Check it out And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.

Sometimes preachers use this text to question whether or not Jesus has siblings, but I think they miss the point of the text. Jesus looks at the people gathered around him, listening to his message, and says that the one who does the will of God is mother, brother and sister to him. The important thing is that he includes us in that as long as we do the will of God. In another part of the Bible, we are called adopted children of God, again being described as the brothers and sisters of Jesus. The key here is doing the will of God. This can be a stumbling block for us. What does it mean to do the will of God? Do we ever ask God to show us the path he wants us to take? Do we ask for guidance when we have an important decision to make? Do we ask for help when faced with temptations? We know that the commandments provide guidance and we have the Beatitudes to give us further instruction, but do we pay attention to them? Many times I know that I don’t. I just go along my own way and then wonder when things don’t turn out the way I want! This is especially true when I am not as considerate of others as I know I should be. I say I want justice but don’t always let my action follow my words. How about you?

Jesus was sent to preach the kingdom of God all over, not just in one place. He taught in places where others would not even go because of prejudices. Then after He had died, risen, and departed, His disciples continued preaching and spreading the gospel throughout the earth. Today, there are still groups of people who have never heard the gospel. There are missionaries whose goal it is to bring the gospel to those people. Eventually, every tribe, tongue, and nation will hear the name of Jesus and the good news about Him.

Heavenly Father, I pray for the peoples who have never even heard of the name of Jesus. Send missionaries and believers to share You with them. Prepare their hearts to receive You and Your word. Give them true hope and save them from judgment. You have a plan for all of us, and You are sovereign. Let Your will be done in the nations. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Moral Strength: If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Exodus: 32:26 – Then Moses stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, “Whoever is on the LORD’s side – come with me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him.

God gave the Bible to back up the science we see today. Wernher Von Braun was known as the father of the American Space Program.

“Put your money where your mouth is!” Have you ever heard that phrase? It is often said to us when we make a claim that others think we can’t back up. Sometimes we talk a good game, but can’t play it. We let our mouths get carried away and sometimes that leads to all kinds of trouble. When we make a habit of talk, talk, talk but can’t follow it up with do, do, do, then we lose credibility and no one will believe a word we say. This verse reminds us that if we are going to “talk the talk,” then we must “walk the walk.” When we talk a lot about being a Christian and how we pray all the time and how we read our Bibles all the time and how we go to church all the time, people have an expectation of how we should behave. When our behavior contradicts what we say about ourselves, people lose faith in us. And because we represent Christianity to them, they lose faith in all Christians. It is a terrible thing to mislead someone about Christ. We must be excellent ambassadors for Him, in word and deed.

Father, I ask You to help me to live the way You would have me to. Let the words of my mouth and the actions of my heart be the same. If I speak about love, let me be known for love. If I recite scripture, let me first live by that scripture. Help me to be able to match my “walk” and my “talk.” Amen.

“The LORD has hidden himself from his people, but I trust him and place my hope in him.”

Isaiah 8:17 (GNT)

It’s easy to worship God when things are going great in your life—when he’s provided food, friends, family, health, and happy situations. But circumstances are not always pleasant. So, how do you worship God then? What do you do when God seems a million miles away?

The deepest level of worship is praising God in spite of pain, thanking God during a trial, trusting him when tempted, surrendering while suffering, and loving him when he seems distant.

The writer Philip Yancey once noted, “Any relationship involves times of closeness and times of distance, and in a relationship with God, no matter how intimate, the pendulum will swing from one side to the other.”

That’s when worship gets difficult.

To mature your friendship, God will test it with periods of seeming separation—times when it seems as if he has abandoned or forgotten you. St. John of the Cross referred to these days of spiritual dryness and doubt as “the dark night of the soul.”

King David understood days like these. Even though God called him “a man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22 NIV), David sometimes complained about God’s apparent absence:

  • “Lord, why are you standing aloof and far away? Why do you hide when I need you the most?” (Psalm 10:1 TLB).
  • “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help?” (Psalm 22:1 NLT).
  • “Why have you abandoned me?” (Psalm 43:2 GNT).

Of course, God hadn’t really left David, and he’ll never leave you. God has promised repeatedly, “I will never leave you; I will never abandon you” (Hebrews 13:5 GNT).PLAY today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick >>

Talk It Over

  • What practical steps can you take to help you worship God even when you’re in pain or in a difficult season?
  • What do you think God might want you to learn during these times?
  • What are some of God’s promises that can give you hope and encouragement?

Have you trusted God’s promise of salvation through Jesus Christ?

If you’re ready to commit your life to Jesus, then pray this prayer:

“Dear Jesus, you have promised that if I believe in you, everything I’ve ever done wrong will be forgiven, I will learn the purpose of my life, and you will accept me into your eternal home in heaven one day.

“I confess my sin, and I receive you into my life as my Lord and Savior. You have promised that if I confess my sin and trust you, I will be saved. I trust you when you say salvation comes by grace, through faith, and not by anything I do. Today I’m turning over every part of my life to your management.

“I’m grateful for your unconditional love. I want to use the rest of my life to love and serve you instead of serving myself. I commit my life to you and ask you to save me and accept me into your family. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

God will never hide from us. He desires that we seek more and more of Him, so that we grow in our knowledge of Him. Growing in the knowledge of God builds our confidence in Him and serves as a constant reminder of why we can trust in Him. Sometimes we get all tied up trying to figure out what people want from us. It can be very frustrating and sometimes even confusing. God plainly tells us what He wants from us: to “do justly,” “love mercy,” and “walk humbly with thy God.” What does this mean to us in plain terms? God desires us to do the right thing, the “just” thing, the fair thing. To be honest in our dealings with people. He desires that we are merciful to each other. That we give people the benefit of the doubt. That we don’t give up on people too easily. And He asks that we walk with a humble spirit, not an arrogant one. That we see the need for Him and that we understand that we are nothing without Him. When our spirits are humble, we can be instructed. We can be led. Please God is a very simple thing, but the benefits are greater than anything we can imagine. No matter how good or glorious the wealth and possessions of the wicked may look, it all means nothing. It will all pass away and the wicked will be left to face the consequences of their actions. Dear Christian, you have no reason to envy what the wicked have. You are a child of God and God will always provide for you. Most importantly, you are saved. That is more important than anything in this world.

Dear God, I thank you that I can always know you more. Father, I pray that I grow in my knowledge of you on a daily basis, because in knowing you there is life and there is freedom. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Has someone ever said to you, “You just made my day!” and you wondered what you did or said? Just think for a moment how you feel when that happens. You just brought the Good News of Christ to that person! You made that person feel better about themselves or more loved or more accepted. This is what following Jesus and being a disciple is all about. We don’t always know what it means to someone to say that we will pray for them, or to tell them they’re special or loved. When we act as Jesus would act, we are bringing God’s love into whatever situation we are in. The world can get us down sometimes. We can wonder if it’s all worth it to do the right thing when we see others profiting from the unhappiness of others. We need to hear the good news of salvation. But someone needs to bring us that good news! Bringing someone else joy, gives us joy as well. In our Gospel passage today, the seventy-two disciples returned to Jesus full of joy and couldn’t wait to tell him about their experience of spreading the Good News of the Kingdom. The message of Jesus was and is “God loves you.” When we can look in the mirror, into the eyes of a friend, into the face of a stranger and be able to say, “God loves you,” we are bringing the Good News of Christ to all we meet and we will experience joy. So, this week, go make someone’s day!

https://journeyintothewild.quora.com/https-thebohemianlounge-quora-com-Motherly-love-1?ch=18&oid=57522366&share=586517de&srid=nTc3I&target_type=post

We have a lesson to learn from John the Baptist. Many people had approached John wondering if he might be the Messiah. As we see in this passage from Mark’s Gospel, John made sure that they were mistaken, that there was “another” coming who was greater than he who would baptize with the Holy Spirit. Soon Jesus comes to John to be baptized. The lesson we should take from John is that WE are also not the Messiah. Our task, as was John’s, is to lead others to Christ, not to ourselves. I have seen many examples over the years, as I’m sure you have as well, of preachers who seem more interested in drawing attention to themselves rather than to Christ. Who appear to act as if they are the only ones who can save us. They can’t. Jesus has already done that! I once knew a woman who had emerged from a cult and who was engaged to marry a Methodist minister. Even though she had left the cult, she still had fears that by leaving, she was condemning herself to hell. The leader of the cult still held power over her, a power he never should have taken upon himself. Just as John understood that Jesus was the Messiah, the Savior, the promised one, we need to help others to come to know Jesus even if they never come to know us. Once John knew that Jesus had begun his ministry he declared that he, John, must decrease so that Jesus could increase. May we have the humility of John. There is nothing more lovely to see than a child reaching up to his/her parent in love and trust. It is to such as these that Jesus tells us we must be. Children have faith that they will be cared for by those who love them. When we were children, we didn’t really have any problems believing that God loves us, but as we grow older, we seem to become jaded by a world that lets us down, and so we can easily believe that God will do likewise. The early Christians knew what it meant to be church. They met in homes, gathered to share their memories of Jesus, or the stories they had heard, reading letters from Paul or other disciples and sharing a meal. On the Sabbath they would go to the temple to pray – until it became impossible. As time went by the spreading of the Good News was left to professionals. Today things must change if we want our children to know of God’s love for them. The emphasis now is on our role to reach out to others, to witness our faith in the home, the workplace, the neighborhood. No longer is it just the job of ministers and priests to bring others to Christ, it is our job as well. Change is difficult and personal responsibility is always a challenge. Faith, like any other relationship, needs to be nurtured and this is perhaps the greatest challenge of all. Let us take this year to grow in our knowledge of Christ; let us take more time for prayer; let us delve into the Scriptures and learn just how to truly follow Jesus. Just as we encourage our children to grow and provide opportunities for them, may we take advantage of the opportunities that will be offered to us this year, so that we may have enough faith to last a lifetime and beyond – into eternity.

Our relationship with God consists of us realizing the areas in which we need reformation, and following God’s guidance so that we can be healed, reformed, and transformed. Only the power of God can change our ways. We can’t do it without His help.

Dear God, I ask that you reveal to me any areas of my life that I need to do better in. Lord, I also ask that you help me improve in these areas because it is only through you that I can achieve such. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

American’s Need to Listen to the Word of God

If you are a believer in Jesus Christ and you live in America, then there is a glaring problem that we are faced with. Even though this problem might seem simple to identify, I am not sure if we are recognizing how much damage this problem is doing to the name of Jesus and to the hope of the message of the gospel.

The problem is the church is not one and is clearly divided. Now to be clear, there have been disagreements throughout church history – you can read about some of them in the book of Acts. Even Paul and Barnabas had a disagreement that caused them to part ways. However, even though they disagreed, it never interfered with the preaching of the gospel, and it never brought shame to the name of Jesus. I am not sure we can say that about the church in America today.

Hi Delana,

Wanted to remind you to get into this group with other pastors. There are over 3,000 members, with several hundred being very active monthly. It’s a really healthy group and there are lots of great ongoing conversations on topics I think you’ll find helpful.

One topic that is most pertinent is planning out your sermon calendar for 2022… and it’s not just because it helps you prepare your messages.

Small group curriculum can be shaped around a sermon calendar.
Giving initiatives can be incorporated into the sermon calendar.
Guest speakers and breaks for the preaching team (vacations) are included in the sermon calendar.
Volunteer and membership initiatives can fund support through sermon series.
Those are just four big benefits of getting your preaching calendar in order for the new year. There are countless more contextual benefits that will elevate ministry beyond the pulpit.

As I mentioned in my last email, you’re at the starting line for the new year and as important as it is to feel a sense of renewal to the call God has put before you, it is equally as important to be intentional in getting the work done, step-by-step.

To help you get started (or finish out) your sermon calendar, I have several links to share.

How to Create A Preaching Calendar (Article)
2022 Sermon Calendar Template (Spreadsheet)
Sermon Calendar Videos – Video 1, Video 2, Video 3
2022 Sermon Calendars – Topical, Expository, Lectionary, Acts
Workshop on January 26
It’s not abnormal to stare at your February, March, or April weekend dates hoping and planning to get some time set aside to fill them in. That’s pretty normal… not just for pastors, but people in general.

You tell yourself, “I’m going to get to this…” but it doesn’t happen.

Using the resources above, and especially the workshop I mentioned on the 26th, you can gain some insights, develop a little motivation, and before the end of the month, look at an excel spreadsheet with tentative sermon titles and even have guest speakers penciled in for weekends when you know you’ll be gone.

Don’t forget, you can still join the preacher’s group I mentioned above and in my previous email.

You won’t fail to plan for lack of resources or opportunity… it would be for lack of action… and you’ve got 6 different recommended actions in this email alone. Choose one and go!

God bless,

Justin Trapp
Founder
Ministry Pass

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.

As Christians, we should never forget that God is the source of all of our help. In times of need and distress, He will send us people and things to help us but we shouldn’t see the people as the source. They are just God’s vessels who are doing His work in our lives.

Dear God, I thank you that my help comes from you. In times of distress, no matter how overwhelmed I may feel, I know that I can trust in you, Lord. You are my guide and my strength. You keep me when the world tries to tear me apart. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Our world today has a surplus of displaced people – men, women and children alike. Today’s reading from Exodus discusses this and the problems of widows and orphans and in very direct terms. We are not always welcoming to immigrants and we often do not make life easy for widows or orphans. We have camps in many countries where families who are running from violence, oppression and extreme poverty are held. Often these camps are not places where children can learn, where adequate food or medicine is available and opportunities for work is limited. If it’s not in our neighborhood do we even give it any thought? We may react with generosity when there is a catastrophe in a part of the world, but once another issue comes along do we think about the people who are suffering still? I hear a lot about rescuing animals, but not about rescuing people. There are children all over the world who are homeless, hungry, without the opportunity for education or medical care. This happens in the most developed and wealthy countries as well as in developing countries. In fact, in some of the poorest countries families with little or nothing themselves will reach out to such orphans. I, myself, have been the recipient of the generosity of people in Haiti and in Tanzania. We are all told we must be neighbor to others. Let us not be the ones who feel God’s wrath when his children cry out for justice.

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

Paul continues to express to his listeners the events of Christ’s return. Here he references a passage from Isaiah 25. He says that death will be “swallowed up.” What an appropriate end for Death! Death swallows up all its victims. People waste away in the throes of cancer and disease as death just consumes them. To know that one day, death itself will be swallowed up brings hope to the believer. In the glorious world Paul talks about, the power of the grave will be no more. Death will take no more loved ones. We won’t have to watch anyone else we love to die. God will wipe away the tears we’ve shed over what death has stolen from us and put an end to death once and for all.

Father, I look forward to the day when death will die. You will swallow it up and eliminate its power. No more tears will I ever have to cry because Death has stolen someone I love. You have assured me of that and I praise You for it. Amen.

Anger is a normal, healthy reaction to certain situations of attack, shame, and frustration, but we always have a choice in the way they express their angry feelings—either destructively or constructively. This study can be helpful to both extremes and may lead to much discussion. Ask yourself the following: To begin to think about anger as an emotion, try to bring to mind one incident in the last two weeks that has made you really angry. It could be something in your personal life or something in the news. And answer the following questions: 1. What made you angry? 2. How did you feel? 3. How did you deal with your anger?

“God made me and God don’t make no junk!” This slogan found its way to T-shirts several years ago. It may not be grammatically correct, but it’s true, nonetheless. Paul tells us in this verse that we are God’s “workmanship.” We are made by His hands. We are not “accidents.” We are works of art, crafted by His loving hands. Therefore, we have value. Nothing can take that away from us. Ugly words, insults, snide remarks…they are meaningless in the face of the fact that we are His workmanship. If we could only truly believe that about ourselves, there wouldn’t be a bully anywhere with any kind of power over us.

Father, Help me see myself as your workmanship, crafted on purpose with love by You. I am not less than. I am not worthless. I am a work of art that You chose to create and that makes me special. Amen.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Peace. It’s what everyone is seeking. If you ask anyone what they want most in this world, it is likely that they will say, “Peace.” This passage lets us know that the peace we seek in found is Christ Jesus. Through Him alone will find that unexplainable peace we are seeking. And we are promised that, when we do, it will guard our hearts and minds. No more will we fight the battles of our minds. No more will have an anxious heart. We are promised the peace of God. And we can rest easy and it will be fulfilled in us.

Father, I pray for Your peace, which passes all understanding. I ask that You quieten my spirit and my mind. Touch my anxious heart and calm the storm within me. I thank You for this wonderful gift that You have given to me. Amen.

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