It's amazing how quickly my week flies by. I have a tendency to get busy and before I know it, the week is gone. When I'm super busy, though, I always find time for what's important and necessary: eating, sleeping, spending time with people that matter to me. If I'm going to have a relationship with God that challenges and changes me, I've got to make Him a priority. When my best friend reaches out and wants to get together to talk I find a way to make that happen. I want them to know they matter to me. It's obviously a priority.
Here are some ways we can make God a priority in our lives:
-Speak to Him daily.
Set aside some time, maybe on your way to work or the gym. Talk to God. He's listening. We speak daily to those we love: spouse, kids, closest friends. We have a great opportunity every day to speak to the creator of the universe. Use it.
-Set a meeting with God that has top priority.
More than just daily interaction, set aside an appointment with God. Pastor Marc likes to grab coffee by himself on Thursday mornings. It's his time to spend just alone with God. Build a space in your week to meet with God.
-Have a plan.
Don't just wing it. Select a book of the Bible to work your way through. Use a reading plan on the Bible app. Use the reading plan on the Restore Church app. There are numerous ways to get more out of God's Word: commentaries, devotionals, podcasts, etc.
I hope these quick tips help you have a deeper relationship with Jesus.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like if someone wrote down everything that you said in a single day? Sure, today might've been a bad day for someone to jot those words down. I understand. How about on your good day? Did you make it without saying some of those "bad" words? Did you make it without having to save yourself with a lie? Did you have trouble talking about that guy at work who just irks you?
Maybe you got through your entire day without doing those things. Now here's the real question.
What if someone wrote down everything you've ever said in your entire life?
That changes things.. drastically.
Talk is cheap.. or is it?
Wars have come and gone, people have been killed, and families have been ruined all by the power of words. Words may not be a physical weapon, but they are the cause of so much pain and conflict. One thing is for certain, talk is NOT cheap. It is costly.
In Matthew 12:36 Jesus says, "I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
Every. Careless. Word. How then should we speak?
The building blocks of life.. in Christ.
Sometimes living for Christ can be difficult, but God already knew that and he prepared a way for us to persevere. It's called the body of Christ. It's us Christians, living alongside one another, building each other up in love and faith.
We can't take back the things that we've said, but we can change the way that we talk. Our words seem light leaving our lips, but they hold a much heavier weight than we can comprehend. Even when no one hears them.
Speak in love. Speak to encourage. Speak in Truth.
Here are several verses on how we should speak:
I love the time and effort that our volunteers put into teaching Restore Kids about God and His love for each of them. Sunday, our volunteers used sign language and teeth brushing to kick off the new Element of the Month, Faith!
There is not much that challenges me more than teaching kids something that I have not mastered myself. Faith is something that I am still learning about on a daily basis and I trust you are as well. What a great reminder that our definition, confident trust in God, is to me. I am thankful for the confidence I have of my life here and hereafter in Christ.
I am also thankful that living by Faith is a choice and not a requirement. We serve a God who loves us and gives us a free will to accept or reject Him. It is a personal commitment to choose to live by faith rather than a requirement.
Miss Monique used sign language to teach the verse this week. Why not take some time with your kids and see how much sign language they can teach from Sunday!
Take time to listen to the iParent Podcast so you can come up with ideas of how to use daily scenarios to reiterate things your child has learned.
I snapped this picture while some of our Volunteers Kids helped set up for Kids Worship during the first service. I love being a part of such an awesome group of Christ Followers.
I know parenting is crazy busy and brings lots of struggles but I would like to challenge you to take an opportunity this week to teach your kids about Grace. Do something special for your kids (give them ice cream; let them stay up 10 minutes late; etc.) and tell them that you are showing them Grace by giving them something they didn't earn and therefore don't deserve. This will go a long way in teaching what God's Grace to us looks like.
This past Sunday, several of your kids recited this Bible verse from memory. We even had a 5 year old say the verse. Please take time to learn this verse with your kids and more importantly to discuss its meaning.
Mr. Caleb taught in Kids Worship this Sunday about the importance of growing up. He used several illustrations to reference how things grow. Everything must grow (plants, animals and humans) in order to survive life. The same is true for Christians. If we don't grow in God's Grace we will eventually fall away because of our lack of spiritual maturity.
I pray that we are parents who are growing in God's Grace and teaching our kids how to do the same.
Sometimes I just really love me some me. I also like spending time with me. Every once in a while I like to treat me to dinner (more often than not it's dinner at the drive-through). I tell me that everything is going to be just fine and that me is the most important person to myself. But here's the kicker,
Life is not about ME.
Ouch. I don't like the sound of that too much. I kind of like the thought of me being my favorite person. But living for Christ means so much more than living for myself.
Who are you for?
God has given grace to humanity through the death of Jesus, who paid our sins in full with his blood. The phrase that I teach in our kids worship is, "Grace is getting something you don't deserve." There is nothing that we could have ever done to make God give us grace, but God willingly and lovingly gives grace to us freely. All we have to do is accept that beautiful gift by believing that Christ died for our sins.
Yet, Romans 12 encourages us to not stop there.
Here are several things that Romans 12 says of Christians:
- Present your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God,
- Do not be conformed to this world,
- We are one body in Christ made of many members,
- Abhor what is evil: hold fast to what is good,
- Bless those who persecute you: bless and do not curse them.
This chapter is so encouraging on how we are to live for Christ, and how we are to live in love with one another. What a beautiful reminder to know that this life is not about me, but about us worshipping Him.
How does this apply to me?
Some days I get so stuck in my ways and tired of being me, but I realize that most of the time I'm living for me, and not solely for Christ. There are even times when I pray only for myself and what I need. Though this isn't wrong to do, if all I do is pray only for myself and no one else, instead of the body of Christ or for those unsaved, every time that I pray then I'm living more for me than myself really thinks. I often pray for things that I want rather than things that God knows that I need.
In Christ, we as believers should PRAY for one another and LOVE one another.
I am not for Me. I am for Christ.
Not a doubt in my mind that Restore Kidz has the best volunteers who love hanging out with the kids and pouring Christ into their lives. Anytime your kids attend Kidz Worship at Restore please take time to thank the volunteers for the time and effort they put into making worship fun for the kids.
Yesterday in Kids Worship kids learned they shouldn't worship God just on Sunday's. We read from Romans 12:1 and James 1:23 and talked about how we should live for God every single day which is also worship.
Kids learned that singing praises to God is only a small part of Worship. Worship is lived out daily through our actions which can be instrumental in pointing others to God. Kids teachers encouraged the kids to pray for others and love others. What a great lesson for kids & parents of any age. Check out the Podcast below to see what Pastor Steve has to say about Worship.
Kids memory verse, Psalm 29:2, is a great reminder of how God deserves our praise. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to teach your kids about Worship this month and we pumped to see your kids again this coming Sunday!
Two weeks ago Pastor Marc read from Matthew 6 and spoke on some reasons why we shouldn't worry. I wanted to write on this topic last week, but I needed to do some soul searching of my own before I could express my thinking about not worrying. Since then I've been asking myself this one question everyday for the last two weeks, What is beneficial to Christ's kingdom? Before I answer that question, and yes it is relevant to not worrying, let's take a look at Matthew 6:25-34 and three ways to keep ourselves from worrying.
Look around at what God has done
This world from the beginning of time has been God's canvas. Many times he adds to it, other times he takes away. Yet, in the end, it is ultimately His beautiful creation. He created this world for us. Jesus says that our Father in heaven takes care of feeding the birds, clothing the lilies of the field, and ends by saying that if God takes care of these things he will much more take care of us, for we are created in His image. This world that He created is just one expression of His love for us.
Look to Eternal priorities, rather than Earthly priorities
"I REALLY want that new car." "I NEED that new phone." "I HAVE to have the new (insert)." Don't get me wrong, these things aren't inherently bad, but they are still THINGS. We shouldn't put THINGS over God's kingdom.
Matt 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."
At the end of each day what do you want most? Are you wanting to serve Christ or are you wanting to serve yourself?
Be present and don't worry about tomorrow
Somedays we spend our time wanting to escape from today, wishing for tomorrow to come. Other days we spend our time anxiously waiting for the problems of tomorrow to come. But what if we used today to the best of our ability? What if we asked God to give us wisdom in our decisions today? He is a God who is in the NOW. He has been and forever will be, and He continues to work today.
Who can you encourage today? Who can you show love to today? Who can you pray for today?
What is beneficial to Christ's kingdom?
I told you that we'd come back to this didn't I? One of my favorite chapters in the New Testament is Philippians 4 and I always find myself going back to this book so often because of it's encouragement to live out Christianity. The verses that stick out most to me in this chapter are verses 8-9.
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me - practice these tings, and the God of peace will be with you."
So my answer is this: everyday we should be seeking to do whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise.
God will give wisdom to those that ask of Him, and He will reveal to you what these good things are each and every day.
The beauty of the book of Acts in the New Testament is that for the first time we see the church learning to live for Christ after Christ had ascended into Heaven. As terrifying as that may have been for them Christ commanded them, before he ascended, to go and teach all nations of what he had done.
And they did just that.
They grew in number, they gathered in fellowship as believers, and they encouraged one another daily. Persecution would soon follow, but they held fast to their belief in Christ.
So, how did they do it?
What should we do?
In Acts 2 we read that people from all walks of life that began to follow Christ now mingled with one another like never before. Many people repented of their sins and devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, they sat down to eat with one another, and they sold their possessions and gave generously to any person that was in need.
No, I don't mean you need to sell all that you have.
However, we should seek to be generous with what we do have. Being generous for some may surely be with their treasure, but for others it might be their time.
Be generous in giving your time to encourage others to live for Christ. As part of the church we are to gather in fellowship to exhort and build one another up, encouraging one another.
ask god for courage
In Acts 4 we read about the growing persecution the church faces after Christ has ascended. Peter and John had just finished healing a man and teaching a crowd in Jesus' name. Because of this, the Jewish leaders came and arrested them and threatened them to stop teaching in Jesus' name. Since the Sadducees could find no fault in them Peter and John were released. Once Peter and John gathered with other believers they prayed for God to give them boldness to speak God's word.
They could've stopped right there... but they didn't.
God is our Creator, He is our Provider, and He is our Healer.
When we are discouraged and struggling, we as believers should come together and pray for God to give us courage to speak His word.