is the foundation that I have been challenged with all my life. There were many times that I chose not to allow Him to be my foundation and there were many times I did. Life is difficult without Jesus or with Jesus…it is difficult! But with Jesus I have hope. I have hope and I look around me day after day, face after face, and there are so many who do not have the hope I have in Jesus!
Don’t give up…don’t ever give up, even on your death bed DO NOT GIVE UP!! “I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO GIVES ME STRENGTH!”
Unleash Your kingdom’s power
Reaching the near and far
No force of hell can stop
Your beauty changing hearts
You made us for much more than this
Awake the kingdom seed in us
Fill us with the strength and love of Christ
We are Your church
We are the hope on earth.
I came in this morning not sure how things were going to go! The past two weeks I have been dealing with sinus issues and muscle spasms in my neck that have been causing headaches that leave me almost unable to do anything! During rehearsal my voice wasn’t cooperating, my timing was off…things just didn’t look good at all! Overwhelmed with frustration and emotion I looked in front of me and behind me to a team of godly people who had my front and my back! A group of people who each and every give tremendous amounts of time to make each Sunday morning happen whether behind the scenes as a creative team member, tech person, administrative assistant and in the front band members and vocals that rehearse music outside of scheduled rehearsals! And I was brought to tears and became very emotional because I saw God’s blessing on my life with the opportunity to lead with these Godly people.
As the name we were focusing on was Everlasting Father, I only felt it appropriate to sing the song Everlasting God!
One thing I know that I have found
Through all the troubles that surround
You are the Rock that never fails
You never fail
One thin I know that I believe
Through all the blessings I receive
You are the only One that stays
You always stay
You never change You’re still the same
You are the Everlasting God
You will remain after the day is gone
And the things of earth have passed
Everlasting, Everlasting, Everlasting God
This morning I encountered the Everlasting God! Whether I am going through troubles or not HE remains the same. Why on earth would I want to follow anything else!!!!!
No matter how hard I try, it always seems to be the reality that I get sick during the Christmas season. Everyone always makes fun of me for decorating my house for Christmas right after Halloween, but now with the way I feel I really don’t care…and actually as I read what people are posting on FB about dreading to decorate their houses etc. I sit back and kinda grin, because I know why I decorate so early. Knowing all the planning that goes into the Christmas season here at church, for me decorating early isn’t about making my house inside and out look perfect…its about preparing for a celebration! You know often we wait don’t we, especially when it comes to our relationship with God…we wait until the last minute. No please do read what I am not saying! For me, I need to prepare ahead in order to make the celebration of Christ’s birth the best it can be not only for me and for the church that I have the honor to lead in worship, but for our Saviors birth!
Our memory verse for this month has really blessed my life, set some perspective, challenged me, gave me focus! Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given. And the Government will be on His shoulders. And His name will be called, Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” . I don’t know about you, but for me I NEED that reminder each day! Though His counsel may not always be easy…it’s always right! He is the Almighty God, there is nothing that He cannot conquer! He is Everlasting, there is not end…He WILL always be there! And He is the Prince of Peace, so often I need to be reminded of the healing power of peace!
So I challenge you this Christmas, don’t get caught up in the crazy of the season…GET CAUGHT UP IN THE NAME OF THE SEASON!!!!
What an incredible video to watch, especially for myself as I was granted the privilage to work with these incrible people when they were students! I had a great team of mentors who investe their lives into these and many others! It is so awesome to see how God is using them! I just came back from a conference, where I have been challenged and refreshed. We were challenged to invest in people, to love people! That has always been the example that Jesus laid out for us in the Scriptures! It is my prayer that FBC would continue to invest and love! Special thanks to my former students who took out time to share what God is doing in their lives! Love you guys!!!