How Relationships Work: A Secure Foundation – 01/27/15

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By , January 28, 2015 4:50 pm
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This morning we began with praise, singing “Open Up the Heavens” by Vertical Church Band and “Blessed Assurance” by Jadon Lavik.

Kathy began the spring semester with a review of the principles of our vertical relationship with God as our foundation for living.  We began to explore how these principles extend to our horizontal relationships through unity, intimacy and vulnerability.

Impossible!

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By , January 26, 2015 9:52 pm
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If you want to grow in loving others well, join me for the teaching series “How Relationships Grow.” We start back Tuesday, January 27th with class at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.–or follow online anytime!
 
 

IMPOSSIBLE!

 
 
In Luke 17:1, Jesus says: “It is impossible that no offenses should come.” Wow! I am blown away that this is in the Bible. Thank you, Lord, for saying! This validates my experience–I keep running into opportunities to take offense and to offend others.

 

His solution to our offense-filled world is found in John 13:34, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” Now THAT is impossible! I know I am not able to love like that. Yet I find faith and strength knowing that the One who issues this commandment is God of the Impossible.

 

He tells me that He has “poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 5:5) If I walk in dependence on the Spirit, allowing His fruit to grow in my heart, I can experience what seems out of my reach. Although it seems impossible, God can prune my offensive behaviors and words. He can teach me to let others’ offenses roll off my back. He can do this, and He will–through His boundless love!

 

“With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

Mark 10:27

Fresh Vision

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By , January 8, 2015 3:56 am
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Happy New Year! I hope you will plan to share 2015 with us at Divine Design Discipleship. Our teaching series “How Relationships Grow” will resume on Tuesdays, beginning January 27th. We offer a morning session at 10 a.m., an evening session at 7 p.m., or you can follow us online under the Resources tab of this website.

FRESH VISION

God spoke: “Lights! Come out! Shine in Heaven’s sky! Separate Day from Night. Mark seasons and days and years.

Genesis 1:14 MSG

Poised at the beginning of 2015, we face the choice of sameness or newness. We can either join God in the new things He wants to do in our lives or lapse into default ways of approaching life. For me, there is no contest—I want to know and experience the Lord’s vision for this new year.

Living by vision requires some effort, but it motivates me to hear the wisdom and the warning found in Proverbs 29:18 KJV, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

And it is exactly what Jesus did! We see Him presenting His vision statement at the beginning of His public ministry in Luke 4:14-21:

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

By letting God shape His earthly life with the Scriptures, Jesus reveals to us the powerful possibility of fresh vision for our own lives. We, too, can receive God’s vision when we embark on anything new or for anything in our lives in need of newness.
To generate a vision statement, I start by reviewing my spiritual journal from recent months. There I almost always find some themes to consider, truths that God has spoken repeatedly through quiet times, sermons, music, life experiences and many other creative ways. Vision emerges as I take time to prayerfully consider how the principles apply to my daily life circumstances.

My vision statement is simply a compilation of the biblical truths that I believe God wants to integrate into my life in the coming year. At some point, the days and weeks will begin to look a lot like they did last year. I need a guide to get me back on track, to remind me how today is new and full of timely opportunities for abundant life.

When I read vision statements from past years, I see the unique ways God fulfilled what He promised. When I read my vision statement for 2015, I have hope that He will do it again!

If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; but when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed.
Proverbs 29:18 MSG

Maybe your vision for this year will be as basic as beginning to keep a daily or weekly journal of personal words and insights you receive from Scripture. Or if you want to craft your own vision statement, here are some instructions:

1. Pray, asking God to speak to you through His Word: Ps 119:17-18 AMP– Deal bountifully with Your servant, that I may live; and I will observe Your word [hearing, receiving, loving, and obeying it]. Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Your law.

2. Wait expectantly for God to address the issues you bring to Him: Ps 130:5-6– I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.

3. Receive the Scriptures you study as God’s personal counsel to you: Is 50:4– The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.

4. Write a daily or weekly record of insights the Holy Spirit gives as you meditate on His Word to you: Hab 2:2 GNT–Write down clearly on tablets what I reveal to you, so that it can be read at a glance.

5. Review your journal often to help you identify themes that are repetitive and principles that have deeply impacted you. These will be the target truths you’ll consider for your vision statement. Be sure to include the following:

• Verses and insights from your quiet times
• Bible study notes or handouts, sermons, books, or songs
• Lyrics to songs that have been significant in your journey
• Mental images or real life analogies you’ve applied (ex: object, example, experience)

6. Complete your Vision Statement by making a list of the truths that you believe God wants to integrate into your life in the coming year. Stay flexible, being willing to add or edit as the year progresses.

7. Pray these principles back to God, asking Him to make them your experience this year. Share a copy with a prayer partner so that they can pray for you, too. And don’t forget to stash copies in your car, purse, gym bag, or recipe holder for quick reference when you need to pray on the run!

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