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Red Letter Challenge – Day 26

October 5 – Day 26
“Serving” 

“Let your light shine before others” – Matthew 5:16

It is important for us to not just talk about doing good things and meeting needs in the community, but to actually do them.  In this Challenge we are to point people to God by letting our light shine.  God has wanted us to represent Him to the rest of the world from the beginning.  This is what He wanted to do with the Israelites in the Old Testament; this is what He wanted for His disciples; and this is what He calls us, as His followers who make up the church, to do today.  The amazing thing is that Jesus actually says that someone can see the good deeds we do and glorify God because of us.

It’s amazing to think that through what we do and the way we live, we can actually point people to a real relationship with God.  We may never know what kind of impact we have made in somebody else’s life, but we will continue to be faithful in serving Him and giving Him the glory.

Challenge: Serve God today in one of the following ways:

  • Volunteer at a food pantry or at a shelter.
  • Clean a neighbor’s yard.
  • Visit an elderly person.
  • Encourage someone who is sick.

God’s Blessings,
Pastor Bill

Today’s devotion came from the book, “Red Letter Challenge,” by Zach Zehnder, pages 158-163.


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Choir

Melissa Sultan, our traditional service music director, will begin choir practice this Sunday, October 6, at 10:00am in the sanctuary.  If you are interested in singing with the choir please come to practice this Sunday to learn more about their plans and rehearsal schedule.  If you have any questions please contact Melissa at mgsultan96@gmail.com.

God’s Blessings,
Pastor Bill


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Red Letter Challenge – Day 25

October 4 – Day 25
“Serving” 

“I was sick and you took care of me.” – Matthew 25:35

There is a story in the Bible about a man who was paralyzed.  The man had four friends who carried him on a mat to see Jesus.  When they got to the house where Jesus was, they saw the whole house was full of people.  Rather than give up, they took their friend all the way to the top of the roof and lowered him through a hole so he could Jesus.  When Jesus saw the faith of the friends He forgave the paralyzed man and healed him.

I don’t know how or why God heals some and not others.  It seems like He heals some who have faith and others who have no faith.  But the friends of the paralyzed man had faith in Jesus and their friend was rewarded because of their faith.  This means that God honors your faith and your commitment to those in need.

Who do you know who is sick?  Who do you know who needs our encouragement?  Being sick is not what we were meant for, so we are looking forward to a time when Jesus promises us no more sickness, disease, death, or even tears.  Jesus promises that all who follow Him will experience this sort of life. 

Challenge: If you know someone who is sick, then visit that person.  Encourage, support, or call him/her.  If you can’t do that, then send a gift or message to someone you know who is sick.  

God’s Blessings,
Pastor Bill

Today’s devotion came from the book, “Red Letter Challenge,” by Zach Zehnder, pages 154-157.


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October Newsletter


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Red Letter Challenge – Day 24

October 3 – Day 24
“Serving”

“Let the little children come to me.” – Matthew 19:14

Matthew 5 contains Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount and in that sermon He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  The poor in spirit recognize they aren’t perfect, feel genuinely sorry for it, and receive the grace of Jesus to make them perfect.  Children are really good examples of how to be poor in spirit and so in this way they are a model for us.

Time and time again Jesus mentions how important children are in His ministry.  It’s important that as we are doing the Red Letter Challenge, we invite our children or grandchildren to come along with us.  The principles we are learning and the themes we are putting into practice are things every child should know.  We have a responsibility to model to our children what God’s love looks like on a daily basis.

Challenge: Serve a child who is in your life today and let this child know how important he or she is to you.

God’s Blessings,
Pastor Bill

Today’s devotion came from the book, “Red Letter Challenge,” by Zach Zehnder, pages 150-153.


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Red Letter Challenge – Day 23

October 2 – Day 23
“Serving”
 
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:39

We may complain about our neighbors and sometimes it may be hard to love them, but God can look down on us and say the same thing.  Sometimes He must think, “Why do these people act this way?  They are messy, they don’t listen, they have no regard for me, and they are not taking care of the stuff I’ve given them.”  It has to be hard for Him to love us.  God could have looked down at us and said, “I’m done with them.”  Instead, God looked down upon us and said, “They need my help.”

God loves us so much that He sent Jesus to die on the cross for us and to pay the price for the sins we commit.  Through His death and resurrection all who believe in Him are given eternal life when they die, and eternal life now as we participate and work with Him in bringing His Kingdom to this world.

Challenge: Do something for one of your neighbors.  Show them you care with no strings attached.  

God’s Blessings,
Pastor Bill

 

Today’s devotion came from the book, “Red Letter Challenge,” by Zach Zehnder, pages 146-149.


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Red Letter Challenge – Day 22

October 1 – Day 22

“Serving”

“When you give a dinner, invite the poor, crippled, lame, etc.” – Luke 14:13

Today we want to focus on the people God calls us to serve.  It’s really easy to serve your friends or family.  It’s really easy to serve those people in your life who are well-connected and could help you be more successful.  It’s a lot harder to serve those who may not ever be able to offer you anything.  Many times we serve and expect to receive something in return.  But God wants us to be people who just naturally serve and don’t expect anything back in this world.

What’s amazing about Jesus is that the people He came to serve would continually let Him down.  Jesus didn’t wait for us to have everything together before He served us.  Instead, He gave His life for us while we were still a mess.  Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  It’s important for us to remember that we do not serve in order to get something.  We serve because we want to be more like Jesus.

Challenge: Serve someone today who will not be able to give you anything in return.

God’s Blessings,
Pastor Bill

Today’s devotion came from the book, “Red Letter Challenge,” by Zach Zehnder, pages 140-145.


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Youth Fundraising Events

Just a reminder that if you eat dinner tonight at Simple Twist, located at 5638 NC Highway 42 in Garner, between 5:00pm and 9:00pm, 10% of the proceeds will go towards the high school youth attending the 2022 National Youth Gathering in Houston, Texas.

Also, the youth are selling Butter Braids again this fall.  The sales will be done online.  Please use the following link to order Butter Braids:

https://store.myfundraisingplace.com/f8e16fbb-6065-4bbc-ba25-5ffb737fa1fc

God’s Blessings,
Pastor Bill


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Red Letter Challenge – Day 21

Good Morning!

This week’s devotions will focus on our third principle of “Serving.”  We are halfway through our 40-Day Challenge and I pray you will enjoy putting Jesus’ words into practice this week.

September 30 – Day 21
“Serving” 

“If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant to all.” – Mark 9:35

Jesus is calling us to put ourselves last and not first.  However, this is not at all what we hear in our world today.  We are taught to promote ourselves and to put our own needs first.  But Jesus tells us the opposite.  In Jesus’ counter-cultural Kingdom, the ones who are blessed are the ones who serve others and put others before themselves.  Time and time again, Jesus talks about being a servant, practicing humility, being meek, and doing things for others.  Jesus didn’t just talk about serving others, He did it.

Philippians 2:5-8 explains how Jesus was focused on serving, telling us: “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!”  

Challenge: Find a way to put someone else’s needs before yours today. 

God’s Blessings,
Pastor Bill


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Red Letter Challenge – Day 19

September 28 – Day 19

“Forgiving”

 “Go now and leave your life of sin.” – John 8:11

Earlier this week we heard the story of a woman caught in adultery who was brought to Jesus, but instead of being punished Jesus forgave her.  After He had forgiven her and set her free, He then told her to leave her life of sin.

God loves you for who you are, but He loves you too much to let you stay that way.  I believe that when we encounter God and His grace, we are not to stay the same.  The more we are with Jesus, the more we should want to become like Him and leave our former lives.

After God invades your life, I pray you will never be the same.  I pray you will not struggle with the sins of your past.  If you are struggling with a particular sin, God has given you the forgiveness for it and the power to overcome it.  My prayer is that you will leave that life of sin and allow God to use you to help someone else.

Challenge: If you are struggling with a particular sin, write down how you will overcome it and how you can help others who may be struggling with a similar sin.

God’s Blessings,
Pastor Bill


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Red Letter Challenge – Day 18

September 27 – Day 18

“Forgiving”

 “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” – Matthew 5:44

You may have enemies in your life and some of them may be very serious.  So you may wonder, “Why does Jesus want me to pray for my enemies?”  In Jesus, we are not to be people of vengeance and bitterness.  We are to be people of forgiveness.  When we hold grudges or seek revenge, we are not acting like Jesus.  I’m not saying this is easy, but ultimately God wants us to have a heart of forgiveness.  Therefore, if you can pray for your enemies, you are on the right path.

Time and time again Jesus prayed for His enemies.  He even offered a prayer at His crucifixion: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  In the midst of death and betrayal, Jesus still prayed for His enemies.  If you do not think it is possible to do the same, then look at a man named Stephen in Acts 6-7.  After Stephen testifies of Jesus’ love and grace for the world, the crowd stones him to death.  Before he dies, he falls on his knees and says, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”

Challenge: Pray for those who have hurt you, abused you, or become your enemies.  This is not easy, but when you do God will use it to transform your heart. 

God’s Blessings,
Pastor Bill

Today’s devotion came from the book, “Red Letter Challenge,” by Zach Zehnder, pages 114-119.


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Red Letter Challenge – Day 17

September 26 – Day 17

“Forgiving”

“Forgive others their trespasses.” – Matthew 6:12

This quote from Jesus is one of the most difficult challenges.  It’s hard to forgive other people, but it’s even worse to continue holding on to things that keep us from being who God has created us to be.  Forgiveness is the opposite of revenge.  Jesus mentions forgiveness quite often in the Bible and He lived by it, too.  In fact, Jesus followed forgiveness all the way to the cross, and even on the cross He forgives the people who are killing Him.  So if we truly want to follow Jesus, we have to be people who forgive. 

A great story of forgiveness is when Jesus forgives Peter for denying Him.  Peter was one of Jesus’ best friends and he let Jesus down at the moment when Jesus needed him the most.  Yet Jesus forgives Peter three times for denying Him and then puts him right back to work with the most important job ever: to lead the first church.  It’s one thing to forgive, but it’s another thing to completely trust someone and give them the greatest responsibility in the world.

Therefore, to forgive someone is not only good for that person, but it is also good for you.  When you forgive you become more like Jesus.

Challenge: If you have been withholding forgiveness from someone who has wronged you, pray to God about forgiving that person.  After praying, consider letting that person know of your forgiveness.

God’s Blessings,
Pastor Bill

Today’s devotion came from the book, “Red Letter Challenge,” by Zach Zehnder, pages 108-113.


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Red Letter Challenge – Day 16

September 25 – Day 16

“Forgiving”

 “Be merciful.” – Luke 6:36

The definition of mercy is, “Compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm them.”  We live in a culture where we do not practice mercy very often.  Instead of showing compassion or forgiveness, we prefer to get revenge.  We crave fairness and equality. 

Fortunately for us there is endless mercy in Jesus.  He forgives time and time again, and He calls all of us to do the same.  I am thankful we have a God who is not vengeful, but instead is full of mercy.  It is only because of His mercy that we are saved from having to face the ultimate punishment in hell.  God now calls us to be like Him, to put whatever someone else deserves to the side, and instead show them mercy.  It’s through forgiveness and compassion that people come to know Jesus.  May you be a person that brings that forgiveness and compassion to others in your life today.  

Challenge: Let someone off the hook today if they owe you a favor or some money.  If you don’t have the opportunity today, be on the lookout for someone you can show mercy to at some point this week. 

God’s Blessings,
Pastor Bill


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Red Letter Challenge – Day 15

September 24 – Day 15

“Forgiving”

 “Judge not.” – Matthew 7:1

Grace is a free gift from God.  The grace of God comes to us from the cross where Jesus took our sin on Himself and died.  This gift of grace calls us to live a life like Jesus.  If grace is getting something we don’t deserve, the opposite would be getting something we do deserve, and that’s called judgment.  Sadly, the church is known for being judgmental.  It’s one of the first words non-believers use to describe the church.  As a result, many non-believers do not want to come to a church, because they are afraid of what “Christian” people might think of them.

What if, rather than judging people, the church was known for embracing people where they are in their lives?  What if we stopped trying to change people and just accepted them?  What if we remembered it’s the Holy Spirit’s job to change them, not our job?  It is not our job to judge other people.  Our job is to love people the way God loves you.

Challenge: Thank God for the opportunity to live a life without the judgment we deserve.  Then, write down the names of any individuals or groups of people you might have improperly judged in the past and ask God for forgiveness.

God’s Blessings,
Pastor Bill


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Red Letter Challenge – Day 14

Hello Everyone,

Our devotions and challenges this week will be based on the principle of “Forgiving.”

September 23 – Day 14
“Forgiving”

“Let any one of who is without sin be the first to throw a stone.” – John 8:7

A woman who is caught in adultery is brought before Jesus.  The Pharisees said to Jesus: “The Law tells us this woman has to be punished.  What do you say?”  If He answers, “Yes, stone her,” that seems to go against everything He’s been teaching.  If He says, “No, don’t stone her,” He would seem to be relaxing His morals.  Finally Jesus says, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  Jesus could have picked up a rock and thrown it at the woman, but He was not focused on finding a rock.  Instead, His eyes are filled with mercy and love for this woman.  Jesus didn’t begin by accusing her, and He’s not going to start by accusing you. 

God loves you for who you are and He will take you just as you are today and always.  Through Jesus’ death on the cross you are forgiven, and as forgiven people we are to emulate Jesus.  Therefore, if Jesus dropped His rock for us, we need to drop our rocks as well.  Can you forgive others?  Can you forgive yourself?  If you think your sin is too great for Him to forgive, you are actually stripping away the power of the cross.  Jesus came to seek and save those who were lost, and that includes all of us. 

Challenge: Most of us have certain sins that really bother us.  Which sins do you elevate above the rest?  Write those sins down on a piece of paper and pray that you are able to see all people, no matter what their sins might be, as candidates for the grace of Jesus. 

God’s Blessings,
Pastor Bill

Today’s devotion comes from the book “Red Letter Challenge,” by Zach Zehnder, pp. 90-94.


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