Analogies

     Yesterday I left the office around *5. It had been raining all day and storm clouds were rolling over the mountains towards our main campus. Thunder boomed as I walked to my car and it made me think of all of the analogies that we have come up with for God and his many attributes. At this point, some could say it’s even getting out of hand; however, the minute that you start putting rules on art and creativity, it no longer is artistic or creative but I digress.
     God is like fire, but he’s also sometimes like water. He’s like the wind, he’s like the sun, God is a lot of things, and I love that. God is infinite. We could spend a lifetime describing God but the truth is that there are no adjectives, no metaphors, no lyric or poem that is the perfect description of God. God is indescribable. (CC: Chris Tomlin) What is so unique about this to me is that it helps me remember how boundless God is. When people say that there is nothing too hard for God, that’s not just a cliche, that’s the truth! I don’t know about you, but I constantly need this reminder.
     From life’s smallest frustrations to it’s most challenging circumstances, God never changes. He never fails. His promises will never be broken. So yes, God is fire, or he is water, or he is the wind, or he is the sun. He is and will always be everything that you need and more than enough; not because we deserve it, but because he loves us. Despite our sin, he made himself available to us. So we can walk in that victory! The same power that conquered the grave lives in us! How thankful I am that God is who He says is. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
     I hope that this encourages you today!
*Disclaimer: This happened a few months ago. It just took me a while to write it. Happy reading!

I Am the Pharisees

This one hurt. Sometimes when God gives us a word or reveals something to us, it is freeing or encouraging but sometimes it’s a gut check – and that is what this one was for me. 

I co-lead a small group with a friend of mine and we spent a few months studying the book of John. We were taking the book a few chapters at a time and we had some great discussion; however, when I was preparing for one of our meetings, God revealed something significant to me – I had been reading these stories from the wrong perspective. I was reading in chapter nine, which is the story of Jesus healing the man born blind, when God sort of nudged my spirit. I’ve grown up reading the bible. I was practically born inside the walls of a church so I’m pretty familiar with a lot of these stories. When I read them I’m usually looking for nuggets of gold in Jesus’ words, yet this time I realized that there could be a shift in my perspective. I am the Pharisees way more often than I would care to admit. It’s easy for us to read these stories and just sort of glaze over them. I’m just as guilty as the next guy of reading the bible to check it off of my “Christian to-do list” of the day, but this was huge for me. I immediately went back through the first few chapters and re-read many of the parts where Jesus is having conversations with the Pharisees and I didn’t want to believe it but it was true. 

You see, the Pharisees were so focused on what they wanted their “Messiah” to be, that they were standing in front of the Son of God and missing every single word that he said. That is what made me nervous. I don’t want to be a Pharisee. I don’t want to be so focused on doing “good things” for Jesus that I stop being sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Instead, I want to be the man born blind. It took a man who was desperate to recognize his need for a savior. It took a man who had suffered his entire life to see Jesus for he his truly is, and that’s the key. 

We are sinners. We need a savior. The moment that we start to think that we are worthy of our positions, our opportunities, or our talents, we become a distraction. But when we remain humble, remember that we are desperate for salvation, then, and only through Jesus, we can be unstoppable warriors for Christ. 

Fasting Is More Than A Diet

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Fasting means many things to many people. For some it could be a set time of no food/bland food. For others it could just be a nice time to start dieting…thinking “ehhh, I could afford to lose a few pounds”. But for me, fasting means something so much more than eating different foods or hitting my goal weight.

It wasn’t until last year when I decided to fully commit to fasting. I had a long list of prayer requests and, quite frankly, I almost doubted that denying my body of what it wanted and praying about it could really change so many things in my life. To my surprise, one week in, God had already begun to answer prayers left and right. Prayers for my family and their prosperity. Prayers for my school transfer. Prayers for my future. The weirdest, and most miraculous thing is that He has not stopped answering those prayers from LAST YEAR.

Fasting to me isn’t only about God being faithful in His promises to hear us when we call on His name but it is about focusing in on our relationship and showing Him just how much He means to me. He sacrificed so much for me and even though there is no comparison to that, it’s nice to say I will deny my flesh for Him.

Written by: Katie Lattimore, Worship Ministry Intern

Adventurous Faith

skydive

(written by John Adams, Blount Campus Worship Leader) I have a very adventurous spirit.  I love trying new things and having new experiences.  This works perfectly in the relationship I have with my wife because she loves capturing memories through photography and scrapbooking.  Food is something I especially love trying new things with.  New restaurants, new recipes… I remember the first time a friend took me to a Jamaican restaurant, Wow!!!

 What’s cool is that I have realized that my adventurous spirit applies to my relationship with God as well.  I was raised in a very traditional Baptist home, and adventure was far from the focus when discussing Christianity.  In fact, my understanding of religion seemed to condemn the new and adventurous aspects of life.

 As I’ve grown spiritually, God has shown me an incredible path of seeking after Him in ways I never have before.  In fact, this is where I have found I honor Him the most.  Hebrews 11:6 says that “…without faith it is impossible to please God…” and James 2:14 says “…faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”  

 There is a lot to say about fasting: its origin, purpose, requirements etc.  Some can be agreed on by most people, other will be debated forever.  One thing is certain: God tells us to fast, and His Word tells us that great things can be accomplished through fasting, some only by fasting.  If anyone has a thirst to know God more, be used by Him in greater ways, and seek after Him with a boldness that will lead to great adventure in His Kingdom’s purpose, then Just Do It!  Put action to your faith and please God.  The rewards are amazing!

Heal My Land

Land

(By Dillan Howell, Worship Associate) Over the next 40 days, we as staff on the Worship Team here at Faith Promise Church have been challenged to go out of the ordinary, be a little different than most by taking some time to fast. 

Fasting isn’t something that I do often and it definitely isn’t something that I’m good at.  I like to eat!  I like to eat a lot.  In fact while I write this I’m starting to think, “Man, I’m hungry.”  But what if we were called to be a little different, what if we were called to stand out from the ordinary?  Good news…we are!

2 Chronicles 7:14
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Being a part of a worship ministry is a big deal.  We share usually just as much as stage time as our Pastor and we carry the same message as our Pastor, but present it in a different way, obviously through music.  Why do we so often believe that our Pastor is the only one who can face spiritual warfare and distractions to keep him from ministry?  Well, because that’s what Satan wants us to believe.

Over the next 40 days I will humble myself down by not eating any red meats.  That doesn’t mean I’m going to ask for my steaks well done and my burgers cooked all the way through!!  It means anything that comes from a cow I’m not going to eat.  Reason why?  I love to eat cow. Not exaggerating it’s honestly one of the only things I eat!  By not eating cow it’s going to weaken me and force me to rely on God.  There are times I’m going to be tempted, what do I do?  I pray for God to take the temptation.  I’m going to find myself talking with God a lot more and I’m going to find myself begging God to heal my land.

I challenge you.  I challenge you to find something that you rely on and give it up.  In return I pray that you find yourself replacing that desire with prayer, replacing it with God.

My goal would be that as a worship team and as a church we can find ourselves weak, but strong in God by constantly seeking him, and trusting that he will heal our family, heal our schools, heal our work places and initially heal our land.