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Archive for October, 2014

As we have been working our way through 1 John, we said we were going to focus on three avenues of love we are called to at a great level…

– God’s Love
– Our Struggling Love for the Lord
– Our Struggling Love for One Another

After a strong focus on the first two, John moves us into a deep consideration of what we call love when we say we love one another in the church.

Many have become suspect of the Lord and His Church because of experiences they have had when the promise of love falls short. Many our looking for something deeper than empty words, even when they are spoken with good intentions.

It was never God’s will for us to fall short or to struggle when it comes to love. A matter of fact, John’s first letter addresses this is great detail to lead to real change, real action, and real love.

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As we continue the study through 1 John, we dive through another helping of John reminding us of the depths of God’s love for us as well and what it means in our lives. There are rights, privileges, and an identity you have (or could have) by being a child of God.

At the same time, there are ways to negate, reject or hinder these as well. What types of choices or actions can keep you from having the fullness of God in your life? These are some of the things we will be reviewing and letting the Spirit move into.

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I remember when I was in Thailand that we visited one of the local schools. The school treated us very well and while we were having lunch, they had two of the school girls come in and play violin for us while we ate.They played beautifully and we really appreciated their talent and effort.  However, that’s not where most of my attention was.

Off to the side was a woman in her mid-thirties. At first, I thought she might be their music teacher since she came in with them and was helping the kids. However, after a very short amount of time, I came to the conclusion that the girls must be sisters and this must be their mother.

There was just something in the way she looked at them. The amount of love, care, and pride in her daughters was just busting through. I found it beautiful how she was leaning forward the entire time they played and was the first and loudest to clap for and encourage them (even when they made minor mistakes).

This is how God looks at you today if you have accepted Jesus as Leader and Forgiver in your life.

If you have not, He is reaching out to you in a desire to bring you to Him.

I found out later, the mom was a single mother and their life was not easy. She had made a connection with the pastor’s wife from Bible Church Thailand and said she lived close and would visit. I pray they do …

“…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” Romans 10:9-10

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If you were holding $100 in counterfeit twenties, you probably wouldn’t know it. The best counterfeits look most like the real thing so it would be easy to be tricked until it came time to try to cash it in.

If you had this counterfeit money, wouldn’t you want someone to tell you? Wouldn’t you want schooled in how to spot the fake thing instead of investing in something that would be worthless in the end?

This week, we dive into 1 John 2: 15- 27 to expose counterfeit love and counterfeit versions of Jesus Christ. So many people in our world are investing in false versions of both and without the proper understanding of them, you could be one of them.

Join us and walk out knowing how to spot the fake, how to find the true, and how to live in the fullness of love and relationship with God.

No more substitutes!

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I remember when I was a younger in the ministry, how excited I was to have mentors built into my education track. Each year, I would receive a new mentor to work with who had more years of training and experience than I did. I treasured the thought of mentors so much that I was the only student in my class that not only enjoyed the new mentor each year but asked my previous mentors is they would still mentor me.

However, with a little time and experience, I stopped feeling the need for my mentors as much. Actually, in some ways they became a little frustrating because they had come from different backgrounds and had different views than mine on where God was leading. As I would talk to them about issues that were coming up in day to day ministry, I found their perspectives were a little more frustrating than appreciated. My time with them became less and less as I felt I knew more than I used to and didn’t need their help any longer.

This was a mistake. This was going from being a toddler in ministry to being a teenager in ministry. I thought I understood things better than these heroes who had gone before me and I lost the benefit of their wisdom for a season. Yes, I was getting a better foothold under my feet of what God was leading me to do. Yes, they had different backgrounds and understandings of where God was leading me. However, instead of pulling away, I needed to learn more about submission, discernment, and wisdom.

As God shaped my understanding more, another strange thing happened. I starting become a mentor. I had people who were newer to ministry start reaching out to me for coaching. While it seemed odd at first, I was happy to help any way I could in the situations people were finding themselves since I have traveled that path before. It was encouraging to give advice that made a difference and put people into roles God was leading them to but needed someone to believe in them.

Some of those relationships continue today. They are my closest of friends and they mean so much to me. Many of those relationships went to the road side. After a little bit of time, they were no longer interested in counsel. They would still ask the questions but you could see their eyes glaze over as you answered. They would nod politely but then say something like “Thanks but I’m going to go ahead and do what I wanted to anyways.” with no consideration of a different point of view. Others would be so thankful for you believing in them to give them a role but within a short amount of time they change your counsel or authority from helpful to “getting in the way”.

I have learned not to be so bothered about it mostly because I did it to others in my past. However, I have learned after many years in ministry that the person hurting is the mentored more then the mentor.

I have mentors in my life. I love getting counsel from people who have different backgrounds and outlooks. I love to pray over and struggle over their thoughts and see where God leads me.

I have people that I mentor in my life. I love their hearts and passion for the work of the Lord. They have vibrant ministries and passion to help others. I love talking with them, praying together, and helping them avoid some of the mistakes of my past.

I have people in my life that have called me mentor but have since pushed that away. That’s ok. I went through that too. My prayer is they will seek other mentors and not try to do it on their own. Our personal views alone (or even as a leadership team) can get off base when we don’t get outside counsel. Seek Godly men and women who have been there before who can give you more resources than you have on your own.

Mentorship is awesome! It’s Biblical! The problem is when we shut it down without prayerful consideration.

Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” Provers 15:22

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Our associate pastor, Brent Longstreth takes us into week two of our study through 1 John and a greater love! As we brush up against the topic of loving others, we are challenged to look at the key of personal transformation. Have you been transformed by salvation through accepting Jesus Christ as Leader and Forgiver in your life?

As Brent reminds us, The greatest thing God will ever do for us, He has already done when He gave us His Son.

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