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November 6, 2017, 9:02 AM

Ringing Ears


My ears ring all the time. Too much loud music and concerts. Silence about drives me insane, thus white noise at almost all times around me. I sleep with a fan, have one blowing in my office... and try to make sure there is at least something to overshadow the constant ringing. Now, don't cry for me Argentina, the truth is I did this to myself. There is hope out there for healing, but its still in testing in Germany. 

Here's why I mentioned that: its not just the ringing in my ears that pushes me to avoid silence. When I'm silent that means I'm not talking or making noise. And when I'm not making noise or talking I am receptive to what God would say to me. And that scares me sometimes. 

God can and will speak to us. The Holy Spirit moves actively. The Bible is God's powerful Word. God is desperate to communicate and share with us His heart, His will, and His love. Are we willing to be quiet long enough to listen? Last week (Oct 29) I was moved by God and given direction very clearly on two occasions. Both led to immediate action from me... and for Red Bridge. We walked through both initiatives during the sermon time last week, and you can look at those if you want!  

What I want to emphasize here is WHEN those happened: When I was taking out the trash. I wasn't talking or praying or asking God to direct me. I was quiet... walking outside... AFTER asking God for direction. And God did what I asked. Now we're all praying in that direction because I shut my own mouth for just a few moments!!! 

So here's the big point that we've been pushing the last two weeks of study: LISTEN! We have to an equal (or more) amount of time listening to God than we do telling God everything we want him to do. He WILL communicate with us and direct us. Are we listening? 

Don't be afraid of silence. God may be waiting for us to stop talking and hear what He has in store for us! 

God, what is your will for Red Bridge and what do you need us to do and become?




October 30, 2017, 9:01 AM

Listen


Have you prayed today? Have you looked at your prayer card and taken that to God? 

"God, what is your will for Red Bridge and what do you need us to do and become?" 

Thats one thing, to pray... what follows is the hard part for us: We have to listen. We have to be ready for God to actually tell us what he really wants us to become!!  The prayer we're offering for the rest of the year (every one, every day!) is full of expectation. We have to be ready for God to answer. 

Are you listening?  I rewatched one of my favorite movies this past week, The Prestige, about dueling stage magicians in the early 1900's. I remember someone telling me that exact premise and thinking: "that sounds pretty stupid."  I'm positive, if you havent seen the movie, that you thought the same thing when I told you what it is about. However, all that aside, the movie is fantastic and shows some amazing insight into human nature and how far one will go for vegence. Here's the coolest part: the movie opens with a voice-over that explains EVERYTHING! Until you watch it all the way through though, you miss it and just think you're being set up. Here's the first words: "Are you watching closely?" If we actually were watching closely we would discover what was about to happen and how the movie would end! (hint: it's the birds... they're the big clue). 

If we pray to God for answers and direction, we need to be ready for answers and direction! Be ready!  

Listen to Him

Mark 9: 7 "...This is my dearly loved Son, listen to him."




October 23, 2017, 9:15 AM

What's Next? The 2017 Red Bridge Prayer Initiative.


This past weekend we hosted a Prayer Seminar with Jon Graf. It was fantastic and opened the door to both the simplicity and complexity of a vibrant prayer life. Those who were in attendance on Saturday were especially treated to a practical approach, with many powerful examples  to build from. The Sunday morning sessions are both on the website (and in the email). 

So what comes next? 

Is it enough to host a speaker, enjoy what he says, and then move back to the status quo? Nope. That no longer is a viable option. 

So what comes next?  Simple: we pray. 

Here's how and why and what we're going to pray. Red Bridge is about to become a focused praying congregation. Yes, we already pray consitently and corporately. However, we are moving our prayers to the next level. Too often we've been praying "Fix-It" prayers that address physical needs of those who are sick or hurting. We address the grief around us, and sometimes the praises and joy. That is not a bad thing and we will continue to do so every week in our bulletins and services. However, beginning this next Sunday, we are going to start praying BIG prayers, seeking God's will for Red Bridge and praying for the willingness to do exactly what He wants of us. 

To whet your appetite, here is what that is going to look like in the initial stages: For AT LEAST the rest of 2017 we are going to pray every day that God shows us His will specifically for Red Bridge. "God, what is your will and what do you need us to do and become?" It is a simple but specific prayer. In fact, that prayer may have been prayed already, and often! We are all going to pray this, and we're going to pray it consistently, regularly......until we know God's will for us and what we're supposed to do and become!! 

Expect God to answer. Sure we expect God to answer every prayer with a Yes or No. We, as a congregation, are going to ask for specifics and expect specifics. Write the answers down and submit them to Chris. That is step one. 

The next step to this Prayer Initiative is this: "God, make us willing to do exactly what you ask us to do." As God's will is revealed to us we must be prepared and willing to be a part of accomplishing His will. Again, this sounds obvious and a natural extension of being a Christian. How often though do we struggle with the simplest aspects of following Christ though? Generosity, Forgiveness, Mercy, Unconditional Love?!  We're going to pray for pliable and willing hearts. 

God is going to do something powerful and amazing. We must be ready and willing to join Him in that endeavor. Are you ready to rediscover God's will for his Church in South Kansas City? Begin praying that we are prepared to join God wherever he needs us to be. 




October 16, 2017, 10:30 AM

Clean or Sit? (I pretty much always choose sit)


By show of hands, who can agree with this statement:  So much to do, so little time. 
I’m assuming all of you reading this are holding one hand up high.  (you can put it down now, the people around you are staring).    

Just recently in our Vertical with Jesus sermon series we spent some time with Mary and Martha. Martha gets busy cleaning and tidying up and getting dinner ready and this and that and then this again because Jesus and his disciples are coming over to dinner. Really, who could blame her, after all it’s the Son of God sitting on her recliner in the living room.  On the other hand we have Mary, stopping what she’s doing and sitting at the feet of Jesus.  

Martha loved Jesus dearly and would have done anything for him, so don’t think too low of her.  Her struggle came in being still.  Martha spent so much time serving Jesus that she had no time to enjoy his company or to get to know him better.  The harder Martha worked the more frustrated she got with he sister Mary.  Mary was sitting around while Martha was scurrying and bustling, making sure everything was perfect.  Martha’s service, though it started out with gladness and excitement, deteriorated into resentment and envy.  

Luke 10:40

It is good to want to serve Christ as an expression of love for what he has done for you.  But when your activity consumes your time and energies so that you have no time for him you have become too busy.  Its easy to think like Martha probably was: if she didn’t do it, no one would.  That may be true, but Jesus taught us repeatedly that our highest priority needs to be our relationship with him.  

IF ANYTHING DETRACTS YOU FROM THAT, IT IS NOT AN ACTIVITY THAT’S OK WITH GOD.  God will not ask you to do anything that hinders your relationship with him.  

At times working hard and busily to carry out God’s mission is the best way to know and experience him.  Other times though sitting at his feet and doing nothing but listening is where God wants us to be.  We can’t always sit as his feet, nothing would ever get done then.  But we are not called to serve so incessantly that we forget who we are serving and why we are working in the first place.  

 

  Being busy wont get you into heaven.  Having a good resume of things accomplished wont get you into heaven.  Why waste your time? 

 

Knowing Christ in all things . . . now that’s something to get busy doing. 




October 2, 2017, 10:14 AM

Being Blessed


We are blessed because God is. We are blessed no matter our circumstances, wealth, 401k holdings, house size, car condition, or anything else this world throws our direction. 

The I AM is what blesses us. Our job is to live like it. When persecuted, live blessed. 

When poor in spirit, mourning, lost and afraid: live blessed. 

It's not going to be easy, but it is essential to the Christ-Follower's identity. Live blessed. If we cross our arms and wait impatiently for our blessings we assume we deserve because we're good little Christians we will miss out on the life and opportunities placed right in front of us. Waiting for further revelation on how we're supposed to act will cause us to miss out on the instructions we already know (the Bible!). Thinking all those red lights are punishment or a sign we've done something wrong skews our image of God. 

We are blessed because God is. He is faithful to his promises. He is faithful to redeem and save. He is strong enough to carry us. 

Live blessed. 


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