An Odd Thanksgiving Prayer

11/16/2011

I got this email today from Dr Allen Hunt and am compelled to make sure as many see it as possible:

Youcef Nadarkhani sits in a prison cell in Iran. He is 34 years old. His crime? He is a Christian pastor. It continues to appear that Youcef may well be executed for his refusal to revert to Islam. For months, authorities have worked to force him to renounce his Christian faith and relinquish his ministry.
This past Sunday, on the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted, I prayed for Youcef. And for others like him in a world where 75% of persons enduring religious persecution right now are doing so because of their Christian beliefs. Earlier this week, in Damatru, Nigeria, about 150 persons were executed when they refused to renounce Christianity and embrace Islam.
O Lord, forgive my self-centeredness as Thanksgiving approaches. Forgive my lack of gratitude for liberty, physical comfort, and democracy. Embrace those who are suffering in your name and hold them close. Let them know that others stand with them. Most importantly, you stand with them. Amen.
Grace and Peace,
Allen

Blessings

10/14/2011

Today, I do not have a message, Bible study, or episode of Inspired Audio for you guys. I simply have a thank you to give. I have been running I.M. for a little over a year now, and in that year, God has blessed me with the opportunities to minister to some awesome people. I’ve been blessed with being able to make over 5,800 impressions upon the hearts of sinners and saints alike.

Many of you have known me personally during this time, and directly influenced the work I have been priviliged to do. In the future, there will be less frequent posts. But I will promise to have at least one a month to keep the page active. I have recently been steered into a new ministry. Working with the leaders of tomorrow’s church.

Mentoring and just being there for the youth of today, is a more fulfilling thing than any other ministry experience I have ever felt. I taught a class, in which four students graduated form a few weeks ago, and tonight, as I type, I have finished my second official Family Group meeting, and cannot wait until this weekend. You can expect updates to involve something that I have personally learned or experienced with these kids.

I will tell you now, if I had even a portion of the spiritual fire, and the drive to serve others that our student leaders have, when I was 15 and 16 years old, I would have built dozens of churches overseas by now, and still be doing it. These kids are simply phenominal.

I ask you, my favorite people, to keep me in your prayers during the transition from full time Inspired Ministries, to part time (not everyday posts) and more dedication to working with one50five student ministries at Stockbridge Community Church. It took a good while to get all of my paperwork finished to become staff, but the day I finally did, I felt a drive inside my heart that I haven’t felt in a very long time. I had that same feeling I got when I was in the youth. A feeling that there is a better day coming in this nation, and in the world, because of the efforts of tomorrow’s leaders, being mentored and groomed for Spiritual Leadership TODAY.

God Bless, and thank you ALL very much for all the support you have given me in the last year.

Chris

Bonsai “Faith”

10/13/2011
A Eurya (Eurya emarginata) bonsai on display a...

Image via Wikipedia

Completing our two-part message about typical “faiths“.

Most of us know what Bonsai Trees are. They are tiny little trees. They really are miraculous displays of how small nature can be, when it is contained. Contained, is the best word possible being that the reason Bonsai Trees grow as small as they do, is because they are originally grown in containers. That big tree in your yard, or neighborhood could have easily been a Bonsai Tree if it was grown in a small container.

Our first part of this message was about exercising only when at church. Your church is not a gym. And likewise the “church” is not a container, it is a body. A body that you are a part of, if you are a real Christian. A real disciple of Christ. Your spiritual growth is not meant to be “contained” in a building every week. It is meant to flourish. So ask yourself the following questions:

1- Do you only read the Bible on Sundays or when at church activities?

2- Do you only talk about God when at church or with church friends?

3- Do you practice your faith in your home life with your loved ones?

4- Do you pray on your own? Or with your family members?

 

If you answered no to those, then you are not on your way to being a California Redwood. You, my friend, are a Bonsai and unless you do what it takes to change those “no’s” into “yes'” you will always be a Bonsai.

 

Chris

Stair-Master “Faith”

10/12/2011
Church of Christ at Wedderburn, Victoria

Image via Wikipedia

Today is part one of a two-part message, I put together to describe two different kinds of “faith” people like to follow, or tend to, and it is unfortunate that they chose either.

Have you ever been on a stairmaster? Ever gotten off of one, realized how much work you had just done, and acknowledged the fact that you are standing in the exact same place you were, pre-workout?

That is the crummy faith life that many in our modern society have. They show up for church on Sunday, maybe even two or three more times during the week, but as soon as the key is in the ignition and they drive out of the parking lot, followed by unlocking the door and walking into their homes, it’s over until next time.

They built up a spiritual sweat during service and worshipped with all of their hearts while learning with all their minds. But when the lights of the church go off for the day, so do those people’s faith.

The workout in the gym might be great, but living your faith life that way is absolutely counterproductive to what Christ instructed us to do. We are instructed to serve the purpose of Christ in all aspects of our lives, not only at church.

My advice for you today, if any of the above applies to you, as your personal spiritual trainer for the day, get off of the stairmaster, and hit the spiritual cross-country track of the world to share the love and redemption of Christ.

 

Chris

Faking It

10/11/2011

Today closes the books on our series “Lose your faith in 5 easy steps”. And lastly, but certainly not the least of those steps is faking it.

How many people have left churches over what they called “hypocrisy” in the church or church leadership. My church is currently working on a fall campaign titled “Christian Atheist”. It is someone who behaves and claims to be a christian, but behaves and thinks as if God is not really there, or doesn’t do what he says he will.

My wife once had issues with a family member, and was told by another family member to “fake it, until you make it”. I can see how being in a situation where you are forced to work with a family member or be around one can make you grow more fond of them over time. Fungus does grow on you right?

All jokes aside, I love seeing her interact positively with that family member these days. They get along GREAT. So why is this a bad thing in church? Why is bad to be a fake christian until you become comfortable enough to be a REAL DISCIPLE?

That is simple. If Jesus himself doesn’t know when he will be sent back to Earth by the Father in Heaven to collect his children, they how can you possibly KNOW THAT, but act like you have all the time in the world to make the REAL and GENUINE transaction that will insure your eternal security?

Food for thought.

 

Chris

Loving The World

10/10/2011

Today we continue our formerly postponed series “Lose your faith in 5 easy steps”. Today is step 4, loving the world.

Loving the world isn’t the same as drifting away from Him like a boat floating from a dock. Loving the world is hopping in the driver’s seat, firing up the motor, and flying out to deep water.

1 John 2:15 tells us “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is no in him”. That makes it pretty cut and dry. You see, the world makes it so easy to love it. Many things seem to feel better when done the world’s way. Many equate this with material things, and being yourself. Not true, nothing is wrong with self-expression of having a few things here and there, the problem comes when we use those two things as justification for idolatry.

I know tons of “rich” and “blessed” people but from my experience with them, they don’t put those things above God. On the same token, I know those who do. I have been one of them. On both ends.

I have allowed my human “wants” to outweigh my spiritual “needs”. And if you are being honest with yourself, you have to.

How do we fix this and avoid step four? We keep God closer to our hearts than we do things of this Earth. Sounds easier than it is, but it is far greater to have the love of the Lord in our lives, than a love for cars, boats or houses.

 

God Bless,

Chris

Emails from Allen (10052011)

10/07/2011

I admit it. I was glued to the television as Amanda Knox heard the news that she would be freed from Italian prison. Not guilty. Her reaction was rivaled only by the look she had as she boarded the plane to head home to America. That look of relief, joy, and delight could only be matched by a child at Christmas. Or a cancer patient who just got good news.

My friend, Jack, has fought cancer for two years now. 3 major surgeries, nearly 40 chemo treatments. And he received the news this week that his scan shows an all-clear. At least for the next two months, no more chemo, no more exhaustion. When I saw him yesterday, his face shone like Amanda Knox’s.

Amanda and Jack have both learned a lesson that most humans fail to grasp on a day to day basis. We rarely remember this unless we suffer. Too often, our busy-ness in life causes us to take the most valuable lesson for granted. Here it is: Life is precious. It is a gift. Savor and enjoy each moment. Embrace the people around you. Because you never know when your freedom, your health, or your life might disappear.

Here’s to Amanda and Jack. May they both enjoy the coming days with glee. Through their suffering, they’ve earned it.

Grace and Peace,

Allen

I don’t really know Him.

10/06/2011

Bulletin/Handout notes

 Original Message/Sermon:  Pastor Jeff Daws
 
From morning service at Stockbridge Community Church on 10/2/11.
 
(listen to sermon or make a donation at SCCview.Net)
 
Today’s point: Know God, Know Life
 
How to move from “No God” to “KNOWING GOD“. 
 
1. Admit I live like there is no God. (1 John 2:3-4 NLT)
 
2. I must turn or return to God, NOW. (Acts 17:24-25,27 CEV…Matthew 11:28-29 NCV…Jeremiah 29:13 NIV)
 
3. Get to KNOW GOD personally. (Psalm 63:1-4 CEV…Psalm 9:10 NIV…Romans 10:9-10 NLT)
 
 
 
**Join the SCC Family in reading the book “Christian Atheist” by Craig Groeschel. Purchase the book or E-book at :
www.christianbook.com or www.amazon.com**
 
 
 
Your next steps today:
1. I am asking Jesus to come into my life and be my savior for the first time. 
2. I will make the effort to get to know God personally by reading His word, praying, and listening to His still, small voice.
3. I will commit to the best of my ability to be here each week for the remainder of this series.
 
 

Superstitious or Supernatural?

10/05/2011
Bulletin/Handout notes
 
Original Message/Sermon: Pastor Ricky Mosel
 
From One50Five service on 10/2/11.
 
(listen to sermon at one50five.com)
 
From the series: “Christian Imposter”
 
SUPERSTITION: a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation. 
 
SUPERNATURAL: of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable; especially : of or relating to God.
 
WHEN WE PRAY, WE WANT JESUS TO BE FAIR.
 
(But He isn’t always, has never claimed to be, and never will.)
 
WHEN IT COMES TO PRAYER
 
1. Sometimes God says “NO”!  (Acts 12:1-5 NIV)
 
2. Sometimes God says “OBEY”!  (Acts 12:6-11 NIV)
 
3. Sometimes God says “YES”!  (Acts 12:12-17 NIV)
 
 
ONE LAST THOUGHT:
 
God’s character is not determined by our circumstances!

Barking Up The Right Tree

10/03/2011

Bulletin/Handout notes

 Original Message/Sermon:  Pastor Jeff Daws
 
From morning service at Stockbridge Community Church on 9/25/11.
 
(listen to sermon or make a donation at SCCview.Net)
 
Today’s point: Unity makes Stockbridge Community
 
Jesus said “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall”. Luke 11:17 NIV
 
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:3 NIV
 
How to keep the unity of Stockbridge Community.
 
1. FOCUS on what we have in common, not our differences.
 
So let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault. Romans 14:19 MSG
 
2. Be REALISTIC in your expectations.
 
Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Ephesians 4:2 NLT
 
3. Refuse to LISTEN to gossip.
 
Fire goes out for lack of fuel, and tensions disappear when gossip stops. Proverbs 26:20 LIVING
 
4. By stepping up as ONE through CONNECT GROUPS.
 
I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:22-23
 
When we step up as ONE through Connect Groups we….
 
Offer hope through friendship.
Nurture leaders through commitments.
Engage our campus through worshipping God together.
 
 
Your next steps today:
1. I will become one with my SCC family by joining a Connect Group (See SCCVIEW.net)
2. I have been away from Christ & am recommitting my life to Him today.
3. I have not accepting Christ in my life before today, but I now accept Him as Lord & Savior.
 
 
 
 
 
You can find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/stockbridgecommunitychurch