In today’s world FEAR of the unknown can control us. At times it may feel like we are helpless to overcome it because it is so large.
The famous Psalm 23 states in verse 4: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
Take these words from the Psalmest and remember: God is always with his children
Have you ever felt like you have FailedGod? Has the thought ever crossed your mind that the more you mess up, the less God is going to Loveyou?
In Romans 8:38-39 Paul makes this statement: 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Did you catch that? Paul says that nothing,Nothingwill ever separate us from the love of God. God loves us beyond our comprehension! Even when we fail Him, He will never fail us. Take this thought this week and remember no matter how bad you think you have failed God, He is always willing to forgive and love you, His child.
God bless and have a great week.
This was written by student intern: Joshua Auli
Has the question: “What is my purpose in life?” ever crossed your mind? Have you ever thought about the future with fear,as you see all the different trials that are to come?
Proverbs 3:5-6 says: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
This is a promise from God to watch over our lives if we are to only trust that he will. As you go about your week, remember God is in control. You don’t have to worry, just trust in Him and He will provide.
(This devotional was written by Josh Auli, our summer ministry intern)
Many of us this last Sunday watched the History Channel’s version of The Bible. I must admit that my family DVR’d it and watched the whole thing in entirety! It was very entertaining and the special affects were magnificent.
However, we did find ourselves saying one line repeatedly, “They should’ve stuck to the script!” I don’t want to ruin the story if you’ve never read it, but I want to throw the challenge out there right now to read the REAL story! I am surprised at how accurate the History Channel’s portrayal has been, but there are certain parts that the real Bible just portrays better you see. A few questions some of you may still be wondering – “How did the people eat wandering in the wilderness for 40 years? I thought Moses left Egypt the first time under slightly different circumstances? What’s the full story w/ Abraham’s son, grandson, and great grandson? Didn’t Joshua cross a river?” And this just is a few things! There’s a whole lot more that the Bible goes in depth with and gives you as Paul Harvey would say, “the rest of the story.”
I want to challenge you also to NOT DEVIATE FROM THE SCRIPT! God has a plan for you. Jeremiah in the book named after him tells us, that God knows us and has a plan for us! Here, in your city of Sanford, Lake Mary, Longwood, Debary, Deltona, and the rest of the great Orlando area and i4 corridor, God knows you, and has a plan for you. Stick to the script God has planned for you.
If you have any questions about the Bible please feel to contact us at our church’s website www.churchatthegym.org
Read: Romans 6:11-14
Part of the effect of today’s humanistic mindset is that we evaluate ourselves too highly. We compare ourselves to the world around us, and seem to be so far ahead of the rest of creation. Part of our pride likely lies in our perceived free will – it seems to be what distinguishes us from the animal world.
But what do we see here? In this passage, Paul says that we are either instruments (or tools) for sin or for God. This dichotomous thinking isn’t just found here. Other passages talk about only having one master, and of being either slaves to sin or slaves to righteousness. But Paul ups the ante here. He argues that we’re not just servants who pick a master, or slaves who are controlled by an owner. Rather, we are akin to mindless tools!
To be sure, the onus is on us in terms of which hands we will place ourselves in. But once we place ourselves in those hands, we tend to be freely wielded (by either sin or God). Don’t feel like digging in the garbage? Too bad – the tool-user says it’s time to dig in the garbage. Don’t think you know how to fix the leaky faucet? Well, the tool-user is going to use you anyway.
In the positive, this is exciting – if we allow God to pick us up and use us, there’s no telling what God may end up doing with us – we just know it’s going to be good, exciting, and for His glory. In the negative, this is frightening. As simple tools, if we allow ourselves to be picked up by sin, we’re going to be used by sin, whether we like it or not. And it’s shockingly hard to get out of sin’s grip.
We (I) need to come off of this humanistic high that says I’m a completely free agent in this universe. No, there are forces much stronger than me out there. I was made to be a tool for God and God alone. Unfortunately, my “tool nature” makes me susceptible to frequent use by sin. It’s only when I consistently get into the hands of God that I will consistently achieve my purpose, as a tool of God.
(This article was written by Chris Coultas, Worship Leader of the 10:0am Service)
Reading of Psalm 42:7
Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls;
All Your waves and billows have gone over me.
Reflection on Psalm 42:7
This is a stretch to be sure, but this could also be taken to refer to a church service or body of believers. “Deep calls to deep” …in other words, in a river, “depths” of many rivers converge into one, until they all fall together off the edge of a cliff, making the resonant chorus that is a waterfall. The many rivers must all converge and go in the same direction, they must all take the plunge together as well. Then at the base of the waterfall, they achieve their greatest power and beauty, as “deep calls to deep.” God’s presence and power will be strikingly absent unless our churches accomplish three things. One, our rivers must converge. We have to have the same mission and be going the same direction. Two, “deep” must call to “deep.” God didn’t say “shallow calls to shallow.” We have to get in on each others lives, on the depths, really understanding who we are, connecting with, and praying for one another. Finally, we must all take the plunge together. All the rivers of the waterfall have to dive together, take the leap of faith together, in order for the waterfall to achieve maximum force. If a river cuts out early, it’s taking some force with it (not to mention other rivers). Our churches must be defined by missional agreement, true love, and risk taking faith. Only then will we begin to hear the depth of God himself in our choruses.
(This reflection was written by Chris Coultas, Worship Leader of the 10:0am Service)
On April 20 & 21, 2012, a group of men from our church attended the 2012 Man Up Men’s Conference here in Orlando, FL. The conference featured powerful and insightful messages from Jerry Thorpe & Jim Groves.
Our guys had a great time getting to know each other better and learning more about how to be the men that God has called them to be.
If you would like to review the notes from the conference, please click the links below. These notes were compiled by one of our pastors. They may be hard to follow, but feel free to browse them for insights. Especially, check out the “Notes & Quotes” section at the bottom of each entry.
PS: Thanks to everyone who prayed for our safety and our growth while we were away!
Join a Small Group this Spring!
Did you know that we meet here during the week for Bible Studies? We meet together for encouragement and learning. Click the link below to see a full list of Small Group Bible Study Opportunities that are available to you, and then plan to join us this week. It’s a great way to connect with other Christ-followers & share life together.
Most of these Bible Studies will run through May. Then, they will break for the summer.
“The Levites duties are revised”
That was the header for an awesome passage in 1 Chronicles 23. Starting in verse 24, we see how the Levites get their roles and responsibilities massively restructured. Before this shift, the Levites were responsible for carrying the ark of the covenant – the seat of the physical representation of God.
Think of the times you’ve felt the closest you’ve ever felt with God, and how rare those “super close” times tend to be. Now, imagine what an amazing responsibility it must have been, to be a Levite tasked with carrying the ark of the covenant – to have the physical presence of God at arm’s length.
In this 1 Chronicles passage, however, the Levites get their “duties revised.” I love this header because it’s so counterintuitive to what our modern reaction would be. The Levites had to shift from this awesome resposibility and physical closeness to God, to essentially becoming assistants to the priests and the custodial crew to make sure the Temple services went off without a hitch.
How could this header not be “The Levites get a demotion,” or the “The Levites get demoted and then revolt?” Why does the Bible not record the Levites letting out a collective groan upon hearing the news, especially given the Israelites’ penchant for complaining? I think it’s because the Levites weren’t motivated by personal gratification but rather divine mandate. They didn’t see themselves as having a job that was comprised of specific tasks, but rather as being privileged to contribute anything to a higher purpose. Rather than looking at what they were doing, they were focused on what they were achieving.
That is so key in our personal, professional, and spiritual lives. Look for the “why,” search for the end goal, find the glorification of God in who you are, not what you are doing. Tasks are more volatile than personhood. You may have a job or position one day, and be out of it the next. But your heart, soul, mind, and strength are things you can always give to God, regardless of circumstances. If you can find a way to praise God with your whole person, your personality, your intentions, and your passion, as opposed to the various tasks that happen to fill up the minutes and hours of your days and weeks, that is when you will be truly fulfilled.
(This essay was written by Chris Coultas, Worship Leader of the 10:0am Service)
It’s football season, so I think it’s very appropriate to talk about passion and excitement. Real fans wildly cheer their team’s victories, and occasionally, deeply mourn their losses. Do you identify with that, or are their other things that light you up? What do you get really fired up over, what excites you, what causes emotion to burn deep into your being?
Now another question, what are your most intense emotions. Really think about it – when you have an intense emotional reaction to something, what are you typically feeling. Chances are, the most common and intense emotions we experience are sadness, anger, or joy.
What about regret and remorse? More than likely, it’s been a while since you’ve truly allowed yourself to experience these emotions. Our culture idolizes personal happiness, glorifies anger and rage, and romanticizes sadness, so it’s “acceptable” to experience these emotions. Shame, guilt, regret, and remorse are the red-headed stepchildren in our culture’s collective bank of emotions. We live in a society of “no regrets.” We say it is meaningless to live in the past, and “What’s done is done.”
Yet when we embrace this mindset, we abandon the gravity of sin and forget the holiness of God. Furthermore, this nullifies the grace of God and downplays the sacrifice of Christ. When we reject remorse, we silence our consciences and the Holy Spirit within us.
When was the last time you wept over your brokenness? When was the last time you looked back on your day and realized you had abandoned God, that you had ignored His calling and thumbed your nose at His command? When was the last time you felt sadness wash over you because you disappointed God? The Bible records one particularly poignant story of two men who blatantly abandonded, betrayed, and rejected God. Their response was not to “forgive themselves” and move on immediately. Both men had intensely sorrowful reactions when they realized what they had done. Why do we not call all of our sins “betraying God’s grace?” Was it not our sins that put Christ on the cross?
Some may say this is a negative view of God – that He is full of love, grace, and is “the God of second chances.” These would say that we need to bask in the grace of God and freely accept it. Those statements are true – God is like that. Yet sin is sin, and after all He has done for us, is it not the height of arrogance to vaccilate freely between accepting the love of God while ignoring the will of God?
Some may say this is a dangerous approach to considering sin – that we as a society are prone to depression, and overemphasizing our faults and flaws would be extremely detrimental. This is also true. Yet God has left us with an appropriate way to deal with our own sin. Returning to the story I referenced earlier, who were these two men who abandoned God? Judas and Peter. Both men realized they had betrayed Jesus in their own ways. Judas felt sorrow and disgust at himself, and tried to erase his actions and distance himself from them – eventually his sorrow led him to commit suicide. Peter also betrayed Christ, and “wept bitterly” when he realized what he had done. Yet he stuck around long enough to run back to Christ with passion and humility when given the opportunity.
2 Corinthians 7:8-13 talks about a “godly sorrow” that yields repentance. God is not in the business of inducing depression. Longstanding shame and guilt only neutralizes us and makes us impotent for the Kingdom of God. Rather, God sends the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin, to induce remorse, so that we would acknowledge our wickedness (incidentally, calling all our wrongdoing “wickedness” greatly increases its perceived severity) and turn from our ways (i.e., “repent”) towards a closer relationship with God.
David asked God to create a “new heart” in him after he abandoned the ways of God in favor of murder, sexual immorality, and passion (Psalm 51). In fact, the psalms are filled with the remorse of a man who would turn to God and run away from Him. Would that God would soften our hearts again, and give us a sensitivity towards our own sin, and passion for personal holiness.
(This essay was written by Chris Coultas, lead singer of the Church At The GYM Band)