[Brussels Guest Post]
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Prayer is one of the greatest gifts that the Lord has given us. It is a way that we can directly communicate and praise the creative Creator of each and every one of us and the world around us! The Lord has given us so much to rejoice about and so much to pray about and that is what part of today has been about. In the midst of the beautifully dreadful drizzle, we put our focus on God and prayer walked around the neighborhood that the church is located in. After that noble quest we embarked on an adventure to further a relationships. This led to some amazing intentional conversations, sensational couscous, mouth watering Moroccan tea and unforgettable memories. God is a great God and is worthy of our praise and prayers.
[Brussels Guest Post]
God is the same in Brussels as He is in Arizona. Though we are united through God, we remain divided in culture and location. Within the 48 square miles of Brussels there is even more division between people groups. Pray the evangelical churches in this city can find unity in Christ and see all as the human race.
On another note, we as a group are enjoying official Belgium waffles. They are delicious as a dessert and not served for breakfast.
[Brussels Guest Post]
This is the first time I have ever set foot in a foreign country, and my first day has been exciting and eye opening. It is a daunting task to reach those who desperately need the love and hope, which can only be found in Jesus Christ. We joined with our partner church to feed and engage in conversation with the homeless. One gentleman I spoke with particularly tugged at my heart. He had been in Brussels only a week and told me, “I’m walking all over Europe trying to survive.” Many people immigrate to Western Europe from Northern Africa searching for better economic opportunities to improve their lives. Please pray that not only would we be a part in meeting people’s physical needs but that kindness of God would turn their hearts to him in repentance and newness of life. On a lighter note, the food is wonderfully delicious, and I am definitely looking forward to the cuisine that Brussels has to offer. Thank you all for your prayers.
In about 24 hours, 6 disciples will jump on a plane to head half-way around the world for a little over a week. Why? They love Jesus and can’t help but share the gospel with those who have never heard!
Our church family is passionate about making disciples both locally and internationally. Would you pray for God to do miracles while they are working with immigrant Muslims, supporting a local Belgian church, and seeking to grow spiritually?
Stay tuned for updates!
Tomorrow is going to be a special worship gathering. We will begin at 10:45am (you won’t want to be late!), sing one song, and meet our latest college graduates. I will then preach from Malachi 1. We are placing the sermon much earlier in the worship gathering, because our hope is that God will speak to each of us in the sermon and we can all respond in worship together after the sermon. There will be prayers, songs, Lord’s Supper, and sacrificial giving to close out our time together.
Would you consider coming prepared? Here’s a few suggestions:
- Bring someone with you who is not a Christian
- Read Mal 1:6-14 tonight
- Pray with someone before the worship gathering begins
- Ask God to save people during our time together
- Ask God to reveal the state of your worship and grant you the courage to respond in humility to whatever he says
I look forward to enjoying God’s work among us tomorrow!
Brothers and Sisters,
Yesterday was a special day in our worship gathering. God seemed to be at work in powerful ways – revealing a lack of passion for him, breaking our hearts for settling for a ‘little’ of God, drawing us to repentance, and giving us the hope of a consuming, Godward passion for God in all things.
Like you, I yearn for yesterday to be the start of a great movement of God. What a tragedy it would be if it was but a momentary experience! Let’s continue to seek God together.
You might consider meeting with a couple of church members this week to pray over this passage together. Let’s ask God to give us a passion to know Christ like Paul had. Nothing could be better.
Philippians 3:7-14 ESV But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Brothers and Sisters,
What a weekend! It was wonderful to worship the Savior with you. Thank you for your contribution towards making it a great experience for so many people.
Friday was a truly unique experience as we walked through the last seven things Jesus said prior to his death. On Saturday Gospel Communities engaged in mission by hosting parties and building relationships. Sunday was remarkable as a huge crowd gathered for the worship gathering. All weekend it seemed that Christians were encouraged in their faith and those undecided about Jesus were able to hear the gospel and see its affects on our lives put on display. Praise God!
Be praying for lasting fruit as we continue seeking to be a faithful presence with God and for God in Tempe.
He is Risen,
The Bible says Christians are new creations. But, we often don’t feel new. We often feel confused, depressed, angry, anxious, overcome by sin, phony, bitter, etc. Maybe you’ve found yourself thinking, “I guess Christianity works for everyone but not me.” Becoming a new creation does not imply total, immediate transformation in daily life. The truth of your position before God as a new creation must be applied to the challenges of everyday life. That’s what we mean by spiritual growth. How does that happen? Let me suggest that you focus on three steps:
1) Become who you already are (2 Pt 1).
Believers don’t need to beg God for radical change: he’s already provided it! Instead, we need to learn to live in light of what’s already true about us. By focusing on the cross and never forgetting what we’ve been saved from, we will increasingly become more Christlike in every day life.
2) Put on new clothes every day (Eph 4:17-24).
Just like we put clothes on every day (hopefully!), we need to dress ourselves spiritually every day. Every day we have the choice to live out of what’s new about us in Christ or live out of what was true about us in Adam. Start your day by following the great, joy-producing counsel of Ephesians 4. This will tap you in daily to the Holy Spirit’s power.
3) Pursue spiritual growth in the context of community (1 Pt 2).
Numbers 1 and 2 above are not easy. Spiritual growth is more like a marathon than a sprint. It simply is not easy! The good news is that you are surrounded with people in the same boat as you: friends who have believed in the gospel of Jesus Christ, yet are struggling to apply Jesus to every day life. You and I were never meant to live our Christian lives alone. Invite a few others into the process with you. Help them grow and let them help you grow. How? There’s no right or wrong way. We’ve tried to make these kinds of relationships either to form by organizing in LifeGroups and Gospel Communities. If you are not in one, there’s no time like this Sunday to get involved.
I love growing with you,
If you are a follower of Jesus, you are a new creation! 2 Cor 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” So, what’s new for the Christian? Here’s the miracles we discussed yesterday in our worship gathering:
- New birth (regeneration, Jn 3:3)
- New Lord (Lordship salvation, Rom 10:9-10)
- New relationship (reconciliation, adoption, 2 Cor 5:17-20)
- New position (justified, forgiven, Rom 2:24)
- New power (indwelling Spirit, Jn 14:26)
- New desires (holiness and passion for God, Gal 5:16-17)
- New community (member of the body of Christ, 1 Pt 2)
- New future (glorification, 1 Cor 15:1-3)
Praise God for the miracle of Christ in us!
Yesterday was a terrific day for the Church on Mill family. In addition to our worship gathering, we enjoyed Connection Classes, LifeGroups, Gospel Communities, many stories of God at work in our Compass Meeting and a couple of baptisms. It was a great day of celebrating our identity as Christians, namely that we are “in Christ.”
One of the highlights of the day was Chaomin’s baptism. Below you can read his story. This is the miracle of God at work!
How did I become a Christian?
I was born in a traditional Chinese family. My parents are kinds of Buddhists and we have a statue of Buddha at home as many Chinese family. They believe there is a god in the world, even though they don’t know the god is Jesus. I learnt something about Christian from some movies and books when I was in the college. At that time, it would be weird to believe that the God created the world and created the man and woman. At the last year of my college, I decided to go abroad to further study and I got a chance to America, also have access to the Bible.
I got much help from many people who are Christians since I came to the United States at the August of 2011. They showed me the love of Jesus. Then I joined Bridges which is a Christian club for international students and they let me know more about God and started to study bible. I also attended many activities organized by Life Among the Nations and they always have some nice discussion about the Bible. Even though I never read the Bible before, once I began to read it, the more I read, the more I feel the love from God, from Jesus. I found I love to study Bible with others and I would attend Bible study once I had time. There are always lots of people help me without expecting anything in return which remind me that this just like the way Jesus loves us.
In a Chinese preaching held in MU last October, I realized that my life was aimless without the guide of Jesus, just like a ship is lost in the Pacific Ocean and it is hopeless unless someone could lead it out. Even though I still have much questions about the Bible, I realized as a human being it is very hard to know everything about the Bible. There is still lots of time to study the Bible but the soon I accept Jesus the soon I get the love from Jesus. Therefore, I decide to believe in God, believe in Jesus. I could feel peace and love after praying every time.
To believe in Jesus is the best decision I have ever made.