Posts Tagged ‘intimacy with God’

Worship: The Transforming Priority

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

Message by Pastor Tom Cowan

What exactly is worship? Worship is our response to the character of God. Worship is the human response to all that God has done. Worship is also about anticipation.  

Text: Psalm 95:1-2

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Intimacy: Worship is Life

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

Message by Pastor Jeff Phillips, guest speaker

Worship is more than just singing. It is letting God change the way you think.

Text: Romans 12:1-2

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Tiny Sacrifices

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.” Isaiah 12:2-5

Preacher, teacher and writer Fred Craddock, in an address, caught the practical implications of commitment and dedication. “To give my life for Christ appears glorious,” he said. “To pour myself out for others … to pay the ultimate price of martyrdom—I’ll do it. I’m ready, Lord, to go out in a blaze of glory.

“We think giving our all to the Lord is like taking a $1,000 bill and laying it on the table—’Here’s my life Lord. I’m giving it all.’

“But the reality for most of us is that he sends us to the bank and has us cash in the $1,000 for quarters. We go through life putting out 25 cents here and 50 cents there. Listen to the neighbor kid’s troubles instead of saying, ‘Get lost,’ Go to a committee meeting. Give up a cup of water to a shaky old man in a nursing home.

“Usually giving our life to Christ isn’t glorious. It’s done in all those little acts of love, 25 cents at a time. It would be easy to go out in a flash of glory; it’s harder to live the Christian life little by little over the long haul.”

That’s true, isn’t it? It is the daily, day-in and day-out discipleship that challenges us, stretches us, and calls us to cast ourselves on the grace of God.

Centuries ago, the prophet Isaiah reminded his people: “But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

To be faithful in those little acts of love requires intimacy with God and a connection to God that daily refreshes us and empowers us and helps us to keep on keeping on. Do you know that empowerment, the strength that enables you to mount up like eagles, to run and not be weary, to walk and not faint? You can. It comes from cultivating intimacy with God through daily prayer and Bible study, fellowship and service.

The Real Thing

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6-7

In an article entitled: “Jesus Flavored, or Jesus Filled?” Erin Bunting writes about an event that many of us can relate to. He tells about going into a grocery store intending to buy some Blueberry Pomegranate Juice. He found the juice section and saw that the label on the bottle said: “Blueberry Pomegranate, 100 percent juice, all natural.” There was also a picture of a ripe pomegranate [spilling] its exotic, glistening seeds onto mounds of fat, perfect blueberries.

And then I read the ingredients list: “Filtered water, pear juice concentrate, apple juice concentrate, grape juice concentrate.” Where was the blueberry? Where was the pomegranate? Finally I found them, fifth and seventh on a list of nine ingredients, after mysteriously unspecified “natural flavors.”

By law, food ingredients are listed in descending order of weight. That means a product contains the greatest proportion of the first ingredient on the list and successively less of those farther down. So according to this list, the jug in my hand held mostly water and other juices, with just enough blueberry and pomegranate for flavor and color.

In the bottom corner of the front label, in small, easy-to-miss type, were the tell-tale words: “Flavored juice blend with other natural ingredients.” The enticing pictures and clever labeling were decoys to sell a diluted, blueberry-pomegranate flavored product, convincingly disguised to look like something it wasn’t. I put the juice back on the shelf.

And then he makes this comment: I left the store empty-handed and wondering: What if I had an ingredients list printed on me? Would Jesus be the main ingredient? If not, how far down the list would he be? Would my “label” accurately represent my contents? Or would I falsely project a misleading outward appearance that cleverly masked diluted ingredients? My packaging may be convincing. I may look and sound like the real thing. But what if someone came to me looking for Jesus beneath my “Christian” label and found something else? Something Jesus-flavored, but not Jesus-filled? …

What about us? Today’s Call to Worship reminds us: “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” (Colossians 2:6-7). What is the Apostle Paul saying? That if we want to make sure that we are Jesus-filled and not Jesus-flavored, it will mean giving attention to our spiritual life, our relationship with Jesus. It will mean living each and every day in him, being rooted and built-up in him. And if we do, then we will be strengthened for the journey and our lives will be overflowing with thankfulness and joy. Then, people will know that we are the real thing –Jesus-filled, not just Jesus-flavored.

Some Things You Don’t Need to Pray for

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

Hear the promise of God: “The one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows generously will also reap generously. God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:6,8,15.

Writing in Wild Good Chase, Mark Batterson tells the following story:

“Several years ago I was a part of a small group with a friend who was working with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Georgetown University. As we shared prayer requests at the end of one of our meetings, my friend said their ministry needed a computer, and I said I’d pray for him. I started praying that God would provide a computer, and then I felt as if God interrupted me. It’s hard to describe the tone I heard from God. It was stern but not unkind. It was as if the Holy Spirit whispered these words in my spirit: Why are you asking Me? You’re the one with the extra computer!

So I quit praying midsentence and decided to do something about it. I told my friend I had a computer that I wanted to give him. And I became the answer to my own prayer. Why ask God to do something for us when it is within our power to do something about it ourselves? There are some things you don’t need to pray about.”

Has this ever happened to you? It has to me. Sometimes we forget that God often uses us to answer our own prayers or the prayers of others. Often when we pray to God asking: “Why don’t you do something” we hear, if we listen, a gentle whisper responding: “I did do something. I made you!” Prayer is important. It is the lifeblood of the believer. Just as important is the call to become the answer to our prayers. When we pray: “God heal this relationship.” What are we doing to make that prayer a reality? When we pray: “God provide the resources that are needed for this project or class or person.” What are we doing to become the answer to that prayer?

It has been said that prayer is less about what we say and more about being with the one we love. Prayer is about having a love affair with God. The more deeply we are in love with someone, the less we have to say. In fact, a sure sign that we know someone deeply is the ability to enjoy one another without words—to simply admire one another, be present with one another. Prayer is a deep and intimate relationship with God. And when we live and grow in that relationship we come to realize that prayer and action go together. As we pray we must always be open to be the answer to that prayer, with God’s help and in dependence on God’s grace.

What prayers have you been praying about that perhaps God wants you to be the answer to?