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Seasons of Prayer

Seasons of Prayer

We want to be a church that is praying with each other, praying for each other, and praying that the grace of Jesus would be very present in our circumstances. So, we're excited to share with you that for the rest of the year, we will be praying through seasons of quietness, petition, anticipation, and praise! We hope you'll join us as we seek to listen to and pray to our loving God as he moves in and through our church during this time of transition and opportunity. We will be sharing weekly blog posts here to encourage you on how you can pray during this time. 

Fear & Grace

Jan 23, 2023

"What I'm learning about love is that we have to tackle a good amount of fear to love people who are difficult." - Bob Goff

Jesus didn't put up walls or defenses for people who were difficult or challenging. He engaged with them. Each day, I continually try to remind myself that loving others requires intentionality and empathy. While I do my best to love my neighbor (anyone I encounter), I have to remember we don't typically share the same experiences, and so I have to be gracious to them and seek to understand them...knowing that it may not be reciprocated in the same way, and I have to be able to receive that in a loving manner too.

Action: What does loving your neighbor look like? How can we be gracious to others when they're not gracious to us?

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
1 Peter 3:8-9

God Paves the Way

Jan 13, 2023

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert”
(Isaiah 43:19 ESV).

In the Old Testament Book of Exodus, God delivered his people from slavery in Egypt. He did so through a series of mighty displays of power culminating in turning the Red Sea into a highway for his people, parting the waters and allowing them to walk across dry land before overwhelming Israel’s chasing enemy. Many years later, God’s people found themselves again exiled in a foreign land - this time, Babylon.

The original exodus was not a one-time event. God didn’t exhaust his power in delivering his people the first time. Rather, he provided a new pattern of rescue. Isaiah’s words to the exiled people of God was a reminder to not live in the past, but instead actively look for God to return them home through another exodus event. As the ESV Study Bible notes, “where there is no clear path forward, God creates one” and “where there is no natural relief or refreshment, God provides it.”

While we might not find ourselves exiled in a foreign land, the past year was probably filled with its own distractions and hardships. But, for those who look for them, a new year can bring about new opportunities - even if they don’t readily appear in front of us. God desires to do a new thing this year - in our church and in our lives. Will we have the courage to follow him on a new path? Will we have the courage to follow him in the change he promises? When Jesus matters most, transformation follows.

Action: This week listen to the song “Graves into Gardens” by Elevation Worship then take some time to reflect on your past year. Then think about the new year. What are some goals you have for following Jesus? What are some changes you’d like to see in 2023? Write these down and share them with a close friend or family member. Will you allow God to do a new thing in your life this year? Pray that God would give you the courage to follow him in the new thing he wants to do in your life.

Praise in Waiting

Dec 19, 2022

I wait in the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning.

Psalm 130:5-6

Expectation and prayer. We often find ourselves going to God in times of (more) immediate need. We expect God to answer, but we often desire a quick answer. We see the Psalmist offer another way. Waiting. We can hold our expectation of God's faithfulness while we wait. Waiting is a good practice for us to gain a better perspective and understanding of what we are asking of God. God does not have to meet our expectations, but it is a good practice of faith to expect God to answer our prayers because he is able.

Action: Read Psalm 130. Pray for a willingness to wait on God. What would a practice of patience look like for you this week? How can you praise God in waiting?

Because He Delights In You…

Dec 12, 2022

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.
Psalm 18:16-19

What are your deep waters? What enemy is around you that seems too powerful to overcome? What disaster do you find yourself in?

Whatever you’re in, have you considered that God will rescue you because he delights in you? Check out that last verse (19) of that section… “he rescued me because he delighted in me”. It doesn’t have anything to do with what has been done. We can’t muster up anything within us that would cause God to finally be pleased enough to move for us. He just does because he delights in us.

So- for your deep waters and the enemy that you face- consider calling on the Lord knowing that it’s not what you do, but it’s who you are that will bring you out of it. You are found in Christ and he truly does delight in you and me.

The Finite are Blessed by the Infinite

Dec 5, 2022

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
Psalm 103:8-12 NIV

When God answers your prayer, how do you typically respond? Several biblical scholars suggest that Psalm 103, entitled “Praise for the Lord’s Mercies,” may very well be David giving thanks to God for answering his prayer of need in Psalm 102. Perhaps you respond with a quick but sincere, “Thank you, Lord!” If the prayer that was answered left you speechless and not feeling worthy of the blessing God gave you, it may lead to a deep gratitude of God’s mercy in spite of shortcomings that feed your guilt and shame. In cases like those, it should please us to remember what’s true about God.

We were purposefully created with a range of emotions; we feel as God feels. God demonstrates anger, which we see kindled against His own people and others in the OT. In the NT, we see Jesus turning over tables in the temple while chasing out those who were profaning the purpose of His Father’s house. While anger is something God portrays, His anger is not eternal. It is an emotion He invokes, but not something He constantly has burning against those He made in His own image.

So what is something eternal that God holds for His people? Love. Throughout the history of the creation itself, love is the primary way God chooses to reveal Himself and make Himself known. The love God has for us transcends any measure and surpasses any amount of words that aims to comprehensively describe its depth. His actions and compassion toward us are soaked in His love, His grace, and His mercy. You are forgiven when you ask, and you are seen when no one else sees you. “Praise the LORD, my soul!”

Action: Write down or think about when God has answered your prayer. In your own way, praise Him for His goodness and grace. Next, write down or think about a prayer request you consider out-of-range or not likely to be answered how you desire. Give it to the Lord in prayer, and trust that He works for the good of those who love Him.