GOd Is worth it!

About 16 years ago I started writing scriptures on index cards for memorization.  Memorizing really  anything has never been one of strengths. I remember telling my pastor, who I was working for at the time, that I was frustrated because I couldn't recall scripture like I wanted to.  He encouraged me to start writing them on cards, and repeat them daily.  Well, the habit still continues to this day.  It’s a great way to learn God’s word.  


This morning I was going through my stack, each speaking directly to my heart.  As I went through…some memorized and some not so much…it was as if God was revealing a whole new insight of His word through each card.  God’s word has been my profession nearly 25 years and it has never been dull to me.  It’s alive and sharper than any two edge sword.  I have gift for the 12th person who text me or emails me the reference to that scripture!  


Anyways, I came across one of my more recent memory verses.  I figured I’d share it with you all.


Psalms 27:13,14

Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.  Wait patiently for the Lord.  Be brave and courageous.  Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. 


Confidence is hard to come by for some people.  They struggle to make decisions and feel self-conscience in all situations.  Also, on the other side, confidence can come across as arrogance if someone displays large amounts of it.  So it can be bit of mixed bag.  Either way the psalmist had confidence in the Lord.  Which tells me, he had great amounts faith in God, and God was worth waiting for.  You will never be wrong when you have confidence in God!     


Confidence comes easy to us when we’re comfortable.  When our comfort is taken away then we’re in a different ballgame all together.  Our confidence is one of the first things to be challenged when our comfort is removed.   One of the greatest depth measurements of our faith is for comfort to be removed.  If comfort is removed does it indicate shallowness or depth?  Tough question for all of us to consider.    


It’s sounds like the psalmist’s confidence wasn’t going to wavier in any situation.  He was believing God to do some good in the land of the living.  Troubling times weighed heavily on Israel as well as the  the psalmist.  But, his mind was made up with confidence because he knew waiting on God was worth it.  “Lord, let my confidence be like this one’s!”  Church, God is worth it!      


Wait patiently he says in verse 14.  The psalmist willingness to wait for the Lord’s direction, miracles, or word demonstrates deep confidence in God.  My step-mom would tell me as a boy, "Good things come to those who wait."  I wasn't a good "waiter" I wanted it and I wanted it now.  Still today I need to learn to wait better. I love it but Amazon hasn't helped me much in that area of my life either.  Folks, wait patiently before the Lord and you'll see His blessings come pouring over your life. We all know waiting on God usually takes awhile.  If we can’t wait patiently for the Lord then we’re going to struggle.  I’ve seen so many walk away from the faith because they couldn’t wait on God’s timing.  Remember, the right thing at the wrong time is always the wrong thing.  But the right thing at the right time is always the right thing!  Don’t give up, don’t ever give up!  


Bravery and courage are two common factors we see in the Bible.  During turbulent times God's people demonstrated incredible amounts of bravery and courage.  The Holy Spirit gives you and I this bravery and courage to do experience the “that was 100% all God” moments.  If your life requires bravery and courage then you're doing it right.  I heard a pastor say once, "If it doesn't require courage then it's too small for God."  Keeping the perspective that not everything in our lives need to be difficult and hard, but we certainly can't hide from it.


Satan prowls on those who don’t have the bravery to follow Christ the way they ought to.  There is a reason the scripture uses the word "prowl."  A lion will walk normally to travel from one place to another.  But, when the lion prowls, it's for one reason and one reason only...to hunt!  Be ready for those lurking lions.  Have courage to face your Goliaths.   They will always stand mockingly in front of you unless bravely pick up some rocks to strike down that tormenting giant. 


God is worth it!


   

Time to get our hopes up!

Ryan Bigham’s message was spot on Sunday!  Please, if you weren’t with us this Sunday then click here /media to listen, I promise you’ll be blessed.  Here are a couple insightful thoughts from Ryan. 



Hope deferred


To have something deferred when anticipating its arrival is always a let down.  Ryan shared how our hope was deferred over and over again during this pandemic.  When hope is deferred we can become frustrated, angry, and we hold our trust much tighter.    


Jesus gives us no reason not to trust Him.  He doesn’t defer our hope, it’s here now!  It isn’t deferred from one week to the next.  Our hope is placed in Him today and He will not disappoint!  If you're holding onto your hope I would encourage you to place upon Christ.  He and only He can be fully trusted with our hope.  


We have a responsibility to put hope in God, to be encouraged, and to change History through Prayer.

Some time back I took a leadership strengths assessment and one of my points of strength was responsibility.  I take pride in being responsible to what God has entrusted me with.  It’s a deep rooted feeling I have when it comes to serving the Lord, and serving the church as a pastor.


Our hope needs to be squarely on the shoulders of Christ.  Not on mine, not in others, and not in our government’s but on the Lord’s.


God wants us to be encouraged, and He wants to be the one to encourage us.  We must believe this!  We can be encouraged by many different things but only Christ can be the true lifter of our heads.  If we don’t spend the time in prayer as we should then how will we be encouraged?  


It may not be documented in our country as it is the Bible.  But, we know the praying people of this nation changed the course of our history because of the prayer.  Let’s do it again!  Would you join me in praying for our schools, national and state governments, and our community?  Prayer works!      


History belongs to those who pray.


This was awesome for me!  If we look back in our history you’ll find the works of God due to the effective prayers of His saints.  You see at work in our country, and in our world.  Why?  Because God’s people humbled themselves and prayed!  Look back on your own life.  Think of a time when you needed the hand of God.  Do you remember?  I do.  Our miracle with our son Mason has shown to Krista and I.  God is moved by the prayers of His people.


I would love nothing more than for this pandemic to be over but until it is I must pray and keep my hope intact.  Our names may not be written in some history book.  But, our prayers are locked into God’s heart and He will move on our behalf.  

   

Hopeless prayers are less effective.


We’ve all experienced what hopelessness feels like.  It’s empty and void.  Too often we come to our Savior with empty and void prayers.  Faith, hope, and anticipation need to be present in our prayers to God.  Scripture says, “it’s impossible to please God without faith.”  What is my life if I have no hope in Christ’s power?  To anticipate the work of God makes me pray even more.


Let’s turn our hopeless prayer into hopeful prayers!  Let’s believe God will move on our behalf.  No need to fret about what’s going to happen next.  God is for YOU!  Let’s be who God has called us to be.  Bible-based, Christ-centered, and Spirit-empowered!


Blessings,


Pastor Jake


I JUST WANT MY CHURCH BACK.

I think you all know me well enough by now to know that my desire is to move Neighborhood forward in our purpose as a Bible-based, Christ-centered, Spirit-empowered church in our community.  We’re called to Love God and Love People.  Neighborhood will continue to move in this direction with or without Covid.   

 

Next month, like always I will begin to pray for Lord’s direction for 2021.  The entire ministry goes on my whiteboard and I begin to pray.  But I’m finding it hard to pray for what’s next because I don’t really know what the future holds for our church, community, nation, or world.  It’s been a bit frustration.  Actually, it’s very frustrating.  

 

2019 was a banner year for us in many ways and when 2020 began we didn’t skip a beat.  We took off like a rocket within our ministries, Sunday attendances, and overall church health.  Before March we were hitting numbers like 186 and averaging in 150’s.  We had tons of kids upstairs, crazy amounts of babies and toddlers, and new families.  Then COVID-19 slammed on the brakes bringing everything to a screeching halt.  Don’t know if “spiritual whiplash” is a thing.  But I just came from the chiropractor this afternoon and it sure does feel like it.    

 

I just want my church back is what I’ve been telling God lately.  “God, I just want my church back.”  When I don’t hear anything specific, I just keep praying.  Then, this morning, as I was in Warfare Prayer (go figure) I opened up My Utmost for His Highest devotional by Oswald Chambers and this is what I read: 

 

The Brave Friendship of God

“He took the twelve aside.”   Luke 18:31

 

     Oh, the bravery of God and trusting us! Do you say, “But He has been unwise to choose me, because there is nothing good in me and I have no value?”  That is exactly why He chose you. As long as you think that you are a value to Him, He cannot choose you, because you have purposes of your owned to serve. But if you will allow Him to take you to the end of your own self-sufficiency, then he can choose you to go with him “to Jerusalem” (Luke 18:31). And that will mean the fulfillment of purposes which He does not discuss with you.

 

     We tend to say that because a person has natural ability, he will make a good Christian. It is not a matter of our equipment, but a matter of our poverty; not of what we bring with us, but of what God puts into us; not a matter of natural virtues, of strength of character, of knowledge, or of experience --- all of that is of no avail in this concern. The only thing of value is being taken into the compelling purpose of God and being made His friends.  God's friendship is with people who know their poverty.  He can accomplish nothing with the person who thinks that he is of use to God. As Christians we are not here for our own purpose at all --- we are here for the purpose of God, and the two are not the same. We do not know what God’s compelling purposes, but whatever happens, we must maintain our relationship with Him. We must never allow anything to damage our relationship with God, but if something does damage it, we must take the time to make it right again. The most important aspect of Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain, and the surrounding influence and qualities produced by that relationship. That is all God asks us to give our attention to, and it is the one thing that is continually under attack.

 

After reading this inspiring devotion I now have about 25 different sermons running through my head…lol.  But I felt God whisper to my heart that my calling, and my laboring is for Him and not for my church…which is His to begin with!  I’m responsible to God’s calling of today not of June 21st, 2021.  Eventually I will be, but for now I’m to remain faithful to today’s purpose. 

 

I’m also humbled because God has placed value in me because I don’t want my agenda to conflict with His agenda.  If I’m too busy being frustrated with the lack of progress, or the COVID restrictions than I will miss the progress, He has for me.  Another difficult challenge to endure…but “we can do all things through Christ!”

 

"The understanding of my importance to God despite my personal shortcomings was greatly impacted when Chambers wrote, 'That's exactly why He chose you.'”  There have been many days in prayer when I’ve asked God, “Lord, why me?  There are billions of other people on this planet who could do this better than I can.”  But He always reminds with this, “I chose you because you chose me and when I called you to labor for my sake you said, “Yes.”  

 

As long as I have breath in my lungs I will always say “YES” to our King.  

 

So, whatever the rest of 2020 has for us.  I’ll be here doing what God has called me and my family to do.  I encourage you friends to look to Christ like never before.  Pray, read your word, spend time in worship, love your family, and keep fighting the good fight.  Because He chose you first!  

 

Pastor Jake

I will praise Him to the very end

Neighborhood, 


I’ve been thinking a lot about the flawlessness of Jesus.  It’s made my realize even more of the love He had and has me for me today.  Not that I’ve had an apathetical outlook on Jesus’ love before, but I pray that after this series I never forget of how flawless Christ was and is!  


Some historians have made statements that it would’ve been impossible for Jesus to sin because He was God in the flesh.  But, we know Jesus was 100% God and 100% man which made Him vulnerable to temptation.  Jesus didn’t run from temptation, nor did He run from the Devil.  He faced the both, temptation and Satan face on!  As Jesus lived, the cross was always on the forefront of His mind.  The perfect life of Christ was purposely chosen in order to be the unblemished sacrifice for the cross.  “Lord, help me to never forget that!”  


When I read through the Word I see several occurrences of human failure but Jesus was there to bringing correction with love to whatever moment was.  Sometimes I like to think of the “what if’s.”  Such as, what if Jesus chose not to fast and go into the desert to be tempted?  What would the outcome of that decision be?  I’m sure it would’ve changed everything for you and I.  But, Jesus chose to be hungry, tired, and vulnerable for for us.  Church, even in weakness He was flawless.  


As we go into sixth month of restricted living from Covid-19.  I’m going to continue to think of the flawless Christ more and more.  When I watch or read the news of our situation I will say, “I serve the flawless Christ who hasn’t forgotten His people and has never lost a battle.”  He’s not gonna lose anytime soon folks…HE NEVER WILL!  


I’ll close with this today…one of the miracles I just can’t get over is that Jesus lived a flawless life so I would have hope to hold too, purpose to engage with, and salvation which put my name in heaven.  Simply put I’m blessed and I will continue to praise Him to the very end!  


Love you all!


Pastor Jake   

Media

Check out Pastor Jake's devotional videos, leadership lessons, and the infamous Wash Your Truck Videos.  

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