Friday, January 24, 2014

We ALL are Called

The Voice Of The Nature Of God
"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 
      "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?
             And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"  - Isaiah 6:8
When we talk about the call of God, we often forget the most important thing, namely, the nature of Him who calls. There are many things calling each of us today. Some of these calls will be answered, and others will not even be heard. The call is the expression of the nature of the One who calls, and we can only recognize the call if that same nature is in us. The call of God is the expression of God’s nature, not ours. God providentially weaves the threads of His call through our lives, and only we can distinguish them. It is the threading of God’s voice directly to us over a certain concern, and it is useless to seek another person’s opinion of it. Our dealings over the call of God should be kept exclusively between ourselves and Him.
The call of God is not a reflection of my nature; my personal desires and temperament are of no consideration. As long as I dwell on my own qualities and traits and think about what I am suited for, I will never hear the call of God. But when God brings me into the right relationship with Himself, I will be in the same condition Isaiah was. Isaiah was so attuned to God, because of the great crisis he had just endured, that the call of God penetrated his soul. The majority of us cannot hear anything but ourselves. And we cannot hear anything God says. But to be brought to the place where we can hear the call of God is to be profoundly changed.
“Let me hear Your voice”—that is my prayer. I am willing beyond all my expression to hear You, to perceive You, to be thrilled with Your presence.

Oswald Chambers "My utmost for His highest"

Saturday, January 4, 2014

New Year Resolutions

21 day FAST

St. Thomas Aquinas once wrote, FASTING is “a perfect quieting of all our impulses, fleshly and spiritual.”  Fasting is not meant to drag us down, but to still us.  It is not meant to distract us from the really real, but rather to silence us so that we can hear things as they most truly are.


STARTING THIS SUNDAY, Jan 5th, Rachel and I are leading our Young Adult Bible Study group, "The MIX", in a 21 day Fast to set this New Year on the right track!  

Why am I posting this to our Blog?
1) Becuse it was THROUGH this fast last year that God showed us to investigate a year in missions, which is now becoming a REALITY! ...and 2) Becuase I hope you will consider joining us. :-)

We will be doing 3 things every day:

#1 - WORD - Spend at least 20 dedicated minutes every day reading the Bible
#2 - PRAYER - Speak to God at least 3x every day - separate from meal-time prayer
#3 - FAST - Give up your favorite indulgence - something you will miss and HUNGER for EVERY day (Favorite foods, Coffee, Alcohol, Solid food, TV, Gaming, A meal or general snacking, Social Networking, Addictive Habits, etc.)

Here are some practical STRATEGIES to help you with this challenge!

BIBLE Reading & Reflection:
- Choose a Book of the Bible to read - Matthew, Romans, Corinthians, etc.
- SET APART a certain time of day - before work, over lunch, before bed - SET AN ALARM
- Find a QUIET place to read, minimize distractions, dedicate the time (at least 20 minutes, every day)
- Always start with PRAYER - give God praise and thanks, seek His forgiveness, then ask Him to change you by His Truth - the Bible.
- Read each passage slowly, underlining/starring passages that stock out, always pausing for reflection between passages.
- With every point, put yourself in Paul's perspective to challenge yourself as a minister of the gospel...Then RE-READ and put yourself in the Romans' perspective, receiving this Word from Paul to change your own life.
- Write down any revelation(s) God gives you, and share specific passages or revelations with at LEAST one person. 
- Commit to making ONE change in your life based on the verses. 
- Close in prayer - Praise God for providing this Truth, ask Him to change your heart with His wisdom. 

Personal Times of PRAYER:
- Every morning ask for God's direction for the day
- Confess Your Sins - "Forgive me Lord for..."
- Pray before and after reading your daily Bible passage
- In the Car, turn OFF the radio, and OUT LOUD give Him praise for a new day
- Pray for Wisdom, Peace, and the Joy of the Spirit
- Pray for your spouse, family, friends, your Church Body and Pastors, etc.
- Seek God's guidance when making choices  - "How should I proceed?"

- When you are consciously sacrificing something you Love for God, you are DRAWN to God every time you miss that special thing. The more essential the thing (food for example), the more aware you will be of your sacrifice (when your stomach is doing backflips), which SHOULD lead you to PRAYER – where you will be asking/seeking God for direction in something particular.
- Never fasted something before? I don't recommend starting with "all food". Choose something you LOVE and indulge in daily - type of food, drink, activity. This might be a good time to start a healthier diet, quit a bad habit, or dedicate previously wasted TV time to READING THE BIBLE.
- This is between you and God - and He should be the only impressed person. Keep your sacrifice to yourself. 
- If your sacrifice leads to bitterness/anger/regret, you have lost your REASON for fasting...Pray again for The Spirit to INSPIRE you...and ASK for PRAYER...we are always available.


“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the ROCK.  But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you(Matthew 6:5-6)

When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.  But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,  so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:16-18)

...and what "REWARD" might we receive?

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must DENY himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.  What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?  For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.  I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” (Matthew 16:24-28)