Monday, November 19, 2012

What are we waiting for?

I was recently given a very insightful excerpt by Henri Nouwen about waiting. With Advent coming up, I thought now was the perfect time so share! But essentially, we all go through times of personal advent throughout our lives besides during the month of December. And in yet another way, our life is one big Advent, waiting for the 2nd coming of Jesus. So I guess any time is a good time to be reminded of these truths about waiting...
Here's the excerpt:
Waiting For God by Henri Nouwen
 
Waiting is not a very popular attitude. Waiting is not something that people think about with great sympathy. In fact, most people consider waiting a waste of time. Perhaps this is because the culture in which we live is basically saying, “Get going! Do something! Show you are able to make a difference! Don’t just sit there and wait!” For many people, waiting is an awful desert between where they are and where they want to go. And people do not like such a place. They want to get out of it by doing something…

It impresses me, therefore, that all the figures who appear in the first pages of Luke’s Gospel are waiting. Elizabeth and Zechariah are waiting. Mary is waiting. Simeon and Anna, who were there at the temple when Jesus was brought in, are waiting. The whole opening of the good news is filled with waiting people. And right at the beginning all those people in someway or another hear the words, “Do not be afraid. I have something good to say to you.” These words set the tone and the context. Now Elizabeth and Zechariah, Mary, Simeon and Anna are waiting for something new and good to happen to them…

Waiting, as we see it in the people on the first pages of the Gospel, is waiting with a sense of promise. “Zechariah,…your wife Elizabeth is to bear you a son.” “Mary,…Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son” (Luke 1:13, 31). People who wait have received a promise that allows them to wait. They have received something that is at work in them, like a seed that has started to grow. This is very important. We can only really wait if what we are waiting for has already begun for us. So waiting is never a movement from nothing to something. It is always a movement from something to something more. Zechariah, Mary, and Elizabeth were living with a promise that nurtured them, that fed them, and that made them able to stay where they were…

Second, waiting is active. Most of us think of waiting as something very passive, a hopeless state determined by events totally out of our hands…But there is none of this passivity in scripture. Those who are waiting are waiting very actively. They know that what they are waiting for is growing from the ground on which they are standing…Active waiting means to be present fully to the moment, in the conviction that something is happening where you are and that you want to be present to it…

Waiting is essential to the spiritual life. But waiting as a disciple of Jesus is not an empty waiting. It is a waiting with a promise in our hearts that makes already present what we are waiting for. We wait during Advent for the birth of Jesus. We wait after Easter for the coming of the Spirit, and after the ascension of Jesus we wait for his coming again in glory. We are always waiting, but it is awaiting in the conviction that we have already seen God’s footsteps.Waiting for God is an active, alert - yes, joyful -waiting. As we wait we remember him for whom we are waiting, and as we remember him we create a community ready to welcome him when he comes.

Nouwen's encouragement for active waiting reminds me of Jer. 29:4-14 . The Lord tells His people to not just passively wait around while they are in exile to be brought back to the Promised Land. He tells them to get active! Build houses. Settle down. Plant gardens. Have children. Seek prosperity. Pray for this place!

I think the Lord wants us all to do the same things while we wait for His return. Our world is very broken and life is tough. Until Christ's return, in many ways, it will only continue to get tougher. But we have the greatest promise from God that we can always cling to. As Nouwen says, this Promise can nurture us, feed us, and make us able to stay where we are!

So as you go into the December Advent for Christmas, as you go through your personal advent, and as you wait for the 2nd coming Jesus, may you actively wait (one way could be by praying at HOME! :) and rejoice in the faithfulness of our God that you can cling to His promises and confidently trust Him that they will come true!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

"Foolish" Trust

We give credit to human wisdom when we should give credit to the divine guidance of God being exhibited through child-like people who were "foolish" enough to trust God's wisdom and His supernatural equipment. -Oswald Chambers

Take this moment to ask God who you truly put your trust in. If you had to choose between trusting a really "smart" and logical person or trusting God, who would you really choose? Our minds know what the answer should be, but what do our hearts really do?

Trust is an essential aspect to any kind of relationship. A daughter trusts her Daddy to catch her. Parents trust (or should) trust their teenage son to make good choices. Students trust their teachers to teach well. Employers trust their employees to do their work. Wives trust their husbands to love and protect them. Husbands trust their wives to respect and support them.

You can't have much of a relationship with out trust. Or if you do have any kind of relationship, it's certainly not going to grow if you don't learn to trust more.

See what I'm getting at here? We absolutely need to trust in the Lord with ALL our hearts and never, ever count only on our own understanding of things. In every single thing we do, we need to seek His ways, acknowledge His perfect wisdom and understanding, and know that WHEN we do this, He WILL make our paths straight--He will guide us with perfect leadership.

And take comfort that this isn't something you just need to work harder at on your own. Jesus would LOVE to help you out on this. Ask Him right now and every day from here on out that He teaches you to trust Him more. But be prepared! This is opening up the door for Jesus to bring things into your life that may not make much sense at first. But He's teaching you to acknowledge HIM in it, not other "smart & logical" people.

Ask God to make you "foolish" enough to trust His wisdom and His supernatural equipment. Ask Him to give you child-like faith.

Here's a prayer-song about trust to get you started. :)
I Trust You by Justin Frederick

Friday, October 5, 2012


HOME is pleased to present 
"From Hate to Love" 
Walid Shoebat, A former PLO Terrorist who now Loves Israel.
In 1978 Walid Shoebat was sent with a bomb on a mission to kill Jews.
Today he is speaking out in their defense.
In “A Study on Islam in the Bible”,
Walid speaks to American on the grave dangers of Islam, which are grossly underplayed by both our media and our political leaders.

Date:   Saturday, October 20th 2012,
Time: 9:AM - 4:30PM
Place:   House Of Mission and Equipping (HOME)
101 19th Street, SW Sioux Center, IA
(Behind HyVee & Culvers)
   

$20 Registration Fee
*******Pre-registration required @ www.sc-home.org  (see link below flyer)***********
********Please car-pool as parking is limited*********
Also, no child care will provided and lunch will be on your own

Contact:  (712) 202 4144



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Shout Out for...

JOURNALING!
But don't stop reading this just because you're a guy.
Journaling is NOT just for girls.
I believe it is an important spiritual discipline for ANYONE! Even if you're not a good writer--it doesn't matter at all. You and God are the only one who reads the journal, right? God doesn't care if you're eloquent. He just wants your heart. :)

So hear me out on this...what exactly kind of journaling am I talking about? Well check out Psalm 107.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! 
His faithful love endures forever.
Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! 
Tell others He has redeemed you from your enemies.

Those are the first two verses. After that, the author goes on to list instance after specific instance that the Lord was good to them, that His faithful love was with them, that He redeemed them!

I encourage you to do the same thing! Go over your day, your past week, month, or year. Ask the Spirit to help you remember any and every specific instance that God was being good to you, faithfully loving you, and redeeming you. WHATEVER comes to mind, write it down. Even if it sounds silly, write it anyway. :)

It's kinda like writing your own Psalm 107! Maybe you're not necessarily telling others what God has done. (Not yet anyway.) But you're reminding yourself! And that's super important too. Because we are very fast-paced people who unfortunately are too busy moving forward that we can't take time to sit back and reflect on the past.

And something really cool happens in our hearts when we really, REALLY reflect on what the Lord has done specifically for us. We come to realize that He really does see us! Collectively and as individuals. He really, really cares about each and every one of our hearts: our hopes and fears and desires and concerns--everything! When we come to understand that more, we can't help but love Him even more. God created us in His image--with a desire to love and be loved. When we realize what God is doing each and every day to pursue our hearts and draw us to Him, the only response we can give is to love Him more! Amazing, huh??
Told ya it's really cool! :)

The last verse says "Those who are WISE will take all this to heart; they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord." NIV versions says "ponder" Whatever word you want to use, make journaling the newest spiritual discipline in your life!

Be wise. Record the instances that God is showing His goodness, love, and redemption SPECIFICALLY to you. Ponder, reflect, consider what that means about the Lord. :)


Monday, September 3, 2012

Siouxland Prayer Alliance


We have an EXCELLENT way to start off your Saturday morning!
This coming Saturday, September 8th, from 8:00-10:00am, the Siouxland Prayer Alliance will be at HOME. This prayer alliance started with a woman named Shawn Lohry and a group of ten or so people have been traveling around the region for the past 10+ years. Their business is prayer--particularly intercession. We are BLESSED for them to stop here in Sioux Center!
These prayer warriors will be be lifting up prayers for HOME, for Sioux Center, and for the surrounding region, and they would love to pray with YOU as well.
If you feel the Holy Spirit tugging at your heart to join us on Saturday, we ask you to accept the invitation! If you haven't noticed by now, God has been doing some incredible things around here and we want to ask Him for more. Will you join us?? :)

Friday, August 31, 2012

Prophesying??

Tomorrow (Saturday) night is another Ignite Service! 
Join us at 6:30pm (or whenever you can come) for some worship, fellowship, and learning.

The teaching will be on prophesying. If you're around, you really don't wanna miss this! Check out 1 Corinthians 12-14. Do you find it somewhat ironic that one of the most quoted/preached on/memorized chapters in the Bible (The Love chapter) is squished between two chapters about prophesying and other spiritual gifts? Why do we miss this??

Possibly because the word prophesying in itself is a bit...weird. The root-word reminds me a prophet which makes me think of the Old Testament and the prophecies written in there. Many of those prophets were speaking of the future and definitely not all good things. Which logically, you would think prophesying is about fortune-telling with a spiritual twist or something, yes? It's a lot easier to talk about or preach on love than it is about fortune-telling!

But Paul puts it pretty plainly for us in 1 Corinthians 14:3. "But one who prophesies strengthens others, encourages them, and comforts them." 

Sounds pretty great, huh? I mean, who doesn't want to be strengthened and encouraged and comforted? No matter where we are in our walk with God--mountain, valley, or somewhere in between--I believe everyone appreciates it.  
I know I do! 

Even if this word "prophesying" still makes you feel a little uncomfortable, I invite you to come to HOME tomorrow night anyway. Believe the Truth that God wants to help YOU in your walk with Him. He wants to provide you with strength and encouragement and comfort. See you tomorrow night!! It's gonna be a good time! :) 

If you can't make it Saturday night, check out the HOME website & sign up for prophecy on the 1st-3rd Monday nights. Here!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Boldly Entering

So we've all heard the story of Jesus' death & resurrection, yes? Do you remember the part about the curtain in the Temple being torn in two? Do you realize what that actually means?! Check out Hebrews 10.

Verse 19 is awesome: "And so,(AKA-because of what was said in the previous 18 verses) dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus."

Read that verse again. And again. Let that Truth sink deep into your being. Jesus sacrificed for our sins & made us HOLY once & for all. This is not just so that we can get into heaven some day. This is a vital Truth for our life right now. We are not Old Testament Jews who need to have priests offer day and night sacrifices for our sins, who are living in constant guilt, and who can't talk with God. Christ is our perfect High Priest! He made it possible for us to have a RELATIONSHIP with our Heavenly Father again. He made it possible for us to go into the MOST HOLY PLACE and talk with and listen to our Creator and unconditional Lover. 

And verse 22 says: "Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water."

Satan would love to try to convince you that you are not worthy of being in God's presence. He would love for you to keep your guilty conscience. He would love for you to stay as far away from Him as possible. 

It's been over 2000 years since Hebrews was written, and people are still living under the lie that we are guilty & unworthy of coming into God's presence. All of us hard-workers want to DO something in order to earn God's acceptance. But that's not grace. We need to accept Christ's perfect sacrifice one and for all. The author of Hebrews here is pretty straight-forward here. And I think it best to listen to him instead. :)

Can you relate??
Of course, God's Presence can be encountered anywhere, but we would LOVE for you to join us at HOME. While you're there, here's a few things you could do for starters:
  • Ask Christ's Holy Spirit to help you recognize when Satan is lying to you about your unworthiness in God's sight. 
  • Ask Him to help you accept His grace fully--to surrender your desire to do something to earn His presence. 
  • Ask Him to help you understand the Truth that you can BOLDLY ENTER into God's presence. (Just so you know, bold by definition means requiring or exhibiting courage and bravery. Because there's nothing to be afraid of. God DELIGHTS in you!) 
  • Ask Him to teach you how to go right into His presence with a SINCERE heart that FULLY TRUSTS Him. 
Our wonderful, loving Father will never force you go come into His Presence, but what a joy for both you and Him when you do come. So come (boldly)--He's been waiting for YOU! :)