Nothing more important than you

7 01 2018

Day 7 Sunday January 14

“Lord, today I open myself up to you. Please show me anything that doesn’t glorify you. What needs to be taken out? What would you like to put in?”

  • Search me, Oh God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalms 139:23-24
  • The Lord searches my heart and secret motives to give me the due reward according to my actions. Jeremiah 17:9-10
  • The Lord tests my heart. Proverbs 17:3
  • Lord let there be nothing in this world or in my life that is more important to me than you. Exodus 20:3
  • I will love you God with all I’ve got. Matthew 22:37-38
  • I will keep myself from anything that would take Your place in my heart. 1 John 5:21
  • Lord please create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit in me. Psalms 51:10
  • I will maintain a clear conscience before God and all people. Acts 24:16




Search my heart

7 01 2018

Day 6 Saturday January 13

“Lord please examine my heart. Examine my motives. Please help me to love and serve like Jesus.”

Read Jesus’ words Mark 10:43-45 and consider what Jesus would say to you personally today.

Here’s a few faith statements:

  • God saved me because He loves me.
  • God’s purpose was to redeem me and bring Him glory.
  • I am most like Jesus when serving out of a pure heart.

I will be hospitable to others without grumbling. As I have received a gift, I will minister it to others, as a good steward of the manifold grace of God. 1 Peter 4:9-10

I will let this mind be in me which was also in Christ Jesus, who made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and humbled Himself. Philippians 2:5-8

“Lord please help me grow in character, live out of a pure motive, walk with humility, follow you, and be others focused.”





Relationship Prayer

7 01 2018

Day 5 Friday January 12

Let’s write out a list of our family members and primary relationships in our neighborhood, schools, and workplaces.

Let’s write out topics to pray for in these relationships.

  • Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
  • I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 1 Timothy 2:1
  • Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He’s done. Philippians 4:6
  • Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Colossians 4:2
  • Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. Ephesians 6:18

“Lord please help me to be more aware of the people you have put in my life. Please help me faithfully love them, help them, and be a faithful display of your love for them. Thank you for this opportunity today.”





God My Strength

7 01 2018

Day 4 Thursday January 11

God is our source of strength. When we need energy and endurance our God supplies it. Our God does not have a limited supply. Our God is not weak. We can draw from Him every day. We can rely on our Father God without fail. When we are weak He is strong. Life changing joy is available through Jesus. True staying power can be found in our God.

  • Isaiah 40:29-31 God gives strength to the powerless. Those who trust God will find new strength.
  • Isaiah 41:10 God will strengthen and help you.
  • Isaiah 45:24 God is the source of my strength.
  • Isaiah 58:11 God will guide you and restore your strength.
  • Psalm 138:3 God encourages me by giving me strength.
  • Psalm 29:11 God gives His people strength. He blesses them with peace.
  • Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So I will not fear.
  • Psalm 73:26 My health may fail, and my spirit grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart.
  • Psalm 105:4 Search for the Lord and for His strength continually seek Him.
  • Nehemiah 8:10 The joy of the Lord is my strength.
  • 1 Corinthians 16:13 Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.
  • Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
  • 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 When I am weak, then I am strong.




I Believe

7 01 2018

Day 3 Wednesday January 10

“Lord, please help me grow stronger in my personal relationship with you. Please help me grow in my understanding of who I am and who you are. In faith, I pray through these verses and make the following faith statements.”

“I believe:

  • God created me in His image. Genesis 1:26-28
  • God chose me before I was born. Psalms 139:13-18
  • God is slow to anger and full of unfailing love, forgiving. Exodus 34:6-7
  • Jesus died that the guilt of my sin would be removed and lives today that I might have life. 1 John 2:1-6
  • Jesus loves me sacrificially and without fail. Philippians 2:5-8
  • Jesus prays for me. John 17:20-26
  • God the Holy Spirit guides me into truth. John 14:16-17
  • God the Holy Spirit renews my thoughts and attitudes. Ephesians 4:23
  • God the Holy Spirit strengthens me and helps me pray. Romans 8:26-28

“Lord, please help me remember these truths any time that I feel shaken or self-assured.”





Leave the baggage

7 01 2018

Day 1 Monday January 8

Leave the baggage behind. Are you carrying something that God hasn’t asked you to? It’s healthy to let go.

Please take time to be quiet and consider if you have bad memories that you need to let go of, hurt that needs healing, anger that needs forgiveness, or sin that you need to repent of.

Let’s look at God’s perspective on this.

“Wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17  “So Christ has truly set us free.” Galatians 5:1

“Let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:13-16

“Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” Hebrews 12:15

“You are a slave to whatever controls you.” 2 Pet 2:19

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness,” 1 John 1:9

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Eph 2:8-9

Here’s an opening prayer:

God, what would you like for me to leave behind? What sin is there in my life to repent of? What hurt is there in me that needs to be healed? What anger is there in me that needs to be resolved? Please help me. Please bring healing.

God, you are more important to me than anything else in this world. Thank you for taking away the guilt of my sin through Jesus. This January 8-28 I’m going without ____. I am doing this because _____. I will be more focused on you than anything else. I choose to live for you. Please speak to me God. Thank you!





Starting 2018 with focus

22 12 2017

Where’s your focus? Are you focused on God? Are your thoughts fixed on your Creator and His love for you?

Your focus determines your direction. Your focus affects your quality of life. Whatever your heart is focused on your life will be focused on and this will determine much of what becomes of your life!

Jesus says“Seek first the kingdom of God”. My heart focus is to be on the things of God first. They are of greater value, they are more important than anything else in my life.

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33 “seek first” Context: focus, “don’t let concern about provision dominate your thoughts…seek first…and He will provide.”

How you start each day has a direct impact on how you will respond to what comes of the day. How you start 2018 may have a significant impact on how you live throughout the year.

How do I “seek the Kingdom of God above all else,”? When Jesus said, “seek first,” He was also describing that a person following Him would do three things: give, pray, and fast (not for show but as a personal “Thank You” to God). We find this talk in Matthew 5-7 and in chapter 6 Jesus is saying, “when you give, when you pray, when you fast,”. The results are a life where we can reasonably choose to not worry, knowing that God will provide for us and reward us. See Matthew 6.

“When you give,”

We believe that God gave us his best, in Jesus, and so as a “Thank You” to God we choose to live in courageous generosity. We choose to live on less of our own time, energy, and money so that we can give of ourselves to the needs of others and the purpose of God in our homes, neighborhoods, and beyond. Jesus challenged us to be sure that we are not doing this for a good reputation with others, but as a personal “Thank You” to God. See His specific instructions in Matthew 6.

“When you pray,”

We believe that Jesus knew we would need help in this life and so He taught us how to talk with and listen to our Father God. Jesus challenged us to be sure that we are not doing this for a good reputation with others, but as a personal “Thank You” to God. Find Jesus’ specific suggestions (a power tool really) in Matthew 6 and Luke 11.

“When you fast,”

The practice of fasting means – going without to focus on God. Setting aside time to focus on God is a perfect way to check your focus! Using the practice of “going without” is extremely helpful to that end.  “This practice removes distractions, concentrates your life on God, cleanses your soul, deepens humility, intensifies prayer, feeds your faith, and it produces self-control.” – Pastor Frank Damazio

Biblical Fast – Going without food in order to focus yourself on God. You are trading your meal time for prayer time. You do not fast to obtain merit from God or to atone for sin. In contrast you are going without food, for a spiritual purpose. To this time of fasting you are adding prayer, meditation, Bible reading/memorization, and a seeking God for your life. Then prayer and fasting works something into you that prayer by itself would not.

For best results, this includes changing your normal schedule and going without some of your normal activities so that you have more quality time for God. This may mean that you spend less time on the internet, watching TV/movies, playing games, or doing other stuff in favor of investing more energy into your spiritual life.

At the beginning of every year as a church we are going without meats & sweets for 21 days to be focused on God through prayer & fasting. We are choosing to go without normal food and entertainment so that we can start the year more focused on God than anything else.

It’s a conviction, that starting a new year by seeking God brings us to right focus. As a church, we begin the New Year by setting aside a time of “sacred assembly” to dedicate ourselves to God afresh. As individuals, we set aside time for prayer & fasting to allow the Holy Spirit to deal with us personally (about our lives/homes/work) – to make sure that anything that should not be in our lives is cut out & anything that should be in our lives is put in.

For each person this may be different. You may choose to go without certain activities, particular foods, or go without food entirely. Medical research actually shows that periodic fasting is good for your overall health and Hippocrates recommended medical benefits of fasting, including the fact that it slows the aging process. Recent research shows that giving your digestive system a break has many health benefits. Please consult your Dr before making any changes to your diet.

Personal spiritual disciplines…are just that “personal spiritual disciplines”. Please consider making a plan for how you choose to respond to Jesus, “When you pray, when you give, when you fast” (in Matthew 6). If this is a meaningful and personal commitment for you, it will mean something to God. If it doesn’t mean anything to you please don’t participate. How you choose to participate is personal, and yet you can benefit from the group “water level” of your friends and family doing it at the same time you are.

Please consider joining us by starting your 2018 with three weeks (January 8-28) of being more focused on God than anything else. Pray, between now and New Years, and ask God what He would have you do during those three weeks. Please take time to write out a personal purpose for this time of prayerful focus.

Please consider writing down your answers to these questions:

  • What do I want to be focused on?
  • Why am I choosing to “go without” over January 8-28?
  • What food, drink, activities, music, TV/movies, social media, or activities will I be doing without?
  • What will I be praying about?
  • What days and times will I be in prayer and Bible reading?
  • What is most important in my life?

Here’s an opening prayer: God, you are more important to me than anything else in this world. Thank you for taking away the guilt of my sin through Jesus. This January 8-28 I’m going without ____. I am doing this because _____. I will be more focused on you than anything else. I choose to live for you. Please speak to me God. Thank you!

Here’s a few books to consider:

  • Fasting – Jentezen Franklin (also “The Fasting Edge” same author)
  • Prayer – Timothy Keller
  • 101 Reasons to Fast – Dr Bob Rogers  and/or Toxic Relief – Don Colbert MD
  • Purple Book (Bible studies that every believer should go through with a friend) and Wiki Church Steve Murrell
  • The Jesus I Never Knew – Philip Yancey

January Prayer Focus – Lent? In February we will enter the ancient Christian calendar season of Lent, the 40 days leading to Easter. It’s good to learn from our history. Three major themes of this practice are self-control, prayer, and reflection. It certainly brings great joy in celebrating the resurrection of Jesus! It also honors the 40 days that Jesus spent in prayer & fasting, Matthew 4. For more resources on Lent, click herehttp://bit.ly/YBOuXf

For the past couple of years we’ve chosen to not observe Lent directly. We follow the principles by starting the year with a prayer and fasting focus on Jesus (January 8-28). Then during the weeks leading up to Easter we set aside time to consider, reflect, and celebrate the Cross of Christ and the Resurrection of Christ.