Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Elijah's Rain Blog…. "The Gospel Changes Everything" This will be kept relatively short. I was just listening to Meredith Andrews (she is phenomenal! I would highly recommend listening to her music. This chick knows how to worship!) and I ran across her song "The Gospel Changes Everything." "The Gospel changes everything…." After reading this, one question seemed to stick out in my mind. That question is: "Do we let the Gospel change US?" The Gospel does change everything… The Gospel is a love story from God to us! His love is revealed to us in that while we were at the lowest of the lows, the worst of the worst, the filthiest of the unclean, God cared enough to send us a way to be picked back up and dusted off. He cared enough to cleanse us of all unrighteousness so that we would not have to bear the punishment we so rightfully deserve! The Gospel changes our view of love. The Gospel changes our perception of the world, of God, of salvation, and many more things. The Gospel CHANGES the way we look at the world! But do we let the gospel change us? This takes an amazing dose of humility… but man, are we in need of changing or what?! Do we let the words that we read influence us and change who we are? Do we take the words for what they are worth or do we read them no differently than we read a classic novel or romance book? Hebrews 4:12 says, "The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." Do we let the gospel pierce our souls? Do we let the gospel guide the thoughts and intentions of our hearts? The word of God is *living!* The word of God is *active!* We should be empowered to become more like Christ in reading His word. We should become so filled with the Holy Spirit that we can't contain the greatness of our God! Let His word change you! Be challenged! Yes… the Gospel changes everything… let it change you. Meredith Andrews - The Gospel Changes Everything Meredith Andrews - The Gospel Changes Everything View on www.youtube.com Preview by Yahoo
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
We would like to thank everyone who has supported our ministry. A special thanks to Tommy Bowels with Sight and Sound creations. We couldn't do it without your help. If you feel lead to help our ministry grow please consider a donation. You can do this by selecting donation on the tool bar above.
Monday, August 4, 2014
***Perfect Imperfections*** Who sets the standard for perfection? Is the world constantly telling you that you are not good enough? Do the countless beauty commercials on TV make you feel ugly and and insecure? Do you feel like you are too tall or too short? Does the world make you feel dumb because you aren't necessarily gifted academically? Everyday people are put down and ridiculed because of their looks, their academics, their shyness, their clumsiness, etc. People feel belittled and they are constantly being told that they are "not good enough." Well, let me just tell you, you are made in the IMAGE of God, and He made you the way you are for a PURPOSE. We have to overcome what the world is screaming at us. It is in the silence where we hear the voice of God. Do you know what God is trying to tell you? Here it is: Genesis 1:26a "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." Psalm 139:13-14 "For YOU created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." We are made in the image of God! YOU are fearfully and wonderfully made! God MADE you the way you are for a purpose! He did not screw up! Romans 12:2 "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is- His good, pleasing and perfect will." Don't conform to societal pressures. You are IN this world- not OF it. Be bold and be different. Let your standards be the standards of God! You are made the way you are for a reason! Think vertically and not horizontally. Think of what the world deems as your "imperfections" as PERFECT imperfections. Maybe your bad test score or tendency towards forgetfulness will bless someone else. I know it sounds crazy, but it could be that you being content in your "imperfections" will allow someone else to look past their own so that they can begin looking up towards God. Your "perfect imperfections" could allow someone else to have peace with themselves so they can then further themselves in Christ without getting so hung up on things of this Earth. It could be something that seems so big to you, or something so small like a bad hair day. Whatever it may be, embrace it and USE it to glorify God. He made you that way for a purpose :) You are BEAUTIFULLY made! So today, don't let anyone tell you that you're not "good enough" or that you aren't "pretty enough," because you are AMAZING. You are made in the IMAGE of God, and you were formed the way you are for a purpose :) LOVE YOUR PERFECT IMPERFECTIONS. Questions to think about: Do you get caught up in trying to adhere to the standards society has formed? Do you let others know they are beautifully made? How often do you let someone know you think they are awesome?
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Grace and Forgiveness….. Grace and Forgiveness. What is grace and what is forgiveness? Well, this time I am not going to use a dictionary. Instead, I'm going to use a person to define these two powerful words. JESUS. Jesus is grace. Jesus is forgiveness. I think that when discussing something like grace and forgiveness, in order to get the full impact of what it is, we must know the severity of the need we have for it. In his book "The Call," Dr. Gutierrez emphasizes the importance of knowing why we need saving in order to get the full effect of what Jesus did. Why do we need saving? What do we need to be saved from? Why do we need grace and forgiveness? What is there that we need to be forgiven from? These are all questions that will better help you understand the concept of grace and forgiveness and our great need for the two.
To begin, let's talk about why we need grace. Why we need forgiveness. Grace is something given that we don't deserve. Why don't we deserve it?
-We don't deserve grace because….. we are man. You see, it began in the Garden of Eden. Man was without blemish. Man was made in the image of God and lived in paradise. God gave man only one restriction…. He told them not to eat from one tree. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He told them not to eat from one tree, but the rest of the trees were free for their pleasure. This is where Satan comes into play. God allows Satan to be at work in the world, but He wants us to follow Him instead of Satan. We have freewill, therefore we have the power to choose whether to fall captive to the ways of the Devil himself, or to submit to our Creator God by glorifying Him in all that we do. We are given a CHOICE. God does not choose for us because that is our job. We must make the choice for ourselves. Eve made that choice when she took a bite of a fruit that came from the "forbidden tree." She CHOSE right then and there that she was going to fall captive to the ways of Satan. SIN had entered the world. From that point on, all of mankind would be born with an inclination towards sin. We are born with a will that drives us away from what pleases God. We are born with a nature that God does not see as pleasing. Sin makes us dirty, filthy, and unholy. Scripture tells us that nothing impure or unclean can be in the presence of the Lord. What does that mean for us? It means that when we die, it would be impossible for us to end up in heaven in our natural state. How do we escape it? We can't. There is no possible way to escape the sin nature that we have fallen captive to. We can, however, be rescued by the works of Jesus Christ. In order for us to gain entrance into heaven and be allowed in the presence of the Lord, something totally sinless and without blemish, yet totally human, would have to take our place. That sinless person was Jesus. God sent His one and only Son to die for us so that we may live. You see, Jesus was *divine* yet *human.* Because of this, He was able to be totally without blemish while still being human. This gave Jesus the ability to be our atonement (for lack of a better word). Jesus took our place, and through Him, we were able to be reconciled to the Father. His blood washed our sins totally clean. It cleansed us of all unrighteousness, allowing us to be in the presence of the Lord. (We can go to heaven!) Let me put it in different words now…. Jesus, the precious sinless lamb of God, was beaten, mocked, rebuked, and nailed to a cross just to save us. Mike Donehey, the lead singer of Tenth Avenue North explains the Last Supper as a proposal from Jesus to us, the church. He talks about how He offered Himself to us, and He was asking for us to be His bride, to follow Him in everything we do. To live in submission to Him. To *live* not only with Him, but FOR Him. The Last Supper was His proposal. He goes on to further explain the "bride" that Jesus was proposing to. (us.) He wasn't proposing to some Godly, pure, faithful wife. He was proposing to an unfaithful, sinful wife. He died a brutal death to save *us.* Us- the unfaithful sinful wife. He was beaten to take away *our* sin. My sin. Your sin. He was beaten for *us.* Did we deserve that? Absolutely not! If God gave us what we deserved, then we would all find ourselves spending eternity in Hell. (Yes. All of us. That includes me, you, and even Billy Graham!) Thankfully, God doesn't give us what we deserve. Instead, He gives us grace and forgiveness. He gives us grace- something that we definitely don't deserve. He gives us forgiveness. Through the blood of His son, we are forgiven of our sin. We are allowed entrance into heaven. We are given grace. The Bible says that if we ask God for forgiveness when we have sinned, and we mean it with all of our hearts, (truly repenting of our wrongdoing,) then God will remember it no more. He cannot forget them because God cannot forget. Instead, He chooses to never bring it back up. It is in His mind, but He no longer holds that sin to us. It is by the blood of Christ that God is justified in doing that. God "remembers" no more, and we are forgiven when we ask for that forgiveness. THAT is grace. That is something given to us that we absolutely do NOT deserve. God offers us grace and forgiveness, and boy are we in need of that! Christianity is the ONLY religion that offers a way of reconciliation to the creator from sin. Most all religions acknowledge the imperfection of man, but never does the so-called "creator" offer a way to be freed from that imperfection. Normally, it is up to the person to further themselves towards a more perfect state. God knew that we were not capable of that on our own, so He created a way for us. Our God created a way for us to be broken out of the bondage of sin! Our God did that for *us!* Why did God do that? Why does God give us that precious grace and forgiveness? Why would the CREATOR of the universe care so much to save our little souls? Why? The answer- we will save for next time.
Questions to think about:
What areas of your life are you falling captive to Satan in? Where are you not fully submitting yourself to God?
Do you understand the impact of what Jesus did for you?
Who in your life may you need to share this story of redemption with? What is keeping you from telling them about Jesus and the life we receive through Him?
Waiting…Have you ever had to wait for something and thought that you would literally die from the wait? Waiting is an act that provides us with a sense of how important patience is. "Patience is a virtue" I've been told many times. Well… it is just that. Waiting is hard. Waiting is the fear of the unknown…. the fear of what is to come. Waiting. You are either waiting for something that will bring you much pleasure… much pain… or the unknown. Typically, whatever you are waiting on fits into these three categories. At least in the first two categories I mentioned, you have some sense of knowledge. You have knowledge of what's to come. The issue with the latter is that we are left clueless. We have no clue whether the outcome will bring us joy or bring us sadness. Will it encompass much celebration or much mourning? We simply don't know. We as humans have a desire to want to be in control. Some are afraid of religion because they don't want to have to submit to a higher being. They don't want to be held accountable. They don't want someone else in their life that has more control than they do. We want to organize our lives and we want to be the ones determining what the next steps in our lives will be. The problem with the 'unknown' is that we have no clue what will happen… literally, our future is "unknown" to us. This scares us. This is the hardest type of waiting there is. Waiting for the unknown. It can drive a person mad. As Christians, if we fully submit to God and to following His will, we are going to run into a bunch of "unknowns" in life. This is where FAITH comes in! We are submitting ourselves fully to God and we have to KNOW that He has us. He has us in the palm of His hand, so there is no need to fear. Faith should counteract fear. As Mike Donehey has said, "Christianity is not about how much faith you have, but WHO your faith is in." AMEN! By putting our faith in the One True God, we should not have to worry about what our future will hold. All things work for the good of those who love God :) All we can do in these periods of "waiting for the unknown" is to have faith that Jesus will carry us through. Don't worry. PRAY. (Philippians 4:6-7) God's got this! It is hard sometimes but we can't live in worry and fear. We can't let the fear of the unknown overtake us. We have to live each day as it is our last and love the Lord God with all our heart, soul, and mind. Let people see Jesus in us. Don't get consumed in waiting for the unknown. Be courageous, Be BOLD. Have faith.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
On Sunday, March 30th, we will be playing at Mountain Grove Baptist Church in Hickory, NC. This will be our first concert/outreach in the Hickory area. Please pray that we will have safe travels. We are really looking forward to this special concert and meeting new folks.