Sunday, March 15, 2009

back to ACC

Alliance Community Church was my first stop of the day. It felt good to get back in that church too. The people are so genuine and real, welcoming and loving. It is a warm atmosphere to say the very least. Here are some notes I took from the message this morning.
  • What does it take for a revival to take place; especially inwardly? How does God bring about revival?
- He does it in His church, to His people & friends.

Take Mark (2nd book of the New Testament) for example. Mark had to have a huge change take place in him. God had to do the work, because Mark was ready to toss in the towel. Check out Acts 13:13 and remember that when it says John left them to return to Jerusalem, Mark's name was John Mark, so it really means Mark left them to return to Jerusalem. Ya see, Mark was having doubts about this whole ministry thing, and wanted out. Then in Acts 15:36-40 Paul was ready to leave it at that. Paul's heart had not been softened to the point where he was willing to treat people with the grace that Christ was all about. But Barnabas knew that Mark was legit, and wanted to give him a second chance. Showing that especially in the starter stages of living a life for Christ, many chances need to be given. (Matthew 18:22) Anyways, I am getting off track.
  • Mark had to be prepared because at first he did not heed the call to discipleship. Mark 1:2 -> to prepare the way... What has God had to prepare in my own life before I was prepared for a life of discipleship?
ANSWER: God had to allow me to drop to rock bottom, to realize the opportunity was now, and more than ever I needed to stop resisting. I have never had a hard time having FAITH, it has always been a matter of surrender for me. That will continue to be something I deal with daily, as well it should be. Luke 9:23 reminds me of the daily surrender that must take place. I had to realize that in my own life, with my health, my problems, my future, everything needed to be given into the hands of something much higher, it had to be given to God. It has, and I am empowered by the fact that I don't need to stand on my own 2 feet. I can just prop myself right up against the unfailing God I belong to, adore, worship, and love more than anything in this entire universe. THERE IS POWER IN THE BLOOD PEOPLE!!Pastor Brian ended with this story of a lady in a Bible study, studying Malachi 3:3, and wanting to understand this process of purifying silver.

Malachi 3:3
Refiner and Purifier of Silver

Malachi 3:3 says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.

One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.

That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver.

As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot then she thought again about the verse that says: "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver."

She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.

The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy - when I see my image in it."

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has His eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.

I love that, I love that God is keeping his eye on me, even when I am amidst the difficult times. I really gain a lot of comfort from that. Also, I am blessed by the people at Alliance, my new friend Bob (the guy who invited me to come to Alliance Community Church in the first place) and I talked in the church and in the parking lot, it felt very natural and was "of God." I see an accountability partner in him. He is going to cook dinner for me next Sunday. And another gentlemen from Alliance asked me if I would go to breakfast with him on Wednesday. Just out of no where. I was like, HECK YEAH! So I am meeting him for breakfast at Cracker Barrel this Wednesday. I have never had anyone that knew me for such a short time invite me out like that. After I left Alliance, I went to the library. I did not get too much studying, because I had to be on the phone a lot. A friend needed comforting, and prayer, and I needed advice on how to approach a situation. I did get some studying done though. When it was getting close to 4:30(time of leader meeting) I went to the Young Life leader meeting.

It was really good, and productive. We talked about how the talks would look for the rest of the semester, and just encouraged each other. It was good. I was tired, and did not get any final study time in. I'll finish it tomorrow....I SWEAR I WILL!! ;-)


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