Good Morning Thankful Pray-ers! Thank God it's Friday is pretty irrelevant for those who are retired, people that work on weekends and those serving the Lord 24-7. However, celebrating Thank God I'm Forgiven daily is a great exercise and helps to keep our focus right, our attitudes joyful, and our lives on track. This season between Thanksgiving and Christmas is usually a blur and a reminder of how quickly time moves along. Instead of getting all bound up in the busyness, stress, and even grief this season can bring, let us commit to stilling ourselves and focusing on God with much thanksgiving and praise. Try it and watch and see how your attitudes, actions and joy level changes. Be still, know and overflow with gratitude. He came so we might live! PTL! Enjoy the life you are living in Christ. Again I say rejoice! Joy to the world flows through joyful worshipers like us! Amen!
According to some Christmas songs and hymns 'tis the season of joy, the season of love, the season to be jolly and merry. We have the opportunity and get to choose joy because of Christ's coming, His finished work on the cross, and the gift of salvation and faith given to us. Rejoice! Choose joy today as you offer many thanksgivings and praises to our Father. We just completed reading through the Gospel of John challenge we began in Sept. PTL right? And we are winding down the Become Me in '23 Challenge where we have been working on words God led us to to help us to grow into the people we were created to be and to become better at fulfilling our created purposes. PTL! I have seen much growth and experienced that myself this year. God has used these challenges the past few years to help us grow in Christ and to teach how to go live and love like Jesus better. PTL and keep at it! What word is God revealing to you to work on next year as we seek to Become More in '24? Great fruit lies ahead as God uses us well and grows us into His greater things!
We are finishing up reading and meditating on John 20 and 21 this week. We've been asking the questions weekly, "What's going on in this passage? What's God saying to me? What is a measurable response I will pursue to what God is saying?" I added the challenge for you to process these things with someone besides what we have been discussing on Sundays. Why this challenge? To help us learn to hear God better and to understand how we can help others hear and grow as disciples of Jesus. We are commissioned to make disciples. How are we doing? "Discipleship is the process of becoming who Jesus would be if He were me." We are challenged to know Christ and make Him known as we work on becoming a dynamic movement of God. Those will continue to be challenges for us at St. Matts for the year and years ahead. What's your part?
The failure of many churches at vitality and growth has been created by the failure to make disciples. Church is not about gathering in a building an hour or two a week and listening to some talking head babble on about his thoughts. Church is about being Christ's body with Him as the head leading us to what's now and what's next in our journey to become disciples that reproduce disciples that reproduce disciples of Jesus. That happens as we adapt to our context and follow Jesus, becoming more like Him and doing the things He is doing. All of that takes prayer and each of us fulfilling our created purposes for such a time as this. What's your part? Talk to God about that and process with some others as you discover some measurable ways to move towards that. God has plans for us. Future fruit is beginning to blossom and bud. PTL! But we need to stay connected to God and following Him to His plans and new things along the way. We need to stay supple and open as we carry out our assignments and we need to keep checking in and evaluating how we are doing and what may need to change or be focused on. We even need to expect and be ready for some pruning along the way. That is being the best stewards of all God has given!
Last night our Support Team had a lengthy meeting as we sought God, worked through and tweaked our budget to follow His provision for us into 2024 and beyond. If the provision dries up, whether that provision is finances, laborers, or God's open door we need to know that, make His plans and adapt. God provides where He guides is a fact and what we need to focus on and adapt to constantly if we are to become a dynamic movement of God. And that is our goal and focus at St. Matts. Who knows what lies ahead? Only God but we get clues along the way as He reveals our next steps. Our leadership team is that vision team for us as well and are committed to meeting quarterly with the finance team next year to assess our progress and seek God's leading for what is now and what's next. We are committed to becoming a dynamic movement of God and flourishing in Christ well into the future or to pour ourselves out and do what we can with what has been given until there is no more and only God. We are learning to rely on Him more fully and follow well as we learn to live sacrificially and love lavishly like Jesus. Thank you for doing your part and choosing joy and to have an open-handed approach to follow Jesus with us. His best lies ahead! Amen!
Everything of value in Gods Kingdom is birthed from prayer and carried out through prayerful, faithful servants that love God and long for His Kingdom to come and will be done. Servants who do what they can with what they got as they follow the Holy Spirit to their created purposes for His glory. And that is our Good News Delivery Co. called St. Matts. Rejoice! Keep seeking, releasing, receiving, birthing and empowering through prayer as you move more fully into your purposes! God has some great stuff for you! Thank God I'm/You're Forgiven and being used by God! Rejoice!
“It is not possible to explain the power and effectiveness of the New Testament church without reference to prayer.” —Anonymous