Evangel July, 2012
This week we welcome missionaries being sent to a country in the 10-40 window.
But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?
Holy, Holy, Holy (Barker)
Draw Me Close (Carpenter)
Second and Third Services
God is With Us Now (Beach)
This is Life (Woodley)
All I Need is You (Sampson)
Let It Rain (Farren)
You know that feeling? The feeling of “having it all together.” The confidence and knowledge that everything in your life is exactly the way it’s supposed to be with absolutely no fear of the future because of the security of your present.
I used to know that feeling. It was nice. That is, until my life was radically changed this summer. Everything from my daily habits to the way I love my family, from my priorities to the way I worship God was turned upside down. It’s like taking the paradigm of your life, the set of standards and values you hold so dear, and having them thrown in a blender, hitting puree, and throwing said blender into a washing machine on the spin cycle…
…and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You see, in May of this year, my wife and I got on a plane and flew to China. We were in a land we didn’t know, amongst an unfamiliar people, who spoke a language completely foreign to us, but who served food that was out of this world. Our purpose in going, however, wasn’t the food or the experience of being in a foreign land.
We went to China to adopt our daughter, Avalie.
Now having been D.I.N.K.’s (Double Income No Kids) for the upwards of 9 years now, having our first child be an adopted child was an “interesting” endeavor.
(I use the word “interesting” because that’s what pastors say when they want to be kind to the situation. For example, “That’s an ‘interesting’ dress that lady has on,” or “This meatloaf tastes…’interesting’.”) But I digress.
Did I mention that on top of our first child being an adopted child that Avalie also was born with a severe cleft lip and palate? Yeah, it was that “interesting.”
Anyways, here we are in Guangzhou, China, about to meet our little girl, and it hits me like a wrecking ball hitting a glass tower, “What am I doing here? Am I ready for this? I’ve never taken care of a baby before, much less a baby who wasn’t physically born to me or even one with a cleft lip and palate for that matter.” And while I’m thinking all of this, here comes the orphanage director with Avalie in her arms. As the director handed our new 17 month old daughter to us, it was nothing less than magical, and then she cried…and cried…and cried. She probably hadn’t had her diaper changed in a day, had a bath in over a week, or a change of clothes in a month.
And she was mine. All mine. And she is beautiful.
Fast forward to a week into our time with Avalie, and she is sleeping soundly during her afternoon nap in our hotel room. My heart has completely left me and is now held in her little fists. All I could think about was how God found me: filthy, abandoned, upset. Yet He went ALL IN and adopted me into His family. At this notion I found myself crying (like a man) and telling God I would keep serving Him with ALL I am. Then He spoke to my heart with this verse from the Gospels:
“Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, soul, mind, and strength.”
Then he said that if I am to do that, then I need to love Him with ALL the love I am giving to Avalie, because He is worth it. I fought back. I told God how there was no way I could strip Avalie of all the love I pour out on her and give it to someone else, and yet, I knew He was right. Because that’s what Jesus meant when He said to “love the Lord your God with ALL…”
When God asks us to give Him ALL we have, He doesn’t mean all we have left.
He means ALL we are and ALL we hold dear. The verse literally means to strip all the affection, adoration, attention, time, and love from everything in our lives and in turn give it to Him in worship. Because if you’re not giving God your ALL, it may as well be nothing.
But this is where the beauty of “All or Nothing” worship to God comes through.
As we give God our ALL, He in turn creates in us a greater capacity to hold even greater amounts of love that we in turn pour back out on those things in our life that have our affection.
In giving God our ALL, He gives us back more to give to others.
As a result, I am able to love Avalie with more love than I had when I got on that plane to go to China. I have a greater capacity inside my heart to hold even greater measures of love to pour out on others because I first gave my ALL in worship to God.
I was changed this summer, and I wouldn’t have it any other way…
Pastor Doug Graham – I Heart Worship 2/2
Pastor Doug Graham – I Heart Worship 2/2
I (Heart) Worship: Pastor Doug
This week Pastor Doug concludes a two week mini-series about worship.
I was glad when they said unto me
“Let us go to the house of the Lord”.
Sing To The King (Foote, Horne)
All To Jesus I Surrender (Venter, Townend)
Second and Third Services
Praise Him (Crocker)
Forever Reign (Ingram, Morgan)
Lead Me To The Cross (Fraser)
My Soul Sings (Smith)
My 2 year old daughter has officially learned how to say “no”. Her specialty is the high, whiny, drawn out “nnnnnoooooooo” that parents everywhere recognize and love. On any given day, a simple command such as “put away your toys”, or “eat your peas” might be answered with this response. As a parent, it takes patience and understanding to work with her to help her realize that even though we don’t want to sometimes, it’s necessary to listen to and respect what mom or dad says.
The main point we discussed on Sunday was “God blesses obedience to His Word”. Sometimes, we feel like obeying God’s Word, but sometimes, we are more like my little 2 year old daughter. Remember, we need to respond to God on the basis of our convictions about His character, instead of our feelings. Feelings come and go, but God remains the same. So, the next time you don’t feel like responding to God in worship, remember that He is good, faithful, holy, true, just, amazing, and awesome. Think about the times God has been faithful to you in the past, and let your response flow out of your experiences with Him.
As a dad, I want so much to bless my kids. When they are obedient, it opens the door to that blessing. Remember, God blesses obedience to His Word.
In what ways do you need to be obedient to God today?
1. Don’t let a bad start ruin your day. My swim was far more difficult than I expected. When that happens, simply focus on getting from buoy to buoy.
2. Even when your tummy is tender, stay hydrated because the race is over once you’re dehydrated. It was a very hot day and as soon as I got on my bike I became uncomfortably nauseated. Even sips of water were difficult.
3. When discouraged get energy from other competitors who are encouraging you. Everyone in these long races are in some kind of pain, yet the comraderie is incredible!
4. Race with a friend. My buddy Jamie was singing for 56 miles on the bike ride. Truly, “two are better than one.” Jamie is a veteran 70.3 and 5-time full Ironman competitor. He was in this race with just one purpose-to get me to the finish line. That defines a genuine friend.
5. And, when you realize you’re not going to break any records, break the race into bite size pieces and just keep moving forward. After a 1.2 mile swim and a 56 mile bike, how do you even think about running 13.1 miles (and it’s over 90 degrees)? Answer: run & walk..to the finish line.
6. And remember: If everything in life was easy, nothing in life would be exhilarating! In the midst of challenging things, it’s not much fun; but when you slow it down, and break it down into smaller hills…in time you will see that you really did get over that mountain!
“Forgetting what is behind, I press on…” (Philippians 3:12)
Pastor Scott Flaten – “God blesses obedience to His Word.”
Pastor Scott Flaten – I Heart Worship 1/2
I (Heart) Worship: Pastor Scott
This week Pastor Scott kicks off a two week mini-series about worship.
Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before Him, singing with joy.
First Service (Worship Leader: Jen Testroet)
Awesome is the Lord Most High (Tomlin, Reeves)
Jesus Messiah (Tomlin, Cash, Reeves)
It Is Well With My Soul (Bliss, Spafford)
Second and Third Services (Worship Leader: Chris Lippert)
Glory To God Forever (Beeching, Fee)
We Are Hungry (Kilman)
Love Came Down (Johnson)
Everlasting God (Packiam)