Rest in His Reasoning

 

 

Acts 17:26-28a (NIV) 

26 From one man He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.’ 

 

Luke reminds us in these passages of Paul’s intention in stating, “God did so that they (mankind) would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him… in Him we live, and move and have our being.” 

 

Paul is saying that you and I are on the planet, at this present time,  in this current location, appointed by God Himself, in order that we would seek Him and find Him.  He intends that this wasn’t an accident and neither are you.  Paul says that God isn’t hiding from us, but rather is close and is awaiting our reciprocated pursuit of Him.  That it is only within His very being, that we truly find our own.  That until we know and trust Him, it is impossible to truly know ourselves.  This reality requires surrender of our own control, … and surrender of our own control of the narrative.  Which, controlling by the way, can be exhausting…right?  This is why Jesus offers relief.   

 

In Matthew 11, Jesus invited us to Himself.  He implied complete rest and restoration for the weary who’ve been seeking significance, pursuing direction and fighting for control.  In other words, He offers peace to those who’ve been fighting for themselves.  He offers forgiveness and wholeness to all seeking to be their own God.  Will you simply go to Him today?  He isn’t far.  He isn’t hiding.  He is waiting… for you.  Run to Him.  Collapse in His arms.  Exhale and drink in His peace for you.  In Him find life, find movement, and find your very being today. 

 


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Be My Witnesses


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Be Strong and Courageous

 
 
 
 
Be Strong and Courageous; I Am with You..
From Joshua 1:1 & 5-6
 
1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua, …Moses’ aide…
As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.
 
In a lyric from the worship song “Here Again,” we sing “I’m not enough, unless You come…”. I truly feel that Joshua identified with the sentiment of that lyric given the enormity of this moment.. This moment was huge, and intimidating and likely, unspeakably overwhelming. But, the power of this moment isn’t found in the intimidation that Joshua must have felt, the power is truly found in the assurance of God’s presence through it all.
 
He’s being asked to replace a Patriarch as leader. He is being asked to inhabit a land that is already inhabited by vast armies of giants. The shear volume of those two realities could be crippling, if he weren’t also being asked to trust a third and superseding reality and that is, that God is with Him and that God is doing this, …all of this.. He assures Joshua that He will never leave him, nor forsake him. Translation: God is telling Joshua, “I am always here with you and I make a promise to you, that with Me, nothing is impossible, so be strong and courageous.”
 
Man, I needed to hear that this morning. I needed to be reminded of that today. I needed to hear again that my circumstances are subject to His control. I needed to be reminded that He is always with me, that He never breaks His promises to me, and that with Him nothing is impossible despite how daunting my circumstances may appear. I need Him, … and I have Him. I am in Him. I know that I am not enough, unless He comes to accomplish all the things that He is calling me to step into. So, I trust Him. I step in, believing on His power and His presence over my uncertain and often scary circumstances.
 
How about you this morning? Did you also need to hear that this morning? Are you also grateful that He is never going to call you where He hasn’t led you and equipped you, with His presence, to go? Did you need to be reminded that He is always with you and that He always keeps His promises to His children? Are you excited about that reality? Then, one more question… “where is He calling you to step in?”
It may be scary. It may seem overwhelming. But, He says, “Be strong and courageous. I am with you now, and I will remain with you. I never leave and I never break my promises to you. So, step in where I have led you. Amen.

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Change


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Happy New Year!

Lamentations 3:22-23 says:
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
Church, we have experienced nothing short of Jesus’ move and mercy in our midst these past few months and we desire it all the more. I am writing you today to ask you to simply pause and thank Him! We seek Him, and walk with Him, by pressing into Him all the more, recognizing that all good truly comes from Him and thus we ask that He be in all that we do and pursue as we enter this new year. We want to enter 2022 like we hope on this verse being true each morning. It is all about His Kingdom and His way, so we thank Him.
Simultaneously, I thank you. I thank you for being a church that already knows this. Pursues it faithfully in prayer and is more committed to His way than anything else. Let us continue to seek His heart and smile as we pursue His direction for us individually and corporately in 2022! I love you; be safe this New Year’s and I’ll see you Sunday! Again, Happy New Year New Hope!
Love you; trust Him-
Justin

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Taste and See


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Love

 John 4:7-9, 13-15 
 

7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give Me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) 

9 The Samaritan woman said to Him,, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can You ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)… 

…13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  15 The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” 

 

These verses are from the story of the Samaritan Woman in John 4.  It is a gripping reminder of how Jesus seeks us, even the least of us, risking it all to offer relationship and relief from the shame of sin.  Jesus modeled unconditional love.  He willingly risked His own life to engage the Samaritan woman in conversation.  Truth, He should’ve been lawfully executed for such an interaction, but, something within Him exceeded the need to obey human laws… love.   

John 4:4 tells us that Jesus was divinely compelled to seek her out and to offer her true love and eternal salvation.  We see Him tell her He can forgive, He can restore, and He alone can give her the love that she’s been seeking from man, that man can never offer.  We see Him offer her hope.  The human condition wrestles with selfishness all the time.  We tend to offer others little, because we’re consumed with thinking only of our own desires.  This destroys relationships.  This relational destruction is what is present in the above verse, as this woman cries out and in essence says: “please, give me this water so that I don’t have to keep coming here humiliating myself daily reliving the pain of my past.”  She’s desperate because she’s been abused by others solely taking from her.   

The reason that the 2nd Greatest Command was about others, and equal to the 1st, is because people being transformed by the knowledge that they are divinely loved and accepted is the very heart of God and it is the call of His church.  We are to be people that risk it all.  We are to be people that’d put ourselves and our reputations in harm’s way if need be to meet the needs of others over our desires. Just like Jesus modeled.  He desires that we’d be a people all about seeing lives transformed because He transformed us.  He desires that we’d give more than we take and love more than we hate.   

So, let us practice this today.  Let us be mindful of others more than ourselves.  Let’s seek to meet their needs above our wants.  Let’s relate to others out of selfless transformation not solely for selfish transaction.   


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The Significance of the Advent Wreath


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Trust in the Lord, Not Yourself

Psalm 37:5
5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in Him and He will bring it to pass:
 
The wording of this verse is curious, it’s intentional and it’s orderly.
 
It’s curious because it’s a promise. We have an assurance, in this scripture, that as we consciously trust His way, (even before we fully know what we’ve agreed to) that He will come through. This creates so much freedom in our lives. I makes room for intimacy with Him. It is saying “yes” without knowing what we’re saying “yes” to, but only because that “yes” openly acknowledges that His way is better.
 
Which is what God intentionally implied in this verse. He asks us to commit to His way prior to proof of His actions. He implies that we trust on His very character. That we would trust in Him and not trust in our own understanding. We trust on His plan, and not on our own agenda. We trust on His power, rather than impose our own. We commit our way to Him, because we have heard the good news of the Gospel, and we accept that He need do nothing else. That he has given us the greatest act of love in that He has laid down His life for us. But, that’s what makes this verse so hard… we don’t prefer the order prescribed here.
 
The order of the wording in this verse is important. We have a tendency to want to reverse this order though. We want the Lord to act on our behalf, to gain our trust and then we’ll make allegiance and commit to Him. We ask God to prove it, so we can buy it; so we can then buy in to it. Problem with this thinking is that it requires little faith and relies more on human logic. It shows a trust in our own reason more than it does a trust in His person. But, worst of all, it denies the work that He has already accomplished. It somehow implies that we can grow beyond the Cross of Jesus Christ, which is arrogant, immature and misses the point of Calvary altogether. No, it is because of Calvary and the true love displayed there, that we can trust Him and commit our way to Him implicitly.
 
So, in essence, …what He asks is actually, what we desire. We want to make an informed decision. We want His action on our behalf. But, we must realize that this verse harkens our minds back to the reality that this action that we desire has already been. It is the Cross. We are informed. Jesus said upon said cross, “It is finished.” And, because it has been, we can say “yes,” to Him with full assurance. We can commit our way to His way. We can trust Him. And, when we do, …we will witness Him move in our lives in ways that only He can.
 
So, do you need to see Him move today? Do you need His miraculous intervention in your life? Then follow the order of this verse… say “yes.” Commit to Him and all that He desires primarily today. You can trust His way is better. Because, no one has ever loved you, known you or been more committed to you and your good than He has. He loves you. He came to this earth for you. And, He died in order that you could live. This is why He came. And, it is what we truly celebrate at Christmas. So, receive this gift. Say, “yes,” to Him, and trust Him today. You can do this for the first time, or the first time in a long time. But, you can do so trusting that He always keeps His promises.
Love you, trust Him-
Justin

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The Coming

 
Justin and John discuss the Advent Season
 
 

The Coming


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