God’s Timing

I know that it is neither Christmas nor Mothers Day, but I was reading Luke 1 this week, and was impressed by the faith of Elizabeth and Mary, who would be moms of John the Baptist and Jesus. In Elizabeth, we have an elderly woman who can’t have a child because her “time” is past, and in Mary, we have a young betrothed bride who can’t have a child because her “time” has yet to come. They both become pregnant and their world- and ours, is changed forever!

Have you ever discovered that God’s timing and plans can differ from your own? We get everything worked out, and then we invite God to show up- when we’re ready. And if God happens to show up early or late, well we can become everything from annoyed to angry. What I love about Elizabeth and Mary is that when their plans were delayed or interrupted by God’s plans, they embraced it. They celebrated. They were available. They gave thanks, and the praised God.

The reality is, God’s timing is perfect. We may not always see it that way, but God is never late, and he is never early. If God’s “schedule” has you waiting, wondering or worrying, let me encourage you to let go. God says: “At the time I have decided, my words will come true. You can trust what I say about the future.” (Habakkuk 2:3 CEV) Exhale. Rest. Trust Him!

Enjoy the Journey!
Pr. Dave

What is Most Important?

So it has been a rather historic week for Brasil. (As an outsider I have to admit I don’t always get this country, but I do love it!) It was also an historic week for the life of Bridges, as our church leadership decided to move forward, and attempt to buy the church and surrounding property. When we surveyed the church a couple of Sundays ago nearly 90% of you indicated that you would enthusiastically pray, give, and support the church in this step of faith. Thank you. Now we must put actions to our words.

In the midst of our leadership meeting the elders had the privilege of gathering around someone from our church to anoint them, and pray for God’s healing, as they face a difficult health issue. They were concerned about distracting us from the business of our meeting, and I told them that if property ever becomes more important than people, or budgets more important than the Body, we will be failing as a church.  I hope that during this season where we will be looking for God to provide for our church in miraculous ways, that we will never lose sight of what is most important: Loving God and loving others.

Expectant!

Pr. Dave

 

Faith & Action

On Tuesday nights I meet with several other men on the patio to talk about life and faith, which I find to be very helpful to my personal journey. (Guys feel free to join us on the church patio each week at 7:29!) This past week we were considering what the Bible says in James 2:17: “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” I guess it was the weight of the word “dead” that really challenged me.  In other words if I say I believe in God, but there are no actions that demonstrate belief, my faith is non-existent, lifeless, extinct… Action is what brings our faith to life!                          

So a real simple barometer of how healthy our faith is, would be to ask ourselves: “What did I DO this week to show faith?” Jesus never simply talked or taught and left it at that. He was compelled to act! He never said: “I love you”, and then failed to show it.  Following Jesus Christ’s example of love in action can be a very radical and risky endeavor, but only as our faith is coupled with action, can we escape death and know life.  Between this Sunday and next Sunday, what will you do to act in faith?

 

Have a great week!

Pr. Dave

With God We Shall Do Valiantly

I’ve been encouraged this past week by a verse from God’s Word that says: “With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes.” (Psalm 60:12) “Valiantly”, now there’s a word that we don’t hear or use much. It means “marked by, exhibiting, or carried out with courage or determination; to be brave or bold.” The thought of being “valiant” conjures up images of fairy tales, but God is not interested in our being knights in shining armor, or heroines that save the day. He wants our lives to be marked by his presence and power, so that WITH HIM, we will have the courage and boldness to give and forgive, love the unlovable, stand for what is right, defend the weak, be generous, not grumble, rejoice always…and do all of the things that we cannot do without him.

As we move into our week, I want to encourage you to take time to know God more, for only as we are “with God”, can we live and love valiantly.

Enjoy the journey,
Pr. Dave

James 1:2-4

We were challenged last week to put into our own words James 1:2-4. My paraphrase went like this: “Respond with genuine joy when facing whatever trials come along, because when our faith is tried, perseverance grows. And perseverance is critical to the process of growth that leads to maturity and wholeness”.

On one hand, I’m convicted by this truth, knowing that often times I choose to respond with attitudes and emotions other than joy when I encounter hard times. (I’m trusting God is going to help me change that.) On the other hand I’m encouraged by this verse, knowing that even my problems have a purpose, and that God uses the trials that I face, to help me become more like him.

I hope that life is relatively “trial free” for you right now, but as we all know, none of us can escape the problems and pressures of this world. May God’s peace, presence, and power sustain us in the midst of whatever trial we face, and may a response of joy help us grow to be all that God has created us to be.

Enjoy the Journey!

Pr. Dave

Keep Rowing

So I did something last week that I’d never done before- rowing in one of those skinny little boats on the lake. It’s not as easy as it looks! There’s so much coordination that is required- wrists, legs, back, hands and mind all working together. Or trying to work together. Just when I felt like I was getting the hang of it, one thing would get out of balance, and everything was messed up. On top of all that, you can’t see in front of you!

It’s easy to see the analogies to life. I can feel at times like I have my act together, everything kind of rockin along smoothly, and then something happens that disrupts the whole journey- all the while, not knowing what’s in front of me. It was a fresh reminder of how I really need to entrust every facet of my life and journey to God. Whether it’s my kids, my marriage, career, or health… I need to believe that God is taking me in a direction that is the very best for my life.

I’m hopeful of rowing again soon, and I believe that over time, and with some practice, there will become a more natural rhythm to it all. I’m finding that to be true of my journey with Christ as well.

Keep “rowing”!
Pr. Dave

Mark 4

I was reading the story a couple of days ago from Mark 4 about Jesus calming the storm, picturing myself in a sinking boat, and I realized how easily I make the same mistake the disciples made- assuming that Christ doesn’t care. Often times because God doesn’t seem to answer our cries, or act in our crisis, we assume that He has turned his back to us. Jesus response was basically to say don’t make your “storms” about fear or feelings, make it about faith- TRUST ME.

The Bible says: “I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your God.”
(Isaiah 43:1-3)

It is reassuring to know that in the midst of our greatest storms, God has promised us his presence, protection and power.

Have a great week,
Pr. Dave

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