Saturday, September 27, 2008

Our God is Mighty to Save

We made it…today is the end of the 40 days of prayer.

Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save

Today and tomorrow we get to actually DO what we have been preparing for AND it isn’t a practice. When thinking this morning about what to write (yes I left it to the last minute), the song “My Saviour He can Move the Mountains” kept going through my head. It reminded me once again of why we are doing ALL of these things. We serve a mighty and loving God. He is powerful enough to move mountains and He LONGS to save every person that attends the carnival today. I see today and tomorrow as an act of worship. We have planned and prepared so many things and now we can just lay everything down before Jesus. It has all been done for Him and now He can use it to show His power and love. All the work we are doing this weekend is done because we serve an Amazing God. He has saved each of us. He has shown us His love, compassion and power. Let’s use today as a way to show our thanksgiving and praise toward our wonderful heavenly Father.

The last part of the verse says:
He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing
This is how God feels about each of us…He delights in us, and rejoices over us…let Him quiet you with His love this morning.

For prayer suggestions I have the lyrics to the song below. Let it direct your praise and prayer.
Everyone needs compassion
Love that’s never failing
Let mercy fall on me
Anyone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a Saviour
The hope of nations
Chorus:My Saviour He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Forever author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave…
IISo take me as you find me
All my fears and failures
Fill my life again
I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in
Now I Surrender
I Surrender…
Shine your light and
Let the whole world see
We’re singing for the glory
Of the risen King
Jesus Shine your light and
Let the whole world see
We’re singing for the glory
Of the risen King

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Devotional: Blinded

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they can not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4: 3, 4, 18

This verse has reminded me of the importance of prayer as we reach out to our neighbours and people God puts in our path. Satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers. They can not see the gospel clearly, they can not understand the message.

It sounds hopeless…our human plans and methods won’t “win” people to God…this is why we need to PRAY!!! The Holy Spirit has inspired many GREAT ideas for Northridge and it is so exciting to see everything coming together. These efforts built on a foundation of prayer will be a powerful force for reaching unbelievers. The Living Bible translation explains this even more clearly:
It is true that I am an ordinary, weak human being, but I don’t use human plans and methods to win my battles. I use God’s mighty weapons, not those made by men, to knock down the devil’s strongholds. These weapons can break down every proud argument against God and every wall that can be built to keep men from finding him.
2 Corinth 10:3, 4

Let us not forget the huge need to pray for those who are perishing. Those we are trying to reach out to with God’s love. God promises us that His weapon of prayer is mighty and it will work. Prayer will unveil the eyes of unbelievers and break down the walls that separate them from God.

Prayer Items:
· Ask God to show you specific people to pray for
· Pray for their eyes to be open, that they would clearly see God.
· Pray that they would no longer be deceived by the lies of the enemy.
· Pray that they would be humbled and see their deep need for Christ
· Pray for a strong presence of the Holy Spirit, over our whole church, in each ministry, so people will be able to sense God’s peace and love.
· Pray that God would continue to give everyone inspiring ideas for Northridge that will touch people and break down walls people have put up against the church
· Pray that God would help us not to be discouraged by what we “see” and that He would build our faith, increasing our trust that He is doing work that is “unseen”
· Pray that we would not loose focus or be distracted from our purpose.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Christ-Like Love and Humility

“Fill up and complete my joy by living in harmony and being of the same mind and one in purpose, having the same love, being in full accord and of one harmonious mind and intention. Do nothing from factional motives or prompted by conceit and empty arrogance. Instead, in the true spirit of humility let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself. Let each of you esteem and look upon and be concerned for not his own interests, but also each for the interests of others. Let this same attitude and purpose and mind be in you which was in
Christ Jesus [let Him be your example in humility].” Philippians 2: 2-6
“...Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another. For God sets Himself against the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you.” 1 Peter 5:5-6
As the list of things “to-do” can get overwhelming and the time draws near to the start of NorthRidge, I am continually reminded of our calling to be humble and loving towards one another. Our motives and priorities must be continually brought to the Lord so that He might be our focus and remind us of our purpose. Through this process I pray that we (as a founding group) might remain humble and loving towards one another, but that we might also exude love and sincere humility to those in our community. The prayer of my heart is that we might all be eager to see change in our community, rely on the Holy Spirit, and that through everything we might minister in love and humility. We must “clothe ourselves in love”. God promises that “He will exalt you” when you are obedient to this calling and command.

Prayer items:

· Father, I pray that our group might be humble and loving towards one another, treating each other with respect and maintaining the unity you have called us to have.

· Father, I pray that while we canvass to those in the community, plan a carnival and eagerly anticipate the start of NorthRidge, that we might exude love and humility. May we have Christ-like love – that draws people to You.

· Father, I pray that we might eagerly anticipate change in our community and a movement of people coming to know you in a new, deeper and more intimate way. Throughout this process and the process of starting NorthRidge, I ask that we might remain humble and continually giving you the praise and glory for all that you have done.

· Father, may we continue to remain in your word and be obedient to the calling you have for each of us individually as well as for NorthRidge as a whole.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Devotional: Pure and Simple

“Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint”

Isaiah 40:31

“But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ”
2 Corinthians 11: 3

What a great reminder we have in 2 Corinthians. Don’t let anything distract you from “sincere and pure devotion to Christ”. This is one of Satan’s greatest tools…to distract us, even with good “church” activities, so that we don’t focus on our own personal relationship with Christ. I know this is one area of huge weakness for me. I can get so involved in different projects, and my to-do list gets so long that I have less and less time for sitting at my Father’s feet and quieting myself before Him.

As we plunge into this GREAT work of planting a church, our responsibilities have definitely increased. We are stretching ourselves more. Because of this there is an even deeper need to “wait upon the Lord” and ensure we are spending time just being still before Him. As we spend time with our Father, He will guide us and give us direction for the church. “God is a God of relationship. He is a Father who is passionately in love with His family and He prioritizes love over labour.” (Dutch Sheets, Intercessory Prayer)

It is out of this sincere and devoted time spent with God that we are prepared for the work ahead of us. AND what a great promise there is for those who wait upon the Lord….

We WILL gain new strength
We WILL soar like eagles
We WILL run and walk without getting tired or weary

Prayer Items:

  • Lord, help me to make my time with you a priority. Help me to quiet my thoughts so I can hear your still, small voice whispering to me.

  • Lord, forgive me for being so easily distracted from being still before you. Protect my mind from wandering thoughts

  • In Jesus name, I come against Satan and his desire to distract us from our devotion to you.

  • Father, may you be quick to show us areas and commitments that are just meant to keep us busy and distracted.

  • Lord, I pray that you would give us the strength and wisdom to protect our time with you

  • Lord I pray that we would feel a strong, outpouring of you power and guidance as we spend time with you.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Devotional: Authority in Christ


“I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven; and whatever you bind (declare to be improper and unlawful) on earth must be what is already bound in heaven; and whatever you loose (declare unlawful) on earth must be what is already loosed in heaven”
Matthew 16:19

“Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority on heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even until the end of the age”.
Matthew 28:18-20.

I have been learning and praying about the authority God has given us. We are co-labours with God – what an amazing concept. We have authority as believers to bring Heaven’s will to earth by acting in partnership with God. The Kingdom of Hell will not preside over the Kingdom of Heaven and God has given us the authority through His Holy Spirit and the Word to know what His Will is and bring Heaven’s will into action. We can pray with authority, binding and loosing, knowing that God will back us with His power. It is amazing the grace and love God shows us by so generously giving us this authority. We have a responsibility as Christian’s to use this authority and to partner with Christ in being obedient to the Great Commission.

Prayer Items:

  • God that you would give us the understanding of the authority that You have given us so that we might effectively utilize it.
  • God give us the courage to be faithful co-labours with You in spreading our faith, Your Word and Your power to our neighbours and to Maple Ridge.
  • God that we might take the authority You have given us to bind Satan and His attacks and speak freedom and leave marks of unchanged lives behind us.
  • Father, You did not give us a spirit of timidity or fear, but of power and of love and of a calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control (II Timothy 1:7). May we use that power and authority to reach those around us. Give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation in order to walk in Your Will and reach those that You have called us to reach.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


The Facts of Fasting

It's been suggested that the founders of NorthRidge should practise the discipline of fasting at some point during our 40 days of prayer (which I think is an inspired idea). Some in our group have never tried fasting before and have asked for a game plan. What follows is Rob's "Reader's Digest" guide to fasting:

· Fasting refers to abstaining from food. Giving up other things, like video games or romance novels, is the discipline of sacrifice - a good thing to do, but it's not technically fasting.
· Remember that fasting is for our benefit. It is not a hunger strike to force God's hand. The point is to devote the time we normally spend on eating to prayer and hearing from God. The hunger should remind us that there are things more important than just satisfying our own needs.
· Some medical conditions, like diabetes and hypoglycemia, can inhibit or prohibit fasting.
· There are many variations of fasts. Abstaining from all foods (drinking only water) can range from one meal to 40 days (Matt. 4). You can also give up just solid foods or certain foods (eg. Daniel fast - Dan. 1:8-17). It's really your decision, based on how God leads you.
· A one day fast (some just give up a breakfast and lunch, fasting between suppers) can be done once a week during the 40 days without too much interference in our regular routines.
· More extensive fasts may affect work performance, but there are added medical benefits (like detoxification). The hunger pangs actually subside after 3-4 days. When they return (some time around 40 days) it's time to eat!
· Try not to make a big deal out of your fast (obviously your family will have to know when you don't join in family meals), but we want to avoid pride (Matt. 6:16-18).

Fasting in all forms gives us an added sense of personal strength, reminding us that we are Spirit-led and not controlled by "the flesh". It's good to fast before important decisions or when we need to prepare ourselves for challenges (like planting a church). We will all be taking on faith-stretching assignments in the next few months, possibly including opportunities to lead people to Jesus. This is an ideal time to increase our sensitivity to God's Spirit through fasting.

Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. (Acts 14:23)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Devotional: Ambassadors

All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sin against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us.
2 Corinthians 5:18-20

This is another verse that I came across right when we were starting our “dreaming” about Northridge. Interestingly, it keeps popping up in different studies and books I have read since then. I may have shared it in an email before, but really felt the need to share it again.

I am an ambassador for Christ

Even though we have always had this position, I feel like I have just been given a promotion. I am Christ’s ambassador; I am His representative. This is becoming VERY real to me lately. An ambassador is an official messenger or representative. It is a minister of the highest rank sent to a foreign place to represent his ruler. I have done nothing to deserve this rank. It is humbling and a little overwhelming to know God has given me this title. And now it is my job to serve in this role. Me, an ambassador…okay…now I am really out of my comfort zone…how I need Your strength and courage now Lord!!

I am in the “ministry of reconciliation”

God desperately wants to be reconciled with each and every person. He wants His grace and His love extended to others. This is our job as God’s representative here on Earth. Above all else, I have been given the ministry of reconciliation. I am to represent God, His love and acceptance, His forgiveness and compassion. If God is going to draw people to Himself THROUGH me, then I need the Holy Spirit!! I need to make sure my life is free from anything that might block the Holy Spirit from working through me. What an honour to be used by God, to represent Him in this dark world. Now let’s go forward, as fellow AMBASSADORS for Christ and help others reconcile their relationship with God.

Prayer Items:

  • Thank you Lord for the honour of working with you, for allowing me to be one of your many ambassadors
  • Lord, open my eyes to any areas that you need me to repent of. I want my heart to be clean before you

  • I am becoming so aware of how desperate I am for you Lord. To do the work you have set before us, I need a fresh outpouring of your Spirit
  • Help me to see the people that you want me to reach out to, show me ways to represent your pure love and grace

  • Lord, help me to represent you in my home, with my spouse and my children. More than anything else I want your love to be felt in our home.

  • Lord, protect the relationship each person in my family has with you and may they each experience the joy that comes from living a life reconciled with you.