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Worship Ministry January 2019

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Church Family,
I pray this new year finds you well. God did so many great things through our church in 2018, and we cannot wait to see what’s in store for 2019. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who was involved in our Christmas Worship Program. We could not have done it without our praise band, praise team, choir, and production team. I am so thankful for every single person who helped make our Christmas Program a special event. I also want to thank everyone who came out to participate and worship with us. I know there were so many things you could have done with your evening, so thank you if you came to be a part! It was a great night and I am so grateful for everyone was a part.

Moving on into 2019, I want to share three prayers that I have for our Church Family this new year, and I hope you would pray these things with me as well. I know there are so many things we could pray for, and so many things that we do pray for. But the sake of space, and I’ll share just a few:

1) I pray that worshipping God would be our main priority. I pray that worship would be the goal of my heart, all day, every day. I don't mean only on Sunday mornings. Should we make worship a priority on Sunday mornings? Absolutely. Should worship slide down our priority list during the rest of the week? Absolutely not. Whether we are alone, whether we are together, whether we are at work, or whether we are with our families, I pray we would worship the one who gives us all of these things. God is good, all the time, and he deserves our worship all of the time.

2) I pray that we would pray more. I pray that I would pray more. I pray that you would pray more. I pray that we would see every meal, every goodnight story with our children, every morning coffee, as a chance to come to God in prayer. I pray that we would pray more than once a day. I’m really excited that our Church focus for 2019 is prayer, if even that I would pray more myself, with my family. How much should we pray? I can’t give an exact amount of time we should spend in    prayer. But I know that I should pray more than I am, and we should all pray more than we are. Join me, and let’s just pray more!

3) I pray that we would worship God in a fresh way on Sunday mornings. Does this mean that we will worship God in a new way? No. Does it mean that we will worship God in a different way? No. But I also believe that God is the ultimate creator of all things. So, my prayer is that God would create something new in us as we come to worship together on Sunday morning. Let’s set our expectations high. Let’s set our standard high. I believe that God will do more than we ask or imagine. Let’s expect Him to do just that.

I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us this year.
I love you all and I will see you on Sunday!

In Christ,
Jared

 

Posted by Jared Mitchell with

Spiritual Development January 2019

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The Fierce Fruit of Self-Control” by John Piper

The very concept of “self-control” implies a battle between a divided self. It implies that our “self” produces desires we should not satisfy but instead “control.” We should deny ourselves and take up our cross daily, Jesus says, and follow him (Luke 9:23). Daily our “self” produces  desires that should be “denied” or “controlled.” The path that leads to heaven is narrow and strewn with suicidal temptations to abandon the way. Therefore Jesus says, “Strive to enter through the narrow door” (Luke 13:24). The Greek word for “strive” is agonizesthe, in which you correctly hear the English word “agonize.”

We get a taste of what is involved from Matthew 5:29: “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away.” This is the fierceness of self-control. This is what is behind the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:12: “The kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.” Are you laying hold on the kingdom fiercely? Paul says that Christians exercise self-control like the Greek athletes, only our goal is eternal, not temporal. “Every athlete [agonizomenos] exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable” (1 Corinthians 9:25). So he says, “I discipline my body and keep it under control” (1 Corinthians 9:27). Self-control is saying no to sinful desires, even when it hurts.

But the Christian way of self-control is not “Just say no!” The problem is with the word “just.” You don’t just say no. You say no in a certain way: You say no by faith in the superior power and pleasure of Christ. It is just as ruthless. And may be just as painful. But the difference      between worldly self-control and godly self-control is crucial. Who will get the glory for victory? That’s the issue. Will we get the glory? Or will Christ get the glory? If we exercise self-control by faith in Christ’s superior power and pleasure, Christ will get the glory.

Fundamental to the Christian view of self-control is that it is a gift. It is the fruit of the Holy Spirit: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace . . . self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23). How do we “strive” against our fatal desires? Paul answers: “For this I toil, struggling [agonizomenos] with all his energy that he powerfully works within me” (Colossians 1:29). He “agonizes” by the power of Christ, not his own. Similarly he tells us, “If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13). “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6). We must be fierce! Yes. But not by our might. “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord” (Proverbs 21:31).

And how does the Spirit produce this fruit of self-control in us? By instructing us in the superior preciousness of grace, and enabling us to see and savor (that is, “trust”) all that God is for us in Jesus. “The grace of God has appeared . . .  training us to    renounce . . . worldly passions . . . in the present age” (Titus 2:11–12). When we really see and believe what God is for us by grace through Jesus Christ, the power of wrong desires is broken. Therefore, the fight for self-control is a fight of faith. “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called” (1 Tim 6:12).

 Recommended ResourceGraciousness by John Crotts
Sometimes we have important things to say to other Christians, but if we deliver our message ungraciously, they won’t benefit from it.  Author John Crotts points out that God cares about how we say what we say: “It is not enough always to say the truth; you must also say the truth in love.” In Graciousness, the author addresses Christians who are zealous for God’s truth yet struggle to communicate it graciously— in a loving way. Filled with practical instruction and wise insights, this book includes a biblical description of graciousness, with a look at positive examples and commands from the Bible and methods for cultivating graciousness in various areas of the Christian life. Be equipped to speak the truth in love!

 

Posted by Nick Scott with

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