Providing Aid to Victims of Floods and Storms

Missouri FloodingThe midwest has been hit by terrible storms and floods. CNN reports:

Missouri is expected to have historic river flooding through early next week. The Governor has declared a State of Emergency and activated the National Guard.

Additionally:

The day after Christmas turned deadly in north Texas as storms and a tornado moved through several communities near Dallas destroying homes, churches and businesses along a 40 mile long path. A State of Disaster has been declared in several Texas counties.

If you would like to help provide aid to some vetted charitable organizations, see the full list here.

The Church Plant

Worship Devotional: Holy Spirit

Can you imagine what it must have been like to be present the first time the Holy Spirit appeared and filled the place where the disciples were? We read about it in Acts 2 ~

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire tongue of fireappeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Today’s worship devotional is based on the Jesus Culture song “Holy Spirit.” The chorus is quite simple, but it reflects Acts 2.

Holy Spirit You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory God is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your Presence Lord

Don’t be satisfied and content with where you are. Actively pursue the presence of God.

Let’s worship.

Christian Fight Club

Yeah, yeah, I know – the first rule of fight club is…fight-club

Still, here we are.

For those readers who have never see and know absolutely nothing about Fight Club, it’s a movie about an underground fighting organization. Think of illegal dog fights only with humans. There are no rules – just do what you can to beat the other guy.

That’s the kind of world we live in. There is something within us that compels us to be better than the other guy. Often it matters less HOW we play the game – only that we win the game.

And that brings us to the word of the day: GREATEST

It’s time for church…
welcome-to-church

At the end of this digital church service there’s a place for comments. We’d love to hear from you. What did you take away from the service? What spoke to you? What do you have questions about? How can we do better to serve you and your friends and family? Thx!

Now who is the greatest? This was the argument the disciples were having one fine day. I always imagine Peter started off the conversation something like this…

46 An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest. 47 But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side 48 and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.” 49 John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” 50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.”

C’mon, Jesus, you’re not being much fun. We want to talk about greatness and you keep harping on humility. Whoever is least is great? What kind of talk is that? No one in this world strives for leastness (I’m pretty sure I invented a new word – which is pretty great).

But do you get what Jesus is saying? Our world pushes us to pursue the best. Sports, business, school…for our entire lives we are groomed to desire greatness. How many different Hall of Fames do we have? Each sport has one. Rock ‘n Roll has one. Each segment of society has its own version. We annually look forward to crowning the world champion in our favorite sport. Humility has become a completely foreign concept to us, altogether.

HUMILITY HAS BECOME A COMPLETELY FOREIGN CONCEPT TO US. (did you say it with me?)

Yet this is the attitude Jesus calls us to embrace.

Ironically, the Bible DOES talk about those who believe in God being conquerors and victors. But here’s the thing – it’s never about winning under our own strength and ability. It’s about recognizing our weakness and limitations and relying on God to see us through. It’s not about our greatness – it’s about GOD’s greatness.

We still need to maintain a humble attitude. It’s hard, I know. Especially when we’re really good at something.

How about it? Will you embrace humility in order to take care of others? Are you willing to be weak so that God can be strong? Are you willing to set aside your greatness in order to magnify God’s?

_ _ _

We’re going to have some reflection and response time. Think about the message and focus on the words of the songs.

Our first song is called “Victorious.” It’s not about what WE can do. It’s about what GOD can do (and has done).

We face the trials this world will wage
We pray for strength to stand in faith
Through it all our God remains…

God is the victor.

Our secondsong is “God Is Able”. It declares the awesome wonder of God – the foundation and rock upon which we build our faith and lives. The song declares,

God is able, He will never fail – He is almighty God
Greater than all we seek, Greater than all we ask – He has done great things

Lifted up, He defeated the grave
Raised to life our God is able
In His name we overcome
For the Lord our God is able

Let’s worship…

FOR REFLECTION:
– Do I actively seek greatness?
– Am I comfortable wearing humility? Is my humility a false humility?
– Am I willing to embrace a humble lifestyle and NOT pursue greatness?

MAKING IT REAL:
– This week, practice humility and service. Find a way to let others have the day.
– Intentionally take the back seat. Find a way to serve someone else.
– At the end of the week share your God moments with us here on the site or on our page at Facebook.
– If you’ve never come to the place in your life where you have decided to be a follower of Jesus and want to know more, please shoot us a message and we’ll be glad to talk to you about what it means to be a follower!
– – – – – – – – – –

If there’s anything you would like prayer for just contact us and we’ll be happy to pray for you. We also provide pastoral counseling. Let us know how we can serve you. We’d love feedback from you. You can send us an email or comment below. Let us know your thoughts and how you think we can get better.

Finally, if today’s message resonated with you at all, we would appreciate it if you would share this digital church service with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, or any other media you use. Help share about Jesus! Thanks, and have a great week!


The Church Plant

Jesus Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

There’s an age-old debate among religious people regarding mental health and spirituality. One extreme believes that all mental health issues really come down to spiritual issues. Instead of mental health professionals and medication, sick people simply need “deliverance” from the spirits that are afflicting them. Cuckoo's NestThe other extreme believes that there are legitimate physiological issues concerning mental health that have nothing to do with spiritual issues. Instead of praying for these people, we ought to be getting them therapy and medication.

This brings us to the word of the day: DELIVERANCE

It’s time for church…
Welcome

At the end of this digital church service there’s a place for comments. We’d love to hear from you. What did you take away from the service? What spoke to you? What do you have questions about? How can we do better to serve you and your friends and family? Thx!

37 On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. 38 And behold, a man from the crowd cried out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. 39 And behold, a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly cries out. It convulses him so that he foams at the mouth, and shatters him, and will hardly leave him. 40 And I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.” 41 Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.” 42 While he was coming, the demon threw him to the ground and convulsed him. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. 43 And all were astonished at the majesty of God.

But while they were all marveling at everything he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, 44 “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.” 45 But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, so that they might not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying.

There is a natural tendency in the western world to dismiss elements of the supernatural in the biblical narratives. We hear “experts” saying things like, “Well, the young man must have suffered from epilepsy or some other affliction that made him act the way he did.” We like to sanitize the bits of the Bible that make us uncomfortable.

Like a person who acts completely bananas and the Bible calls it demonic possession.

But we cannot simply dismiss the parts that don’t fit within our cultural framework. Regardless of how you feel about the mental health profession or about exorcisms, the simply truth of the text is that we are presented with a case of spiritual attack. And notice how Luke describes the end-result of the encounter. It’s not really about a demon-possession and exorcism – it comes down to illness and healing. The power Jesus wields as a healer is the power that restores the young man to wholeness.

Sometimes we go through things that are physiological. Sometimes we go through things that are spiritual. Sometimes we go through things that are combinations of the two with no clear-cut distinction. That’s not really the point. The point is that the “majesty of God” has the power to heal WHATEVER afflicts us. It’s not about trying to control the demons or illnesses. It’s about recognizing that the power of God at work in Jesus can overcome any power seen in this world.

Rather than trying to fit the Bible in our framework, perhaps we should be remodeling our thinking to fit what God is trying to tell us.

His majesty is astonishing.

_ _ _

We’re going to have some reflection and response time. Think about the message and focus on the words of the songs.

Our first song is called “Open Up the Heavens.” It’s one of my favorites and is a cry out to God, asking for his presence in our midst.

Open up the heavens we want to see You
Open up the floodgates a mighty river
Flowing from Your heart
Filling every part of our praise

Our second song is “Waiting Here For You”. It declares the awesome wonder of God – the foundation and rock upon which we build our faith and lives. The song declares,

If faith can move the mountains
Let the mountains move
We come with expectation
Waiting here for You
Waiting here for You

Let’s worship…

FOR REFLECTION:
– How do I need spiritual healing? Physical healing?
– Have I tried everything EXCEPT Jesus to solve the problem?
– Am I willing to ask Jesus to heal me?
– Am I willing to live with the answer if God says, “No.”?

MAKING IT REAL:
– This week, start being persistent in asking God to heal your affliction.
– At the end of the week share your God moments with us here on the site or on our page at Facebook.
– If you’ve never come to the place in your life where you have decided to be a follower of Jesus and want to know more, please shoot us a message and we’ll be glad to talk to you about what it means to be a follower!
– – – – – – – – – –

If there’s anything you would like prayer for just contact us and we’ll be happy to pray for you. We also provide pastoral counseling. Let us know how we can serve you. We’d love feedback from you. You can send us an email or comment below. Let us know your thoughts and how you think we can get better.

Finally, if today’s message resonated with you at all, we would appreciate it if you would share this digital church service with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, or any other media you use. Help share about Jesus! Thanks, and have a great week!


The Church Plant

Jesus Isn’t Just Another Prophet

MuhammadJesus isn’t as good as Muhammad.

He’s better.

No, it’s not being racist or Islamophobic. It’s a proclamation of faith. In the same way that Muslims declare that Muhammad is the ultimate prophet of Allah, Christianity proclaims with certainty that there is NO equal to Jesus. That’s a difficult message in today’s world – a world that values diversity and letting everyone find their own path. But there is no escaping the biblical message that there is no other way than Jesus.

And that brings us to the word of the day: UNIQUE

It’s time for church…
Welcome

At the end of this digital church service there’s a place for comments. We’d love to hear from you. What did you take away from the service? What spoke to you? What do you have questions about? How can we do better to serve you and your friends and family? Thx!

LUKE 9:28 Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. 29 And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. 30 And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, 31 who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure,[a] which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. 33 And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. 34 As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” 36 And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.

This is the second time in the Gospel of Luke that Heaven makes a proclamation about Jesus. When Jesus is baptized, God says, “You are my beloved Son, in you I am well-pleased.” (Luke 3:22). Now Jesus once again gets the official heavenly seal of approval.

Notice the heavenly visitors spending time with Jesus: Moses and Elijah. The first led God’s people in the original Exodus and the prophet represents the last things and end of time (the eschaton). Jesus is leading a new Exodus, a spiritual journey out of the slavery of sin and into the promised land where we are renewed in our relationship with God.

But Peter doesn’t get it. He sees some great spiritual characters and wants to set up shelters for all of them. He’s inadvertently lumping Jesus in with the other two, not realizing it. But you can’t equate Jesus with anyone else in all of human history. The Spirit of God envelops them all and declares the uniqueness of Jesus – He is the Son of God, the Chosen One. No one else gets to use this claim.

And while people who follow other religions may be good people in their character and behavior, the Bible never compromises that all other roads don’t lead to the same place. There is only one true path, and that’s the path that follows Jesus. So hear what God is saying about who Jesus is and what our response needs to be: LISTEN TO HIM. It does no good to say, “I follow Jesus,” if we’re not actually going to listen to what he says and put it into practice in our lives.

So stop trying to set up tents for everyone else and find the unique Jesus. And listen to him.

_ _ _

We’re going to have some reflection and response time. Think about the message and focus on the words of the songs.

Our first song is called “This I Believe (The Creed).” In a day and age where belief has become so individualized that it is seen as rude to proclaim one’s faith, it is important for Christians to KNOW what we believe and to still proclaim it publicly
.

I believe in God our Father
I believe in Christ the Son
I believe in the Holy Spirit
Our God is three in One
I believe in the resurrection
That we will rise again
For I believe in the Name of Jesus

Our second song is “The Stand,” one of my all-time faves. It declares the our position before God – that we will stand in awe and worship the Chosen One. The song says,

So I’ll stand
With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One who gave it all
I’ll stand
My soul Lord to You surrendered
All I am is Yours

Let’s worship…

FOR REFLECTION:
– What do I believe about Jesus?
– Do I place Jesus on the same level with others or do I see him as unique?
– Am I willing to listen to Jesus?

MAKING IT REAL:
– This week, come to a personal decision about what you believe about Jesus.
– Identify what it would mean to actually LISTEN to Jesus if he is Lord.
– At the end of the week share your God moments with us here on the site or on our page at Facebook.
– If you’ve never come to the place in your life where you have decided to be a follower of Jesus and want to know more, please shoot us a message and we’ll be glad to talk to you about what it means to be a follower!
– – – – – – – – – –

If there’s anything you would like prayer for just contact us and we’ll be happy to pray for you. We also provide pastoral counseling. Let us know how we can serve you. We’d love feedback from you. You can send us an email or comment below. Let us know your thoughts and how you think we can get better.

Finally, if today’s message resonated with you at all, we would appreciate it if you would share this digital church service with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, or any other media you use. Help share about Jesus! Thanks, and have a great week!


The Church Plant

When Justin Bieber Finds Jesus

Every once in a while I’ll see a headline in the news that is shocking, even jarring. This week I saw a headline about Justin Bieber’s comments on Christianity and his desire to live like Jesus.

surprise

Yeah, I wasn’t sure how to respond. My sarcasm and skepticism meters initially jumped off the chart and it took me a couple hours to bring it down. When a very public figure goes from wild-child to disciple of Jesus there’s bound to be a lot of disbelief. He can’t be serious. This must be a publicity stunt. What’s he REALLY trying to pull?

I imagine this is the similar response the Apostle Paul received after his dramatic conversion experience. And no, that’s not to put Bieber on the same level with the Apostle. It’s merely saying that salvation leading to extreme turn-arounds should NOT be shocking to Christians. We, of all people, should be the first to say, “Yeah, that’s the kind of thing our God can do! Look at how he radically transforms lives.” So I’m not sure how or to what extent, but Justin Bieber has publically proclaimed that he wants to live like Jesus.

And that brings us to the word of the day: ASHAMED

It’s time for church…
Welcome

At the end of this digital church service there’s a place for comments. We’d love to hear from you. What did you take away from the service? What spoke to you? What do you have questions about? How can we do better to serve you and your friends and family? Thx!

23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”

Tough words from Jesus. It’s the part of the Bible where the rubber meets the road. It’s not merely enough to believe the right thing, but being an authentic follower of Jesus must mean something and actually play out in real life. In his book “Growing True Disciples,” George Barna writes: …most believers say their faith matters, but few are investing much energy in the pursuit of spiritual growth.”

This is a problem, folks. We want the title without putting in any of the work. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be. Those who claim the title “Christian” need to be working to see evidence of a life change. That change is then projected into the world around us. It’s about rejecting the world and embracing Jesus. It’s about not being a closet-Christian but a public one.

While some might mock Justin Bieber for his public proclamation about his desire to live like Jesus, isn’t this EXACTLY what Jesus is talking about? Are we willing to publicly state, “I’m going to do my best to follow him”?
_ _ _

We’re going to have some reflection and response time. Think about the message and focus on the words of the songs.

Our first song is called “Unbroken Praise.” It’s new to me, but it quickly is becoming a favorite! It’s about our praise of the God who calls us, saves us, and changes us. When we think about what God has done in our lives THIS should be our natural response!

Unbroken praise be yours, God forever
all my praise, God, be yours forever
Lord, take this life
Let it become your throne
Unbroken praise be yours.

God accepts us as we are.

Our second song is “God Is Able”. It declares the awesome wonder of God – the foundation and rock upon which we build our faith and lives. The song declares,

God is able, He will never fail – He is almighty God
Greater than all we seek, Greater than all we ask – He has done great things

Lifted up, He defeated the grave
Raised to life our God is able
In His name we overcome
For the Lord our God is able

Let’s worship…

FOR REFLECTION:
– How has God changed my life?
– Am I willing to pursue spiritual growth and discipleship or do I mere want the title?
– Am I willing to make a public stand for Jesus?

MAKING IT REAL:
– This week, make a discipleship plan – how will you pursue spiritual growth?
– At the end of the week share your God moments with us here on the site or on our page at Facebook.
– If you’ve never come to the place in your life where you have decided to be a follower of Jesus and want to know more, please shoot us a message and we’ll be glad to talk to you about what it means to be a follower!
– – – – – – – – – –

If there’s anything you would like prayer for just contact us and we’ll be happy to pray for you. We also provide pastoral counseling. Let us know how we can serve you. We’d love feedback from you. You can send us an email or comment below. Let us know your thoughts and how you think we can get better.

Finally, if today’s message resonated with you at all, we would appreciate it if you would share this digital church service with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, or any other media you use. Help share about Jesus! Thanks, and have a great week!


The Church Plant

Jesus Gets Amnesia

ForgetfulSometimes I have a hard time remembering names. It can take me a while before I learn a name.

So it’s great in the military where we all wear our names right on our shirts – every day!

But even though we sometimes have difficulty in remembering other people, it’s not very often that we forget who we are. Of course, when Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do people say I am?” he’s not asking them to jog his memory.😉

And that brings us to the word of the day: REMEMBER

It’s time for church…
Welcome to Church

At the end of this digital church service there’s a place for comments. We’d love to hear from you. What did you take away from the service? What spoke to you? What do you have questions about? How can we do better to serve you and your friends and family? Thx!

Instead of recording my own video devotion this week, I wanted to share a powerful video about the identity of Jesus from a sermon of the late S.M. Lockridge. Here it is:

Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.” And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”

After coming from a crowd of thousands, Jesus now puts the top 12 to the test. He knows who he is. The reader of the gospel knows who he is. At his baptism a voice from heaven told him:

You are my beloved Son; in you I am well pleased.

The question is designed to see if the people listening to Jesus understand who he is. Of course, the masses DON’T get it. There are guesses: John the Baptist, Elijah, one of the other prophets…. But none of those are right. So Jesus pushes the 12 a bit further and says, “But what about you??”

And for once in his life Peter seems to “get it.”

The question that Jesus asks the disciples is the same question we all have to answer. Who is Jesus? A good teacher? One of the prophets? Or can we say that he is the Christ – the Messiah?

This is the question that separates the doubters from the faithful. The identity of Jesus as the Christ – God’s Messiah – is a key Christian distinctive. And when we take it on faith that this is the identity of Jesus it affects our own discipleship. We’re not merely trying to follow the teachings of a wise man.

We’re following in the footsteps of God in the flesh. His character needs to be our character.

So how about you?

Who do YOU say Jesus is?

_ _ _

We’re going to have some reflection and response time. Think about the message and focus on the words of the songs.

Our first song is called “I Am.” The words are powerful. Though today we were talking about the identity of Jesus, let’s talk about who we are in Him!

I am holding on to you
I am holding on to you
In the middle of the storm
I am holding on – I am

No matter where your life has taken you, you can hold on to a faithful and unmovable God!

Our secondsong is “Your Grace Finds Me”. It declares the awesome grace of God. The song declares,

From the creation to the cross
There from the cross into eternity
Your grace finds me
Yes your grace finds me

Let’s worship…

FOR REFLECTION:
– Who do I believe Jesus is?
– How does my belief (or lack of it) influence my behavior?

MAKING IT REAL:
– This week, share your belief about Jesus with someone else (through conversation, email, whatever). If you don’t believe, have a conversation with someone who does and talk about your position.
– Ask yourself why you do (or don’t) believe.
– At the end of the week share your God moments with us here on the site or on our page at Facebook.
– If you’ve never come to the place in your life where you have decided to be a follower of Jesus and want to know more, please shoot us a message and we’ll be glad to talk to you about what it means to be a follower!

– – – – – – – – – –
If there’s anything you would like prayer for just contact us and we’ll be happy to pray for you. We also provide pastoral counseling. Let us know how we can serve you. We’d love feedback from you. You can send us an email or comment below. Let us know your thoughts and how you think we can get better.

Finally, if today’s message resonated with you at all, we would appreciate it if you would share this digital church service with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, or any other media you use. Help share about Jesus! Thanks, and have a great week!


The Church Plant