ashes and dust
Adam was made from the dirt, in fact his name means dirt. We are all made from dirt and when we die, we all eventually turn back into it again as our bodies decompose. That is why, at a funeral, you might hear the pastor say "we are but dust, and to dust we shall return."
But dirt and dust isn't just what we are made of, throughout the Bible they were seen as a sign of repentance and grief. When Job lost his home, his health and his children, he sat in the dirt and covered himself with ashes as a sign of his grief. He was grieving loss of life; but we can also be in grief over our sin.
The season of Lent is an ancient Christian tradition, a time leading up to Easter where we consider the weight of our sinfulness and repent (turn) from it in mourning. Traditionally this has been done by taking the sign of ashes on the forehead in the shape of a cross. This shows, that like Job, you are in grief and mourning, but for your sin. You realize you are a sinner and wish to turn away from your sin and toward the life of God.
Like the prophet Isaiah you might cry "I am a man of unclean lips and live among a people of unclean lips" but like Isaiah we hope in a God who can make us clean again and use us for His glory and in His Kingdom!
Join us tonight at 7:00pm for an interactive time of prayer, scripture and repentance where you can experience Ash Wednesday in a new way. I pray it will be a powerful reminder that we are sinners, but we serve a great and loving God!
a normal wednesday turned revival
Located in the small town of Wilmore, Kentucky, Asbury University and Seminary has been training Pastors and Missionaries in the Wesleyan and Methodist tradition since 1890 and named after Bishop Francis Asbury, the founder of American Methodism.
On Wednesday, February 8, students gathered for chapel...as they do every Wednesday; and have been worshiping ever since. In this age of social media and livestreams, we are able to watch in real time as students, staff, community members and visitors from other colleges have joined together to pray, sing, repent and many are finding that God is doing a powerful work in this place and in their hearts.
I have seen video and pictures of what is happening in the chapel as well as the long lines of people waiting to go inside. I have now heard reports from various other colleges of students feeling this fire of revival. Some of my dear friends, some alumni of Asbury, have gone to see for themselves this move of God and have reported a sweet spirit of the Lord that is on the move.
I think the thing I love most is that this happened on a normal Wednesday in a normal chapel service. Asbury's chapel is beautiful, but simple and old fashioned. There is a pipe organ at the front and lots of beautiful dark wood. There are no fancy lights or fog machines. No big name speakers or worship bands came to perform. There was nothing manmade to stir the hearts, only the Holy Spirit. This revival seemingly came out of the blue, but don't be fooled; many faithful people have been praying for years and decades that God would once again stir our hearts and it seems that those prayers are being answered again.
And we saw it here in our church this Sunday. I loved the words of Jeni Clayton, our mission coordinator, who is about 9 months pregnant, that she felt led to share with us that God is about to birth something new here at Six Points!
Will you pray for Asbury? Pray for this revival to spread? Pray for our church to catch this spirit of God on the move? That God would birth something new among us?
Isaiah 43:19 "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."
broadside of a barn
Back in my day, I was a decent shooter in basketball. I still like to get out in the driveway and shoot around a bit with my boys, but my days of competitive ball are probably over.
Eventually, I took up coaching and have coached both basketball and soccer. I had one kid, with some special needs, who just threw it up if he got the ball. He was never even close and the other boys on my team didn't want to pass it to him as a result. Most of his shots would have been lucky to hit the broad side of a barn. I swear sometimes he had his eyes closed. He was just hoping it would go in with no plan, no aim.
Our spiritual life can be like that too. We might love Jesus, but what next? After we pray the prayer of salvation, what do we do till we go to heaven? Some would say to pray, go to church, read your Bible...all of which are good; but that's not really a plan.
If you feel like you are wandering in your faith or in need of direction, there are tons of wonderful tools and resources that we could point you to to help you. There are Bible reading plans, prayer journals, spiritual gift inventories and so many more tools that are waiting to be taken advantage of. We offer classes and studies with mature teachers who can offer guidance. And I would be happy to meet, as your pastor, to provide counseling or guidance so that your life has aim and a plan as you seek to follow Jesus faithfully.
We are in this together, seeking to follow Jesus together...and we would love to help you as you follow that "narrow road" to life.
after they prayed
We just began a new preaching series this week called "The Journey" where we are going through the book of Acts and seeing how the disciples lived out the mission that Jesus gave them.
In chapters 3-4 we read about how Peter and John (early leaders in the church) were arrested and threatened to stop preaching...but refused.
Upon their release, the immediate reaction of the church was to pray. Not to celebrate, not to take up an offering, not to relax...but to pray to the God who had brought them home and thank Him for his divine hand upon them!
Then, in vs. 31 of chapter 4, we read this amazing statement, "After they prayed"
Not before they prayed.
God waited to act until his people prayed. God can act anytime, but He acted once His people prayed.
It goes on. "After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly."
It may be that God is waiting until we pray. So what are we waiting for?
Get off your phone and onto your knees. Once we humble ourselves and pray, God may do a movement in us like He did in them.
I pray that we too may be filled with His Holy Spirit so that we may be shaken, so that we may speak the word of God boldly."