Questions For God: Compounding Joy

As we continue our series focusing on Randy Alcorn’s book The Treasure Principle, we have been looking at some “Questions for God” each week in our Wednesday Night Study.

The purpose of these “Questions for God”  is to prompt you to honestly approach your heavenly Father with uncertainties, fears, joys, and new discoveries. I encourage you to pray these questions to your Father, and note any responses He provides through His Word, the Holy Spirit, or wise fellow believers.

 

1)    Do I really believe that You have made me to be a giver? Am I convinced that I will feel Your pleasure when I give? God, help me to believe and to trust You enough to give.

2)    God, am I treating You as owner and CEO of “my” assets, or am I treating You merely as my financial consultant, to whom at best I pay a fee in the form of offerings?

A Description of “Biblical Community”

Last week in our Sunday service, we looked at the stunningly beautiful community experienced by the early church in Acts 2:42-47. We saw how committed these believers were to one another and how powerfully that community impacted those around them.

As I was preparing for the message last week, I received an e-mail from an organization I really like called TRUEFACE. In it, they included a review of a book they wrote called Bo’s Cafe.I read this at our church meeting last week because I love the way the writer draws out the essence and beauty of real, authentic community… And I wanted to share it here because I believe it is an excellent definition for the kind of community we are called to in the Bible.

“Community—a place where we belong and are accepted—even when we do all we can to make others believe that we aren’t worthy. Community means standing together with each other, fully recognizing and disclosing our own blemishes and accepting others in the humility of knowing their path is not much different than our own. But, much more than that, a community of grace gently insists that we are lovingly honest with each other and ourselves about our sin and our needs. In openness and vulnerability, we can lay it all out on the table, and in return, receive a depth of love and protection that we never imagined. This, in turn, leads to the freedom to be transformed and truly move into maturity.”

Holly C ~ Amazon Review Bo’s Cafe

Spiritual Gifts

How can I discover my spiritual gifts?

Last week we talked about how God gives spiritual gifts to those in the church so that they can be used to build up the body of Christ.

Below is some information you can use to help discover what your gifts are– they are the notes we will use in this week’s Bible Study.

1 Corinthians 12:1

Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed.

There are many different tools to help us discover our spiritual gifts. I have selected an on-line tool that I found to be easy to use and helpful.

Think of this as a starting point to learn about different spiritual gifts and the gifts you may have. The best way to determine spiritual gifts is not a test or assessment like this, but rather, serving others in the body and having them affirm your gifts as you use them.

Go to:                        www.spiritualgiftstest.com/test/adult 

Click on the “Continue as a Guest” button. 

The test will come up.

Answer each of the questions and follow the prompts.

Print out your results  (there is a “Print your Results” button on right side)

Read the “definitions” of your top 3 gifts

 Bring these results to the small group on Wednesday (10/14/15) to discuss.

Here are some questions to consider:

1)    Was this a “hard” test for you to take? If “yes” why do you think it was?

2)    Do these gifts surprise you? Why? Why not?

3)    Can you think of an example when you were able to use this gift to serve others in the church/body?

4)    How could you use these gifts to “build up” those around you in the church?

5)    How have you seen others use their gifts to build you up?

6)    How can you use your spiritual gift this week for the benefit of others in your church?

 

Exploding Back to Life

For the last few months, I have been working with a several employees in a local company. My role is to serve as a Dream Manager.

What is a Dream Manager, you ask? Well, it doesn’t have to do with analyzing stories of sitting in a college classroom for an examination that you didn’t study for or trying to run away from a monster while getting stuck in molasses. It’s not about those kinds of dreams. Instead, we try to identify the personal dreams that people have for their lives—and then determine some steps to move in the direction of achieving them.

It has been a very interesting process. It is amazing how much people can accomplish with some focus, structure and encouragement.

One of the highlights, so far, has been walking alongside Heidi. Heidi has written poetry for years and has dreamed of organizing her poems to begin to share them with others. In one of our sessions, I asked her if she would be willing to read one of her poems to me.

She agreed. Here is Heidi’s poem. She wrote it after she began to explore her own dreams and aspirations in our Dream Manager Pilot Program. I asked Heidi if I could share it with others and she agreed to this as well.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do…

Exploding Back to Life

Lying dormant for so long

Life just passing by, just going through the motions

-Smile, say “hello” someone is coming

And then even they are passing by

Another day, another year gone

 

A stirring – what is that?

A ripple starting deep inside

Growing bigger, creating chaos

Something not felt for a long time

Go away, ignorance is bliss

But still, the stirring grows

 

Joy erupts, happiness – what a real smile?

Peace flows into every part of me, of my life

Feelings not felt for so long

Explode inside, bringing life back

Too much, too fast

Overload, overload

 

Breathe, be calm, it’s ok

See, still in one piece

A gentle whisper – “Trust Me, it is and will be ok”

One step at a time

Bringing me closer to where I need to be – Your hug

Further from where I should not be – alone

 

June 9, 2015

You Shall Not Make For Yourself an Idol

Currently, we are studying the Ten Commandments during our Sunday services.

This week we looked at the second commandment where God prohibits making a worship idols. It can be easy to dismiss this commandment as irrelevant when we consider idols as statues, totems, and parts of creation (the sun, moon, etc.). But idols come in many different forms and we should consider what may be idols in our own lives.

Here are some questions to ask to determine who/what may be an idol for you.

1) What do you want, desire, crave, and long for?

2) What have you done to get those things?

3) When do you say, “If only”?

4) What have you done to make “if only” come true?

5) Where do you find refuge, safety, comfort, and escape?

6) Whom must you please?

7) What do you believe you can’t live without?

8) What have you done to get, keep, or protect that thing?

As we ponder these questions honestly, I believe that God will help us to see where we may be struggling with this commandment– and lead us to the only answer to overcoming them: Jesus.

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