More Understanding

Perspective is powerful!

Problems arise when we forget other people have a different perspective than we do and when we forget their perspective is just as real and valid as mine.

It was customary in Jesus’ time to provide for your guests’ feet to be washed. In the various recordings of the times Jesus had His feet washed, the one thing that connects them is the reaction of other people.

In Mark 14:3-9 and Matthew 26:6-13, those eating with Jesus scolded the woman washing Jesus’ feet!

And it appears from Matthew 26:14 and Mark 14:10 that Jesus’ acceptance and forgiveness of this woman was the final straw in Judas’ decision to betray Jesus!

In John 12:1-6 it was specifically Judas who was upset with the woman. Really? Judas? He didn’t just betray Jesus a few days later, he was also stealing from Jesus’ ministry funds! So his judging of her wasn’t genuine!

In Luke 7:36-48 a Pharisee scoffed at Jesus for letting a sinful woman touch His feet.

Thank God this Pharisee wasn’t in charge of the guest list the night I came to Jesus!

The Pharisee, instead of rejoicing in the tokens of the woman’s repentance, confined his thoughts to her former bad character.
Matthew Henry

Don’t be angry if I wash His feet with my tears and dry them with my hair
You weren’t there the night Jesus found me
You didn’t feel what I felt when He wrapped his loving arms around me
And you don’t know the cost of the oil in my alabaster box
Janice Sjostrand, Alabaster Box

But beyond other people’s sins, what about others who look or act differently than ourselves.

Instead of judging others or jumping to conclusions, let’s try on their shoes. People aren’t responding to my perspective but the one they are coming from.

First, ALL people are broken—we just express our brokenness in different ways.
Next, ALL people are welcome—the Gospel is good news for all of us.
And lastly, ALL followers of Jesus are called to repent—because we are all in the long process of being conformed to the image of Jesus.
Jonathan Morrow

Whether our struggles are community-inflicted, family-inflicted or self-inflicted, the answer for all struggles is Jesus!

This world is dying for a church that will help them see past their struggles and mistakes and the scars of the past to see Jesus as their strength, their healing and their hope!

If you’re broken, if you struggle, someone is ready to pray for you. Text your prayer needs to 205-476-2911. If you’d like someone to pray with you over the phone, just ask!

More Time

It’s not about more room
It’s not that it’s more grand
But God has given us More Time!

We are going from having a few hours each week to 24/7, to do ministry from this building!

God has given us MORE time
so we can do MORE
to reach MORE!

At the first of the year our leaders shared with us that something was going to be different. There is something different about this time that God has given us.

What if God has given us this time – more time – because we are running out of time?

The Bible gives us signs to be looking for…

2 Timothy 3:1-5

Matthew 24

Luke 21:28

Perhaps it is Harvest Time
the time of year when crops are ripe and ready to be gathered.

    1. Stop complaining
    2. Not a time to be lazy or complacent
    3. No fear! Be bold

We have to fulfill the great commission. We are called to make disciples in this time! Matthew 28:18-20

Most of us have become quite good at the church thing. And yet, disciples are the only thing that Jesus cares about and it’s the only number Jesus is counting. Not our attendance, not our budget, not our buildings. Just disciples.
Mike Breen

The example of Esther in Esther 4:14

More Than Eternity

Salvation is about more than your eternity!

What is this new DNA I’ve been talking about? We have a new Christlike nature!
John 3:3-7
2 Corinthians 5:17
1 Peter 1:23
Romans 6:4

The nature of this Christlike DNA is to act right

There was found no fault in Jesus – 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 2:22, 1 John 3:5

Pilate testified as well in John 19:4-6

Jesus saves us from our old nature and if we want to be like Him we can’t walk in that old nature any longer!
Check out these scripture passages: Ephesians 4:17-31, 1 John 3:2-10, Colossians 3:1-17

But how can we live like Jesus?

The Fruit of the spirit – Galatians 5:22-23

Paul also lists the fruit that springs from our human nature, which we no longer follow, in verses 19-21.

And Paul says in Galatians 5:16 to walk in the spirit as simply as if it’s a choice.

Our world, our country right now needs a Church that walks as an example of what is possible when we yield to this Christlike nature!

  • Choose Love!
  • Choose Joy!
  • Choose Peace!
  • Choose to be Longsuffering!
  • Choose Gentleness!
  • Choose Goodness!
  • Choose Faith!
  • Choose Meekness!
  • Choose Self-Control!

And this Christlike DNA produces good deeds

Jesus didn’t quota out.

After He preached, led His small group, taught the kids and led in worship, He healed the sick, fed the hungry, cared about children and rescued people from sex trafficking – wait, what?

John 8:1-11

Jesus did all this – and He cried!

So how can we impact lives so deeply like Jesus?

  • The Gifts of the Spirit – 1 Corinthians 12:4-11
  • What are gifts? Free things, good things, like benefits and blessings!

James 5:16, paraphrased

The earnest, passionate prayer life of a righteous person produces amazing results!

More Than Showing Up

I’ve heard for many years that 95% of life is just showing up? But is it really true? For exercise, getting an education, relationships, being a Christian?

For most of life it’s what you do after you show up that’s important!

Four examples of Dad prayers in the Bible:

  1. Job over his kids, even after they were grown! Job 1:1-5
  2.  Abraham interceding for his nephew Lot – Genesis 18:20-32
  3. Jacob’s final blessing over his sons – Genesis 49:1-28
  4. Fathers on the front porch with the blood – Exodus 12:21-23

If you really get this first step the other steps will fall in place!

Ephesians 5:15-20

  • Don’t live foolishly but wisely
  • Don’t act thoughtlessly but with understanding
  • Don’t be drunk but filled with the Holy Spirit

The Spirit of God is all the coping help we need!

Be an example to show your children how to rely on God’s power, wisdom and help!

Reach More People

The Apostle Paul was once known by the name Saul.

  • Saul was his normal, religion, education, contacts, etc., all good things, in context & perspective.
  • Paul was better than normal!

Philippans 3:12-14

Saul had religion, Paul had relationship!

Today, Paul would be at the laundromat. Acts 16:13

It was the first record of Jesus being preached in Europe! The beginnings of Christianity in Europe didn’t happen in a cathedral!

Today, Paul would be at Jack’s, you know that big round table where all the guys sit around and talk over coffee? Or at Starbuck’s, or on the quad or campus green or some other gathering area on a college campus. Acts 17:19-23

We have learned we can do many things online. But we can’t BE the church unless we connect with others in our communities!

Our calling, our responsibility, is not righteous living. Righteousness is our new nature in Jesus, it’s who we are.

Nor is our responsibility to serve, to do good deeds and help those in need. Again, that’s our new nature, it’s who we are in Jesus.

Our responsibility, our duty, our calling is to bring someone else to Jesus!

Our priority is to help people find Jesus. Yes, we want to help with needs. But it should not be enough
…to feed someone a meal and leave them spiritually empty.
…to pay someone’s bills for a month and not address their eternity.
…to be someone’s friend but not introduce them to the Best Friend Ever!

“Evangelism is a process…that starts with prayer.
So whose salvation are you praying for?”
Dave Gibson

Don’t cope, conquer!

When did Jesus call us to cope?

We have not been given a gospel of coping! We have received a gospel of:

If our theology doesn’t compel us to impact the world with the message of Jesus, it is worthless!

If you believe God has power you will pray!

Acts 1:8 is a promise, a command, and a prophecy!

2 Chronicles 7:14

We can only repent for our own sins. But we can pray for a healing that reaches our whole land!

Don’t cope, conquer!

If you made a decision today, or if you need help coping, or need prayer to conquer some battle in your life, let us know.

Forward Progress

In Exodus 3:17, God was promising a place of immeasurable blessings!

  • And Israel wanted to go back to Egypt – to slavery! Why?
  • Because Egypt held all their coping mechanisms.

Beware of coping mechanisms

  • Coping mechanisms don’t help us grow. They help us cope. They help us stay in the predicament we are in.
  • Coping mechanisms are just a step away from an addiction. And addictions are enslaving.

Identify your potential coping mechanisms and guard yourself against them.

Today, perhaps more than ever, people need Joshuas and Calebs to help them understand where we are and more importantly, where we can go!

Joshua and Caleb had to endure whining, complaining, second-guessing, fears, worries, accusations and attacks.

And they kept the dream alive, continued to speak positive faith and pointed people toward God and His dream for them!

If you are a Christian, you are a spiritual leader.

So Caleb, why include him? He wasn’t a leader. Or was he?

Think about the storms in the world today or in your own life. How are you holding up? Did you hang in there anyway? Did you keep up your prayer life, your devotions, your faith?

Being A Neighbor

Nehemiah was the cupbearer of the King

A cup-bearer was an officer of high rank in royal courts whose duty it was to serve the drinks at the royal table. On account of the constant fear of plots and intrigues, a person must be regarded as thoroughly trustworthy to hold the position. He must guard against poison in the king’s cup and was sometimes required to swallow some of the drink before serving it.

Nehemiah 1:2-4

Nehemiah saw the need and was moved; but he also did something.

Nehemiah 2:5

When we follow God, people will try and discourage us; especially when it’s something new.

Nehemiah 2:19

Nehemiah 4:1

Nehemiah was doing more than just building a ministry, he was building a community.

Nehemiah 5:5

Your Future Is Not Behind You

The first part of Joseph’s life summed up:

He was hated, had dreams, got a little arrogant, was betrayed, was lied about and falsely imprisoned, but maintained his integrity, yet still forgotten and left behind.

You don’t go through all of that and return to normal!

Because of Joseph’s integrity and closely following God, he became 2nd in the kingdom. And impacted the world!

There is something better than normal!

No doubt, Joseph thought his dream would be fulfilled right where he was raised. But once he was sold into slavery he never saw his homeland again. He went back many years later, but as a corpse.

Your future is not behind you!

Joseph could have lost hope but he held onto the dream and the God of that dream!

Let’s talk about the role of prayer in forward movement. Had Joseph given up on his dream, not stay connected to God, etc, he would not have been ready for his opportunity. But because he was in touch with God, was still talking to God and hearing God, all Joseph had to do was shave and put on a new shirt.

No matter what struggles you have, what battles you’re fighting, what prison you feel like you’re in, be ready and don’t spend one more minute in that prison then you have to!