The Prayer Filled Church pt 2

To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing. ~MLK

want to challenge you with 5 Things to pray about today as you fast and seek God.

1.  Pray for the Lost and hurting.

As you know, so many in our community and surrounding area are far from Jesus.  We need to pray for God to give each of us favor to speak hope and life into their situation.  We should pray for God to break our hearts for the things that break His.  When people are lost or hurting, I am convinced that He hurts for them.  Let's pray for the Lost and Hurting.

2.  Children/Students

Our children and students live under an enormous amount of pressure.  Pressure to conform to the standards that are acceptable in our culture whether they are right or wrong.  Let's pray that God will overwhelm them with His strength and give them the grace to stand strong in the face of temptation to be the example that they should!

3.  Life Groups/Dream Teams

Both of these areas of our church are essential to helping us equip people to be all that God has called them to be.  Life Groups help by developing relational opportunities for people to share their struggles, build friendship, and hold each other accountable to godly living!  These are important to our church!  If you are not involved in a life group, contact Brian or Deb Bussard and they can help you get connected.  You can email them by emailing lifegroups@destinyhouseag.org.

All of the different Dream Teams that work hard to make our church function are also very important.  We need to pray that God would continue to help people fully commit to helping us help people experience love, discover life, and make a difference.  Every thing that is done at DH is crucial.  Whether it is a behind the scenes job or it is right out in front of people we are always needing people to join the team.  If you have not yet "Gotten in the game", you should consider coming to DH Link this February.  You can find out more information and let us know you are coming by checking it out on our website (click here).

Let's pray for God to help both of these areas to excel at Destiny House.

4.  Missions/Outreaches

The gospel is the most important message on the planet.  We support a host of missionaries that are carrying this message to parts of the world that we may never go.  Let's unite together and ask God to bless their endeavors and give them opportunity with key people in the parts of the world that they minister.

In addition to this, we have outreach opportunities through the year to help people experience the love of Jesus.  We want to pray that God would also give us the ability to expand all that we do to help our community find Jesus.

5.  Pastors/Staff

As a church, let's lift our team up in prayer.  Let's pray for God to give big vision to the Pastors of our church.  The responsibility is great and we need God to lead us in all things that we do!  Each person that is on our Pastoral or Staff team work very hard to prepare to help you lead and do what you do and let's pray that God supplies strength in their lives!

No matter the obstacle

Written by Erik Davis

There are times in our walk with Christ that our faith will be tested, its inevitable. Sometimes these moments in our life can feel so heavy and never ending, but the great news is that we have an amazing God. A God who loves us unconditionally, a God who showers us with comfort and grace and gives us peace when we just can’t seem to rest. Check out this verse in Joshua:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not  be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

What a great reminder and promise that no matter the obstacle we seem to find our self in front of, we can know that God is there. Don’t give up or give in, God will help you get through anything.

There was a Pastor in Africa who was going to be executed for his faith and on the eve of his planned day of execution he wrote his final journal entry. As you read the following think about each word, think about the passion this man had for Jesus and let it flow into your life.

I'm a part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I'm a disciple of His and I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure. I'm done and finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be right, or first, or tops, or recognized, or praised, or rewarded. I live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by Holy Spirit power. My face is set. My gait is fast. My goal is heaven. My road may be narrow, my way rough, my companions few, but my guide is reliable and my mission is clear. I will not be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice or hesitate in the presence of the adversary. I will not negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won't give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes. And when He does come for His own, He'll have no problems recognizing me. My colors will be clear!

I hope this journal entry and the verse in Joshua gives you encouragement and helps you persevere through whatever trial you may be experiencing.  Stay strong and God bless!

The Prayer Filled Church

Written by Pastor Cody Berry

This past Wednesday, we had an incredible time seeking God to change the situations of our lives and to move in our hearts in power.  I just wanted to share with you with a few things that we have talked about over the last few weeks that will encourage you in your prayer times with God. First of all, Jesus taught us how to pray.  He gives us an incredible model in the New Testament that teaches us to pray.  This is what Jesus taught in Matthew 6:9-13, 

9 ‘Our Father in heaven,  hallowed be your name, 
10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.' 

I love it!  Pray from a heart of pure worship, pray for God's priority in our lives, pray for his provision for our daily needs, pray for him to pardon our sin, and pray for his power to lead us into Godly living!  This is an incredible way to pray.  This is what I have found.  If we just read about prayer but never do it there is no growth in this area of our lives.  So I want to challenge you to make prayer a lifestyle.  

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
 Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Smith Wigglesworth once said, "I never pray for more than a half hour, but I never go more than a half hour without prayer."

So, I’m not suggesting that you have to go into hiding to pray all the time.  What I am suggesting is that prayer become part of your way of living. That you are tuned into the things of God on a constant basis.  That you bend your heart toward God.  Let me give you some practical tips about making prayer a lifestyle.

1.   Make it a priority

If prayer is not a priority, it won't be something that you constantly invest your life in.  The truth is, we invest in what is important to us. So go out of your way to make praying priority in your life.

2.  Have a Place

Do you have a place that you pray.  I understand you can't go and hide away there all the time, but do you have a place where you develop an intimate relationship with Jesus.  Intimacy demands some solitude where you can remove distractions.  Jesus often went away in private to pray (Luke 6, Luke 22).

3.  Have a Plan

People don’t plan to fail, the fail to plan.  Having a plan helps to ensure that it is a priority.  Jesus gives us a good model which I already mentioned.  But having a plan is powerful in any endeavor that we are pursuing.

I have had moments of intentional prayer where I felt like I could have prayed for ever.  I have also had moments where I went to prayer with no plan to pray and I just kind of walked around and thought about everything under the sun.  I firmly believe having a plan keeps us focused.

4.  Prayer is about a Person

Never get so routine in praying that you forget that prayer is about developing a relationship with the one who created you.  This is an incredible opportunity that we have.  We can know Jesus intimately!  That is motivation enough to make prayer a lifestyle.

As always, I want you to know that I love you all and pray for God to encourage you and grow you into what God has for you!

Be You

Written by Pastor Cody Berry

Recently in a book I have been reading I read a quote by Joyce Meyers that really got my attention.  She said, "God will help you be all you can be, but He will never help you be someone else."  I can't tell you how many times I have tried so hard to be someone I am not.  When I was a young preacher (16 years old), my Youth Pastor asked me to speak in one of the youth services.  I was stoked.  When it came time to preach I pulled out the notes, set them on music stand, shook off my nerves and began to speak.  When I reached the end of the first page of notes, I took the notes and through them off the stage.  This was the very thing that I saw my Youth Pastor do every time that he preached.  Through my life, I have been guilty of mimicking the things that other people did.  Now there is nothing wrong with adapting the ideas from other people or learning from the things that they do, but I fully believe that not being you is doing you a disservice and short changing God's individual plan for you.

In a world that is consumed with making people fit into a certain mold that is acceptable, it is easy to strive really hard to look like other people, speak like other people, have the same goals and dreams in life as other people, and the list goes on and on!  I want to encourage you to be you!

Today, as we fast and seek God together, take this time to praise God for how he made you!  This is what David said in Psalms 149, "14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well."  You are so special.  God crafted you specifically to be you.  I have always loved the thought that no person on the planet can be a better you than you.

Two of my favorite stories concerning this are written by Max Lucado.  One is called you are special and the other is called you are mine.  If you have some extra time today, check this one out and be thankful that God fearfully and wonderfully made you!

Rich People Problems

Written by Christy Gibas

As I walked around picking up miscellaneous things that needed placed in their rightful spots, I walked into my bathroom and looked at the floor with four pairs of shoes lined up along the wall. I had taken them off and left them there before slipping into a hot bath or changing into another one of my multiple outfits. As I stood there looking at their great condition, I began to think of other places where people go barefoot. I had thoughts of people in our country that put tape on the bottom of their shoes to keep dry. 

Who am I that God has blessed me? I thought about the many more pairs of shoes I had. The clothes that I have that I never wear. The treasures that I saved my money to buy that now sat around as dust collectors. 

We live in a culture of consumer. I am astounded by the reality of my wealth. Yes, wealth. I have rich people problems. And I would venture to say you do as well! I know this to be true, recalling the poorest time of my life. We purchased our thirteen year old one Christmas present with a gift of money that was given to us. Our one year old received nothing from us because we didn’t have the money. Some days we wondered where grocery money was going to come from. Those were the poorest of our days… and we still had rich people problems! 

Cars belong to rich people. Rich people have shelter from the elements. Rich people wear shoes and go to school. Rich people must be reminded to fast because our bellies are so full that it takes our minds off of spiritual things!

It is not wrong to have things. It’s all about stewardship. I am not special. I do not have more because God loves me more. But those of us with rich people problems should feel a great responsibility to be a good steward. The Bible reminds us in Proverbs 11: 24-25 (NLT), “Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” 

Stewardship is a big deal to God. This year, I am challenging myself to be a refresher of others. I want to generously invest in the lives of those around me. I want to share my stuff, my gifts, my time, and my money. I am praying to be intentional with my resources, my words, and my relationships. I live in gratitude that no matter what my bank account says, it is my honor and privilege to be a blessing because I am counted among those with rich people problems. 

Dream Big

Written by Toby Mattern

All too often we start out the new year with these big goals. We have a plan in mind that will change us for the better. We watch January come with excitement knowing that this will be the best year yet! This is the year that we move past the regrets of the past and welcome a fresh start to be the person we want to be. Sadly the people around us still see the smoker, the liar, the uncommitted person, the partyer, the cheater, or the angry person. We are reminded of that old life, and if that is what is spoken into our lives it is so easy to fall back into that lifestyle. In scripture we see that Jesus is about restoration, He is about the new life. When Jesus is the Lord and Savior of our lives the old life is gone. We are not that old person, but culture may still remind us of that past life. The question is will we choose to listen to culture, or will we boldly believe that we are new creations in Christ? Scripture speaks about “a man with leprosy [who] came and knelt before him and said, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.” (Matthew 8:2-4) The story makes an interesting turn because at that very moment the man was no longer a leper, but what do you think that society would see him as when he returned? The crowds would still treat him as a leper even though Jesus changed him. His identity in Christ was a new life, but culture still saw a leper. Jesus instructed the man to go to the priests, because in this culture a priest could diagnose and then inform weather a person was clean or unclean, and then the word would spread. 

Culture will remind you of the old self, the life without Christ full of filth, But Christ looks at you as a new creation. As you fast to start out this New Year remember that the act of giving up something that you enjoy, such as food, is extremely counter cultural. People will not understand why you would sacrifice the joy of good food, and why you would replace that time with intimate time with Jesus. I encourage you during this time of prayer and fasting to remember that our identity is not found in the past choices we made, the past reputations that people may hear. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) You are not your past mistakes, you are a son or daughter of the creator of the universe who loves you and wants an intimate relationship. 


We can choose to find our identity in what culture says, or in whom Jesus created us to be…

 

JOY

Joy

Written by Bethany Snyder

"You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." - Psalm 16:11


With all the things going on in the world today, it can seem hard to keep your sanity, let alone to be joyful over the circumstances. But joy doesn't work like that, thank goodness! Joy comes directly from the Father, from those who trust and hope in Him more than they trust and hope in what is seen around them. It's almost like a spark inside of your spirit!

There was a time in my life where I was mistaking happiness for joy. I had my life all together, financially I was doing quite well, I had a job with people I enjoyed being around, I had a great guy in my life, and so I was HAPPY.. but whenever things started turning for the worse and not going the way I planned I fell a part pretty fast. I felt like I couldn't shake my disappointment, I felt like I had nothing to hope for and that there was nothing I could do about fixing it all. I felt like God had left me - even though deep down I know He promises that He never will -and I just couldn't get myself to worship Him. I was distracted by the mess of it all. 

My mom was always my voice of reason, though. Her faith was her foundation. And through every financial struggle, romantic struggle, or frustration with someone she encouraged me to always remember that He is with me no matter what. She told me to pray or she'd give me one of her books to read (even thought I didn't always want to read them!) I felt like God was telling me to start waking up in the morning and putting on joy, much like the Bible calls for us to put on love. Not in some fake way, but it had to come through me believing He is always good! It was a tough process; 'putting on joy' wasn't as delightful as it sounds. But God was with me every step of the way as I allowed Him to take my hurt and turn it into something that helped me to grow up.   

So I want to encourage you today to put on joy: and every other day, too! To let your faith speak louder than stuff, and know that you can have joy that gives you the strength to literally laugh at trials and turmoil, and that can cause you to sing and dance right on through your hurt!

 

James 1:2, John 16:24, Romans 14:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:20, Psalm 33:21, Psalm 126:5, 1 Peter 1:8-9

Listen to "In Your Light" by Jeremy Riddle of Bethel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GkBaXle3r4