Are you running the race of faith? What’s slowing you down? Who’s encouraging you to keep going? Who are you encouraging to keep going? Are you keeping your eyes on Jesus or is something else distracting you? Is something robbing you of joy? Are you resisting sin? Can you hear Jesus calling you to finish the race? Can you feel Jesus empowering you to finish?
Will you look to Jesus to help you finish this race?
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Some of you might remember that Josée put together an original version of “Carol of the Bells” that a number of us played for the Christmas Eve service. We heard a lot of good things about that and wanted to make it available so we hit the studio (OK, we came into church) and recorded that for you.
At long last we have it here… I hope that you enjoy.
By the way, This version is:Josée – Violin, Arrangement Jenny – Cello Eric – Drums Scott – Guitar
Never to late (or early) for Christmas!!!
2 Cor 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
I can’t imagine a context in which freedom is ever a bad thing. Freedom is great and we all probably want it. But even though we know that freedom is a good thing, what is it?
The Oxford Dictionary defines freedom as, “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.” This is actually a pretty good start. This definition is basically saying what we all kind of feel about freedom “that it is doing whatever we want to do”. Of course if you are a believer then you would probably somewhat object to this definition. After all, the Bible can’t be saying that the Spirit came to enable us to do whatever we want – can it??? We still have sinful desires. Are we free to engage our sinful desires? The answer is obviously, “no”.
But I still think that this is a very good beginning to our definition, it’s just incomplete. What ... Continue Reading.
Forgiveness is not only liberating to the debtor but also to the forgiver.
Jacob and Esau were twins at odds with each other. Esau, who was technically the firstborn, was entitled to a double portion of the inheritance and also (in this case) a special blessing from their father Isaac. Isaac, near the end his life, called Esau to himself so that he could bless him. Isaac told Esau to first go hunt, kill, and prepare some wild game and then come back so that Isaac can eat of it and bless him. Esau’s brother Jacob, in a deceitful move while Esau was gone, pretended to be Esau and ended up receiving the blessing that Isaac intended for Esau.
When Esau came back he was furious and pleaded with his father to bless him as well. Isaac basically told Esau that what is done is done and there was no undoing it. Esau pleaded with his father for any left over blessing that there might be. Isaac reluctantly spoke over Esau’s life as well, but what Isaac gave to Esau amounted to a complete anti-blessing – yet with one glimmer ... Continue Reading.
My Bible reading plan has me reading through both Amos and Revelation at the same time. These books of the Bible are no joke about a God who is no joke. Both books prophecy the harsh destruction of the ungodly, and both books are at times hard to read.
As I was reading I began to wonder how many people want to view God with one eye closed. They embrace the kindness of God, but not the severity. They love grace, but neglect godliness.
I encourage you to begin to view God with both eyes wide open. View God as God has presented Himself in the Bible. Take in both the harsh and the gentle. Embrace everything scripture reveals about the One who made us. At times it will be hard to synthesize the two apparently opposing displays of God, but work through it, wrestle through it. In the end it will help build a depth and paint a more accurate picture of who God actually is.
As one person said, “God created us in His image and we are ever prone to return the favor”. ... Continue Reading.
Each February we call the church to pray and fast for God’s direction. We hope that you will consider fasting with us this year on Wednesdays throughout the month of February. Some people fast the entire day, some only until dinner, and some fast just one meal. The point isn’t the quantity of food that you aren’t eating, the point is to seek the Lord.
Last year Shane put together an excellent post about fasting that addresses common questions about fasting. I am reposting an excerpt from his original post below.
Fasting- What is It?
Fasting is the abstaining of some good thing (most often food and/or drink) for a time period in order to devote oneself to God. Fasting is often combined with times of prayer as a way to devote oneself to God.Fasting – In the Bible In the Old Testament, fasting was often done as a group of people realized they needed to seek God’s will for their life or the lives of their community. Since most of the Old Testament centers around ... Continue Reading.
YES, ABSOLUTELY, 100% GUARANTEED, NO DOUBT ABOUT IT, God wants us to be happy!
We all know happiness when we feel it, but where does happiness come from? What makes a person happy? What makes you happy? Does it come from being able to do whatever you want to do whenever you want to do it? Some people must think so because oftentimes when a person says, “Doesn’t God want me to be happy?!?!” what they really mean is “Doesn’t God want me to do whatever I want to do regardless of how it affects others or the Lord”.
I have two children, ages five and two. I want my children to be happy. We goof around a lot at our house – we wrestle, talk with funny voices, have glow in the dark dance parties (yes, I did just say that), and run around. I love hearing my kids laugh and I love working toward my children’s happiness. I consider it an absolute must for parents to work toward their children’s happiness, but working ... Continue Reading.
[Act 15:25 ESV] 25 it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, [emphasis mine]
I read Acts 15 the other day and verse 25 hit me – particularly when it says, “having come to one accord”. That phrase means that they were all of the same mind and all on board with the same idea. If I hadn’t been familiar with the first part of the chapter it would have almost sounded easy – as if a group of people did some praying and brainstorming and the lightbulbs on top of everyone’s heads all went off so that the room was glowing with synergy and all of them knew at the exact same moment exactly what should be done.
But this wasn’t exactly how the first part of the chapter went and coming to “one accord” wasn’t and isn’t always easy.
The chapter starts with dissension. Verse 1 shows us the issue. Some guys who came from Judea started teaching that people had to obey the law of Moses in order to ... Continue Reading.
Partnership is something that has to be cultivated. It doesn’t happen automatically. Cultivating partnership takes teaching, commitment, and much like cultivating a garden, sometimes takes pulling weeds. By weeds, I mean those bad attitudes that can crop up in our hearts. Bad attitudes have the ability to choke the life right out of partnership and 1Corinthians 12 mentions two of these attitudes that need to be pulled.Threatening Attitude 1: “I don’t have anything useful to offer the body”
Christ gives different gifts to different believers according to His will for the good of the entire body. In fact one of the blessings that comes from being part of the body of Christ is the unity and fellowship that can happen within a group of very different people. But differences of gifts and talents can also cause insecurity to rear up so that people doubt their usefulness when they compare themselves to others. Some people, when they look at themselves, only see the things that they AREN’T. “I don’t play an instrument”, “I’m not good at speaking in public”, “I ... Continue Reading.
We invite you to attend a class on the basics of Christianity. Basics will meet for four consecutive Monday nights beginning September 23rd from 6:30pm – 8:30pm at Bend City Church located at 224 Butternut St, West Bend, WI.
The class is open to anyone and is for everyone.Who will find this class helpful?
Everyone! Those who are new to Christianity and are searching for answers will be helped by straight forward, from the Bible answers. And those who have been Christians a long time will be helped by being reminded of the simple foundations of the faith.Topics being covered The Bible – Where’d we get it and how to read it? Jesus – Who was He and why is He relevant to me? Religion vs. Relationship with Jesus Prayer – What is it and how does it work? Obedience – Should knowing God change how I live? Connecting to others that believe This class is free and childcare will be provided.
You can register for the class at the bottom of the following page: http://bendcitychurch.org/events/basics-2013-09-23/... Continue Reading.
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