Category: Spiritual Growth

Refugee – Local

graphicContinuing the Refugee series at Gateway Church Austin today.  How do these verses challenge you as you think about the refugees living around you?

Hebrews 11:13-16 – All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

Matthew 2 (entire chapter) -…After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said. “Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

Deuteronomy 10:18-19 –  He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing.  So you, too, must show love to foreigners.

Psalm 146:9 – The Lord protects the foreigners among us. He cares for the orphans and widows.

Ezekiel 22:6-7, 29-30 – Foreigners are forced to pay for protection. Orphans and widows are wronged and oppressed among you… Even common people oppress the poor, rob the needy, and deprive foreigners of justice. I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap…but I found no one.

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Refugee – World

refugee_deliverables_screen980x544-series-graphic-title-onlyAs we continue the conversation at Gateway about Refugees around the globe, in our city and at our church, here are key passages to consider:

Exodus 23:9 “Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.”

Leviticus 19:33-34 “Do not take advantage of foreigners who live among you in your land. Treat them like native-born Israelites, and love them as you love yourself. Remember that you were once foreigners living in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”

Deuteronomy 10:18-“He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing. So you, too, must show love to foreigners, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt.”

Matthew 25:34-35  “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.” And they will say, “When did we do this for you, Lord?” And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

Do you love your work?

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God is at work where you work! God is in the business of restoring people. In fact, one of the primary places you can worship God is where you work. How you interact with your boss and coworkers is actually a profession of your faith.

What happens at a church building on Sunday is just a pep talk for the game you are in 40-50 hours a week. Consider Daniel and his friends who were captives in Babylon. They were in an impossible situation. In Jeremiah 29:4-7 God told the Israelites to live and work for the prosperity of the city and king they were in exile to.

  • What’s your impossible situation?
  • Who are you ultimately working for?
  • Can you be on mission with God wherever you are?
  • How good of an ambassador are you for God where he has you?

Verses to consider: Daniel 1, Matt 5:44-45, 2 Cor 5:17

For the entire message from John Burke’s sermon on August 18, 2013, click here.

Walk don’t wave…

Mud Small

The idea of walking across the street when you see your neighbor rather than just waving came from The Mud and the Masterpiece field guide.  What a great way to change the habits around how we interact with our neighbors!

So today when I saw my neighbor, rather than just waving I went over and said ‘hi.’ Which started a conversation about where I had just come from… church services… which started a conversation about what we are doing for Easter… celebrating Jesus death and resurrection… which led to an invite to sit together at Easter Services next Sunday.

What if each conversation with my neighbors ended with great next steps like that?

Are you willing to do 1 thing?

…are you willing to go all out experiencing life with God for 60 days?  There is one (1) thing that we’re supposed to do.  It’s really very simple, but so hard to do during the busyness of the day.  Only 1 thing is necessary. Love God and love others.  Stay connected to him and fruit happens (John 15)

This week, am I growing to stay more connected to Jesus? Am I aware that Jesus is right there with me throughout the day?

Here are 3 resources to help you stay connected:

60-60 App

Facebook

Twitter

What I learned at Kids Camp

I had a chance this summer to serve as a sponsor for a group of kids at camp.  Here’s what I learned, what have you learned as you serve the next generation?

1. Camp provides an escape for many kids who don’t have a good situation at home.
2. Its amazing to see kids who are hurt and broken ministering to other kids who are broken.
3. It’s a great place for kids to be kids: sing, dance, play, and just be goofy.
4. Almost all kids in my group were in broken or blended families that aren’t cultivating a deep love  for God. Sad. How do we change this trajectory?
5. The volunteer leaders role is just to love and pray for the kids, not to change them. Only God can change hearts.
6. Volunteers who take a week off work to work with kids are amazing people!
7. When you see kids pouring out their heart in worship, it makes you smile, and I’m sure it moves Gods heart.
8. You wrestle with great questions like: ‘Do you have a little faith or a big, bold faith?’
9. Some kids are just lanky and awkward, but God loves them just as much as the cool kids.
10. Don’t be frustrated on day 1 or 2 with how your kids are behaving, because God’s doing something in their hearts that you’ll get to see by day 3 & 4.

How do you know you are right with God?

Today at Gateway Church, John Burke quoted C.S. Lewis: “We do know that no one can be saved except through Christ; we do not know that only those who know him can be saved through him.”  What does he mean by that? These 5 things may help explain that statement:

1). God is the God of all people and he looks at the heart.

“The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”  2 Chronicles 16:9. When we do right or wrong, God is the only one who truly knows the motives in our heart.  Do we turn to him or run from him?

2). No one is made right with God except by what Jesus did for them.

Jesus said, “No one comes to God except through me.” If Jesus is the human representation of God, we can’t come to God except through him because He IS God.

3). People who never heard of Jesus will be in heaven because of Jesus.

People from the Old Testament, Abraham, Noah, Rahab the prostitute, it says were made right with God by faith—by trusting God’s forgiveness and leadership. Paul says in Romans 4: “Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness…the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.”

4). God alone is fair and just.

God will not unfairly judge a person because of a lack of knowledge or cultural or religious conditioning. C.S. Lewis says “God will let everyone into his kingdom who can possibly stand it.” —What keeps people from God is that they really do not want God’s leadership in their lives.

5). God wants us to be confident of his love, so he sent Christ.

“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.  This is the confidence we have in approaching God.”  I John 5:13-14   God wants us to be confident in his love for us and the life and freedom he gives us!

 

 

 

The Joy of Giving!

How many of us get excited about giving money away?

Today my son gave a bag of money he’d been setting aside to give to our church. He was so excited about giving it to God that he told everyone as he was walking through the halls, up the stairs, in the courtyard at church: “I’m giving money to God!” If I did this as an adult it would be seen as pride or arrogance, but when it comes from the pure heart of a child to give their heard earned money away, it’s a reminder to “give cheerfully.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)

Running Partners – Week 4: Yield

Since our meeting last week, we had an intense Advance weekend. For Gatewayers, this is a weekend where we discuss how we’re going to play our part in seeing the church raised up out of the culture. This year the theme for Advance was ‘yield.’ What does God want me to personally yield (John 12:24) and what kind of yield does God want to have through me (2 Cor. 9:6-9)?

For me, one area God is hitting me on is yielding my agenda for my life, my agenda for Gateway, my agenda for my neighbors… and trust that God’s agenda is far better. I’m struggling with the tension of what’s my responsibility and what’s God’s responsibility. I don’t have that fully resolved.

So, what is God showing you that you need to yield?
What kind of yield is God wanting to produce through you in the next 6-12 months?
What’s your next step with either type of ‘yielding’?

Running Partners – Week 3: Training

This week we’re talking about training. If we’re going to do anything for any length of time and have some degree of success, we have to train for it.

Read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

2 Questions this week:

1. What are you doing to train in these areas of your life so that you won’t be ‘disqualified?’ You could think in terms of resources, relationships or experiences in each of these areas.
1. Spiritual – connection with God, scripture, prayer, worship, etc.
2. Emotional – time and space to process how your feeling
3. Intellectual – stretching your thinking, challenging you to grow professionally, etc.
4. Social –meeting new people, keeping a balance between social and solitude
5. Physical – staying active, caring for your body, etc.
6. Sexual – purity, and if married growing in your love for your spouse

2. Do you have a person (or people) in each of these areas who serve as your personal ‘board of directors’? Or put another way, these people form ‘Team Charles’ and are encouraging me, rooting me on, challenging me. It could be the same person or you may have different people you’ve asked to keep you accountable or someone you can lean into for wisdom. If not, consider asking someone (or multiple people) to walk with you in each of these areas. Share who’s on your ‘Team’ with your RP’s or what your next step is to form your team.