i’m back in the swing of things…i had a great weekend helping my sisters prepare for school, and this morning, i watched as one of my sisters headed off for her first day of high school and the other headed off to 8th grade. family is great. church was AWESOME yesterday…the pastor at my mom’s church is really tight and he had some good things to say. his sermon was entitled “how to grow a great church” and it was taken from mark 2:1-12. in order to grow a great church you need 5 things:
1. presence of the Savior: when Jesus shows up, he makes all the difference…Jesus can and does change things
2. preaching of the Scripture: the gospel is the good news, and it’s important that people know the good news
3. partnership of the Saints: we have to band together to bring others to Christ. Jesus says “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19, Mark 1:17)…if we aren’t fishing for other people, then perhaps we aren’t following Jesus. we need to be fishers of men not keepers of the aquarium (in other words, we need to look to bring those from the outside, and not just focus on the ones we know that are Christian).
4. power of the Savior: we have to believe in the power that Christ has. there will be haters who are hung up on the past (on your past, on past traditions, etc.). just remind yourself- i’m not perfect but i’m forgiven because He forgives me.
5. praise of the sovereign: we must praise GOD for the things that He has done, things that He is doing and the the things that He WILL do. additionally, we must be mindful that praise is more than what happens with our lips- it’s also what happens with our LIFE. we should be living a life that gives praise to God.
so, that’s what i took from the sermon of pastor fairley yesterday. i’m inspired. an additional thing that he said that i really liked was , “God doesn’t mind you getting the blessing as long as He gets the glory”. and that’s what’s up…
ALSO…my devotional today was SO tight (they are always really good, but today just seemed to be EXTRA good) because it spoke EXACTLY to my situation. here’s what it said:
The Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.”
-Genesis 12:1 (NRSV)
“LIKE Abram, I left my home because of God’s call. I moved 1,500 miles away from friends and family to attend seminary. I wondered, What new friends will I make? What new ideas will I be exposed to? Why am I going so far from my home?
People told me how courageous I was to follow where God was calling me. But it wasn’t courage that led me; it was fear — fear of what I would miss and of people I would not meet. It was the fear that if I chose not to answer God, I would not be able to live my faith completely.
God calls each of us daily to live a life of eager expectation. Following God’s call offers a life so rich with possibilities, so overflowing with grace, that not heeding God’s nudging would leave us forever in regret.”
Jerry W. Krueger (Ohio, U.S.A.)
~Upperroom Daily Devotional 08.08.05
This spoke to me SO much because this has been my exact situation with going to UGA for graduate school. I had no idea why God wanted me to be in Georgia, because I had always planned to stick around at Carolina for graduate school. After much prayer, I realized that Georgia was where God was sending me. I’m excited about what’s about to happen in Georgia, although leaving the area that I’ve grown up in hasn’t been the easiest, and dealing with family members who aren’t always supportive hasn’t been easy either. At the end of the day, I’ve been strong enough to say “God, I’ll go wherever you send me, even if I have to go by myself” out of faith that He will provide everything I need and could ever want. I don’t want to miss anything that God has for me and I’m grateful that He has opened up this opportunity for me. To God be the glory for the things He has done.
Prayer from the Devotional:
God who nudges us, give us courage to do as you ask. Grant us the trust that what you have in store for us is greater than we can imagine. Instill in us love for you so great that we gladly follow your leading, eager to see what you have prepared for us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Thought for Today, from the Devotional:
We can move into the future eagerly because of what God has prepared there.
and a quote for today, that i thought was tight:
“A woman should hide her heart in the heart of God so that a man must go there to find it.”
so there we have it…my thoughts for today. be encouraged all…and don’t be afraid to follow where God leads you. we experience unexpected blessings when we are trusting God…
peace and blessings!