Reflections Week of 8/28/16

Different members of our church family write these reflections each week to go along with the two year reading plan the church is participating in (#2yearjourney). It is our hope that these reflections help you to get in to your Bible throughout the week and be challenged by the word of God.

Read Gen 15:1-16 (Tuesday 8/30)
Do you ever not understand? Have you ever wondered when the blessing will come… Or if? As I was reading this passage I felt for Abram, and with him. God has promised us incredible blessing and yet there are times in life where it feels like anything but blessing is coming our way. In this passage God is drawing Abram’s eyes to the eternal horizon. So often I find myself fixated on the present that I can become doubtful of God’s intentions with my life, of his goodness. But just as God promised Abram a future, we have in Christ a promise of a future in eternity with our Father. Just like Abram needed a sign of the promise (the covenant ceremony) we also feel the need for proof of God’s promises to us. In 2 Corinthians 1:2 it says that the Holy Spirit has been given to us as a deposit assuring us of the future blessing! Knowing the Spirit of God is living in me and through me has been a continuous encouragement to me when I become fixated on the difficulties in life.
For Reflection: What is going on in your life? Are you questioning God’s promises? How might the Holy Spirit be an encouragement right now? Are you looking to the now or are you looking to the future that God has promised those who are in Christ Jesus? What could you do today to start looking to that eternal horizon?
Read Gen 22:1-14 (Saturday 9/3)
I can’t imagine. To be asked to give up your son? To be asked to give up the blessing that God gave you? I do not yet have children and it pains even me to think about doing this, I can’t imagine actually going through with this request of God. I find strength in faith here. Abraham had incredible faith. Not only was he obeying but eagerly so, as seen in the early morning (wasting no time) and in the confidence in which he responds to Isaac who asked about the sacrifice. Abraham had lived a life constantly seeing God’s hand at work and so at this point in his life he has complete faith that God will provide. It is amazing because we have just seen him questioning God’s provision in chapter 15 and yet here he is trusting and obeying, dependent on God’s goodness.
For Reflection: What is God asking you to do today? What might he be asking you to give up for his sake? How do you respond when He calls you? Are you quick to take action or trudging along in labored obedience? How can you say yes to God leading today?
Reflections written by Taylor Floyd
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Reflections for Week of 8/21/16

Different members of our church family write these reflections each week to go along with the two year reading plan the church is participating in. It is our hope that these reflections help you to get in to your Bible throughout the week and be challenged by the word of God.

Read Genesis 3:14-19 (Tuesday 8/23)

This passage is usually referred to as The Curse. I’m drawn to this passage this week because I have had a little experience with The Curse recently: I just had a baby a month ago. Pregnancy was painful. Labor and delivery were painful. I was in labor for over a day! I honestly didn’t even think I could do it at moments. As it says in this passage, there is definitely great pain in childbearing. And, just as before my son was born, in the month since we’ve been slammed with hard, often frustrating, work. It’s tempting to blame God when things are hard, but if you read the section before this, it’s important to note: this is the result of sin in the world. The reality of sin is that it’s not funny and not light. It brings real pain and real death. God didn’t spontaneously curse humanity; humanity deserved it.

For Further Reflection: Do you ever blame God when you’re hit with the result of sin in the world?

Read Genesis 12:1-9 (Saturday 8/27)

If the last reflection seems like kind of a bummer, think about this: God curses humanity for sin in chapter 3 of Genesis. By chapter 12, he not only has already saved them from destruction once (Noah’s Ark, Ch 8-9) but he has already set his greatest plan of all into motion: the redemption of his own people. Here, we see that Abram has been called to leave his home. But before he goes, God lets him in on a secret: God will protect him wherever he goes. This is a beautiful response to the sin that has already taken foothold on the earth in these early chapters of Genesis. God knows that the world is dangerous and difficult. But he still says, GO! Go right into it, and I will go with you and bless you. I can vouch for this: despite the difficulty of labor, the greatest joy I’ve ever known is this last month with my new son. God can redeem everything.

For Further Reflection: Do you believe that God can redeem every difficult thing in your life?

Reflections written by Amy Giacalone

Reflections Week of 8/14/16

Different members of our church family write these reflections each week to go along with the message preached the previous Sunday. It is our hope that these reflections help you to get in to your Bible throughout the week and be challenged by the word of God.

Read John 10:1-16
This week Tim Preached on Psalm 23 and we heard about God as our good shepherd. A I read this passage I was struck by the question, “Do I know my shepherds voice?” If Jesus were speaking to you today would you know? In this passage Jesus says that His sheep know His voice. How do we know His voice though? Spending time in His Word and in prayer. I think of sheep up on a mountain side or out in a valley simply hearing the musings of their shepherd day in and day out. They did not know His voice because one day they decided His voice was their shepherd’s. No these sheep were chosen and cared for and daily their heard His voice and thus could distinguish between His voice and the thief’s.
For Further Reflection:
Are you familiar with your saviors voice? Are you listening? Consider what voices you are listening to most. We have a good shepherd who desires good for us if only we will listen and follow.
Read Psalm 95
Recently Lauren and I have been asking the question, “Why do we worship?” For what reason or reasons do we lift our praises to heaven and revere His holy name? Verse six is a call for us to fall to our knees before the Lord our MAKER! The person who knows you and designed every hair on your head. That is reason enough but the psalmist does not stop. Look at verse seven. “For… we are His people.” We praise, we worship, we bow down, all because The Creator of all things chose to be our God. He has made a covenant or a promise to us to be our shepherd, watching over us and ultimately saving us through His son Jesus Christ. We worship today because today, We have a God who is with us! Notice at the end of this verse and leading in to the rest of the chapter, it says, “if you would hear His voice.” Again it is implied that we must listen for our shepherd’s voice. Are we listening? And when we hear His voice are we worshipping?
For Further Reflection:
Why do you worship? Have you ever considered how you worship and the God whom you worship? Take time this week to listen to your Father, or Shepherd, your redeemer. As you hear Him through His Word and through prayer, worship him, praise Him for His work in your life, for his constant vision and care over your life.
Reflections written by Taylor Floyd

Reflections Week of 8/7/16

Different members of our church family write these reflections each week to go along with the message preached the previous Sunday. It is our hope that these reflections help you to get in to your Bible throughout the week and be challenged by the word of God.

Read Romans 8:1-11

Those who are in Christ are free from condemnation. We are free! Our sins have been covered and we no longer have to be slaves to our past mistakes. If we were held to all our sins, none of us would make the cut for heaven, but we are forgiven and covered by the blood of Christ, and that gives us a clean slate moving forward. I love that v3 points our God can do what the law cannot. It just proves that someone who feels underserving based on rules and expectations can still be set free from their sin. Trying to be perfect is exhausting (and impossible), but with the forgiveness of sin, we are able to have life and peace in the Spirit.

For Reflection: Identify some of the areas in your life that are exhausting. How can you make changes?

Read 1 John 1:5-10

This passage makes me think of a parent asking their child if they ate chocolate without asking. The child has it smeared all over his face, but still refuses to admit what he did. This is how we must look to God when we try to convince ourselves or those around us that we have not sinned. The evidence is clear! Just like the child, we are much better off admitting our wrongdoing so that we can be forgiven. God is the most gracious of fathers and He knows the truth in all our lives. Every lie we tell, every sin we commit is another bit of chocolate on our face. It’s another area of darkness in our lives. But God is LIGHT, and He can remove all of that darkness for us.

For Reflection: Take a few minutes each evening this week to confess your sins.

Reflections written by Bailey Carlson