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Helping People Live for God
Our vision is more than just a statement… it’s a calling. It’s an exciting calling, full of hope and promise. He has called us to be a living church. The calling isn’t about a service or a building… it’s about a group of people seeking life in God and fellowship with one another. There is nothing greater than serving God! We are committed to helping people discover the joy that only comes from knowing God personally.
by Jon Ward on May 18, 2015
My favorite sport to play is disc golf. If you’re unfamiliar with the sport, disc golf is just like ball golf, but it is played with frisbees or discs. I enjoy playing it so much because it gets me out walking in nature and most all of the courses are FREE. But the fact that it is free is not the only reason why I love disc golf. The reason I love to play disc golf is because it provides me an hour and a half to turn my phone off. Anytime that I go play I turn my phone on “do not disturb” or off altogether. The reason I think I love turning my phone off is that it gives me time to think for myself, relax, and just enjoy the moment.
We live in such a loud and constant society nowadays. Texts, emails, Facebook, Twitter, phone calls; the list is endless of people all vying for our attention. Before we know it, the constant “go-go-go” mentality of life sweeps us off our feet and we are caught in a whirlpool doing the same things over and over. If we’re not careful we get so caught up in the constant hassle of life that we fail to take a moment to rest and find peace. And very rarely do people take time to let their soul find peace and rest. Jesus, I believe, understood the effect that life can have on our soul when he said these words:
What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Mark 8:36
What good is it for us to answer all of the phone calls, texts, and to be constantly running around and yet forfeit our soul? Our lives get so busy and overrun by things that don’t really matter. We are constantly on the go. In this day and age there is always another task to be done or a place to go.
The reason I love turning my phone off during disc golf is that it gives me and my soul time to recharge and rest. It’s my time to pray, think, and dream. No distractions. Everything else in that moment can wait that hour and a half for me to finish playing disc golf.
So today, maybe take a moment and spend time giving your soul rest. Whether it’s stopping and taking some personal time, listening to a song without doing anything else, or maybe turning off your phone. Unplug and be refreshed in the knowledge that God is faithful to meet you right where you’re at and he will renew and refresh your soul today.
by Ana Horn on May 06, 2015
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22
Preston and I recently learned that our THIRD daughter is on the way! We are so happy with our little family and feel so grateful to the Lord for trusting us to be our girls’ parents. And with Mother’s Day coming up this weekend, I have been reflecting deeply on what it means for me to be a good mom. More importantly, am I teaching my girls about Christ and raising them to know and trust in Him?
My oldest is in a fun stage right now and is soaking up so much. One thing I love about her is that when she’s asking me a million questions each day, a lot of times she follows one up with, “Show me.” “Mom, can we draw our family? Show me how.” “Mom, is this how I fly the kite right? Show me.” “Mom, is this how I write my letters? Show me again how to draw the E.” Show me, show me, show me.
And it just clicked, as simple as it is, that my kids are watching me. All the time. They see how I respond, how I celebrate or tear down, how I give or withhold, how involved or distant I am. They see all of it, and my life is shaping and setting a standard that they’ll live by forever. And no one is asking me to be perfect or flawless or to make every right decision at every juncture in the road. However, my mistakes and errors are opportunities to keep shaping that standard that they’ll one day live by. I am showing them everyday not just how to live but what it means to know and trust in God. And if I live by the Lord’s greatest and simplest command, to love Him with all my heart, all my mind, and all my strength then I don’t have to tell my kids how to live for God, they’ll just see it. If I want them to learn that, then I have to SHOW them.
Not just our kids, but all people in general, watch us. They see us. So remember, some times you don’t need to have all the right words to tell people about God or how to live for him; just SHOW them.
Don’t stop believing on the Journey
by Truston Baba on Apr 29, 2015
One of my favorite songs is “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey. Maybe it’s because it’s about a small town girl (Rachel) who was living in a lonely world or because it’s about a city boy (me) who was born and raised in south Detroit. Maybe it’s the guitar riffs, or the wish that I could hit those crazy high notes!
But as unbelievable as it sounds, over the last few months the last verse of that song has really been ministering to me. Totally weird, right? It’s just that in this season, as we have been pushing to get into the building, I’ve had to keep telling myself: “Don’t stop believing! Hold on to the feeling!” When we were first called to plant Living Church, the feeling, the calling, the excitement was so strong. Fast forward a few years and that initial feeling, that excitement has worn off a bit. So as we walk into this next season we have been having to “hold on to the feeling.” We need to remember who God is. We need to remember that what He calls us to He will bring us through.
Just the other day in my devotional time I reread the story of Naaman. He was a military leader, a hero, the liberator of his people. He was respected among kings. Theologians believe it was an arrow from his bow that killed king Ahab that lead to their revolution. He had done great things, but Naaman had a problem; he had leprosy, a disease that would lead to a painful and humiliating death. There is so much to the story that I can’t tell it all, but you can read it in 2 Kings 5. Anyway, he talks with a prophet and the prophet tells him to go dunk himself in a dirty river in the land of his enemy. So he had to humble himself to receive what he needed. (That will preach!) So he went and dunked himself seven times and when he came up from the seventh dunk, he was healed.
You’re probably thinking, “what does this have to do with don’t stop believing?” Well here it is: what if Naaman would have given up after the sixth dunk? He wouldn’t have received what God had promised. What if he would have come up out of the water the sixth time and said “this is stupid, I’m sick of waiting, this is taking too long, why is it so hard” and quit? I bet while Naaman was standing in that dirty water, he started humming that Journey song in his head. He had to “hold on to the feeling” he had to tell himself “don’t stop believing.” So he dunked himself one more time and he received what God had promised.
God has reminded me over the last few months that sometimes we have to humble ourselves and just hold on to His promise because we may only be one simple dunk away from the miraculous. So no matter what you’re going through don’t stop believing just take another dunk.
God Is On Your Side
by Dan Hunter on Apr 01, 2015
No matter what life deals you, always remember that God is on your side. When you have God on your side, there is no need to fear. He tips the balance of the scales. In other words, stack up everything you can think of on the other side; debt, trouble, sickness, conflict, depression, addiction, brokenness, pain, uncertainty, evil, stress, hopelessness, disease, bills, past, bankruptcy, sin, etc. Stack it all up. Then realize no matter how long the list and how overwhelming it might be, God is on your side. The psalmist in God’s Word understood this and wrote about it in his unique way.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. “Selah”
Whatever you find yourself or your family going through today, know that God is with you. He sees you. He knows where you are. He is your refuge and strength. He is an ever-present help in trouble. If you need Him, call on Him.
Remember: You plus God is ALWAYS the majority!
by Derek Guynes on Mar 06, 2015
1 Timothy 3:16 says, “Here is the great mystery of our religion: Christ came as a human. The Spirit proved that he pleased God, and he was seen by angels. Christ was preached to the nations. People in this world put their faith in him, and he was taken up to glory.”
Do we ever really think—like, deeply, seriously think—about this great mystery?
I would like to encourage you to read each sentence in this verse and pause at the end of each one. Meditate on it. Ask God to open your eyes to His power. Don’t move on until you have given a good pause at each statement.
“Christ (God, the Word who created everything [John 1]) came as a human.”
“The Spirit (God, the third person of the Trinity, who teaches us and points us to Jesus) proved that he pleased God (by his obedience in his humanity), and he was seen by angels.”
“Christ was preached to the nations (as the promised Messiah, sent from God to redeem humanity from sin).”
“People in this world put their faith in him, and he was taken up to glory.”
Chances are, if you prayerfully went through this little exercise, you are coming to the realization that this Christian faith is a really big—and kind of mysterious—deal. This should fill you with a sense of awe. It probably fills you with a lot of questions. The most important of those questions are answered in the Bible.
Maybe it would be good to spend a few hours or a few days to just read your Bible. Turn off your phone, your computer, your TV. Read one of the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) a few times. Let it amaze you. Ask God questions. Read some more. Pray. Worship God and acknowledge that your life is really just a part of His story. This is His universe. We are His creation. Not the other way around.
Our lives should be marked by a sense of wonder at the greatness of our God. Don’t get too busy, don’t try to be so practical that you lose sight of the great mystery of Jesus Christ.
A New Thing
by Ana Horn on Feb 16, 2015
“When God begins to do a New Thing in a New Way, the greatest resistance comes from the Old Thing with it’s Old Ways.” -Lisa Bevere
I read this the other day, and I can’t get it out of my head. I want to believe that I’m all for whatever God wants to do and whenever He wants to do it. I want to believe that when God comes calling, I jump up quickly and shout, “Here, Lord! Here I am! Let’s do this.” But the truth is that the older I get, the less adaptable I am to change. As a wife and mom to little kids, I have found that my sanity is kept in schedules, routines, and doing whatever I can to eliminate surprise. But while this may work to keep my family sane in this season, I find myself desiring this in all other areas of my life. I want order, routines, and predictability on all fronts.
The problem is that God has already made it loud and clear that He has new things for me this year; and that with those new things comes a lot of change. And in the moment, to hear that word, it’s exciting. It’s encouraging. It’s energizing! But already I find myself resistant because I can’t make it work on paper, in a box, on a calendar, or within a certain routine. I want the new. I do! I want the change. But I also want the familiar. It’s so hard to let go of my old way of life with the old things I’ve always done or depended on. I childishly want the new thing but in the old way with all my old things.
But it doesn’t work that way. If I want what God has next for me, if I want the New Thing, I must have faith that God knows best and trust the process of how He brings it about. Because I don’t want to be the reason I don’t receive it. I don’t want to miss out on God’s best because I was scared to let go of my schedule, or my calendar, or whatever else it may be. So I’m doing my best to hold my life in my open hands to allow God to take or use or do whatever He sees fit with it in whatever way He wants to.
Finding My Flow
by Preston Horn on Feb 02, 2015
I’m making this year all about finding my flow. Finding my flow in my relationship with God, in my marriage, in my parenting, in my job, in my relationships, in my life. Here’s what I mean by flow:
A mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement and enjoyment in the process of the activity.
I want to live in that place as much as I can. So I’m gonna search out the things that are blocking my flow this year and remove them. But I can’t expect it to happen all by itself. Whatever is blocking my flow must be removed! Steven Furtick says “God can’t increase your capacity without a confrontation.” Finding my flow will require recognizing the obstacles and making the choice to remove them. It could feel awkward. It could feel unnecessary. And it will definitely require wisdom and discipline. It’s hard work! But in the end, when you’re flowing, it’s all gonna be so worth it!
by Truston Baba on Jan 22, 2015
In the natural world, what you put into something is directly related to what you get out. If you put $50 into a savings account you have $50 in the account. If you plant an apple seed you get an apple tree. If you run on a treadmill and eat fewer calories you lose weight. Whatever you do is correlated to what you receive. If you work 40 hours a week you receive a paycheck. If you don’t brush your teeth you get a cavity. If you run a red light you will get a ticket. Cause and effect is something in the natural world that we all understand. But in God’s economy he works completely different. If you tithe or give you don’t necessarily get money back, but maybe peace, or joy or provision in another way. If you serve and give of your time you may not get more hours in your day, but you may get a life giving relationship, you may sleep better, you may get a raise at work. When you pray or fast there’s no telling what you will get. Over this fast there has been something I have been praying about personally that I wanted answered in a specific way, but miraculously God answered my prayer in a way completely different than I had even thought possible. Not only that, by answering my prayer he, in turn, answered someone else’s prayer at the same time.
So many times, when we have a problem, we know how we think God needs to answer it. I have learned that God is not a math equation to be figured out. He is our heavenly Father who knows what’s best for us. 2+2 with God may equal 4, but it also may equal wisdom, or grace, happiness, or rest or 2+2 may equal 5000. We can never be sure how He will answer, but we can be sure he *will* answer. The Bible says that God directs the steps of the righteous, that He clothes the fields and flowers, that He will never leave us or forsake us. So trust in God’s economy even if you’re not sure how it all will play out. Because with God we know if we are faithful and obedient it will always land in our favor.
Trust and Submit
by Dan Hunter on Jan 06, 2015
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
I am challenged by this verse. I focused on it in my personal prayer time and talked to God about the obvious two actions in this verse… TRUST and SUBMIT. My heart’s desire is to totally trust Him and submit to Him. It’s not always easy to do. As a matter of fact, I can be down right difficult. However, the struggle to Trust and Submit is a fight worth fighting because it can bring victory in every area of life. It shows up in regards to future, dreams, family, finances, plans, desires, ministry, career, actions, attitudes, etc.
If you trust and submit to Him fully, He promises to lead you and take care of you. The thing is, this is a continual thing. It’s not a one time prayer or one time decision. It must happen on a daily basis in your everyday life.
What areas of your life do you need to TRUST in Him more?
What areas of your life do you need to SUBMIT to Him fully?
Parenting Advice from Jochebed (Moses’ Mother)
by Christian Conatser on Dec 17, 2014
The true story of the life of Moses is fascinating. Not only because it chronicles the beginning of the forming of Judaism, and thus Christianity, but also because we see the life of the greatest leader in history. Moses lived 120 years, and he accomplished more in his lifetime, under harsh circumstances, than any other leader ever has: opposing a political super-power, leading over half a million people through the wilderness for 40 years, and forming a governance and religion that stands as the foundation for most of this world’s governments and largest religions. It goes without saying that this was accomplished because of God alone and His mighty power, but God’s forming of this great leader began with the family into which he was born and the mother who made difficult but important decisions: Jochebed.
We don’t know very much about Jochebed, but what we do know gives us some valuable insight into parenting our children in a world that is contrary to our values and threatens to steal our children from us.
KEEP THEM COVERED
In Exodus 2:1-10, we read about the terrifying circumstances she is in as a mother. Pharaoh has commanded to have all children under 2 killed and thrown into the Nile river. Jochebed takes her newborn baby, Moses, carefully crafts a basket to place him in, then sends him down the river to where Pharaoh’s childless daughter is bathing. Unfortunately, as parents, we don’t get much choice over the world our child grows up in. Like Jochebed, there comes a point early in a child’s life when we must send them off to interact with this broken world. Moses’ mother had no choice but to send him out, but she was sure to encase him in a protective covering before she did. Today, the threats are much more subtle than what was coming from Pharaoh, but they are no less deadly. As parents, we must be sure to encase our children in a covering of prayer. Although they must interact with this broken world, they do not have to be destroyed by it. We must pray daily for our children. Moses went into the river like all the other Hebrew infants, but because of his covering, he was allowed to grow into the rescuing leader of all Hebrews.
TRAIN THEM UP
As we read on in Exodus 2:1-10, something remarkable happens. Pharaoh’s daughter takes pity on baby Moses and chooses to care for him. Miriam, Moses’ sister steps out of the brush and offers to help find someone to care for the baby. So Pharaoh’s daughter hire’s Jochebed to take the baby home and nurse him. ISN’T THIS AMAZING?! Rather than the baby being killed by Pharaoh, Pharaoh is now paying Jochebed to care for and raise her own son! In this time, children would be nursed by their mothers for many years. In the 6-10 years that the child remained in Jochebed’s care, she was free to teach Moses about their God, the Hebrew history and culture, and watch him build deep bonds with his two older siblings, Miriam and Aaron. Jochebed knew that the child must be returned to Pharaoh’s palace, but she could provide him with an intimate knowledge of their faith before then.
The beauty of God’s plan is that by having Moses raised in Pharaoh’s home, he was given the best education the world had to offer. Very few people in all of the world were literate, much less given a 5 star education. Moses was most likely trained in multiple dialects, advanced mathematics, and administration of a large government. Combine that with a deep bond to the Hebrew people, and it is clear that God had the perfect plan for preparing a great leader.
We have the privilege of living in a culture today that has some of the best opportunities for education and development, but these institutions only provide a small part of what our children will need. It is our responsibility as parents to keep our children in a healthy church and raise our children in a healthy home that exemplifies Christ, regularly prays, worships, and reads the bible, and reminds them that living a life fully devoted to God is the only life worth living.
PROVERBS 22:6 says Train a child up in the way they should go, so that when they grow, they will not depart from it.
Jochebed only had a few years with Moses, 10 at the most. She was probably long passed before he became the great leader we know him as today. It wasn’t until Moses was 80 years old that he took up the role God and Jochebed raised him up for, but let that be an inspiration and challenge to all of us parents and church leaders. Our job is to cover our children in prayer and train them up in serving God, so that when they are adults, 20 years old, 35 years old, or even 80 years old, they have been prepared for who God intends them to be.