Do you ever struggle with those inner thoughts that you do not matter, that you are not smart enough, nor good looking enough, that you eat too much, you spend too much, people do not like you?
Do you hear the subtle lies that come at you through every advertisement that says you are not cool enough so you must buy their products?
2 Cor 7:5 reminds us that "we are harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within." There is this powerful, invisible attack on our souls, our identity. God does not like this so He created a family and invited you to belong to it. Do you know how important and valuable you are to God?
When was the last time you daydreamed? What did you daydream about? New car, clothes, house, cell phone, friend, date, job, fun time...
"Even before God made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes." Eph 1:4 (NLT)
Before the foundation of the world, God tells us that He dreamed of you. He dreamed of creating you. You mean so much to God, that you were on His mind before He spoke anything into existence.
Acts 17:26 (NET) "From one man God made every nation of the human race to inhabit the entire earth, determining their set times and the fixed limits of the places where they would live."
In this verse, God is telling us that He loves you so much that He planned you out. He planned when you would be born and where you would be born.
Ps 139:13-15 (NLT) "You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born."
Here, God clearly reminds us that we are one-of-a-kind. That He creatively took His time to hand-make us, uniquely. You are special to God.
James 1:18 (NCV) "God decided to give us life through the word of truth so we might be the most important of all the things he made."
He dreamed of you, planned you and uniquely created you for one reason, to love you. So, "God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure." Eph 1:5 (NLT)
You are the most important thing to God. No matter what you are going through today. No matter what kind of season you are in. No matter who likes you or dislikes you. No matter if you are doing a great job or a poor job. No matter if you are in a season of pain and suffering or are feeling pretty good.
Know God receives the most joy when you hear, experience and know that God loves you and you belong to Him. Do not forget He has adopted you into His family. You belong to one of His local church families. All of you who are part of Southtown, you are God's sons and daughters. We are brothers and sisters in Christ.
I look forward to being with all of you because you are my family. You are my brothers and sisters in Christ. Every time we have an opportunity to gather; Sundays, Wednesdays, FMSC, Fresh Start, Bonfires, Bring Your Own Lunch, I get excited. Because I love just being with you.
See you this week on Wed opportunities, Thursday FMSC and Sunday morning.
Praying for all of you.
Last week at our Church Council meeting, I asked everyone to share who influenced them the most to become more and more like Jesus in attitude, thinking and living. It was such a privilege to hear each servant leader's response. Each story was different and very powerful. So much so, I have been reflecting on each of their stories.
Each story was about how they saw Jesus clearly in these "Influencers." The stories were different, yet similar. Each "Influencer" was going through a challenging circumstance and each Church Council person saw first hand the presence of Jesus in them. I cannot help but praise God for bringing such wonderful "Influencers" into our Church Councils' lives.
After reflecting on this as a Church Council last Thursday evening, the challenge was, how can we be an "Influencer" to the people in our lives? How can the people in our lives, see Jesus in our attitude, thinking and living? Are people attracted to how we respond to life and circumstances? Do people sense the presence of Jesus in our attitudes? Then we prayed and continued with the rest of the meeting.
Who has influenced you to become more like Jesus in attitude, thinking and living? Have you thanked them lately? Have you praised God and prayed for them lately?
How can you become more and more of that kind of "Influencer" in your sphere of living?
"Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." Phil 2:1-4
Praying God uses each of you to be powerful and practical "Influencers" today and every day.
Praying that God uses this new fall series, Challenging Questions, to encourage and strengthen Christians and to reach those far from God.
Praying God uses Southtown to change and enhance the world.
See you Sunday when we talk about Why Isn't God Answering My Prayers?
When was the last time you went to a parade?
Doesn't everyone love a parade?
Why do people go to a parade?
Have you ever been in a parade?
Do we go to see the marching bands, the amazing floats, the homemade floats, the grand balloons, the fire engines, the people walking on stilts, the candy being thrown, our children or grandchildren as they are mesmerized by all the action?
Did you know that you are in a parade every day of your life? You are on the most incredible float the world has ever seen. Are you aware of how people see you as you are in that parade?
Paul reminded the Christians in Corinth, "In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse. This is a terrific responsibility. Is anyone competent to take it on? No—but at least we don’t take God’s Word, water it down, and then take it to the streets to sell it cheap. We stand in Christ’s presence when we speak; God looks us in the face. We get what we say straight from God and say it as honestly as we can." 2 Cor 2:14-17 (Msg)
Thanks for being an amazing, average Christian on one of the beautiful floats of Jesus in His parade. Jesus has His parade going through every city, every school, every neighborhood, every work place, every person. He is inviting everyone to join His parade.
Thanks for joining His parade. Thanks for being a visible image of the aroma of Christ to everyone you know and you encounter. Do you recognize the aroma that you give off to others? Do you know the powerful influence that God has given you? What can you do as you are on this parade?
I was in a parade once. I threw out candy. It was awesome giving out gifts for free, to see people scramble to grab as much candy as they could. And it was brutal to watch some kids not get any candy and miss out on the free gift.
You can throw some gifts this week, like people throwing candy. You can email a few email invitations to friends, inviting them to our new series entitled, Challenging Questions. So many have drifted from God and the church due to challenging questions and issues, so I thought we would address some of them head on in an honest and open manner.
In the last few days, I have been in this Jesus parade throwing wonderful candy by emailing over 40 email invites to this fall series and the free pulled pork BBQ lunch afterwards. Some of these people said they would love to come. Others have said they cannot make it. A few have said no thanks. A few have ignored me. I cannot control anyone's response. But, I still have the privilege and joy to throw candy.
Will you join me in throwing candy?
Who knows what God will do as we do our part being in His grand parade?!
Praying God will push back the darkness.
Praying God will adopt many into His family.
Praying God will give us courage to throw email invites.
Praying God will use you to change eternal history for someone.
Praying for conversion growth.
Praying for discipleship growth.
Praying our church will never be the same because we did our part on Jesus' parade.
Pastor Chris Reinertson enjoys all sports, especially those involving a ball. He loves to hang out with people and challenge them to be Jesus REVolutionizers.