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September 17, 2020
This past week we began something interesting. As a church family, we are taking 52 days to actively lean into God. 52 Days to see Him and change ourselves, our city, our nation. One of the things that we are pointing people to is the book of Nehemiah, where Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem in 52 days. Reading through the book you can see that it was difficult. There were all kinds of distractions that came his way. Distractions that could have caused him to cease up and not even begin to lay a single brick to that which God had called him to build. Perhaps God has given you a vision to do something. Perhaps God has given you vision for a new ministry, a new job, a new business, a new adventure to life… but distractions have caused you to cease up. I’d like to give you three tips to help you to combat those distractions
1. Have people who can hold you accountable.
In 2 Timothy 1:6-7, Paul is found reminding Timothy to fan into flame the gifts of God that were inside of him. Paul was a man who loved and cared for Timothy. He was a man who could be trusted. Timothy had allowed Paul to have a place in his life to stand as someone who could remind him of what God had for him. Who do you have in your life that can stand in that position? Who can you ask to hold you accountable to what God has given you?
2. Let go of past deeds and move forward.
Sometimes our past can be a major distraction. We find ourselves second-guessing things because of our past mistakes or experiences. Yet in Philippians 3:13-14 we find Paul reminding the church that he himself had to let his past go and keep moving forward. Do you have doubts and fears birthed in the past that are holding you back? Give them to God. Write them down those fears on a piece of paper and then burn them as a physical representation of you letting go of those things and giving them to God.
3. Keep the purpose in mind.
Sometimes the journey becomes the biggest distraction. We begin to look at the cost of doing things, be that monetary, mental, or emotional cost. Those things begin to distract us from our mission. It’s important to keep the purpose in the forefront of your mind. Paul encourages Timothy to do the same in 1 Timothy 4:10. I’d encourage you to sit down and write down the purpose of what it is that you’re doing and post it up somewhere that you will see it every day as a daily reminder.
This list isn’t exhaustive but it’s a start. What are some times that you have for combating distractions? Let us know! Do you have a goal that you’re reaching for and want prayer? Please connect with us! We’d love to pray with you!
September 09, 2020
We Can Know the Truth
What can we do during uncertain times? I believe we only have two choices. We can go through it in our own strength or we can lean-in to Jesus Christ and allow Him to carry the load. During my life, I have been through some extremely difficult times. I have been abused, went through a divorce (both my parents and my own), found out my Daddy wasn't my biological father and found my real father at 50 years old. Some of these situations I went through alone and some leaning-in to Jesus. It is by far more peaceful to let Jesus carry the load.
How do we let Jesus carry the load during uncertain times? We lean-in to what is certain. When bad things happen you need something to stand on. 1st John 5:1-15; 18-20 explains what we can know:
1. We can know love for one another (1-3)
2. We can know victory (4-5)
3. We can know the Father, Son & Holy Spirit (6-12)
4. We can know Eternal Life (13)
5. We can know God answers prayer (14-15)
6. We can know we are of God (18-19)
7. We can know the truth (20).
My challenge to you is to read 1st John 5: 1-20 and let the truth in these verses sink into your heart. When the bad times come you will have a foundation of truth to stand on. The best way to not believe a lie is to know the truth. The truth will set you free.
September 03, 2020
A Child Without Fear
One of the greatest times of growth in my Christian walk was when I first became a father. I finally had a window into how the Lord saw me as His son. Even more importantly, I was able to understand how a son should look to his father for the things that are essential without fear or worry.
1 John 3:1 says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” As children of The Most-High God, it is the pleasure of our Heavenly Father to provide us with all that we need for this life as well as eternity. It’s our place to trust God without fear or apprehension. Remember the words of 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” Our love for the Father is put on display when we trust him fully and abandon fear.
August 29, 2020
Written by Christy Edwards | Translated by Edwin Cruz | Recorded by Carlos Renfroe
A few years ago, my family and I were at Crystal Beach. As I was walking back and forth from the water I kept noticing this man who was sitting alone with what looked like a sketch pad and some pencils. I don’t know why but he just looked so out of place to me. The Holy Spirit continued to nudge me to go speak to him so finally I told my mom I was going over there and off I went. I had the biggest lump in my throat as I approached him because I had no idea what I was even going to say. Once I got to him I introduced myself and told him that I knew it might sound crazy to him but God wanted me to pray for him. He teared up and showed me his sketch pad. He was sketching the waves and all that was happening around him. It was for his son and wife who were back in Mexico. He had come to America for a better opportunity but in doing so he had to leave his family behind. He had been gone for almost three months! He had come to the beach that day because he felt isolated and just wanted to be a part of something where people were. I prayed for him and we talked a little longer and then I rejoined my family. God had asked me to lean in that day and I am so glad I did.
Our situations all look different right now, but just like that man, we have all been isolated in one way or another these last few months. Whether you have kept your distance to keep yourself safe, to keep others safe, or maybe like me you became complacent in isolation and decided to stay there because it was comfortable. Well my friends...God does not call us to be alone! We were made for human interaction even if it’s just a phone call, a Facetime, a community group gathering on Zoom. We need that fellowship. This week at THP we talked about the woman with the issue of blood. (Mark 5:25-34) I’ve heard these verses a million times but I’ve always just related this event to the woman’s healing. Pastor Scott talked about how because of her infirmity, she was alone...isolated. Can you imagine...12 years of no hugs, no touch, no communication? She must have been longing for human interaction and love when she decided to risk everything just to get to Jesus. Jesus not only healed her, but she was no longer isolated. He called her DAUGHTER. He made sure she knew she was part of a family.
Some of us today need to be reminded that God doesn’t want us to feel or sit in isolation. He wants us to know that we are part of a family. That we have a community around us. Some of us need to lean in to God and what He is saying right now. Is He asking you to reach out to someone? To make a phone call instead of a text? To gather face to face instead of online? We were not meant to be complacent in isolation. We were meant to lean in to the love of God and the presence of His people. So whatever the next step looks like for you I encourage you to lean in to what God is saying and make your escape from isolation!
August 19, 2020
Written by Dallas Mora | Recorded by Edwin Cruz
It is innate human nature for a person to share with others that which they are excited about. A child gets a cool new toy for Christmas; they quickly take it to school the next day to show their friends. A person gets a brand new car, they take it to a family member’s house to show it off. A couple gets engaged, the bride quickly calls her mother and shows off her ring. A man discovers that he’s about to be a father, he walks into work the next day and shares the news with his co-workers. Why? Because it’s something we are excited about and we want others to be excited with us.
This past week at THP we took a look at 1 John 1:1-4. In a couple of different ways, John repetitively shares something that he does. It is summed up best in the first part of 1 John 1:3, “that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us…” John’s passion lead him to do something very simple; share what he has seen and heard with others so that they can share in the fellowship. Now on the outside, this may seem selfish… John is just sharing because he wants friends. But keep in mind the bigger purpose in the second half of verse 3, “and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” John’s desire to share what he has seen and heard is so that those individuals outside of Christ can have true fellowship with God. The weight of the eternal destination of those around him is what causes him to be passionate about sharing what he has seen and heard.
So what’s our take away? We need to be passionate about sharing the gospel with others. Many are afraid to because they feel like they don’t have the Biblical training. While yes, we need to take it upon ourselves to study more about the word of God, notice that John did not say “that which we have procured a doctorate education in we share with you.” He simply says that which he has “heard and seen.” So start simple. This week, talk to someone about what you have heard and seen this past week in church or your personal Bible study. You don’t have to make it mystical and weird. A simple conversation of “You know, yesterday I was at church and I had this great conversation with someone about a certain topic” or “This morning I was reading this verse in my Bible and it challenged me.” This one simple next step can and will change the atmosphere around you and change the world.
August 12, 2020
Physical growth is easy to see. The first thing I noticed about all the thpKids I hadn’t seen in 3 months was HOW TALL they grew! They grew mentally, too! Most of them learned new words and new skills they couldn’t wait to show!
It’s harder to tell if we are growing in our spirits. How do we grow spiritually? We make a determined choice to know God. First, we need to make a friendship with Jesus. Then, we need to read and know God’s word. If God’s Word lives in us, then we will do what it says. In order to grow in our spirits, we need each other! Being together gives us new life and helps us GROW! God doesn’t remove us from the world, but He promises to guide us through the world. Jesus intends for us to be in the world but not of the world. In Christ, we overcome. We grow in Christ when we continue to take our next step. What does “taking our next step” look like? Our next step could be to publicly say that we serve Jesus! Sometimes, our next step is as easy as attending church. Maybe our next step is deciding to serve at church or in our community. God has given us everything we need to serve Him through the Holy Spirit (who is always with us) and the Word! We can trust that God will guide us through every step of our growth in Him!
-Dana Van Nopen
August 05, 2020
Will You Respond?
One of the most important aspects of Christianity is the duty to believe and to respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit. God often leans on individuals as well as the Body of Christ at large to move in a certain direction at a certain time. The key factor in all of this is the response of the believer.
The book of 1 Samuel chapter 3 tells of the story of Samuel’s response to God. In those days a word from the Lord was rare. Samuel's life was dedicated to service in the House of God. When Samuel first heard the voice of God, he wasn’t sure if it was really God. Eventually, Samuel was able to recognize who was speaking to him. His response in verse 10 should our response today: “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.”
What will your response be? Will you place yourself in position to hear God and respond when he stirs your heart? Put aside any sin or weight (Hebrews 12:1) that stops you from properly positioning yourself to be responsive to the voice of the Lord. God is stirring the Church in our generation. Will you respond?