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In the month of December, Journey Church is in a four part series called “He Will Be Called . . .” derived from Isaiah 9:6.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
God has become so much more alive to me through this series. We can so quickly glance over His names and miss the point. The writer is telling us who God is so we may anchor ourselves to Him and avoid any counterfeits. God knew there would be times when our lives are without peace, when we are weak, when we are discouraged, when we are lonely. He gave us the assurance through His name that He will not only BE a Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, but that He actually WAS those those things.
It is then that He becomes so real and the stability of our soul. It is amazing to think that from a child born of a virgin we have such promise and refuge.
Those tiny hands were the same hands that put the stars in place. The Jewish Carpenter who made tables and door frames while he was growing up was the same one who fashioned the world and made human beings. The Holy God of justice who must punish sin, was the very one who allowed Himself to be nailed to a cross so that He might satisfy those very demands of justice.
The Christmas story is not just a great story about a baby born in extraordinary circumstances. The Christmas story is about God . . . the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, taking the form of man so that He might tell us that He loves us and point the way to our eternal home.
Check out the podcast for the past three weeks and then join us Sunday when Jeffrey Paul closes out this incredible series, “He Will Be Called . . .“
Have a Wonderful Christmas!
For 3 days I have had a migraine! For those who have had them you understand and can empathize with the pounding temples and nauseous stomach that is associated with it. I just kept saying, “Please God I have so much to do.” I felt like Jerry Maguire – “Help me, Help you!” I found myself almost begging God to do something.
Then in the middle of the pounding temples, the throbbing head, and piercing light I had this thought race through my mind as I begged God to take away the pain. “You know Jesus never gave suggestions.” What? Suggestions? What does this have to do with a headache? It is amazing how the Holy Spirit will drop a thought in your mind for you to wrestle with. As I look in the New Testament to discover what the Holy Spirit was trying to reveal I noticed that Jesus never suggested that people be saved . . . He commanded them to be saved. When people came to Him for a touch or healing He commanded healing and the spirit of infirmity to leave. When it came to demons, He did not suggest or recommend they leave. Again, with authority He commanded them to leave.
When Jesus commands something we only have two options: Obey or Disobey. We have the choice to align ourselves with what is being said despite our feelings, theology, or philosophy. Jesus is not suggesting that we follow Him. A suggestion would signify a weak position or personal opinion.
When you declare, “The Lord told me to . . .” it cannot be viewed as a suggestion, but rather a command. Depending on how you view what God is speaking to you, will shape how you respond or the urgency of that action. American Culture shapes our view of God and we have a tendency to view all things pertaining to God as a democracy. In other words we think we should get a vote . . . a say in the matter. I am not trying to paint a picture of a hard task-master, but actually the reverse. It is because God loves us that He leads us.
I love my children and I do not always ask what their opinion is. Many times they do not know what they need. So as a loving father I tell them what to do as a command. Because they love me as their father they listen – most of the time. God is madly in love with you and I. God is not interested in just “bossing” you around. When He commands an action from you it is for your benefit and blessing!
Each time Jesus gave a command and His people responded the outcome was amazing – people were saved, healed, delivered, and made whole. God is in love with you and is leading you to great things! Be bold and when God whispers to you respond with a resounding yes.
I love the Journey!
“I love you as big as the house . . . No, I love you as big as the world . . . No as big as Pluto . . .No I love you as big as God!”
-Joel Wilkes, communicating how much he loves his dad.
It is hard to comprehend some things. Why did a loved one pass away? Why did I not see that coming? Why would God allow such heartache? We have so many questions. We tell ourselves we’ll get the answers when we go to heaven and actually stand before Him. For many of us, we are compiling a list on a scroll and when we arrive at those “pearly gates” we’ll begin firing away one after another.
Reality Check: I do not think we will even think about the lingering questions that seem to invade our mind on this side of eternity. The cares and questions will melt away as we behold Him.
I find that our minds tend to focus on what is in front of us – our situations, problems, what we do not have, how will we get everything done. It is hard to comprehend how it will even get better.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” 1 Peter 5:7
My Son Joshua did great in baseball. As we practiced, he did great throwing the ball to me when he would look at me, then point his glove right at me and throw. However, the moment he took his eyes off me, he would point in the wrong direction and miss me all together.
The key to living free from our earthly cares, is not just about “casting our cares.” We must also take our eyes off of the cares. When we take our eyes off of the cares, we are able to completely behold Him and move into a place of faith once again.
Revelation of who God is precedes casting our burdens on Him.
The great thing is that you and I do not have to wait to slip into eternity to behold who God is. The Holy Spirit reveals the Son to us on this side of eternity. Engage God this season. Make it your intent to experience a side of God that your have not realize. Allow the season of His birth become more than gifts but about Him.
Behold Him Again!
I was so touched last week at Journey. I have a strong God-desire in my heart to see a church established and built upon Christ through His people. Last Sunday I saw the beginnings of it. Steve Brumley did an incredible job of preaching. Soon you can hear it on Podcast on our new website that will go live soon.
Entrust these things to faithful and able men (people). 2 Timothy 2:2
The word “entrust” means to hand over to a specific group of people.
Follow with me for a second. Many times as a church we tend to look for those who are already faithful and able to do the work of the ministry. Those already skilled and trained tend to be utilized the most and the rest of the people just end up sitting on the sidelines.
However, the Church has a calling. Yes indeed. The Church is called to serve as a place that trains, equips, and releases others into effective ministry. A calling is something that you accept and embrace. We are called to help pull out the divine destiny that God has placed within someone. We are called to serve as an incubator for new dreams and God inspirations to be conceived in the heart of His people.
I have found that it is the road less traveled to invest and train someone, knowing that one day you will release them to greater things. For me, this is the apostolic at its best. My greatest joy is to watch a person discover their purpose, develop their purpose and then release them to fulfill their purpose.
After 16 years of full-time ministry, I have discovered that the releasing is the hard part. The releasing to a “greater thing” is something that doesn’t always include me or Journey Church. As pastors and leaders, we like to think our church is the center of the universe and everything revolves around our vision.
Everything is about God’s Kingdom and not just about my little patch of field I am called to tend.
We are called as followers of Christ to make disciples, period.
At Journey we strive, (which means we won’t always get it right), to help (some water) each person discover and develop (some plant) and when it is time to release (God causes the growth), then we celebrate as they walk in the fullness of their Journey.
Last week we started with our first two interns; two amazing men of God. I am excited at the beginnings of what God has for their lives (check out the picture below). As I look at Journey Community Church I see a fellowship of like-minded believers who desire to use their life to build God’s Kingdom.
I love the Journey!
Of all holidays I love Thanksgiving the most. Now do not wig out on me. I love Christmas because of what it represents; the celebration of the birth of Christ. However, I have such fond memories of Thanksgiving. For me it is simple! Family, Friends and Food. There is a feeling to it. . . almost like it’s in the air. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, the game that all the guys gather around to watch. . . oh, and the left over turkey!
In this post modern world and transient lifestyle we have drifted away from traditions. There are moments and events in our lives that are to serve as anchors for us. These are traditions. For me, Thanksgiving is an anchor. A time to pause and be content with what matters the most – people.
I am thankful for those that God has sent into my life. I am thankful for those that have walked with Jenn and I through good and bad times. Jenn and I are l also thankful to be part of a church that truly want to love God and to love others.
My prayer is that you are thankful today and in the days to come, not because things are perfect, but because you are vital in the story and journey of life.
I Love This Journey
I love watching, my youngest son, Joel play. You can see his mind racing and his imagination in operation at its maximum level. He loves to dress up as a fireman or policeman. Not only is he so cute in his dress-up clothes, I actually think he thinks he is the character. He is issuing traffic tickets, hand-cuffing anyone or anything, and bossing people around (really he gets that from his mother). Anyways, that is besides the point! The point is that he becomes what, he has in his mind, the qualities of a police officers. Maybe he got this from TV, Dad getting a speeding ticket, or another kid.
Our mind is powerful and it directs our actions at times without us realizing it. That is why the Bible is so clear on renewing your mind. There is a belief in the church that the mind is bad and is at war with God. No, the Word says, “The carnal mind is at enmity (war) with God.” A renewed mind is clear and has Godly thoughts and Godly beliefs which result in Godly behavior.
I have studied human behavior for over 14 years and it is amazing what we are capable of being and doing in Christ. However, it is scary what we are capable of becoming when our life, mind, and soul are not surrendered to God whole-heartily.
Are there thoughts, memories, unforgiveness or sin that God is requiring you to surrender to Him? Let me challenge you with something. The Journey is about becoming free to be the person God has created you to be.
Like my son Joel living in innocence, believing he can be who he wants to be without hesitancy, so I challenge you. Live Free! Believe you can be all that God says you can be through His Word and then live it out. You’ll be amazed at how many “tickets” you can write to the enemy and how many “fires” can be put out when you really live free.
We had our last meeting at our house this past Sunday. The first picture is the pile of shoes at the door as people came to love on God! My wife, Jennifer knocked it out of the park as she taught on Joshua going from the desert to the promise land by crossing the Jordan. It was God’s presence that led them. What a concept to let the presence of God lead us. After being led across, they gathered “stones of remembrance” out of the Jordan and built a memorial to remind them of where they had come from. Without forgetting where we’ve come from….it’s time to cross over!
At Journey the presence of God has gone before us and prepared a NEW LOCATION! This Sunday we will have our first meeting at 21220 Lorain Rd. in Fairview Park. It has been our desire to find a building that can help facilitate ministry to people. I am amazed at what God has provided. Here is a picture of where we are meeting. A church with a steeple – imagine a relational and innovative church in a building with a steeple – God has a sense of humor.
In my office I have a plague that reads:
Enjoy the Journey!
“Life is not measured but the number of breaths you take,
but by the number of moments that take your breath away.”
Everyday my breath is taken away with the awareness that God is up to something…something big!
See you this Sunday at 10:30AM!