Taking it Deeper by Kay Weston


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Walking on Water  by Kay Weston
 
My friend Randye remarked as we walked out of church Sunday, “I just love this church!”  She’d been to visit her son and his family for Mother’s Day, and although  the service was good, it didn’t have the energy she finds at Live Oak….or the relevance.  And the way the music, drama, and lighting blend with the message…WOW!  The song “Lay Me Down” blew me away.
 
Several people at our small group Sunday evening shared that they had really been impacted by the Walk series.  I think it’s one of the best series of teachings we have had.  Just a side note about how fleeting life is–I had written this blog Tuesday morning and found out that one of our small group members, Donna, died in a car wreck Tuesday afternoon.  Donna was an amazing prayer warrior. She kept her eyes on Jesus, and now she’s with Him.
 
This is neither an advertisement for Live Oak nor a eulogy to Donna, although I could write both.  The subject is Walking on Water. Doug has taught the steps we take today will determine WHO we’ll be and WHERE we’ll be tomorrow.  Our steps also determine where others will be tomorrow.  He encouraged us to Walk in His Ways and Walk with the Wise. Proverbs says we should take thoughtful steps.
 
The video clip from the miniseries The Bible (see it if you haven’t already!) showed the famous scene from Matthew when Jesus walks on the lake. I was most moved by the expression on the disciples’ faces as they looked out and saw him.  They’d just seen him feed the 5000…what could trump that?  Jesus did top it when he walked on water, and would top even that later.  Then Peter asked Jesus to let him walk on water, too.  He wasn’t testing Jesus, like I used to think, just asking, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.”  (from the Message).
 
What most impressed my husband, Cliff about the video clip was when Peter, after taking his eyes off Jesus, began to sink.  Jesus reached down and retrieved Peter.  “just like he does us”, said Cliff.  “You don’t have  much faith” , said Jesus.  (from the New Living).  Oh, it is so easy to take our eyes off Him as the storm rages.
 
It is oh, so comfortable in the boat.  And Jesus didn’t even ask Peter to step out, Peter asked to step out.  Our “boats” today are super comfy, and come equipped with food, drink, and all sorts of electronics.  But very little growth occurs there. The one who grows is dripping wet, half drowned, not safe in the boat.
 
My friend Maria’s life changed direction during the Global Leadership Summit in 2011.  She didn’t think she could afford to miss work and go.  God told her she couldn’t afford not to. I was blessed to be sitting by her.  It was the Holy Spirit who had her writing so frantically in bright green ink.  Afterwards, she knew exactly what she needed to do.  And, she did it afraid!
 
What are you afraid to do?  Get help for an addiction?  Share your faith boldly?  Walk away from an ungodly influence?  Go to The Leadership Summit?  This is me preachin’—Get yo butt out the boat!!

Taking it Deeper by Kristi Lowe


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Years ago, before iPhones or Google Maps, or even just Google, I was a college kid driving back from Graham to Lubbock, TX. It was spring of 1996, and my grandmother was really ill, so I had driven to Graham to see her. For some reason on the way home (I’m still not sure why), I took a wrong turn and ended up in Spur, TX. I didn’t even realize I was on the wrong road until I saw the sign that said “Spur, TX – Population: 4” (ok, not 4, but it’s a tiny hole in the wall kind of town, seriously).

 

Off course.
(Totally) lost.

 
Been there?

 
Maybe some of you haven’t, because you don’t know life without a blue dot on a screen, following you everywhere.

 
But I betcha know what it’s like to feel like that on the inside.

 
There’s that place within us we just can’t seem to get it all together.
{I’ll never do that again.}
We find ourselves in a particular situation & just can’t seem to make a good decision.
{I’ll stop after this time, I promise.}
Or that one person we are always tempted by.
{This is the last time, I swear.}

 
Oh, but we do try, don’t we? And some of us may get it all together for a while, make it look good on the outside…but eventually, our strength gives out. If you’ve ever been on a diet for more than about a week, you know how little power we actually have against what our flesh desires.

 
The problem, sweet friend, is we can’t fight sin on this earth by ourselves. We are fallen, sinful, fleshly humans. We weren’t created to do it on our own.

 
So what’s the answer?
Simply put?
We need to look up.

 
Hebrews 12:2 says it beautifully, “keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith.” (HCSB)

 
I don’t know about you, but I don’t end up in many regrettable situations/conversations when I am saturated in the Word of God, and taking my weak, needy self to the throne of the Most High on a daily basis.

 
Louie Giglio, pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta, GA brought it into focus last week at a conference I attended. It was a nourishing word, and hit me right where I am on this very subject. When we fall, he said, the weight of Jesus’ death is the counterweight to our sin, and it raises us up. The weight of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross comes down so that we may be lifted up out of the pit. Choosing worship and praise to the One who saves is like an elevator that pulls us up and out of the destruction.

 
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9 HCSB (emphasis mine)

 
That we may.
Proclaim praises.
To the ONE who called us.
OUT. OF. DARKNESS.

 
{{Do you hear that? The answer…it’s right there in that little phrase}}

 
With our praises, to the One who called us out of the darkness, we are lifted up.

 
If you need OUT,
If you need direction,
If you need clarity,
The first thing – the best thing – you can do is turn toward the One worthy of worship.

 
There is nothing you can do to earn his love.
{He already loves you.}
There is nothing you can hide from him.
{He already knows.}
There is nothing you’ve done that is unforgiveable, unredeemable.
{He already died for you, Beloved!}

 
We are already forgiven!
We are already redeemed!

 
That We May.
Proclaim Praises.
To the One who called you.
Out. Of. Darkness.

 
Praise Him.

 Just one more thing before I close: some of you might read this, and but by the grace of God, you aren’t tangled up in a season of deep sin. Might you consider a time you were, and have compassion on those around you who are struggling? Be a blessing to someone today who needs to know that the mess they are in right now doesn’t have to be the final verdict. Pray for those the Lord brings into your life that have complexities, struggles that you don’t understand. Love them the way Jesus loves you.

blessings, kristi

Church-Wide Reading Plan–Week of May 5th


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You did it!!!  You are on the final week of our E100 initiative.  Congratulations!!!

 

This week’s reading passages are:

Revelation 1:1-20; Revelation 2:1-3:22; Revelation 4:1-7:17; Revelation 19:1-20:15; Revelation 21:1-22:21

 

As you read these Scriptures, consider using the SOAPS method…

>Grab your Bible, a pen and a notebook (anything will do, even a blank spiral).

>Find a quiet time and space to read your Bible.

Complete the “S” by reading the scripture. Don’t just skim through it, but really think about what it means. Imagine what the people involved were experiencing. Write down a verse or two that really stood out to you in your journal.

Complete the “O” by writing down observations about the scripture you just read. You may want to write your own summary of the passage, but more importantly, think about what God has to say to you through this part of his word.

Complete the “A” by writing down how this Bible passage applies to you right now, in your daily life.  Do you see similar situations in your life right now? How can you respond in the way Jesus taught?

Complete the “P” by writing down a prayer. This is a personal message from you to God, so don’t worry about getting the perfect words down. Just make it honest and heartfelt.

Finally, complete “S“ by sharing what you learned with someone else.