It’s Sunday A Day Of Rest

It’s Sunday — a day to rest.

Did you know that ever since Jesus died and rose again, each Sunday is like a mini Easter? In addition to resting, like God commanded in the Old Testament, the first Christians remembered and celebrated Christ’s resurrection every single week.

Today, God invites you to celebrate and rest in the finished work of Christ — for you and for everyone who trusts in Him.

Lent Day 28 Serving Others Out of Gratitude

Lent – Day 28

Serving Others out of Gratitude

Every Saturday during this study, you will learn about common spiritual disciplines that many followers of Jesus practice during Lent. Today you will learn about service. These disciplines are valuable tools to draw near to God when they come from a heart seeking to do just that — rather than a heart which hopes to justify itself through these works or simply check a box on its Lent “to-do” list. We hope these insights will encourage you and help connect you to the Father throughout these 40 days.

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:1-4, English Standard Version)

Ipeered into a mostly dark storeroom. Light glinted off of coins filling 21 large plastic buckets. It looked like my eight-year-old self would have expected a pirate’s cave to look, plastic aside. 

Two of the stronger men grabbed a bucket. Struggling together, the bucket just inches from the ground, they moved it outside. Men and women wearing plastic gloves — instead of eye patches — pulled out coins.

Coins went onto a screen laid over a trough. Small rocks and trash fell through. The coins were rinsed. 

Next, they poured the coins into a pan of cloudy liquid that emitted a mild chemical odor. They massaged the coins, removing accumulated corrosion and grunge. Then the coins were sorted by value and, in a few cases, country of origin. 

As they worked, the men and women chatted cheerfully. Words about children, grandkids, gardens and lawns filled the air. But instead of working on their own yards or spending time with their families, they were there to serve. 

The coins came from fountains at a local theme park. The park donated them to a home for children with serious disabilities. But in the buckets, the coins weren’t bankable. Only after sorting and cleaning would they be usable. 

The joyful afternoon ended with treasure for the children living at the home. And for the adults there to help, it didn’t feel like work. They’d experienced the love of Jesus, shown by His willingness to give His life on Good Friday, and they shared that love in a small way with others. As the home’s staff members and residents saw the volunteers work, they were seeing Jesus’ love in action.

Respond

How would you like to share your experience of Jesus’ love in action? Today, would you pair up with a friend and find a way to show the love of Jesus through a nonprofit organization in your community? Serve a meal, clean a lawn or, if you’re fortunate, sort a bucketful of coins.

Lent Day 27 The Power To Live Courageously

Lent – Day 27

The Power to Live Courageously

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

When I am afraid, I put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise — in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? Psalm 56:3-4

What does fear look like for you? There are two things I tend to experience in the midst of fear:

I feel alone.
I feel stuck.

Fear makes me feel unable to live out my faith. It keeps me from standing boldly in my convictions. Sometimes I lack the confidence to share my faith, or I say no when God is calling me to say yes.

While Christians are not immune to feeling afraid, God has provided everything we need to move from a life of fear to one of courage.

Joshua was called to step into the role of leading God’s people after Moses died. Moses was a great leader, so Joshua felt intimidated and fearful.

Then, in Joshua 1:9, God tells him, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” God’s command is to be courageous and keep going where God is leading. God’s promise to Joshua is also ours: He will be with us wherever we go. So why remain stuck in fear?

The Bible reminds us how to move from fear to faith. In Psalm 56:3-4, David says, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise — in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

These verses are a declaration of what it means to move from fear to courage by trusting in God. When you remember that God is in control, that He is with you and that He has called you to keep moving forward, then your fear fades and courage grows.

Fear produces things in your life that prevent you from living for God. You cannot conquer fear on your own, but God has given you everything you need through His Spirit, who can help you choose to act in faith even if you still feel afraid.. In all things, God is with you. And remembering you are not alone but have the sovereign God of the universe by your side makes you brave.

Respond and Pray

What is one way you can choose courage over fear this week, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and trust God to use you for His Kingdom? What does it look like for you to trust God in the midst of something that makes you afraid?

Consider this prayer: “Jesus, I know that I can do nothing without You. Any courage I have comes from You. I believe that You will give me the strength and boldness I need to live out my faith and walk with You daily. Help me to rely on You to take me from a place of fear to a place of courage and faith.”

Lent Day 26 Freed To Focus On God and Others

Freed to Focus on God and Others

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’” (Matthew 22:37-40, New International Version)

“Whoever has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me. The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love them and show Myself to them.” (John 14:21, NIV)

At the sprawling green botanical garden in Lilongwe, Malawi, a young mother, child on hip and Bible in hand, paces back and forth in prayer. 

I wonder what trouble brings this mother out here to pray. Is a crucial relationship in trouble? Is someone she cares for sick? Is her business failing? Or perhaps she is just out here spending time in prayer with the Lord. 

A person can go out of their way to spend time with the Lord — and not just when their world is caving in. Perhaps she moved the focus from herself and the harried life of motherhood to steal away a few minutes to focus on God. If so, as the Lord renews her strength, she can face the world and be there for her family and others.

Christ’s top two commandments are to love the Lord and love others. Every other commandment simply details how to live this out.

How do you know that you love God? It turns out that obeying God can be an indicator of your love for Him. The true mark of your love for God is that it causes you to become more willing to do what He asks of you. 

If you love God, you will care about what He cares about. You will want your thoughts and actions to be pleasing to Him. 

And how do you measure your love for others? How you love yourself is the measure you will use to love others. You must put others before yourself if you are trying to truly love them. (Although, we also must remember to share the love of Christ with others, we need to spend time being filled with Him ourselves.)

As you focus on loving God and others, you will begin to experience the resurrected life of Christ in a very real way.

Respond and Pray

What areas of your life do you need to bring to the obedience of Christ? In what ways have you put yourself before others lately?

Consider this prayer. “Father, I desire to love You by my actions as well as my words. Help me to be fully yielded to You and to consider others better than myself. Amen.”

Lent Day 25 Pride, Humility and Surrender

Lent – Day 25

Pride, Humility and Surrender

“All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
all who go down to the dust will kneel before Him — those who cannot keep themselves alive.” Psalm 22:29

“He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17

Many years ago I attended a women’s retreat at the beach. The library in the reading room was expansive. So I took advantage of a few days of respite to refresh my spirit. I finally landed on a book of Charles Spurgeon’s sermons. It wasn’t long until I was swept away not only in the manner of his words but the wisdom therein.

His paraphrase of Psalm 22:29 tugged deeply at my heart. In it, he says, “No one can keep their soul alive, not even for an hour.”

I was truly swept up in imagining the work of the God of the universe keeping me alive — body and soul.

At the end of the weekend, I had learned so much about myself. The speaker was a woman of grace, wisdom and humility. I was inspired to evaluate my own life that weekend. There were many things I had gleaned from the lessons, the other incredible women and my time lingering among the words of Charles Spurgeon.

When we think of pride or self-righteousness, we often conjure up images of the ultra-religious, who must do everything perfectly and believe that is their salvation. But, in truth, pride is more than that. It’s any desire to have control over our lives, rather than trusting them to God. Humility is realizing that God is the one who keeps our heart beating moment by moment — and He controls everything else as well.

In the years since, I have experienced the realities of my inability to control, manage, change or improve many things in my life. I continue to learn how to trust fully; to surrender control to the One who holds it all.

Reflect and Respond

Take a few moments now to sit in silence with God. As you close your eyes and breathe deeply. Notice what feels unmanageable to you. Imagine bringing yourself to Jesus, who has a look of compassion on His face. Rest a while with Jesus, knowing you are loved and you are safe with the One who keeps your soul alive. Talk to Him as you feel led, or simply enjoy being with Him in silence.

Bristol Motor Speedway Easter Celebration

MRO Community

Coming to Bristol?

Bristol Motor Speedway is hosting an Easter Celebration outside of the track @ 4pm on April 17.

In order to accommodate those in our industry space to enjoy the event, there will be a special area designated for you. With that said, if you will be attending, please let me know. The track wants to make sure there will be ample space for everyone. There will also be an area for golf cart parking.

Simply reply to this thread or send me a message if you will be attending!!

https://www.bristolmotorspeedway.com/events/food-city-dirt-race/easter-celebration/

Lent Day 23 Steady In The Storm

Lent – Day 23

Steady in the Storm

Soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with His head on a cushion. The disciples woke Him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t You care that we’re going to drown?” When Jesus woke up, He rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then He asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:37-40, New Living Translation)

I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 16:8, New International Version)

Few experiences produce as much suspense, uncertainty and sheer panic as being on the deck of a ship in the middle of a sudden storm, like in the scene from Mark 4.

Perhaps this imagery stirs up memories of experiences you’ve had. The vast ocean, like the circumstances and situations of your life, can change underneath you without warning. Your boat is completely rocked, taking on water, while you desperately try to keep your footing to steer toward safety. 

The disciples in this passage could certainly relate. Jesus asked them to sail to the other side of the Sea of Galilee — this was His mission they were on — when they were caught off guard by a sudden storm. They scrambled to handle it on their own, which makes sense, since there were experienced fishermen in this group. Likely, they thought they could get through with enough strength and skill. 

When did the panic start to sink in? My guess is when their own efforts failed and they realized the fierce waves were simply too much. 

You’ll notice their question to Jesus, “Don’t You care about us?” Their panic reveals two lies you might also believe:

  1. This storm is not only out of your control but out of God’s control.
  2. Because of what’s happening, He must not care about you. Maybe He has abandoned you.

In the moment, it can feel impossible to entertain anything other than lies like these. The disciples likely believed them because their eyes were on the size of the waves and strength of the storm. They forgot who was in their boat. 

When your focus is on your circumstances, no matter how overwhelming or dangerous, it can be easy to forget Jesus is right there with you. 

As the storm disappeared with just a word from Jesus, the disciples realized He was sleeping because He was in complete control the entire time.

Reflect and Pray

Spend time reflecting on a situation in your life that feels as hopeless or overwhelming as this storm.

Ask Jesus “Where are You in this situation? How can I focus on You and not the storm?”

Invite the Holy Spirit to remind you, as the disciples were reminded, that Jesus is greater than the storm. Even if the boat feels rocky, with Him right beside you, you’ll be unshakeable.

It’s Sunday Ya’ll

It’s Sunday — a day to rest.

Did you know that ever since Jesus died and rose again, each Sunday is like a mini Easter? In addition to resting, like God commanded in the Old Testament, the first Christians remembered and celebrated Christ’s resurrection every single week.

Today, God invites you to celebrate and rest in the finished work of Christ — for you and for everyone who trusts in Him.

Lent Day 22 Lyrics For Your Life In Christ

Lent – Day 22

Lyrics for Your Life in Christ

Every Saturday during this study, you will learn about common spiritual disciplines that many followers of Jesus practice during Lent. Today you will learn about reading, studying and memorizing Scripture. These disciplines are valuable tools to draw near to God when they come from a heart seeking to do just that — rather than a heart which hopes to justify itself through these works or simply check a box on its Lent “to-do” list. We hope these insights will encourage you and help connect you to the Father throughout these 40 days.

How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to Your word. I seek You with all my heart; do not let me stray from Your commands. I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You. (Psalm 119:9-11, New International Version)

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. “Psalm 119:105

As soon as the first note dropped, I knew the song. Memories of junior high flooded my mind — the friends, the fashion and the emotions. I sang along without missing a word.

“Alright stop, collaborate and listen.” You know the rest.

When is comes to music, my brain works like a steel trap. Decades of useful and useless facts accumulate like boxes in an attic. I only need a small nudge — a song, a movie or a photograph — and everything comes tumbling out.

I don’t think I’m alone. I believe most of us can rattle off the lyrics to a song we haven’t heard in ages and then sit back in wonder at what just happened.

If you’re like me, you have hidden away the lyrics to dozens and dozens of songs because you spent days rewinding the cassette, hitting the back button on your CD player, or setting iTunes on repeat so you could perfect the most complicated rhymes.

You’ll find your relationship with Scripture is no different. As you spend time reading and studying what God has revealed in the Bible, He will open your eyes, that you may see wonderful things in His law. Psalm 119:18

As you treasure it and hide it away in your heart, you will love what He loves more and more. You will do what He does. You will go where He goes.

Your life will be transformed because you’re not just hiding away silly lyrics in the back of your mind. You’re meditating on God’s own words, and they pierce your heart.

Respond and Pray

Ask God to increase your love for His Word so you might know and love Him more.

Read Psalm 119 and write down all the ways God’s Word blesses and transforms those who delight in it.

Commit to hiding God’s Word in your heart by memorizing important verses or passages.

Lent Day 21 Why You Need To Relax In The Lord

Lent – Day 21

Why You Need to Relax in the Lord

“Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him.” Psalm 62:1

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God.” Hebrews 4:9

“I’m late, I’m late! For a very important date! No time to say ‘hello, goodbye,’ I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!” So said the White Rabbit in “Alice in Wonderland.”

The last four years of our lives has been wrought with loss, medical challenges, unexpected burdens, personal tragedy and side roads that we would have never chosen. Opportunities to serve our family and friends. Being pulled in a million different directions for all the good and right reasons many days felt like we were continuously rushing about. Our brains swirled with appointments, the needs of our family and little time for self-care. Life-altering diversions with a hectic pace can lead to exhaustion.

In all of that we learned so much about the character of God in the middle of challenging circumstances.

Truth: God has a better idea. David writes in Psalm 62:1 that he waits for God’s deliverance from his enemies. This waiting involves being silent before God, expectantly waiting to hear from Him and meditate on His Word. While the world would tell us to hurry, to get more done and take charge, often, like Mary in Luke 10:38-42, the Lord wants us to just sit and be with Him. Totally depending on God’s timing and wisdom leads to confidence in Him and a rest you cannot experience anywhere else.

Jesus offers rest when you are feeling weary. Just as you don’t achieve eternal life through anything you do, the Christian life cannot be lived by your own efforts. The rest Jesus promises is not just freedom from uncertainty, anxiety, fear and despair, but it is a peace of heart and mind.

God wants you to enjoy what is called a “Sabbath rest,” which is taking time to step away from the daily schedule and have some downtime with Him. Some people spend part of a day focused on the Lord every month or so to do just that. He also gives us a reminder weekly to rest in Him on the Sabbath day, which for Christians is usually Sunday. Our vocation demands weekend work, so we have to be diligent and committed to an alternate and strategic time for rest because our service is atypical for the Christian community. Finding the rhythm for your life is crucial to navigating the most difficult times when soul rest seems like something tou will get to “one day”.

This rest involves an awareness of being in the sacred presence of God to worship and praise Him for who He is and the creation He has made. This time of rest points you to the eternal rest He’s promised for all who trust in Him.

As Augustine prayed, “My heart, Lord, does not rest until it rests in Thee.”

Reflect and Respond

Choose rest when you’re feeling weary and exhausted. Today, thank God for two specific things He has provided so you might have a forever relationship with Him. Or consider planning a day when you can get away for a few hours and spend time in the presence of the Lord.