Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thank God for Believers

Thank God for Believers
By: Katie Rogers

It seems country songs usually inspire me to write a sermon. Today’s song is “Thank God for Believers” by Mark Chesnutt. Some phrases from his song that kept tugging at my heart are “She says "don’t give up the fight. Before long you’ll get it right" I pray to God someday I’ll feel the same. I don’t know why she even hangs around After all the hell I’ve put her through
And the times I’ve let her down She has more faith in me than I have ever found Heaven knows how much I need her. Thank God for believers.
I have forever (well the last fifteen years or so) believed mentors were key to my success in serving Christ. My mentors (all Christian women) are believers and have taught me how to find Christ more and more.
I remember back over the last fifteen years and realize I haven’t always been perfect, I haven’t always been the woman God created me to be. Yet my mentors prayed, encouraged and believed I would get back on track. A few years ago I went on a two year hiatus and without my believing mentors I wouldn’t have come back to God. They prayed, they encouraged and they didn’t preach at me. These women had faith to believe I would come back to the Lord.
I look at Luke 5: 17 Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them. 18 Then behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they sought to bring in and lay before Him. 19 And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus. 20 When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” 25 Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.

The paralytic's friends realized that he couldn't go through this time alone; they decided they were taking him to Jesus (which was an effort in itself, considering they had to carry him. And we don't know how far, or the physical and mental strength that would have taken) Once they get the paralytic to the house it's packed, but did they give up because more trials, more obstacles came? NO! They continued to believe, continued to find another way to have faith for their friend. So they take him to the roof, they work to open the roof and then let the guy down into the house.
These friends stopped at nothing to make sure the paralytic was seen, heard and healed by Jesus.
Who in your life has faith and Moves Mountains for you, even when you are unsure?
I encourage you to find those who can help encourage and believe in you. But even more than that we need to be the believer who can be the believer for others!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Life Ain’t Pretty, but it’s Beautiful

I heard a song while getting ready one morning and it stopped me dead in my tracks. The Chorus went something like this: It ain’t pretty, but it’s beautiful- Life ain’t perfect, but it’s wonderful- We’re all broken-but we’re loveable-It ain’t pretty, but it’s beautiful As I listened to this chorus it reminded me of our lives and the value we each hold.

We Could personalize this chorus:
(Your Name) ain’t pretty, but she’s beautiful
(Your Name) ain’t perfect, but she’s wonderful
(Your Name) might be broken, but she’s loveable

I’m going to break this down as simply as possible.

1. To the world we aren’t pretty; we don’t hold any value to the average person. To God we are beautiful, we are created in his image. I am not just talking physically but also emotionally and spiritually.
Genesis 1:27 says, So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Psalm 139 says: 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

2. No one is perfect, but we are wonderful
Romans 3:22-24 says 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
We all fail, we have all missed the mark but God looks beyond to the end mark.
Philippians 1:6 says: 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. If Christ didn’t value us, if He didn’t think we were wonderful he wouldn’t have died for us or continue to work in us and through us.

3. We might be broken, but we’re loveable
Everyone has a place where they are broken or been damaged. Than we see people either chose to put a wall around themselves or people have shut them out.
We see this in John 8:1-11. The Adulterous woman had to be broken: she chose to sleep with another, she’s brought before the whole city and she is now going to be the talk of the town for days to come. Yet Jesus didn’t condemn her or make her feel less, he loved her by his actions and his words to her.
King David is another example of being broken but still loveable. In 2 Samuel we see the story of David pursuing Bathsheba (who was a married woman) and the story goes on that King David ends up committing adultery, murdering Bathsheba’s husband and than Bathsheba gives him a son. This son dies due to the consequences of sin. This had to have left King David broken, bitter, and feeling worthless. God loved Him despite his brokenness and sin, and even allowed David another son with Bathsheba, we know him as Solomon.
We aren’t always pretty, we aren’t always perfect, and were not always whole but we have a God who loves us, accepts us and works through us. Don’t let the world’s perception or your perception of yourself stop you from God’s work in you.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Do You Stand Out

Do You Stand Out?
Have you ever been to a party or an event in the midst of a group and you felt out of place? Singled out? Today I drove home from school and as I drove around the lake I saw an incredible sight. I saw a row of trees, ordinary you say… Well in the midst of the greenery was a single tree that had orange and yellow leaves. It stood out thoroughly. As I continued to drive I saw this more and more. It was a beautiful sight and brought me a beautiful thought.
We’re called to be like the tree with orange and yellow leaves that stand out in the midst of the greenery. We’re not called to blend in and be unnoticed. Sometimes it’s easier to blend but it’s not worth it. When we stand out, we’re beautiful (people are drawn to us), we’re unique and we fulfill our calling.
Jesus is a perfect example of standing out.
1. Jesus was beautiful and people we’re drawn to Him.
We see throughout scripture people we’re drawn to Jesus- We see in Matthew 8 the man with Leprosy came to Jesus for healing, The Centurion came for healing for his daughter. They sought Jesus out, they had more than likely heard of his reputation. Matthew 9 shows the friends who brought the paralytic to Jesus.
These are just a few examples of how Jesus’ beauty and people were drawn to Him because he stood out. He didn’t blend in with the everyday crowd.
2. Jesus was Unique
He went against the Pharisees. In Matthew 15 They approach him wanting to know why he breaks tradition of the elders, He says it’s not about tradition but about honoring God.
In Matthew 21 we see Jesus go against the chief priests and stand up for the people when he overturns the tables. He didn’t go along with the scheme he stood for what was right. He went against the grain.
3. Jesus fulfilled his calling
Jesus came to earth to become our perfect sacrifice; to put an end to ritual sacrifices made by the people. Jesus died so that we could live without ritual without attempting to pay a debt we’d never pay off on our own. In the process Jesus lived on the earth 33 years, he stood for righteousness, he didn’t sin, and he healed people and loved on sinners.
We can stand out like Jesus. We can love on those around us no matter where we are; work, school, and the grocery store. When we are authentic in our love for Christ and our love for people, people will approach us so they can find Jesus. We can be unique, we can stand for what’s right. We can choose not to participate in gossip, in adultery, in sin. We can fulfill our calling by listening to God, reading his word and seeking his face.
When we stand out we’re like the beautiful and colorful tree that stands out amongst the greenery.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

For Every Goliath There is a Stone!

For Every Goliath There is a Stone!
By: Katie Rogers

How many of you are facing challenges, mountains or chaos in your life? How many are allowing your challenges, mountains and chaos to rule or even destroy your life? So often we allow those things to become greater than they are and we allow them to consume us. We don’t have to! Let me share a little story with you.

In 1st Samuel 17 we see the story you’ve all heard before, the story of David and Goliath. David just a Shepard boy who did as he was told. Took care of the sheep, protected them and even killed a bear and such to protect these sheep. But we see David get sent out to the front lines to bring food to his brothers and to check on them. Now see David’s brothers, as well as the whole army of Israel was equipped to fight the giants, the Goliath’s so to speak. But they were afraid, they allowed the Giant to consume them and for fear to set in.

It seems so often we are equipped with the tools, the armor, the things we need to fight the giant but we allow fear and uncertainty to creep in and take hold of us. But we need the spirit and the courage of David.

1st Samuel 17 shows us that David wasn’t scared, he trusted the Living God to equip Him and to bring him through the challenge of the giant. So often we think we can’t face the challenge or the giant unless we have all this garb so we dismiss God and his Word and load ourselves up with nonsense.

David a young man who wasn’t equipped with the armor of the soldier didn’t care; he knew God was with Him. Now King Saul tried to help David but his gear wasn’t made for David… So I see David like this “Okay God, it’s you and me. You’ve given me all that I need and I trust that together we’ll defeat Goliath.” God tells him to pick up the pebbles and grab his sling shot.

See David trusted God to carry him through, to defeat the giant. And as the story shows David goes and is mocked by the army of Israel as well as Goliath and the giants. But David doesn’t allow that to discourage him because he trusts in the Lord.

And we see that David slings his pebble and takes down Goliath!
God has a stone/pebble for each one of us. It doesn’t matter what the giant is He will equip us. Nothing is too big for our God.

So whether it be a financial giant- God says he provides and gives us what we need when we need it.
If it be sexual immorality God gives us scriptures to bring us to purity, gives us accountability partners, and an escape from every temptation.
Unsaved loved ones- God gives us scriptures, prayers, and seeds to plant
Restlessness- God gives us peace, patience and comforts us with his Spirit.
Whatever your Giant, God has a stone for you! Ask God for your stone!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Are you Hungry Like Pacman?

Are You Hungry Like Pacman?
By: Katie Rogers

How many of you have played the classic old style game Pacman? When I was younger I would play Pacman for hours at a time.

Pacman is completely and constantly hungry- He’ll keep going until he has completed every level ate every pellet. We need to be like Pacman spiritually. We need to be constantly hungry for God’s Word and His presence.

Prayer and Food are Intertwined.

Real Food Vs. God’s Word

How many of you have walked into a restaurant saw a very long line or been told the wait is 30+ minutes and left?

Spiritual Side- how many of you hear God say wait for me or keep studying my word-but you get bored and decide to do it your own way?
1st Samuel 13:1-4, 7-14
1 Saul was thirty[a] years old when he became king, and he reigned over Israel forty-[b]two years. 2 Saul [c] chose three thousand men from Israel; two thousand were with him at Micmash and in the hill country of Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan at Gibeah in Benjamin. The rest of the men he sent back to their homes. 3 Jonathan attacked the Philistine outpost at Geba, and the Philistines heard about it. Then Saul had the trumpet blown throughout the land and said, "Let the Hebrews hear!" 4 So all Israel heard the news: "Saul has attacked the Philistine outpost, and now Israel has become a stench to the Philistines." And the people were summoned to join Saul at Gilgal
7 Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead.
Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. 8 He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul's men began to scatter. 9 So he said, "Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings. [a] " And Saul offered up the burnt offering. 10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him. 11 "What have you done?" asked Samuel. Saul replied, "When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Micmash, 12 I thought, 'Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the LORD's favor.' So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering." 13 "You acted foolishly," Samuel said. "You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the LORD's command."

Pacman never stops eating, he can eat and eat and eat and never be full.

We need to be like Pacman.
Psalm 46:10- 10 "Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."
Psalm 48:14-14 For this God is our God for ever and ever;
he will be our guide even to the end.
Isaiah 58:11- 11 The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
-Constantly seeking God’s presence, Reading His Word
- Waiting Upon Him to fill us, to stir us, to guide us.

What are some things you’re willing to wait for?
A new car, a new home, a TV, a vacation?
We invest, we wait for worldly things but do we put that much effort and time into waiting for God?

When we are hungry for the spiritual and we wait upon God he renews, refreshes, provides and gives us more than we could ask or dream of. So often we lack because we haven’t waited on God, church let’s wait on God. Let’s take time to seek his face, to read His Word and to be hungry like Pacman.

Little Engine that Could

Philippians 4:13- 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me How many of you have read the classic children’s book “The Little Engine That Could”? Anyone who has read it has thought “wow, what an encouraging story.’ This book has been one of my favorites since I was a young girl. This book draws two themes for me, two points that I would like to parallel to a life in Christ.
1. Just because someone has strength, beauty, or wealth doesn’t mean that they are the best person to help or willing to help.-In the Little Engine that Could we see the “Shiny Engine, Big Engine, Rusty Engine (To good for you) (To Tired) These Engines or people in our lives don’t care what your dilemma is, they judge you based on what you drive, look like and eat. The Shiny Engine, the Big Engine and the Tired Engine all could have helped the broken down engine but they felt they didn’t need or owe that small train anything. Let’s look at the story of the Good Samaritan: Luke 10:25-3525 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” 27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’[a] and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”[b]28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” 29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed,[c] he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’We see that a Priest and a Levite passed by the man in need. These two should have been upstanding citizens, men who in the community had good standing but they chose to pass the wounded man by. They are like the engines who thought they were to good to help the broken down engine.But both our stories show us there is help for us. The broken down engine was rescued by a small blue engine who wasn’t pretty, wasn’t big, wasn’t important in the train world. But this small blue engine chose to help, chose to exceed the normal expectations of it and to help the broken train and all those upon it. In the story of the Good Samaritan we see that the one who wouldn’t have been usually recognized or of high status chose to help the wounded. Not only did he bandage the wounds, he brought the wounded to an inn, paid for his time spent and made sure he was looked after.We need to realize God uses many varieties of people to help us and we shouldn’t have an expectation of the quality of person who God sends our way to participate in our lives.Second Point I want to make is:We can do all things through Christ who strengthens usSo often instead of taking the attitude of the Blue Engine or the Good Samaritan we take the attitude of the big and shiny engine and say no we’re not able. But just like the little blue engine did, we need to say “I can, I can, I can.”When God is leading us and we’re walking in His will each obstacle, each challenge, each task should be faced with I can, I can, and I can.God always gives us the resources, the strength and the ability to carry out the task He sets before us.So set out today to walk in God’s Will and always have the attitude of the Little Blue Engine, I think I can, I think I can!
Who are you Barnabas to?
Barnabas real name was Joseph-means “May God Increase”
We see in Acts 4:36-37 He was renamed Barnabas-means Son of Encouragement
36-37Joseph, called by the apostles "Barnabas" (which means "Son of Comfort"), a Levite born in Cyprus, sold a field that he owned, brought the money, and made an offering of it to the apostles.
We see from the first time Barnabas is mentioned in Acts that he cared for others
-Sold Land and Donated Profits to the church
Barnabas was courageous, influential and responsible
Responsible- Acts 11:22-24, 30
22-24When the church in Jerusalem got wind of this, they sent Barnabas to Antioch to check on things. As soon as he arrived, he saw that God was behind and in it all. He threw himself in with them, got behind them, urging them to stay with it the rest of their lives. He was a good man that way, enthusiastic and confident in the Holy Spirit's ways. The community grew large and strong in the Master.
God and the Apostles trusted Barnabas enough to send him on the important mission of regrouping the church that had been scattered.
30 They sent Barnabas and Saul to deliver the collection to the leaders in Jerusalem.
Someone predicted a famine and the church decided to start storing money and gifts for those who would be affected. Barnabas was trusted with their gifts and possessions to deliver to the people of Judea.

Courageous/Influential - Acts 9:26-28/Acts 11:25-27
26When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.
Barnabas was willing to stand up for God and God’s people in spite of what the outcome could be. And because Barnabas did as God said he was influential with the other disciples.
Barnabas chose to love Saul who became Paul despite what the world said, despite Paul’s past. Barnabas became a support for Paul, he was accountability for Paul.
Barnabas pointed people to God. He loved people, brought people to Christ while encouraging and blessing the people. Acts 11:24, 13:7, 13:42,43
Example of my mentors blessing, praying and investing me and the impact it has had.
The question is: Who are you blessing?
Who are you praying with and for?
Who are you investing in?
Take time to find a mentor and to invest in someone else.