Just as I am, thou wilt receive, will welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve; Because Thy promise I believe, O Lamb of God, I come! I come!
How wonderful are those words. Read them slowly, even aloud. Too good to be true - and yet it is. He does all of this, welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve. Why? Because I simply believe His promise. His promise, not mine. (see John 3:16, 5:24; Romans 4:5) No works, no commitments. Because I believe HIS promise, I come! I come! And He welcomes me, pardons me, cleanses me, relieves me…JUST AS I AM.
That is grace. As I listened to this great hymn this morning, I felt it - again. Just as I am? Yes, and I need that assurance every day.
I am convinced that GFC has been blessed by God because we have sought to be faithful to the gospel of grace. In spite of criticism or complaint by some, we have “kept the faith” and lived for the progress of the gospel, which by the way, means GOOD NEWS!
Come August 11th, we will be going to three services on Sunday morning in order to join God in the progress of the gospel. The service times will be 9:15, 11:00 and 12:30. It is my expectation that GFCers who have experienced this great grace of God, will rejoice in this opportunity and see it for what it is --- JOINING GOD. We all tend to look at things from the standpoint of our own convenience. But this is about our mission. I for one, as well as other staff and key volunteers, understand the “cost” involved. You may not know that we did four services for over 10 years prior to our new auditorium!
Over the next few weeks you will discover how you can join God along side others to make the expansion to three services possible. Hospitality, café service, greeters - inside and outside the building, ushers, childcare, facility reset during/between services, youth ministry - middle school or high school, etc. How fun! How significant.
Echo starts one week from today! We had fun with it yesterday didn’t we? Your response was great! There are still some opportunities available. Check it out online or email Lois Martin with questions.
You can also get tickets online for Joe Castillo – Sand Artist and get information on the upcoming women’s conference called Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life, which will offer a teen girls version the night before.
Grace and peace,
"Smart Prayers: This 'Thing'" 1 Kings 3:1-12
What would you do? Really. He will give you whatever you ask of Him. It would be a tough choice for most of us…but it didn’t seem to be for the third king of Israel. One thing, this “thing” – wisdom. The skill of living well. Actually, it makes sense. So…
THINKING IT THROUGH
A wise person is one who went ahead and did the things that the rest of us never got around to.
You are only young once, but you can be immature forever.
The next best thing to being wise yourself is to live in a circle of those who are.
LIVING IT OUT
1. What implications does the saying, “pay now-play later” have for you right now in your life?
2. What does the way you are living your life reveal about your relationship with God?
3. If you could gain more wisdom by changing one thing you do every day, what would it be and why?
"Smart Prayers: Life with God" Psalm 139
One of the ways we can stumble with prayer is to make it more complicated than it is. We pray for a variety of reasons – religious ritual, to seek help, to ask for guidance, etc. But if you think about what prayer is at its core, it is simply conversation – a special type of conversation between mankind and our Creator. Prayer is a unique gift that God gave to human beings. In fact, language itself is unique to humans among God’s creatures on Earth – could it be that He equipped us for language because He wants to communicate with us? What a remarkable privilege – that we get to have conversations with our Heavenly Father, that through prayer we can keep company with our Maker!
LOOKING IT UP
1. Before reading this week’s primary text, take a few minutes to think through the way you typically pray. How do you address God? What do you typically pray for? Is there a certain order you tend to follow? Do you pray at the same time(s) during the day or does it vary? Are there certain circumstances that frequently cause you to pray? When are you least likely to pray?
2. Now read Psalm 139. As you read, make some basic observations of David’s prayer. What is the tone? What is the topic of conversation? How would you describe his relationship to God based on this prayer? What stands out to you as significant or remarkable?
3. How similar or different is this prayer from the types of prayers you typically pray?
4. This Psalm breaks down into 4 sections of 6 verses each: 1-6, 7-12, 13-18, and 19-24. Examine each section and write a theme for each in the margin. How do they all tie together? Is there an overarching theme to the whole Psalm?
5. Which one of the 4 sections most resonates with you right now? Why?
6. There are only 2 verses in the entire Psalm where David asks God for anything. Why do you think these are the things David asks for?
7. What do you learn about prayer from this Psalm?
Posted on Mon, July 15, 2013
by Tom Oyler