Throughout the Bible you will find God telling people to wait. It seems like any major event on God's timetable is preceded by a period of waiting. I remember Abraham, Joseph, King Saul, Job and...
Pastor Buff has encouraged the Grace Falls family to participate in the small-group study of the book, “Life On Mission,” by Dustin Willis and Aaron Coe. One of the two home groups at Grace Falls is led by my husband Jim and myself. Our group is comprised of believers who have been saved for decades but have never been intentional about sharing the Gospel and that includes myself.
It was evident that we were each struggling to learn how to become more intentional and we soon realized that the root of our struggle was that we were not “looking” to see where and how God is moving in our midst.
One of the ladies from this group also joins Cissy McNickle and myself as we visit the girls at the local clubs once a month in Atlantic City. On November 18, as we got into the car and prepared to head to the clubs, this woman confessed that she did not like participating in this ministry, but God would not give her peace not to. She began to describe how she felt that she was too old and did not have any way to relate to any of these girls, therefore felt that she was of no use to this ministry team. Cissy encouraged her and reminded her that God calls us to be faithful not perfect.
I was very excited about the gift we were sharing that night. It featured holiday recipes and notes of encouragement that had been submitted by nearly 20 different women who pray for this ministry. I tried to encourage our friend that the gift would serve as an easy source to start a conversation with these girls.
It was after we returned to the car after visiting our second club that our friend said, “Did you happen to notice what happened to me in there?" With concern, Cissy and I turned to make eye contact with her as she began to describe her experience. She told us that while we were busy speaking with others in the dressing room, Irene, the make-up artist asked her to step into the bathroom with her. There in a quiet corner our friend had the privilege to pray with her!
Our discouraged friend that had enough courage to admit to us that she didn't have anything to offer was proved to be wrong. God revealed Himself to her as a reminder that she is useful and that she just needed to open her eyes to see Him!
That may not seem like much to you, but in that moment we felt like Peter must have felt when Jesus called him to walk on the water. We need to be like Peter and get out of the boat when we are told but when we get out we must continue to keep our eyes on Jesus if we are going to live life on mission.
Keep us in your prayers as we go back to the clubs at 7:30 p.m. on December 17th.
Since arriving in June 2013, Pastor Buff and his wife Cissy have worked diligently to encourage the Grace Falls family to stretch their faith. Buff has encouraged us to step out and apply the gospel to our daily lives. He has always encouraged us to represent the Lord throughout the community and to learn that every obedient believer is a missionary who has been sent to carry the light and love of the Lord into our individual circles of influence.
As the Grace Falls family began to understand this responsibility and put it into practice, the Lord brought Pastor Alonzo and Rhonda Johnson and the Northeast Bible Fellowship church into our lives. We have partnered with them several times to help their ministry get established in Northeast Philadelphia.
We have another opportunity to bless a new church plant coming up on September 18th. This time we will work with Pastor Brennan Coughlin and his wife Kathleen to host the launch of their new church, Fellowship Capital City in Trenton. Check out the details and sign-up to go on our Facebook event page.
We want to be living on mission, learning to follow the example of Jesus in our everyday encounters with people, we have a purpose that should affect everybody in our realm of influence. Jesus never brought anything but the best, like the water that he turned into the best wine, we are always striving to bring our best.
Why? So when they come and ask why we would bring the best to every ministry opportunity we can tell them that its because that is what Jesus does in any and every situation and we simply want to be like Him.
We pray that every believer will begin to see their neighbors the way that God sees them. We are called to share His love by serving others. God wants a relationship with us and with everyone around us. It is our responsibility to help everyone in our circle of influence to experience His love for them!
So, how will you bring the “better wine” this week? Who will ask you why?
I grew up with 4 older brothers who, in my opinion as a kid, were bigger than life. If they said it, I believed it period! They were my heroes and they knew it. The stuff that they would “talk me into” was amazing. They once convinced me that I could parachute off our roof (2nd floor) with a bed sheet. Let’s just say that the law of gravity is ABSOLUTELY TRUE!
I fell and I fell hard. The promise of the parachute wasn't very reliable. The reality of this and life is simple…A promise is only as reliable as the one who makes it. This is why it would have been smarter for me to focus on my brothers and their motives (which was to have fun), versus what they asked me to do.
Think about the scenes from scripture we have looked at so far and consider what we have learned about God. From the very beginning, God was Lord over all creation. He created it good and when it came to us, it was very good. He put mankind in the perfect environment without need for anything. The promise of His care and protection was as reliable as it could ever be. Yet, man decided they would trust in God and His promises, which led to separation.
Still, God demonstrated His faithfulness, even with man’s repeated unfaithfulness. He went to Adam and Eve even after they failed to trust Him. He warned Cain even before He committed murder and expressed the promise of His acceptance. Yet, Cain gave into the sin and the rebellion that was once crouched at his door but suddenly invaded his life. What was God’s response to Cain’s rebellion? Grace and love even in the judgment of the sin.
Then we see Noah and the rainbow. The rainbow was the symbol of God’s promise to never again destroy all living things with a flood, even though people’s thoughts and actions are bent toward evil from childhood. The Rainbow is the opportunity for all creation to remember the eternal covenant between God and every living creature.
Remember God’s promise to Abram. God committed to make him a great nation and bless all the families of the earth through him…a man who was old and without a child. Yet, we will discover later in the story that one of his descendants fulfills this promise. We were asked this week to consider this idea of PROMISES as it relates to God. The question was asked like this…
“What would my relationship with God be like if I believed everything He promised would come true?”
What do you think??? Do you believe that? Let me share a secret with you that I learned a few years ago from a wise man named Charles that might help you as you consider it. He taught me that the Bible has only two types of promises. Before I tell you the types lets make sure we know what I mean by a PROMISE. A promise is a spoken or written commitment to preform a certain act or to refrain from doing something.
In the Bible, here are the two types of promises the Lord makes:
CONDITIONAL – This type of promise is subject to certain mandates.
Romans 10:9 offers us the promise of salvation but it is conditional upon faith in Jesus Christ. This is key for us in our belief because there is a tendency for us to question or become disappointed in God because we think He’s not keeping His promise to us. The problem with this isn't God’s faithfulness but our understanding.
Remember that desiring something and believing God will do it doesn't always mean He’s promised it to us. Sometimes the hindrance or delay isn't God – it is us. Just like sin separated Adam and Eve in the garden – it separates us and can create barriers in our relationships.
Remember what I said at the beginning… A promise is only as reliable as the one who makes it. Consider so far what we have learned about God in the story…His character and His ability to make a promise and keep it. I would say we have learned He is both willing and powerful enough. He is truthful and faithful. He is gracious and loving. He is powerful and unchangeable. He cares for us and wants to provide for us. So I ask you again… “What would my relationship with God be like if I believed everything He promised would come true!”
Find a promise today in God’s story and claim it! If there are any conditions, do it and trust that He will do what He says He will do. If it is unconditional, make sure you see who it is for and what its for and claim it as well. May not be for you but for someone else. God loves you and He loves me – trust it!
Hope to see you this weekend as we live life and gather together as family to celebrate the promises of God! Be there and invite a friend!