The Bible calls David “a man after God’s own heart.” As we look further into the story of David & Goliath we discover that David was 1) anointed by Samuel 2) a respected musician 3) a humble shepherd and 4) a model for servant leadership. Throughout the beginning stages of David's story, we find David exhibits 4 characteristics of servant leadership: 1) takes the initiative 2) responsible for tasks 3) obedient 4) expedient - wasted no time. Goliath embodies the obstacles that we face today. God fills us with the power of the Holy Spirit to face these obstacles in unique ways. Intimidation, fear of man, jealousy, and anger were all obstacles that David faced. However, he overcame by walking in obedience and understanding that he carried his own unique gifting and skills set that would help him overcome Goliath. Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Abu0CPmF59s

Finding Hope in Grief

Sometimes mere words aren’t enough. Sometimes what we’re facing escapes the bounds of language and human description. Sometimes what we face defies our ability to make any sense. It’s in moments like this that our hearts are broken, our faith is challenged, and we’re so crushed that to even pray seems impossible. Jesus, upon the death of His friend Lazarus, and seeing Mary weep, “He groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.” (John 11:33) For the man, Christ Jesus, mere words could not describe the grief He was experiencing in that moment of loss. Let the irony, transparency, and humanity of that moment sink in; the ONE whom John said was THE WORD (John 1:14), had no words. He wept. He groaned. He was troubled. Why is Jesus so qualified to come to your aid? He doesn’t sit idly by and witness your pain and suffering, He too groans in earnest empathetic pain, and He’s ready to do something about it. The life and ministry of Jesus calls us to a place of living a life of love and not fear. We are a people of prayer. We are a people of hope. We are a people who can allow the love of Christ to shine through us in our everyday mission of loving people through acts of kindness, even in the midst of grief and despair. Before God’s Spirit would eventually intercede with unutterable “groanings” that were too great, too intense, too overwhelming, and too painful for words, Jesus groaned and wept with humanity, committing to never leave us nor forsake us. Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wunZtEDG6Y0

Our sense of smell has the power to turn us away from something, draw us in, and even trigger deep memories. The smell of a musty basement might take us right back to grandma's root cellar where we played hide-and-seek as a child. A delicious smell from the kitchen let's us know that supper is about ready. Certain aromas tell us its time to clean out the refrigerator. Scripture encourages followers of Jesus to be a 'fragrant offering to God,' just like Jesus was. So just what are others smelling as we Christians make our way through the world? Is it a pleasant experience that draws them in and points them to the goodness of God? Or is it not? Does the world's experience of us repel them because it is so unpleasant? The everyday mission of loving our neighbors through acts of kindness goes a long way toward helping the world smell good! Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSFNhUdYCDQ

Judging Others

You hear it on the school playground; in the teens' locker room; at the coffee shop; around the water cooler at work... the seemingly harmless remarks that are intended to, ever so subtlety, raise ourselves up and put others down. "My mom and dad are taking me to Disney World for spring break. Where are you going?" "After school today my dad's taking me to pick up the car he bought me. Are you still driving your mom's van?" "Did you see how that woman was dressed? Seems a little over the top for someone her age." "What was he thinking? I would never be so crass as to say such a thing out loud - even if I thought it. No wonder he got passed over for that assignment." And the snipes, the criticisms, the judgments only escalate from here. With little effort, we can make ourselves out to be better than nearly anyone else around us. We always have a way to 'one-up' others, as we claw our way to the top of the heap. In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus teaches his followers about life with him in the kingdom of God. And most everything about life with Jesus stands over and against the ways of the world. In the upside-down Kingdom of God, the poor are blessed, people live for others, the rule is love, and prayer is about relationship, not results. And Jesus also has a shortlist of don't's in his sermon. One of them: Do not judge. It seems a simple and clear enough command until we try to live it out. In the upside-down Kingdom of God, living in love with others means not condemning, criticizing, or belittling others. In the upside-down Kingdom of God, our measure is Jesus, not others. Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmb_5MmrQQ0&t=4113s

Forward Focus

It was the famous baseball player Satchel Paige who once said, "don't look back, something might be gaining on you!" Without realizing it, we often carry something around with us wherever we go. We bring it out in our conversations and through our actions and attitudes. Those things from our past may never have really existed, or been experienced by us personally, yet their power lives within us, paralyzing us from moving forward and causing us to look backward. What would keep us from perceiving what God is doing? Maybe it is expecting things to look exactly like what was done in the past. Are you copying patterns of the past or do you have a forward focus to the future with great expectation that God is working a new thing? Scripture: Isaiah 43:18-19 18 Do not remember the former things or consider the things of old. 19 I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Worship link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5zuRlTaFAc

Selfie

Today's Worship Experience: Selfie Since the beginning of time, we have struggled with the tension between who we really are and who we pretend to be. How can we make God first in our me-first social media society? It’s only when we come to God as we really are that we can experience the identity that we all long for. Worship link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?