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Posts Tagged ‘Love’

Reality 1 – God is always at work around you

God has always been actively involved in human affairs throughout history. Because of our sin, he is working to bring about redemption to those of that have rejected him. He wants to reconcile us through Christ so we can have a loving relationship with him. If we don’t open our spiritual eyes to what he is doing, we will remain blind to his presence.

I’m going through my second round of this study called Experiencing God. I am doing it with a men’s group and my young professionals group. Last week was more of an introduction. This week is reality one of the seven realities. It tells us that God is always at work around us. God was always at work in the life Moses from when he was a child to when he was in exile. God has provided me with many things like a good church and community so I can answer his calling for me. I am thankful he still uses me and I don’t want to forget what he has done for me in the past. I just want to be obedient to him so I can experience him more.

 

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A few years back I got to do the Experiencing God study with a life group that I was a part of. It was life-changing for me. I have been attending a men’s group at Cornerstone Chandler and they are going through an updated version of it with the whole church. I felt this is a good study for me to do to kick off 2017. We are also doing this study in my young professionals group. So I get double accountability while doing this series.

A God-Centered Life 

The Bible is God-centered. The Bible is designed to help you understand the ways of God. Then, when God starts to use your life in the same way He worked in Scripture, you’ll recognize that it’s God who’s at work. Below are the Seven Realities that identify ways God works to involve people in His activity.  (Hebrews 11)

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  1. God is always at work around you.

  2. God pursues a continuing love relationship with you that is real and personal.

  3. God invites you to become involved with Him in His work.

  4. God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways.

  5. God’s invitation for you to work with Him always leads you to a crisis of belief that requires faith and action.

  6. You must make major adjustments in your life to join God in what He is doing.

  7. You come to know God by experience as you obey Him and He accomplishes His work through you.

Below is a teaching video from Pastor Linn Winters on vimeo that will guide you each week of the Experiencing God study.

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Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality

Romans 12:13 (ESV)

I love this video. God has been teaching me a lot about hospitality. It’s one of those spiritual gifts that I feel isn’t my strongest. Thanksgiving has become my favorite holiday (mostly because of the food). There is something about people coming together over a meal that has always intrigued me. You see it all over the Bible and how it brings people closer together. I was at my connect group tonight and spent the evening chatting with two new people. One guy had a long history of drug abuse until he found Christ. The other guy was a young kid who just loved to talk. I will admit I was hesitant at first to engage in conversation with both of them because of my own judgmental sin nature. But as I got to know them, I really enjoyed hearing their stories of faith. I hope to have a more hospitable attitude this Thanksgiving season. I am planning on having people over for Turkey day and working at a homeless shelter in the morning. I pray that God uses me and works on my heart to be more hospitable and to show love to those that I come in contact with.

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Hillsong

John 14:23-27

Jesus is the destination

Reality checks 

You will not be the first human in history that trys to skip the God process

Breakdown before breakthrough – there is a process

When you skip the process, you rob yourself

It may seem you might get away with it now, but you will pay for it tomorrow

Proof you are making progress – it will be evident by how much grace you give others while they make progress

Matthew 18:21-35

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Be careful you don’t get caught putting a “process clock” on people that God is not aware of…

Our job is to show up and obey

On the process journey, God may not just be working on them. He might be working on you

Hope is to help somebody

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We must live spirit led so we can SHOW LOVE like nobody else can

Matthew 5:13-16

Be present in the process

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Makoto Fujimura shares how he came to understand the beauty he creates through art by understanding and accepting the love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

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If I had only known then what I know now…

Sometimes I ask myself this question. Sometimes I think if I could just go back in time and tell myself not to make a particular decision in my past, I would save myself years of heartache. The Love & Respect resources have been a huge part of my life in learning to understand relationships. It’s based off of the passage in Ephesians 5:33 that talks about the differences between a man and a woman and our roles when we are in relationship with one another. Joy Eggerichs has taken this ministy of her parents and has used it to help young adults 18-35 years of age to understand our roles before we make all the common pitfalls in dating and marriage. God has called me to be a resource to a young adult group at my church and the ministry of Love & Respect (Now) has been a valuable resource for me as a mentor others. I’m excited for their newest project – The Illumination Project. I think it will be a huge tool for small group discussion for my young adult Bible study.  It’s a 6 week DVD series filmed by Joy and her father Dr. Emerson Eggerichs meant to help young adults navigate through issues of faith, dating, marriage, and male/female relationships.

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Granite Mountain Hotshots

I had the blessing of knowing Ron Merrell as a Pastor, mentor and a friend.  He is a hero of mine. He has since moved on to California and now recently God has him back in Arizona in Prescott at Heights Church. My first reaction to hearing about this was – why Prescott? I have nothing against Prescott. It’s a beautiful little city about an hour north of Phoenix and it definitely has that small town feel to it. But that’s my sin nature saying that God can’t do something amazing in a small town like Prescott. God is always working. 

On June 28, 2013, lightning ignited the Yarnell Hill Fire. Yarnell is small community next to Prescott. Prescott Fire Department’s interagency Granite Mountain Hotshots were there to respond and the fire overran and killed 19 of the firefighters (only one survived) two days later. According to the National Fire Protection Association, it was the greatest loss of life for firefighters in a wildfire since 1933, the deadliest wildfire of any kind since 1991, and the greatest loss of firefighters in the United States since the September 11 attacks (Wikipedia). This was a horrible tragedy and the nation grieved with this community over our fallen heroes.

As horrible as this was, it opened the opportunity for the church to be the church. Led by efforts of Ron and the staff, Heights church was able to provide comfort and love to the families of the victims. They helped organize the memorial services and community gatherings to honor the firefighters. And my good friend Ron was able to lead the opening prayer for the nationally broadcasted memorial service in which Vice president Joe Biden attended.

I love how God works and I love His timing in situations. I love how He gives us (the church) opportunities to partake in Kingdom opportunities that point people to Christ. A lot of things in this broken world don’t always make sense, but knowing God is in control puts situations like this into perspective and gives us a sense of hope. I’m sure even Ron wondered why God called him to Prescott. Six months later, He used him and the church to bring glory to Him in the face of tragedy.

Pastor Ron Merrell leads a prayer during a memorial service for Yarnell firefighters at Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley Arizona

Pastor Ron leads the memorial service in prayer

Ron’s message on the Yarnell tragedy and a promo video for some of opportunities he has had to speak at other churches

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