E-mail Encouragement: Accepting Responsibility  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , ,

Winter weather has finally arrived to our area...we'll see how much snow we receive. Though it is cold outside, I hope you have a "fire in your bones" that needs to come out! As I have become a fan of "sharing what God is doing in your life" I wanted to share a recent surprise. I hope it will encourage you to look forward to how God may be working in your life! I was recently asked to be a speaker at the local high school's Teen Wellness Conference. I praised God (and continue to) many times for an open door into people's lives.

We live in an age where it is easy to pass the blame off to something or someone else. A child is asked why he hit his sister and his response is "'Cause she made me do it." The child doesn't accept responsibility for his actions - HE did it, regardless of what happened prior. Kids grow up to be adults, and the behavior can remain the same. That brings us to this week's quote...

People may fail many times, but they become failures only when they begin to blame someone else. ~ Unknown

I won't condone any child hitting another child, but it is better for the child's character to realize that they did do it, regardless of what had happened. Those who are married can use the "they-made-me-do-it" excuse when it comes to leaving the marriage. Or, maybe, you develop a bad attitude that you pass the blame to something/someone else because you wouldn't have that bad attitude if "they" didn't do what they had done. It doesn't matter what the situation is. When we start blaming other things and not taking the responsibility for the blame, we become failures. We must remember that each action is our action, not someone else's.

May you enjoy the freedom that comes with accepting responsibility of your actions, which will build character.

Taking responsibility ~Share/Bookmark

Oliver's Pics - Updated  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in ,

Friends ~

Just thought I would let you know that there are some updated pics of our new son at the following address...http://www.flickr.com/photos/21270453@N08

Have a great day!

Blessing ~Share/Bookmark

Monday Mentiongings: Which 'Cross' Will You Choose? - Mark 8:34  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , ,

The Cross is an important Christian icon. Of all the different events that Jesus experienced, there is probably no one, which has heard of Jesus, who doesn’t know of Jesus dying on the cross. Since the cross represents His death, pain, shame, and humility were also a part of that event. Jesus asks his followers to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Him. However, if you knew that pain, shame, and humility would come with “taking up your cross” would you still follow Him?

Yesterday, we talked about two types of crosses, one – crossing your fingers, two – the cross of Christ. You make the choice every day to choose one or the other. You can choose to give in to your self or you can deny self. Here are some applications to choose from to use from yesterday’s lesson…

  1. Choices can be easy or difficult. When we make the choice to follow Jesus we are also making the choice to suffer through any discomforts that may come our way. For example, praying for our enemies, complimenting instead of complaining, patient instead of pouting, loving instead of leaving, etc. Some choices we make as we follow Christ may not be pleasant, the Hebrew writer reminds us that Jesus “scorned the shame of the cross” for the “joy” that was on the others side (Hebrews 12:2), we too have a much joyful “other side” to look forward to!
  2. The Bible teaches that there is nothing that man can do by his own abilities, once he has sinned, to save himself. We cannot “work” our way to heaven (Ephesians 2:8-9), but it is only by the grace of God that we are allowed to go. God gives us the opportunity to obey what He commands to allow us to go to heaven, but even in those “actions” if they are not done with faith, they are in vain. As we make choices in life, do we choose the cross of human power – fingers crossed – or of God’s power (Christ’s cross)? If we try to do things on our own, fixing our job, our family, etc., and not giving it over to Him, we have missed the point. “With man this is impossible…” (Matthew 19:26a) reminds us that we can’t do anything on our own. The next time you are in a predicament, give it to God – He’s got the power to “fix” it, not us/man!
  3. Just like in the movies, the good guy always wins. If you like to lose, then you should make the choice of the cross which is formed by fingers crossed. If you want victory, then you will make the choice to follow Him. You will be willing to take up your cross, daily, and follow him. The next time you are at a crossroads regarding which “cross” to follow, just think to yourself, “Is it the one of defeat or victory?” Maybe that will make the decision easier.

May God make it easy on you to make the right choice – the cross of Christ – by keeping selfish thoughts and temptations away from you!

Has God opened doors for you lately to share Jesus? If so, I would enjoy hearing about it…

Making the choice ~Share/Bookmark

E-mail Encouragement: Fueled by Curiosity  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , ,

What a great day to be alive! However, everyday is essentially that - a new day which offers a new start. As, in fact, each day gives opportunities to move forward, read below at what Walt Disney was quoted for saying...

Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we are curious...and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. ~ Walt Disney

Curiosity is a very energizing feeling. It makes you go forward, rather than backward. May God bless you with great opportunities to move yourself forward in serving Him. Moving toward new people, places, opportunities, open doors, etc.

May we be a church that uses our curiosity to make us movers and not moldy!

What path will you be led down today/tomorrow/next week, etc?

Have a "Hmmm...I wonder what doors will open next" day!

Wondering ~Share/Bookmark

Updated Pictures  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in ,

Check out updated pictures of our newborn...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/21270453@N08/

Have a great day!!!Share/Bookmark

We concluded our series on Fresh Faith yesterday with the sermon titled, "Continuing Education". If you heard the sermon, did God show up in your life in an unexpected way? Let me know if He did. Just as professionals need to have their education "continued" to keep up with the latest advancements, we too must be continually educated to keep our faith fresh. Here are some applications from the lesson you can choose to use...

  1. You probably will always remember the day you "believed". It was probably a day filled with emotion, for you. Did any of that emotion die out? If so, why? The challenge is not to initially believe, but to continue to believe. Just as a runner must lean forward to keep the momentum up, I challenge you to lean forward to Him. Lean forward to allow your momentum to carry you through temptations, hesitations, etc. Maybe you need to lean forward toward a ministry opportunity or an evangelistic opportunity. Whatever it is, keep going forward, don't shrink back! This is what the Hebrew writer challenged in Hebrews 10:35-39.
  2. Were you thrown off or surprised to hear that the commands of God do not have an ability to empower us to obey? We may obey by submission or guilt, but just having the commands at our disposal does not cause one to obey. Promises from God inspire you to do what He asks. Look for or recall some of your favorite promises from God, may they inspire you to serve Him more and more! Examples dealing with Promises - the Rainbow/Flood, Never leave or forsake, God is faithful and will forgive us our sins, etc.
  3. It is difficult to know what something is when you cannot see it. Whether that "something" is an object or a situation, you just have a difficult time knowing anything about it. Though you don't know what the next few minutes, hours, and/or days will be like, look forward with anticipation regarding how God will use you to impact someone's life. What part of the path to Christ will you be in the people's lives that you meet? Be sure to be stepping stone and not a stumbling stone, to make that path to Christ much easier!
  4. Did your week not start off that well? If it didn't you are already at a point where life seems troublesome. May you be encouraged to know that "this is the day that Lord has made" and that heaven is on the other side of whatever life throws at you. We all should thank Him for the day and "rejoice in it" (i.e. being blessed with another day)! (Quotes from Psalm 118:24).

May each experience you have with someone be an opportunity for "continued education" to trust in Him, strengthen your faith, and share Jesus!

May you have a great week - look out for how God will use you to influence someone!

Looking for Him ~Share/Bookmark

E-mail Encouragement: Motivate Someone Today  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , ,

I have just recently shared that each and every time that I watch the movie Hoosiers I want to go play basketball. I also really like movies that are about teachers, coaches, or leaders that influence a group of people to achieve their goal. Those type of movies fire me up to preach. Concerts have also had the same effect. I once wrote a sermon in very little time after coming home from a concert – from the motivation of a certain song. I say all that to get to this week’s quote…

People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily. ~ Zig Ziglar

Zig Ziglar is one of my wife’s favorite motivational speakers. While growing up, her family listened to some of his tapes. Motivation is like gas in a tank, it eventually runs out, if not refilled. Each of the motivators that I mentioned only kept me going for a period of time before I needed something else to motivate me. Hence, we need it “daily” in order to have a passion in our lives to do different tasks. It can also be very motivating to motivate someone else. Since you can’t ask someone to motivate you, try motivating someone else – and see how it affects you! Though, if you have a movie, song, or, possibly, a book that motivates you, use that to get you going!

Is there something that motivates you to do things for God? If so, I hope you use it over and over to motivate you to do things for God. If there is something that I can help you with to motivate you, I’d be glad to help motivate you!

May you be motivated daily to share Jesus in practical ways to those you’re around!!!

Have a great rest of your week!

Motivated ~Share/Bookmark

Oliver Camden - 1/9-1/13  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer

The following link has updated pictures of our son, Oliver.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/21270453@N08/

Enjoy ~


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Monday Mentionings: Addition by Subtraction - Proverbs 25:4-5  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , ,

Don’t you just enjoy it when life delivers good days? The kind where you look forward to the next. Sunday was one of those days. I continue to revel in the fact that Aubrey and I have a child, a son! Sunday was the first day that we were able to show him off to the church family, on a Sunday, which means it was the first day he was able to hear his daddy preach! This, along with our fellowship, started out my day on a good note. Then, hosting the 5th Sunday Rally was a great uplift. It was great to be “fed” by hearing a lesson from Carroll. He encouraged and challenged us to “play hurt”. It is easy for Christians to want to give up, but we must continue to go back out there and “keep playing”.

Adding by subtracting initially can look like it doesn’t go together, but when it comes to our faith it makes sense. Yesterday, we looked at this principle and applied this principle to our faith. Silver must be melted, and remain at that temperature, to bring the impurities to the surface. After the impurities are brought to the surface, they are then skimmed off until no more impurities are left. Our faith must also go through constant heat in order to have our impurities come to the surface, and then have the impurities skimmed off until there are no more left. Here are some additional applications from the lesson to choose from to use…

  1. Have you had the heat turned up in your life lately? Problems at work, with family, with finances, with self-esteem? How did you respond in those moments? Did it cause you to turn to God or did it cause you to be independent of His help? May you look to Him the next time life hands you something “hot” and use it to be refined by having your figurative impurities come to the surface so that they can be skimmed off to make you more pure and Christlike. A scripture of encouragement, Acts 14:22 – you will go through many hardships to enter into the kingdom of heaven (paraphrased).
  2. It is no fun to carry something heavy without a reason. During one season of a weight loss reality show, the contestants had to carry the amount of weight they had lost as far as they could carry it. Some had lost around 100 lbs. They never thought about carrying that weight when it was attached to their bodies, but when they had lost it, and now had to carry it outside of their bodies, it really weighed them down. The Hebrew writer challenges us to get rid of anything that “entangles” us or “clings to” us. Like an athlete who is trying to get to the finish line as quickly, and, in a way, as easily as possible, he doesn’t need any more weight or resistance to hinder him. If you’ve got extra “weight” then get rid of it, give it to God. This will help us in our pursuit of becoming “refined and purified silver” and to have a fresh faith.
  3. There is only one way the silversmith knows that the silver is free of impurities – he can see his own reflection. As you understand that any flecks of slag left in our faith causes us to be “impure”, may we appreciate the need to be “in the heat” in order to have the impurities come to the surface and skim them off so that the reflection of God may be seen in us – that the world may see Jesus, the “refiner and purifier” of our faith (Malachi 3:3), in us! Our faith is added to by subtracting impurities.

May God bless you with an awesome week, filled with many opportunities to reflect Jesus to others!

Being Refined ~Share/Bookmark

E-mail Encouragement: Reaching the Peak  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , ,

Did you make a New Year's Resolution this year? Have you kept with it? I didn't make one, which is the normalcy for me. Tangible resolutions are too easily broken. Maybe an intangible resolution like being willing to talk to people about Christ could be something we "make". This way it is always out there, rather than meeting a "resolution" then backing off from the attempts to continue with it. A former Presidential candidate has this week's quote...

Something in human nature causes us to start slacking off at our moment of greatest accomplishment. As you become successful, you will need a great deal of self-discipline not to lose your sense of balance, humility and commitment." ~ H. Ross Perot

Teams find it difficult to maintain a certain success height once they've obtained it. I've known of high school sports teams that have won state titles for several years in a row. That is good, but there is a point which the town can't win - and possibly the first loss resulted because they were used to winning. They had accomplished so much, there wasn't much more to look forward to - they had lost their "sense of balance, humility, and commitment".

Have you reached your peak? If you have, there is only a downward trend left on the other side. I hope this is not the case, may you continue to (or include) a life filled with "self-discipline" so that you may not lose your "sense of balance, humility, and commitment" which might cause you to only go down.

May your 2008 be a year that you strive to do big things for God by heading for the peak - knowing that it is a goal and not a destination!

Serving Him ~Share/Bookmark

Monday Mentionings: Oliver Camden Spencer  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , ,

Just wanted you to have an opportunity to see some pictures of Oliver Camden Spencer. Born January 4, 2008 at 4:04 PM. He was 8.0 lbs. and 21 1/2 inches. Mom and baby are doing great! He’s quite a blessing!!!

This is a link to a slideshow… may take a few minutes to load, depending on your connection speed…

http://www.flickr.com/photos/21270453@N08/sets/72157603656716513/show/

Can’t wait to show you all in person!!!

Proud Dad ~

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Oliver Camden Spencer - Our new son!  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer

Alltel



Oliver Camden Spencer 8.0 lbs 21.5 inches 4:04 PM

01-04-08_1626.jpg



Alltel has no control over, and is not responsible for, the content or use of this picture or the accompanying personal message.
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E-mail Encouragement: Walking Along the Shoreline  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , ,

Over the past week, my niece has been visiting us. As a five-year-old with no one else to play with, she gets to entertain herself about half of the time. It is refreshing to just sit and watch a child play by themselves. Their creativity and wonder continues to amaze me. It sometimes makes me reminisce about my childhood. Just the other day, she was riding in our car with my wife and I and she took the booklet that came with our infant car seat and started thumbing through it. All the while, creating a story out of the pictures in the booklet. My wife and I just laughed to ourselves as she used the knowledge that she has to expand in creativity and wonder. This brings us to this week’s quote…

The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder. - Ralph W. Sockman


Once we attain knowledge or achieve a goal, we generally want to go further. I know that is the case for me. Once I’ve finished one thing, I look forward to the next (even if I take a break in between projects, etc.). I know that each week that I have finished a lesson, I look forward to working on the next – wondering what will be around the corner.

What have you experienced as you walked along the “shoreline of wonder”? Wondering what life will be like in the next week? Wondering what ministry God will call you to next? Wondering who God will put along your path to influence? Wondering what you could do in your life if there were no restrictions?

The life of a child is filled with creativity, imagination, and wonder. May we all be like a child once in a while!

Have a great rest of your week!

Serving Him ~
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