In Jeremiah, God tells us that before He even formed us in the womb, He knew us. This version of us He speaks of is the REAL us, not who we want people to see or who we even see ourselves as, but who God knows we are. We have to be willing to give God the opportunity to reveal the real us by allowing Him access to everything, even what we hide. He desires for us to let go of anything that's become a necessity or an idol, and cling to Him instead. You see, our perception is not always God's reality. The things we perceive we must have we don't actually need, and the one thing we really do need, we already have! Jesus! What is God after today? Let's lay it at the altar and let the real us, the one He created us to be, come alive! Forward Life Handout
Grace. It sounds beautiful, but why is it so confusing? Why is it so hard to comprehend that it's a gift and all we have to do is accept it? We don't have to qualify for it or earn it. It's already been bought. No one understands drowning in grace like Jonah. By running from God and delaying his assignment, he caused the Lord to create a storm that could only be subdued by Jonah jumping in the water. All he could see were the waves that could destroy him, but underneath was God's plan of provision. After experiencing amazing grace from the Lord, Jonah had trouble extending it to the people of Nineveh. What he didn't understand is that God is in love with sinners and His priority is eternity. When we walk in selective grace, bitterness, and unforgiveness, we are denying God access. There is a direct connection between our ability to walk in grace and to be used at the highest level God wants to use us. It's time to finally let it go and drown in His grace. Forgive and experience freedom like never before. Forward Life Handout
It's just another typical day for Elisha. He's out plowing the fields with his oxen like always when, in just one moment, he experiences a collision with destiny and transforms from a plower to a prophet. God only needs a moment. Elisha's circumstances were the same, but he was different. He slaughtered his oxen and burned his plowing equipment to cancel that option. It's time to stop playing around with things that are delaying us and slay them. Sometimes we're just too safe to be great, but faith requires a bit of recklessness. Faith doesn't have a back-up plan. God has been setting you up, working in the background. Your calling isn't an accident, it's part of His story. What you've been searching for is about to find you. Keep moving forward! Forward Life Handout
In Daniel 3, we read about King Nebuchadnezzar and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The king gave 2 options to either conform by bowing to his idol or to get on fire by being thrown in the furnace. The answer to not conforming to this world is in being transformed by the renewing of our minds, but how do we do that exactly? We renew our minds by getting on fire, by burning them. Some strongholds are only broken by the fire, for there are no natural remedies for spiritual battles. The enemy is an usher sent to escort you away from the fire, but if you let God set you on fire, He will ignite the real you and you'll never be the same! Repair the altar and get back to the fire. Forward Life Handout
When it comes to our lives, we love to be in control. It can be so difficult to give it up, but God desires to take us deeper to a place where we give Him the control and, in turn, experience true freedom & peace. On Sunday, Pastor Trav talked about Ezekiel and the vision God gave him of a river flowing out of the temple. This river represents the Spirit of God. The water is always running, never stagnant, giving life to all it touches. The water is also expanding further and fuller in His presence. The more lost we are in Him, the more found He is in us. Finally, the water is deep. This river sounds amazing, doesn't it? Well, it actually flows within US and the more we desire Him, the more the rivers flow! In His presence there is fullness and you'll lack nothing. There is surely life in His river.
Marriage. It's wonderfully beautiful, but yes, it's also complicated. On Sunday, Pastor Jackie explained that there are 3 parts of marriage that people find complicated: the "foreverness" of it, the selflessness involved in it, and the fidelity that is absolutely required for it. God gives us the gift of marriage, yet He says, "Marriage is mine." He created man to love his wife like he loves himself and he created woman to submit to her husband and be his helper. Oneness, or sacred connection, unity, solidarity is so important. It's where our power lives, it's the way we show our children & others what God intended marriage to look like, and it allows us to produce everything the Lord call us to. A husband and wife who are one are on assignment together. Let God use your oneness in miraculous ways!
We all know the story of Noah and the ark. On Sunday, though, Pastor Travis reminded us that, like Noah, we were sent here to build, too. Noah's life shows us that favor was his sustainer, righteousness was his distinction, family was his assignment, and building an ark was his instruction. We are no different. Jesus is the new ark, the ark of salvation, and we must make room for it to dwell in us. We weren't just saved for ourselves, but to help rescue others. Let's live lives set apart, knowing that the future of others is attached to our obedience to the Lord. Keep building and watch what He creates!
Voids. We've all felt them. We were actually designed with them. God created all of us with the need for Him because He is the only one who can fill our voids. Period. No man or woman could ever fill them, though we sometimes think otherwise. In Judges 6 we read about Gideon trying to fill his void with wrong timing, wrong places, and wrong people. His fear/void drove him, but God used Him anyway. When God started speaking, Gideon's void started filling up. We have to listen to what God says about us and let His words of truth fill our emptiness. The more Gideon obeyed, the more fulfilled he became and the same rings true for us. He is enough. Forward Life Handout
God's desire is for us to desire Him above all else. He never asked anyone's opinion about creation because everything He creates is flawless & perfect in His sight. He created man and woman and was very clear about how he designed marriage. A lot of times we just want the "God of convenience." We like to say, "Amen" to the parts of the Bible that fit into our lives, but we pretend we didn't read the parts that may be more difficult for us. We can't love God and not love His word, though. They are one in the same. He only desires the best for us and He wants us to know we aren't what we've done and we aren't what we feel. We are what God calls us! Forward Life Handout
Serving is worship and worship is demonstrating the worth of God. This begins when we wake up in the morning & continues at our jobs, the gym, at church, and everywhere in between. God desires our serv-ship. He can't wait to say, "Well done my good and faithful SERVANT." There are two types of people who serve: those who want to be important by being seen & needing a title, and those who want to make an impact by changing lives even when all eyes aren't on them. Everyone matters in ministry- not just those on stage. It's time for us to get out of the stands, rise up, and get in the game. Let's use the gifts God has given us to display our serv-ship and demonstrate His incredible worth. Forward Life Handout
Why? But why? Toddlers love this question, but it can sometimes be an uncomfortable one to answer. It's important to know the reasons WHY we do what we do, though. Why do we serve? Are our motives tainted or pure? Do we perform for man or for the Lord? The enemy's goal is to target our purified why. He wants us weighed down and in bondage, but God desires us to live in freedom and healing. We must serve Him because He's worth it. We all have areas that are tainted, but it's time to let od invade our hearts, heal our wounds, and make our "whys" pure. He deserves it. Forward Life Handout