DO PEACE AND BUSYNESS MIX?

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

This past Sunday, as we were on our way to church, my Dad happened to turn on a podcast discussion. They were talking about peace and what it should look like for Christians if we are truly living in peace. It was very interesting to me because as I look around at the world and culture we live in, I don’t see very much peace.

Everyone is so busy. We are always going somewhere to do something.

While those things are not in themselves bad, we elevate them on our priority list. What happens then, is we start to make those things more important than our time with Jesus, praying, and studying His Word.

My question to you is this; have you filled your life full of stuff to do that are you are constantly tired and feel like you are never at rest or feel at peace?

Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.”

Do you have time to just sit and be still before Jesus? Just to be in His presence with no distractions?

As they were talking about peace, I thought of one of my favorite quotes.

It’s by Elisabeth Elliot who once said, “One reason we are so harried and hurried is that we make yesterday and tomorrow our business. When all that legitimately concerns us is today. If we really have too much to do, there are some items on the agenda which God did not put there. Let us submit the list to Him and ask Him to indicate which items we must delete. There is always time to do the will of God. If we are too busy to do that, we are too busy.”

I think that a lot of us read that quote and cringe. We realize that there are some items on our agenda we know God didn’t place there, but instead that we signed up for. Is the item necessarily bad? No, not at all.

However, it may not be what God wants you to be busy with.

I know that there have been times in my own life where God did not let me feel at rest with what I was choosing to do with my time; because that’s simply not what He had planned for me.

Listen guys, He gives us pretty clear hints.

If it’s not where your supposed to be, He will make it hard for you to do.  I think He’s hoping we will get the hint, that maybe our choice is not a part of His will.

No wonder we are always running everywhere, and we don’t have peace. We are trying to do all of those things because WE want to.

Isaiah 26:12 says, “Lord, you will grant us peace; all we have accomplished is really from you.”

Jesus wants us to live in peace. He doesn’t want us to be so busy with other things that we miss out on spending time with Him.

You see, peace actually comes from spending intimate time with our Savior. It comes from living in His presence.

I want to challenge you with this… Are you busy doing the things that the Lord has told you to do in your quiet times with Him? Or are you busy with the things the world says you should spend your life doing?

It’s a very big question that we must ask ourselves so that we don’t spend our whole lives doing stuff that doesn’t really matter.

Corrie Ten Boom once said, “In the center of a hurricane there is absolute peace and quiet. There is no safer place than in the center of the will of God.”

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What is one thing that you may need to give up in order to do what God is calling you to?

= Is this topic of busyness and peace something you struggle with?

= What has Jesus been teaching you lately?

LOOK BESIDE YOU

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Have you ever wanted to share the Gospel but didn’t know how or where? Maybe you have had the intention of telling someone about Jesus, but you just don’t have any clue when or where to do it.

Let me tell you, that’s ok! As we discuss this topic further, what I want you to do is give that frustration, of not knowing how or where to share the Gospel, to Jesus. Trust me, it’ll help you focus on what I am about to share.

This past week, we had our annual Church Camp. A couple days before our camp week started, the Children’s Director at my church asked me, my sister Madie, and one of my best friends, to share the Gospel with the 5th and 6th graders in the class she was teaching at camp.

Of course, we said yes! (Now you might be thinking, “Lilly, that’s crazy! Why in the world did you say yes?” I know it sounds crazy! But it’s what God calls all Christians to do.)

Before we shared the Gospel with the kids though, I always like to start with asking the question, “How can I pray for you?” I took three prayer requests and had different people pray for them.

One girl was in foster care and didn’t know if someone was ever going to adopt her. Another girl had been terribly abused and removed from her home. One boy was worried about his dad’s back and his health.

These were 5th and 6th graders, Y’all! Those are some heavy burdens these kids are carrying!

What truly amazed me though, was that the kid sitting next to them had no idea they were dealing with that. No clue.

It made me stop and think, how often do we sit next to someone whether it be in school, or a restaurant, and never offer to listen to what they are going through and pray for them. We have no clue, and they were right beside us.

Psalm 96:2-3 says, “Sing to the Lord; praise His name. Each day proclaim the good news that He saves. Publish His glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things He does.”

Jesus has entrusted us with a very important job! We are to proclaim that He saves every day!

We don’t have to think about good places to share the Gospel or speak of Jesus. Just do it with the people right beside you. God has put those people in your life so that you can pray for them and share Jesus with them!

Out of this class of 5th and 6th graders, two kids recommitted their lives to the Lord, and one gave her life to the Lord for the very first time!! Isn’t that amazing?!

David Jeremiah once said, “Share the Gospel. According to the Bible, it is every believer’s privilege and responsibility to share the Gospel. If we understand what lies ahead for those who do not know Christ, there will be sense of urgency in our witness.”

As Christians, we should have an urgency for the people who are beside us when we are going about our day.

Another really exciting thing, was that the next day (Thursday), we got to take a few of the kids out into the surrounding communities to share the Gospel. The kids in that class felt empowered and excited to share their faith after seeing the simple method and tools we use.

As we went out, my team saw a garage sale sign, so we walked up to the sale and two women were sitting in their garage. We asked them how we could pray for them, and the one woman said her daughter had just committed suicide earlier this year because of bullying.

It was a very special moment as we stood there and prayed for her. She had tears streaming down her face as we were wrapping up. Both of them were so thankful that we had stopped by, and said that they had been wondering where God was in the midst of this awful situation and now they knew He is with them!

Again, I thought, how many times do we go to garage sales or the grocery store and never know what the people around us are going through or dealing with. These women were right beside us. We would have never known about their struggle if we hadn’t asked them.  

If you are reading this and have no idea how to share the Gospel clearly, and you feel like it’s too hard, please send me a comment down below. I would love to share an amazing tool that makes sharing Jesus so easy!

God will use you, I promise! Just look beside you. I’m sure you’ll find somebody who needs Him!

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What do you think you need to do after reading this post?

= Who is beside you that you know needs Jesus? Are you going to share the Gospel with them?

= What stuck out to you after reading this?

# WORTH IT

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

June 27th, 2019 will forever be one of my favorite memories. I had gotten up really early that morning because my dad and I were headed to a seminary for the day to take the students of a class out of the building to pray with people and share the Gospel.

I went out on a morning team and then came back to the seminary for lunch. During lunch, I got a text from one of my best friends, Isabelle, who is apart of The Few (our Bible Study group), and she asked me if it was ok to bring her cousin to our Bible study meeting that night.

She shared with me that she didn’t think that her cousin had given her life to the Lord, or even had any girls around her that would help her and encourage her to follow Jesus.

I said that she was more than welcome, and so that night she came to our Bible Study. We talked a little bit and got to know each other and then we walked her through the Gospel and we each told her how this “Jesus thing” has changed each of our lives personally.

You could sense that she was really listening and open, and that the Lord was moving in her heart. I asked her if she wanted to give her life to Jesus and turn from her sin and she said yes!

She prayed, and then we all prayed over her, and it was a very powerful experience! Over the past couple weeks, she has continued to come to our Bible Study nights, and she and Isabelle have been going through the book of John together every day! We have been meeting two times a week because we are all so excited that once a week isn’t enough!

We can’t wait to pray and worship, and study God’s Word together and just discuss and share the things that we are going though and dealing with. Her conversion has encouraged me in my faith, and she has taught me so much about what it’s truly supposed to look like when you are serious about living for Jesus.

I asked her what some of the things were that she has chosen to turn away from since giving her life to Jesus and this is what she said…

 “I have chosen to give up most of the music I typically would listen to, and I’ve started listening to more Christian music. I also chose to give up the way that I talk to people, which was definitely a great change. Not only do I talk about Jesus more often, but I also feel like I am more respectful with my words. Along with music, I also chose to give up some of the YouTubers that I would normally watch.”

How awesome is that?!?!

That just shows me that she is serious about this Jesus thing and I often think that as believers we take repentance and turning away from worldly things very lightly.

She has also asked so many great questions about forgiveness and how to look at others like Christ does, and she is genuinely applying these things to her life.

I tell you this because I truly believe that Jesus is worth it.

He is worth all of the hard work.

He is worth the scheduling conflicts and preparing studies and lessons.

He is worth EVERYTHING simply because He is God.

A.W. Tozer once said this, “Accepting Jesus Christ, receiving Jesus Christ into your life means that you have made an attachment to the person of Christ that is revolutionary in that it reverses the life and transforms it completely. It is an attachment to the person of Christ. It is complete in that it leaves no part of the life unaffected. It exempts no area of the life of the total man; his total being.”

Jesus leaves no part of our lives unaffected when we have actually made a choice to follow Him, even if it means that we have to give up everything.

So, my question to you is this… Is Jesus worth it to you?

Have you chosen to listen to God honoring music because you want to please God with what you listen to? Has He changed the way you look at people, and the way you talk to them?

Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

If we are seeking Jesus above all else, then He will affect the shows we watch, and the way we talk, and everything in between. No part of our lives should be unaffected by Jesus!

It’s so worth it to follow Jesus and see others lives changed because of Jesus and what He did on the cross!

God is moving, get ready!

“Worthy are you, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for you created all things, and because of your will they existed, and were created.”    Revelation 4:11

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Would you be willing to drop everything if Jesus asked you right now without thinking about it?

= How has Jesus affected your life?

= Are you seeking Jesus first?

= What TV shows, music, activities, etc. do you need to give up or change to honor Jesus?

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!! THE FEW OUTREACH DAY!!

Guess what?!?! We are going to have an outreach day! Whoop whoop!

Now you may be wondering what this “Outreach Day” entails. We are going to have a time of worship and prayer together, and then you will sit in on a simple and easy training that will show you how to pray for someone out in the community. If the Holy Spirit leads, you will also know how to walk someone through the gospel!

I promise you can do it; so don’t be nervous. Then you will go out on a team of 4 or 5 people, with a leader who has already been out and done this. If you have never done something like this before, you can just watch and have fun with your group!

After that we will listen to the different and fun experiences everyone had on their teams and then fellowship together. Yes, there will be lunch! We would love to have you join us!

THE DETAILS:

When: AUGUST 10TH

Where: PLEASANT VIEW MISSIONARY CHURCH, 5231 Gettysburg-Pitsburg Rd. Greenville, OH 45331

Time: WE WILL START AT 8:30AM AND END AROUND 1:00PM

 P.S. LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENT SECTION IF YOU ARE ABLE TO COME SO THAT WE CAN GET A COUNT FOR TEAMS AND FOOD

EVERYDAY CHURCH

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

In our last post, “Where Did Church Go Wrong”, we looked at how the Church has gotten hung up on human traditions and philosophy and has lost Jesus along the way. Today, I thought it would be interesting to do a follow up post and examine how the Church can get back on track, and what it’s supposed to look like if we are genuinely following Jesus.

I have met many Christians who have given their life over to the Lord and then say something like this, “Well what now? How am I supposed to live? How can I do this whole “Jesus thing” right?”

Guess what? I can’t tell you, because I often ask myself the very same thing. I don’t have this secret formula for living this thing out perfectly. I mess it up just like you and everyone else.

However, I believe that Jesus has given us a primary channel through which we can learn how to live, listen to what He says, and obey wholeheartedly. The Bible is the place where He can speak to us if we give Him our time. So, let’s take a look at God’s Word, and see what He has to say about how we are supposed to live this thing out and get going in the right direction…

1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

WE are a chosen race. WE are a royal priesthood. WE are a holy nation. WE are a people for His possession. Why? So that WE may proclaim the praises of Jesus!

What I take away from that verse is that if we are really wanting to live this thing out, then we are going to…

1.  Talk about Him. You won’t be able to help it. You will want to proclaim His praises to anyone that will listen.

It’s the same thing for the whole Church. If your Church is longing to make Jesus #1 in everything, then it’s going to talk about Him at every event, program, and gathering.

A.W. Tozer once said, ”What’s closest to your heart is what you talk about, and if God is close to your heart, you will talk about Him.”

Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship.”

So according to that verse we will…

2. We will offer ourselves to God as a living sacrifice. In order that He may use us in whatever way He chooses. This verse is saying that when you’re a living sacrifice for God, then that means you are willing to give up your time, your money, your possessions, literally everything.

Being a living sacrifice is to abandon yourself completely. Because Jesus sometimes calls us to give up everything for the sake of the Gospel. See Luke 14:33, Matt. 6:33, or Matt. 16:24

David Platt once said, “My prayer is that people will see that following Jesus costs you everything you are and everything you have. And my prayer is that people will see that Jesus is worth it.”

Main idea: If Jesus was #1 in every single Christians life and in all of our Churches, then we probably wouldn’t see what we do in the world today.

So, make Jesus #1 in your life and watch others catch on to the idea. One of my best friends has started to pray before and after every one of her sporting events with her teammates. Two men in our church started a Bible study/prayer time once a week with a couple of the guys they work with every day.

3. It all truly boils down to discipleship and if you are pouring yourself into other people.

That’s what it looks like when you apply those verses to everyday life. When you start living like that, suddenly you are not living for the mundane, “normal life” stuff, but instead you are living for your eternal destination!

Be the Church when you’re at the grocery store! Show Jesus when you are working. Start small groups that will reach others with the Gospel. That’s Church gone right!

Jesus calls us to be intentional in the little and big things we do in our everyday life. Jesus didn’t want to become a “weekend” thing.

He calls us to open our eyes to see the waitress at the restaurant we eat at on Tuesday, or the guy collecting the carts at Walmart when we go shopping on Friday. You never know what they may be going through or dealing with.

When we start doing everyday Church, that’s what will change the world.

“It is the whole business of the whole Church to preach the whole Gospel to the whole world.”  -Charles Spurgeon

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What are your thoughts after reading this post?

= Who do you think you could pray for this week?

= Do you have any other ideas about how you could do everyday Church in your own life?

WHERE DID CHURCH GO WRONG?

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

As my family and I have done ministry across the United States, I have come to realize that many churches are dying off. So many of the leaders are discouraged. They can’t get any new people in their doors; especially young people. No matter how many programs they try, they cannot grow.

Why? Where did we go wrong? What did we mess up?

Well, let’s take a look at Colossians 2:8-10 which says, “Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elements of the world, rather than Christ. For the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily in Christ, and you have been filled by Him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.” CSB

So based off that verse, could this be where Church went wrong?

  1. We have made Christianity and Church all about philosophy and human tradition based on what the world says and even looks like.
  2. Once we did that, we lost the true nature of Christ. We forgot that it’s about Jesus and advancing His kingdom.

Look at all the areas where Christians get together to worship Jesus in secret because of persecution; they’re thriving! New people are coming in willing to risk jail, torture, and even their own lives! They are making new believers because they are not silent, despite a great cost.

Why?

Because they know that it’s about Jesus and not about routine and rituals! They know that they have been filled with the Holy Spirit and have power!

That’s why they are packing their homes and the other places they meet.

However, there is a bold truth that the American Church doesn’t want to hear… Once you start making Church a chore and all about tradition and philosophy, people will STOP coming. Why? Because you have lost what they actually NEED, in an attempt to give them what you think they WANT.

Richard Greene, Keystone Discipleship Project founder, once said, “What you win them by is what you win them to.” So, if we win people into our church by entertainment & flashy programs, then we are winning them to a false, and very shallow faith.

Leonard Ravenhill once said, “The church that is man-managed instead of God-governed is doomed to failure. A ministry that is college-trained, but not Spirit-filled, works no miracles.”

Church went wrong when we lost Jesus!

You see, we put so much effort and time into developing programs or events like Easter egg hunts, movie nights, Vacation Bible Schools, or youth overnights and then forget to even leave time to share the Gospel. We neglect to share the single most important thing with folks because we don’t have time in the business of “church”.

Guys! This is our reality, and we need to wake up to it!

David Platt once said this, “We have a dangerous tendency to misunderstand, minimize, and even manipulate the Gospel in order to accommodate our assumptions and our desires.”

To put it plainly, a lot of Christians do not grasp the power of Jesus and what He did for us on the cross. Many do not understand or appreciate their Salvation that came through the blood shed on Calvary!

I mean, people in the persecuted church are walking miles and miles on foot to worship Jesus in secret! While the American church is complaining about how hard it is to get in our cars and drive a couple minutes to 2nd service!

Our persecuted brothers and sisters truly appreciate Jesus, and what He did for them. They count it a privilege to walk a few miles in the crazy heat to worship Him! They actually long to worship Jesus!

If only the American church could get back to her first love and ditch the whole man-made tradition and routine idea. Only then, will we experience Him and His holy presence and begin to see an ushering in of repentance poured out among the nations of this sinful world.

“You never have to advertise a fire. Everyone comes running when there’s a fire. Likewise, if your church is on fire, you will not have to advertise it. The community will already know it.”    -Leonard Ravenhill

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

~Do you genuinely understand and appreciate your Salvation?

~How can you help your church get back to Jesus and the only true purpose of church?

~Are you on fire? Do other people see that?

A CALL TO BIBLICAL OBEDIENCE AND HOLY LIVING

(Guest post by: Pastor Gerald Steele)

Thank you, Lilly, for inviting me to share a few thoughts on your blog. I’m honored! I love the emphasis on “The Few” and your call for others like yourself to live a life of “reckless abandon for the Lord.”

 Your call for THE FEW to remain faithful to God in the midst of cultural relativism is necessary and applaudable. In my lifetime, I have witnessed like never before the erosion of Biblical authority. Biblical absolutes are considered obsolete.

Unfortunately, many who claim to be born again followers of Jesus Christ have allowed the world to squeeze them into its mould (See J.B. Phillips paraphrase of Romans 12:1-2).

Christians here in the West have adopted practices that are identical to their non-Christian counterparts. They lie, cheat, cuss, have sex before marriage, drink, exhibit addictive behaviors, divorce etc., but show up at church on Sunday morning like all is well with their souls.

 Something is blatantly wrong. There are obviously some major disconnects!

 If I understand my Bible correctly, we are saved FROM our SINS and not IN them. That doesn’t mean we don’t occasionally stumble and fall, but rather that when we do, we get up quickly and move forward in our walk with Jesus. We don’t embrace sinful behaviors, we do our best to avoid them and the Holy Spirit is our Helper.

The current recruiting slogan for the United States Marine Corps is: The Few. The Proud. To be a Marine, you have to learn self-discipline, submission to authority, commitment, endurance, loyalty and integrity.

 The Bible also calls us to similar character traits. For example, David in Psalm 15:1-2 gives us a useful question and a clear response when he writes, “Who may worship in your sanctuary, LORD? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts.”

Pastor Scott Harris puts these two verses in the form of three short preaching points. True worshippers who have access into the presence of God: WALK in integrity, WORK acts of righteousness, and speak truthful WORDS.

In other words, what ushers us into the presence of a HOLY GOD is a HOLY HEART.

However, God invites the FEW to “hitch their holiness to the harvest.” Genuine followers of Jesus are missional in their thinking.

 They know that God never invited us to a “holy huddle,” but rather to make disciples, who will make disciples. God’s objective for us as Christ followers has always been to “bring many children into glory.” Hebrews 2:10. NLT

For the past nearly fourteen years, I have had the joyous privilege of working with an unreached people group in northern Mozambique in East Africa. God has blessed this ministry. Today there are nearly 60,000 disciples that have been made and 1,500 churches that have been planted.

 As I have worked with these first-generation disciples, I have been amazed at their ability to embrace and obey the Bible, break from sin, commit to serious prayer, and their total commitment to winning the lost and discipling new Christians.

This is not something radical in light of the New Testament. Jesus chose a FEW. The FEW reached the MASSES. As a result, the Kingdom of God grew! Do it again Lord!