Open Up The Heavens

andrews song of the week
 
 
Open Up The Heavens, sung by Meredith Andrews, is an upbeat and encouraging song of praise that can be played to have an amazing start to your day! In fact, we’ll be doing just that when we sing it as our first song of worship this Sunday! The simple and joyful lyrics to this song prepare your heart, mind, and soul for a time of worship and conversation with and about God. The time we set aside to talk to our Savior and worship Him is an investment into our relationship with Him. We have a covenant with our Lord and our side of that covenant must be fulfilled to truly experience and appreciate His love. “Lord, unveil our eyes…You’re the reason we’re here…We want to see you”!
 
Andrew



Details. Details. Details.

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It’s after Labor Day, and the sweet summer rhythms have once again turned toward fall busyness.  Most vacations have come and gone, and it’s Details!  Details! Details!  We all have details that need our care and attention.  And yet, details can bog us down and we can spend a whole lot of time and energy in ways that leave us empty without any time to replenish.  If we don’t replenish, we quickly become stress-filled people and stress-spewing people.  Learning to live in balance that is mindful of our details and responsibilities, but also plans for the “detail” of replenishment doesn’t just magically happen.  It takes a lot of effort and being intentional; choosing something that is better.

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Grace and Peace.

 
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A few months ago, I heard a sermon on a short verse that Paul spoke in Ephesians 1. And I find myself
months later with these words resonating in my soul; “May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ
give you grace and peace.” Grace and Peace. These words continue to seep into my forgotten places.
They bring healing and hope and strength. Grace and Peace.
As these two words have been rolling around inside of me, I decided to look them up in the Bible and I found that Paul spoke these words in every single letter he wrote. Over and over again, Paul prayed
that people would be given grace and peace from our Father God and His Son, Jesus Christ.
No matter our backgrounds, no matter our strengths or weaknesses, no matter who we are or where we live, no matter what we look like; we all have a need for grace and peace. Every single one of us. We have only to go to Our Father through Jesus Christ, this is where we will find grace and peace.
I want grace and peace. I want to receive it, live in it, breathe it. All of the time. And I want it to spill
out of me. Oh, to be so full of grace and peace from God that it overflows to those around us. I want to
pray often for others as Paul did, “May God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ give YOU grace and peace.”

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The Need to Find Your Teapot

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Take a look at this picture. There is a teapot different from the rest. Can you find the odd one out?
 
the need tea pot

When I first took at stab at this puzzle, my initial strategy was embarrassingly simple: stare at all the teapots. There was quite literally no rhyme or reason to what I was doing. I just looked. Eventually that turned into another embarrassingly simple strategy. I looked at each teapot individually and compared it to the others around it. It didn’t work. After a while, I decided to examine each part of each teapot. I compared all the spouts. Nope, nothing different there. Then I looked at all the handles. Nothing different there either. I considered the little knobs on top and the colors too. Nothing. Finally, I looked at all the lines on each and every teapot. Once I found myself looking at that specific trait of the teapot, it was incredibly easy to find that one tea pot that had three lines instead of two.

What could a teapot have to do with Jesus? If you haven’t noticed, God has a funny way of teaching us lessons. Case and point: this post. I’m not kidding when I say God really spoke to me about these teapots!


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Watch For God.

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Last week at our church was Vacation Bible School.  A time when a mass of volunteers show up every night for a few hours, to walk kids from the community through Bible truths that will hopefully sink deep and take root in their hearts.  VBS week is exhausting and yet thrilling.  There is something about all the work, the planning, the execution of it that drains the physical body and yet the heart soars just by being a part.  I believe that what we’re doing is not just recreation or a time filler, but seeds that are being sown for eternity. 

On the first night of our VBS last week, each child and volunteer was given a wrist band (glow in the dark –so cool) that said “Watch for God”.  The theme of the week was to teach kids (and us old adults) to be on the lookout for God “sightings”.  Each night as we gathered together there was an opportunity to share a “God sighting”.  I love this! How often do we get so busy with our lives and all the to do lists and all the busyness that keeps us running from here to there, that we forget to look for God, who has promised us that He is always with us?


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The Need to Punch Back

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I hear voices. You too? Great, you won’t think I’m crazy. I hear loud, intimate, knows-every-one-of-my-secrets-and-fears–
voices
. They kick me when I’m down. They tell me I’m not good enough. They say I am too sinful for my Father’s love. They recommend reactive behavior that solves no situation. They speak fear into my heart like no other. They make me worry about things I cannot control. 

 

They punch.
 

Left hook: Your husband’s not going to come home safely today.

Upper cut: You make no difference in those students’ lives.

Right hook: No one wants to read your stupid blog. 


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The Need for Seasons

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As we enter the summer months I find myself in awe of how quickly the seasons seem to change. Six months ago, my husband and I were walking our Rhodesian ridgeback through three feet of snow. It was easy to be overcome with the thought: “Will all this snow ever melt?”

The next thing I knew, the trees were consumed with the lime green color of flowering buds on the brink of becoming leaves. The anticipation of spring was here. Then we blinked. All the trees were covered in lush green. 

Alive. 

The sun now shines bright, and we have enthusiastically changed out our heavy sweaters in our closets for sundresses and tank tops. 

Think back to a time where you’ve felt the weight of the proverbial snowstorm. In these wintery seasons we ask ourselves, “When will all this go away?” “Where is the sun?” The sting of a storm seems to linger for longer than we would like.

Good news: The Son is always out.


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It’s Really That Simple.

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This phrase, “it’s really that simple”, has been rolling over and over in my mind for several days.  One of my highlights every single week is getting together with other women to read, talk, and ponder together the Word of God.  A few nights ago, we gathered on my porch and poured over a text of scripture.  At one point, one of the women said, “it’s really that simple” and something clicked in me.  What she was referring to is that we tend to make our faith so hard sometimes.  And really, it comes down to realizing that Jesus loves us so much and pursues us every.single.day. All we need to do is turn to Him, receive His love and love Him back. It’s Really That Simple.
 
Oh how I need the reminder to slow down and just enjoy my relationship with Jesus.  I get so caught up in “doing” that I forget about just “being”.  And it’s in the place of just hanging out with Jesus that I think we receive the best gifts He has for us that we can then share with others.


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O Come To The Alter

andrews song of the week
Hello, Church!
 
This week’s selection is
O Come to the Altar by Elevation Worship and is a song I hope to introduce into our Sunday morning worship sometime in the near future. O Come to the Altar
is an encouraging and heartfelt song about God’s grace. His “arms are open wide” for us to run to and His comfort and love is always there. In the holy covenant that we have with Him we are responsible for meeting God halfway, and in order to do this we must “Leave behind [our] regrets and mistakes.” This simple and beautiful song of worship brings me comfort when I feel broken and far away from God and I hope it brings you the same comfort when you are hurting and “overwhelmed by the weight of your sin.” I hope you take the time to listen to this song and others by Elevation Worship, but more importantly, I pray that we all take the time to open our ears towards heaven, because “Jesus is calling.” 
 
Andrew
 



Nations

andrews song of the week
 
Hello Church, 
 
This week I’ve chosen one of my favorite upbeat, ‘feel good’ songs that just makes me want to share God’s love with everyone I know and “Let all of creation, hear the sound…” This is a joyful song of praise from a band led by Scott Cunningham, a worship pastor from California, I hope this song finds you well and gives you hope for ournation as we continue to pray for revival and for the people around us each day. Let us not be “ashamed of the Gospel” or the “One [we] love”! Enjoy!
Andrew
 

https://youtu.be/ss8mVknndU8