Success takes on many different forms because there are different ways of determining if you are successful or not. In Webster’s dictionary it states that it is “a favorable or desired outcome that has been met.” So success is determined by the person setting what the measurement and outcome is. Success is different according to your personal desire. If your goal is to be rich in earthly wealth then by attaining a lot of money, one could say that you are successful. But for those of us who follow Christ, seeking success means seeking God’s presence and asking the Lord to go with us and be at work in the details of our lives.
In the Book of Nehemiah, we find the story of Nehemiah returning to his homeland to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. His heart was heavy because of the destruction of Jerusalem by her enemies. It was not an easy road to travel. There were many obstacles to go through. But Nehemiah was praying at the very beginning and boldly asked the Lord for His favor and success in meeting with the king to get permission to go on this long trip. Nehemiah knew that he first needed to seek the Lord first because he didn’t want to attempt this if God wasn’t going to make it successful.
“O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me. Put it into his heart to be kind to me.” Nehemiah 1:11
There were many in opposition to Nehemiah. Eventually his enemies lost confidence because they realized they had been fighting God himself (Nehemiah 6:15-16). When God is in the mission, He will fight our battles for they are not ours but His to begin with.
In order to be successful, we need to first consult the Lord and make sure it is of His will. Then we can be confident to know that we are only called to follow His lead. Celebrating that kind of success is longer lasting because we serve and eternal God.
This Sunday we are continuing to “Hang Out with the Giants” from Hebrews 11. We will ask Isaiah to give us insight into his life as we strive to be all that God has called us to be.
May God find you successful today in all that you accomplish through Him.
Joy in Jesus!
What do you do when you get discouraged? Do you run toward God or do you run the other way? Jesus never promised that life would be without disappointments or discouraging situations. Knowing that fact sometimes doesn’t make the pain any better.
I made a new friend this week. I went over to his house to visit with him because he is not going many places these days. He has good days and bad days. You don’t know what kind of a day it will be until you get to it. For you see, he has been diagnosed with cancer that has moved to his bones. The doctors have given him a few months to live. As I was visiting with him I couldn’t help but think of how devastating that was when he got the initial news. No one wants to hear that kind of news. We have seen many things of that nature at our church. It doesn’t make it any easier to try to go through this with families. Each time is just as hard as the other. The one thing I do notice is that the one who has been diagnosed has more peace than anyone else. A lot of times they are the ones trying to help others through the outcome of their diagnosis. They know they are headed for a city where there is total freedom and an eternity to experience the peace of God. That is the kind of grace and peace that I want in life no matter what the diagnosis or circumstance that I am in.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4 (NLT)
The word used in the New Living Translation concerning the results of the testing of your faith is steadfastness. Other translations use words like patience, endurance, fortitude, and perseverance. The Apostle Paul says in Romans 5:3 that enduring suffering produces perseverance. There is an unwavering firmness that is present when you run toward God instead run away from God. He calls us to endure to the end. Life can get difficult but know that God is greater than anything period. We are called to wait on the Lord.
So as you are experiencing life, remember to “Wait patiently for the Lord; be strong and courageous. Wait patiently for the Lord” Psalm 27:14. As you wait for the Lord, He will give you what it is that you need to move through the mountain you are facing. So let me remind you that with God you can. Maybe you need to remind someone else of that simple fact today.
On Sunday we are going to Hang Out with Giants. After looking at the life of David, I decided to pick out different giants in the faith from Hebrews 11 and look into their life. God put these beautiful stories in the Bible to help us to learn from the best or maybe even the worst. Whichever the case, it’s going to be good. Also I wanted to let everyone know that our Nazarene Youth Conference students and adults have safely arrived home in the early morning hours. It will be good to hear what the Lord has been doing in their lives. Thank you for those who prayed for each one by name.
Joy in Jesus!
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." Matthew 7:7-8
There is no clearer promise than this in the Word of God that prayer will literally bring results. According to James 4:2, many times we don’t receive because we don’t ask. Matthew 7:9-11 goes on to say, 9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
There are a few things I would like for you to pray for. Pray for our Vacation Bible Adventure. Tonight will be our third night. Thursday night is the last night before we come back together on Sunday. Pray for strength and creativity for all of our leaders. There is excitement in the air as we all gather together. Part of the excitement is because our leaders are being used by God to pour into all the families who come into the church. This would not happen without our volunteers. Would you also pray for the children to hear the story of Jesus and what He has done for them? We are believing that this week will impact these children and change the course of their lives. Pray that some children will accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.
Pray for our group of 17 who are in Phoenix, Arizona for Nazarene Youth Conference. They left the church at 1:45am this morning to travel to Columbus to fly to Phoenix. It is going to be a life transforming week if we commit to praying for them. Let me list the names of those who are attending:
Adults: Ben Stanhope, Samantha Stanhope, Tracy Stults.
Teens: Hayden Carr, Lindsey Fark, Rachel Fark, Ally Heldman, Drew Heldman, Rosaline Hertenstein, Lei Melick, Rheanna Patterson, Olivia Rook, Rebecca Rook, Sophia Ruiz, Alauna Stults, Avery Stults, Noah Williams.
This is a great group from our church. Pray for each of them for the next week and let’s anticipate hearing what the Lord has done in their lives. Pray for their safe return a week from today.
One more thing to pray for, pray for our services on Sunday. Following the second service we will be enjoying an indoor picnic and lots of activities outside for our VBA Sunday Funday. Everyone is invited to stay and get to know each other better. I think of it as an extended family reunion. It is always good to fellowship together and hear what God is doing in other people’s lives. Don’t forget to bring a couple dishes for our potluck following the second service which will be held in the Family Life Center. The first service will be in the Worship Center.
Matthew 7 does not sound like asking for something and getting something entirely different. It is getting what we ask for. As we pray within the framework of God’s will, we can be absolutely certain that we will get what we ask for. There are many lives that will be impacted in a powerful way. Let’s truly believe in the power of prayer.
Joy in Jesus!
Starting on Monday, July 8, our church will be buzzing with excitement as we begin this year’s Vacation Bible Adventure. The theme is Power Up. It is going to be a power packed week as our kids gear up for a great week full of adventure. Please pray for our families who will be attending during this week. There are many families from our church but there will also be families who do not have a church home. Especially pray that they will sense the love of Jesus this week and will feel the wooing of God to return each week to grow together to the maturity of Christ.
Another exciting event is Nazarene Youth Conference that same week where we will have 14 teenagers attend this great conference. They will leave on Wednesday, July 10. Many teens in the past have made major life decisions on this trip by making Jesus the Lord of all of their life – past, present, and future. There are many who have even answered the call to full time ministry. Please remember our group who will be traveling to Phoenix, Arizona for this life changing event through July 16. Pastor Ben has been doing such a great job in connecting our teens to God and others. We are blessed to have him leading the charge.
These kinds of events cannot happen without a lot of planning and preparation. Pastor Tracy has done an awesome job of pulling a team together to go over the top with our Vacation Bible Adventure each year. We are so blessed to have a church full of people who love God and love others as Jesus calls us to. I know that there are lots of things to do whether it is behind the scenes or on the front lines. If you are able to help, then plan on attending a VBA meeting following the second service on Sunday. Most of all, pray. Pray for the Lord to move in a powerful way this week. We love to have fun with the kids but we love, more than anything, to see children and families come and meet Jesus and then walk in relationship with Him.
Summer is always a time of changing up the rhythm of our daily routines. This summer is no exception. Please be in prayer for the different events that are happening and continue to be the loving people God has called us to be. Thank you for serving the Lord with the passion He has given us.
May God richly bless you as you seek Him wherever He may be found.
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene