REACH a broader view a higher purpose
As we embark on this incredible journey called the Reach Project, we have written a devotional to give God glory and build the body of Christ. Thank you for your commitment to read, pray and join us as together we experience what God holds for our future. Pastor Bob Bouwer
WEEKEND SCHEDULE Over the next five years, the velocity of life-change within Faith Church may be far greater than what weâ€™ve experienced over the past fifty. While we are visioning for those who already belong to the Faith community, it is with fresh, bold intentionality we are pursuing the disconnected whom we are called to REACH. Discover how life-changing transformations can still happen . . . right within our reach.
Weekend 1 - Oct 11/12 Spreading a Grander Vision Weekend 2 - Oct 18/19 Motivating Lifestyle Generosity Weekend 3 - Oct 25/26 Investing in Gospel Patrons with special guest John Rinehart, auther of Gospel Patrons
Weekend 4 - Nov 1/2 Committing to Action
table of contents Week 1 | Oct 13-19 | Vision Focused Week 2 | Oct 20-26 | What is Generosity? Week 3 | Oct 27-31 | Gospel Patrons Week 4 | Nov 1-3 | Making a Commitment (All scripture references are ESV unless otherwise noted)
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Week 1: Vision Focused
October 13 Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your offspring will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities. - Isaiah 54:2-3 Isaiah was given the daunting task of sharing his prophesy from God to the chosen people of Israel. This prophesy called for the Jewish nation to make some changes. They were called to “make their normal dwelling much larger, stretch out their curtains and lengthen their cords.” In other words, they were commanded to not hold back. Why? Because God’s love for the world was going to dramatically increase. I wonder if they all had a chuckle when they heard this. I wonder if they laughed and said, “We are happy with our current tent size.” I wonder if they thought that this wasn’t going to happen. Hopefully a few replied, “God instructed, we will move!” Faith Church is also being asked to expand. We are seeking to expand “our tents.” We heard God’s call of the Gospel 50 years ago to start Faith Church. We heard the call to enlarge the tent and relocate in Dyer, Indiana. We heard God call us to reproduce in Cedar Lake, Valparaiso, Hammond, Beecher, Highland and Schererville. Each time God has spoken, we stepped. Today, again, we hear God saying, “Enlarge the tents! Spread right and left! Prepare for more until we reach the nations!” Lord, we are listening! Pastor Bob
October 14 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. - Acts 1:8 This text, in which Jesus encourages and instructs his disciples before ascending into heaven, has become a key theme for the movement of the Christian faith throughout the world. The command has resulted in the growth of Christianity, the reproduction of churches and leaders, and the making of disciples of Jesus around the world! I recently heard an analogy that really struck me. It was in the form of a question: “What is the benefit of having an engine if the car is not in gear?” If the engine is on, you can sit inside a car and be cozy and warm or cool and comfortable, you can listen to soothing words and music on the radio and you can even plot a course on a navigation system. But if the car is never put into gear, what is the benefit? What is the purpose? God has put Faith Church “in gear!” Thousands of people have connected in deeper ways to Jesus through Faith Church, and hundreds have gone on mission into local communities (Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria). Leaders have been reproduced, local church bodies have received the power of the Holy Spirit, and the witnesses to the truth and grace of Jesus Christ have been sent out. Let’s pray for MORE in our region and around the world through the power of the Holy Spirit! Pastor Dave Weemhoff
October 15 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: - 1 Corinthians 1:2 The Apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians are worth noting. He writes, “To the church of God that is in Corinth.” Whatever our specific location may be, Paul makes it clear that we are ultimately God’s church. The part is not greater than the whole. Although Paul is writing to the community in Corinth, his vision for the church is not myopic. Paul understood the divine call upon the local church to reach beyond its immediate boundaries and borders and push into new territory for the sake of the gospel. We see evidence of this when he writes, they are “...called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ...” ‘Every place...’ says Paul. What would it look like for a community of believers to live into that reality? It’s one thing to understand there are people nearby who will encounter Jesus, who will call on the name of the Lord if someone goes and shares life with them. It is another thing however to embody it. Upon reading this portion of 1 Corinthians, we cannot help but catch Paul’s vision of the church. Yes it’s a vision of local communities but these local communities aren’t silos. Rather, they grow up, and in turn, reach out into every place so that in the words of Paul, “all may come to a saving knowledge of God.” Consider: 1. Has your view of the local church become too narrow? 2. What would it look like for you to reach into an “every place” reality?
October 16 Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. - Isaiah 43:19 Is God tapping on your soul… maybe nudging your Spirit to pick up the “telescope of your life” and take a closer look at something NEW the Lord is placing on the horizon? Does the scene seem a little blurry? Is it unclear because there’s too much blocking the view? Let’s take a moment and focus adjusting the lens - can you see it a little better? If it’s the Lord prompting, chances are, what you are seeing is something “bigger than you.” Read Isaiah 43:19 “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” The word “Behold” here can be defined as, “Be sure to see…! i.e., “Don’t miss this!” I know the times when the Lord has placed great “new” things in front of me, my mind immediately fills with a 100 reasons that that “new” thing is “way too difficult” for me to do, certainly it’s “not the right timing” or I am completely filled with fear, and that entertaining the “new” thing paralyzes me. Yet, there are times when I have stepped out of my fear zone and made the choice to “focus” on what the Lord is directing me to. It is at that moment His strength and His Spirit always springs forth and fills me with direction, strength and joy that I needed to accomplish His will for my life. I know that I have missed many opportunities because the wilderness, rivers and deserts have derailed me; but it’s scriptures like these that give me such hope and excitement… I don’t want to miss out! When was the last time you felt the nudge in your Spirit from the Lord to serve somewhere at Faith Church? Or perceived a “God Size” opportunity of using your gift of leadership and care in a ministry here? Or maybe you simply desire that the Lord takes your tithes and offerings, and multiplies them to do great things for His Kingdom. Today… pray and ask to be encouraged that the Lord will always pursue you, show you and empower you to do something “bigger than you.” Grab the “telescope of your life” today and… just …take… a …look! Anne Contreras
October 17 For in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord. - 2 Corinthians 8:2-3 Imagine this: your boss just walked into your office and handed you an envelope containing an unexpected pay bonus! Exciting right? How will you spend it? For most of us, it would be only natural to share this special surprise with loved ones. But often, God calls on us to be generous with our resources when it is much less natural. Paul speaks in this passage about the Christians in Macedonia. They were incredibly poor, but in the midst of their poverty Paul recounts an abundance of joy that overflowed into generosity. Undoubtedly it hurt. Likely, there were real and costly ramifications to their lifestyles, but can you imagine their joy? What else would drive normal people like you and me to give beyond our means? I think that on that day, the Macedonians forgot themselves. They were so enthralled by the prospect of supporting the Kingdom that they gave away resources once held tightly. Put frankly, they gave like they were spending their bonus check. The author of Hebrews tells us that Jesus endured the cross “for the joy set before him.” With joy, Jesus endured the cross for our sakes. Have you heard it said: “the best things in life are free”? That may be true, but according to the examples of Jesus and the Macedonians, the most joyful things in life come at great cost! I pray that when you think about the REACH project, you won’t consider generosity because of obligation or guilt. Instead, I encourage you to count the cost and from it find joy. Ben Kampmeier
October 18 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. - 2 Corinthians 9:7 One of the most beautiful places I saw this verse lived out in a tangible way was in Rwanda, Africa. I took a trip there with Faith Church and we witnessed first-hand the work that God was doing through our partnership with World Vision. We met many people while visiting schools, water wells, homes, and farming co-ops; but the highlight of the trip was worshipping with our brothers and sisters in their church. We sat close together on wooden benches lifting up the name of Jesus with song, dance and teaching; but the highlight was the offering time. After seeing the homes of these friends we knew how much they had to do without, but the people came forward, smiling and dancing up the aisle, bringing what they had to share; an egg, a bag of grain, a piece of fruit. It was such a beautiful picture of giving with a cheerful heart and it moved all of us. I think of this often during the time of giving in our services. We probably wonâ€™t see people dancing up the aisle bringing their offering, but I wonder, what is going on inside our hearts as we give? Are we full of joy and giving cheerfully? Are we dancing on the inside? As we reflect on our generous and faithful God, our hearts are filled with joy. Karla Weemhoff
October 19 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ - Acts 20:35 I’m reminded often these days, how I live my day-to-day with an underlying expectation of what I think my “rights” are. I inhabit a human notion that I’ve earned or deserve certain things, and when I don’t receive those things, I’m sorely disappointed; even to the point of feeling wronged and violated. I work painstakingly hard, make what seems like enormous sacrifices for my family and friends, even tossing a big smile to the cashier in the store when I’m in a really bad mood. I deserve the world for offering such sacrificial acts of kindness, right? Then I read these words in Acts, and I’m quickly brought back to my humble place on earth. Jesus calls me to help others, and to do so expecting nothing in return. This goes against every grain in me! But I want to stand firm on the promise of the blessing Jesus says will come from this kind of giving. The Holy Spirit is faithful to tug us back onto the narrow road that our Father says leads to life. Let’s live towards life today in offering help to others without expecting one thing in return. Jesus, we ask for your strong help in this. Amen. Katie DeGraff
Week 2: What is Generosity?
October 20 Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. - Matthew 6:19-21 Read these verses several times, until they start to either cause questions to form, or until one of the phrases starts to echo in your mind. The last phrase echoes in my mind,… what I treasure is what I will pursue and value. A “treasure” is something special to me; valuable, protected, and sought after. As we read stories in the Old Testament about the kings of Israel, we occasionally come across a description of the different “treasures” that they had. They were known for their treasures by the nations around them. What I “treasure” in this life is what I will come to be known for. I’ve never been into running, but I need to do more of it. I’ve come to admire so many people at Faith Church who run to meet the needs of others. They raise money for clean water, and as they run, expend themselves on behalf of the poor. They are laying up treasures in heaven. Think about these verses that explain more about what laying up treasures in heaven looks like: New Living Translation (NLT) Proverbs 2:1, 4 My child, listen to what I say, and treasure up my commands. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. Job 22:25 The Almighty himself will be your treasure. He will be your precious silver! Job 23:12 I have not departed from his commands, but have treasured his words more than daily food. Psalm 119:111 Your laws are my treasure; they are my heart’s delight. Isaiah 33:6 In that day he will be your sure foundation, providing a rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. The fear of the Lord will be your treasure. The apostle Paul describes the end result of laying up treasures in heaven. May we be able to say with him in Philippians 3:8 (NLT), “Everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Dave Gruthusen
October 21 Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord. - Leviticus 27:30 The chapters of the book of Leviticus are instructions given to Moses, by God, for the Israelites to distinguish themselves as holy, set apart from other nations. Each chapter serves as a literal how-to for everyday Israelite life. For example, parts of chapters 13 and 14 deal with mildew and how to handle it. Chapter 27 assigns values to certain offerings that could be offered to the Lord. If a man dedicates to the Lord part of the land that is his possession, then the valuation shall be in proportion to its seed. A homer* of barley seed shall be valued at fifty shekels of silver. – Leviticus 27:16 (*Approximately 6 bushels or 220 liters) However, after outlining many very specific rules throughout Leviticus, God, through Moses, concludes with this summary: Every tithe of the land… is the Lord’s… (Lev. 27:30), and adds that one shall not differentiate between good or bad, neither shall he make a substitute for it. (Lev. 27:33) What we assume to be a proper offering to the Lord may not always be what He wants. Though we don’t offer burnt, physical sacrifices to God, we should offer our entire hearts and lives to Jesus. We allow God to choose what of ours is a worthy offering. We say in the Church that God is sovereign over all: that He truly owns and rules over everything. This challenges what it means to actually own anything ourselves. What can we say we have actually earned ourselves without His will? We are challenged to offer all that we can to God for His glorious works. The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. (Psalm 103:19) Andy Schultz
October 22 Then Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good to him. Here are the oxen for the burnt offering and the threshing sledges and the yokes of the oxen for the wood. All this, O king, Araunah gives to the king.” And Araunah said to the king, “May the Lord your God accept you.” But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. - 2 Samuel 24:22-24 “I will not offer to the Lord my God that which costs me nothing.” This was David’s heart. He was instructed by the prophet Gad to build an altar and offer sacrifices to the Lord. He could have accepted the things offered to him by Araunah, but David knew it was his sacrifice to make. God has allowed me to give in different ways over the years, and being part of this church has offered many opportunities to serve God and give something back in light of all he has done for me! This has been a great blessing to me. There have also been times I have been called to give or give up something that was of great cost to me and I have seen God move in amazing ways as a result. In fact, I expect Him to now. What is God calling you to, and are you asking? I admit, I don’t always ask either. God’s people and kingdom have benefitted when they looked to the Lord for direction, whatever the circumstance. This was documented regularly in the Old Testament, with often-miraculous results when God’s instruction was followed. It’s so easy to rely on our thoughts or our experience to dictate what cost we should bear, but what if we’re missing it by not even inquiring of the Lord? What if we are missing something miraculous by never asking God what he would have us do? It could look very different than what you would expect. Will I give the Lord that which costs me nothing? Lord, how can I give for the benefit of Your Kingdom? Tammy Hoffman
October 23 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. - Malachi 3:10 Our family plan was to have Shari graduate, work a few years, and save money. All that good, smart financial stuff. God had other plans. In her last semester of school, Shari became pregnant. Congratulations! Most people are happy when they find out they are pregnant. And, we were. But, we were also terrified and shaken. Shari went back to school on my lofty teacher’s salary. We were not even thinking about a family, so our insurance was bare bones at best. We were not prepared at all. When the bill came in for Josie, it was $10,000. We had about $100 we could scrape together. The hospital wasn’t offering any kind of payment plan. In fact, they were firm on the deadline we had to meet or else. So, we took the number of months they gave us, divided it by the bill and sent a check every month for that amount. The numbers didn’t add up and there was no way we could make this budget. We didn’t win the lottery or inherit any family money from a long-lost relative. We have no idea how the debt got paid. On paper it didn’t add up. Four words -- God keeps His promises. Somehow God provided. He keeps providing. We gave a little portion of our money, called a tithe, which is His anyway, and He provided. God will always keep His promises. Go ahead, test Him. Phil Krygsheld
October 24 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. - 1 Timothy 6:17 God has blessed some of us more than others when it comes to finances. In our passage today, Paul is counseling Timothy with a good reminder for those that find themselves financially blessed. They are charged to not be “haughty.” Haughty is defined simply as “to have an exalted opinion of oneself,” thinking that you’re somehow “better” than another person because of your wealth leads to pride. (Proverbs 18:23, Proverbs 28:11, James 2:1-4) Paul also points out “the uncertainty of riches.” As both the stock market and the collapse of the housing market over the past few years remind us, sometimes money and investments can be gone in the blink of an eye. Instead of building your self-worth on your net-worth, instead of putting your trust and hope on your balance sheet, our hope and our trust should be on God! Not on the provisions we have, but on the Provider! It’s God who is the “giver of all good things.” And it’s God that we should pin our hopes on. God may have blessed you financially more than someone else, and it’s alright to enjoy that blessing, but remember that it was from His hand that it was given. Brad Haitsma
October 25 And they came, everyone whose heart stirred him, and everyone whose spirit moved him, and brought the Lord’s contribution to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the holy garments. - Exodus 35:21 I spent a summer as part of a mission team hosting Bible camps for kids throughout Eastern Europe. One night, after worshiping around a campfire with the team and campers, I rode a moped back to where our team was staying. The way took me through the countryside of Hungary. The night was completely dark, not a street light of any kind. As I rode I began to notice my surroundings and was overwhelmed. The moon was casting an incredible amount of light. Its appearance seemed twice the size as normal and the stars were in great abundance. I was witness to the universe and it’s expanse as I had never been before. I was moved and inspired. As I continued on the moped down the road I began to worship God. I sang to him at the top of my lungs because my spirit was moved. Have you ever been so moved that you felt compelled to respond? I believe the Israelites, in this passage were moved like this. I believe after hearing what the tent of meeting would look like and what its purpose was, they wanted to be a part of it. Take a moment and really look at how God is leading Faith Church. Lives changed, communities affected, God being glorified. I find my spirit being moved again. Like the Israelites, we all can come and bring “the Lord’s contribution” to the ministry of Faith Church, to be a part of lives changed for the glory of God. Craig Slings
October 26 Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth. - 3 John 1:5-8 When you look at your life thus far, are there specific people that supported you? As I reflect on my life I think of five people that provided support including encouragement, spiritual support, career support, and financial support/guidance. God has changed my life and He used these individuals to change and impact my life. How about you? In this passage, John is emphasizing the importance of supporting and encouraging our fellow Christians that are proclaiming the gospel, both in grace and truth. How did Jesus and his disciples fund three years of preaching and traveling after they left jobs and careers? We read in Luke that three women came alongside Jesus and his disciples in complete generosity to provide for their needs in ministry. Jesus had Gospel Patrons. Gospel Patrons are defined as people who resource and come alongside others to help them proclaim the gospel. John reiterates this idea of Gospel Patrons in verse 8, â€œTherefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.â€? Earlier we considered who impacted us. How have you impacted and supported another person, or particularly someone that proclaims the gospel? Your generosity and support can change the region and the world. How can you be a Gospel Patron of Faith Church? Justin Kats
NOTE: special guest John Rinehart, auther of “Gospel Patrons” will be speaking at Faith Church, Dyer on October 25 & 26 “Gospel Patrons” is available in the Vine bookstore at a discounted rate. (PDF and audio MP3 downloads are also available at johnwrinehart.com)
Week 3: Gospel Patrons
October 27 Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. - John 12:3 While the Disciples and friends of Jesus were all sitting around the table, Mary brought an expensive bottle of perfume...some of the best money could buy. She was following Jesus and understood him to be the Messiah - the promised King of all Kings. Mary didn’t have a crown to put on Jesus’ head, but she gave the next best thing; her most treasured earthly possession to anoint Jesus. If we study the history of long ago, Jewish kings were symbolically anointed. They had oil poured over their head. People were also anointed when they died. Mary took the jar of costly perfume and poured it over Jesus feet. Judas, the disciple that would go on to betray Jesus, was irritated at the waste of resources. He would have rather sold the perfume and embezzled the money for himself. However, Jesus told all those within hearing distance that Mary had done an honorable thing. She had anointed Jesus as a king and had symbolically prepared him for the crucifixion that would soon happen in Jerusalem! Mary gave what she could as a token of her love for her Lord, to the One who had shown unceasing love to her. In what ways does Mary challenge us to give of ourselves to God and His Kingdom? Like Judas, do we look at earthly possessions in ways they can serve us? Or, like Mary, do we look for ways to use everything we’ve been given to bless and honor our King? Nathan Prairie
October 28 Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” - Luke 21:1-4 The rich people in the passage gave easily and without much sacrifice. The widow gave out of her poverty. She recognized that God doesn’t just want our showy extravagance, but our humble trust in the weakest and sometimes most embarrassing parts of our life. As the widow carried those coins with her to the temple that day, maybe rubbing them together in her hand, maybe holding them close to her body to make sure they were still there, she was making a choice. She could continue to hold tightly to these coins, fearful for what would happen when they were gone, for they were ‘all she had to live on’. Instead she walked into the temple, held the coins over the offering box and released. She let go of everything she had to hold on to in this world and trusted that she was placing her life, her livelihood, her every resource into God’s hands. Jesus points her out because she gave not out of what she could afford to give, like the others, but in her weakest and most desperate situation. His “power is made perfect in weakness” 2 Cor. 12:9. We cling to a lot of things that offer false hope, and often we grow so consumed with their value, we miss out on the overwhelming, beyond-value, eternal rewards that we can experience when we let go and trust the Lord. 1. What weakness do you need to offer the Lord? 2. What does it look like to trust God in your ‘poverty’? 3. What earthly hope can you release to experience a deeper freedom in Christ’s power?
October 29 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. - Matthew 28:19 I don’t know about you, but growing up when my parents said “come here”—they meant right now. Two thousand years ago Jesus stood in front of His disciples and shared a word with them that carried much of the same urgency.… Jesus said “Go.” There was a day when I read these words and thought “I’m scared. I don’t know enough. How can I bring people to the Lord?” The answer is I couldn’t, not by myself. To “go” doesn’t mean to go it alone. …Go means “Go with Me.” Jesus’ heart beats for the lost, and as we walk closely with Him, our heart will start to beat for them as well. Ask the Lord today for a heart to help you REACH: first up to Him, and then out to others. “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Luke 10:2) May the Lord continue to increase our desire to REACH others as we continue to REACH out to Him in prayer. Brett Dood
October 30 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. - Acts 2:38-41 “My name is Jason DeVries and it’s my privilege to serve as the Pastor of Faith-Highland.” That’s typically how I introduce myself each week as I do the announcements or prepare to preach. The key word for me is “privilege.” I’ve recognized that it’s important for me to remember that doing what I do is a privilege because the moment I start to think of it as a duty, a task, a job or a responsibility—I’m lessening what God is doing in and among us. It is such a privilege because the things in this passage are happening at Faith Church. We uphold the name of Jesus as the only way for forgiveness and reconciliation with God. We operate in power of the Holy Spirit who has come to dwell inside of us and guide us. We are intentional about sharing these promises with future generations and those “who are far off.” Friends, the Lord is blessing our efforts. While we haven’t yet had 3,000 conversions in a day (I’m still waiting for that day to come), He has added well over 3,000 people during the last 20 years of ministry and that is something to be celebrated. So what’s your role? How is it your “privilege” to be involved in this ministry? Because God isn’t done with us yet and it’s going to take all of us to be involved, wherever He calls us, for us to continue to reach generations and those who are far off from Him! Jason DeVries
October 31 Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created. - Revelations 4:11 One historical figure that impacted modern education was John Baptist de la Salle 1651-1719. He is known for providing an education system for poor people in France during a time when no formal education system existed. His great contribution was in creating a group of trained teachers that began to “multi-site” schools throughout their region. People talk about the role humans play in making history and this is true at one level of reality. The Book of Revelation teaches us God is making history and He is leading, interacting and using human history to accomplish His global purposes. In our daily lives we are concerned with activities of family, work, church, school, business, society, and government. Our focus, as disciples of Jesus, is to impact all these areas with love and the gospel of Jesus Christ. As the saying goes, “only what’s done for The King will last!” Take a moment and ponder the various activities of your life… What are you doing in the name of Jesus? Who are you loving and reaching out to and being a positive witness to? One truth about the gospel is that God always allows us to come clean and confess and repent of our distractions, and ask Him to empower and refocus us afresh on His perfect beautiful will. Charlie Contreras
Week 4: Making a Commitment
November 1 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. - Matthew 6:33 In this stage of fatherhood, one activity that’s still fun around our house is the classic game of “hide and seek.” Even though my kids have their favorite hiding spots, I still have to make sure I take my time and look in three or four spots before I actually find them. And when I do, it’s nothing but laughter and smiles. For those few minutes while we play, my mind is focused only on seeking one thing—my hidden children. There are several times when Jesus talks about seeking, including this verse from the book of Matthew. If I’m honest with you and myself, it’s humiliating to think about all that I seek throughout any given day. Some days I’m seeking to cross off my long “to-do” list. Other days I’m seeking affirmation from my co-workers or friends. Plenty of other days I’m seeking enjoyment, relaxation or pleasure. As always, the message of Jesus cuts straight to the heart. The famous Sermon on the Mount is incredibly applicable to every believer’s life. After addressing relevant concerns such as divorce, anger, prayer, anxiety, and the love of money, Jesus turns to the basic needs of life—food, drink, and clothing. He instructs us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. What is the first thing that you seek as you approach each new day? Having our basic needs met is a legitimate concern. There are bills to pay, mouths to feed, and kids that are constantly outgrowing their clothes! Yet Jesus reminds us that our heavenly Father feeds the birds of the air, and we are so much more valuable than the birds! We can be assured that if our lives are consumed by worshiping Jesus, serving those in need, and choosing humility, then all of these other necessities will be given to us. Tomorrow is Commitment Sunday for the REACH Project. We have the opportunity to overcome our worry by pursuing the things of God, rather than being consumed by having enough food, drink or clothes. What if we spent every moment of every day seeking the Lord and His righteousness, rather than seeking our own goals? Imagine the eternal impact in this region (and around the world) if our highest priority, as a church, was to seek God’s kingdom above all. Ryan Matthysse
November 2 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. - 1 Corinthians 12:17-18 When I was in middle school, I really wanted to play center forward on my spring-league soccer team. The center forward is the one who scores the goals, gets the recognition, and makes the fans go wild…. The only problem was that I wasn’t the quickest sprinter, nor did I have the most accurate shot. My coach knew that the best spot for me (and not just for me, but for the team) would be the goalie position. Goalie. No one wants to play goalie. But multiple shutouts and an end-of-the-year championship later, I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t see myself as anything other than a goalie. The illustration is simple: if every player on a soccer team is center forward, the team won’t compete. Literally, it can’t compete. Friends, the Body of Christ will not and (may I say) cannot be a force in this world unless each one of us steps into the gifts and abilities God has given us for His glory. The truth: You have a part to play. Yes, you. Don’t worry, if you have a hard time believing this, so did most of the people in the Bible. When Moses was called back to Egypt, he said, “Lord, I am slow to speech,” (i.e. I can’t do this). I love God’s response: “Moses, Who made your mouth?” God doesn’t call the qualified; he qualifies the called. You, my friend, are called to play your part. No, it may not be glamorous or “high-profile,” but it’s what God made you to do and it’s where we need you. And, in the end, it’s not about you or me anyway. It’s about Jesus. Bringing Him glory is our purpose and objective, and it is our greatest joy. So, no more sitting in the stands—we need you on the field. Vinnie Adams
November 3 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. - Jeremiah 29:11-13 Over the past month God spoke to us about contributing our prayers and resources to the Reach Project. Did you hear him? What did he say to you and your family? We don’t know Faith Church’s future, but we do know God will use Faith Church to reach the disconnected and grow the connected. Jeremiah 29:11 says: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” God promises to give his people “a future and a hope.” Jesus says, “I will build my church,” (Matthew 16:18). In a world of heartache and despair, hope is found in Jesus Christ and his church. Our generous giving toward the Reach Project enables us to partner with God and bring hope to the world. Is there a better way to use our money? I’m sure God is stretching many of us to give more than we ever dared or dreamed, but we can trust God to help us fulfill our pledge. Why? Because God knows the plans he has for you, Faith Church, and the world he will reach through your prayers and generosity. What a privilege to be part of God’s work at Faith Church! Let’s give our gifts as we trust God to provide all we need. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen. Mike Pitsenberger
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A four week journey exploring generosity.