Thursday, January 18, 2018

What's Your Biggest Fear?

What is your biggest fear? More specifically, what is it you are afraid to lose by following the call to deeper discipleship with Christ? Don’t say “nothing”, because every Christian who has grown beyond Sunday-only Christianity has had those fears. They don’t make you a bad person. They make you a person the Holy Spirit has spoken to, and they have stirred in you because the very Creator Himself has stirred the waters of your soul. You are in very good company.

You might be afraid to face these fears because they might feel like selfish reasons to you. Maybe you are afraid if you follow Christ into deeper relationship you will have to give up your entire way of life, like the fishermen of the New Testament who gave up their very homes to follow him. Maybe you are afraid of losing the respect of those who would reframe you to be one of “those religious people”.  Maybe you fear you’d have to give up Friday night beer time, or those closest friends who seem to truly understand you. Maybe you don’t want to identify with some of the Christians you know, and you feel more affinity to the person far from God. Maybe the word “obedience” scares you and makes your jaw set.

They might also feel like noble reasons to you. Maybe you are afraid it will come between you and your spouse, your parents, or your children. You might feel stretched to the limit already, and you can’t possibly imagine giving more of yourself to one more thing, lest your family or yourvery sanity suffer. Perhaps you have everything in your life delicately balanced, and you don’t want to send all those plates you’ve been spinning into the stratosphere, or shattering to the ground

Whatever you are holding onto tightly, consider this fact: It’s possible God is not asking you to give up any of those things. What if you kept your friends, your family and still moved intogreater following and deepness with the very God who spoke you into being? Too often we get the cart before the horse, and put obedience before relationship. That doesn’t work in parentingfor very long, and it doesn’t work in relationship to our God either. Because He is not the god of anarchy and chaos, obedience does matter, but it more resembles practices for a better relationship than rules to comply with in order to be accepted. If Jesus followed that line of thinking, he would only have healed the most pious. We know from scripture that is not true. 

But let’s take the worst-case scenario: What if following Jesus more closely into deeper discipleship did cost you the things you were most afraid of losing? If that was a reality and if it is stopping you, then you are choosing the thing God has given you over the very giver Himself. You have put your trust in the gifts. You don’t believe you will be ok without them. You believe you have built your own happiness, and he will take that away. I’ve got news for you: Every good thing comes from God. Look that up, it’s in the Bible. Everything that is good in your life that brings you happiness is from your Father in Heaven. And he’s got more where that came from. You don’t trust that He will make you as happy as you feel you’ve made yourself. Again, you don’t trust He will make you as happy as you feel you’ve made yourself.

Let’s be real though, is there a cost to following Jesus? Even the Bible admits this. There is a cost to losing weight and getting in shape, but if you deny desserts and sacrifice a little time at the gym, you will be happy to be the new person you have become. There is a cost to giving up dating every cute person who piques your interest, but when you marry the one you truly love, you commit to leaving the other people behind, and you are happy you did. Nothing replaces trust in a marriage, and no one can be your closest ally on this earth. It’s not loss, it’s sacrificing the good thing to make room for the better thing.

If you are still afraid that God will make you an unlikable freak, a lonely person, eating ants for dinner in Africa, not living in your dream house, friends with boring church people; whatever your fear that keeps you from deeper relationship, here is the truth of all of that: You don’t know Him at all. That’s the harsh reality of your decisionAnd it IS a decision. You don’t trust him because you don’t know Him. And that, friends, is the place to start. 

Don’t give up anything, just move toward getting to know who He really is. Add things to your life rather than take them away. Add prayer. Add scripture readingTalk with someone closer to Him than you. When you read the New Testament, imagine a real, breathing man walking the earth. Ask God to show Himself to you. Read a book that helps reveal what Scripture is saying. Read the four gospels over and over for a month. Learn who He really is, and let go of the lies that have snuck in over the years. I guarantee a majority of the fears that keep you from him are lies, and the Bible tells us the evil one is the father of lies. What if that’s who you have been listening to? It’s a chilling thought to realize that what you thought was just standing still was actually obeying the one who would be happy to keep you far from God.

There are lots of ways you can move closer to God. Any leader in your church can give you a list, but standing still isn’t going nowhere, it is going further from God. Be fearless. What if your life really would be fuller, more peaceful and centered on an unmoving person rather than circumstances? Dive in and understand what those who have gone deeper are talking about. If you have doubt still, welcome to the club. If you have resistance, do it anyway. If you are afraid, pull up a chair. Come to the table. He’s not angry at you for not coming sooner, he is so delighted in you and that you came. I’ll see you there.

-Lori Caperoon

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Women's Forum 2018

2017 was a BIG year in my household!  After a couple of years of repeating myself, raising my voice volume level by about 3 decibels (I’m not even sure if that’s allot but I’m sure you get what I mean), cranking up the volume on the TV, my hubby Tom agreed to get his hearing tested.  Sure enough, he’s suffered a significant hearing loss in both ears.  What a relief it was to BOTH of us when the hearing aids came home, were tweaked and NOW the man can HEAR again!  Seriously!  Talk about a quality-of-life improvement – for BOTH of us!

Yes, TOM experienced some frustration because usually by the time he actually HEARD me say something, the pitch of my voice had surpassed ‘irritated’.  But I was also frustrated!  I had important stuff to say and / or ask but I wasn’t getting through to the man!  F.I.N.A.L.L.Y!  THAT little household irritation is gone (for the most part). 

Wouldn’t it be neat if we could simply put a hearing aid in our ear that would allow us to sortof‘put our ear to God’s lips’ and know exactly what He’s saying to us?  Those subtle messages that we wonder, ‘hmmm, could He be asking ME to do THAT?’ or ‘is doing this outside God’s will for my life?’ wouldn’t have to be pondered anymore because we’d KNOW the voice of God when we hear it!  In John 10 Jesus says this:  “My sheep hear my voice and I know them.”  Well, I don’t know about you, dear sisters, but I want to KNOW the voice of my Shepherd and I want HIM to know ME!

If actually hearing the voice of God has seemed like some kind of magic which you’re not privy to or a special gift which you don’t have, you’re in good company!  I imagine most of us have felt that way.  Thankfully, God has given us some great tips when it comes to hearing His voice (because just like I wanted Tom to hear me, TOM WANTED to hear me!)  

This year’s Women’s Forum is entitled Discerning The Voice Of God.  It’s presented in video format by Priscilla Schirer.  (Remember Priscilla?  She presented The Armor of God at our last Forum.)  Here’s what Priscilla will teach:

• More deeply understand the Holy Spirit’s role in your life
• Differentiate His voice from imposters’ voices, even from your own
• Glimpse His guidance in your everyday life
• Grow consistently in obedience, surrender, stillness, and humility.

That’s NOT MAGIC, ladies!  That’s what God promises to each of us!  HE wants to be HEARD, to make Himself known to us!  I long for that – how about you?

Join a bunch of other fun, friendly, shy, scared, beautiful gals for six Mondays, beginning January 22 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in AC3’s auditorium!  If you’re interested in doing the daily lessons, go to LifeWay.com and order a book.  

Wish you could HEAR a drumroll right now!  Guess what?!  There’s CHILDCARE THIS YEAR! If you plan to bring your ‘littles’, please contact Jaime Dodds (jrdodds302@gmail.com) – she’ll make sure we have enough childcare to accommodate all.  (This ‘service’ is a ‘pay as you can’ opportunity – we DON’T want lack of childcare to be a hindrance to your attendance!)

If you have questions, please contact me, Deb Jarnagin at djprov5512@gmail.com or 425-330-6614! 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

January Events @ AC3 2018

Here's What's Up at AC3 in January...


UPCOMING EVENTS
4 WK Series: Alone (Spiritual Survival Skills)
1/6 First Fruits Farm Meeting @ 10am Sat. (Place TBD - Jan 425-268-7949)
1/6-2/11 NEW Applications 301- During Extended for 6-weeks
1/20 Poverty 101 - Understanding the Poverty Mindset 9-2:30pm Sat. (Auditorium)
1/22-2/26 Women's Forum | Mon. @ 6:30pm (Auditorium) 6-weeks
1/17-2/22 Men's Forum | (Select nights and place) @ 6:45pm


FEBRUARY PREVIEW...
2/3-4 I Am AC3 - Find out how to get your talents into the game at AC3!
2/4 Super Bowl Party and Youth Fundraiser (Auditorium)
3-WK Series: Swipe Right (Sex and Sexuality)

REGULAR ACTIVITIES
Tuesdays: 
  • Senior High Morph @ 6pm (Auditorium) 
  • Men's Search & Rescue Group @ 7pm (Conference Room)
  • Moms as Mentors - 2nd & 4th Tue. @ 10am (Blue Room - Children welcome)
  • AC3 Women's Connection Dinners 3rd Tue. @ 6:30pm (Seeds of Grace)
Wednesdays:
Thursdays:
  • Thrive Women's Study - 1st & 3rd Thur. (Resumes March 2018)
  • Essence Women every other Thur. @ 7pm (Conf. Room) - Trina 425-737-4061)


WEEKEND SERVICES

  • Saturday: 6pm followed by light meal & worship. Extended @ 7:45pm.
  • Sunday: 9 & 10:30am with Worship between services. Extended @ 11:40am. 
       Children's programs 0-5th grades during our 6pm and 10:30am services.
Additional event and AC3 information can be found at www.ac3.org or http://facebook.com/allencreek.