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

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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  

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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...

"TODAY

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  

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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  

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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...  

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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  

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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

E-mail Encouragement - Monotonous Singing  

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One more week is almost history! The summer seems to be going by way too quickly. However, it is a lot more fun to be moving than to stay still.

This weekend plans to be a fun one for the 7-8 guys that are going to the Blue Cats game. I am looking forward to going and spending the afternoon and evening with a great bunch of guys!

Sharing Jesus sometimes seems so dutiful. I think it is how you look at it as to how you view the concept. Basically, it comes down to sharing a bit of yourself, since you are "clothed with Christ" anyway (Galatians 3:26-27). When you share yourself, you are bringing them one step closer to Christ...think about how you can share Christ with others...through serving, kindness, grace giving, listening, _______, etc. This week's quote inspired the concept of sharing Jesus...

How monotonous the sounds of the forest would be if the music came only from the Top Ten birds. ~ Dan Bennett

I think of this as "how monotonous the sounds of" the gospel would be if it came from only "top ten people". My aim is to get as many people holding on to the net to get that many more fish. To accomplish this, we work together toward the same goal. By all aiming to share Jesus with our circle of influence, we are teammates with God. Going back to the quote, it doesn't matter how well you "sing" as long as you are "singing". So, it doesn't matter how well you share, as long as you are sharing!

Have a great end of the week!

Sharing Jesus...Share/Bookmark

Monday Mentionings - Under Construction - Nehemiah 6:15-16  

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What a great day we had yesterday! Fellowship dinners don't happen too often here, so when they do, it is a great time! The enjoyment was multiplied when the Broughton church came up to join us. The day was wrapped up with a time of guitar playing and singing.

Nehemiah is an interesting study. To see what all went in to his life inspires me to do more things for God! As we began the series yesterday, Nehemiah took time in planning, organizing, and building the walls of Jerusalem after they had been destroyed. Here are some additional applications from the lesson...

  1. Take a few moments to dream about what you think this church should "look" like in the future. Pray that God will open doors of opportunity for you to help create that "church of the future." For a greater challenge, read through the book to see what Nehemiah faced in order to complete the task.
  2. Organizing a project takes a lot of work. Pray for me as we go through this series to have clear direction of what God wants me to do with this series.
  3. Completing a project not only takes work, but sometimes perseverance, dedication, and endurance is required. Pray for yourself as we go through this series that you will accept the challenges and be able to implement them into your lives to be a "tool" for God in this building "project".

Prayer is a very important action in Nehemiah's life. It is inevitable that prayer is a main product of the application part of the lesson/series.

Have a surprise-filled week! Let me know how God is surprising you! Yesterday's surprise was the Launis' showing up! Pray they come again soon!Share/Bookmark

Surprised Again!  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer

Last night (Wednesday), when we had our 4th of July devotional, a teenage girl brought with her one of her friends. I was totally surprised, by God and in general, that the friend who came was a girl who I had heard in class, when I was substituting, say, "was looking for a church." I, naturally, couldn't let that open door opportunity close without saying something. So, I told her that I knew of a place she could come and visit. She said she remembered I was a minister, but then the bell rang and that was that. So, about 2 months later, she walks in the door.

I don't know what will come of it, but who knows what God has in store.

He continues to surprise me!

How has he surprised you? click the "comments" button below and let me know how He's surprised you lately...Share/Bookmark

E-mail Encouragement - Don't Give Up!  

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I hope you all had a great 4th of July! Mine included a bit of relaxation, along with anticipation of the fireworks. The fireworks show was very enjoyable. We had great seats! Here are a few of the pictures.

As fun as it is to get a day off and/or to shoot off fireworks, we must not miss the fact that many people have come and gone to make sure you and I can have our freedom.

Getting our freedom took a lot more than just a simple signing of a document. Even aside from the fighting, it took people being willing to step out on a limb and do things they hadn't done before...these quotes were inspired by these last couple of comments...

Not all closed doors are locked. ~ Unknown

A set-back is a set-up for a come-back. ~ Unknown

Not only did the colonists have closed doors, but also set-backs. However, what made them different was their ability to make "lemonade" out of "lemons." Again, praise God for our freedom and for those who went to fight and those who continue to fight for us!

For ourselves, we must keep in mind that when things aren't seeming to go the way that we want them to go or anticipated them going, there might just be another way or a better way in the future!

What is being set-up for you to be a part of???Share/Bookmark

Monday Mentionings: Radiating Glory - II Corinthians 3:12-18  

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It was one of those Mondays when I couldn't wait to get back to the "drawing board". After a fun-filled week, I was excited to start another one.

Last night, after the Community Worship on the Square, Aubrey and I decided to attend the Rend Lake fireworks show. The fireworks were spectacular! They shot up, made all kinds of shapes and colors, and it reminded me of the sermon yesterday, Radiating Glory...here are some applications to use this week as you "radiate glory" to others...

  1. One use of the word radiate is thinking about the warmth of the sun (or other heat source) radiating onto an object. This world is starving for relationships. Try to create a relationship by attempting to radiate Christ to someone by complimenting them, sincerely asking how their day is, or a random act of kindness.
  2. Sharing things your interested in is something that should come very easily to you because it's all about you. What caused you to want to have your sins forgiven? Would someone else want theirs forgiven? First, share about simple things you're interested in, then steer the conversation into how Christ has displayed so many awesome things in your life, ask if they've ever experienced the same things. Whether or not they are religious, they will have an answer.
  3. “Don’t tell people how to do things; tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” - George Patton. Jesus said, "Go into all the world and make disciples," now surprise Him with your results. No matter how you share, you are still sharing!

Have a great 4th!Share/Bookmark