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Category Archives: Gratitude

Competition that Counts

I am speaking tonight at a pre-tournament worship service for the Island Revival 2nd Annual Softball Tournament. What is the essence of competition? When the lights dim, the crowds disperse, the event is over and you are all alone with your thoughts…what will matter then?

Competition really isn’t about winning; it is about excelling as a person within the competition.

If competition is about winning, any means is justified. Win in any way, at any cost, regardless of character, integrity, and honesty.

Today, in particular, this is of interest. Roger Clemens was found not-guilty of lying to Congress (and many other charges) about cheating in sports with steroids and human growth hormones. Roger has been a remarkable winner. The question was simply, did he excel as a person with the competition or did he go outside of the competition?

For our Island Revival Softball Tournament let’s use 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 as the competition within which we excel at softball.

1. Love
2. Patience
3. Kindness
4. No envy
5. No boasting
6. No pride
7. No dishonor of others
8. No self-seeking
9. No easy anger
10. No record of wrongs
11. Rejoice with the truth

Give It!

Following are the notes from my message, “Give It.”

Eucharisteo: Fully Alive. Here. Now.

Give It. (Mark 14:22, 23)

We are on a quest to discover if it is possible to be fully alive, here, and now.

Possibly the ultimate opposite of being fully alive, here, and now, is the taking of one’s own life. For example, the suicide rate among active duty US Army soldiers hit an all time high in 2011. Following are some interesting concepts from the Army’s study of this situation:

• Invisible wounds that remain undetected
• Suffering in silence

These two realities “manifest” in:

• 54 percent increase in alcohol abuse associated with domestic violence.
• 43 percent of active-duty soldiers reported binge drinking within the past month.
• 25-35 percent of wounded soldiers are addicted to prescription or illegal drugs while they await medical discharge.

http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/us-army-reports-record-suicide-rate

We learn, in the eucharisteo life, to receive life, as God allows it to come to us, with a deeply held sense of gratitude, appreciation, and thankfulness. Mark 14:22, 23

What word is commonly connected with thanks? Give. 48 times, the Bible states thankfulness is something one gives.

• Give from what or from where? Give from a heart of true gratitude.
• Give to whom? Give to God, others, and to yourself.
• Give thanks for what? In everything, give thanks.

In our pain, we want to receive, but the Bible models that in our pain we continue to give.

In our pain we think the part equals the whole, but the Bible models that the part rarely equals the whole.

Pain is loud. We often only hear the voice of pain rather than the voice of God.

The miracle is after the gift is given!
Lazarus John 11:41
Feeding of 4,000 Mark 8:6,7 (Twice)
Feeding of the five thousand Matt. 14:19

As you approach your personal devotional time at the crosses today, ask yourself the following:
• Do I have invisible wounds that remain undetected?
• Do I suffer in silence?
• In my ordinary days, extraordinarily difficult days, and extraordinarily delightful days, am I giving the gift of thanks?
• In my ordinary days, extraordinarily difficult days, and extraordinarily delightful days, am I remembering others?

MCA LIFE Groups

Connecting with One Another

1. What feelings does springtime stir in you?
2. What is your most exciting hope for this summer?

Digging Deeper into the Weekend Talk

1. In 2 Chronicles 7: 1-3 we see the glory of God coming upon the Temple. In verse 6 we see the giving of thanks. In this passage, what is the relationship between giving thanks and God’s glory, and between giving thanks and dedication?
2. What does Hebrews 4:13 teach about our “invisible wounds?”
3. What does Hebrews 4:15 reveal about Jesus and our invisible wounds?
4. What does Hebrews 4:16 train us to do with our wounds?

Prayer
Give time for several people in your life group to give thanks.

Eucharisteo: Fully Alive. Here. Now.

Following are my message notes for the introduction message to the series:

Eucharisteo: Fully Alive. Here. Now.

Following are the questions this teaching series investigates:

Is there a way for me to experience the abundant life of Jesus Christ all day, every day? Can I be fully alive, here, now?

MCA Church answers with a resounding YES! And the pathway to this promise is Holy Communion.

MCA Church, recognizing the priority and power of Holy Communion, invites worshippers to the Lord’s Table in every weekend worship experience.

How does a piece of bread and a cup of juice become something of gigantic value in our daily lives? What is that added value?

Within the Holy Communion experience is a component of the mystery of Christian life and faith.
• 1 Timothy 3:9
• 1 Timothy 3:16

Mystery, in the Bible, is different from mystery today.

“The NT use of the term mystery has reference to some operation or plan of God hitherto unrevealed. It does not carry the idea of a secret to be withheld, but of one to be published…The term mystery, moreover, comprehends not only a previously hidden truth, presently divulged, but one that contains a supernatural element that still remains in spite of the revelation.” The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary

The core experience of Holy Communion is the giving of thanks. Mark 14: 22-25

The giving of thanks, in Mark 14:23 is the Greek word, eucharisteo.

Eucharisteo (giving thanks) is closely related to, in the original language, grace and joy.

Is there a way for me to experience the abundant life of Jesus Christ all day, every day? Can I be fully alive, here, now?

The Bible declares, “YES!” In a three-worded chord that is not easily broken we experience the abundant life of Jesus Christ.

Eucharisteo Thankfulness Colossians 3:17
Charis Grace Romans 5:2
Chara Joy 1 Peter 1:8

In our response time today, we will be singing “Thank You.” The lyrics include twelve different things, specifically mentioned, for which we are thankful.

We are confident that God has spoken to you through the worship, the friendships, and the presentation of the Bible message. This is now your time to respond to God.

Will you respond by placing your trust in Jesus for salvation? If so, at the cross say a prayer of commitment to Jesus and leave a note saying you have done so.

Will you respond by initiating thanksgiving? If so, at the cross say a prayer of thanksgiving and leave a note of thanks.

As you receive the bread and juice of Holy Communion, allow your heart to fill with deep appreciation.

Christmas Fruit Basket

I am noticing that many folks’ “Fruit of the Spirit” basket has been robbed by the stresses of the now famous Christmas Complexity Fatigue Syndrome. They sure love Jesus but they are, at best, grouchy, and at worst showing fits of rage (which is a fruit of a different spirit).

I am aware of the “reasons” people have for their lack of the Spirit’s fruit, but, in the end it is always simply a lack of intimacy with the Fruit Producer.

Approximately 3,000 people (about 1 percent of Anchorage’s population) claim that MCA is their home church. 3,000 folks whose Christmas Fruit Basket is full of love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, kindness, self control, and faithfulness, will rapidly impact the entire environment of the community.

When people reach into your Christmas Fruit Basket may they not get the rotten and nasty fruit of the wrong spirit, but instead find the glorious work of the Holy Spirit.

After hanging out with you, are people more loving, joyful, and peaceful? Or are they more selfish, sad, and stressed?

Here is my take. If your basket is full of grouch, bitterness, and pride, please put a lid on it and enjoy it all to yourself. On the other hand, if your basket is full of the Spirit’s fruit, then take the lid off and share it with the world.

Don’t let the stresses of the season take you away from your time with the Spirit of God. Read, pray, reflect, and meditate upon the things of God and watch the good fruit grow.

Provision for the Vision!

One of my heroes, Hudson Taylor, was fond of saying, “Where God guides, God provides.” I too have found the provision of God to be ample for the work He has designed for me to do. Following is a poem (whose author is unknown) that captures the guiding and providing aspects of our Father.

I’d rather walk in the dark with God
Than go alone in the light;
I’d rather walk by faith with Him
Than go alone by sight. –Anon.

Be encouraged today. God is providing! My friend, Caleb McAfee, has given light to the subject of God’s provision by saying, “Biblical prosperity is having more than enough to accomplish God’s plan.” God will come through for you and for His vision for you. You will have more than enough to get God’s plan for your life accomplished.

We are thankful for those who are investing in the vision of the MCA worship community at year’s end. There are so many opportunities simply waiting for us to grab onto them for God’s glory. Provision is part of what is needed for this to happen.

As you reflect over your resources for 2011, will you consider a hefty year-end investment into the ministry of Muldoon Community Assembly? Every gift is greatly needed for the purpose of advancing the vision. God guides and provides both to us and through us. May my giving be part of the answer to the prayers for provision for all of our missionaries, ministries, and opportunities. You may give online here.

If you chose to send a check, please mail to Muldoon Community Assembly, 7041 DeBarr Road, Anchorage, Alaska, 99504.

Stay blessed and continue to be a blessing.

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