"Over-Churched and Underwhelmed"

I borrowed that statement from a pastor in Nashville, Darren Whitehead.  I’ve been watching and reading some from the website Qideas.org.  It’s a movement that came out of the research Gabe Lyons and David Kinnaman did in the book “Unchristian”.  It intrigues me to see where others are in their pursuit of God and living out that purpose in real life.  Is the church impacting the culture in a positive way or just in a negative way?  How are we doing?  That statement I believe has a huge impact and could be very reflective of a lot of communities that may have several churches but few followers of Christ.

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What is our Hope?

Recently I've not been watching the news as often as I once did.  It’s not really that I have chosen to do so intentionally, it’s just worked out that way.  Most of you probably have your routines of what you watch or listen to.  In recent news there have been some historical events, like a redefinition of marriage by the supreme court and the removal of the confederate flag from the South Carolina State House, and just today I saw where Cuba and the United States will again have embassies open in each other’s country after 50 plus years of not.  There’s more that I could include, but that’s just what came to mind.

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God's Presence

I’ve gone through the process of writing blog posts and articles for the newsletter and then keeping them filed away.  For different reasons I feel that they are not print worthy.  Maybe someday I’ll put them all together and write a book entitled “Not Print Worthy”.  Just kidding of course.  It’s happened again this month.  I write and then I read through it, and it’s like, "How does that flow together?  What’s your point?  Where’s God leading you in this?" Maybe it’s my being indecisive or not, but I find myself being challenged to do better.  Do you ever struggle this way?

So this month I am going to share with you that I’ve got nothing.  But God has everything!  I’m hopelessly lost.  But God found me and not only called me, but cleaned me up and gave me ownership in His family!  My thoughts, words, and actions fall short daily, but God never stops thinking of me.  His words give me hope, purpose and truth!

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Proud to Call You Part of the Family

We are into what most of us would call the beginnings of summer.  Memorial Day is the marker that most folks use as their guide.  It used to always signal the end of school too, or as I remember it anyway.  School started after Labor Day and ended at or before Memorial Day.  That was then and this is now.  Now we have a couple of young folks who are ending their school years and embarking on new paths.  Aubri Brown and Brandin Stokes are proud to be graduates in the class of 2015 at HCCHS and MNHHS.  They are going to be quickly approaching new experiences into possibly uncharted waters.  The great thing about them is that I believe that they will jump into the opportunities, and life for them will be good.

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Recently I heard an explanation on asking for things in prayer.  Scripture tells us several times that people were healed of blindness, deafness, demons, and death by simply asking.  In John 14 Jesus makes reference to asking for anything in His name and it will be answered.  He even goes on to say that you will do even greater things than He had done.  So I’ve been wondering and pondering this for a while and hopefully my enlightenment will open your eyes or remind you of what God is capable of and willing to do.

Now let’s clarify what we ask for first.  A common request of mine is for blessings on Denise and the rest of my family - that they will use words of encouragement not criticism, that their actions will bless not curse, that they will be aware of God’s constant presence in their lives, and that they will receive the peace that only comes from Him.  And of course I pray for their health, but I must say that I don’t always include that unless one of them is sick or hurting.  Now that brings me back to where I began.  When we ask God for healing why doesn’t it always happen exactly as we ask?

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Jesus Calling

I speak to you from the depths of your being.  Hear Me saying soothing words of Peace, assuring you of My Love.  Do not listen to voices of accusation, for they are not from Me.  I speak to you in love tones, lifting you up.  My Spirit convicts cleanly, without crushing words of shame.  Let the Spirit take charge of your mind, combing out tangles of deception.  Be transformed by the truth that I live within you.

The Light of My Presence is shining upon you, in benedictions of Peace.  Let My Light shine in you; don’t dim it with worries or fears.  Holiness is letting Me live through you.  Since I dwell in you, you are fully equipped to be holy.  Pause before responding to people or situations, giving My Spirit space to act through you.  Hasty words and actions leave no room for Me; this is atheistic living.  I want to inhabit all your moments - gracing your thoughts, words, and behavior.

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What makes you afraid?  Is it certain situations or circumstances?  Do you fear the dark or what might be in the dark?  Do you fear weather, not sunny and mild but stormy and unpredictable?  As I write this we are in the midst of winter weather, strong winds and dropping temperatures.  Most of us remember the 2009 ice storm and some of us still have fears as a result of that storm.  Our neighbors lost their home to the tornado in 2005 and they now have a real fear of potential tornadic storms.  Unlike Jim Cantore who acts like a kid at the sound of thunder in snow storms, most of us have some history with bad weather, and that plays a part in our reaction to certain forecasts.

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