God Knows You And Loves You
What's the nicest thing someone has said to you? Have you ever felt fully recognized and praised? There is nothing like being known, seen, and appreciated!
Each of us desires to be known and loved. God created us that way. It's sometimes challenging for us to believe, but God created you on purpose - exactly as you were born, you were specially designed - from your nose to your toes, and all the mind and emotion in between. It is easy for us to focus on our flaws, to let our insecurities and shortcomings dominate our understanding of ourselves - but much of that is just nonsense from the enemy.
God's design is good. God's intention for us is enduringly GOOD. It doesn't matter how off course we put ourselves, God can redeem it, forgive us, and work it all together for GOOD.
God sees all of you and loves you and appreciates you deeper than anything earth can offer. When you give your heart to God and trust His leading, He will draw you closer and closer to the best life you can have, truly fulfilled, as He created you to live. We call it the "big life."
Join us Sunday we devote our hour of worship together to draw closer to God. We believe committing our hearts to God during this one hour of worship each week can change every other hour we live.
Taste and See
What's your favorite treat to eat?
We love to get a nice steak on a special night out. Or a sushi dinner is hard to beat. Maybe you love a perfectly layered chocolate dessert, or a good taco feast.
There is something special that goes on in our bodies, minds, and hearts when we eat delicious food. Our senses are filled, our hunger is abated, and even our spirits feel comforted. It's one of the most delightful and satisfying aspects of human life.
As a parent of a toddler, though, I know it can be challenging to get even the most delicious bite into the mouth of a skeptic. But once our guard is dropped, IF we can be lured into trying a taste... we might even enjoy the flavors offered to us, regardless of our preconceptions.
Psalm 34 invites us to "taste and see that the Lord is good." Maybe you grew up thinking of God as a condemning judge and are afraid of what you'll find about Him in the Bible. Maybe you feel you've drifted too far away from faith to pray honestly for God's help in what you want in life. Maybe you just can't believe God would take care of your finances enough to give your tithe. Or maybe you've just gotten tired and slipped away from good habits of faith you have practiced in the past.
Our invitation over the next few weeks is to stop resisting, be open, and take a taste of who God really is... because He is SO good. As Psalm 34 says, "taste and see that the Lord is good. BLESSED is the one who takes refuge in Him." If we taste, if we unclench our hearts and pursue Him, He WILL bless us. He is our remedy, and He is our hope. He cares passionately about each one of us and the quality of our life. Together, we can come to know God's forgiveness, leading, kindness, and provision more personally. In taking steps to seek Him, we allow Him to nourish us with His goodness and blessing.
Join us Sunday we devote an hour to draw closer to God. We believe committing our hearts to God during this one hour of worship each week can change every other hour we live.
Using Lent to Grow Towards God
It's Ash Wednesday!
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Christian season of Lent. Just like the calendar year is marked by seasons of spring, summer, fall, and winter, our faith is divided into seasons that help us focus our lives on Jesus.
Lent is the 40 day period leading up to Easter, during which we focus on Jesus' journey to the Cross and Resurrection.
People often give up something during Lent in order to take a step towards God. So what do we fast on in order to move closer to God? The best answer is to fast on that which holds us back from following God more deeply and closely in our daily lives. Lent is a good time to take a spiritual inventory of things we have let slip into bad habits.
Maybe you know your relationship to social media is causing you to feel negatively towards people. Maybe you recognize you watch too much TV. Maybe you are so engaged in the daily news that you are struggling to stay centered on Love. Maybe you know your habit of grabbing food at the restaurant or shopping when you are bored is taking too much of your resources and impacting your ability to be generous.
Last Sunday we talked about the theology of our time, that our busyness often stands starkly between us and God. It seemed to really hit a nerve of discomfort in our very stress-centered community. However, rather than feeling condemned by your own calendar, consider what you can set down this Lent that can open up an opportunity that you can give to God with your time and attention.
Each of us has something in our lives that we engage that tugs us a little further away from loving God, serving God, and loving and serving people. What is yours? What can you give up that will open a door for you to take a step closer to God this Lent?
Join us Sunday as part of this commitment to draw closer to God. Each week, I look forward to seeing you Sunday for worship as we give ourselves one focused hour to loving God and loving one another. We believe committing our hearts to God during this one hour of worship each week can change every other hour we live.
Practice Makes Permanent
Many years ago I had a PE teacher tell me what I'm sure you had a teacher tell you, "practice makes perfect." That simple statement applies to a variety of skills in our life: academics, athletics, musical performance, as well as the simple tasks of making our bed, or cleaning the house. There is only one problem, that statement is dead wrong.
Practice does not make something perfect, practice makes something permanent. Whatever you were doing, right or wrong, you are going to get better at it, and it will become part of the ingrained habits of your life. It will be a near automated response, healthy or unhealthy - whatever it is that you do daily. So what is it that you are now practicing that is becoming - or already feels - permanent in your life?
What financial habits feel permanent in your life?
What daily rhythms of prayer or lack thereof feel set in your life?
What conversational habits that either encourage or denigrate other people are becoming constants in your daily conversation?
How has being stubborn with your grudges - or giving people grace - become a permanent habit of your soul?
Make no mistake, spiritually, practice makes permanent. What you are doing right now is what you will likely continue to do - without a God-guided intervention in your life. And the less you are asking God to help you change... and then following through on His leadings... you will simply become better and more ingrained at the unhealthy and sinful habits that we all so readily adopt as adults in the world.
It isn't impossible to change course. Far from it. One simple habit that I would encourage you to make a priority this weekly worship. Many of us will say how busy we are, and how overextended our calendars have become. But that itself is a bad habit that has become a way of life. Busy-ness is not a badge of honor, but consistently seeking God in worship, and placing your soul before God with others IS.