Spectators and Workers


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COMPositions

 
Posted by Greg Comp on January 27th, 2017:

The Comps have been in Glasgow, KY and a part of GCC for 6 months.  My how time flies when you are having fun!  We really enjoy the community and love our new church family.  We feel welcome and have been warmly received.

Every month each staff member submits a written report of their activities to the Elders & General Board.  One of the recurring bullet points on my report has been:

  • Continue to reach out to local Ministers & ministries, getting acquainted with various community leaders & groups.

I have meet some great people doing some incredible things in our community with a heart for God and people.  However, one of the things that concerns me is how independent and isolated our churches are, creating unnecessary duplicity and unhealthy competition.  I want to see that change!!!  Think of the impact 56 churches could have if we served together and shared our resources.

Here is an email I sent to two of my fellow Pastors/Ministers just this morning:

“I very much enjoyed the chance to meet and spend some time with each of you.  I appreciate your time and admire your ministry here in Glasgow/Barren County!  And I pray for your continued kingdom impact and influence!!  You are an encouragement and inspiration to me.

Which leads me to my appeal.  I would love to get together with the two of you, and any other like-minded brothers, to talk about cooperative ventures & initiatives we could do in our community.  I realize none of us need another commitment or are looking for another meeting to attend, but I need this kind of fellowship and believe God will honor this kind of collaboration.

I have attended multiple community events that have really stirred my spirit!!!  We have some good things going on,….but there is such a greater need and so much more potential.  I sense there are a number of Christian and Community leaders who are anxious to see God do something more in south central Kentucky.  And I believe the time is now!!”

Please give this some thought and let me know what you think.

Blessings,  Greg
 

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My Heart Will Go On

The last several days have been a bombshell dropping kind of week for me. I was faced with things as a mother that I honestly didn’t think would happen to me, or at least not yet. I have really had to dive deep into the understanding of the world in which kids grow up in now versus the world 25 years ago. We all can venture into our memories of growing up and the things we had to face may seem less “tainted” than they are now. Exposure to things such as drugs, alcohol, bullying, pornography, child abuse, violence and a whole slew of other things have been around probably forever. But the rate and frequency of this exposure has come to light that somewhere around 60% of all children have come in contact with some type of direct and indirect violence/sexualization in the past year. Whether they experience it themselves or witness the violent act, it can have long term effects on their mental and physical health as they grow into adults. It has also been proven that this disturbing trend has one of the greatest impacts on social issues and health as a country.

As a mother, one of my main concerns is to walk the line where I don’t want to shelter my kids from the “real world”, but want to conscientiously introduce certain subjects to them at the appropriate age level, all while having a morally supported conversation about the matter. The world has other ideas though. We all know who the driving force behind the horrible things of this world are, Satan. He is alive and steering his ship in the direction of every God loving family. Satan may hit you, your family, or your friends as hard as he can. You may feel weak and helpless against him and feel like giving up or just accepting that ultimately and inherently all people are bad and will do bad things. While this is most certainly true, we are all covered in sin each and every day. BUT we have an instruction by God that helps us confront all that the world throws at us.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 NIV
Don’t conform. Don’t do what your friends do, don’t do what the movies do, don’t listen to the whisper of that small voice in your head that says it’s ok to do bad things. You see, we have something as Christians that nobody else has. That is the power of God! POWER! Isn’t that what everyone wants is power? For the most part anyway, at least some version of it. Scripture after scripture tells us that we can harness the power of God and use it for good, to defeat Satan and all the destruction he causes.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33)
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you (Romans 8:11)

I don’t know about you, but I love the sound of an abundant life. My deepest desires are living with an abundance of peace, abundance of love, abundance of life. Nowhere does my heart crave destruction. We place our trust in a God that provides all things good, pleasant and perfect. And with that, my mothering heart goes on to love my kids with each new day.

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The Help

“But now I am going to Him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you
going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.
Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not
go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you.”
John 16:5-7
I am a selfish creature. When bad things happen to me, I am upset and normally blame
someone. I want someone to care about me. To ask about me. To remember me. To
worry about me. To be concerned about me. When good things happen, I want
someone there to share in it with me. To laugh with me. To reminisce in the future
with me. I want people to pour into me. I often look to others to help me feel valued
and satisfied.
Over the past year, there has been such a large amount of hurt and frustration flow
through me. This job has been anything but a walk in the park. For months and
months, I got more and more frustrated by the fact that people who I thought should
be pouring into me and concerned for, were neither of those things. My efforts went
to my default, making sure that other people were okay. I poured out all of the love
and heart and compassion that I had, into the people who were hurting the most in our
church. But went home feeling empty and spent. Wondering where the person was
who was going to give the same care for me, that I was giving to others.
Then last week, my selfishness and ungratefulness overwhelmed me. Because there
was someone who was already doing the things that I needed and wanted, and I was
over looking them, discrediting them, not recognizing them.
You see, when Jesus left this earth as a person, people were sad. Because they
thought there were losing Him since His physical being would no longer be here. But
what they didn’t understand was that the gift of the Helper was coming.
“When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all tighter in one place. And suddenly
there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire
house where they were sitting. And divided tongues of fire appeared to them and
rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit,” Acts 2:1-4
God pours into me each and everyday through His Spirit, just like He poured the Spirit
into those gathered on the day of Pentecost. He fills me up so much that all of my
needs are met, so much that I don’t need to complain that others aren’t meeting my
needs. After months of complaining about needing someone to help fill me back up, I
came to understand that I already had someone filling me up, and when I felt empty, I
didn’t need to search for someone else to do things for me, I just need to rest in His
presence, in the quiet of my day. Because the God who created me, sent the Son who
then died for me, and then gave me the Spirit who empowers me. He empowers me by
filling my heart and soul to such an extent that the things that I do are not my own,
but the overflow of what He is filling my heart with….His Love.
LORD, let me not discredit Your Helper again. I cannot imagine how long You have been
wondering when I would realize that You were giving me everything that I needed. Your
heart hurts when you see your children hurting, so you gave us what we needed. I
thank you for this Help, that speaks on my behalf, guides me to truth, and fills my
heart to overflow.
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit
of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth, for He will not speak on His own
authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things
that are to come. He will glorify me, for He will take what is mine and declare it to you.
All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that He will take what is mine and
declare it to you.” John 16:12-15

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WHY PRAY? WAR ROOM

Priest Mariusz Zajac of Carrot River, Saskatchewan had been fishing for hours on Tobin Lake, north of where he lives, with no success. Before packing it in he decided to jig a little more while reciting a prayer, It was then that he caught a world record setting walleye of 18.8 pounds, on January 4, 2005. Fellow fishermen now call him Father Walleye, and people have flocked to Tobin Lake to fish. Local business has improved. And since that time he has been inundated with requests for him to pray. A man living in Chicago who found out about it, called to ask for prayers for his cancer. And parishioners have brought fishing lures to his church on Sundays to have them blessed.

Is prayer such a ticket to success? Is prayer some kind of superstitious exercise – like owning a genie that pops out of a bottle and grants us our wish whenever we’ve been a good boy or girl? What is prayer? What role does prayer play in your life?

How we pray reveals a lot about our soul, just like how we spend money says so much about what we value. Our perspective on and practice of prayer speaks volumes about how we view God. It would be a worthwhile exercise for us right now to stop and have each of us write out how we view prayer – to express what we think prayer is.

And it would be an equally or even more revealing exercise to also share with others our practice of prayer. How often do we pray? How much time do we spend in prayer in a day (1 minute – 5 minutes – 30 minutes – one hour)? What kinds of things do we pray about? When do we pray? Do we have a quiet place for the purpose of prayer? As we shared most of us would likely feel somewhat inadequate. But in our sharing we would also learn from each other new ways of praying.

Generally the more we ask about prayer the more we realize that this part of our spiritual life has room for improvement. The disciples admitted their need to grow in the area of prayer when they came to Jesus with a request that he teach them how to pray. What likely created that desire was watching the Master pray. He often went to a certain place – a spot picked out for personal prayer. The disciples probably knew where to find Jesus when he wasn’t around. And it appears Jesus wasn’t to be bothered when he was praying, for the text says that “when he was finished” one of the disciples asked him: “Lord, teach us to pray?”

Why do Christians need to pray? The Christian cannot survive without it. It is like Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica:

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Our walk with God is meant to be one where we are continually aware of God’s presence. The Christian is a person who is free to communicate with God the concerns and joys of the moment. Prayer is something like having a co-worker or friend who is stationed beside you. In this case our companion is the Holy Spirit who functions as a Counsellor or Comforter we can consult with so we are able to keep in step with God. Prayer is the Spirit’s tool to keep us living in communion with God.

Prayer is first of all an act of worship – an expression of our adoration of God and thanking him for who he is. In the prayer Jesus taught his disciples, he gives us a pattern of praying that begins by paying attention to God. Jesus taught us to first pray that God’s name be hallowed, that His kingdom would come and that His will be done. Then he teaches us to come to God with our need for daily bread and God’s grace and protection. An attitude of gratitude is built into the pattern of the Lord’s Prayer.

And when we purge our soul before God and bathe our spirit in the cleansing grace of God, such freedom moves us into saying thank you to God for his goodness and mercy. Here we get to the heart of why we pray. We pray because God gives his grace and Holy Spirit only to those who pray continually and groan inwardly, asking God for these gifts and thanking him for them.

This is a prayer for spiritual renewal – for the Spirit to come and pour God’s grace into and fill us with Christ’s presence. This is a prayer for both personal and corporate renewal – even a prayer for revival. Do you think such prayer is necessary? Or do you think the church can just keep going along as we are? What is your assessment, is there too much apathy in the church, that is, are people taking God for granted and themselves too serious?

There are those who are quite satisfied to keep Christ’s church just as it is. Yet God’s desire is for the church to be alive and growing. God wants renewal, like happened at the time of the Reformation, and the Great Awakenings. And for such renewal to take place, we need to grasp how “God gives his grace and Holy Spirit only to those who pray continually and groan inwardly, asking God for these gifts and thanking him for them.”

Renewal begins with a longing to pray – with a desire to live in fellowship with God! We pray because we want to know God and enjoy him forever. In prayer we ask God to come and feed us until we want no more. We ask God to take away whatever apathy has set in and to wake us from any spiritual sleepiness brought on by affluence or indifference.

We also pray because the only way to stay united with God is by faithfully listening for him – by opening our spirit up to his Spirit. We pray so our life can be centered on Christ. We persist in prayer because this is our lifeline – this is our pulse beat. Prayer puts and keeps us in sweet communion with God. When we pray we worship our Lord, thankful for his grace, confessing our sin and groaning inwardly for the Holy Spirit to fill us.

This is the message Jesus sends in the parable of Luke 11. In this story Jesus asks us to imagine that guests show up at our house late at night. This happened more frequently back then since they didn’t have phones or email to let people know they were coming. So when guests showed up late, especially in a culture where hospitality was critical to social wellbeing, people would be quick to take them in.

But what if you take your guests in knowing that when morning comes there is not a box of cereal or loaf of bread left to feed them? In that culture it was understood you would go over to your neighbor and bang on his door and ask if he could spare some food. And since in that warm climate the windows were open, the fellow might call out from his bedroom: “Hey, do you have to bother me now? We are all tucked in for the night. Couldn’t this wait until the morning?” But you are a very persistent fellow, so you explain how your guests came in late and you don’t want to send them away in the morning with little to eat, so couldn’t he please get up and give a bit of food.

So what do you think will happen? Will your good and friendly neighbor deny you? No, even if it is to get rid of your persistent knocking, he will grant your request. And so how do you think God will treat you when you come knocking on his door? Will he deny your needs? Not at all!

Jesus concludes:

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. (Question is: what will we receive, find and enter into?)

Jesus goes on to supply the answer to our questions:

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:9-13

The primary purpose of prayer – of our asking, seeking, knocking – is that we might receive the Holy Spirit. And if we, who are not so inclined to be kind are yet willing to help those in need, how much more will the Father help us in our spiritual need and freely give us his Spirit.

So why pray? We pray because prayer expresses our inner longing for God. We pray as a way to get God before we try to get things from God. This is why Jesus teaches us to pray in order to ask for the Spirit, for he is the breath of God re-creating life within. We pray to express our groan for God, who comes to all who seek him. Prayer is our life line. Without him, we die. With him, we live. As someone else said this week, “Prayer is the difference between trying to do everything yourself and doing it with God’s help.”

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PEACE

Romans 12:17-18

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

Philippians2:3-4

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your interests, but also the interests of others.”

Have you ever gone through a time in life where you felt as though you were being treated unfair? Maybe you were accused by a boss for something that you did not do, family members misunderstood your motives, friends gossiped about you, or others believed untruths?

I am no stranger to this feeling. A truth that I share with my kids often is that life is not fair. In fact, the Lord has never promised us equal and just treatment by others. Instead, in Philippians2:3, the Lord has commanded us to consider others better than ourselves. I admit, sometimes that is more difficult than others. It is scary to think that others are watching my reaction when I have been treated unfairly. I am not just talking about my children either. But non- believers and young Christians are watching our reactions. They are looking to us as an example as to how to respond to these situations.

We are all faced with these scenarios. We live in a fallen world. Gossip spreads faster than raging wildfires and some people will consistently look for ways to bring you down, hoping to elevate themselves. Take heed to the warning found in Romans 12:17. “Do not repay evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.” Our flesh sometimes wants to see justice served. We want others exposed for who they really are, we want people to see the truth. Most of all, I want to defend myself.

The Lord has had to remind me on several occasions that I am not the judge and that He is. Furthermore, I do not need to be my own defense attorney to share the facts with others because He already knows and see all. What I am told that my response should be is found in Romans 18, “as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” If I continue to fan the flames of discord, anger, or hurt feelings, how can I be living in peace with others?

Can we always obtain peace with others? Sadly, that answer is no. But we must be careful to not make that our excuse. Romans 18 begins with “If it is possible….” If we are doing all that we can and making sure that we put others’ interest above our own, then we have done what the Lord has asked of us. If peace is not achieved, let it not be from our disobedience. If others choose to believe untruths, if we lose people in our lives, if social media is covered in stories about us, we need to respond out of humility and love and not react out of our pain and pride.


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NEW YEAR, FRESH START?

We’re almost there, 2016! A new year, a fresh start! Do you have resolutions that you plan to work on as December comes to a close? Are they the typical ones of getting in shape? Working out more, eating right, no carbs after 7pm? Perhaps you plan to spend more time on the things that need more of your time like your family, or praying? Maybe your resolution is something smaller like, stay off your phone at the dinner table.

I have a feeling we all look forward to these resolutions after the excessiveness of the holidays. I love eating all the Christmas cookies all while thinking about hitting the gym come January 1st. Somehow the carb-less, sugar-less, dairy-less diet doesn’t seem so awful when I’m chowing down on a big sugar cookie. It’s easy to imagine the goal of getting more into the Word while in the throws of Christmas and the carols, and celebrating the” reason for the season.”

Does your excitement for the resolution change after you’re a week in? How about a month in? Are you just as excited to be eating chicken and vegetables as you were eating cookies? I bet you aren’t. How about the hours you spend in the gym? Or ignoring that text you get while eating dinner with your family. Sometimes it doesn’t seem worth it. Your family may bicker just as much as when you weren’t investing so much time in them, your jeans may not feel smaller at all, you may even be praying and studying the Word and God still feels distant. What do we do when we don’t see the results we expected? We quit right? Our resolutions are put on the shelf for another year only to be revisited next January 1st.

All too often, we rely on ourselves to maintain these promises to ourselves. We only look at January 1st as a new start, a way to clean the slate. God tells us differently in Lamentations 3:22-23. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.“ God is so mighty and powerful that He never fails. He never gets overwhelmed, his love for us is all the time. It’s hard to wrap my mind around that.

My prayer for us this time of year is to realize that every day is a new day. A new day to right a wrong, love more and worry less, forgive that person, resolve that mistake, whatever it may be in your life that needs attention. We don’t have to wait for January 1st. We have a powerful God in our corner and with Him, all things are possible, each and every day.

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If You Build It They Will Come?

t’s no secret that I’m a big sports fan, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that some of my favorite movies are sports movies. There’s been some real classics like The Sandlot, Hoosiers, The Bad News Bears, Remember the Titans, The Rookie, Talladega Nights and of course Happy Gilmore. But my favorite sports movie is Field of Dreams.

 

The movie stars Kevin Costner who plays Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella, who hears a voice telling him to build something. The voice gives a very simple command and says, “If you build it they will come.” So Ray builds a baseball diamond in the middle of his corn field and the 1919 Chicago Black Sox team that was banned from baseball show up to play on his field. It’s a great story that has much more of a story line than just what I’ve described and if you’ve never seen the film you definitely should.

 

Unfortunately, the promise that Ray gets if he builds something someone will come isn’t exactly the way life works for the church. It would be great if all we needed to do was to build a building but it takes more than just that. It takes more than just having a building to bring people in. Jesus said that we were to go into the highways and the alleys and anywhere that the people were. All too often we are simply content to wait for people to show up to Glenview but that simply isn’t going to work. If we want to see people come to know Jesus then we must do more than simply build a building. We have a great facility that the Lord has blessed us with but what good is it if we don’t compel people to come to it?

 

So while, “If you build it they will come,” is a great tagline for a movie, it’s really a poor evangelism model for the church. On December 20

th, we are hosting a community breakfast for anyone and everyone in our community and the only way that it will be successful is for us to go into the highways, the streets, the alleyways and start inviting people to come. I would ask two things of you as we prepare for the 20th

. First that you would invite people and bring food for our breakfast, and secondly that you would begin praying that the Holy Spirit would be preparing the hearts of those who will come who may have never encountered the gospel before and that upon hearing the life changing gospel of Jesus that their hearts would be surrendered to the Lord.

 

It’s going to be a great day, but not because we built something but because you went where the people are!!


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Is there a ROCK in your path?

  “…and He will give you the desires of your heart,” Psalm 37:4.  For years, this one part of the passage was the only thing that I really remembered from Psalm 37.  I was under this assumption that I could make plans for my life and God would give His stamp of approval, as long as I wasn’t sinful or had ill intentions with said plan.  I thought that He placed dreams in my heart, so whatever I decided to chase after, “He will give me the desires of my heart.”  And I thought that the rocks that got in that planned path to my “dream life” were things from satan, trying to stop me.  But that was far from the truth.  

 

You see, the scripture that was written around that one little phrase from Psalm 37 is far from how I thought this life worked with The LORD.  

 

Psalm 37:3-7, “Trust in The LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.  Delight yourself in The LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to The LORD; trust in Him, and He will act.  He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.  Be still before The LORD and wait patiently for Him.” 

 

It doesn’t say to worry.  Or to stress.  Or to fret.  Or to plan.  Because those actions are selfish; those actions make this whole deal about me, when it isn’t.  My instructions are all centered around one thing.  Him.  Delighting in Him, committing to Him, trusting in Him, being still before Him, and waiting patiently for Him.  Him, Him, Him, Him, and Him.  

 

I had been planning a life where I didn’t go to Him.  Where I used Him as a last minute outlet, instead of rightfully as the mastermind.  So I went through sufferings.  Giant, boulder sized rocks in my path.  And I deserved it.  I tried to make this whole thing about me, about my actions.  But it’s all about Him.  

 

The LORD is a powerful, powerful force. Read Job, chapters 40 and 41 and you’ll see.  He could show frustration and anger and aggravation at me. He could force me to change in those moments, or years when I make everything about me.  But I am but a child. His child.  So instead, He allows rocks in my path.  But there is no rock that He can’t move, if I but reach out to Him.  He puts nothing in my life I can’t bear with Him, nothing out of His control, nothing that He wouldn’t move for me if moving that rock got me closer to Him.  The reason that we feel lonely in this life is because we weren’t meant to face it alone.  He longs for our companionship.  He doesn’t want us to figure out some plan to get around the rocks.  He wants us to be delighted by Him, rejoicing in that delight.  He wants us to let Him take our way and to trust Him with it, thanking Him for the fact that He wants it.  And He wants us to be still and wait patiently for Him, keeping in constant contact with Him in the quiet of our hearts.  

 

Because if so, He will act.  He will bring forth my righteousness and justice.  And He will give me the desires of my heart, the true desires that are at the core of my heart.  My heart longs to be constantly accepted, to be intimately loved, to be continuously saved, to be infinitely treasured.  And no plan of my own, earthly action will get me there.  


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