Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “Seven-Day Church”

Today I want to give you a place to start your week. It’s Monday and in the wake of a great weekend and a workweek ahead, sometimes you just need a “kickstart” to get focused.  So grab some coffee let’s start a great week together.

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, we continued our current series “I Am Church” at Kfirst. In this new series of talks, we are emphasizing the mindset that we don’t go to church; we are the church. And this series, we’ll be diving into the book of Acts and looking at some of the fundamental elements of the early church.

Week 2 was a special morning as we turned our attention to Acts 2 and the most used Greek word to describe the Church:

Ecclesia – “Called out ones”

And that is the Church the world needs to see. A people “called out” of

  • Hopelessness into hope
  • Fear into faith.
  • “Me first” into “others first.”
  • Partisanship into partnership.
  • Dreariness into possibility.

In Acts 2, we see what formed the Church was not to be what mimicked the world around them but what Christ looked like in whatever they were engaged in, in whatever they’re involved in, with whoever they came in contact with. And they found that bringing the Church to their world was what Christ was talking about when He spoke in Matthew 5:14,

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.

As the “Ecclesia” the “called out ones,” is there something that the Lord is “calling you out of” in order that more of Christ can be seen in you?

A two-fold challenge this week for you:

  • 1-Personal change. Spend time in prayer. Is there an area you feel the Lord is “calling you out of” in your life?
  • 2-Community encounter. Make this your morning prayer before you head into your day, “Lord, let me become more aware of your presence, aware of people’s needs, and the obedience to meet both of them there.”

This month, we’re asking Kfirst to dive into the book of Acts and use S.O.A.P. (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer). If you need a reading plan, click HERE for one on youversion

Read it daily. In fact, find someone to meet with once a week to talk and pray about it. And when you pray, would you make your prayer,

Jesus, do this IN me, start with me.”

Love you all. Have an amazing week.

BTW: This is the song we introduced yesterday.

Back to School: 10 Things to Pray Over Your Students

Today is a monumental day for our home. We have two beginning their freshman year. My daughter begins her college career, my son begins high school.

My tradition of praying over them every morning has continued since the day I dropped them off at preschool. The obvious differences today is, first, I’m not holding their hand to the front door of their class and stopping there to pray. Second, they’re now leaving for school before I’m out of the shower. So more often than not, my prayers over them may have greater distance by proximity but are not less effective because of the authority of Christ. I believe a prayer in the name of Jesus, in accordance with His Word, brings change.

At Kfirst, we are in a series on Elijah called “Whirlwind.” And James reminds us about Elijah and about prayer.

“…The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. 17 Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! 18 Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops. “ James 5:16b-18

James seems to want us to know how powerful prayer can be while encouraging us that we don’t have to have the “credentials” someone else has (in our minds) to pray powerful and effective prayers. Elijah performed great acts and had powerful prayers. Yet it was “human as we are.” I don’t know about you, that builds my faith and encourages me to get my butt in the Word and step out in prayer.

So where your kids have already started school or today is “day 1,” let me give you a daily prayer list over your kids.

  1. Help our children to draw their identity from Jesus.
  2. Give them fearlessness with new opportunities and humility with familiar experiences.
  3. Help them to make good connections/reconnections with peers and faculty.
  4. Let there be no limit to their love for the people around them. Help them to love people like Jesus does.
  5. Develop deeper disciplines and capacity for learning.
  6. Let them see and step into opportunities to exercise generosity without reciprocation.
  7. Guide them to look for lonely people.
  8. Let their lives shine with the hope they have in Christ.
  9. Help their attitudes to rise above the flow of negativity and criticism.
  10. When they face disappointment or hurt, guard their hearts and bring them back to their identity in Jesus.

Amen.

Love you all. Praying over your kids today.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Week 2: Monday #KfirstReadingList

There’s something about having a “reading list.” Usually, around the end of the school year, we see people posting about them or hear people talking about them. Of all of the books we want to soak up, the Bible is at the top of that list. At Kfirst , we believe that scripture is not just helpful for following Jesus but necessary. It stretches our thinking and challenges our living and it clues us into the heart of God and directs our paths. In July and August we’re hosting a summer series called “Reading List.”

Each Sunday, we’ll introduce a new chapter to focus on while equipping you to daily “soak it up” throughout the week. If you’ve never read the scriptures, this is a great place to start. If you’ve never read the scriptures as a friend, a couple, or a family, this will be a great opportunity to begin a new trend (visit Kfirst’s media to listen).

This week’s passage: Matthew 3 (click to read)

Monday’s challenge: Sit down in a quiet place with your bible, your journal, and a pen. Then, read the entire chapter for this week and highlight what stuck out to you. Get a pen to underline or circle; grab a highlighter to use. What should you look for?

  • Key words/phrases.
  • Repeated words.
  • Themes.
  • Who is speaking/listening?
  • Location of the interaction.
  • For a next step, read the chapters before and after (for context).

When you are done reading, reflect on what you’ve learned. The bible calls it “selah” (pause and reflect upon what you just read). Allow the Holy Spirit to bring out parts or portions of the chapter that He wants to challenge you with. Perhaps you keep going back to something you underlined or maybe there’s a word that your heart can’t let go of. Maybe the chapter stirred some emotions and questions. Those items you’ve noted are what you should take to the Lord in prayer and, perhaps, to some conversation time with someone else.

Lastly, respond with your life. What does your day/week look like putting this week’s passage into practice? How has this passage challenged you? What does the chapter compel you to do? Let this week be a place where the Word get’s rooted in our lives by being more than a reader of the Word but a doer of the Word.

Love you all. It’s gonna be an amazing Monday.

BTW: Here’s a song for your reading time.

 

 

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “Putting the X Back in Xmas” #uneXpected

Today I want to give you a place to start your week. It’s Monday and in the wake of a great weekend and long workweek ahead, sometimes you just need a “kickstart” to get focused.  So grab some coffee let’s start a great week together.

Yesterday, we kicked off a Christmas series at Kfirst called”uneXpected.” The Christmas story was completely uneXpected. A pregnant virgin. A King born in a cave. Shepherds experiencing angelic announcements. Kings bowing before a peasant child. Nothing about the birth of Jesus was what anyone really eXpected… …but it was exactly what we needed.

We brought a prayer for the month of December that was born out of Luke 1:38-39, “Lord, help me to be humble enough to CATCH what you say & CLING to Your instruction so CHRIST is seen in all I say & do.” (Click here for yesterday’s notes.)

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This series we’re determined to bring the emphasis of Christ back into Christmas. For hundreds of years, the letter X has stood for Christ. So when the church began to use the term, “Xmas,” it was to emphasis Jesus instead of, what so many people think, erase Christ from the holidays. So our way to keep Christ at the center of Christmas, we are deciding to respond the way Mary did,

“I am a servant of the Lord…” Luke 1:38

As humbly walk before Christ, we carry the simple message of Christmas,

The next step of the message: Live out the X

What does that look like?

  • Helping a neighbor who needs a hand.
  • Locating a family in need to provide assistance.
  • Looking to encourage someone hurting.
  • Praying for someone who has lost hope.
  • Sending a note to someone who is discouraged.
  • _____(fill in the blank)________

Where God has placed you is where God is calling you. And as you’ll take the time to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying, and you cling to what He says, then you’ll show the “X” to the world around you.

Our messages are for Monday and we need to put action to what the Lord is speaking. Ask the Lord to lead you to show His character in a simple, tangible way.

Also, if you need a scripture reading plan to go along with our message, check out this one.

Love you all.  See you this Sunday as we continue our series!

BTW, here’s a song this week for your Christmas playlist:

A Prayerful Marriage: 6 Things that are Okay to Pray Over Your Marriage

I’ll give props to Cori, my neighbor down the street. On my weekly Wednesday prayer walk, I ask my Facebook friends to post their needs so I can specifically pray over them. Her request froze me in my tracks. It was so simple, and yet, specific. Cori’s child was heading off with other 5th graders to a weekend camp. She asked for prayers for the 5th graders to have “insane amounts of fun.”

I literally stopped my walk for a moment and thought to myself, “why don’t we pray for that more often for our marriages?” The next thought, “what other prayers do we disregard?”

I had heard a quote sometime ago (and for the life of me, I cannot remember who said it):

Prayer is the easiest thing we never do.

I think a lot of that mindset seems to have to do with the understanding of the necessity of a prayer life. If you understand how important communication is to your marriage, you can begin to grasp the need for a consistent prayer life. Prayer is simple and powerful. It is transformative both for you and your marriage. Yet, in my experiences working with marriages, I find couples don’t know how to pray. Most marriage prayers center around someone wanting God to change what they don’t like in their mate. Very few spouses pray about other things.

So today, I thought I’d give you a simplistic list of things that is okay to pray for in your marriage:

1 – “Help us to have insane amounts of fun.”
Cori hit the nail on the head. We need to see more fun in our marriage. Fun is more spiritual than you realize. God isn’t against pleasure; He is absolutely for it (the Garden of Eden is proof enough about that). When I talk about fun, I’m talking about striving to find those leisurely thing that feed the fun in marriage.  I’ve known couples to rotate on who choses the date nights so the “fun” doesn’t always favor one person over the other. I’ve known others to consistently plan evenings around those things that both enjoy doing.

2 – “Give me an overwhelming sense of gratitude.”
When we start praying to have a more grateful heart, the Lord will open up our eyes to help us to see the blessings around us. It seems everything about our culture wants to seed dissatisfaction with what we have so that we can strive for something new. And I’m afraid that puts a false filter of disappointment over our lives. Step back and begin to see, not what your spouse lacks, but what he/she is gifted in. When you do, speak up and say something about it. Remember, silent gratitude is not gratitude at all.

3 – “Help us to laugh more.”
This is related to #1 but a bit different. Why? most people relegate “fun” to a moment. I believe “laughing” is a lifestyle. Anne and I don’t have much in common.

We love Jesus.
We are stubborn.
And we love to laugh.

Having that “merry heart” that Proverbs talks about becomes the catalyst for your attitude. It helps you to see things in perspective. You understand what is worth fighting about and you see what is worth laughing with your spouse about. Learn how to not take some things so serious and learn to laugh with (not at) your spouse.

4 – “Bless our marriage with a deep and lasting sex life.”
Of all of the needs that a human has, there is only one need that your spouse has been granted permission to be the ONLY one to meet. Sex was God’s idea. Sexual desire is God-given. Your sex organs were given to you, by God, to receive pleasure and give pleasure to your spouse. So suffice to say: If God gifted our marriage with sexuality, why don’t we make it a priority to pray for it? If both are praying for it, perhaps the Lord will bless our marriage with more desire, greater creativity, and a deeper sense of pleasure. Don’t let the world make what God has given into something dirty. Take what God has given and ask that it be blessed.

5 – “Help me to love when I don’t feel it.”
I don’t always act lovable; neither does Anne. But that’s where we take things and make them so overly emotional that the presence of feelings dictates our actions. Love is a state of our soul. And we act upon love because we know what love does (1 Corinthians 13). Actions don’t follow feelings. If that was the case, nothing would get done. Feelings follow actions. Be the spouse that prays for the humility to act in love without having to “feel” love.

6 – “Keep me humble.”

I’ve heard some dumb things about prayer. One of them being, “don’t pray for patience because God will give you something to be patient with.” This may seem harsh, but I find it stupid to think, first, that we think God doesn’t know we need it, and second, that asking Him for help is a bad thing.  I think we should request something deeper than patience. Humility is the place where we can see the complete Fruit of the Spirit grow in and through us. Humility is what lowers our pride and places within us a teachable/growing heart. Humility gives us the type of voice that needs to be heard while granting us ears to listen.

Do you have other “simple” prayers to add? Are these prayers anywhere on your radar? I hope so. Because as your prayers grow, so does your marriage. Make your next step today to set a daily reminder to pray blessings upon your spouse. Write some of these prayers down and get a few of your own. Follow that up with asking the Holy Spirit to work some change in you. As you pray, I believe God responds to your faith and He’ll do the work that you and I can never do on our own.

I love you all. I’m praying for you at this moment. Now go pray for your spouse.

Oh yeah…thanks Cori for the inspiration.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

2-Minute Devo: Day 11 of Our 40-Day Journey #Undone40

Thanks for joining us on our 40-day journey of prayer. We’re asking you to get your journals out and do 3 things:

  1. Read.
    • Read the Psalm of the day. Enjoy the 2-minute devo.
  2. Reflect.
    • Journal a few thoughts.  Put into words what the Holy Spirit is speaking to you.
  3. Respond.
    • Spend time in prayer.  Respond to what God is speaking to you through his Spirit and his word.

“Everything that a person can possibly feel, experience, and say is brought into expression before God in the Psalms.” Eugene Peterson

Today’s reading: Psalm 119:81-88

I am worn out waiting for your rescue,
    but I have put my hope in your word.
82 My eyes are straining to see your promises come true.
    When will you comfort me?
83 I am shriveled like a wineskin in the smoke,
    but I have not forgotten to obey your decrees.
84 How long must I wait?
    When will you punish those who persecute me?
85 These arrogant people who hate your instructions
    have dug deep pits to trap me.
86 All your commands are trustworthy.
    Protect me from those who hunt me down without cause.
87 They almost finished me off,
    but I refused to abandon your commandments.
88 In your unfailing love, spare my life;
    then I can continue to obey your laws.

2-Minute Devo: Day 9 of Our 40-Day Journey #Undone40

Thanks for joining us on our 40-day journey of prayer. We’re asking you to get your journals out and do 3 things:

  1. Read.
    • Read the Psalm of the day. Enjoy the 2-minute devo.
  2. Reflect.
    • Journal a few thoughts.  Put into words what the Holy Spirit is speaking to you.
  3. Respond.
    • Spend time in prayer.  Respond to what God is speaking to you through his Spirit and his word.

“Everything that a person can possibly feel, experience, and say is brought into expression before God in the Psalms.” Eugene Peterson

Today’s reading: Psalm 119:65-72

You have done many good things for me, Lord,
    just as you promised.
66 I believe in your commands;
    now teach me good judgment and knowledge.
67 I used to wander off until you disciplined me;
    but now I closely follow your word.
68 You are good and do only good;
    teach me your decrees.
69 Arrogant people smear me with lies,
    but in truth I obey your commandments with all my heart.
70 Their hearts are dull and stupid,
    but I delight in your instructions.
71 My suffering was good for me,
    for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees.
72 Your instructions are more valuable to me
    than millions in gold and silver.