Monday Mentionings: Dreaming the Impossible Dream  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , ,

A few hours until 2008...are you ready?

Yesterday, we had a great assembly! The singing sounded really good! It was good to be rejuvenated at our weekly family reunion!

Yesterday, our guest speaker spoke about the idealism that is found in the challenge of the Sermon on the Mount. How Jesus challenges His disciples (and us, as readers) to keep reaching toward that, which is, in essence, impossible to reach. Things like "turning the other cheek" when someone strikes us on the one or not worrying about tomorrow. These seem next to impossible, but it makes us want to keep reaching. Jesus gives us a dream to keep striving toward. In our own lives we need dreams, also. Dreams to be more patient, more encouraging, more evangelistic, more outreach-ing, etc. These dreams give us something to keep working toward.

What dreams do you have for God? May those dreams keep you searching/striving toward that goal! May 2008 give you abundant opportunities to work toward that goal!

Have a great time ringing in the New Year!

God Bless ~Share/Bookmark

E-mail Encouragement: Making a Courageous Decision  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , , , ,

Christmas is over and that means 2008 is just around the corner. Are you one who makes a resolution? Have you ever been able to keep any? Are you making any for next year? What was your favorite thing you received?

I enjoy "feel good" movies. In each "feel good" movie, there is a point at which the "hero" or "heroes" do something which turns the tide for the rest of the film. The result is the success that makes the movie identified as "feel good". Each of us live a "movie"...what will you do to turn the tide? This brings us to this week's quote...

In every success story, you find someone who has made a courageous decision. ~ Peter F. Drucker

I am greatly affected by teachers/coaches/leaders that do things to impact others. The quote holds true to most movies that fall into this category. There is a point in the movie which a character will do something that seems crazy, but in fact, is very courageous. No one has done anything like "that" before (whatever the task in the particular movie) and it makes a world of difference.

We have opportunities given to us each day, maybe each moment, to make an impact in someone else's life. Whether it is your spouse, family member, co-worker, peer, friend, or anyone else you're around.

As 2008 approaches, what will you do with the opportunities God gives you to make a "courageous decision" and create your "success" story? May you use the opportunities given to share Jesus in practical ways!

Blessings ~Share/Bookmark

Monday Mentionings: Appreciating 2007  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , , ,

The day before Christmas – what are you up to? Working, spending time with family, wrapping presents, finishing up baking/preparing for tomorrow’s dinner(s), etc. Each family has different traditions regarding presents, Santa, etc. Both of our families opened gifts on Christmas Eve, so when we got married, it was an easy transition. Santa came on Christmas – in my house it was unwrapped gifts and some candy in the stocking and in Aubrey’s house it was wrapped stocking stuffers (they didn’t have to fit in the stocking). We have adopted Aubrey’s tradition for what Santa brings, which has always led to just as much fun as anything I ever experienced! Our “Christmas” will be after the 25th this year due to awaiting the arrival of family for the eagerly anticipated baby!

Christmas is about appreciating, more than anticipating. It is easy to get wrapped up in the anticipation of “what you will receive”. As I reflect over the year, it has been one of the greatest years to be appreciative. Here’s a small list…

1. My wife’s safe and healthy pregnancy
2. My marriage
3. Great church family
4. The Vision Team
5. The “Love and Respect” group
6. Installing shepherds
7. Open doors for outreach
8. Deepened relationships to those in the community

What does your list look like? I am also appreciative of many other things, but these are some things that pertain to the church family.

Yesterday, we looked at the “wise men” following the star – finding Jesus. As you go to the star, which is Jesus (the light and morning star), may you find comfort, reassurance, hope, and joy to guide you through life, specifically this holiday season.

May God bless you with a safe and joyous holiday season!

Merry Christmas!

Being Appreciative ~Share/Bookmark

E-mail Encouragement: Try It, You May Like It  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , , , , ,

We tend to be more reserved than adventurous. Sometimes it may be because we have been “taught” that the things we want to do aren’t going to work. Other times we may simply doubt our own abilities. Whereas, still other times we are not in a place to follow through or there may not be the resources available to make it seem like it can happen. When this quote came into my “inbox” this week, I was so thankful because I knew it was what I was going to use for this week’s quote…

Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires...courage. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Let’s focus on critics, rather than resources. Just Tuesday, my wife and I watched a movie called “August Rush”. The movie deals with a boy who was raised in an orphanage and has a keen ear for sound. His mother was a cellist; father a guitar player and singer. He has music in his genes. The kids at the orphanage tease him because he tells them that he is going to find his parents and that “the music will lead him.” He is labeled a “freak”. Without giving away too much of the movie, he makes his way, despite being encountered by many critics and obstacles, to find his mom and dad. There were many points which he could have quit – after all he’s an eleven year old. Instead of quitting, the young man continues on – mapping out his course – in courage to make his way toward his destination/goal.

What are you seeing in your future? Where would you like to be/go? What does 2008 bring to you? Do you have plans to do something (short or long term) and have critics putting the idea down? Or is the Enemy himself telling you it won’t work? Someone out there will always have a difference of opinion to say “you’re wrong”, but don’t be tempted to believe that. Map out what steps it takes to get to your goal (don’t forget to start with prayer, bathe it in prayer, and end with prayer!) and GO FOR IT! Even if there are many stops between point A and B, enjoy the journey of knowing you are going toward your goal – despite the critics!

Ready for Christmas? Only a few days left!!!

Have a great rest of your week!

Merry Christmas!Share/Bookmark

Working on the Inside: Psalm 51:1-12  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , , , ,

Have you ever cut into an apple, just to find that it is all mushy, gross, and over ripened? The outside still looked fine, but the inside was definitely not fine. That is the way we can be from time to time, with our faith. Our outside may look perfectly fine, but the inside is not. Yesterday, we looked at a psalm which David penned months after he had been in a sinful slump, couched around the lust and affair with Bathsheba. The 51st Psalm deals with David's shame he felt after the situation with Bathsheba. David saw, he slept, he swept (things under the rug), and he surged (Uriah, Bathsheba's husband, and to the front line of the army, thus killing him). With each one listed previously, David sinned! We've all been there, in one way or another, but just as David was pleading to God to cleanse his heart, we all must pay careful attention to what condition our hearts are in, because God works from the inside out. Here are some additional applications to take with you and choose from this week...

  1. God can do more than we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20), and at the same time He can do things with us and within us that is very powerful also. However, we must be willing to let Him work, to say to Him something like, "Here I am, send me" (Isaiah 6:8). Pray a prayer of submission to God, renew your faith by telling God "I'm here, what do you want me to do, today/this week/this month/with my life.
  2. Each one of us has some type of a barrier that Satan seems to use to his advantage to keep us from or slow us down when it comes to serving God. David asks for a renewed steadfast spirit. What is your barrier? Busyness, time management, lack of interest in serving in a ministry, unknown interest in serving, personal struggles - job, marriage, family, relationships, sin in past or present, or you fill in the blank. Pray that God will reduce your barrier to the point of removal so that you can serve Him with a renewed and steadfast spirit!
  3. Imagine what it must be like to have a life ahead of you that requires needles being stuck in your body over and over for the sake of your health? Some of you with diabetes know what it is like to have to do that. The question above reflects upon a three-year-old who was recently diagnosed with diabetes. So, from three-years-old until the day he passes on, he will have to endure the difficulty of having injections of insulin - over and over and over. He must do this with a willingness to stay healthy. God works in you, are you willing to put up with the pain and repetitiveness that comes with submitting to God as you "take up your cross" daily? There are blessings, as well as, costs when it comes to serving. Regardless of which one your life is given more of, heaven is the ultimate prize! Pray that God will grant you a willing spirit so that you may be sustained!!!

May God bless you this holiday season as you share "the gift" of Jesus to everyone you meet!

Have a great week!

Blessings ~Share/Bookmark

E-mail Encouragement: Coming Alive  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , ,

Each one of us has interests which excite us. This could range from hobbies to television shows. You "come alive" when you take part in a hobby, and anticipate that excitement when you know you will take part in that hobby in the future. Why is that? As we strive to use our every day life to serve God, in the specific realm of sharing the Good News message, which one of your interests could you use to benefit the Kingdom? As we looked at "Faith on the Move" on Sunday, this quote went along with that...

Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. ~ Howard Thurman

Being "alive" brings a positive energy. If each person used what interested them and found a way to share the Good News at each opportunity, I think the times we met together would take on a different look. Even if you weren't able to use your hobby each week, you would still have an anticipation for that next time. Make a list of your interests and/or hobbies - from favorite television shows to knitting. Then, see how you can use that to God's glory. If it is a TV show, maybe you can invite friends over to watch with you. Or, you can look for a moral principle to discuss with someone you know who has an interest in the same show. If it is going out to eat, you can invite someone to go with you that you haven't been out with before. There are endless possibilities, but the main thing is to be using that time to share Jesus - informally or formally.

What does the world need?...It needs you "coming alive" and going out to spread the Good News! So, what makes you "come alive"? Now that you've answered that, use those answers to His glory!

Making a list ~Share/Bookmark

Monday Mentionings: Faith on the Move - Genesis 12:1-13:18  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , , , ,

Our assembly, yesterday, was a great boost to my week! There were lots of smiles being spread, which is always good. Assembly was followed by a great brown-bag lunch. The last thing we did together was singing Christmas carols and spreading joy to the folks at the nursing home! We had a great turnout and the singing reflected it!

Got a tug at your heart to do something, maybe specific, for God? It could be a variety of things and it could be in addition to something you are currently doing. James says, "faith with out action is dead" (James 2:26). Often times this verse is used to illustrate that we need to be doing things like reading our Bibles, praying, attending worship, etc., which are all great things we need to be doing. Though I didn't use this verse (or text) in yesterday's message, I emphasize that the action involved may sometimes be something as simple as picking up a phone to call a person who you know is going through a rough patch. It doesn't always have to be formal or to the extent that Abram/Abraham did. Here are some other applications to choose from to use from yesterday's message...

  1. I cringe when I am in an uncomfortable place and I am a much more relaxed driver when I am in a city where I know where I'm going - it doesn't matter the size of the city. However, though the first time may be uncomfortable, the second is a little less, and by the third, there are practically no uncomfortable feelings left. I am sure, to an extent, the same works for you. As you feel God asking you to "leave" a particular situation to go to a place that is uncomfortable, know that it only takes a few times of exposure before you get comfortable. As you may be nervous about sharing Jesus, I encourage you to go ahead and do it (through an invitation, a kind word, informing you'll pray, an act of kindness, etc.) and it will become easier and easier. God tells us to "Go and share the gospel" it is up to you to decide if and how you are going to do it.
  2. Promises inspire. Any coach that could promise a win if they played well would inspire their team to try as hard as they could. Positive motivation works wonders. I use it in subbing and it is amazing how well the kids respond. Read Genesis 12:1c-3 to see the eight different promises God makes to Abram. As you plan out your day, focus on what God has promised to you - in these and any other verses - at let it encourage you to look at your "schedule" a bit differently!
  3. You may not know where the conversation/situation may go, but tell the next person you come in contact with, outside of our church, something you appreciate about them (if you know them) or tell them how much you appreciate what they do for you, or some other comment to surprise them that you complimented them. This is an example of getting your faith in action. Abram didn't know where he was going, just like you may not know where your conversation/situation may go, but "by faith" you share.
  4. As you drive around your neighborhood this month, say prayers for particular people you know. Pray for their day, family, open doors, soft hearts, safe holiday travels/season, marriage, kids, your influence, etc. Your "land" is vast - use it to God's glory!!! Who knows what He'll reveal to you over time as you pray!

Abram is esteemed as a man of faith, but as we saw yesterday, there were times which he failed miserably. May you be encouraged to put your faith in action, even if you make mistakes.

May God bless you with many open doors and soft hearts to share Jesus!

On the Move ~Share/Bookmark

E-mail Encouragment: Forging Character  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , ,

When I was a child, I looked at the people I was around the most, in their teens and above, and would form some sort of a thought about whether I would like to be like them some day. I remember people who I thought were "cool" and fun to be around, which could have been for different reasons, depending on their age. Sometimes, I would think to myself that I wanted to be like them when I was older because they exhibited something that was good. However, there were definitely those who were not someone to imitate and those who I thought were "cool" but ended up not being someone to look up to after all. Outside appearance and actions do not always define a person's character. This brings us to this week's quote...

You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one. ~ James A. Froude

Having a father as a principal for four small schools meant that I was around a lot of people throughout my life. This gave me the opportunity to be influenced by a lot, too. However, many of those people did not turn out to be anything like they appeared to be, once they became adults. Even some of the adults weren't as good as they appeared once I became an adult.

No amount of "dreaming" will magically create us to be what we become or want to become. The valley and mountain peak experiences and journeys have helped "hammer and forge" me into what I am today. As life continues, then the valleys and peaks that are in my future will continue to affect what I will become. To become a person of great character, we must be "hammered" to become that person because simply dreaming about it does not make it happen.

As you end your week, may you use the circumstances/situations that come your way or have come your way, to "forge" you into a finely crafted person of great character.

Blessings ~

Monday Mentionings: What an Embarrassment - Genesis 38:12-26  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , ,

What was your most embarrassing moment? Sometime during our life we do something, in a setting where others are around, that is embarrassing. Unfortunately, for some, their “moment” may have been a result of bad judgment. If such was the case, it wasn’t a “moment” but rather a chapter in their life. Maybe that was the case for you. Yesterday, we looked at Genesis 38 and the story of two people, Judah and Tamar, each making poor choices that resulted in being, what some my consider, an embarrassment to the family name. However, through their incest relationship God brings about an amazing outcome…our Savior! Here are a few applications from yesterday’s lesson…

  1. Sometimes a poor judgment can result in feeling like your world is crashing in on you. Your judgment may be clouded which results in wanting to do something “crazy”. Jesus calls us to give our burdens to Him in Matthew 11:28-30 when He says, “if you are weary and heavy burdened, come to me and I will give you rest.” Whenever you don't know what to do, may you give your "craziness" to Him!
  2. If we took your life and filmed it, then showed it to your church or co-workers, how many things from your week do you think you would be cringing when it was shown? I am sure we all would want to cringe sometime during the "reveal". However, let us learn to give grace to others when they make mistakes by understanding that we all have times which we have “logs” in our own eyes (Matthew 7:1-5).
  3. Have you ever done something that you had a difficult time thinking that God could/would forgive? Be encouraged and Praise God that there is no sin that God can’t forgive when we decide to commit to follow Him! God’s grace is amazing…a grace that “will pardon and cleanse within.”

Be encouraged and strengthen as you keep fighting the good fight of faith!

Don't let a clouded past deny you from having a fresh faith!

How has God been working through you lately? Leave a comment...

A forgiven embarrassment ~Share/Bookmark

E-mail Encouragement: Be Brave!  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , , ,

One might be able to somewhat know what it is like to go through a situation you've never been through, but you never genuinely know until you have experienced it for yourself. How would you describe having a filling put in your tooth if you've never had it done? Sure, it is usually painful, but it is hard to describe what the actual feeling is like. Speaking of something that is painful, that brings us to today's quote...

"Pain nourishes courage. You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you." ~ Author Unknown

Even as I wrote about the dentist experience, I experience sensations in my mouth of "drilling anxiety". I've had it enough to know it is not a pleasant experience - especially if there is more than one filling that is needed. However, since I have experienced it before, I have a sense of courage for anytime in the future. Whether it is pain from a dentist or pain from another experience, this quote holds very true.

Heartaches, feelings hurt, skin lacerations, failed test, lost job, etc. All are things that allow you to be prepared if there is a next time. The same works in evangelism. I might describe bravery as "anxiousness going forward". You might be scared to go through a house with no lights on, but you still go forward to find the switch. You might be scared to go into the dentist office, but bravery keeps you from not quitting. You might be scared to share Jesus with someone, but bravery makes sure you do. You will experience pain in life. If you didn't you would be one of the biggest idealists because you'd always expect things to turn out a certain way. Our personal challenge is to be brave and go forward in, specifically, our sharing of Jesus. If it results in pain, that just "nourishes courage", which will result in an easier next time. So, be brave and share Jesus!

May God bless you with a great end of the week, and one that ends with no pain! However, if you did have a pain during the week, be brave and keep moving forward!

Sharing Jesus ~Share/Bookmark

At this time of year, we don't get the opportunity to have fresh vegetables from our own gardens. However, the time of year should not matter as to whether or not our faith is fresh. Discouragement can be one of the bigger things to keep you from having a fresh faith. Depending on what is discouraging you, it can loom in your mind filling each thought, causing your faith to lessen. As we reflect back on yesterday's sermon from Numbers 13:1-2, 17-20, 27-28, & 30-32, here are some applications to choose from to use...

1. You have been given senses, a voice, talents, and material things. You have also been given the Spirit, who will guide you. As you seek to find ways to share Jesus, use what God has already given you and ask the Spirit to guide you to help you in each situation.

2. God sent the spies into the land which God had already promised to give them (Numbers 13:2). God didn't send them into the land to decide IF they could conquer the land or not. As God sends you out into the mission field each day don't decide if you can "do the job" because God knows you can! Possibly use the following question, "What was one of the highlights of your time at church on Sunday?" Your answer doesn't have to reflect the lesson, but it will open up the door to talk about Jesus - whether or not they went to church on Sunday.

3. God has probably done some pretty amazing things in your life up to now. It could range from your salvation to healing a major health condition of you or someone close to putting you in touch with someone you never thought possible. If you were to be granted a wish to make an impact for the Kingdom, what would your wish be? Now that you named did name it, right? If no...what is the wish? OK, now that you named it, is it possible to do it in our church? Why not? If it seems far fetched, think about what steps you need to take in order to help get you to reaching your "wishing" point. Maybe it is to pray, maybe just mentioning it to someone else, maybe just opening your eyes to the potential. No matter what you do, lean toward the side of accomplishing it, but don't, don't, don't let something discourage you from attempting to accomplish your goal. Don't let the letters I & M be a part of any probability to make it become an IMprobability!!! YOU CAN DO IT!!!

What will you and God accomplish this week? What "lands" will you two be able to conquer together?

I hope all had a great Thanksgiving!

Spying out the land ~Share/Bookmark

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. You might notice a gap in the post dates...I took some time off from posting. I'm back!Share/Bookmark

E-mail Encouragement: Give Someone a Compliment!  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , ,

It is easy for you to give gratitude? Some people find it difficult and others find it easier. Each side could probably come up with various reasons of why. However, it is a shame that the "bad" things are usually brought out more often than the good things. In other words, if you've ever filled out a "comment card", the bad comments will typically get the attention first because that place of business will want to fix those problem areas. Whereas, the positive comments are probably just presumed because that is they way they SHOULD run their business. Compliments and statements of gratitude should be more important than negative comments. If you have a comment of gratitude, tell that person, don't keep it to yourself. Which brings us to this week's quote of encouragement...

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone. ~ G.B. Stern

I like to live by this for personal reasons. Too often we don't mention good things people do, but focus on the bad. Usually the ones making the bad comments are few, but make it out to seem like they are the majority. We tend to remember the complaints we heard longer than the compliments. However, if the compliments outnumbered the complaints, it may - give a compliment or two or three or four or more!!!

Have a great rest of your week! May God reward you richly!

Serving Him ~Share/Bookmark

Our culture is growing more accustomed to not having to wait on things. With the explosion of cell phone use, specifically amongst high school students, they can’t even wait 44 minutes (the length of a class) to talk to a friend because, if they can, they try to get away with sending a text message during class. Our need to know an answer is infected with impatience. This spreads into how we deal with God. We want to have the answer immediately…but God works by His own clock. Here are some applications to choose from regarding yesterday’s sermon…

  1. If you were picking someone to bear a child, your pick wouldn’t typically be someone who had been barren. God did. He picked an unlikely person to bring John into the world. You may think you’re an unlikely person to carry out what God has in store, but you may just be surprised at what happens. Pray that you will be open and willing to carry out what God sends your way!
  2. I would rather wait through many cycles of stoplights than sit and try to turn left, crossing traffic, on a busy street. With the stoplights I know what is going to happen, with the other I don’t know when my chance to “go” will be. However, probably the times when I “don’t know what will happen” is when God is going to do something with me. As you go through your week, look for the most unlikely times to have God send someone to you or you are sent to someone who is in need of something you have been selected to provide.
  3. What have you been asking God for that He hasn’t given you the answer you requested? Has He provided a clear answer that is opposite? Or somewhere in the middle? Sometimes God may give you an unlikely answer – one you didn’t expect. Maybe that is because it was not His Will to answer in the way you wanted. Maybe it was because you were not specific in your prayer, so your answer was as general as your prayer. Either way, we can learn to ask specifically, not generally. Ask persistently, not conveniently.
  4. God is a “dot connector”. He works out situations in ways we can’t fathom. Part of the reason we can’t fathom the ways He works the situations out is because they often overlap with more than just our individual life. People’s paths overlap in various ways and layers. Somewhere in there He allows us to be a dot that, hopefully, brings them closer to Jesus. Let us not be like Zechariah to be stricken with an unlikely condition when he couldn’t speak, but look at each situation as God using us for something good. Remember, a hopeless situation could just be a setup for you to be used as a mighty instrument in God’s Kingdom!!!

God is working things out according to His clock, which keeps perfect time and the batteries never run out. Your requests and situations may or may not work out the way you would like. Regardless, understand that God can use you where you’re at, at any given time. As you understand this, may you be freed from any barricade that may keep your faith from being fresh!!!

May your faith be continually refreshed ~Share/Bookmark

Prayer Outcomes: Does Praying Yield Tangible Results?  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , ,

Theme of the Week THIS WEEK'S THEME
Prayer Outcomes
Does praying yield tangible results?

Daily readings are as follows:

Sunday: SOS Prayers
MOI, November 11, 2007

Monday: Pooled Praying
MOI, November 12, 2007

Tuesday: Rapid Response
MOI, November 13, 2007

Wednesday: Crack Solution
MOI, November 14, 2007

Thursday: Sight and Faith
MOI, November 15, 2007

Friday: Test Case
MOI, November 16, 2007

Saturday: Weekend Wrap-up
MOI, November 17, 2007Share/Bookmark

E-mail Encouragement: Putting Your Plan Into Action  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , ,

We often look for the "ideal" moments to "get out and do things". Whether it is the right temperature, wind speed, sunny vs. rainy, busyness, etc., they all can play into our excuse making. Most of the time, we just have to start doing something and it seems to be much better than what we expected. I can relate to all of that, as I like to have the right "mood" in order to work on a specific project. I've learned, but tend to forget the lesson, that a project isn't so bad once you start working on it. I've also learned that when I set my mind on completing the project, I am very energized to get it completed and that there is rarely anything that can stop me once I get to that point. This brings us to this week's quote...

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost. ~ Martha Graham

What have you been wanting to do for God that you've been waiting until just the right "ideal" moment? As there rarely is an "ideal" moment, the time to get started planning your work and working your plan is the present.

Don't block your potential - let it take wings and fly!!!

Have a great rest of your week!!!

Stretching my wings ~Share/Bookmark

Monday Mentionings: Can I Trust God to Lead Me? - I Samuel 23:1-5  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , ,

Sunday’s assembly was a great uplift for me! The atmosphere was exciting and inviting! Hopefully, you had a similar experience and feeling to make your week get off to a great start!!!

Sometimes life hands us different barricades which cause our faith to not be a strong or consistent and it could be. Last week, we looked at being free from a hurtful past, as one barricade. This week was another barricade, we looked at the question, “Can I trust God to lead me?” As we reflect back, here are additional applications...

  1. When it comes to our personal thoughts on a certain scripture, a specific text, or a topic, we can easily make a mistake. As you question and/or investigate any topic, text, or scripture, ask God to lead you to the right answer and trust as He leads you in your investigation. May we allow God to shape us, instead of trying to shape God’s Word around our personal thoughts!
  2. As you think about the question “Can I trust God to lead me?” it may seem easy to answer with a “Yes” in most cases. However, think about if you can trust God’s wisdom in getting you through each day with every, yes, e-v-e-r-y interaction you have with others. I am talking about confrontations, as well as, opportunities to connect and walk through an open door. Can/will you trust God to lead you?
Have a great day!

Serving Him ~

E-mail Encouragement: Which Size of Flame?  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , , ,

Being strong in just about every situation is a good quality. Strong bones help you be supported. Strong heart helps you live longer. Strong muscles help you run faster, jump higher, lift more, etc. Strong teams help you win more. Strong faith helps you not stumble. Each one of those becomes stronger because of strains that are placed upon them to cause them to become stronger. This brings us to this week’s quote…

Just as a small fire is extinguished by the storm whereas a large fire is enhanced by it - likewise a weak faith is weakened by predicament and catastrophes whereas a strong faith is strengthened by them." ~ Viktor E. Frankl

The recent California wildfires were not diminished by the wind; rather, they were enhanced, to the point of destroying acres and homes. However, blow on a candle hard enough and it will go out. Which one defines your faith? Do you have a “California wildfire” faith that is raging? Or a candle-sized faith? The one can handle about anything that is thrown at him, the other can’t handle a single bad day. Maybe you would be somewhere in the middle…but where? Would your faith look like a controlled forest fire, a pile of leaves burning, a fire place fire, or like candles on a birthday cake?

How do you respond to bad predicaments? Does it weaken your faith or strengthen your faith? When your faith is stronger, it strengthens it. If it is too weak for the storm, it will be made even weaker. If you find yourself having a period of weak faith, pray that God will strengthen it. If you’re going through a rough patch and feel the need to share, let me know and I will be glad to pray for you! May your faith in other people be made strong enough to not tackle your burdens by yourself!

Keeping in (faith) shape ~Share/Bookmark

Walked Through the Door...Though Hesitant  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , , , , ,

Yesterday, I had another opportunity to be a substitute teacher. Last week, a kid asked if being a sub was "degrading". I told him, "No, not at all". For me, I really enjoy teaching and I have another job, so this is just a great opportunity to be around people I don't normally get to be around. All the while, sharing and showing Jesus to them! Now back to yesterday...

I had subbed in this class last year and remembered that there was a class in which they normally had a lot of discussions. But when there is a sub, it is a time to study. Feeling comfortably nervous (if you will), I decided to have a discussion on Love and Respect. (This is a title of a published book, but it is also a logical relationship concept from the bible) I had the boys make a list of five things that annoys/bothers them about girls, and I had the girls do the opposite.

It was funny when one girl said to the group, "Only five?" They couldn't do anything that was inappropriate or about someone specific (like in a recent breakup, etc.)

I then took the lists and read the boys, one at a time, sometimes asking the boys to defend their reasoning, and then discussing what they wrote. Then, I did the same with the girls' list. It went really well. They laughed, yet saw truth. One boy turned around two different times to calm some of the guys who were talking because he wanted to hear what I was saying. Then, a few classes later, a girl that was in that discussion came in for a different class and asked if they could do it in the current class. I said she already did it and she responded by telling me that "it was fun."

God opened a door. I was a bit hesitant to walk through it. I wasn't real comfortable doing a lesson in someone else's classroom, but I did walk through the door and God surprised me! God is good...!

What doors will God open for you, today?

Have a great day!

Checking the knobs for open doors ~

Monday Mentionings: Too Good to Be True - Genesis 37:3-8  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , ,

Our "family reunion" was really great on Sunday! It was great to see everyone there! Aubrey and I were very much surprised with your appreciation gift! THANKS! THANKS! THANKS!

Have you ever experienced a "too good to be true" moment? We all would like to experience those moments more than we actually do. However, in our normal lives, too many moments like that would seem like the norm, and take away from some of the surprise factor.

As Christians, we have a whole life of "too good to be true" moments. If you think about salvation, that is when it tends to lose its "Christmas morning, gifts under the tree" surprise factor because it is a state we are in at all times. However, when you think about it a bit more, God can surprise us at any time with a situation you never thought would happen. As we looked at Joseph's life, here are some other applications...

  1. Have you been through some rough patches in life? Do they keep popping up from time to time? Are they so bad that you said to yourself, "God, why am I still here?" A person recently said that they were "ready" to go on to heaven. They didn't know that God was going to use them in an absolutely huge way, just right around the corner. Joseph went through some rough patches, but God wasn't through with him yet. You might wonder why, but God may just be going to use that painful life experience to benefit someone else or lead you to someone else. He's not through with you yet, either!
  2. God can make lemonade out of life's lemony moments. Losing a job can be very bitter. If you've ever been laid off or fired, or resigned or retired, say a quick prayer for those in that place, especially those who you really didn't get along with. Pray for yourself and for them.
  3. New clothes are fun to put on. There is the fact that they are new, which is fun. Also, there is the fact that you want to see how you look, how it fits, etc. I just heard about my 5 year-old niece who received a package from her grandparents with a new outfit. She had her dad stop the car just so she could change to put it on! She was excited! As Christians, Christ has put on our old clothes of sin and gives us new clothes of salvation, that we can put on. (II Corinthians 5:21, I Peter 2:24, Galatians 3:26-27) Praise God that you have the opportunity to no longer have those clothes! Praise Jesus for wearing you don't have to!!!

Remember, we can all "do big things for God!"

Have a great week!

Blessings ~Share/Bookmark

E-mail Encouragement: Check Your Expiration Date  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , ,

The other day I was subbing and amidst the conversation was a comment that went like this…”When does the time come when you can give tests and grade them without looking at any answer key because you know all the answers, huh? When does that happen?” They were discussing their years of teaching and one was planning on returning to school to get an administration certificate. I pondered that comment, never interjecting my thoughts. I was going to say something, but the conversation had already passed too far. My thought was “When you simply want your students to stay busy instead of learn and you, yourself, are no longer desiring to know more, then you will reach that point.” This brings us to this quote…

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80.
Anyone who keeps learning stays young.
The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.
~ Henry Ford

When you are satisfied with your faith, then that is its peak. When you don’t stretch yourself to try something new then your limitations stay where they’re at. If you are pushing yourself beyond what is comfortable, then you will continue to grow.

If you die after you get so old, and we don’t want anyone’s faith to be dead, it is up to each one of us to keep expanding the knowledge of our faith. This will keep our church “young” even if we are chronologically growing older.

How will you keep your faith from getting old? Old faith creates moldy faith…young faith is fresh faith!

Check your faith’s “expiration date” it may need to be replaced/refreshed. Don’t let the Thief steal, kill, or destroy you and your faith!

Have a great week!!!

Checking my faith ~Share/Bookmark

Monday Mentionings: How's Your Health - I Thessalonians 2:17-3:10  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , , ,

How old are you? There are different ways to determine that. One is your mental age versus chronological age. Another is your your physical body's age versus chronological age (i.e. you may be 50 but have the heart of a 30 year old). Last, there is just our chronological age, which most of you probably thought about when I asked the question.

Our health determines how long we will live. A couple of factors in determining life expectancy are lifestyle and genetics. Our spiritual health can have the same factors. With lifestyle, even normal "church" lifestyle, we can either decide to be comfortable with where we're at and never be willing to change so we get faith "sclerosis" - our heart hardens - or we can adapt to the times and remain alive and vibrant. Genetics play a part, simply, by looking at the influence of family. What you learn growing up will factor in on how alive you are for how long. Like in actual health, you aren't destined to be like this, but certain factors increase your chances. How's your health?

Paul was not concerned with how big the congregation was or other superficial things. Rather, Paul wrote to find out about the FAITH of the Thessalonians. Not the kind of faith that asks if they still believe in God, but the kind of faith that is active and vibrant! Here are some other applications you might be able to use from the lesson...

  1. Our faith is always needing to become stronger. It could be faith in God, in our brothers and sisters, our leaders, etc. How's your faith in the church? If you are one that tends to complain first when something new is mentioned, then pray about the situation first and ask God to help you see the blessing from this new idea/concept instead of worrying about the burden.
  2. We're not going to get to know each other very well when our only contact is inside the walls of the church building. Keep it on your conscience to get together with someone outside of normal times about once a month. This will help you get to know people "deeper" than just assembly times.
  3. What has been going on in your life that is good?...that is bad? If we do not share or are not willing to share, we will not increase our faith in the church that Jesus built. The church that Jesus built wants to rejoice when you rejoice and weep when you weep. It is here to be of support, not to destroy. have things been?
  4. I was encouraged yesterday by seeing you participate with the kids in singing their songs. Thanks for showing your "happiness" and "letting your light shine!"
  5. Pray that you will be willing to ask for help, from the church, when you need a "faith fill", so that your faith will not become "moldy" or be lacking in any way. If you need something to be prayed for or something else, I would be glad to pray about it with/for you.

We're only as strong as our weakest member. If your faith is lacking, then we need to do something about it so all can be on the same plane. No one needs to be left behind!

Let me know how God has been working in your life...or even the lack of God's presence...Share/Bookmark

E-mail Encouragement: What Value Do You Bring?  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , ,

When you work at a job, you are getting paid for the amount of time or the amount of tasks that you complete. Tasks, obviously, take time to complete, so in a sense, it still comes down to time. However, when you do work, you get your money after a certain time of working, not before. You are required to show up for work, complete your responsibilities, and then you will receive your money. This week's quote is a little different take on the normal attitude toward working...

You don't get paid for the hour. You get paid for the value you bring to the hour. ~ Jim Rohn

I would agree with this quote, but let's look at it like this: How much would you get paid if you were being paid based on the "value" you brought to that hour? Would it be more or less than your current amount?

Salvation is a free gift with priceless value. Since we are rewarded with salvation before our life on earth ends, we sometimes forget that we still have responsibilities of "bringing value" to the hours we're here on earth. It would make it much easier to get the "check" of salvation once we were at the end because we'd always be putting in a great amount of effort. Thinking about salvation, how much would you get paid based on the value you bring to the spreading of the Kingdom? Would it be more or less?

We can be thankful that Christ already paid our "wage" to be eligible to go to heaven. Let us be valuable during the hours we're here on the earth!!!

I'm thankful that I don't get my salvation paycheck based on what I do! But based on what Jesus has done!!!

Serving Him ~Share/Bookmark

Monday Mentiongs: "Ripped Off" - John 10:7-11  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , ,

When you go to the store, you, naturally, like to have foods that are fresh. "Fresh Faith" is our new series. When people are looking for Jesus, they are going to be attracted to the ones who have the "freshest" Jesus, not anything "moldy". In yesterday's sermon we looked into John 10:7-11 where Jesus tells His audience that the thief steals, kills, and destroys. Not a pretty picture, but we also must keep in mind that there is opportunity for what was stolen to be recovered. Here are some other applications to choose from to use this week...

  1. What has the Thief stolen from you? Your passions/desires, your appetite for God's word, your purpose in the Kingdom, etc.? What caused you to put your guard down to allow him to steal any of these things? Write down 3 things you would like to do to enhance the Kingdom, then pray about them for the next month. If you want to share, I'll pray about them with you.
  2. What has the Thief killed - pertaining to you? Have you lost the life you once had? This type of life is meaning the vibrancy for doing things for God. Did you once want to serve any time the opportunity was offered, but now, your vibrancy has died? Pray that God would give you the needed CPR to revive your spiritual heart!
  3. What has the Thief come and destroyed in your life? Has he destroyed your prayer life, your marriage, your self-esteem, etc.? How have you dealt with this? Satan wants you to rely on yourself and not on God. The longer you let your "hot ember" of faith stay away from God, the happier Satan gets because he knows he's accomplishing his mission. Don't let Satan take you away from the fire! The way to defeat this giant is to pray to God that He will bless your efforts in making sure that Satan doesn't destroy anything in your life!
  4. Lost something? God can help you find it again! David had his supplies and his family stolen. He went after them. Don't let anyone take what is rightly yours. Do just as David did - go find your property!!!
Freshness is appealing. May you have a faith that is refreshed each and every day so that your faith will be appealing to others!

Asking God to replace my faith with "fresh" faith ~Share/Bookmark

E-mail Encouragement: Success  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , ,

Very few things come to us. Most things that we receive we must make the attempt to go after. You may get served at a restaurant and have your food brought to you, but you had to decide and order the particular dish in the first place. You may receive a package in the mail instead of going to the store, but you had to find it online or in the catalog in the first place. Success is similar. Which brings us to this quote...

Success doesn't come to you, you go to it. ~ Marva Collins

Fame is something people might think about when it comes to being successful. Athletics, actors, musicians, etc., all seem to be successful based on their life. However, even if they were born with "natural talent" they still had to make the effort to go to practice, learn their lines, try out for positions, and play an instrument. Do you want to be considered successsful in your endeavors? You have to go to it! Want to save souls - go find them. They will not be likely to come to you. However, even if you are that blessed, you still must walk through the door of opportunity - still going to the success.

May God bless your endeavors of gowing toward success - in whatever area you choose.

Have a great Friday and Saturday!

Going forward ~Share/Bookmark

Isn't It Interesting  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , ,

I just was studying for the Wednesday night Bible study when this thought came to mind. Isn't it interesting that when Jesus heals people and tells them to not tell anyone, that they go and tell everyone?

Then, when Jesus gives us the message, via scripture (Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-16, and Acts 1:8) to "Go, tell everyone" and we tend to tell no one!

What are your thoughts/reactions to this?Share/Bookmark

Monday Mentionings: Dedication of the Wall: Nehemiah 12:27  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , ,

Good News! I just checked and relief (as I would describe it) from the heat is in sight! By the time some of you read this, it may have already changed. I look forward to the warmer temperatures about March, but in October I look forward to the cooler temperatures.

After all the building that took place by the Jews, the wall around Jerusalem has been completed and is now being dedicated. Once a big project is completed, a time of celebration tends to follow. They celebrated "with gladness, with thanksgiving and with singing, with cymbals, harps, and lyres." (English Standard Version) God helped the finish the walls, but He was not finished with them. Just like God is not finished with us. We are both, in a sense, always "Under Construction". As we ended the series with a dedication, let us look at how we can dedicate ourselves, regularly, to God by these applications...

  1. Smile - Rededicate yourself through a smile. A good, meaningful smile means that you are glad. Gladness has positive health results, promoting a longer life of service to God! So, smile, and then, go serve!
  2. Thanksgiving - Rededicate yourself through being thankful. Many jobs can be very thankless. Rarely did I get "thanked" from a participating team, for umpiring. God gives and gives, and we probably overlook many of the things that He does give - clean air, potable water, etc. Be a servant of thanks!
  3. Praise - Rededicate yourself through praise. What is a favorite praise song? Take time to sing or hum it regularly this week. As Psalm 40:3-4 talks about a "new song" that has been put in our mouth...maybe you can make up a new song to praise God with!
  4. Instruments - Rededicate yourself through being instrumental. Be instrumental in getting the message of Jesus out there. Maybe it will be through a compliment, a card/e-mail, a phone call, being patient, or whatever. Just be conscientious about the many opportunities that we get to be God's hands and feet on earth. How will you be instrumental for Him?

Have a great week and look forward to the cooler temperatures!

Serving Him ~Share/Bookmark

Wherever Your At, That is Where God Can Use You  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , ,

Whether it is Moses living amidst the Israelites or you living in a world full of people who have been "enslaved" to sin, selfishness, deceit, etc., God will use you where you're at.

Moses was surprised by a burning bush that wouldn't burn up, and then to hear a voice come from the fire. I am surprised when I am going about my day and someone asks me a question that I didn't think I would hear from their mouth. Sometimes I have the time to go on and other times I wish I would have more time. However, part of the greatness in being a Teammate of God's is that the surprises always come.

Recently, I was surprised by having someone open up about a current difficulty they are experiencing. Not only was I surprised by this open door, but the openness of the individual. Additionally, I was surprised that hardly anyone in this community had even asked him about his problem (not even from his own church!!!). Where are the people giving the "water to the thirsty"? Where are those who are supposed to be followers of Jesus (they aren't acting like Jesus, just following!).

My heart goes out to this man. Guys can be tough, but there are certain things that break men down, and life can sometimes deliver the biggest blow! I am thankful that I was led down this path to be here for him at this time. Whether it is a "rest stop" friendship, where he can get a bit of relief, but always know that I am there when he passes by and needs a break in life, or it becomes something long term, it doesn't matter. I am just glad that God opened the door for me to be there for him at this time in his life.

Remember, God will use you where you're at!

God is good.... ~ JSShare/Bookmark

E-mail Encouragement: Go Paint!  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , ,

What do you doubt about yourself? Our inner voice is usually the strongest of all the voices we hear. That inner voice could potentially be taking away from allowing you to do something great in life, which brings to this week's quote...

If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. ~ Vincent Van Gogh

One of the most respected painters of all time would probably have never become a great respected painter if he would have listened to his inner voice. By silencing that voice, he became a world renowned painter/artist. What is holding you back from becoming something bigger for God? Don't listen to the inner voice of doubt, but go out and see what happens when we decide to "paint"!

The world is your mission field canvas, so...what are you going to paint?

Grabbing my brush ~Share/Bookmark

Monday Mentionings: God REALLY Loves Us! - Nehemiah 9:9-31  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , ,

If you had as good of a day as I did yesterday, then you had a good start to your week!

One thing that preaching through books teaches me, is that people need things (and sometimes the same things) told to them over and over. This section of Nehemiah is a good example. As they pondered their history, they were reminded of how much God really loves them. This chapter reminds us of the same things.

Instead of additional applications, I want you to spend various times in your week by praising God for what He has done for you. These could be simple things, like things we take for granted, to bigger things. The possibilities are endless. It doesn't matter what you deem as appropriate for praise, just do it!

After all, we are a people who have been "afflicted, yet freed", we can be "stiff-necked, yet grace-given", and we often "rebel, yet not forsaken". God does REALLY love us!

Have a praise-filled week!!!!!

Loving Him ~Share/Bookmark

E-mail Encouragement: Creating Yourself Anew  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , ,

God always seems to come through in my weakness. Last Saturday night, the Vision Team met for our monthly meeting. With all that has been going on in the recent past, I didn't go to the meeting with much. However, I sat back as ideas and encouragement seemed to pour out from the group. God is Good!.. When I read today's quote, I couldn't help but think of last Saturday...

The deepest secret is that life is not a process of discovery, but a process of creation. You are not discovering yourself, but creating yourself anew. Seek, therefore not to find out who you are, seek to determine who you want to be. ~ Conversations With God

It seems that each time we have had a meeting, God shows me a surprise! I commend and applaud all of you who are a part of this Team! I see God working in great ways! Ideas of how we can be used are simply multiplied over and over!

May we all be continually renewing of ourselves! May we all be on the never-ending journey of seeking to "determine who you want to be" and who God wants you to be!!!

Anticipation God's Next Surprise ~Share/Bookmark

Monday Mentionings: Praising Our Creator  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , ,

It was a great opportunity to be outside worshiping our God, yesterday! I am sure there were days the Israelites worshiped God and it wasn't the most opportune weather! I didn't care for the unseasonably warm temperatures, but I did enjoy the scenery and the company!!!

Getting outside is refreshing! Seeing creation draws us closer to the Creator. May you be a being of praise this week as you thank the Creator for all that He created. Not only did He create matter (the scientific term), but He also created a method as to return to the glory which sin takes away!

We are microscopic if you put the earth, solar system, galaxies, etc., into a picture form. Yet, He is still "mindful" of us! How great is our God!?! Praise the Lord!

Have a praise-filled week!!!

Thanks for the great day yesterday!

Clapping toward the Creator ~Share/Bookmark

Especially For Men: Sexual Temptations  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , ,

Men ~
We can never be too protected when it comes to keeping ourselves protected against sexual temptations. There is nothing worth directing our thoughts onto some other woman, other than our wives! These are great articles! They are short and only take about one minute, each, to read. If you are short on time, look especially at Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Let me know what you think...Jarrod

Theme of the Week THIS WEEK'S THEME
Escape and Evasion Drill
Our world is full of sexual booby traps. So plan now how to make a getaway.

Daily readings are as follows:

Sunday: Blindsided
MOI, September 23, 2007

Monday: With Angels Like These …
MOI, September 24, 2007

Tuesday: The Creature
MOI, September 25, 2007

Wednesday: Rude Dude?
MOI, September 26, 2007

Thursday: Ambushed
MOI, September 27, 2007

Friday: Survival Instinct
MOI, September 28, 2007

Saturday: Weekend Wrap-up
MOI, September 29, 2007Share/Bookmark

E-mail Encouragement: Strength  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , , ,

I hope you've had a good week, thus far. With last week being so busy, it has nice to have a "less busy" week.

We've all had our share of struggles. From the smallest to the biggest, the least frustrating to the most, struggles are struggles. However, most struggles help us learn lessons, which help us cope with life. Think about this as you read this week's quote...

Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength. ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger

You simply cannot be strong all the time. You might be able to appear strong, but you will wear yourself out trying to be strong. In order to become strong in muscular strength you must perform some type of exercise which exerts tension on muscles. This causes the muscle to actually tear, but is replaced by more muscle cells. When we go through hardships and don't give up we may "tear" but it is replaced by more "cells" to enable us to get through the situation and/or learn from it for the next time.

Our hope is not hardship, but not surrendering to the inevitable will develop strength.

Having a hardship this week? May God bless you as you seek Him through it all and become "stronger" in the end!

Blessed by Him ~Share/Bookmark

Monday Mentionings - Keep Watch Over Yourselves - Acts 20:25-31  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , ,

Today, I left the assembly with a great anticipation of the future! I am looking forward to what the future holds for us. I now have a new type of freedom, free from responsibilities that the shepherds will shoulder, that I haven’t had in the past.

As we looked at the charge to our shepherds, John & Gary, from Acts 20:25-31, I think we can apply these things to our own lives, as well. Here are some applications to take with you this week…

  1. When you are in the world, there are times you must be out front showing people how to be Christ-like. What would Jesus be like if he was at the market and didn’t receive the fastest service? Would he raise a fuss or try to be compassionate?
  2. Everyone falls. How will you be an aid in helping people get back up when they fall? Use those times when people fall to gently teach them not to fall the next time. Your sincerity of care will be appreciated.
  3. Relationships are the purest way to “bring people to Christ”. When you develop a relationship with people, they will be more attracted to Jesus/Christianity than if we just try to coerce them into having a bible study. Sometimes we are not inclined to venture into the unknown and develop a relationship with someone new. Here’s the challenge, who can you try talking to that you don’t normally talk to? Someone at work or at a restaurant or wherever? I am not just saying that you simply say “Hi”, but that you try to make several attempts to get to know more about them – name, family, where they work, what they like to do, etc. Get in the middle of people’s lives! You might surprise yourself about how enjoyable it is. Now that you know how easy it is, don’t stop there!
  4. Know any “loners” or “wanderers”? Could be in or out of the church. Send them a card, buy a soda/coffee, invite to lunch, etc. Maybe they just need a listening ear. How will you go about “rescuing the perishing”?

This next week involves a couple of things that I am looking forward to: One, being outside next weekend and collectively worshiping God amongst what He built (nature), when we go to Dolan; Two, officially starting my office as President of the Hamilton County Ministerial Alliance – I look forward to seeing some new faces as we begin meeting again.

Have a week filled with surprises!

Filled with anticipation ~Share/Bookmark

E-mail Encouragement: Don't Give Up  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , ,

Teamwork can happen whenever two or more people work on accomplishing a known task. I was more than pleased tonight when people worked together to accomplish more than one task. Some gathered things together for the Thursday School tent (and then went to set it up), while others folded a total of 300 flyers. I applaud all these efforts which caused both tasks to be completed in a reasonably short amount of time! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

The thought of teamwork brings me to this weeks quote of encouragement...

“Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it
together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true
strength.” ~ Unknown

It is easy to give up. I cannot say that I've never given up. With that said, I can easily relate to this quote. However, there is a lot of strength that is gained through working through self, adversity, compromise, doubt, and a host of other "things" you could name. I have been on that side of the coin, too. It allows you to see that it was worth persevering!

May we be a people of perseverance who show others that the "joy of the Lord is your strength" and not be ones who "give up" on God, Jesus, our church, ourselves, etc., no matter what life hands us!

Pressing on ~Share/Bookmark

Monday Mentionings: The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength - Nehemiah 8:9-12  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , , , ,

God is Good....

Did you say or start to say "...All the time?" If you are at all familiar with that phrase, you are probably familiar with that response. No matter what goes on in our life our God is good! The joy that is found in our Lord is our strength. Maybe you've already needed that strength today (whenever you read this).

As we looked in Nehemiah 8:9-12 yesterday, we examined a phrase that we can use over and over in our lives today..."the joy of the Lord is your strength". There is so much gold found in that phrase! Not only is there gold in just "panning" the words to see what is found, but being able to recite that phrase and get comfort. I have said it over and over to myself last week and each time it seems to give me a jolt of comfort. I pray that you will find joy and strength in that phrase!!! See if you can use any of these additional applications this week...

  1. "This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it" - Psalm 118:24. If you know the song, try singing or humming it to yourself. See if it doesn't give you a bit of joy to your day. If you know of someone who is going through a rough patch, maybe this might be a verse you could write on a card/note to encourage them.
  2. LORD, YHWH/Yahweh, Jehovah - names of power, of mystery, and of royalty. Say those names...what emotions did you feel? Tell Him that He is LORD of your day...see how your day goes as you remember that phrase through the day.
  3. Knowing that God is with you as you go through life is something to give you strength as you encounter difficulties. David went up against a giant. David was smaller and had less "man" power, but he had a lot of God-power! His confidence didn't come because of his size or his weapon, but because he put his confidence in God! As you go up against "giants" this week, remember to pray and put your confidence in Him. (Scriptures from the David and Goliath incident that I used are at bottom)
This is a busy month for us with Fall Festival and Dolan Lake. Also, there are some other opportunities for us to be involved in: Power of Praying Husband, Power of Praying Wife, and Men's Ping Pong League. If you're interested in any of these, contact the appropriate people to get involved!

The next couple of weeks we'll be taking a small break from Nehemiah - resuming it on the 30th of September. If you have any ideas that you would like to hear a series on, let me know.

Have a Jesus-filled week!!!

Because of Him ~


1 Samuel 17:4-7
4 A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall. 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; 6 on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. 7 His spear shaft was like a weaver's rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield bearer went ahead of him. (NIV)

Verses 38-40
38 Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. 39 David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. "I cannot go in these," he said to Saul, "because I am not used to them." So he took them off. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine. (NIV)

Verses 45-47
45 David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give all of you into our hands." (NIV)Share/Bookmark

E-mail Encouragement: Fearing Shadows  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , ,

Light is practically always a good feeling. The sun coming up in the morning reminds us that a new day is dawning. Lights coming back on after they went out due to power failure allows us to feel safe again. You could probably think about other instances where light made someone feel good.

Light causes shadows. Do you fear shadows? Read on...

Never fear shadows. They simply mean there's a light somewhere nearby. ~ Ruth E. Renkee

The system of sacrifices in the Old Testament has been referenced to being a "shadow" of what Christ does for us in the New Testament. Based on the inabilities found in the sacrificial system, it would be easy to "fear" them. As the sacrificial system was such a system that required many, many sacrifices to be done throughout one's life.

If those in the Old Testament knew that Christ's death meant never having to sacrifice again, they wouldn't have "feared" these sacrifices. As those sacrifices simply meant that Christ (i.e. the Light) was "somewhere nearby"!

May we revel in the idea that we have the Light to "walk in" (I John 1:7) and a "light" to illuminate our path (Psalm 119:105)! So remember not to fear shadows because a light (of comfort) is nearby!

I hope you have a great end of your week!

Walking a "Lit" Path ~Share/Bookmark

Open Door: Subbing  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , ,

Last Wednesday, I had the opportunity to sub in our local high school. I love doing this because it gives me a purposeful opportunity to be in the environment of the kids of the community. I hear things that I don't normally hear. I see people who I rarely see. And the reverse happens in each instance.

On one such occasion, last week, I was subbing in what most know as "home economics" class. One class was the "Foods and Nutrition" class. This is a two period class, where they will later be cooking, so extra time is needed. I finished all of what was asked of me with about 25 minutes to go in the total time. I decided to ask about what I and/or our church could do to give kids something to do. It was a total off-guard question, so, needless-to-say, they had nothing immediate to share. I didn't leave the situation disappointed. I took it as God opening a door for me to talk to them. I told them that if they ever thought of anything, they would have an opportunity any time they saw me to share their thoughts with me. I returned to my seat and shortly thereafter a student came up and was asking me questions regarding some of the thoughts I had expressed. We had a good conversation and I expressed appreciation for him coming to me. I told him any other time he wanted to, I was always open.

God is good...all the time! He makes doors open when we least expect it!

I don't consider it a defeat...regardless, I still praise Him!

What has God been doing in your life?Share/Bookmark

Monday Mentionings: Built for God Before Self - Nehemiah 6:15-7:4  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , , ,

Happy Labor Day!

I hope you all are having/did have a great day! It is good to have those three-day weekends from time to time.

With the opportunity to play softball next week coming up quickly, I enjoyed getting re-familiar with the game of softball Sunday evening with Shawn, Heather, Aubrey, & Shawn's friend, Adam. I have a feeling I am going to be getting re-familiar with sore muscles come Monday morning! :) We had a lot of fun and I am looking forward to playing with the Dale Christian Church next Sunday!

The wall that Nehemiah started is now built. All that witnessed or heard about the wall knew that it was because of God that it was completed. As we live our lives, may people see that our lives are "built by God" too! Here are a couple of other applications to use for this lesson...

  1. What is a characteristic in you that people would have no problem identifying as being "built" by God? In other words, what do you do different than others to show that God is a priority in your life? i.e. your prayer life, handling your temper, encouragement, etc.
  2. When was the last time you suffered a defeat? Did you praise God, then? If not, do it now. We must remember that we still serve God and praise Him in our victories AND our defeats! (From "Facing the Giants")
  3. God before self. Easy to say, tough to put into action. What is an area where you've been struggling to put this into practice? Pray that God would help you prioritize things. Keep this verse in mind...“and He will give you all you need from day to day if you live for Him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern” - Matthew 6:33 (NLT)

May you be blessed to have the easy road in serving Him with no roadblocks to prevent that service! May you be ever saying something like this...“I don’t know how I’m going to serve you today or what you are going to put on my plate, but no matter what, I’m standing in the circle that says, ‘I’m serving You, Lord.’”

Have a God-strengthened, Jesus-oozing, and Spirit-led week!

Looking for surprises ~Share/Bookmark

E-mail Encouragement: Your Definition  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , ,

Ever felt dampened about your abilities because of something someone else said? I remember a comment my father made to me my freshman year of high school. It definitely felt "dampening". Because of it, I didn't want it to become true. I did everything I could to prove the comment wrong. I am sure he never even thought about it after he made it, but it struck a cord with me. This leads to this week's quote...

We must not allow other people's limited perceptions to define us. ~ Virginia Satir

When we allow other people to define us, we definitely limit ourself. People's comments will generally limit or empower us. Thinking about this, we can either be the one who does not let others limit us or think about what we say as to empower others to explore their abilities. And we are continually walking the line and stepping on one side or another depending on the situation.

I hope you will view your definition of your self by listening to the empowering comments and not the limiting comments. And I hope you will be the one who empowers and not limits others.

Have a great week and I'll see you Sunday!

Continually surprised ~Share/Bookmark

Monday Mentionings: A Great Work - Nehemiah 6:1-14  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , , , ,

It is almost always nice to start something new. In this case, it is nice to start a new week each Monday morning. You can put last week's business behind you and press on to making this week a great week!

God has a "great work" that He is doing all the time and everywhere. He guides us in carrying out that "great work" and that makes me excited to be a part of it! I hope that you can join in with an excitement of being a teammate of God's. Nehemiah had a "great work" going on and he was faced with opposition. See if you can use any of these applications to help you apply the lesson...

  1. Though it is Monday morning at 11:30 AM, has Satan called to meet you somewhere yet? Nehemiah's opponents tried to take him away from a safe place to meet up with him. Our Enemy tries to get us to go away from Jesus and meet him in a place where we're more susceptible to being weak. Keep this idea on your mind as you go throughout the week.
  2. Kids are taught at an early age that they can't have everything they want. I just visited with my 7 year-old nephew yesterday and he had just been at the store and wanted something but didn't receive it. However, this lesson never sinks in. Sure, some are more disciplined than others, but there is still a desire to want. The opposition to Nehemiah wanted them to not get the wall built so they could still have an influence on Jerusalem. We may want our "way" or may want a product. Either way, damage can be done in our pursuit to achieve that desire. Pray that the next time you "want" something - whether it is "your way" or something else - you think how it will affect your life and any others involved.
  3. This week is a new week and Satan will be serving lots of different ping pong opportunities at you. How will you respond? Peter encourages us to be "preparing your minds for action; be self-controlled" (I Peter 1:13a). Pray that God will keep you strong and under control as you "fight the good fight of the faith".

Have a Jesus-filled week!

Keeping up my shield ~Share/Bookmark

E-mail Encouragement: Being the Lighter, Not the Snuffer  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , ,

As we are called to "deny self" on a regular basis, one way we can do that is by inspiring on...

What this country needs is more people to inspire others with confidence, and fewer people to discourage any initiative in the right direction more to get into the thick of things, fewer to sit on the sidelines, merely finding fault more to point out what's right with the world, and fewer to keep harping on what's wrong with it and more who are interested in lighting candles, and fewer who blow them out.
- Father James Keller

Which one are you? May you be inspired to inspire others to do bigger and better things!

Have a great rest of the week and be "candle lighters"!!!

See you Saturday and/or Sunday!

Carrying my lighter ~Share/Bookmark

Monday Mentionings: Got Debt, Don't Fret - Nehemiah 5:1-6  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , , ,

Christ's church is just awesome! Paul describing it as a body that has "many parts" all doing different things is just an ever-chewing idea. I am fascinated by what can be accomplished through people working together. I left our Vision Team meeting with a recoiled spring in my step. This was able to bounce me into Sunday morning where it was enjoyable to attend the "family reunion". Not forgetting, capping my evening off with a great Love and Respect group. Weekends like this make me so look forward to starting "all over" on Monday! I hope you have had similar experiences this weekend!!!

Nehemiah is a mind-blowing book. Maybe I look at it from the perspective of a leader. He had responsibilities and he tried to be constantly stirring. That is tough to do, but I enjoy the challenge! The Jews were coming back from exile and they had very little. They had been working just to pay off taxes/debt. They needed some relief and Nehemiah was the one to go to bat for them. Here are some other applications from yesterday...

1. How big is your debt? You might think of tangible (monetary) debt first; how about spiritual debt? Thanks to Jesus, our spiritual debt is at zero because he paid the price! Say a praise prayer to Jesus for paying the price for the debt you owed when sin came into your life.

2. When was the last time you were forgiven of something? How did it feel? Genuine forgiveness allows us to not have the mental unrest that debt puts on us. Does someone owe you something? Something like money, an apology, etc.? Think of a way you could alleviate some of that debt that is owed to you. God alleviated it by giving us a Savior. What can you do? If you don't have this in your life right now - keep it mind for when you do.

3. Pray that God sends you someone that you can be a "slave rescuer" to. Someone you can help pull out of the debt of sin. Also, pray that you have the wisdom to know when that "someone" comes into your life and that you will be bold enough to walk through the door.

We are in the rescuing business - who will you rescue!?

Praying that God will give you many open doors this week!

Turning the knob ~Share/Bookmark

E-mail Encouragement: Beating a Wall  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , ,

Each one of us has a different life we lead. Some work while others are retired. Life experiences transform us. What have you been transformed into? That isn't something specific, but just self-reflect on what you've become. As we have looked at Nehemiah lately and the whole theme has been "Under Construction", a goal is to see us as always evolving into an even stronger Christian. Part of being a Christian is to share Jesus. When I think about opportunities that have come my way to share Jesus with someone, this quote seemed pertinent...

Don't spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door. ~ Dr. Laura Schlessinger

Looking back, I would have to say that I've been a "wall beater" before. Sometimes I have been a "wall beater" because I've wanted something so badly that I was just trying to make a door out of it. God had other plans. Whether it is sharing Jesus, creating change, or something else, beating on a wall will never transform it into a door.

May we have the wisdom to understand when we see an opportunity as a "door" and when they are "walls".

Have a great week!

Sharing Him ~Share/Bookmark

Monday Mentionings: Through Foes, the Work Goes - Nehemiah 4  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , ,

With school about to start, it seems that people are becoming busier. Whether it is physically busy or just mentally busy, the school year brings busyness. Sometimes the more busy you are the easier it is in life because it becomes such a routine for most.

As we press on to "build the wall", we looked at the fourth chapter of Nehemiah on Sunday. The builders were following Nehemiah to get the job finished, but they faced opposition. We, too, face opposition in life. Whether it is from something big or small, opposition is all around. How will you deal with it??? Think about these applications from the lesson...

  1. When was the last time you were provoked? How did you deal with it? Did it make your "blood boil"? Was it a comment about you or someone else? Pray that the next time you are provoked you will handle it with total maturity and steadiness. Don't let someone try to keep you from "building your wall"!
  2. When we really want something, we tend to talk about it a lot. Just notice a child that really wants a new toy in the store. Did they stop after they didn't get it? They will keep asking until they got what they wanted. What do you want God to do with your life? Ask God to give that to you. Remember that His will is what matters, but persistence is a big key to praying!
  3. The people who were in opposition to Nehemiah plotted to try to make sure they thwarted the plans of the people. Satan is out doing the same to us. He wants us to give in to our fleshly desires. He wants us to compromise our morals. He wants us to fail! Remember to keep your Armor of God on at all times, knowing that you are susceptible.
  4. We need the protection of God at all times. As in #3, the Armor of God gives protection, but that isn't all that will give protection. God himself will provide a safe place for us to be. As you stand guard and watch, remember to ask God to protect you - feet (where you go), eyes (what you see), hands (what you do), mouth (what you say), ears (what you hear), and mind (what you think).

How has God been using you lately?

In Him ~Share/Bookmark

E-mail Encouragement: Giving of Self  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , ,

When we give of self we tend to get something back. Volunteering usually results in a "good feeling" of purpose. Whether it is volunteering or just giving of ourselves in another way, the product tends to be something good. This week's quote reflects that thought...

"Our days are happier when we give people a bit of our heart rather than a piece of our mind."

Who will you give of your self today? Try to accomplish this by giving to someone outside your household/family. See what happens.

Let me know if your life was affected by this...

Blessings ~Share/Bookmark

Monday Mentionings: Don't Be a Carl - Nehemiah 3:3-5  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , , , ,

I hope your week got started off on the right foot. After my weekly "family reunion" with all of you and then a great Love and Respect class, my week got to a good start. Unfortunately, Sunday evening our blower motor on our AC/heater unit decided to go out - during the hottest part of the summer! We're thankful it will be fixed on Tuesday!

Sunday, we looked at the third chapter in Nehemiah, specifically, verse five. In the whole list of those working for the progression of the wall, here is mention of those who didn't want to do the work. I wonder why they didn't? Did they not like Nehemiah, his ideas, his plans, his leadership? As "nobles", were they "too good" for that work? Were they just lazy? I don't know; but I do know that they didn't help out. Our challenge is to not be a "carl". I mentioned that the name Carl had a meaning that was taken from a word that meant the opposite of noble, that is why this lesson was titled, "Don't Be a Carl". Here are some applications to choose from...

1. I see the church as "under construction" because we can always "build on" to make things better. That is not necessarily numerically or physically. Rather, in some qualitative way, we can always improve somewhere. How will you not be a "carl" and get involved in a work of the church? Ask God where and/or what He wants you to be involved with.

2. Paul tells two different churches that the body is made up of many parts. Likewise, a church is comprised of many different types of people. Brainstorm your talents. Then, decide which ones you would like to see used in the Kingdom to aid in its growth.

3. As we understand that we are just a fragment in the whole Kingdom, we can also be encouraged by understanding that we are very important. Just as a puzzle is disappointing when you find out that a puzzle piece is missing, God also is disappointed when a Christian is "missing" by not aiding in accomplishing one of the "missions" of the Kingdom. Praise God that you are just a fragment and revel in the fact that you get to work with a lot of others to "build a wall"!

4. Our church needs you! We need to work together to "build the wall". Our "qualitative construction project" needs everyone working together "in sync" to accomplish our goal. Let us pray that nothing will cause the "cog of completion" to be jammed and come to a standstill!

5. Nehemiah made sure the work continued. On some occasions, God's "plan to save man" has been down to just one person or His peoples' backs have been "against the wall". Satan tried his best to stop the plan, but God was "supervising" and caused Satan to lose and the plan to prevail. We have many obstacles today in which Satan is working in (i.e. ACLU, relativity, no absolutes, etc.). However, just as God caused His plan to prevail, today, He will cause His will to prevail no matter what Satan does to impede it. Pray that as God supervises us and we will understand that He is the "Great Architect" and enjoy being a part of His "crew" to make great things happen for Him in this area!!!

"Carls" aren't involved, using their talents, humble, working harmoniously with the group, and under the direction of God. So, don't be a "carl" - get involved, use your talents, be a fragment, be in sync, and be able to be supervised!

May God bless you as you enter into your Tuesday!

Teaming Up with God ~Share/Bookmark

E-mail Encouragement - Things Happening to You  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , ,

What has been happening in your life lately? I am sure the weather (how hot/dry it is) has been a subject in your recent conversations. Hopefully, the distractions from the "ideal" weather patterns have not kept you from getting ready to "build a wall." I read a few additional chapters this week to stay ahead with the book of Nehemiah, and I have to say that there is a lot of great stuff in there. I am so looking forward to "panning for the gold" that God has put in there for me to find.

As God works along side of you and gives you opportunities to connect others closer to Jesus, I liked what this quote said...

Things are not happening to you. Things are happening because of you. ~ Anonymous

So, what "things" will you make happen "because of you"? It could be for bad, as we could complain, criticize, ridicule, gossip, etc. Or, hopefully, it will be for good, as we compliment, encourage, praise, help, smile at, etc. Maybe you can think of something else that could happen "because of you". Also, think about how someone could become closer to Jesus "because of you". How have you seen God working in your life?

Have a great rest of the week!

Serving Him ~Share/Bookmark

Monday Mentionings: Probing the Possibilities - Nehemiah 2:17-18  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , , , ,

It was a lot of fun to get together for a fellowship dinner! All the food I had was delicious!!!

Nehemiah is getting ready to start building, and he has rallied the people to be ready to build their portion of the wall. Are you ready to start “building”? As we looked today at a preparatory time before the building process begins, here are some other applications to take with you this week…

  1. Taking some time before you begin a project/make a decision is good to allow your mind to be focused on the task ahead. Before we begin “building” what did you SEE today? What did you see that needed to have you and God team up to make a difference?
  2. Take these few days before the building begins to pray. What did you get inspired to pray about to want to see changed in your community/neighborhood/circle of influence?
  3. You may choose to keep these “plans” between you and God before you become assured that this is what God wants you to be involved in. As Nehemiah looked around the city – you may choose to drive around the city until you find an area that you feel God is calling you to be involved in.
  4. A song that was sung when I was a teen (which I am sure many of you know or have heard) was “It Only Takes a Spark”. The point of the song is that it doesn’t take much to get a fire going. As our church would be amazing if everyone took the responsibility, each day, to try to “spark” someone else. If we limit being enthusiastic to Sundays, then we will probably forget from one week to the next. So, if we are doing it each day, Sunday will just be another day to “spark” someone. What will you do to “spark” someone today?
  5. Remember, as we get ready to build, you are not expected to “build a wall, but to raise something more than that. We are called by God to go and search amongst the rubble of a fallen world to find precious stones that shall be polished by God into the smooth stones they once were.” (quote from outside source). Have you moved into the circle to say, “God, here I am, use me”. I HOPE SO!!! (If you are struggling with this concept, feel free to let me know how I can get you there.)

What an amazing book! I have really enjoyed Nehemiah! It inspires me to see what God and I can do when we team up to help connect people to His Son!

Have a super week!!!

Wondering who I can connect to Him next ~Share/Bookmark

E-mail Encouragement: Today  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , , ,

I hope your week is going well. I received this in an e-mail that I subscribe to. It is called "Today's Dose of Happiness". It is just a daily "dose" to try to make a person's day go better. I really liked what it says...


Live today, because it is all you have. Everything.

Tomorrow is still a dream. In most cases it is a dream come true, although rarely quite as we imagine.

Yesterday is a memory, one that can help us navigate both today and tomorrow.

Today is happening. Today is life in action. Today is what really counts. It is the only time you can control how you feel, how you act, how you think.

Feel it. Live it. Love it right now."

So, what are you going to do with your "today"? What will you do with it to cause someone to become closer to Jesus?

Have a great week!

Connecting others ~Share/Bookmark

Monday Mentionings - Going Before the King - Nehemiah 2:2-4a  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , ,

I left yesterday pumped up and excited! Thanks for making it a great day! It was another encouraging "family reunion"! Speaking of encouragement, Nancy informed me that the "encouragement" bulletin board will be left up for another month - so you still have time to encourage someone!!!

Nehemiah has been a great study for me, so far, and I don't think that will change. I love getting my "scriptural snorkel" out to go exploring beneath the surface of scripture. Pray for me that what I discover, through my explorations, will come through clearly in application for you, the recipient.

Yesterday, we looked at the first half of the second chapter of Nehemiah. Nehemiah goes before the king to ask permission to go to Jerusalem. He comes with a "broken heart", revealing a "humble heart", and leaving with a "happy heart". Here are some additional applications for you to choose from...

  1. Nehemiah had a change in demeanor because his heart was broken to make a change in Jerusalem. What is heavy on your heart that you would like to see changed? It may not be directly related to the church, but it might be something the church could be involved in. Regardless of what it is, pray that God would open a door for you to get involved (just as Nehemiah wanted to get involved).
  2. Nehemiah was in the habit of praying. He said this quick prayer (Nehemiah 2:4b) in between statements to the king. Remember, Nehemiah went before the King (of heaven) before he went before the king (of the land). A suggestion regarding this type of prayer that I got from an outside source is: While I am cleaning the house I lift my heart to God and say, ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me, for Christ’s sake. Amen.’ This is just one suggestion that came from a bible verse. Maybe you can think of others. If you find any out...let me know!
  3. Nehemiah was granted what he requested. Sometimes it may be difficult to ask God things when we are not getting the answers we are looking for, especially when they don't come as quickly as we want. God wants us to ask Him for help. Remember, He is the God of abundance...don't limit Him...ASK...He may just surprise you with an amazing "YES"! And you would have never known if you didn't ask.

Whatever is on your heart...continue to take it to Him. If you haven't found something that is heavy on your heart, pray that God would reveal something to you.

I pray that prayer will be as needed for your spiritual well-being as breathing is for your physical well-being!

May you have a Jesus-filled week!

Looking for the next surprise ~Share/Bookmark

E-mail Encouragement - Constant & Unexpected Encouragement  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , ,

Being surprised is practically always a good thing. If a friend or family member brought you a surprise gift, it would brighten your day. If you received an unexpected pay raise, it would brighten your day. Sure, you could come up with as many negative things to be surprised about as positive, but why borrow trouble. I think that surprises are encouraging, which brings me to the quote...

Any mans life will be filled with constant and unexpected encouragement if he makes up his mind to do his level best each day. ~ Booker T. Washington

A life "filled with constant and unexpected encouragement" would be a great life to be living. When you are "doing your best" each day, you don't dwell on the bad things, you are going full speed to try to do all the good that you can. I can bear witness to this, as the days when I am up in arms over something, I don't accomplish as much. The days when I am striving to do my best and not letting other things bother me, it allows a lot of "unexpected encouragement" to come my way. After seeing "Facing the Giants" I try to remember to keep "building my wall" for God. He needs me and I want to do what I can to be His hands, feet, ears, eyes, etc. here on earth.

May you have a day "filled with constant and unexpected encouragement"!

Seeking Him ~Share/Bookmark

Oh, What a Feeling...  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , ,

Several years ago, Toyota came out with a slogan to describe what it was like to drive their cars. The slogan was, "Oh, what a feeling, Toyota." Do you remember?

God has either really been working in my life in a notable way over the past 6 months or I have just finally been attuned to His presence. Either way, I thank Him for making practically every day a day that I can say that being on His team gives me that "Oh, what a feeling" feeling!

I am sure that those Toyota cars became hot in the sun, cold in the winter, and their batteries eventually wore out. Sure, life as a Christian is not always cool in the sun, warm in the winter, and we never have days that are not as good as others. However, when you look back on your day may you think "Being with God is the best experience I could have had." What is the alternative? What would life be like with out God? I don't even want to think about it.

May you be able to look at each and every day as an "Oh, what a feeling" kind of day!Share/Bookmark

Monday Mentionings - What If His People Prayed - Nehemiah 1:4-11  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , ,

I hope your week has gotten off to a great start! Mine has. I left yesterday's assembly with a fire to see what God had in store for me this week. It gives me the anxiousness of Christmas morning...seeing what I am going to receive that I can open up and see what is inside. That is the way I look at it with teaming up with God...what is He going to hide inside to surprise me with this time???

"What If His People Prayed" is a song by Casting Crowns that has been a motivation for a "vision" of the future of this church for a long time now. I am so motivated by people's heartfelt, unscripted, nervous, prayers. Not all of those have to be included, but most. This usually happens most frequently when I hear a prayer of someone I don't normally hear from. My wife says some of the greatest prayers. I was left the prayer time for the shepherd search last winter so "pumped"! I heard lots of pray-ers I don't normally hear.

Yesterday's lesson, titled the same as the song title, came from Nehemiah's first prayer (in the book). Jerusalem's walls are in shambles and weak. Our faith foundation must be strong in order to keep ourselves from becoming susceptible to anything ungodly. Here are some applications you can choose from to put into practice...

  1. Awesome God - Use the word "awesome" in your prayers this week to either describe God or something that He's done for you.
  2. I'm Guilty - Is there something that you're guilty of that you haven't expressed to God? It could be something from the past that you haven't confessed to God or it could be just acknowledging that you are a sinner and/or have sinned. Remember...God knows what you do, but He likes to know that you know what you've done and will admit the guilt.
  3. Don't Turn - God is a merciful God, so let us not deny that we've erred and revel in the assurance that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. Praise God, when you pray, for that constant cleansing blood!
  4. Reward Us - Life can have it's fair share of obstacles. The next time that you have an obstacle to face, no matter how small, ask God to deliver you, reward you, and/or bless you as you give this task to Him before you even enter into it.

Prayer is so motivational to me. I hope you will find yourself "intrinsically motivated" to pray to our AWESOME God!

May your prayer fire be refreshed as you seek Him in asking how you can best build your section of the wall. If you want any reminders to pray this week...let me know.

Have a fantastic week!Share/Bookmark