How Relationships Work: Staying Connected In Hard Times – 10/28/14

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By , October 28, 2014 7:43 pm
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Today we sang “You Are My All In All” by Dennis Jernigan and Natalie Grant as well as one of the songs from this year’s 3DCD, “Hide Away In The Love Of Jesus” by Sovereign Grace.

Kathy taught from Judges 6 using Gideon’s example of what it looks like to have a POVERTY mindset and how to overcome it.

Honored

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By , October 27, 2014 6:07 pm
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God is great at relationships! Our focus in the series “How Relationships Grow” has been to get to know Him intimately and study how He relates to us. As we learn how to receive God’s love in greater measure, He enables us to go and love with the same love with which we’ve been loved. It’s not too late to join us in this journey at 10 a.m. or 7 p.m. on Tuesdays or by listening online.

 
 
 

HONORED

 

“You are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you.”

Isaiah 43:4 NLT

 
 
In speaking these astounding words of affirmation, God sets a wonderful example in what love looks like. He wants to make sure we know that we are precious individuals that He loves and favors. Our magnificent and holy God, the Creator of the universe, chooses to bestow honor on us! He takes pleasure and pride in each one of His people and He doesn’t mind saying so. Wow! If God makes the effort to honor us, I want to go and do likewise to the people I love.
 
Birthdays present a wonderful opportunity to do just that. I’ve always been a big fan of birthday parties. Planning a favorite meal, cake, and candles is a great way to celebrate the people that are special to us.
 
My family recently gathered to mark the milestone of my mother-in-law’s 90th birthday. The children and grandchildren took time to write down things they love about her. They honored her with their words and then proceeded to put away mass quantities of Mexican food—her favorite!
 
The meal turned out so well that I wanted to share the recipes with you. I hope you will use these to jump-start your own fiesta. Enjoy!
 
FIESTA GRILLED SKIRT STEAK
 
2 heads garlic, broken into individual cloves
½ cup vegetable oil
6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 ½ teaspoon salt
2 pounds skirt steak, best quality
 
In a small skillet over medium heat, roast the unpeeled garlic, turning occasionally until softened, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, place the garlic in a glass measuring cup and microwave on high for 4 to 5 minutes.) Cool, then peel and place in food processor or blender along with the remaining ingredients. Process until the mixture becomes a smooth puree. Place the steak in a non-aluminum baking dish. Pour the marinade over the steak, coating both sides of the meat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
 
Heat a gas grill to medium-high heat. Brush or spritz oil over both sides of the steak. Place it on the hottest part of the grill. Grill, turning once, until grill marks form and it becomes richly browned. Move the steak to a cooler part of the grill for cooking until done to your preference. (The thickness of the meat and your grill will vary, but this step took 15 to 20 minutes for medium temperature. I like to use a meat thermometer to gauge this.) Move the meat to a dish, cover, and let rest for at least 15 minutes. This step is important in keeping the meat juicy.
 
Cut the meat into 3- to 4-inch strips, cutting across the grain. Taste for saltiness and adjust to your liking. Serve with small corn or flour tortillas, lime wedges, and the toppings of your choice including fresh cilantro, shredded jack cheese, guacamole, sour cream, and sautéed vegetables (recipe follows). Each pound of steak yields 5 or 6 tacos when served on a 6-inch tortilla.
 
 
Adapted from “Fiesta at Rick’s” by Rick Bayless
 
 
SAUTEED FAJITA VEGETABLES
 
1 poblano pepper, seeds removed and thinly sliced
2 bell peppers, seeds removed and thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, seeds removed and thinly sliced
1 yellow or white onion, cut into thin rounds
8 oz. small Portobello mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lime
Salt, pepper, and ground cumin to taste
 
 
Heat a large skillet and a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot add a dash of oil to the large skillet, then the onion, peppers and mushrooms. Cook until softened and slightly caramelized, stirring often. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Season generously with salt, pepper, cumin and lime juice. Fill warm tortillas with the vegetables and add toppings of your choice for vegetarian fajitas. Makes an excellent accompaniment or topping for steak or chicken fajitas.
 
Adapted from a recipe on the website “Minimalist Baker”
 
 
SPANISH RICE
2 T. canola oil
½ onion, finely chopped
2 c. white rice
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 c. low sodium chicken broth
1 c. tomato sauce
4-6 T. chopped fresh cilantro, optional
2 t. salt
 
In a large sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add in the fresh onion. Sauté for 1-2 minutes until softened. Add dry rice and cook with the onions for about 5 minutes or until rice becomes a golden brown color. Add in the garlic to the rice and sauté for one more minute.
 
Add in broth and tomato sauce (add slowly into the rice, not directly onto hot pan!) And then add in the cilantro if you’re using it. Stir it up and bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, turn the heat to low and cover. Let it simmer for 20 minutes and fluff with a fork.

How Relationships Work: Sowing Patiently, 10/21/14

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By , October 21, 2014 4:29 pm
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This morning we sang “Instruments of Your Peace” by David Kauffman and “Lord, I Need You” by Matt Maher.

Our topic today was practicing patience – the patience OF God, patience WITH God, and a harvest of patience. It was so helpful to be reminded that we already have a measure of patience in us if the Holy Spirit resides there, since it is one of His fruits!

How Relationships Work: Love/Hate Relationships – 10/14/14

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By , October 14, 2014 10:07 pm
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This morning we sang “Man of Sorrows” by Hillsong Live and “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman. Kathy reminded us that choosing the fruits of the Spirit is NOT about performance. We are choosing to STOP and CONNECT with the Lord, asking Him what He wants to produce in us in that moment. Remember – CONNECTION, CONNECTION, CONNECTION. All of these lessons are in the context of RELATIONSHIP.

We continued to learn how relationships work by examining FORGIVING LOVE and how sometimes we need to “forgive” God…not that God ever needs to be forgiven; He is perfect. Sometimes we FEEL offended, we FEEL disappointed, we FEEL hurt and we need to reconcile those feelings by extending forgiveness and reconnecting with the lover of our souls.

How Relationships Work: Practicing the Presence – 10/07/14

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By , October 7, 2014 3:25 pm
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We started our morning with some listening prayer led by Kathy to get our mind, will and emotions surrendered and ready to worship. We sang “Draw Me Close To You” by Michael W. Smith and “In Christ Alone” by Kristian Stanfill.

Today we learned the role of the soul and discussed how to renew our minds with God’s truth. Kathy showed us today how our lives can be a VICTORY CYCLE of allowing God to produce the fruits of the spirit in us, acting out of those fruits and then offering up our good works to the Lord. Again, it all boils down to CONNECTION. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

Drawing Near

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By , October 6, 2014 9:19 am
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In the new series “How Relationships Grow” we’ve been exploring what it means to have an intimate and thriving relationship with God. I invite you to jump in and join us this Tuesday at either 10 a.m. or 7 p.m. Always feel free to drop in whenever you are able! You may also listen to the series on our website—no password needed.

 

 

DRAWING NEAR

 

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

 

James 4:8

 

 

It seems so obvious that spending focused time together is necessary for any relationship to grow. Why is it that we neglect to do that with the One who is our First Love?

 

I believe that one of the big reasons for our distance from God is that we don’t know Him very well. We don’t understand what it is He wants from us and what it is we really, at the deepest level, desire from Him.

 

God wants the same thing we want—connection! He planted within us an appetite for unity, one of His most essential traits. We are made with an inborn desire to draw near to each other and intertwine our beings. This idea is exhilarating but also terrifying.

 

We need someone who is safe, who can offer us unconditional belonging. We need to be fully known and accepted despite our flaws and failures. God is exclusively able to offer that to us. And He is standing and waiting for us to open the door and fellowship with Him. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you. What an amazing opportunity!

 

Give it a try–take God’s promise to heart and reach out to connect with Him. You’re sure to experience His nearness. I can’t think of anyone better than Andrew Murray to guide you in this process. Here is an excerpt from his article ‘The Deeper Christian Life”:

 

The first and chief need of our Christian life is, Fellowship with God.

 

The Divine life within us comes from God, and is entirely dependent upon Him. As I need every moment afresh the air to breathe, as the sun every moment afresh sends down its light, so it is only in direct living communication with God that my (inmost being) can be strong.

 

The manna of one day was corrupt when the next day came. I must every day have fresh grace from heaven, and I obtain it only in direct waiting upon God Himself. Begin each day by tarrying before God, and letting Him touch you. Take time to meet God.

 

To this end, let your first act in your devotion be a setting yourself still before God. In prayer, or worship, everything depends upon God taking the chief place. I must bow quietly before Him in humble faith and adoration, speaking thus within my heart: “God is. God is near. God is love, longing to communicate Himself to me. God the Almighty One, Who worketh all in all, is even now waiting to work in me, and make Himself known.” Take time, till you know God is very near.

… Sink down before Him in humility, meekness, patience, and surrender to His goodness and mercy. He will exalt you. Oh! take time, to get very low before God.

 

Then accept and value your place in Christ Jesus. God delights in nothing but His beloved Son, and can be satisfied with nothing else in those who draw nigh to Him. Enter deep into God’s holy presence in the boldness which the blood gives, and in the assurance that in Christ you are most well-pleasing.

 

You have access into the very heart and love of the Father. This is the great object of fellowship with God, that I may have more of God in my life, and that God may see Christ formed in me. Be silent before God and let Him bless you.

 

This Christ is a living Person. He loves you with a personal love, and He looks every day for the personal response of your love. Look into His face with trust, till His love really shines into your heart. Make His heart glad by telling Him that you do love Him. He offers Himself to you as a personal Savior and Keeper from the power of sin.

 

…Say to God, “Father, here am I for Thee to give as much in me of Christ’s likeness as I can receive.” And wait to hear Him say, “My child, I give thee as much of Christ as thy heart is open to receive.” The God who revealed Jesus in the flesh and perfected Him, will reveal Him in thee and perfect thee in Him. The Father loves the Son, and delights to work out His image and likeness in thee. Count upon it that this blessed work will be done in thee as thou waitest on thy God, and holdest fellowship with Him.

 

All this can only be in the power of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in you. Count upon Him to glorify Christ in you. Count upon Christ to increase in you the inflowing of His Spirit. As you wait before God to realize His presence, remember that the Spirit is in you to reveal the things of God. Seek in God’s presence to have the anointing of the Spirit of Christ so truly that your whole life may every moment be spiritual.

 

As you meditate on this wondrous salvation and seek full fellowship with the great and holy God, and wait on Him to reveal Christ in you, you will feel how needful the giving up of all is to receive Him. Seek grace to know what it means to live as wholly for God as Christ did. Only the Holy Spirit Himself can teach you what an entire yielding of the whole life to God can mean. Wait on God to show you in this what you do not know. Let every approach to God, and every request for fellowship with Him be accompanied by a new, very definite, and entire surrender to Him to work in you.

 

“By faith” must here, as through all Scripture, and all the spiritual life, be the keynote. As you tarry before God, let it be in a deep quiet faith in Him, the Invisible One, who is so near, so holy, so mighty, so loving. In a deep, restful faith too, that all the blessings and powers of the heavenly life are around you, and in you. Just yield yourself in the faith of a perfect trust to the Ever Blessed Holy Trinity to work out all God’s purpose in you. Begin each day thus in fellowship with God, and God will be all in all to you.

 

 

 

 

How Relationships Work: Presence, Progress & Process – 09/30/14

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By , October 1, 2014 8:39 pm
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This week we worshiped in song to “Blessed Be Your Name” by Tree63 and “I Stand Amazed (How Marvelous)” by Chris Tomlin. Kathy began with a hefty review from last week and then discussed how we grow in our relationship with God and some obstacles that hinder our growth.

*Note – there is a bit of buzzing in the recording that begins around the 5 1/2 minute mark but lasts less than a minute.

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