Thursday, December 27, 2012

Post-Christmas Peace

   In the days leading up to Christmas we read scripture and sing about "peace on earth, goodwill to men", but does all of that seem to fade away when we take down the tree?  The peace of Christmas doesn't have to be packed away with the family decorations until next year. Jesus Christ, the "Prince of Peace" whose birth was prophesied in Isaiah 9:6 didn't come to just give us a fleeting feeling of peace that is based on our own emotions or circumstances.  He came to give a lasting peace to all who place their trust in Him.  He said, 

"I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart.  And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.  So don't be troubled or afraid."  (John 14:27, NLT)

You might say, "That sounds great, Jesus, but how are you going to give me that kind of peace?"  Well, first you have to trust Him.  You have to believe He is who He says He is--the Son of God, the one who came to forgive your sins and make peace between God and man.  Next, you have to try Him out when you don't feel peaceful or have peace in your life.  When you're worried, afraid, stressed, or anxious, take the prescription for peace given by the apostle Paul:

"Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.  Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."  (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT)

Come on, you've tried to worry and come up with a plan on your own to fix things, why not try praying about it?  You've probably heard the saying, "Let go and let God."  What do you have to lose?  Try it!  Ask Him to give you His peace in exchange for your problems.  The last step to receiving God's peace is to take Him at His word.  You can't say you've "turned everything over to the Lord", but then take it all back into your own hands if He doesn't show you an answer in the next 5 minutes!  Waiting is an integral part of the faith journey.  One of the best love bible passages is:

"But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."  (Isaiah 40:31, NKJV)  

If you truly want to experience peace in the days following Christmas and throughout the coming year, trust Jesus, try the Prince of Peace, and take Him at His word to begin to work all things together for your good and His glory.  

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Deep and Wide - Part I

How deep is God's love? The Old Testament makes it clear that God's throne is one founded on righteousness and justice and He can have no fellowship with sin. Yet God reached all the way down to sinful people by sending Christ to reconcile us to Himself.

"God put on Him (Christ) the wrong, who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God." (2 Corinthians 5:21, MSG)

As we approach the time that marks Jesus' final days on earth, contemplate the cross and it's significance. Think of the vertical beam as standing for the depth of God's love reaching down to you through Christ. Offer God your humble praise today.

Prayer Focus:

People who feel separated from God

Sunday school teachers and bible study leaders

Homeless shelter

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Power of Encouragement

"Then Aaron and Hur held up Moses' hands." (Exodus 17:12, NLT)

Not long after the Lord had delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt by a series of miracles, they found themselves traveling for many days in the desert as they journeyed to the Promised Land. Throughout this journey, the people had tested Moses' leadership by complaining about the food and the water supply. Don't you think Moses got discouraged at times, leading such an ungrateful group? Now, in Exodus 17:8-16, Moses finds himself leading them against the army of an enemy--the Amalekites. During the course of the battle, it turns out that as long as Moses held up his hands with the rod of God in them, the Israelites would win the fight. However, when Moses put his hands holding the rod down, the enemy would win. As the battle continued, Moses' arms became tired.

Enter our encouragers, Aaron and Hur, who got a large rock for Moses to sit on, and then got on either side of him and held up his hands. Scripture recounts that they continued to keep his hands steady until the sun went down and Israel was victorious. Moses was no doubt an amazing leader called by God to do a big job at a critical time. But, where would Moses have been without a faithful group of encouragers like Aaron and Hur who were able to identify his need for help and quickly respond through action that was both appropriate and uplifting?

Spend some time in prayer today asking God to reveal the answers to two questions:

1) Who has "held up my hands" when I was ready to give up?

2) Whose hands can I hold up today through my prayers, my words, and my actions?


Spaghetti dinner funds raised for UM Children's Home in Macon

New programs for children & families

Prison Ministry


Ministry Team Leaders

Disciple Now 2/16-19

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What's Shaking

"When the earth quakes and its people live in turmoil, I am the one who keeps its foundations firm."

(Psalm 75:3, NLT)

The recent earthquake and resulting tsunami in Japan as well as other natural disasters around the globe may have you contemplating the uncertainty of the future. What's shaking in your world? Is it family relationships? Employment prospects? Physical health? Is stability in any area of life a sham?

Those who place their faith in Jesus Christ can know that even when life seems fragile and unpredictable, He is rock solid and reliable. In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus told His followers that "Anyone who listens to my teaching and obeys me is wise, like a person who builds a house on a solid rock." When everything around you is shaking, pray to the One who is unshakable.

"He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along." (Psalm 40:2, NLT)


Friendship House - 20th Anniversary

Power Team - response was great!

Small Groups


Christians who are too "busy"

Ribbons & Strings Benefit

Thursday, February 10, 2011


"The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need."
(Psalm 23:1, NLT)

Praying ushers us into the holy place where the Shepherd of our heart awaits. As his sheep, we unfold our thoughts, dreams, desires, and concerns. Because he is the Shepherd, he looks and listens and hears--without interruption or condemnation--as we uncloak our fumbling, flawed thoughts.

We reveal our fears. We ask. We are utterly dependent upon him. And so we are--sheep. We entrust our plans, confide shortages, and confess sins. We empty and open and unearth and expose--for this is communion!

Bold and daring and confident in our Shepherd--this is prayer.

New opportunities for group prayer, worship, bible study

Disciple Now for Youth in Community - Feb. 18-20
Plans for Friendship House 20th Anniversary in April

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Our MIddle C

In Traveling Light, Max Lucado tells the following story:

When Lloyd Douglas, author of The Robe and other novels, attended college, he lived in a boardinghouse. A retired, wheelchair-bound music professor resided on the first floor. Each morning, Douglas would stick his head in the door of the teacher's apartment and ask the same question, "Well, what's the good news?" The old man would pick up his tuning fork, tap it on the side of the wheelchair, and say, "That's middle C! It was middle C yesterday; it will be middle C tomorrow; it will be middle C a thousand years from now. The tenor upstairs sings flat. The piano across the hall is out of tune, but, my friend, that is middle C."

You and I need a middle C. Haven't you had enough change in your life? The weather changes. Our health changes. Relationships change. But the Lord Jehovah who ruled the earth before Moses received the Ten Commandments, or David killed Goliath is the the same Lord Jehovah who rules it today. Same convictions. Same plans. Same mood. Same love. He never changes. Praise Him today because He is an unchanging God. Let Christ be your middle C.

Opportunities to worship and study God's word
Reaching across racial and denominational barriers

Families of those killed/injured in Arizona shooting
People suffering due to extremely cold weather
Funds for local ministries
Disciple Now in February

Thursday, December 9, 2010

He is Here!

You may already be familiar with the meaning of the name Immanuel--God with us. The prophecy of a Messiah, one who would save His people, was physically and literally fulfilled upon Jesus' birth in Bethlehem. However, throughout the Old Testament, God told His people that His Spirit was with them. For example, in Hosea 11:9:
"I am God and not a human; I am the Holy One, and I am among you." 

Before you read any further, reflect on those last four words, "I am among you." Do you believe that? Jesus is no longer physically present on earth, but just as God's Spirit was with the Israelites in Hosea's day, the Spirit of Christ is with you right now. He wants you to know He is in the midst of your world. Wherever you are as you read these words, He is present. In your car, in your office, in your classroom, your bedroom, your den. He's near.

God is in the thick of things in your world. He has not taken up residence in a distant galaxy. He has not removed himself from history. He has not chosen to seclude himself on the throne of some cloudlike castle.  He has drawn near. He has involved himself in the carpools, housing projects, funeral parlors, nursing homes, unemployment offices and hospital beds of our day. He is as near to us on Monday as on Sunday. As present at the coffee break as at the communion table.

The question is, What will you do with Him? Will you live as if He is here, or will you choose to keep Him packaged and predictable? Will you leave Jesus in the manger at Christmas, or let Him be the risen Lord of your life?

Take advantage of your position as a follower of Christ and a child of God. Turn every joy and every sorrow into an opportunity to pray to the One who is here.

The birth of Jesus
Worship opportunities

People in financial crises
Healing for recent surgeries