Scripture of the Week
“But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.”
I just came off of an amazing summer of ministry. Wow, it was so much. My heart is full and hurts at the same time. And boy did God move!
Over the course of the summer I was able to serve for two camps, a week of VBX for middle school students, and a bonus Teen Week. God gave me a front row seat to faithful and powerful proclamation of God’s word as I witnessed the Spirit moving in the lives of so many people. I got to be there for an amazing moment as two students began a relationship with Jesus for the first time and that is just the tip of the iceberg. It was a season of rejoicing, physical exhaustion, and spiritual exercise.
I have to admit that it was not easy to serve all summer and still keep up with my job at AIA and the church. But God provided and I put my trust in Him.
One of the biggest lessons I learned over the summer is from the verse above. It is so important in any season to take time to be poured into. To abide in Jesus and spend time with the Father. I cannot count the times I was #Hangry for the presence and power of Jesus this summer. Downright starving for the word and time alone with the Father as I learned how important that time really is.
This lesson was also evident in my personal devotion readings. As I continue to study the Gospels in my times with the Lord for the year I have been reminded again and again about the times Jesus would retreat to spend time alone with the Father. Sometimes it worked out and Jesus was refreshed like He was here in Luke 5. Other times like the feeding of the five thousand (in Matthew 14:13) people would crowd in and time alone with God would have to wait until the work was done. I had both over the course of my summer.
It was the first full night of mission camp that I told our students my prayer for the week was that God would move in their lives and give them a taste of his presence that would foster an appetite that only God can quench. “Your presence Lord is what our heart longs for, to be overcome by your presence Lord” as the song goes.
My prayer for people reading this blog is the same. I pray that God would be your greatest desire. He is the ultimate desire of your heart already (I just pray you will see it). You were created to have a relationship with God and enjoy Him forever. That is what I believe. But I pray you will feel it. Thrive in it. Rely upon Him. And hunger for Him like a deer panting for water (Psalm 42:1).
May we be a people of God who hunger for His presence and retreat to desolate places to get time with our Father! #Hangry4Jesus #Starving
I would encourage you to meditate on the passage above as God leads and spend special time with your heavenly Father this week!
Quote of the Week
“One season cannot destroy your entire story.” – Carl Lentz, 37m
Rather, let one story, be the defining narrative in all of your seasons.
Far too often we allow sins, and seasons of the past to define our whole story. We let Satan have a stronghold in our lives because we don’t turn the page when Jesus says I know you have a past, I know it is not easy right now. But keep coming, keep growing, draw close to Me, and turn the page.
I pray the truth of what Carl says here will resonate with your heart and you will believe it. Because one Season, Sin, Struggle, Pain, or Circumstance cannot destroy your entire story. Satan wants you to believe that. He declares a lie that this is your life, you will never get over it.
But the victory of Jesus declares you can get through it (1 Corinthians 10:13). And because of God’s word and the victory of Jesus we know that… One story, God’s Story, can be the defining narrative in all of your seasons! So turn the page, and go to church with a #SwollenFace! And in a few months, or maybe even years you will look more like Christ. And the people who mocked you, laughed at you, or hurt you will still have the ugliness in their heart and you will know about the great work Christ has done in yours. #TurnThePage (Enjoy this inspiration word and clip starting at 36m28s below.)
Sermon of the Week: (47min)
Enjoyed this sermon so much on my run Friday night. May we never forget that it all comes #Back2theWord!
“As soon as McClain ceases to Trust, Preach, Follow this book… At that moment McClain ceases to be a church altogether. Because proclamation of, belief in, and obedience to the Bible is what makes a church.” – 5m
This quote also hit hard…
“Pastors have decided that using the Bible is a handicap for meeting the needs of the [different] generations; therefore they have gone to drawing their sermons from the plethora of recovery and pop-psychology books that fill our Christian bookstores. The market-forces demand that we give them what they want to hear if we wish them to return and pay for the mega-sanctuaries that we have built.” – Walter Kaiser, 2m
David Platt – July 9, 2017
Acts, Part 48 – The Bible in the Church, PART 1 (ACTS 20:1-24)
Please watch the testimony that starts at 35m30s and goes through 43 minutes. It is an amazing section and what I have below is just a small part of it.
My personal prayer for every person reading this blog, receiving my emails, or hearing me preach, teach, speak, or watching my life… “Is that you would be free.” “Set Free!!”
“Cause they are just pieces of paper. And when you decide to let them go you will want them back. I’ll just let you know. And every day you will wrestle with is it really worth it?… It’s not easy. It’s not pleasant. But God will be with you… He’ll breath life into your tired soul… and you will be glad to just let it go. And you’ll be free.” – 39m50s
“God wants you to be free. He wants you to save your life, not lose it. And the only way this comes is when we have humble boldness and radical willingness to sacrifice anything and share the Gospel with anyone based on the fact that the Gospel itself is more precious to us than life.” – 41m20s; Nathan Crew