When we rest in Christ, we cast the full weight of our care and responsibility upon Him. We let Jesus bear it.
Faith rests in a salvation Christ has purchased for us and trusts His unfailing love.
Let our faith rest in a victory won… and trust Him to maintain the victory.
1 John TPT / JO Sanders Effective Faith
This is love: He loved us long before we loved Him. It was His love not ours.
We have come into (a process) an intimate experience with God’s love
we trust in the love He has for us.
“Sometimes active faith is exercised when we find ourselves in difficult situations when we actively hang on, or wait, or stand firm. It is not the strength of our hand holding on to God that keeps us safe. It is the strength of God’s hand holding on to us that keeps us safe and maintains our salvation.”
Faith is spelled trust: from Effective Faith by J.O. Sanders.
Faith is trust…We trust only those whom we know and love.
Faith enables the believing soul to treat the future as present, and the invisible as seen. There is no such thing as faith without trust. Trust may be defined as resting on the integrity or friendship of another. To trust someone is to have confidence in; to rely on them. Trust is effortless confidence based on the character of the one in whom trust is given. True faith always issues in full trust. In relation to God, it is the trust in his Love and his trustworthiness and power, it is a calm confidence in his moral character.
Hebrews 10:23 Phillips In this confidence (trust) let us hold on to the hope that we profess without the slightest hesitation—for he is utterly dependable.Grasping this statement…we trust… in the love… He has for us… brings rest as we exercise our faith by trusting in His love He has for us.
In this relational context:
Our love for others is our grateful response to the love God first demonstrated to us.
Whoever loves God must also demonstrate love to others.
Let us love not only with words…But in deed and in truth.
It is His love for us which inspires faith in Him. Let your faith rest. Trust in the love He has for you.
More than a few of my friends are going through battles. They have lost loved ones, lost jobs, or are pushing past disappointment, disillusionment, discouragement, and even despair.
In the middle of all of our emotional, physical, and spiritual flack. It’s counterintuitive to sing and worship. Yet, our worship is our faith expressed. Worship lifts us, encourages us, and speaks to our soul. (Our mind, our will, and our emotions.) Even our lamentations expressed, somehow bring His life to help heal our wounded souls.
David was a man after God’s heart. He was a worshiper long before he was a leader. He knew the importance of singing to his soul. He wrote many Psalms during his highs and his lows. He worshiped in the messiness of his sin, in the beauty of his life, and in the darkness and grief of death. (Sometimes all of his emotional thoughts are expressed in one Psalm.)
Often David sang to speak to his soul. He sang “Bless the Lord Oh, my soul.”
Bless the Lord,O my soul,
And all that is within me (the good, the bad, and the ugly), bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord,O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits…(Psalm 103:1-2 NASB)
Sometimes when we go through trials we have a tendency to forget all His benefits. Worship is the spark to help us to remember.
Many years ago, I memorized Psalm 23.
I cannot tell you how many times I have meditated, prayed, or sang parts of Psalm 23, especially during my, “emotional can’t sleep, my mind moving faster than a freight train.” nights. Or during my, “sadness, fear, and despair” nights. Or during my, “you should’ve, you could’ve… you are an idiot, time to quit regret” nights.
Meditating through His Psalm helps calm my mind, and brings peace and perspective to my soul. At some point during my meditation I fall asleep. Most mornings I awake with a song in my heart. I then seek to find the song and play it throughout my day. I understand this morning wake up is the Holy Spirit speaking to bring comfort, or encouragement into my day.
Worship is faith set to music.
The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want.
He makesme lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters. (Hebrew beside waters of rest) He restoresmy soul.
He leads me into His paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. (I’m glad the righteousness I’m led into is His.)
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death (Or the valley of deep darkness)
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy (Your steadfast love) shall follow meall the days of my life,
and I shall dwell (Or shall return to dwell) in the house of the Lord forever.
When you don’t know what to do…
When you don’t know what to do, let your worship begin to speak to your soul. He sees it all, knows it all, and understands everything about you… He is gracious and He is good. Take a deep breath and lean into His peace and goodness.
(If you need some help believing and to sing again, why not take small steps by planning a time to listen to a worship song which speaks to your heart.)
“Agape love revealed… means my love is demonstrated as I serve others through the choices I make, and by the actions I take.” Scott Sliver.
How’s it works.
We prepare hundreds of Valentine Packs available for Kindness To Go.
The Saturday before Valentine’s Day we head out into our community to serve, love and share the good news.
Every year we focus on teachers. So we make their day on Valentine’s Day by delivering special Dark Chocolate, and Hershey Kisses to the school staff rooms early on Valentine’s Day.
One year we purchased special cup-cakes. Teachers need appreciation and the outreach helps us build bridges with the schools and also meets a need in a practical way.
Here’s how we set up Kindness-to-go the Sunday before Valentine’s Day.
We pack hundreds of packs. A special connect card goes into each pack along with three Hershey Kisses and a red foil chocolate heart. We also have instruction sheets to help guide the outreach.
The tables are located at all exits, red or black table cloths and fun balloons create a fun vibe.
Our teens help pack thousands of Hershey Kisses into small zip lock bags with our special “Hugs! Everyone needs one!” connect card. People grab several of the bags and roses as they leave the weekend services to show love to the people of our community during the week.
*During the week our teens help pack the kisses it spreads the DNA of kindness to all ages.
On the Saturday before Valentine’s Day, we head out to stores near the church. We take the packs of kisses and sleeves of roses. We pop into the businesses and head to the customer service desk and ask, ‘How many ladies are working today?’
We then count out the roses and Hershey Kiss packs…and say, ‘We are from (the name of the church)“Everyone needs a hug!”
Usually, some of the other assistants are around and join in the exchange. Often, a male worker will ask for a rose for his girlfriend or wife. Some guys say, ‘Thanks for the reminder.’
Most people are open, curious, laugh and catch the vibe. One group went to a high-end Spa/Hair place, all of the working ladies gathered to receive their rose. ‘Who are you guys? Others exclaim, ‘This is so cool.’ Or sigh, ‘This will be my only present today.’
One of the team noticed one of the ladies getting her hair cut didn’t receive a rose. So, being the sensitive, thinking person she is, made an extra special effort to find another team, grab a rose and run back to the shop…when she gave the lady the flower, the surprised and delighted lady exclaimed, ‘You’ve just made my day! Thank you!
What’s in a gift of a rose and a pack of kisses?
I believe serving others in a fun, creative way sends an upbeat message to the people in our stressed-out world. Serving others often is a small action that sends a signal that says, ‘Hey, you matter! We care for you.’Our action performed with genuine love somehow touches the heart.
My friend Scott Sliver, says, ‘Agape love revealed… means my love is demonstrated as I serve others through the choices I make, and by the actions I take.’
Process for Valentine’s Outreach:
4 weeks out: have connect cards printed 4 weeks out: order Hershey Kisses (SNACC foods Cincinnati) 4 weeks out: order 4”X4” zip bags. 4 weeks out: order roses for pick up 2 weeks out: have kids, teens or a team pack the bags Weekend of outreach: have packs placed at all exits
Valentine Outreach Saturday before Valentine’s Day
1 day out: pick up roses, cut stems and place in buckets of water so they will be open on the day 3 days out: design maps with instructions and contact phone numbers 3 days out: make name tags 3 days out: gather Kiss packs and place in larger bags or containers for transport.
Saturday the Outreach Day before Valentine’s Day… Gather at 10am Give Instructions then divide up into teams. Load up and head out. Also, be open to God’s leading and offer prayer with people. Go to stores, go to check out or customer service, ask, “How many ladies are working today, count out Kisses packs and roses, give to workers, Say, We’re from the (name of Church) and Everyone needs a Hug! We are hugging you today!”
After the project return to base for feedback and sharing stories.
This past year most of my prayer/worship times had a vital theme of being grateful for His Faithfulness. You are faithful and true… It’s who you are, who you are.
We are more than blessed! Have a great apartment, friends, and we continue to have the ability to invest in others. We want to stay involved as long as we can by serving, giving encouragement, and helping develop outreach.
This past year was slightly slower than other years; however, we did equip and encourage a lot of people toward kindness and outward-ness. We were also able to invest in others we know who are genuine world shakers.
2022 we will be giving thanks and praise and continue to develop an attitude of gratitude… for His Faithfulness.
We just returned from a wonderful time with our family in New Mexico. Albuquerque is a beautiful place. We enjoyed being with our grand-kids, my son Andrew, and his wife Vanessa. We went for walks and enjoyed a lot of local food. We had the opportunity to attend an evening of Christmas music with the Albuquerque Philharmonic. A very fun evening!
Natives Intentionally Targeted.
I woke up and sensed my assignment for the morning…to take $5 bills and give the money to a few unsheltered people… to listen, then pray.
I talked to a small group. Two older women and a man. He explained why he was in a wheelchair. He was with a group of men when a man intentionally crashed into him and killing two other Natives. This hate crime made the news. During his recovery, he made a few bad decisions. He is now in a wheelchair… and homeless. Our talk drifted to life on the Rez, the high rate of Suicide among the teens and twenties, and the high Covid death rate. At the end of our conversation I asked the group if I could pray for them. They gathered and we joined hands. I invited Holy Spirit to come. I encouraged the group by letting them know they were not invisible. They were known and seen by a Father who loved them and gave His Son for them.
Sadly one of my friends died this week. Kevin Hoffman is an amazing man. He was my co-partner for good at Dayton Vineyard Church for 14 years. He loved his role in Pastoral Ministry. He had a genuine love for people, missions, and equipping others. He was my friend, mentor, and coach. He left a considerable legacy… Streams of people are better because of his life. He launched Celebrate Recovery and raised up an Ohio CR Leader. He served The Vineyard, developed Missions, and most importantly, his family received his kind touch.
I wrote the below a while back during his Covid battle. It remains true.
“My friend, Kevin Hoffman’s life is founded upon a Chief Cornerstone. His name is Jesus. Upon this Stone, he has built his life, faith, and family. “He who believes upon this Stone will not be disappointed.” 1 Peter 2:6 His foundation is sure, steadfast, and unmovable. This Stone is the Rock which the entire weight his faith rests.”
Our hope is sure and steadfast. Kevin is receiving his reward.
My book Go. Sow, Revised is available on Amazon. January 8. The paperback is the best version. It’s a book you can write notes and thoughts. Lot’s of space on pages.