- 2018 (44)
- December (1)
- November (1)
- September (2)
- August (4)
- July (2)
- June (4)
- May (9)
- April (10)
- March (7)
- February (4)
December 06, 2018
This past week our lead pastor, Scott Ethridge, taught about how God has had a plan from the beginning, Jesus wasn’t a plan B. He didn’t scramble to come up with something new after Adam and Eve sinned. He had a plan for salvation for mankind from the beginning. If you’d like to hear, that message clicks the image below.
What’s interesting about having the revelation that God has a plan is that should the believer grab hold of it, they will find a tremendous amount of comfort. Yes, they’ll even find comfort in the worst of times. If you take a look at Jeremiah 17:7-8, we see a concept that echoes our discussion from last week’s blog.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
Once again we find the concept of purposefully, placing ourselves in a place to grow. In this context, we find that a person is blessed if they purposefully place their trust in God. What’s interesting in this is that it points out that there will be times of drought for those who follow God. But if the follower has been deliberate about placing their trust in God, in His plan, then when drought comes; they will continue to be a fruitful believer.
Take time this week to dig into the word of God and re-acquaint yourself with the plan of God. Ask Holy Spirit to help you to place your full trust in the Lord so that you can be fruitful when the drought comes.
November 28, 2018
This past week, our lead pastor spoke about being thankful. He took us to 2 Thessalonians 5:18 where we are challenged to “give thanks in all circumstances.” He then went on to give us 4 reasons to give God praise. You can hear this message by clicking the image below.
It's no secret that we live in a very cynical world. At times we allow that negativity you shape our attitude. Making that shift in our mind, to come into each situation with thankfulness can be a struggle. So how do we do it?
Psalms 1:3 tells us that a blessed man is "like a tree planted by streams of water…” the word planted tells us that it is a purposeful thing. We need to purposefully train ourselves to be thankful. How does that work?
It starts by is not giving thanks for only big things. We need to learn to give thanks for small things. Monday morning, give God thanks for the fact that you have a job to get up for. Look around you and give God thanks for what you have, for what He's kept you from, and what He's given you.
Spend this week giving God thanks for all the small things. Get into the practice of being thankful. Remember that we operate in grace. Go through a day without being thankful? Give thanks that you can start fresh in the next moment!
September 19, 2018
We have a gentleman here at our church whom, as of late, has amazed me. Through a series of unfortunate events, he has spent the last couple of months in either a hospital or nursing home. He’s an older gentleman who has been through a lot in his lifetime. He has every right to be angry, upset, and even bitter. Yet when you talk to him… All you hear is the blessings of the Lord. Often he has told me “Dallas, God has already healed me, my body just has to catch up to the healing.”
This is a gentleman who understands a particular attribute that our Lead Pastor, Scott Ethridge, preached on this past weekend. God has delivered us, and that puts us in an extraordinary place. We are under the rule, will and authority of the Lord Jesus; King of kings, the Lord of lords.
“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”
When we grab hold of this truth things change for us. God’s divine rule, will, and authority does not mean that bad things won’t happen. Rather it means that when the bad things happen; because we have submitted to his divine rule, will and authority; we can have peace as we walk through the process. The gentleman I spoke of early carries such peace because of his submission to God.
I’d be a liar to say that I’m not challenged by this. I’ve gone through trials and difficulties many times, and I wish I could say that I’ve handled each one with the grace and peace that he has taken his trials. But one trial doesn’t disqualify us from the race. Things happen in life, and God is continually calling us to stand, walk with Him, submit to his rule, will and authority and allow Him to take care of the big things in life.
What are you struggling with that you know you need to submit to God?
Have you been through a trial before and realised that the only way through it was through submission to God? How did you do it? What did that process of submitting to God look like as you walked it out?
September 05, 2018
There’s an old joke that many of you may know.
What do you get when you play a country music song backwards? You get your dog back, you get your wife back, you get your car back, you get your (insert any number of items here).
It’s a humorous joke on behalf of the country music genre. Seems like every song someone is complaining about something they’ve lost. Yet if you scale back and look at all musical genres, there’s a sense of worry in their words. Whether the artist is worried about the loss of an item, a relationship, lack of a relationship, necessity for monetary gain and status, they all essentially sing about something that they worry about.
Anxiety and worry scream out in the world, and people tend to dwell on not just their own issues but others too. So how do we deal with it? Well, Philippians 4:6-7 says “be anxious for NOTHING, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
So what does that look like practically? Someone once told me that when it comes to dealing with anxiety and stress that we need to know where to put things and leave them there. Meaning when we have issues of anxiety come up, we need to do as Paul said in Philippians, take the matter to prayer and then give thanks to God for His provision. If we’ve given it to Jesus, then leave it with Jesus. Allow Him to deal with the situation, and you allow His peace to take root in your life.
Far too often people will “give it to Jesus” but they continue to dwell on said matter. This is a destructive habit that will lead to destruction and fear. Give it to Him completely. No giving it to Him doesn’t mean the problem goes away, but it does mean that you can walk through the process in peace.
What are you holding on to? Give it up to Jesus in prayer today, then find someone who will hold you accountable for your actions. Ask them to join you in prayer and help remind you that the issue you’re dealing with is Jesus’ now, not yours.
August 22, 2018
by Jill Stripling
This last week my phone went off and I saw it was my friend Dallas. Opening the text my eyes widened, “Hey sis, do you think that you can do the blog post for next week?” I am certain my internal voice gave a huge, “woooooo!” I immediately asked several questions and agreed to the writing and here we are! I was thrilled to have the privilege to write about our guest speaker, Bishop David Thomas, and his wife, Kathie Thomas.
Have you ever had those moments where God just sets you up? Sets you up in the way to show you how he knows every little detail of your being? Seconds after being asked to write this blog my wheels began to turn, dissecting every thought so it could be the best thing I’ve ever written! Can I get a show of hands for all my overthinkers out there? You know, the ones who just can take a thought and REALLY run with it, run so far you forget where and why you started.
As I sat in my chair, pen and paper in hand ready to take the best notes ever, I eagerly listened. Leaned in I hear Bishop David say, “Keep it simple, love God and love people.” Okay, I got it! I am quickly jotting down notes and ready to dive deep into how to keep it simple. That’s when I felt the presence of The Lord gently push me back in my seat, press my anxious little shoulders down, and just stir me to listen.
He began to talk about simplicity and living it out as I started to search my heart. I thought about the areas of my life where I reject God because it's more comfortable for me not to trust Him and make my way. As Bishop David went on, he brought up a point about asking questions and to be a learner. He reminded us in Genesis 3 God posed a question to Adam, where are you? We know God knew the answer to this question. It sure was a SIMPLE reminder to myself.
In the areas where I reject God and he calls out to me, “Where are you, Jill?” I know The Lord knows exactly where I am. Come on! I’m over here busy in my fear, planning, or anxiety. It’s in those moments when I know God is calling me back to Him to spend time, praise, read my bible, or even just cry out to Him.
It’s so very easy to get wrapped up in overthinking and the what-ifs in life. What I have learned personally is my overthinking causes separation from hearing from the heart of Father God. I know God shined a bright light on my overthinking mind and gave me direction on how to cultivate simplicity. What started as an opportunity to share a blog turned into God showing me something much deeper through his loving kindness. It truly is that simple.
What areas of your life are you rejecting God? How can keeping it simple call you back to Him?
August 15, 2018
It’s no secret that I, Dallas, am a massive geek. I’ve been one for virtually all my life. When I was a kid, my sister and I were big fans of the hit tv show, Power Rangers! The show was full of great visuals, cheesy yet entertaining storylines, and on top of all that; each episode left you feeling inspired and challenged to do something great. For me, I was a BIG fan of the original Green Ranger, Tommy, played by Jason David Frank. I loved his story of being the outsider who found his way to finding true friends and using his skills to help others.
My sister and I were such big fans that one year for Halloween we both decided to dress up as Power Rangers. My mom, being the cool crafty mom, spent a month making our costumes for us! When I tell you that those costumes were legit, I mean they were supremely legit! I was so proud of my Green Ranger costume, and I didn’t care a lick of what people thought of it. I would talk about it and share my passion for this great series because it inspired me, it challenged me, it had an effect on my life, and I wanted it to have the opportunity to have an impact in the lives of others too!
That same passion to share my love for Power Rangers is the kind of passion that we should have to share the Gospel of Jesus with others. Yet many find it difficult. They psych themselves up asking so many of the “what if” questions that they find themselves mute when an opportunity arises.
One prominent question that people ask themselves is this, “What makes me think that I have the authority to present Jesus?" This question is often followed up with a series of statements like "I don’t have a degree from a Bible college. I’ve never gone to a School of Ministry. I’ve only been to a Christian Ed/Sunday School class a few times.”
While many of the objections are easily fixed, let me point you to a particular scripture that our Lead Pastor, Scott Ethridge, presented this past Sunday.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Here Paul is telling the church in Rome, exactly why he is seemingly so brave in sharing his passion for the Gospel. The driving factor behind his passion is the simple fact that he knows the Gospel is the ONLY path to salvation for all of mankind. He knew the dramatic change that the Gospel could cause in a person’s life. If you’re unfamiliar with how powerful of a change it had in his life we’d like to encourage you to read Acts 9, it’s a pretty powerful story.
In the same way that the revelation of the power of the Gospel inspired Paul, let it encourage you. Let the understanding that you know the correct path to salvation spur you on to do more than sit in a pew this week. Allow It to encourage you to speak the truth, share the Gospel with those around you. If you’ve been changed by it, then you have the authority to share it. Sure some people may not get it and think you look a little funny. But if an 11-year-old can dress up like a fictional character and express his love for a series that inspired him, can’t you act like the Saviour of the world and show your love for him?
This week’s challenge is straightforward. Share the gospel with someone, face to face. Then email us at email@example.com to tell us about your experience!
August 08, 2018
Imagine a world where immorality and corruption are running wild. Imagine a world where your country is under regular attack from terrorist and invaders who want to wipe you out because of your faith. Imagine a world where church leaders are corrupt and immoral. Now imagine that you exist in this world and you're now faced with a choice, stay committed to God or not.
For some, this may sound like some strange Post-Apocalyptic scenario. You’re picturing people walking around with gas masks and living in bunkers. For others, however, you’re reflecting on this scenario and realising that it’s not too far from the reality of the United States today.
For many, you’ve found that this seems to be an impossible situation and are questioning if you can stay committed and if being committed to your faith in Jesus is worth the struggle. You may be asking yourself, “What could my singular commitment to Jesus Christ change about the world around me?”
The reality is that you’re not the first to ask that question. As much as the nostalgia of yesteryear seems to paint a better world, this is not the first time that we’ve been in this kind of situation. In fact, as we look back that the history of the people of God, we see this situation rise over and over again. One great example that was recently discussed was the example of Elkanah of 1 Samuel chapter 1.
If you read through 1 Samuel you discover that because Elkanah was faithful to the Lord, we had Samuel who was a prophet whom God used to change the world. If you would like to hear more on Elkanah and how God used him to make a change in the world, click the link below to listen to the audio podcast from our Lead Pastor, Scott Ethridge.
If you fast forward to the New Testament, we find the Apostle Paul exhorted Timothy, in 1 Timothy 4, to stand firm in his faith and to be an example to those around him. In the tenth verse he says the following:
“For to this end, we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.”
Like Elkanah and us, Timothy is living in the midst of a tough time to be committed to the Lord. Even though there are a plethora of reasons to walk away from his faith, Paul tells Timothy to “toil and strive.” No one ever said serving God would be easy. It does take hard work to serve God. But Paul gives us an important end goal for staying committed to the Lord. He tells us God is “the Savior of ALL people.”
If you're struggling with your faith, we’d like to encourage you to keep this particular fact in mind. Faith in Jesus is the only way to salvation. Your commitment to Him ensures you’re salvation and your life becomes a testimony telling those around you about the goodness of God. Your devotion to God could cause the next significant shift in culture; it could cause the next great revival.
You can survive, you can live victoriously, you can glorify Christ with your life.
If you’d like prayer for anything or want more information about how to walk with Jesus, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org