Speak Out! (a meditation)

Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! ~Psalm 107:2 (NLT)

Almost everybody loves to hear a good story. Even better if the story gives us hope that people or things or situations can change. We crave that light in the darkness which points toward better days.

God intends his people to be such storytellers.

The stories we tell aren’t farfetched myths of lofty, unachievable goals. No, our stories are about how Jesus changed our lives and brought us from our darkness into light. These stories of redemption are what we call testimonies.

A testimony at its core is a simple thing. It doesn’t have to be long or dramatic (though some, properly, are). It just has to be about Jesus and you. Before you came to know and follow Jesus you were a person who thought and did things in a certain way. Then you realized that way could not sustain you and give you eternal joy. Someone told you about Jesus, you believed in him, and everything changed.

For some this change is as dramatic as what Paul experienced in Acts 9 where he was knocked to the ground (literally) and went from being a man who hated Jesus and Christians to being a man who loved Jesus and identified with the Christians. For others, the change is more subtle but still as real—just as the two disciples of John the Baptist in John 1, who upon hearing his pronouncement of Jesus as the Messiah began to follow Jesus.

In both cases the need for Jesus was real and the change evident though most of the other details stood on opposite ends of the spectrum.

If you are a follower of Jesus, then you have a story to tell. You were lost in your sin, but Jesus rescued, redeemed, and forgave you. Now you have new life. Maybe you reveled in sin and partied hard before that or maybe you generally tried to be a “good person.” Either way, you met Jesus and he changed you.

You were redeemed from your former life. And the psalmist said of the redeemed: Then speak out! In other words, tell your story of how you met Jesus and how he changed you for his glory.

Think through these questions: Who was I before I knew Jesus? How did I learn about Jesus? What made me realize I needed Jesus? How am I different now that I have begun following Jesus?

Put the answers to these questions together in the way that only you can: It is Jesus’ story but it’s also your story. And then go and find someone to share your story with.

Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out!

This post is part of our ongoing journey through the Bible as a church.

Good Reads 09.14.16 (on: gossip, parenting, and more!)

Here is a collection of good reads gathered from across the internet this past week. Enjoy!

On gossip: Gossip Says More About Me by Stephen Witmer

But gossip offers what it can’t deliver. When gossip says, “You’re interesting,” or, “You belong,” it’s lying. To people who thrive on gossip, you’re only interesting as long as your gossip is interesting. When we use gossip to gain access into a community (a church, a workplace, a friendship circle), our words tear apart the very community we want to join. (click here to read more)

Two on parenting:

Give It All, Just Not for Your Kids by Emily Jensen

Doesn’t this type of parental sacrifice seem rational? Because we love our children, we should also give it all for them, right? This is certainly a popular idea in our culture as evidenced by our social norms. Our children’s birthdays and holidays abound with monumental traditions and heaps of presents. They are rarely without entertainment, activity, socialization, and internet-capable devices. We think our children are deserving of only the finest athletic and academic training. They take our sleep at will, our nerves over time, our public acclaim in an instant, and our rational minds when we’re not looking. But we don’t notice, because we’re busy handing out donuts. We’re just doing our best to give it all for their sake.

The thing is, Jesus doesn’t tell us to give it all for our children. In fact, he wants just the opposite. He says that we are to give it all to him, and hate everyone else in comparison to how much we love and treasure him (Luke 14:26). (click here to read more)

Learn to Stop Yelling at Your Kids by Brook Wayne

However, the atmosphere yelling creates can break a child’s spirit. It wears on a body to be spoken to harshly and in an unduly loud voice. As soon as Mom or Dad’s voice goes up, a child’s defenses go up as well. Yelling does the exact opposite of what a Christian parent wants to see happen in her child. Instead of drawing that child closer to seeing the issue at hand, they are pushed away from receiving your word. (click here to read more)

On reading the Old Testament: 4 Practical Guidelines for Reading Old Testament Stories by George Guthrie

In the Old Testament stories, God is the ultimate hero, not any human being. God is the one working out the salvation of his people. Seeing him as the ultimate hero gives us an important frame of reference for reading the Old Testament stories. (click here to read more)

And finally, some wisdom on marriage… (from the desiringgod.org instagram feed)

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Awana and Youth (2016-17) begins 9/14!

Wednesday night kicks-off our Awana and Youth programs for the 2016-17 school year. Both start in the gym at 6:30pm and finish at 8:00pm. As always, adult prayer meeting and Bible study gathers at 7:00pm.

For more information, check out, like, and follow our Facebook pages:

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Click *here* for our Awana Facebook page.
or
Click *here* for online registration.

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(7th – 12th grades)
Click *here* for our Youth Facebook page

Sunday 09.11.16 (Awana Sunday)

This Sunday we look forward to beginning our 14th year of Awana on Wednesday the 14th. You can check out our Awana page for more details (click here). Also, we’ll kick off our new Sunday School year with Koehn Bakery doughnuts and coffee at 9:45am in our gym. Hope to see you there!

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Sunday Schedule
@945 2016-17 Sunday School Kickoff in gym / fellowship hall
@1045 Worship Gathering
**No evening services so you are free to attend the annual 9/11 procession on Main Street

Sermon Notes
Awana: Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed ~ 2 Timothy 2:15

We kick off our 14th year of Awana this Wednesday, today we consider:

  • žThe theme verse: 2 Timothy 2:15—We are to be people who correct handle God’s word
  • žAwana’s purpose: helping children, youth, and families know and follow Jesus by knowing and apply his word
  • Ways you can be involved: Pray (lots), invite, give, and volunteer

Good Reads 09.07.16 (on: marriage, God’s loving discipline, and more!)

Here is a collection of good reads gathered from across the internet this past week. Enjoy!

On growing your marriage: Your Marriage Is Either Growing or It Isn’t by Melissa Edgington

But, I think after seventeen years I have finally begun to learn that no marriage will grow deep and strong unless we are both firmly planted in God’s word, letting the words of life sustain us as individuals and as a couple. I am not a “good” wife. But, when I turn to Jesus and ask Him to make me the kind of wife He wants me to be, when I ask Him to give us a marriage that is a brilliant picture of His love, then I start seeing that our roots can grow deeper that I ever thought possible. Our little marriage sapling can grow as tall and as wide as God’s will allows, if only we rely on Him in our weakness and let Him be the good and faithful gardener that He has proven Himself to be. (click here to read more)

On Bible reading and devotional life: Simple Ways to Spark a Lukewarm Devotional Life by Tim Challies

The phenomenon of daily, private devotions is relatively new to church history and there is something to be said for reading the Bible in community, perhaps as a married couple or as a group of friends. If you are struggling to read the Bible, why not allow yourself to feed off the habits and self-discipline of someone else? Ask your husband or wife if you can join in their devotions or ask your friends if you can get together with them to read and to pray. The biblical mandate is not to have a daily, personal quiet time, but to be steadily, consistently taking in the Word. (click here to read more)

On encouragement (especially for men) to get help fighting against porn in their lives: Why Men Don’t Get Help in Their Battle with Pornography by Brian Liechty

You see, even though Jesus was the perfect man, He didn’t suffer like one. Instead He suffered as one who was unclean. He faced punishment as if He had rejected God. He died like an outsider. And He did these things to remove our shame! In other words, Jesus became as an unclean, unacceptable, outcast so that we could become clean and accepted and welcome before God!!!

When men start to realize and believe that God has removed their shame in Christ it changes the way they face their struggle with pornography.  It leads them out of the darkness and into the light. It moves them from concealing their sin to confessing their sin. It challenges them to get the help they need instead of being paralyzed by their fears. (click here to read more)

On God’s discipline of those he loves: When God Graciously Makes You Miserable by Matt Moore

God laid a heavy hand on David because of his sin, leaving him miserable and desperate for relief. Why? Was it because God is a short fused tyrant who delights in inflicting pain on his creatures, as many critics of the Christian faith suppose? No—it was because “the Lord disciplines the one he loves” (Hebrews 12:6). It was not God’s hatred that descended upon David; it was God’s love. Knowing the destructive nature of sin, God refused to allow David to continue down a path that would lead to either great temporal suffering (at best) or even eternal demise (at worst). When he saw his beloved child veering away from the Springs of Eternal Life and sipping the poison of broken cisterns (Jeremiah 2:13) instead, he unleashed his disciplinary love to jolt his slumbering son awake—and it worked. (click here to read more)

Sunday 09.04.16 (declare his glory)

This Sunday we’ll take a look at Psalm 96 and the call on our lives to declare God’s glory to the world. We hope to see you there! Also, with the holiday weekend, we will have no evening services; and we pray for safe travels for all our families and friends.

Schedule
@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
**No evening services, enjoy the holiday weekend!

Upcoming Events
9/7 @630pm ~ Awana teachers/helpers meeting in the gym, followed @7pm with an all-church prayer meeting for Awana
9/11 @945 ~ Sunday School year kickoff in the gym with doughnuts and coffee before dismissing to classes
9/14 @630pm ~ Awana & Youth Group kickoff checkout the following links for more details:
Awana Facebook Page
Youth Facebook Page

Sermon Notes
Declare His Glory ~ Psalm 96

We are to make the greatness of God known among the earth…

  • By singing of his salvation (96:1-2)
  • By declaring his glory (96:3-6)
  • By worshiping him in his splendor (96:7-9)
  • By telling others of his mighty reign (96:10-13)