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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Preparing for 2011

I am VERY excited to share with you today the great opportunity I mentioned at the close of yesterday's post.  But yesterday I also shared with you about The Bash where last night Mark and I were the judges of our youth's costumes and, ahem, food.

So I thought I would give you a little glimpse into last night's events...

Here we are along with our Verge Student Ministries Pastors, Jay and Caley.


Our Verge Staff, aka, characters from Alice in Wonderland.


As I stated, we had to judge the food.  The criteria for winning was it had to be the best tasting AND the most repulsive and this one definitely qualified.  Diaper Dip, and yep we had to eat it.

It was an awesome night!!  You can go to my facebook page to view all the pictures, which includes the Dirty Mop Water Punch that was served, you guessed it, in a mop bucket.

Now on to what I pray you will join me in next year.

This time last year I announced and invited everyone who was interested to join me on a journey; a 365 day journey through the Word of God. 

Over 80 people from all over the country, along with myself, have been reading The One Year Chronological Bible and it has been one of the most amazing adventures through the Word I have ever been on.

I really wanted to continue on after December 31, 2010, but I also wanted us to dig a little deeper.  In 2010 we have read the Word, but in 2011 I want us to seal the Word in our hearts.


The Message//Remix: Solo is designed to not teach you to study the Bible, but rather develop a conversation between you and God.  This is more about Bible basking than Bible study.  Through this uncommon devotional you will read, think, pray and live the scriptures every day of 2011.

You can purchase this book at Christian bookstores, ChristianBook.com , or Amazon.com for around $10.00.  These also make great Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers.

If you attend CCA and would like to purchase one you can turn in your $10 and we send in an order November 15th.  

Oh I hope and pray you will jump in with me on this as we quiet ourselves for just a few moments each day to hear the voice of God as He speaks to us, challenges us, and moves us into a deeper understanding of His life-giving Word.

I am going to give away TWO of these books.  One will go to a current reader who is going through the Chronological Bible, but you must leave a comment on this post expressing what reading through the Bible this year has meant to you.  I will randomly choose from those comments.

The next person to win will be someone who will be new to our journey.  So if you plan to jump on board next year leave me a comment as well and I will randomly choose one of you also to win your very own devotional.

I will announce the winners on Monday.

Have a blessed day,



Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Unmasking

Halloween is this Sunday.  Many of us will be dressing up, heading out the door with our kids, and coming back home with more surgery treats than one person should ever consume in a single lifetime.

Although my kids are too old to Trick-or-Treat I am excited because Pastor Mark and I still get to join in the fun this week.  We have been asked to participate in The Bash tonight. 

The Bash is Verge Student Ministry's night of fun, really gross food, and some really great costumes.  Mark and I will be judging the costumes and said food, which means we have to consume it (I appreciate your prayers on that one).

Of course we can't arrive as just Mark and Tina so this means we get to dress up and for a few hours pretend we are someone else.

There is nothing wrong with changing our identity for this night of fun, but sadly most of us mask our true identity every day.

John 10:10 says Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy,...

When he steals the truth of who and whose we are we become insecure.   This insecurity leads us to put more effort into masking ourselves than being ourselves.

The Lone Ranger was one of the most famous masked men on TV.  But do you realize The Lone Ranger was never really alone?  Tonto, his Native American companion, was always at his side. 

Lone Ranger would always call Tonto his Ke-mo Sah-bee which means faithful friend.

Bible says that we have our very own faithful friend; one that sticks closer even than a brother.  His name is Jesus.  Jesus is your Ke-mo Sah-bee, your faithful friend until the end.

And just like Tonto knew The Lone Ranger's true identity was John Reid, Jesus knows your true identity as well.

He knows the good, the bad and even the ugly about us, and yet He loves us and accepts us anyway.  How do I know this?  Because Ephesians 1:6 tells us we are accepted in the beloved.

So if Jesus knows exactly who we really are, and He accepts us anyway, why should we feel we have to mask our true selves any longer?

1 Peter 2:9-10 says, But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God's instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.

How can we ever project the night and day difference God has made in us if we are always hiding behind our masks?  When we mask our struggles, we are actually denying God of the glory when He brings us out.

So, after you remove your costumes this week and look into the mirror, be open and honest with God and others about who you really are.

Then and only then can you show forth the glorious excellencies of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God's people.
Once you received no mercy; now you have received God's mercy.
1 Peter 2:10

Check back tomorrow for an exciting opportunity I would like to present to you for 2011. 

Can you believe we are already on the brink of another new year?  

Let's make the most of the 65 days we have left in 2010 by hiding behind our masks no more. 

Love ya and I'll see ya back here tomorrow!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ordering Your Heart

I love order. 

Nothing makes me more happy then when the house is all clean and well organized, all our personal important papers are in their proper file folders, bills paid, my husband and kids are well taken care of, our meals are all planned out and groceries purchased, everything in my office is in order, and the church is running smoothly.

Today we are continuing our topic of rest, and it is very hard for me to rest, to be at peace, when these areas listed above in my life are not in order.

I know you can relate. 

What I have learned over the past few years is that time management is very necessary.  It helps us order our lives.

But I have also learned that although time management is good, it is not transformational.

Managing our lives carries the notion that we are trying to make life more manageable, more convenient, and it is easy to assume that if we could just get everything under control and in order then life would be peaceful.

But I have also learned that life can throw you a curve ball.  How do you manage life when a husband leaves, a child gets sick, or a job is lost?

You can't tell this newly alone wife to just reorder her life and all will be peaceful.

I love what Lamentations 3:40 says in the Message Bible...

Let’s take a good look at the way we are living and reorder our lives under God.
 
You see, God did not intend for us to live from the outside in- for us to get everything in order then peace would come.  No, God's intention is for us to live from the inside out- to live from a well ordered heart.
 
And when are hearts are well ordered, it will not matter what is going on around us, we can be at peace and rest even in the midst of the chaos and uncertainties of life.
 
Living a life solely on time management is based on your determination.  But living a life of true peace will always be based on your surrender.
 
And surrender is not about having everything in your life in order and in it's proper place, its about having Jesus in His place.
 
Two of our verses in today's reading fit so well here.
 
Then Jesus said, "Come unto me, all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you.  Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls."  Matthew 11:28-29
 
If you will surrender your life and reorder it under God, then He will teach you how to live from a well ordered heart.  Then you can say, it is well with my soul, even when it is not well with my circumstance.
 
So if you love order like me, order your heart first.   Then... Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)

Happy Monday!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Your Promised Land of Rest

I have been doing a lot of research lately on the Sabbath and have uncovered some pretty interesting things.  Things I have never seen before.

In Matthew, Mark, Luke and John today we read were Jesus was questioned, criticized, and judged for 'working' on the Sabbath, the holy day of rest. (You can go to my Facebook page to see today's readings)

For way too long I think we have been over thinking this day of rest thing.  We have made it more about a list of what we can or cannot do on this one particular day of the week than we have true rest.

Today we saw that was exactly what the Pharisees were doing as well.  They even went so far as to start plotting how to kill Jesus because He 'worked' on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:14).

Side note: I do believe we would all be dead if the Pharisees were to follow us around on the 'Day of Rest' too. 

Now, back to today's posting... (grin)

So, if it is suppose to be a sin on the Sabbath to not rest, then what exactly does it mean to rest?

And here are some of the amazing things I unearthed...

I went back to the original day of rest, the seventh day of creation, recorded for us in Genesis 2:1-3.  The first thing my eyes were opened to was that on days one through six there is a recorded beginning and an ending (morning and evening) to the day, but not on day seven prompting us to conclude that the day has yet to end.

Hebrews 3:16 through 4:16 steers us to that conclusion as well. 

Hebrews 3:18 says the children of Israel, whom God delivered out of Egypt, would not enter His rest (the Promised Land).  Why?  Because verse 19 says they did not believe.  They never came to the place of total dependence on God; therefore, they never entered into the place of total rest in God.

When we rest, it's true we are not 'working'.  But a place of rest is so much more than ceasing from physical labor. 

To be at rest is believing and trusting that God is in control of every area of our lives.  And we are not.  

It is ceasing from laboring to make things happen as God ceased on the seventh day of creation.

Chapter 4 of Hebrews begins with the promise of rest to come and ends with these words.  As you read them, read them in light of the fact that the Son of Man had to come to a place of rest as well while here on earth.

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16 (ESV)

The promise of God's rest is fully realized through Christ. Therefore, let us strive to obtain it through Him, our sympathizing High Priest.  He knows exactly how we feel when we want to hold onto our cares instead of casting them... when we want to be dependent on ourselves instead of God... when we want to fret instead of rest.

We know that without faith it is impossible to please God, but without obedience to His word, it is impossible to rest in God.

So let us do our best to enter that rest [total dependence on God]. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall.  Hebrews 4:11

We all want to enter our promised land of rest. 

And if you will just come to that place of total dependence on God, you will!

I plan to continue this discussion of rest on Monday.  Until then, leave me a comment and share your struggles with being fully dependent on God, the God of our promised rest, and I will address some next week.

Praying you have a great, restFALL weekend,