Thanksgiving … Giving thanks for what?

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by Pastor Martin Schlomer

As we enter into preparations for Thanksgiving, I want to prepare you to take a different approach from what you may have taken in the past. Regardless of your circumstances, God has met all of us in various ways this past year. How he meets us reflects His character. For example, He met Hagar at the lowest and most desperate point in her life (Genesis 16.13). As she wept, God met her and revealed Himself to her. She responded, “You are the God who sees me.”

How has God met you this past year? Please … give serious consideration and reflection to this question. He has met every one of us in various ways. Sometimes, we don’t see it because we don’t make time to reflect and remember.

I have listed below some of the many names of God revealed in Scripture. Each name illustrates one way God meets us. This Sunday, we will have our annual Thanksgiving celebration service. During the service, I will give you the opportunity to answer the question, “Which name(s) represent the way(s) God has met you this past year?” Together, we will remember and celebrate the manifold glory of our Father through your stories.

May you and your family experience the presence of our Father as you celebrate His manifold grace!

God says: “I Am Your …

1. Abba

2. Advocate

3. Almighty

4. Alpha

5. Author of our Faith

6. Bread of Life

7. Bridegroom

8. Comforter

9. Consuming Fire

10. Cornerstone

11. Counselor

12. Creator

13. Emmanuel

14. Eternal God

15. Everlasting

16. Father

17. Faithful and True

18. Glory of the Lord

19. God Almighty

20. God Most High

21. God Who Sees

22. Guide

23. Healer

24. High Priest

25. Holy One

26. Hope

27. I Am

28. Jesus

29. Judge

30. King of Kings

31. Lamb of God

32. Life

33. Light of the World

34. Lily of the Valley

35. Lion of Judah

36. Living Water

37. Lord

38. Lord of All

39. Lord of Glory

40. Lord of Lords

41. Love

42. Master

43. Mediator

44. Merciful God

45. Messiah

46. Omega

47. Potter

48. Prince of Peace

49. Provider

50. Purifier

51. Redeemer

52. Refiner’s Fire

53. Resurrection

54. Righteous One

55. Rock

56. Ruler

57. Savior

58. Servant

59. Shepherd

60. Shield

61. Source

62. Sovereign Lord

63. Spirit of God

64. Teacher

65. Truth

66. Vine

67. Way

68. Wisdom

69. Witness

70. Wonderful

71. Word

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Turn your eyes upon Jesus

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by Jeff Foerster

Turn your eyes upon Jesus…

…and the things of earth will grow strangely dim.

From the beginning of the Bible to the end, it is all about Jesus and the wonderful love of the Father in Him. The Scriptures are soaked in pictures of Jesus the coming King, Messiah, Redeemer of the lost! He is the Seed that would crush Satan’s head. He’s pictured in Melchizedek, the priest of God Most High.

He’s foreshadowed in the account of Abraham and Isaac, his “one and only son”. Representing a type of Christ, Joseph, when in prison, alongside the baker (bread) and the cupbearer (wine) echoed beforehand the words of Jesus at the last supper, as Joseph asked them to, “Remember him”.

Mike this past Sunday led us in another look at Judges 11 and Jephthah’s sacrifice, once again bringing us back to the cross of Christ. Jesus is the Rock in the wilderness, struck and from whom flowed life-giving waters.

As the details of this life disappoint, use that gift to turn to Jesus. I urge you, I implore you, I beg of you; turn your eyes upon Jesus. As you become engrossed and enamored with God’s magnificent and abundant love for you, live the final lyrics of the song:

“Then go to a world that is dying,

His perfect salvation to tell!”

This is my hope for you. This is my only hope.

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Ten reasons why youth are the strategic bullseye of our missional target

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by Brian Sharpe, with an article by Shane Stacey

Here is an article that I read recently that would be good for all of us to read. It was written by Shane Stacey, the National Director for Students Ministries in the Evangelical Free Church. He is highlighting the need for churches to focus on ages 12-22. I am grateful for how you all have supported student and young adult ministries through the years. It has been a focus for Elim and it needs to continue to be a focus.

Please be praying for Common Ground (our Jr. and Sr. High ministry) and Pulse (our young adults ministry) as we seek to work with these age groups, pointing them to Jesus.

“10 Reasons Why Youth Are the Strategic Bulls-Eye of our Missional Target”

by Shane Stacey

The “12-22 window” is quickly becoming the largest unreached people group in the world.  Young people, ages 12-22, must be a central priority of today’s Church.

In Hurt, Chap Clark writes that today’s adolescents operate within an environment in which adults have largely abdicated their responsibility to mold and shape teenagers’ everyday lives causing them to create an “adolescent underworld.”

Is the church contributing to this underworld?   Are we unintentionally abandoning our collective role in reaching and developing young people?  We must awaken to the opportunity before us, seeing youth as the most strategic missional focus of our day!

This is true for several reasons:

This is a “tipping point” generation. The Millennials/Gen Y is the largest generation in history (3 billion under 25 globally; 100 million and climbing in America).

Youth are treasured by God. The birth of every new generation is an expression of breadth of the work of the cross that extends to yet another generation. God calls himself the Father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5), enlisted young people into His redemptive story, and literally mandates the older generation to reach to the next (Psalm 78:3-7).

Youth are wired for passion; looking for a cause. As Kenda Creasy Dean says in Practicing Passion, “Students are looking for something worth dying for and, sadly, all too often we give them pizza.” It is the cause found in the story line of the Scripture that will move young people to live out their unique Ephesians 2:10 purpose in God’s epic story.

Youth are like new wineskins. Youth are incredibly moldable, having far less to unlearn than most adults. If they adopt a disciplemaking way of life in these early years, there is far greater likelihood they will live a lifestyle of multiplication over the next 50 years.

Youth are highly responsive to the gospel. The high majority of those who repent and surrender to Christ do so before their 20th birthday.

Youth are accessible. Nearly 25 million teens will pass through 67,000 middle and high schools before scattering into college campuses, the military and the market place. There is an incredible opportunity for any church that will take the time to collectively pray for, serve and support even just one of their local schools.

Youth are motivated by relationships. One of the core motivations of young people is the need for connection, relationships and community. On top of this, the social media revolution of our day has been invented and driven by young people. Both their motivation for connection and the social economy of the world creates a relationally rich environment through which the gospel can spread.

Youth are globally-connected. Youth are more informed of global news and events than in decades past. This “wired” culture has created a global youth culture that, according to McCann Worldgroup’s article entitled The Truth about Youth, share many of the same core motivations:  community, justice and authenticity. This has created a truly global youth culture.

Youth are kingdom contributors, now!  We need to believe that young people are empowered by the Holy Spirit, and because they have discretionary time and are indigenous to youth culture, they can be ministers in their own right today.

Jesus modeled it for us. If we are still not convinced, then all we need to do is to look at the strategy of Jesus. Most of Jesus’ disciples were teenagers. There is also good reason to believe that most of the 500 that Paul mentions in 1 Cor.14:6 were young people.

Read the full article (PDF).

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Trials

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by Stan Peterson

No one is exempt from trials! God allows trials to come about in our lives so that we can be conformed to His image (Romans 8.28-9). Trials are not easy or they would not be considered a trial. Trials vary for all of us and come in varying degrees (depth, width, height) and circumstances. Remembering the three P’s, patterns, processes, and principles help us to piece together what God is doing.

Patterns deal with the overall big picture, processes deal with the way and means God uses to move us along in the overall pattern. Principles are the lessons learned (foundational truth’s). God does not move us out of a process and onto a bigger/different pattern unless we are learning and growing in the midst (grasping hold of the principles and running with them). Many test’s have come my way and I have failed many! But I press on toward the goal of knowing God and be conformed unto His image (Philippians 3.12-16).

A recent trial from my life happened when I was studying at the library and I got a call. An unrecognized number, I went ahead and answered the call. It was a company calling to dispatch me for work, which I have been out of since June. I have 4 weeks left of Hebrew, which is taking me at least 32 hours of study a week just to get the exercises completed and the vocabulary memorized. I need this class to graduate in the spring.

The offer was for a partial job, one of 4 weeks. I could not feasibly continue in Hebrew and work full time. I turned down the offer, immediately I thought of our unemployment benefits and how I would have to give them up! Immediately rationalization, justification came in as to how I could answer the questions and have a clean conscience. I wanted to turn to God and ask WHY? As soon as I started ( I told myself are you going to trust God or the government). This happened on Thursday and I call in on Sunday to apply for our weekly benefits.

Sunday came and I sat at my computer in the evening, remembering to file! I sat and knew what to do, I was going to trust in God and answer honestly. I was denied the benefits and was told to call in the following week and be interviewed. I tried to call in on Monday, could not get through. Wednesday came, I prayed and called!

The interview went great and the lady explained to me that I was still eligible for benefits. I was not sure what to do? Maybe she did not understand, so I made sure to explain to her again, and she said that I was still eligible. I hung up and shouted with joy and amazement, at our God’s goodness.

I was at the library again last night and the Lord reminded me of James 1.2 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” Whether we succeed or fail in a trial is crucial. No one may be able to see or hear or know! but God knows all, sees all and hears all. Our every day decisions have eternal consequences and effects that we may not know about until we stand before our God. The decisions good and bad have impact upon our individual destiny and that of our community’s.

May we fear God and worship Him in every decision that we make. May we be humble, broken and contrite before God and each other in this Journey. May we take upon the same mind as Christ! Philippians 2.5.

May you be strengthened with all might , according to His glorious power, for all patience and long suffering with joy.

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