The Monday After: Enemies of the Heart: Finding Joy in a World Built by Greed {Anita}

You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave church inspired by and filled with  Truth, encouragement and passion on Sundays … and somewhere along the course of the day and week, we often lose that Sunday feeling. 

The Monday After {the Sunday Sermon} is our attempt to carry the Sunday message into Monday mornings by walking together and sharing how what we’ve heard on Sunday morning is making a difference in our Mondays, our weeks, our lives. Each Monday, a voice from the pews will give personal perspective to the words we soaked in on Sunday. Because of your generosity, lives are being changed by God’s grace, and we’re able to share these stories with you here!

The Monday After Sunday, June 24, 2013: Finding Joy in a World Built by Greed {click HERE to listen to the sermon}

By Anita Everly

Short of cutting ourselves out of American society completely, we have to learn to live generously and Christ-like in this land of excess.  But how?
I’m finding the beautiful example of our Indian sister Prem Gideon to be so powerful in its simplicity:  seek God, listen to God and have faith enough to obey God.
No matter what our bank account says or what kind of home and possessions we do or don’t have, we can all surrender to His guidance in matters of money and things.
That word:  surrender.  Per a discussion earlier this week, I’ve been sitting with the notion that surrender is not just giving up and doing nothing; rather,  it is often actively settling into being present with the Lord and waiting on what He wills to become a participant in His good work as He directs.
Do you have a time of thanksgiving with each paycheck?
Do you have a time of prayer surrendering that paycheck to the Lord for it to be used how He sees fit?
In our world of automatic deposits and withdrawals, sometimes it’s hard to remember the Giver and to be intentional with our gratitude and seeking direction for what to do with our income.
Instead of praying at the end of the month that He would stretch the money and please make it last (been there), what if with every paycheck we surrendered it to God at the beginning and asked for His guidance in how to be a good steward of each cent?
What if before we slid that debit card, plugged in that credit card number or plopped some cash on a counter, we prayed and enlisted the power of the Holy Spirit?   Not just for “extras,” but for everything.
As we go about each day, what if we thanked Him for the simple and beautiful blessings of this life and prayed for people to pay attention to—to love, to bless, to give?
Prem shared with us a great example: seeking first His kingdom and righteousness.   She said she made praying for good stewardship a habit and prayed daily:  Lord, please give me only what is needed so that I am not too satisfied and ignore you.
Then when the closing of her school became a reality, she was on her knees in prayer crying out to the Lord. He heard her cries and she heard His words and remained faithful, acting in obedience to Him.  In a matter of months, her school enrollment almost doubled.  She is sharing hope and the love of Christ with about 800 children and their families.
That’s a crazy-good God thing.
It’s usually in our moments of contentment with Him and faith in His provision (surrender) that He does something that makes no sense to the world, but highlights perfectly His divinity in the everyday matters of our lives.
Most of us have a paycheck coming soon.  It’s a good, regular check-in with God and our use of all we possess.  What if we thanked Him now and began praying how He would have us use every cent this pay period?  What if we asked Him to bring us people to whom we can give abundantly–not just of our money, but of our gratitude, talents, time, a listening ear or a service.
I’m betting the direction of our resources will be clearer, the trust in His provision will be stronger and the contentment of our hearts will be rich with His love and overflowing to others.
And that’s something money can’t buy.

Anita Everly is the wife of David and mom to their three sons.  She can be found watching the lives of her men unfold, creating a home, and encouraging other women in life and motherhood.  She is striving to live life on purpose because she is crazy in love with the One who is crazy in love with her.

The Monday After: When a Look Becomes Lust {Andrew}

You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave church inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement on Sundays … and somewhere along the course of the week, pieces of the message tend to fade and we often lose that Sunday feeling.

The Monday After {the Sunday Sermon} is our attempt to carry the Sunday message into Monday mornings by walking together and sharing how what we’ve heard on Sunday morning is making a difference in our Mondays, our weeks, our lives. Each Monday, a voice from the pews will give personal perspective to the words we soaked in on Sunday.

The Monday After Sunday, June 16, 2013: Enemies of the Heart: When a Look Becomes Lust {LISTEN HERE!}

by Andrew Kelley

I could write a book based on Sunday’s message, but I’ll save my novel for another day.

This enemy of the heart hits home with me because I’ve dealt with lust most of my 34 years. Though I’ve been in church since shortly after birth, the enemy has had a game plan. God, hover, has had a better one.

We can lust after almost anything in life, but we see more and more a lusting after a woman or a man is a huge trap with the most subtle hints. The title of the message yesterday was very fitting, as I hear this question brought up by Christian men, so thank you pastor Joe for being obedient.

“When a look becomes a lust” was a question I began asking many years ago. Even in being healed and transformed by the Holy Spirit after bringing my past experiences with lust to my mentors and then sharing with my wife even before we got married, lust has been a battle that must be fought every day.

I have learned when I let down my sheild and do not put on the full aurmor of God, I come to ruin.Lust truly is a mind battle, and it has caused me to make drastically different every day. The enemy knows I am weak in this area, but more than that, he knows the places and times I am weak; and I mean that literally. Places like the magazine aisle at Walgreens or Walmart are major potholes, and I choose to completely avoid them by not even driving down that aisle. That was hard because I love cars so car magazines were a very big part of my life.

Or times when I was alone and my thoughts would usually drift to desiring to look at a naked woman, so that means not being alone as often, and when I find myself alone, I check in with my wife and prepare myself spiritually. I thought this would be easier after marriage, but that’s not the case at all because the enemy hates a strong union escpecially when it’s between two believers.

I am so thankful for a wife who understands the battle I fight. Sure, its been hard and you can ask both of us anytime how we have made it almost eleven years. Just this year, I’ve learned that only in my community of christian brothers, can I run this race and continue to live in the freedom Jesus has given. Of course, it’s the hand of God that keeps us, but community is a huge part. As I walk with other men who love Christ, I have a strength I did not have before. We meet once a week and share our struggles openly, even the ones that have nothing to do with lust. Our accountability with each other has been great.

Trust me, it took a long time for me to get to this point in my life mainly because of my own pride. I thank God for what He brought me out of, and I can only imagine where I would be today if it was not for Him and the people He put in my life. Please know you can approach me anytime, and I will share my whole testimony with you. And if you would like prayer, I will gladly pray with you.

We can’t do this battle of the mind alone.

Andrew and Dawn

Andrew Kelley is husband to Dawn and father to four wonderful children; he and his family currently call Immanuel and Zion home. 

World Outreach: Updated News From China!

Xian soliders copy

One of our students from Immanuel is in China this summer. The following letter is from our student about his current experiences. 

After eight intense days of training in Arizona, and 30 long hours of travel, we are here! The Father blessed our group with safe and easy travel and has allowed us to slide right into living daily life in Asia. Life in another country has presented its challenges but has allowed us to grasp the culture on a much more personal level. It has been amazing to see how even halfway across the world He is working in and through people’s lives. While on the outside we may look and act different we are all part of His big picture.

Being American students, studying in China, we have been able to easily engage in conversation with fellow students and really share from our hearts. Students are very open and receptive about the things we share with them regarding our culture and core beliefs. And while we enjoy sharing with them, it has been a privilege to learn just as much if not more from the students here. Their desire to share about their culture and beliefs has made our friendships much stronger. The Father is truly moving through the lives of many students here, and your prayers are much appreciated as we continue to share with the students here in Asia.

I along with the other members in my group have appreciated the overwhelming support from those of you back home. It is our hope that we will continue to create close relationships with our remaining weeks in country. The Father has already allowed me the opportunity to share my life story with a student here in Asia. And through His will He has gained another member of the Kingdom! The upcoming weeks will present their challenges, but through the strength of the Father we are ready and eager to continue serving Him!

Xi'an city wall, China