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Think with me for a moment. What characterizes your greatest desires in life? Most Christians would say, "I want to live for the Lord." If we are honest, most of us don't live that way. If you explore your life story, you might consider many moments where your desires overshadowed your love for God. We all get caught in this trap.

You could also answer the question by uncovering what triggers your greatest disappointments. What takes you down the trail of dejection and self-pity that lead you to question God's Goodness? Perhaps, your happiness is circumstantial. You are only content when your desires are fulfilled.

There is nothing wrong with having aspirations, but living your life based on attaining them is dangerous. Here are some good questions to ask yourself.
-Do your desires make you self-reliant or Christ dependent?
-Do you think more about what you don't have or delighting in the blessings God has given you?
-Will your desires further God's kingdom or your personal fulfillment?
-Is your life characterized by peace or by fear?
-Where do your thoughts tend to drift?
-What do you live for?

I have noticed that sometimes God gives you the opposite of what you think you need in order to bring you back to Him. Other times, He is just waiting for you to completely surrender yourself to him.

Christianity does not offer an easy life, but God does promise to give us peace. If you are grasping for something, but have no peace in your heart, then consider these two possibilities:
1.You are trying to obtain a desire God does not have in store for you.
2.You still need to take a true step of faith.

As we cross the bridge from 2013 to 2014, it is important to realize our Father's appointed place of beauty and strength.Jesus personally approached and addressed each of His sheep. Several times we read of the gift of the Spirit. Why? The Spirit is active, powerfully enlightening, animating, and transforming us as He stirs our sluggishness, sharpens our insight, soothes our guilty consciences, sweetens our sour disposition, and strengthens us for righteousness.

Perhaps the greatest work is that in Himself as in His ministry He is glorious, meriting all the worship, adoration, love, and loyalty of which we are capable. If we want to show Christ and share Christ with our community, the more dependent on God's Spirit we will become. The Holy Spirit mediates Christ's presence and shines His spotlight on Christ beautiful Person. While God uses almost any vessel to dispense His love, He prefers to use clean vessels. Would you join me in asking God to continue His work in us to beautify our souls through the power of the Holy Spirit?

Dingy, dusty, and dirty-

David

Every year, it seems that Christmas comes earlier as seen by the marketing plans of many retailers. The truth is, there are two Christmases. There is the cultural Christmas where people talk about Rudolph, the Nutcracker, and Santa. Personally, I am glad children can play make believe and imagine many things as long as they grow to discern the limitations of all human contrivances. I see nothing wrong with a Christmas tree, lights, a Santa figurine, stockings on the mantle, and other family traditions that all center around the Cultural Christmas. Christmas music will start before you know it. It is a season that comes and goes and we enjoy as much of it as our finances and schedule allows.

There is another kind of celebration that is supra-seasonal. It is not constrained by time, place, or money. It is a daily celebration that runs throughout the year. While there are times when the cultural Christmas can be "annoying" or in the way there is never an unwanted intrusion of the biblical Christmas. It is the glorious good news of the gospel.

I hope your pace this Christmas season does not leave you off-balance in an effort to keep up with the expectations of this seasonal celebration. If it has, please stop, slow down, and take a break. If our activities do not point us to the Savior, then our activity is in the way.

David

P.S. - It is almost Halloween. How is your shopping going?

Prayer has been a fundamental component of Christianity since the disciples asked the Lord, "teach us to pray." Many believers give daily thanks at meals, confess their sins and ask for forgiveness, intercede for family members, pray for the sick, ask for the protection of missionaries, pray for their Pastor and their church, and "stand in the gap" for the lost. Of all the activities to which a Christian is called, prayer is the most important. Yet staistics continue to indicate that many church members spend little time in prayer.

Of all the activities to which the church is called, prayer is the most important (Isaiah 56:11 ; Matthew 20:13 ; Mark 11:17 ; Luke 19:46 ). Most churches are know by some reputation. Some are recognized for dynamic personal leadership, others for strong lay leadership. Some are known for their care-giving; others have a burden for professions of faith and baptism.
While these and other churches meet a variety of needs, many churches tend to overlook the obvious-that is, the centrality of prayer.

As a church seeking to meet our five core values, it is necessary that "Found People Would be Focused People in regard to prayer. We already have a group that meets on Sunday mornings at 8:30AM in the prayer chapel. Starting October 16th, we will offer a community time for prayer in the Prayer Chapel (Wednesday Nights) from 5:30 - 7:30 PM. Handouts will be available and can be used to guide each individual through 1 hour of prayer. If it is necessary to stop in and pray for any amount of time, that is fine. Come and go as your schedule allows.

Praying for you and with you,

David

As our Pastor has taken us on a journey through Hebrews 11 this summer, it seems that an appropriate question for me to consider is "what difference does it make?" Another related question to help narrow my focus is "what is faith?" Is it a burning in the pit of our stomachs? I know that I often turn toward a feeling-oriented language to try and describe it. Too often, I think of faith as a leap into the unknown. It is a "leave your mind at the door" kind of thing.
However, faith is a transitive verb. It assumes a direct object. It is shorthand for faith in Jesus Christ as opposed to faith in ourselves or in our idols. Scripture is unfamiliar with a leap into the unknown. Instead, it reveals the object of our faith. Faith does not leave our minds at the door, though it does leave our pride there. So instead of trying to muster up faith, we study Christ, knowing that He alone is worthy of our alligience.
When our understanding and exercize of faith in Christ kicks in, we begin to see things differently. Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 4:18 , "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

All this makes August 25th so important.On that day, we will celebrate together all that God has done and will yet do. Faith takes us from where we are to where we need to be.

Sola Fide

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