A Word from Pastor Mike:
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Before starting this week’s devotional, my heart is FULL of gratitude. First of all, thank you, Jesus! We are seeing lives changed at our church, God’s presence is becoming GREATER and we are truly saying – O, GOD DID IT! Also, thank you to so many people in our church, ministry partners, friends and others that have helped us in many ways – especially with needed improvements at our church facility!
Last Sunday, at the beginning of the message: Purpose with Power II (Acts 2) – we looked at using GIFTS God has given us. When we come to salvation and give our LIVES to Jesus, we become brand new and the Holy Spirit (Comforter) is with us. However, the purpose is to help us to LIVE a LIFE of integrity and BOLDLY share God's LOVE to others. When someone receives a present at Christmas or their birthday or anniversary, it becomes their property. But to be of any use, the present needs to be unwrapped and then used for its purpose.
At the beginning of the sermon this past Sunday, I gave my mom a wrapped anniversary gift. My mother cannot put the gift to use unless she opens it and uses the gift. Inside was an anniversary card, pictures of my six year old daughter, Katelyn, picture of my two year old son, Caleb, and a twenty dollar bill (every grandma likes pictures of their grandchildren). We all realize, that the twenty dollar bill is only “worth” if it is used. Too many people settle for just making heaven or doing the minimum as Christians. God does not want us to settle for surviving and doing just enough to make heaven. HE is looking for us to THRIVE – to be ALL IN and to be LIVING SACRIFICES!
Currently, we have been looking at our purpose as a church and building God’s church. We have used one main statement:
WE ARE MESSED UP PEOPLE CONNECTING TO A PERFECT LOVING GOD THAT IS TRANSFORMING OUR LIVES AND WE ARE PROCLAIMING OF WHAT HE IS DOING.
Or in short: from Messed up to Blessed up! (in Jesus)
The power of the Gospel (good news of Jesus), is that He changes lives that seem impossible to transform!
I close this week’s devotional with this story I recently read:
Step Up to God's Banquet Table
Years ago, before transatlantic flight was common, a man wanted to travel to the United States from Europe. The man worked hard, saved every extra penny he could, and finally had just enough money to purchase a ticket aboard a cruise ship. The trip at that time required about two or three weeks to cross the ocean. He went out and bought a suitcase and filled it full of cheese and crackers. That's all he could afford. Once on board, all the other passengers went to the large, ornate dining room to eat their gourmet meals. Meanwhile, the poor man would go over in the corner and eat his cheese and crackers. This went on day after day. He could smell the delicious food being served in the dining room. He heard the other passengers speak of it in glowing terms as they rubbed their bellies and complained about how full they were, and how they would have to go on a diet after this trip. The poor traveler wanted to join the other guests in the dining room, but he had no extra money. Sometimes he'd lie awake at night, dreaming of the sumptuous meals the other guests described.
Toward the end of the trip, another man came up to him and said, "Sir, I can't help but notice that you are always over there eating those cheese and crackers at mealtimes. Why don't you come into the banquet hall and eat with us? "The traveler's face flushed with embarrassment. "Well, to tell you the truth, I had only enough money to buy the ticket. I don't have any extra money to purchase fancy meals." The other passenger raised his eyebrows in surprise. He shook his head and said, "Sir, don't you realize the meals are included in the price of the ticket? Your meals have already been paid for!"
When I first heard that story, I couldn't help but think of how many people are similar to that naive traveler. They are missing out on God's best because they don't realize that the good things in life have already been paid for. They may be on their way to heaven, but they don't know what has been included in the price of their ticket. Every moment that we go around with that 'weak worm of the dust' mentality, we're eating more cheese and crackers. Every time we shrink back and say, "Well, I can't do it; I don't have what it takes," we're eating more cheese and crackers. Every time we go around full of fear, worry, anxiety, or we are uptight about something, we're over there eating more cheese and crackers. Friend, I don't know about you, but I'm tired of those cheese and crackers! It's time to step up to God's dining table. God has prepared a fabulous banquet for you, complete with every good thing imaginable. And it has already been paid for. God has everything you need there-joy, forgiveness, restoration, peace, healing-whatever you need, it's waiting for you at God's banquet table if you'll pull up your chair and take the place He has prepared for you. You may have gone through some great disappointments in life or faced some serious setbacks. Welcome to the real world! But you must remember, you are a child of the Most High God. Just because something didn't work out your way or somebody disappointed you, that does not change who you are. If one dream dies, dream another dream. If you get knocked down, get back up and go again. When one door closes, God will always open up a bigger and better door. Hold your head high, and be on the lookout for the new thing that God wants to do in your life. But don't go off in the corner of life and start eating cheese and crackers. You may have gotten off to a rough start in life. Perhaps you experienced horrible poverty, despair, abuse, or other negative things during your childhood. You may be tempted to let those negative experiences set the course for the rest of your life. But just because you started life that way doesn't mean you have to finish that way. You need to get a fresh vision of what God can do in your life and develop a God sized mind-set.
God would challenge us to FULLY TRUST in HIM – to not focus so much on our problems or struggles and remember we serve a GOD that is more than ENOUGH to handle anything we are going through or will go through. We can LIVE in PEACE because HE is in CONTROL!
I leave you with these key verses:
Psalm 66:10-12 (NIV)
10 For you, God, tested us;
you refined us like silver.
11 You brought us into prison
and laid burdens on our backs.
12 You let people ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water,
but you brought us to a place of abundance.
Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
I invite you to call or text (803-448-5699) or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or speak with me in person for prayer or any questions you may have. I also invite you to join us at New Destiny Community Church for our Sunday Services (10:30 am) or Wednesday Night Bible Study at 7 pm.
Pastor Mike Teeter
900 Ben Mclean Ln, Stanley, NC
(626 North Carolina 16 BUSINESS Stanley, NC 28164)
704-947-3829 (church phone number)
803-448-5699 (Pastor Mike's cell phone number)