Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A Thanksgiving Heart - Barbara Johnson

Happy Thanksgiving!!! We are so excited to have our very own Barbara Johnson as our guest blogger today.  Barbara is the wife of Vic Johnson, Pastor of Cares.  She is the mother of three children...Adam, Andrew and Kara, and Gangy (Grandmother) to four precious littles.   If you haven't had the chance to meet her, you're going to want to find her and introduce yourself!! Barbara has a love for Jesus that oozes onto everyone she comes in contact with.  

A Thanksgiving Heart

I’m not a writer. I know and love really good writers. I’m (unfortunately) not one of them. But, OHHHHH, do I have a grateful heart. 

This past year GOD has brought so many blessings to my life for which I’m thankful. 2017 has been chocked full of the sweetest gifts from the loving hand of FATHER.  I could not possibly describe them all adequately.   

The end of 2016...not so much...

A year ago, this month, I survived: 

**An incredibly stressful new job start (3-weeks intensive training with 20 hour days...averaging 3-4 hours sleep each night.) 

**The difficult delivery of a precious new grandson that Drs. gave bleak hope of a full recovery. 

**Our daughter being re-admitted to the hospital with a serious infection brought on by this difficult delivery.

**And I’m beginning the new job where I fly all over the country for 3 days out of every week.

Anyone feeling cheerful yet?

But GOD....

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship GOD acceptably with reverence and awe,”  
Hebrews 12:28 (NIV)

This is one of the scripture passages for November that our precious Shannon has encouraged us to “write out.”  I had never participated in the “write out the scripture” thingy (thingy’s a good word.)  What a blessing it has been, to not only read and drink in GOD’s Holy Word, but write it out.  I’m hooked, now.

Let’s do some more “drinking”....

“Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before GOD.” (The Message)
I love the note from the Life Application Bible...
“Eventually the world will crumble, and only God’s kingdom will last.  Those who follow Christ are part of this unshakable kingdom, and they will withstand the shaking, sifting, and burning....No matter what happens here, our future is built on a solid foundation that cannot be destroyed.”

And The Teacher’s Commentary, by Lawrence Richards...
“And so the writer promises us that God will guide us into an experience of His holiness.  At times our way may seem difficult.  But so was Jesus’ way.  Through it all, we are assured of the Father’s changeless love.”

And, finally, Life Application-New Testament Commentary...
“Because we have this kind of kingdom, we should be thankful and worship God with holy fear and awe.  When we truly worship God, we do it all the time--not just in a Sunday morning worship service...True worship includes every action of every day,”

Thinking through Hebrews 12:28, and how GOD restored my November of 2016 “exceeding, abundantly, beyond all I could hope or imagine”, has left me ashamed that I ever doubted HIS great goodness in my life.  This Thanksgiving certainly holds new meaning for me.  

**Two days ago, a perfect, sun-drenched, fall day...not a cloud in the sky...I had the breathtaking view of GOD’s Grand Canyon at 30,000 feet.  The other flight attendants and I had taken care of our passengers, and were just gazing out the back galley windows.  I had to stop and silently tell FATHER “thank You” for His incredible creation.  Did I mention I was getting paid for this tough new job?  GOD really does bless and love me so perfectly.  

**There’s also a precious, gorgeous, smart, one-year-old; that all his doctors proclaim to be PERFECT....that I cannot live without.  I kiss him regularly and A LOT.  He has a mother that loves to worship GOD, and lead others to do the same. Both are perfectly healthy and whole. Thankful!!!  Soooo very, very, thankful.

2017 has been a year where my perfect FATHER has told me gently over and over how much HE loves me. How carefully HE cares for all my needs.  And that HE “never ever no not ever” leaves me alone.  

This December four big parts of my “heart” are moving to Boston when our son starts a new job there.  I will remain faithful to The ever faithful ONE...even in December. GOD can be trusted, and I choose gratefulness.

“FATHER, my prayer for all of us is that we may worship thankfully and faithfully no matter what tomorrow brings.  Because we are part of Your kingdom that cannot be shaken. Glory!!  Amen”

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Well - Where Women Journey Together

The Well
Where Women Journey Together

The Well exists to bring women together quarterly for a time to step aside from the every day rush and connect with the Father.  Just as the woman at the well, our desire is that we would be able to worship in Spirit and Truth, draw near and listen as He speaks to our hearts, and then be filled as we carry His love to the world.

But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. -John 4:14

Are you feeling a bit empty?

The Well is a place to meet Jesus face to face. You are free to meet with Him in whatever way He asks. We are going to lead you in a night of worship but you are free to come as you are and do whatever you need to connect with God. You can sing, kneel, pray at the altar, journal, take communion, or anything else you feel led to do. There won't be a lot of instruction. We want you to do what is best for you. Every one is different. We want you to be comfortable so that you can hear from God in the best way for you. So bring your Bible and journal and meet us at The Well. Matthew 5:6 says that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled!! Come be filled!

We want to create a safe, predictable, and sacred place for women to come to the feet of Jesus at The Well.  Therefore, you can expect to experience some of the same elements each time we gather together. These elements will be free flowing throughout the night.

The Well will always have Worship:

This will be an intimate time to connect with God’s heart. We want to allow Him to speak through lyrics and creativity during our time in worship with Him. We know He has some things He wants to share with us.

The Well will always include Prayer and God’s Word:

We will allow time for you to spend in prayer with Jesus. To seek Him, listen to Him, and cast your burdens upon Him. Feel free to get away with the Father and let Him speak to you or pray with others for your needs or their needs as well.  

Clay Cistern – an area where you can come and find journaling paper/pen.             Whether it be a praise, a prayer, laying down a strongholdyou are welcome to place it in the cistern or take it with you.

Scripture Cards - The Father wants to speak to you through his word. It is alive and active!  There will be a bowl with cards next to the cistern. Take one of these cards with you.

The Well will always include a TIME TO REMEMBER:

We want to remember what Christ did for us on the cross and allow you to experience Communion at the right time for you. During worship feel free to go to one of the designated areas when you feel led to have this time between you and the Father.

Our hurried hearts are starving for peace.
Our scattered minds are longing for rest.
Our weary souls are desperatefor Jesus.

See you at THE WELL
September 14th, 2017
7:00 pm
TCAL Campus

Thursday, August 31, 2017

September in the Scripture

What’s in a Name?

Summer 2017 is almost behind us, the kiddos have started another school  year, and soon fall will be in the air.  This season is a busy one for all of us, and life is messy, but let’s continue investing time together in the Word of God. We are excited for our “September in the Scriptures” series: The Names of God.  We encourage you to carve out a few quiet moments in your day to read, write, ponder, and pray over the daily passages.

This summer I read a great book called, “God’s Smuggler” by Brother Andrew. It is the true story of an ordinary man from Holland who became a Christian missionary.  After the Cold War, he was shocked to learn many Christians in Communist countries had maybe 1 Bible for an entire city, and many governments had confiscated or burned Bibles.  He made it his mission to smuggle Bibles into these countries because he could not fathom a Christian without a Bible.  It was an extremely dangerous mission, but he was willing to die to get the Word of God to Christians under persecution.

We are so privileged in our country and generation to be able to freely open and read our Bibles without fear. Brother Andrew understood for the Christian, the Bible is our life manual.  It is not just a collection of words, but it is our daily bread from which our souls are nourished.  It gives us direction, correction, hope, and encouragement.  Most importantly, we catch a glimpse of its Author, the Creator of the heavens and earth, and Our Heavenly Father, Our Savior.

For this reason, we are going to journey together this month in our Bibles to study the names of God. It will be life changing.  Unfortunately in our culture, there have been so many misunderstandings of who exactly God is, what He represents, and His character. We believe by studying the names of God, we will better learn about who God says He is.  This month you will discover in your Bible reading one of God’s names, “El Shaddai,” the All Sufficient One, and “Jehovah Jireh,” your provider.  He describes Himself as having the gentle nature of a lamb, but also, the ferocious power of a lion.  You will discover God’s heart, His essence, His glory, and His power.  He is the great I AM!  So, what’s in a name?  By the end of this month, we will all be able to declare God’s name is, “EVERYTHING!"

For those desiring further study, we recommend the following books:

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

What Does the Bible Say About Prayer?

Cannot believe August is here!  We hope your summer has been full of family, friends, and fun in the sun. Have you been following along with the “Summer in the Scriptures” series?  If not, it’s not too late to grab your Bible, your journal, and some sweet tea as we end out the summer studying prayer.

So, what does the Bible say about prayer?
I’m glad you asked!  For many, prayer can be intimidating or uncomfortable.  Maybe you don’t know what to say, how to pray, or even the purpose of prayer?  I’ve experienced all of those, so if you find yourself in this position, you are in good company.  I’ve learned through my journey with God that I often make things much more complicated than He ever intended them to be. 

In Matthew 18:2, Jesus exhorts the disciples to change and become like little children. One of the sweetest things on this side of heaven is hearing a child pray.  I love hearing my children pray at bedtime.  Even my two year old daughter the other night made her request known to the Lord, “Dear God, please let us go swimming tomorrow, and go to Makenna’s house. In Jesus name, Amen.”  We can learn so much from children and their simple faith.  Did you know The Lord loves hearing you, His child pray to Him, too?  He wants us to come to Him with a simple child-like faith. He’s not looking for anything fancy; He just bids you to come. 

I love this quote by Oswald Chambers, “Prayer is the way the life of God is nourished.” A healthy prayer life is vital for us as believers.  Let’s all together plan daily time this month to work through the scriptures by pressing pause on our busy summer schedules to pray.  I know He will meet us individually and collectively during our prayer time. 

Lynzee Bolton

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Every Day Freedom

Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.” 1 Peter 2:16

I was sitting on the front row of the sanctuary when I felt the Holy Spirit tug at my heart. I was 9 years old and I knew I wanted Jesus in my heart so I could follow Him. I accepted Christ that day and became a new creation in Him. My life had full access to freedom in Christ from that day forward. I lived free, not using this freedom to cover up evil and I was only a slave to God up until today. Easy, huh? Ok, ok… not so much. I did accept Christ that day and I am free. However, the years following have looked a little different. I didn’t realize at 9 years of age the full measure of grace that I would need in the years to come. I didn’t fully see the amount of effort Satan would exert to keep me in the chains that he loves to wrap around us. To live out this freedom that Christ offers us is much harder than it sounds, isn’t it?

As I look at this wonderful freedom we have as children of God, it is the misuse of it that I find the most interesting and most difficult to swallow.  I don’t know about you, but it is so disappointing when I find out after the fact that I missed out on something BIG because I just didn’t know.  I hate when I’ve caught myself saying, “If I only knew, I would have done that differently.”  But here’s the thing. We do know that this freedom is ours and we misuse it. EVERY. DAY.  So, if this is an every day problem, we need an every day solution.

We have to choose FREEDOM every day. Let’s go on this journey together through the month of July. Let’s write out scriptures that lead us to understand what keeps us in bondage and wrapped up in chains. Let’s begin to break free every day from those things in our lives once and for all. EVERY DAY let us break free from these things that Satan puts in front of us. Let’s choose to live as free people. Let’s choose to use our freedom as God intended for us! We are only slaves to Jesus, free slaves that twirl around in love and contentment no matter our circumstances!

I pray that over the next month you and Jesus will walk together, that He will reveal the things in your life that keep you from His freedom. Below are the verses that we will be writing out together and meditating on each day. We look forward to what God is going to do in all of us.