iWant 2 Believe N Something Bigger Than Me

Posted by Perry


Have you ever been to a small town? The way you know is this...
* The city limits signs are both on the same post!
* You call a wrong number and they supply you with the correct one.
* You don't use turn signals because everyone knows where you're going anyway.
* The one-block-long Main Street dead ends in both direction.
* A "Night on the Town" takes exactly 11 minutes.
* The "New Year's baby" was born in October
* You have to name six surrounding towns to explain where you're from.
If you live there, have you ever wondered what it would be like to live some place bigger?
Have you accumulated all of the latest information tools from Apple? (iTunes, iPhone, iPod, etc.) The popularity of these personal devices in some ways reflects the increasingly self-focused society our world has become. However, in spite of the fact that we have become so inwardly focused, it is apparent that humanity has a great desire to believe in something bigger than itself.
Why do we want to believe in something bigger than us? That question was asked of a variety of people and here's a sampling of what they said:
1. We are all hard-wired to believe in God. God puts the need or desire there, so we feel that something bigger than us is out there.
2. We feel so small, or inadequate, or weak. We don't understand life, or why things happen in life, so we search beyond ourselves for answers. If there is something bigger out there then we can also find hope in believing that there really is sense to be made of it all.
3. We need someone to blame things on. If there's something or someone bigger than us out there then we have someone to blame for our mess ups and for all the bad stuff that happens in the world.
4. People want to find meaning in life and intuitively know it is beyond them.
Does any of this resonate with you? Life can be very confusing sometime. Just when you think you're settling in to a job, a marriage, to being comfortable in your own skin, life throws a curve and you don't know how to make sense of it. We watch some of the horror stories on the news and naturally look for answers beyond ourselves.
Every culture that's ever existed has had its gods. The Egyptians believed in something bigger, something beyond themselves. The Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians, Greeks and Romans all believed. The Hindus have Shiva, the Muslims have Allah, the Chinese have Buddah, the Japanese have spirits, and we could go on and on. The Mayans and Aztecs and Cherokee and Choctaw all believed in something bigger.
Truth is there is something...someone bigger than us out there.

Isa 45:5 I am the Lord, and there is no other; there is no God but me: I will make you ready for war, though you had no knowledge of me:
Isa 45:6 So that they may see from the east and from the west that there is no God but me: I am the Lord, and there is no other.
But He's not just the God out there who has left us alone in this world to sort everything out. He's the God who has repeatedly and lovingly intervened in human history to make Himself known to us. God revealed Himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ - who says, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me." What's important is how you and I recognize Jesus.
God has hard-wired us to believe in something bigger than us. (Eccl. 3:11...set eternity in their heart...). The psalmist said that like a deer craves water his soul longed for God. There's an innate desire placed deep in your heart that cries out for a relationship with God. But how are you responding to it? Do you crave God? Do you hunger and thirst for Him? It's not about knowing more stuff about Him, but really knowing Him, walking, talking, following and giving your life to Him.
We typically say things like, "I need to read my Bible more," or "I need to pray more," and even, "I know I need to be in church more." Those things are true, but beyond all that what your heart is really crying out for is, to know God.
Like so many people, we feel small and inadequate and weak at times in our lives. There are things beyond our control and events beyond our ability to understand. Knowing God doesn't give us all the answers, but it does give us hope and assurance that none of it happens just to be happening. There's a plan behind it all, and though that plan seems awfully cruel sometimes it only seems that way because we are so small and have limited vision.
There's meaning to be found in life, but it's ultimately found in Jesus Christ. The Bible says we are his workmanship, created in Him to do good works. But the verses preceeding that say, we must know Him through a saving relationship. In other words everyone of us is born into this world in a fallen and sinful condition. We are hell bound and without hope. But God sent Christ to that manger long ago, born of a virgin, who would live a sinless life, who would die a cruel death on Calvary's cross and make atonement for our sins. If you would but recognize and admit to God in prayer that you know you're a sinner and you know your sins caused the death of God's only begotten Son and repent of your sin and give your life to Jesus Christ you can be saved, not by your good works, but by the grace of God so that you can do good works. It's why you were created! Our hearts long to fulfill that inner desire, a desire placed there by God Himself, a desire that can only be awakened by God Himself!
The question is how you are going to respond to all of that. Do you feel threatened by the presence of a real King? We like sitting on our throne calling the shots and being the king in our own palace. Maybe you'll respond with indifference because you're satisfied with things the way they are. Your indifference will cause you to miss what God really has for you.
Can you imagine how God might transform us if we really began seeking and searching for Christ? If we quit taking everybody's word for what He is like and sought Him for ourselves? If we grew discontent with knowing about Him and had a deep longing instead to know Him? If we quit talking about needing to read and pray and actually began doing it with a view toward making Him Lord and King? There's no telling how God might move and bless. There's no telling how the Holy Spirit might begin to move among us and transform us and empower us! But I'd love to find out. Would you?

iWant 2 Experience Peace

Posted by Perry


Peace. What is it anyway? Is it a state of harmony or the absence of hostility? Maybe it's the opposite of war. More generally, the presence of calm, serenity, silence or a state of tranquility. Here's what peace is "technically" speaking...to make ONE. The opposite of peace is to be "fragmented", for the various parts of the whole to be out of harmony with one another. If we're talking about warring nations having peace, those nations would have to experience oneness. If we're talking about a church or a family having peace, then there's going to be unity or oneness of spirit among that unit. If we're talking about you or me having peace, it means that our body, soul and spirit are all going to be operating in oneness.

Here's some reasons people, when asked, want to experience peace:

* sick and tired of all the war, famine, crime, injustice, and so forth.

* so much craziness in the world that we want peace whenever we can get it. I know that I try to get it whenever I can, but with an 18 month old running around unfortunately that doesn't happen very often.

* it provides hope that things will be okay again.

* I don't like getting upset or feeling out of control. There's nothing like the feeling that your mind, body and soul are in sync.

* because we need peace to keep our sanity in this crazy place!

* peace means to me...calm...no fighting...just a calmness...I like peace.

* it's our soul's natural state. We are looking to get back to the core.

* in our world things happen that are troubling; car accidents, terminal illness, shootings at malls, war...we need inner peace. If we are in a panic - scared out of our minds - without peace; we can't focus and mentally shut down. Worse yet, if we do not have peace - we lose hope. We need peace to have hope.

All of us want peace. National, financial, marital and most importantly, inner peace. We want to be able to lay our heads down at night and know things are going to be okay. We want to be able to relax, to enjoy the days we're given with hope and assurance that in the midst of the crazy, troubled, stressful world we live in there is life to be lived and enjoyed. We want to be able to believe that real relationships can be formed and that marriages can last and that kids don't have to experience so much heartache. We want fulfillment in our jobs instead of just a paycheck, and we want to know that not only are we making some sense of it all, but that our lives are making a difference to those around us.

Good news is that as much as we want peace, God wants it for us even more and has gone to great lengths to secure it for us. The Bible tells us that because of the fall of Adam, humanity was cast into sin, and as the result, we were separated from paradise and God. Our sin was and is offensive to God, and where sin and offense are, there is no peace.

Let me show you how to fix the real problems in your life...war at home, at odds with your boss, neighbor, kids or even yourself.

Paul said in Romans 3:17 that before we know Christ as our Savior, we don't have a clue as to the way of peace. In other words, people without a saving relationship with Jesus Christ can't havae peace, not real satisfying peace. Trusting Christ as our Savior, repenting of our sin and putting our faith in Him brings us PEACE that passeth understanding. Romans 5:1 says, "Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Why? What is it about a relationship with Christ that gives us peace? The key word is "JUSTIFIED". It means that God declares you free from the guilt of your sin. Jesus died on the cross to pay for your sins. He died on the cross to suffer the wrath of God... His judgment against your sins. When you repent and put your faith in Him, you're admitting that you are a sinner and that you know you caused the death of Christ and you're sorry for what you did and you're trusting that the payment Jesus made was sufficient for you. You are accepting God's gift of Jesus to you. Now when you do that, God, considering what Jesus has done, declares you free from your guilt. You are made right in His sight, and because you're now right with God, because the guilt is gone, you can be a PEACE with Him.

Truth is many have done that and peace still evades you. Being at peace with God concerning your relationship with Him and experiencing that peace on a DAY TO DAY basis are two different things. IT'S DAILY PEACE WE'RE AFTER, ISN'T IT?


Php 4:6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Php 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Php 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Php 4:9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me--practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Let's make this very practical:

1. Make a deliberate choice not to worry. If there's nothing you can do about the situation, then there's no use worrying about it. And if there's something you can do to change it, then get off your padded pew and do it, and quit worrying about it.

2. Pray. Tell God what it is that you need. Maybe why you need it. Maybe why it is a need and not just a want. may ye need to tell God your motive.

3. Pray some more. Thank God for His provision in your life. Thank God that the amount of (money) [could be anything], in the bank has nothing to do with how blessed you are. Thank Him for the opportunity to have your faith tested, and thank Him for using (money) to make you teachable and hungry for Him.

4. Take control of your thoughts. You choose to think about (money) all the time. Think about something different by feeding on positive, wholesome messages.

5. Imitate Paul's life. Learn to be content with what you have. Be thankful for all things. Simplify and examine whether you're living like a pilgrim passing through, or like a permanent resident, buying up all you can to secure personal peace and comfort.

Someone has said that the peace Jesus gives is not the absence of trouble, but is rather the confidence that He is there with you always. You can know and experience PEACE because of the oneness that Christ offers: oneness with Him, oneness with others in your life, and oneness of self: body, soul and spirit.

God Rods and Lifted Hands

Posted by Sherry

Central's "Class of 2009" Graduating Seniors

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Here we are at Pirate's Cove

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RASK (Random Acts of Kindness)

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Little Rock Zoo

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Lifted Hands at Work

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iWant God Close 2 Me

Posted by Perry



I don't know about you, but I want God close to me. I want to know that He is close by, that when I pray He hears and when I hurt He cares and when I am lonely He is there. I know all that up in my head, but I want to feel it. I want to know it.

Do you ever feel distant from God? Wish you were closer to Him? We go through times we know something is wrong, something is amiss, but we can't quite put our finger on it. I think more than we like to admit, we all go through seasons in our lives when we do feel that way. We all go through wilderness experiences in our lives, times when we feel deserted by God, when our prayers aren't being heard, let alone answered. We feel distant from God, cool in our devotion to Him, wondering if we will ever get that closeness back.

Matthew 1:23 is where Joseph was reminded of Isaiah's prophecy: "They shall call his name Emmanuel, which means, God with us."

The psalmist cried out on many occasions things that sound awfully familiar to me. "How much longer, LORD will you forget about me? Will it be forever? How long will you hide?" I don't know whether you feel that way or not. Perhaps you do, and you want God to be close to you.

Do you want to know the fullness of Christ? Do you want to be strengthened with His power, rooted and grounded in love? Able to apprehend the width and length and depth and height and to know the love of Christ? Do you want Him to be close to you?

Philippians 2:5-8 "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."

We might say that we want God close to us, but the fact is that He is close to us. He came to earth and lived with mankind. The person of the Holy Spirit lives with us and is at work all around us. He is an omnipresent God: not one that lives off in the distance.

When we say we want God close to us, what we're really saying is that we want the feeling that God is close to us. We want to feel His closeness. We want to know, to experience that He is near.

I know He hears my prayers, but I want to feel that He does. I know God is always with me, but I want to feel that He is beside me. Don't you? Here's good news. There's just a couple of things you need to do.

THINK ABOUT WHY YOU DON'T FEEL CLOSE TO GOD

1. Could it be that Satan, your accuser, is speaking lies to you?

2. Is it time for a good spiritual housecleaning? Do you have unconfessed sin in your life that is distancing you from God? God doesn't love you any less than He ever did, but it may be driving a wedge into your relationship.

3. Are you in a lukewarm phase in your life? Not that you don't love God, but you're just not facinated with Him. Confess your coolness...repent of it and ask God to restore the fellowship you miss.

4. Have you misunderstood who God is and what He does? Why do bad things happen to good people? They are intended to strengthen, test and grow them. Is that not what faith is really all about? It's easy to follow and love God when I feel His presence, but do I have faith to keep walking and following when I don't feel that presence? Suffering in silence and walking without feeling God is close will teach us...

a. to be more obedient

b. deeper insights into God's word

c. greater compassion and effective ministry

d. to wait patiently on God

e. that our joy must not depend on circumstances

f. to appreciate God all the more when He restores you

DO THE THINGS THAT BRING US CLOSER TO GOD

1. Stay in the Word

2. Spend time talking to God

3. Practice the other disciplines: fasting, meditation and scripture memorization

4. Be obedient to the things you know

As one of God's children, you are promised His presence. Rest in knowing God your Father has good reasons for bringing you into your trial. He is Emmanuel - God with us.