Monday, March 31, 2008
Tomorrow morning at 9:30 we will start our Bible Study again! Yay! I have missed you all!! We will be going through DVD messages, all given by women speakers, including Beth Moore, Angela Thomas, Anne Graham Lotz, Priscilla Shirer, and Jennifer Rothschild.
There are 6 DVD messages, but we will meet for 8 weeks. So.... what will we do for the other 2 weeks? Leanne and I have been brainstorming ways to "Scrapbook Your Faith." And that is what we'll be doing for the other 2 Tuesdays, as well as the extra time in a couple weeks (there are a couple of the studies that are fairly short, so we should be through them and the lesson in 45 minutes, and have the remainder of the time to work on our mini books).
NOTE: We will not be scrapbooking tomorrow, so don't bring anything other than a Bible until I tell you otherwise!
So, you might have some questions:
1 - Do I need to be a scrapbooker?? NOOOOO!!!! This will not be a hard assignment. You simply need to be yourself.
2 - Do I need to own scrapbooking supplies to participate?? NOOOOO!!! If you have your own tools that you know and love, you are more than welcome to bring them along and use them, and share them with others, if you wish. But if you have nothing, you need to bring nothing. We will provide what you need.
3 - I've never scrapbooked before, should I stay home for those 2 weeks?? HERE'S THE BIGGEST NOOOOOO YET!!!!! Our goal here is not to make you into a "lifer" of scrapbooking, (but if that happens, it's really not such a bad thing!!!) Our goal here is for you to put down in a keepsake the thoughts and memories of how you have grown in your faith, whether it be an old faith or a brand new walk..... and to see how God has used you, moved you and loved you in every step of your walk.
There's a quick overview of what you can expect in the next 8 weeks. I really hope that everyone that is able will come on out and take part in our Ladies Bible Study at RRCC for the next 8 weeks.
See you in the morning!
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
The Cause Driven Church
by Erwin Raphael McManus
The early church existed with a dynamic tension: it was both expanding and consolidating - growing and unifying. The Bible tells us that first century believers “shared everything in common” and that “the church was being added to day by day.” We want our church to live in this same tension.
This tension is illustrated by two biblical images - the body of Christ and the army of God. The body of Christ is centered on community; the army of God is centered on cause.
Healthy community flows out of a unified cause - not the other way around. Jesus called his disciples and said, “Follow me. I’ll make you fishers of men.” This was not an offer of community. “Follow me and I will give you something worthy of giving your life to” is a statement of cause. But the neat thing is, when they came to the cause, they found community like they never knew could exist. That’s the power of the church.
One danger of the American church is that we often try to offer people community without cause. Without cause, you’re just another civic organization. You don’t have life transformation.
Jesus said, “I have come to the world to seek and to save that which is lost.” The cause of Christ is accomplished by expanding the kingdom of God.
Communicating the gospel in a postmodern context can make us feel forced to compete with the entertainment industry. You might be able to compete if you have millions of dollars and that level of expertise. Most of us don’t. We have only one advantage that neither Hollywood nor MTV has. We have the presence and power of the living God!
Why in the world would we eliminate God’s power from our core strategy and actually move to a deficit rather than to an advantage?
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Turn off your TV
Leave your house
Know your neighbours
Invite someone to church
Look up when you’re walking
Sit on your step
Use the library
Buy from local merchants
Share what you have
Help a lost dog
Take children to the park
Support neighbourhood schools
Fix it even if you didn’t break it
Pick up litter
Read stories aloud
Talk to the mail Carrier
Listen to the birds
Put up a swing
Help carry something heavy
Barter for your goods
Start a tradition
Ask a question
Hire Young people for odd jobs
Organize a block party
Bake extra and share
Ask for help when you need it
Open your shades
Share your skills
Take back the night
Turn up the music
Turn down the music
Listen before you react to anger
Mediate a conflict
Seek to understand
Learn from new and uncomfortable angles
Know that no one is silent though
Many are not heard
Work to change this
Here's a pic of the new sign recently put up on the outside of our church.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
I am finding that over and over again this year while studying the book of Matthew in my BSF class. I don't know how many times I have read through Matthew. But seeing as it is the first book of the New Testament, I think Matthew, along with the other 3 Gospels, is one of the books of the New Testament that I have read the most. Anyway, it's many times! But then as we go through verse by verse, parable by parable, through promises and prophecies, and the character of Jesus Christ - oh how the Bible comes alive. To read it is not enough.... the little ditty that they teach in Sunday School, "Read your Bible, pray every day.... and you'll grow, grow, grow...." I don't think that is enough. To really LEARN and see and know the Bible you must study it. Reading is a start, and if you are doing nothing right now, then to read it is a great start! But to get the most out of it and to see how the Bible is God's LIVING word....... I need to do more than just skim the verses.
What's the difference? To read it is to merely open it and read the verses on the page. To study it means to read it, think about it, then read it again with a pen in your hand... write some notes, answer some questions, and to really make it stick - talk about what you read and learned with someone else.
What does it mean that the Word is living? When you experience the "living and active" part of the Bible as we see in Hebrews 4:12:
"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. It penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."
You start to think more of verses, and when you need encouragement you recite the verses that you have memorized... you are more ready with an answer when someone asks you what Christianity is all about, or who Jesus is. And the part you study is what you need for that day. When temptation comes your way, you follow the example of Jesus and quote scripture promises... you don't try to fight temptation on your own, because you will inevitably fail.
How can it happen that the day I read a certain passage, something happens later in the day where I may need to encourage someone, or clarify a piece of scripture, and the verses I read earlier in the day are relevant. It happens because the scripture is alive. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Are you at a point in your life where Bible reading is your desire? Where you need it as your fuel for the day. You need to have that communion with God each day to survive. It won't happen overnight, and it will take action on your part, but when you see the Scriptures come alive, it will become a part of your day... you will see so many blessings and benefits from spending that time.
So how do you start? Find a time of the day when you have the least amount of distractions. Find a time when you can be alone. And if you can't find the time... MAKE the time!!!!!!!! Start small... start with something not too hard. I wouldn't suggest you try to memorize all the kings of Israel and Judah in your first week of study... you might lose heart. Try Jesus. Read about his life on earth in the Gospels. Then read them again. Once you fall in love with Jesus, you will want to know the whole story. The Bible shows us that if we ask for understanding, we will receive it. And when we lack faith, ask for help in this area, too. When there is a Bible truth that you have a hard time grasping or accepting, follow the lead of the father in the book of Mark, chapter 9 who asked Jesus to heal his son. "If you can" he said, and Jesus said, "Everything is possible for him who believes." Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief." (Mark 9:23-24) And when you struggle with understanding, follow the example of the disciples when they asked Jesus to explain parables to them. (see Matthew 13:36 "Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field." )
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8. What will you ask for in relation to the Bible this week? Ask for help to be diligent to study the Word, ask for understanding of what you read, and ask for help to live it out in your daily life.
Have a great week! I hope you experience the Bible as Living and active as you go through each day.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Author Unknown (or invisible :)
It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'
Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.' I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well.
It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:
'To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'
In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit thecathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.
The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree. When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.
Great Job, MOM!
Saturday, March 1, 2008
There was a great worship team led by Travis Cottrell, and his team. Amazing music and they really encouraged us to join in. As Beth said about him, "What I love best about Travis is that he is not a performer. He is a true worshiper."
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight.
After we got back to the hotel, the 4 of us had a snack and then chatted for the longest time! Leanne and I both brought a "shoebox swap" card for all of us to make, so we stamped for awhile, and then talked some more.
A couple points that stood out from Beth's lecture today are:
When the priests in the Old Testament went before the throne of God they only did it on the Day of Atonement, otherwise they would die. In the Holy of Holies was the Mercy Seat, and only on that day were they protected to enter. When Jesus died on the cross, the cross was the ultimate Mercy Seat... and Good Friday was the day of atonement - not once a year, but ONCE AND FOR ALL!!!!!
Mercy and Grace identify Jesus in the Old Testament and the New Testament. The old and new fit together like a glove, because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever, and never changes. See Exodus 34, and Hebrews 4:16.
Mercy is Pardon
Grace is Power
What a great weekend!