“There is no other way to retain continuity with the apostles than to keep on doing what they did.” –Carl E. Braatens
This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” -Jeremiah 29:10-14
There is nothing random about God, nothing haphazard. He’s not winging it, not just making it up as He goes along, playing roulette with our lives hanging in the balance. In fact, God has a plan and He knows what that plan is. He wrote it down before you were born and He’s monitoring it along the way.
God’s plan might not happen tomorrow, it might take seventy years (or more) but He is intentional about keeping His promise to you…
- His promise that He will never leave you, rather, He will come to you.
- His promise that He will bring you back to the place you were meant to be in.
- His promise that He will prosper you…
maybeprobably not with fame, money or comfort, but with joy, hope and a full life.
- His promise that He will be found when you look for Him.
- And His promise that He will rescue you when you most need it and least realize it.
There’s nothing accidental about God at all. He created the world for you to live in, He created a body for you to grow in, He gave you breath to move, He gave you a job to do and He has been preparing a reward for your retirement. There’s nothing accidental about that at all. God has been intentionally giving you opportunities to experience everything He has made you for.
The problem is that we often prefer to live accidentally. We have an aversion to plans and a dislike for anything that hints of intentionality. There’s less pressure if we don’t commit and there’s less stress to hit a goal if it doesn’t exist. So we live our lives day-to-day, hiding from the troublesome fact that we were made in the image of God – in the image of an intentional God.
As we said this past Sunday at Soma, discovering God’s plan and transforming our lives to imitate that plan is what we call “vision.” Our vision isn’t just what I, or other church leaders, want to do. It’s what we have read in God’s Word and sensed through the Holy Spirit and it’s our effort to intentionally respond to our intentional God.
Soma’s vision is to give God glory by making disciples who make disciples.
Everything we do in our gatherings and in our relationships begins with the desire to reflect glory back to the Father. And every plan we make is to help us as a body walk into an opportunity to make more disciples who will help bring the Kingdom to Brown County, to Ohio, and to the rest of the world.
I believe God has a grand purpose and plan for each and every one of us and I believe we’ve only just scratched the surface! If you’ve been sensing that God is doing something special but you’re not sure what plan is beginning to play out in your life, then you need to join us this Wednesday for “First Wednesday” as we begin process our vision and mission together. Come begin to live intentionally with us…it will change everything!
There are two kinds of people in the world… Givers and gripers.
Gripers are historically on the short end of the stick. Every stick. Every time. Nothing is ever right and nothing is ever good enough. No one can ever please them, nor can anyone appease them. There is always a reason why things aren’t right and they’re always ready to tell you about it.
Givers, on the other hand, are known for slaving in the sun on hot days for no reason other than helping someone else out. Whether they know that person or not. And, typically, without a thought of whether that person really deserves their effort. And they never, ever consider what they will get out of the deal. Givers sacrifice time, energy, money and comfort so that someone else will benefit.
There are givers and gripers in every company, every home, every school and every church. And the forward momentum of every organized group depends largely on which they have more of.
Take a moment and ask yourself… Are you a giver or are you a griper? Are you building Kingdom momentum or are you stalling it? Are you a blessing to the lives around you or an emotional drain?
Breathe in the Spirit of God and breathe out the Will of God. -Mike Breen
Life can get busy. The more successful you are, the more people want a piece of you. The more pieces you give out, the less you have left to yourself. And as you have less and less of yourself, it’s increasingly easy to forget to breathe.
It happens slowly and subtly at first. You miss a morning prayer time. Then an evening one. You slip out of the habit of praying for people – with people. Then you begin dreaming your own dreams instead of chasing the Father’s dreams. And before you know it, your soul is starving for breath and you’ve forgotten how.
Praying – respirating the Kingdom – is our lifeline but so often we try to hold our breath for days, weeks, at a time. That’s why I love this picture of Jesus teaching His disciples to breathe…
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:21-22)
They had watched Him pray time and time again. They had seen Him breathing in His Father’s Spirit and now, they watched Him breathe it out as He passed it along. He encouraged His disciples to breathe the Spirit in and then He sent them away to breathe out His Will.
Have you forgotten to breathe? If you have, take a second right now to pause, focus and let the Spirit flood your soul.
There is no other way to retain continuity with the apostles than to keep on doing what they did. –Carl E. Braatens
When I hear someone say, “I just don’t know what God has called me to do,” I assume they’re looking for the specific task God has given them. And I’m always excited to join in the search but I toss this out this consideration…
Your mission, first and foremost, is to make disciples. If you’re not fully engaged in making disciples, don’t waste time worrying about what God has specifically called you to do. Make disciples first, then search for your unique role. Because before you were called to work with children, you were sent to make disciples. Before you were called to sing, you were sent to make disciples. Before you were called to write, you were called to make disciples.
If you know nothing else about your role in the Kingdom, know this: You were saved to save others. You’re surrounded by family, friends, neighbors and co-workers and you’ve been sent to make disciples of them.
So, as you’re patiently waiting for God to “call” you into a specific ministry, consider that maybe God’s patiently waiting for you to be faithful with the first mission He gave you.
It’s Week 2 of our 21-Day Ephesians Challenge! If you missed the first week, you can catch the reading plan here.
This week, we’re asking the question: “How is my life different because of what God is saying?”
For me, that answer is completely summed up in verses 19-20… “His incomparably great power for us…is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms…”
My life will never be the same because God has planted incredible power within me. It’s the same power that raised Christ from the dead and it’s the potential to bring about incredible change for the Kingdom through the Spirit.
How’s your life different?
Reading today, there are a couple of verses that just spring out at me… Verse 1 – “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins…” And verse 13 – “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
Putting them together, I hear God say, “As for you, you were dead but now in Jesus you have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” My position is set!
I have three kids and sometimes, believe it or not, things can get a little loud around my house. Someone gets mad and someone else gets their feelings hurt and then the third one thinks yelling sounds fun, so they jump in as well. Before you know it, everyone’s yelling at someone and no one is having a good time. I’ve discovered that my kids can fight about literally anything but the issue behind almost every fight is simply positioning. They’re each struggling to get the most attention, the best portion or the quickest response.
As I read Ephesians 2 today, I could clearly hear God’s voice saying, “Because of his great love for us, God made us alive with Christ even when we were dead—it is by grace you have been saved.” I don’t have to fight to gain a better position in the Kingdom…and neither do you.
What did you hear through the pages of Ephesians 2 today?