I am grateful and humbled by how God continues to go before us as we continue to boldly chase Him and His purposes. The above video captures some of the things God has done in and through the Heritage Church family over a 12-month period; and Psalm 150 captures what my heart feels whenever I see it. Oh praise Him!
1 Praise the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
2 Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
4 praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.
Hopefully you’ll still find this helpful. Keep pressing on!
WHO I AM IN JESUS…
I am accepted…
- John 1:12 – I am God’s child.
- John 15:15 – As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ.
- Romans 5:1 – I have been justified [declared righteous].
- 1 Corinthians 6:17 – I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit.
- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – I have been bought with a price, and I belong to God.
- 1 Corinthians 12:27 – I am a member of Christ’s body [the church].
- Ephesians 1:3-8 – I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child.
- Colossians 1:13-14 – I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.
- Colossians 2:9-10 – I am complete in Christ.
- Hebrews 4:14-16 – I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ.
I am secure…
- Romans 8:1-2 – I am free from condemnation.
- Romans 8:28 – I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances.
- Romans 8:31-39 – I am free from any condemnation brought against me, and I cannot be separated from the love of God.
- 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 – I have been established, anointed, & sealed by God.
- Colossians 3:1-4 – I am hidden with Christ in God.
- Philippians 1:6 – I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me.
- Philippians 3:20 – I am a citizen of Heaven.
- 2 Timothy 1:7 – I have not been given the spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind.
- 1 John 5:18 – I am born of God, and the evil one cannot touch me.
I am significant…
- John 15:5 – I am the branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of His life.
- John 15:16 – I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.
- 1 Corinthians 3:16 – I am God’s temple.
- 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 – I am a minister of reconciliation for God.
- Ephesians 2:6 – I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm.
- Ephesians 2:10– I am God’s workmanship.
- Ephesians 3:12 – I may approach God with freedom and confidence.
- Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.
[Adapted From: Neil Anderson, Victory Over the Darkness]
To Those Who Will Pray,
In the midst of the busyness and anticipation of our approach to Easter, there’s a lot happening all across our Heritage family; but I wanted to take a moment to invite you to join me in praying BIG for this weekend. In fact, I want to invite you to pray through Matthew 28; and I’ve included a simple guide to help you do that.
Thanks for your faithful intercession!
“Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God’s people.” Ephesians 6:18 (CEV)
Praying through Matthew 28 for Easter….
v. 6 – He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.
:: Take time to worship & praise Him for being a Risen Lord. Pray a prayer of gratitude that reflects:
- He is not here – He sits at the right hand of the Father, and we have the Holy Spirit.
- He is RISEN – He conquered sin and death, and He alone is worthy of all glory honor and praise .
- Just as He said – He is faithful, trustworthy, and always fulfills His Promises.
v. 10 – “Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
:: for God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control. [2 Timothy 1:7]
- Pray that people would not give into fear. That they would courageously choose a relationship with Jesus this Easter.
- Pray that our Heritage family would be bold to extend invitations to those in their spheres of influence who are spiritually ripe for the harvest.
v. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.
:: Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. [Psalm 95:1]
- Pray that as people gather for worship they would feel the power of the resurrection through the presence of the Holy Spirit.
- Pray that doubt would diminish and faith would prevail.
- Pray that truth would speak directly to the hearts of those who have not yet believed.
- Pray that our worship would be a fragrant offering to our risen Lord.
v. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…
:: Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. [John 14:6]
- Pray that God would continue to work throughout our Heritage Network – that we would be a people who are radically committed to growing as disciples and helping others become disciples.
- Pray that hundreds of people would choose to step into an intimate relationship with God as they recognize Jesus as Savior and respond to Him as Lord.
- Pray that we would be obedient to this call no matter the cost!
v. 20 And surely I am with you always…
:: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. [Deuteronomy 31:6]
:: How awesome it is that He is always with us; that He is Sovereign God of the universe!
- Pray for those that you know that do not have the assurance of His presence and peace!
- Pray that God would use you to model how His presence has transformed everything in your life and that this would draw others into a personal relationship with Jesus.
Now that we’ve wrapped up our Parables series, we’re stepping fully into our approach to Easter; and this year, we’re exploring the Passion of Jesus through the eyes of 4 key figures. You don’t want to miss it! So invite your family and friends, and join us for UNEXPECTED.
Here’s a little more about it…
Just as a stream flows into a river, and reveals a greater body of water, when we view the story of Jesus through our own eyes, and then the eyes of others, we begin to get an unexpected, fuller perspective of His work in the world. Join us as we explore the Passion of Jesus through the eyes of some of his closest friends.
April 1/2 – John
April 8/9 – Peter
April 14 [Good Friday] – Centurion
April 15/16 [Easter] – Mary Magdalene
Last summer, my family and I had the opportunity to take a special trip to Ireland. We essentially rented a car and drove the around the island for 10 days exploring historical, cultural, spiritual and ancestral locations. It was pretty epic. However, one of my favorite elements was connecting to St. Patrick’s history and journey.
As I’ve reminisced about those family moments, I thought I’d share something I posted previously about who Patrick really was. Enjoy!
We would be hard-pressed to find anyone who couldn’t readily identify the namesake of this annual celebration since the name of the holiday pretty much gives that away; but the details about Saint Patrick are less familiar and even misunderstood. For example:
- He was English, not Irish.
- He was known for wearing blue, not green.
- His first trip to Ireland was as a slave, not a missionary.
Patrick was born in Great Britain; but as a teenager, he was kidnapped by pirates and taken to Ireland where he was enslaved for 6 years. It was not an easy life. But while in captivity, he turned his heart and attention toward God; and at the age of 20, he escaped. He then made his way back to his family in England, and devoted himself to serving God as a priest.
It’s a remarkable story, and we haven’t even gotten to the most remarkable part yet.
Patrick ultimately returned to Ireland to love and serve the people that enslaved him! He voluntarily returned to the place of his captivity to lead them out of their own spiritual captivity and into freedom in Jesus; and for 40 years, God used Patrick to transform Ireland with the Good News of Jesus!
I love the beauty of Patrick’s story. It reflects the power of forgiveness, the power of grace, the power of love and the power of God. It’s a true reflection of what Jesus did for us. Because Patrick allowed God to work in him, God was able to work through him.
We’ve discussed as a church family that whenever God is making a difference IN us, He always intends to make a difference THROUGH us. Yet…that work IN us often involves brokenness.
Brokenness is not weakness, but rather a coming to the end of ourselves that leads to humility. It precedes surrender. It produces godly character & enables us to relinquish control of our lives to God…just like Patrick.
What difficult thing has God asked you to do? [i.e. say no to a desire, forgive someone you didn’t want to forgive, give away what you wanted to keep, set aside a dream or goal, take a step of faith, endure an injustice, etc.] Click here to learn more about giving & getting forgiveness.
Whether you are battling illness, struggling in relationship, starting a new adventure or ending one, the Lord desires to sustain you and to lead you through the valley. Let Him!
Whatever valley of brokenness He is leading you through or allowing you to endure, don’t quit. Brokenness is the fertile soil where the seeds of surrender grow into obedience. If you’re willing to remain faithful, there’s a beautiful redemptive outcome ahead. [Click here for a specific example in Patrick’s life.]
God doesn’t need more confident or competent people. He needs more broken people, people who know how to live from a place of dependence on Him, people who are willing to be sacrificed for His purposes even if it is costly, painful or beyond our ability to endure it.
There’s some uncertainty between fact and fiction in the stories about Patrick, but what’s absolutely certain is that God used one man’s willingness to be broken so that many others could be made whole. That sounds very similar to what we’re going to celebrate in our next annual holiday next month. [aka Easter] 😉
[Edited from original post in March 2016]
Having wrapped up our Matter of Principles series, we are stepping into a 5-week journey through a few of the Parables of Jesus. Doesn’t get much better than digging into the parables of Jesus. So grab the family and join us this weekend at any Heritage location.
Here’s a little more about the series:
Sometimes, we bump into a truth so deep or a hope so profound we need a special way to share it with others. Jesus often taught using parables—his unique way of sharing the deep truth and hope of the Kingdom of God with his first followers. Join us as we focus on a few of these Kingdom stories and discover even more of the heart God has for us and our world.
Parables (Journey through 5 Parables – Feb 25/26 through March 25/26)
Feb 25/26 Matthew 13 Introduction
March 4/5 Luke 5:36-39 New Wine Skins
March 11/12 Matthew 18:21-35 Unmerciful Servant
March 18/19 Mark 4:3-20 The Sower
March 25/26 Luke 20:9-19 Tenants
As we continue making the Bold Moves God has for us as individuals and a community, we’re reminded of God’s promises of faithfulness, and the foundational principles He calls us to live by—principles which bring us freedom and joy in our time, talent, and treasure. Farmers understand the principles of seed, growth and harvest which Jesus used to reveal the Kingdom of God. During “A Matter of Principles” we will explore some fundamental truths that position us to walk in confidence toward the purposes of God in our lives. Don’t miss this vital series and the blessings that accompany faithfulness.
Feb 4/5 – Principle of Harvest
Feb 11/12 – Principle of First
Feb 18/19 – Principle of Multiplication
As I continue to reflect on all the ways God is moving among the Heritage family, I find my heart filled with gratitude and anticipation. It is truly a privilege to chase the things of God with a people who are willing to risk in BOLD MOVES with Him.
Here’s another look at OUR BOLD PRAYER that we used this weekend. I want to invite us all to continue to ask God to move in these specific ways:
OUR BOLD PRAYER
We ask that You give us ears to hear the cry of the vulnerable and oppressed, courage to care for the marginalized and poor, and eyes to see others as created in Your Image – having inherent value, worthy of dignity and relationship.
Help us to seek after justice, lovingly extend mercy, and walk in humility with You! Give us boldness to discard comfort for the sake of Your Kingdom. Bless us with strength when we are tired!
Lord, may Your love be on display in us and through us – shape our passions, stir our gratitude for the Gospel which is good news for reconciliation, and help us to be faithful ambassadors of hope and healing in the world.
Transform us and send us with grace to seek the ‘shalom’ of our cities for Your glory and fame.
In the strong name of our Savior, Jesus, we pray. Amen.
Joshua Chapter 3 records the prelude of a pivotal point in the history of the Israelites. They were moving from desert wandering to fulfilling purpose…from suffering consequences to reaping blessing.
The Israelites were God’s chosen people. They were privileged to see Him do many miraculous things, but they repeatedly struggled to trust and obey. The Bible records many examples of both their faithfulness and unfaithfulness, but what preceded the gathering at the Jordan River was 40 years of consequence. The Israelites previously chose not to enter the Promised Land, and it cost them 40 years and over 1 million lives. Every adult man and woman, except two men, died during the preceding desert wandering; but now they were once again standing at the dawn of a new day. This time at the edge of the Jordan River, and all they needed to do was to consecrate themselves to God and obey. It sounds pretty simple, but it was a huge step of faith. However, as Joshua indicated, if they did it the Lord would do “amazing things” among them.
The Heritage family is on the verge of a new day. We are standing at the edge of our “Jordan River.” We have experienced many things over our more than 50-year journey. Over the years, we have witnessed a number of transitions. New people have come and others have gone. We have witnessed people move from death to life as they testified to finding new life in Christ. We have walked the roads of sickness, sadness and loss together; but we have also experienced healing, joy and peace.
In some ways, God has already done amazing things among us; but the best is yet to come. I am grateful for what God has already done for us, but I am excited about what He is going to do “tomorrow.” We have a clear mission to reach out to spiritually lost people and raise up fully committed believers who love God completely and others unconditionally. [Click here to find out more about where God is leading us as a church.]
So let’s consecrate ourselves to God this day. Pray that we as a church will collectively consecrate ourselves…for tomorrow…He will do amazing things as we continue to step out in bold obedience.
Thanks for joining me before the throne!
Ways to PRAY
PRAY FOR THE PEOPLE OF OUR CITIES TO CONNECT TO GOD, TO EACH OTHER, AND TO THEIR DIVINE PURPOSE.
PRAY THAT HERITAGE WOULD BE FOUND FAITHFUL AND WE WOULD HAVE GOD’S FAVOR AS HE ACCOMPLISHES HIS PURPOSES THROUGH US.
PRAY THAT GOD WOULD CONTINUE TO LEAD AND GUIDE US AS WE SEEK TO HONOR HIM WITH ALL THAT WE HAVE AND ALL THAT WE ARE.
PRAY THAT GOD WOULD ALLOW US TO BE AN EVEN GREATER CATALYST OF HIS HOPE AND LOVE IN THE QUAD CITIES AND BEYOND.
LET THIS BE WRITTEN FOR A FUTURE GENERATION,
THAT A PEOPLE NOT YET CREATED MAY PRAISE THE LORD.
As we step further into the new year, we are stepping into a 4-week journey called Bold Moves. Having wrapped up our BEHOLD series after Christmas, I can think of no better way to begin 2017 than with a conversation that positions us to boldly chase Him and His purposes.
You don’t want to miss this 4-week vision series as we share about opportunities we have as a church and boldly move with God into our next season together. Here’s a little more about the series:
God has clearly been going ahead of us as a church family over the last year, and we are excited about the momentum and synergy that He is orchestrating. A move of God is not something that we ever want to take for granted, and we are committed to staying in step with Him as we journey together. So starting in January, we will be looking at some key moments in the Israelite’s journey as we continue to position ourselves individually and corporately to live boldly and experience God’s best.
Jan 7/8 – Now & Next
Jan 14/15 – Dauntless
Jan 21/22 – Within Reach
Jan 28/29 – Consecration