1.Our circumstances are where we are at any given moment, it is called life. We have control over some things, and others things we have no control over. We have to keep God in our focus and not be wishing things were different. When we follow God, He leads us to where we need to be and blesses us for being obedient to Him. Satan is always trying to lead us away from God plan. This is why in Matthew says to seek Him first and in all matters (Matthew 6:33)
2.I had to think about this one. I never went to church as a child so I never knew God until after I met my wife and she introduced me to God. I know my morals were a mess because all I thought about was the next party. I was very selfish and out of control, far away from God. I had friends who went to church but they were living the same life I was, so I never saw anything different in them, I think their morals were worse than mine. I never understood until a couple of months ago how someone could call themselves a Christian and do some of the morally wrong thing they do but I know good people can make bad descisions (Romans 7:20). I think some people have morals built into them or they show them more. I have seen such a change in my morals over the last few years. Sometimes when I look back I cannot believe the person I was. God allowed me to live that way so I would learn from my mistakes and one day be able to share my story whth someone on that path of destruction and help them turn their life over to God and start a new life with God as the center (2 Corinthians 5:17) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!
3.A life with Christ boils down to a life-long commitment in every area in our life not just the easy areas. I like how it was put on page 50 “Receiving, Remembering, Responding, and Relating”. I like how it stated that Responding was “Our formation occurs for and through service”. God is continuously molding us for his service. I never read in the bible that this life would be easy. In fact, you read how several disciples were killed for their faith but they fought the good fight and finished the race strong (2 Timothy 4:7-8). I heard it said that if Satan is not attacking us we are walking with him.
4.I see this all the time in the jail. It takes someone hitting rock bottom before they look up to God. If everything is going good in their life they would not be searching for a better life. I hear this all the time. My way is not working in my life, there has to be something better. They see that their past has caught up to them; their life is totally out of control. I think that if not for that path they were on that they would never have repented and accepted Christ as their lord and Savior. If a person is comfortable they will never search for God’s will. They don’t see need the need for God’s forgiveness.
5.When we start to understand what sin is and the consequence of that sin, we start to regret it and start to see a need for change in our life and seek what can be done (repentance). Then we have opened one of the windows to true inner transformation (page 60)
Brokenness is realizing that we face situations that we cannot overcome on our own. We must humble ourselves and turn to God and admit that we cannot handle this on our own and need His strength in our lives.
6.Wiloit’s illustration on page 78 really hit home with me. Staying in the sun light cured one family’s baby from jaundice but the second family covered their baby till it was in the shadows. Made me think how we think we are walking in the light but in reality we are standing in the shadows. John tells us in John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Jesus is the true light of life and His Grace is poured over us that walk in his light and are not ashamed of Him and try to hide from the light. The grace of God is what changes people’s heart and allows them to walk in the light.
7.Thinking about discernment, I think is God in this or is it man made? I go back to the week end The Crossing held the love offering to buy the Pike County building and God provided all the money necessary to buy the building with no debt. God was with us.
I think about all the prayer that went into the decision to buy this building for Pike County campus. I remember meeting with Clint and Jamie one day and spent time praying alone and as a group, only to have God show us where he wanted our campus and then how he provided the funds to secure the building for our kids and grandkids.
Worshiping God is so much more than singing. It is tears of joy and gladness I see in people’s eye while they openly show what God means to then. We can worship God anywhere and at any time. I had a preacher tell me one time that this building is the only place you can worship God. This is so far from God’s truth. We worship God everyday with our lives we live for Him.
Money is the root of evil when we do not use right. I was working at the chemical making lots of money but we were not happy. We wasted so much money that could have helped so many people, but we did not care about anyone else’s needs. The factory closed and we lost that job I had to work at prison in Missouri at half the pay. We were happier in many ways because we only bought what we needed and did not waste money like we had been.
Repentance is so very important in my life. Turning from myself to God’s plan for my life. We must repent of everything in order to receive God’s grace. I know we all get God’s grace but to understand what it means to have his grace we have to repent of everything that is holding us back and we must extend grace to others. We cannot live with; resentment, guilt, and forgiveness. These things will only fill our hands so we cannot enjoy God’s love.
I can relate to you second answer. I too was not brought up in church and was lost for a lot of years until my wife brought me to the Crossing. I look back at my life as well and just think wow what was I thinking. But the good thing is I can now look back and see how God was helping me.
1. Life happens all around us and all the time. We have to always look towards God mo matter what circumstance we are facing. In the bad times there is always a lesson to learn and to grow from. In the good times we get a break and a chance to show others what God has done for us in our circumstances. God has the plan for us and teaches us though trials and errors.Proverbs 16:9 says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps”
2. Samuel did not let the place he grew up in or the people around him change his heart on what was right. There was a time I let others influence my heart into what they thought was right and it was never the Godly way. After searching for God in my own heart I have seen the changes he has made in my life. There are reminders everyday of my past and others that try and get me back to it. But like Samuel i have to keep my heart and mind focused on God and go where he calls me to.
3. First thing is to make sure my life is lived out the way God intended to be. The four R's are a key way of walking with Christ. I need to always be willing to receive Jesus into my life. Remember who we are and most importantly whose we are. Pride can cause me at times to forget this but Jesus is always there to help me get back on the path. Responding is shown though my serving in ministries and volunteering at Church. And relating is done though small groups with other Christlike people all helping each other stay on the path of Christ likeness.
4. Suffering and pain are two things that bring people to God. That is what started my path. I was hurting emotionally due to the lack of connection with my kids due to the way I was living my life. During my time of suffering I started to truly seek help from God. He taught me an important lesson in that time that I can not do it on my own. I like to say a lot that growth does not happen on a mountain top(Good times) But in the valleys were the flowers grow(bad times). Unfortunately this is were some start their search. It is though this pain and suffering we learn to surrender to God and we get to feel his love and he then eases our pain.
5. When we regret our sin we begin to understand our sins and what causes them. Then we can start the search on how to stop the sin from happening again as we open a window for true inner transformation as Wilhoit states it.
Brokenness is admitting we can not fix our selves, the feeling that we are not worth anything,or no way out of our circumstances. We need God's grace to help us with our problems.
6. Grace as a verb is a pathway of change. It leads us to depths of character,integrity,joy and true friendship with God. God's grace is active is causes us to make changes to move to a better place in our lives.
7. Discernment affects community by bringing everyone together in prayer for discussions that are to big for one person therefore they come together as one body. I used to be in a prayer group that met once a month. We would pray for each other,the pastors,elders,the church as a whole and the world around us. It really brought us together as brothers in Christ. Worship time is a great way to see how others respond to Christ by singing,arms in the air,crying. Its very powerful to watch this within a group of believers. Tithing is a way to help others in the community along with giving God what is his. Though this he allows church's to be built,food pantries to open,ect. He has blessed both of us with good jobs that has allowed us to be able to help others in their time of need showing the love he has though us. Though repentance we can start our story of how God's never ending love saved us and we can use that story to reach others that He puts in our paths.
I like your statement in #3 First thing is to make sure my life is lived out the way God intended to be. I use to never try to live my live for Jesus but through a lot of changes I know His way is the best way.. Great work!!