Jesus withdrew to pray

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Today the psychologists, the psychiatrists, the sociologists, the medical doctors, they will say that if you pour yourself out, expect to be depleted and the best thing to do is to get silence and solitude.  Really?  Isn’t it interesting there was one who lived 2000 years ago that followed that same pattern?  The life of Jesus was full of this – pouring himself out in ministry, then pulling away to rest and pray.  Pouring himself out, then pulling away.  Pouring himself out, then pulling away.

How are you doing at this?  Scott…you don’t understand…I have kids all under the age of 3…who like to eat at least times a day…and only seem to want to give me the chance to have separate hours of sleep at night!  Or Scott, you don’t understand…I’ve got a job, a business, and it takes everything I’ve got to make it successful.

I’m tracking with you. But I’m also trackingwith the one who’s life we are called to emulate.  And when we see a pattern in His life, it’s not really an option but more of a ‘do this.’ 

Take some time this week to press in with the Lord and ask Him to show you how to make time to pull away daily (spiritually and physically). Then, commit as a family that you will always take one day a week for your Sabbath. This will be a day to pull away and rest from our work, and focus on the Lord.  See what God does in your life as you follow Christ’s pattern in this!

Luke 5:16 But Jesus withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

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Posted in Prayer/Devotional Thoughts

2018 ISOM Discussion Notes

isom-2

Here’s a copy of the discussion notes for those in the class I’ll be teaching this weekend at the Indiana School Of Ministry.  Feel free to download them and use your tablet/phone/laptop or whatever to fill in the blanks.  Also, I’ve included our key list that we use to make our song list every week, along with a list of current ‘key’ songs we are using regularly.

Theology of Worship – ORD 301

2018 Teaching Handout Notes (doc)

2018 Teaching Handout Notes (pdf)

MASTER KEY LIST_current (doc)

Key Songs – Current (doc)

Posted in Prayer/Devotional Thoughts

Get a Word

I want to share something with you that I never caught before when studying the Christmas story.  Luke 1:38 (ESV) 38  And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.  More on this in a few sentences.

Back in November, the Lord put on my heart to encourage you to go into 2018 with a word from the Lord.  By this, I literally mean a Scripture from God that you can ‘hang your hat on’ in a sense as we enter this new year.  A Scripture for this specific season of your life.

So Mr. Pastor guy, how do I get one of those?  Great question!

1)         Get your word from the Bible!  Let’s embrace the Bible like it was meant to be embraced – God’s direct word to us.

2)         Let the Holy Spirit place a Scripture on your heart.  Maybe it will be a verse that I share a message on, or from a discussion in your Life Group.  Maybe it will be from a Christian book you might be reading.  Let me state the obvious here – the more of the Word you know, read, and hear, the more He’ll be able to speak a word to you!  There is no greater time than today to start some sort of regular Bible reading.  Why not start in Luke, one chapter a day?  Shoot me your questions as you read and I’ll try to answer them as we walk through this tremendous Gospel!

3)         Choose a Scripture until God leads you on.  Ok Scott, I’ve tried and tried to get a ‘word’ from God, but I’ve got nothing!!!  Relax.  Find a Scripture (reminder – all of it is for you) and simply start praying it…thinking (meditating) on it…talking about it.  Stick with that verse until God connects another verse or passage to your heart later on!

Listen, Mary didn’t 100% understand everything that was getting ready to happen, but she purposed in her heart to “let it be to me according to your word.”  She decided she didn’t have to have all the answers, she would just rest in these words from God given via the angel.  Let’s commit to do the same!

Posted in Pathway Thoughts, Prayer/Devotional Thoughts

Master the Mundane

master the mundane

Take a minute and think about your daily routine – things you do pretty much the same, day in and day out.  Isn’t it a challenge at times to see these regular ‘duties’ of life as exciting?  For instance, every morning I let Daisy the dog out and then give her food and water.  EVERY morning…that is the routine.  She hears me get up and then she dashes for the back door gleefully anticipating the opportunity to relieve herself (and roll around in the freshly dewed grass…giving her that wonderfully pungent wet dog aroma).  It’s not very exciting…it’s not very rewarding…but it is VERY important for the Miller family that this event happens regularly!

All of us have a routine we pretty much stick to from day to day, right?  Here comes the challenge – I must refuse to curse the seemingly mundaneness of my routine.  I heard it put this way – MASTER THE MUNDANE (idea taken from a talk by Pastor Jeff Manion, Ada Bible Church).  Embrace the ordinary.  Embrace the routine.  There is nothing wrong with shaking up the routine from time to time, but don’t discredit what God will do in you and through you as you keep the routine going…day in and day out.  I know your dream is bigger than your daily routine, but don’t curse what God is doing in you and through you as you stay faithful in the seemingly small things.  God is using your routine.

And remember this, you are in good company.  Samuel did the same thing, year after year:

1 Samuel 7:15-17  15 Samuel continued as Israel’s judge for the rest of his life. 16 Each year he traveled around, setting up his court first at Bethel, then at Gilgal, and then at Mizpah. He judged the people of Israel at each of these places. 17 Then he would return to his home at Ramah, and he would hear cases there, too. And Samuel built an altar to the Lord at Ramah.

Posted in Pathway Thoughts, Prayer/Devotional Thoughts

Worship Singing

worship spelled out

Worship.  Specifically the time of worship singing on any given Sunday.  In the past 30 years churches have split over how this portion of the service was handled.  Contemporary, traditional, liturgical, etc, most everyone has a thought or preference on how this portion of the service should go! 

One thing I appreciate about you church is your willingness to just worship.  Sure our style at Pathway leans more toward what most would call ‘contemporary,’ but even when we bring in something more traditional, you still worship.  Why?  B/c it’s not about your favorite style or my favorite style, it’s about a God who is worthy of worship and praise.  It’s about a God who sent His only son to come to earth to die for my sins…and if He never did another thing for us…He is already worthy of praise! 

Think about this – in the month of April, our time of worship singing was led:

  • by a middle aged balding lead pastor guy who has been leading worship at Pathway off and on since it’s inception as a church. 
  • by a fiery soul filled skinny jeans wearing millennial guest worship leader who seamlessly led along with our team (Stephen Witt).
  • by a senior in High school who led us in a round of jumping higher, clapping louder, shouting louder, etc. than we had before, celebrating our freedom in Jesus.
  • by about 300 voices singing in the dark with no amplification at all b/c we had no power! 

Worship isn’t and can’t be about a style.  Worship has to be about exalting our God, who is alive, and deserving of all our praise! 

Posted in Pathway Thoughts

Helmet/Hope of Salvation

helmet of salvation

August 4, 1995, was the day I married Megan.  On that day I was declared married in the eyes of the state of Indiana.  Today, I am no more and no less married than I was on August 4, 1995.  I am just…well…married.  But I assure you I am a different person and have a different marriage today than I did back on that Friday night in 1995.  Why?  Because we’ve had many amazing, challenging, stretching, humorous, heartbreaking, faith building, faith draining events happen in our journey through marriage together.  All of which have formed our marriage bond into what it is today!

In the same way, the day you surrendered your life to the lordship and leadership of Jesus Christ was the day your life was changed forever.  You are just as saved today as you were on that day.  You will never be more or less saved, you are just…well…saved.  But be assured that God’s desire for you is to be growing in holiness and righteousness as part of the process of your salvation, or what we call sanctification.  His desire is that every year you serve Him you end up looking more like Him!

This embodies the idea of what it looks like to take up the helmet of salvation.  There is a definite work of salvation that happened to you that initial moment when you were redeemed.  But as you take up the helmet of salvation, you are committing to the continual process of your salvation as well, becoming more and more like Jesus in your thoughts and actions.  Holding on to the hope of our ultimate ‘salvation’ when we will be with Him and like Him in Glory!  THIS IS OUR HOPE!

Posted in Message Replay, Prayer/Devotional Thoughts

Breastplate of Righteousness

righteousnessWearing the breastplate of righteousness involves walking securely in your imputed positional righteousness by virtue of the cross.  You didn’t earn this.  You didn’t do anything to deserve this.  But God in His love placed your sin on Jesus as he died for us on the cross!  We then take on HIS righteousness as we repent of our sin and put our faith in Him for our salvation.  Meditate for a few moments on this verse of Scripture – 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV) 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Wearing the breastplate of righteousness also means coming clean with God in your practice of practical righteousness by feeding your spirit with the Word of God and committing to obey it.  Let’s be very careful that as a church, in our desire to get away from the legalism of the past, we don’t abandoned holiness!  We are grace people, absolutely.  But that doesn’t negate the call for everyday decisions that bring us into holiness.  This is what we call practical righteousness.  It’s what Paul mentioned in Ephesians 4:24 (NIV) 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.  Take a minute to meditate on this verse.

Posted in Prayer/Devotional Thoughts
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