"Favored One"

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"Favored One"

Good morning, Lord Jesus. Centered in Your Presence, grounded in Your Word, I wait to follow Your leading on my journey of faith in prayer with You today. 

In the days leading up to Christmas, I am re-reading the Stories of Jesus’ birth in Matthew and Luke, I recommend you do the same.

"In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, 'Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.... Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son and you will name Him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end'" (Luke 1:26-33).

Mary was a "favored one" -she had "found favor with God." And how was she favored? As the angel Gabriel confirmed to her, the Lord was with her. The Lord had chosen her and called her, empowered and anointed her to know her identity and fulfill her destiny. 

Though Mary didn't understand at the beginning all it would involve and all it would mean, by faith and obedience, she said Yes. Mary said, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word" (v. 38).

Like Mary, we are chosen and we are called. We are favored with the Presence of God who is with us. And like Mary, we are empowered to know our identity and fulfill our destiny, as the Holy Spirit comes upon us and the power of the Most High overshadows us (v. 35). In Christ, we are "filled with the Spirit" -- the same Spirit the conceived Christ in Mary's womb and favored Mary with the Presence of God (Ephesians 5:18).

None of us will carry the Son of God in our womb, but all of us who will say with Mary "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word" will carry "the Spirit of Christ" in our hearts (Romans 8:9). Like Mary, we won't understand from the beginning all it will involve and all it will mean for us, but You invite us to trust Your heart and embrace Your word to "walk by faith" and obedience as favored ones of God (2 Corinthians 5:7). 

With the favor of Your Presence, we have nothing to fear, but only our identity and destiny in Christ to embrace. "In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of Him who accomplishes all things according to His counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of His glory!" (Ephesians 1:11-12) In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

My family, I pray you embrace your identity and destiny as a most favored child of God by the anointing and presence of Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ in you.  You are a favored one of the Most High God, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same of me. God bless you, my friends!

Please share your reflections and prayers in the comment box below.

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

Please support and partner with myself and my family with your end-of-year financial gift as we serve as local missionaries to those in our community  Donation checks can be made out to ODC, PO Box 1293 Madison, Al 35758.  Thank You!

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"Joy of Presence"

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"Joy of Presence"

Good morning, Lord Jesus. This intimate time I begin my day with is my life-line. My personal prayer time with You in the morning sets the path for all the other times throughout my day. You're always with me and You're with me deeply and intimately in these first moments of my morning, keeping me fully aware and actively engaged with You throughout all the other moments of my day -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit of God. 

"I keep the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body rests secure.... You show me the path of life. In Your Presence there is fullness of joy; in Your right hand are pleasures forevermore!" (Psalm 16:8-11)

Thank You for the joy of Your Presence. Thank You that it brings You joy when I embrace You and Your Word and Your Presence with me (John 15:11 and 16:24). And with the promise of Your Presence to Your first disciples and to all Your disciples in every age, You speak to our spirits today saying, "I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you" (John 16:20). By the abiding Presence of Your Holy Spirit, "the Spirit of Christ", with us and within us, we can see You and embrace You, again and again, every moment of every day (Romans 8:9). 

You promised, "I Am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20). So You are! And so my heart is glad and my soul rejoices in the fullness of joy in the intimacy of Your Presence, every day to the end of the age! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

My family, I pray you experience the joy of the Presence of Jesus in your heart -- as you begin your day in the intimacy and communion of prayer with Him and throughout every moment of your day, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same of me. God bless you, my friends!

Please share your reflections and prayers in the comment box below.

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

Please support and partner with myself and my family with your end-of-year financial gift as we serve as local missionaries to those in our community  Donation checks can be made out to ODC, PO Box 1293 Madison, Al 35758.  Thank You!

 

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"God With Us"

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"God With Us"

Good morning, Lord Jesus. In these first moments of my morning, I want to give You first priority in my day.  ...

"Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:  Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14).

You are the One who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. You are the One who is fully God and fully Man, Son of God and Son of Man, the One who set aide the glory of Heaven to humble Yourself in the likeness of human flesh and blood to live and to love among us as Immanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23). “You are Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” -- all from Your mercy and love for us (Philippians 2:6-8).

I can't truly conceive and all it means that You willingly humbled Yourself to be conceived in the womb of woman for me. "The sufferings of Christ" began in the womb, not only at the cross or the tomb (1 Peter 1:10). You had it all, yet You chose to sacrifice it all for me and for all who would embrace Your sacrifice of love and grace -- "not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 2:9).

In Your humanity, You showed us the way to the Father -- how to live a life by the leading of the Holy Spirit, only doing what the Father was doing and saying what the Father was speaking, as You lived a life in the fellowship of the Father and in the communion of the Holy Spirit (John 5:19 and 12:49). 

And just as You were the Son of God, born to live for us, You were the Son of Man, willing to die for us, that in Your death as a sinless sacrifice for us, we might live forever with You in the power and glory of Your resurrection. "I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the sharing of His suffering by becoming like Him in His death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection form the dead.... I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own" (Philippians 3:10-12).

Son of God, Son of Man -- One with the Father, One with the Holy Spirit -- come be One within me. Immanuel, God with us, come live in me, that I can live for You. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

My family, I pray,  you will completely open up your heart up this morning to the One who is Immanuel, and allow Him to live within you, as you live for Him today in the fellowship of the Father and the communion of the Holy Spirit, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same for me. God bless you, my friends!

Please share your reflections and prayers in the comment box below.

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

Please support and partner with myself and my family with your end-of-year financial gift as we serve as local missionaries to those in our community  Donation checks can be made out to ODC, PO Box 1293 Madison, Al 35758.  Thank You!

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"Mall Church"

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"Mall Church"

Oh come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!  I arise this morning in complete adoration and awe of you Jesus!

“After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Luke 10:1-2)

Last night the One Direction Community house church I belong to met in the Food Court at the Parkway Place Mall in Huntsville.  We came there to prayer walk the mall.   In the middle of the food court we pushed tables together to accommodate us and for the first 30 minutes we shared a BYOD (Buy-Your-own-Dinner) together from food vendors of your choice.  Afterwards, I spent about seven minutes giving a short teaching on prayer and prayer walking.  We then went into a time of prayer together over ourselves and then the people in the mall we were about to encounter.  We then shared the Lord’s Supper and closed by singing together the chorus of, “Go Tell it on the Mountain.”  There were 13 of us, so we divided up into three groups and walked off into different direction to prayer walk the mall for an hour.   As each group walked they would stop and talk to a shopper or store employee and tell them they are prayer walking and praying over the mall and the people here and ask them if there was something they could pray for them.  “and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.” (Philemon 1:6)

 

 Afterwards we met back up at our table in the Food Court and spent time sharing our encounters and experiences, praying over prayer requests of people we met and each other, then left for our homes.  When the three groups shared with the rest of us after prayer walking, all of them shared stories told them by the people they talked with.  Stories of struggles with health and finances and school, work, or family issues.  Most in the groups expressed they experienced uncertainty or fear approaching someone, however after they did and began to hear the peoples stories of life and pray with them, they all felt peace and joy from it and as they walked away.

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I was so proud of all who attended.  One family that attended was a family new to Christ and the Church that I just baptized 6 months ago.  I told them though they have only walked with Christ 6 month’s they are experiencing and living out all Christians call to be a disciple of Jesus, one who imitates Jesus’ life,  in a greater way than people who have been in the “church” for years.  Jesus' “Church” is a movement, not a location.  What a completely different understanding and experience of church they are forming from their experience of church last night than from another family sitting in a pew or seats in a “sanctuary” removed from the world.  They discovered that they themselves are the “living sanctuaries” where God resides.

I want to encourage you: your church, small group, Sunday School class, and as a family to go out and prayer walk.  We chose the mall because it was dark outside and cold at that time, however you can prayer walk your neighborhood, apartment complex, Wal-Mart, a college campus, Flea Market,... anywhere.  And here is the thing, unlike other church programs or trainings that require having a building and class room, video teachings, TV or projector, workbooks or other materials, and a pastor or gifted teacher, what we did last night was free!  It did not cost us a penny, we did not need any materials, curriculum, video equiptment or gifted leaders, all were simply led by the Holy Spirit and we all just did it!

My family, I pray today you will come to embrace more church as a movement and not a location.  I pray today as you walk through your day you will seek interruptions by two things- God and people, and enter into the interruptions and be both transformed and agents of transformation by and in the power of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name.  Please pray the same for me.  God bless you my friends!!

 

Please share your reflections and prayers in the comment box below.

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

Please support and partner with my self and my family as we serve as local missionaries to those in our community with your year-end financial gift.   Donations can also be made by checks made out to: ODc, PO BOX 1293 Madison, Al 35758

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Longing for the Messiah

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Longing for the Messiah

Good morning, Lord Jesus. I speak out Your name and listen for Your voice to begin my day deliberately, intentionally embraced by my Father, centered in Christ, and filled with Your Holy Spirit.  ...

 This morning as I sat at my desk and looked around at the Christmas decorations in our home, it led me to go back and read the story of Christ’s birth in Luke.

"Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Messiah" (Luke 2:25).

Simeon longed for the coming of the Messiah. He longed to see and embrace the One who would bring consolation and comfort, healing and hope, forgiveness and freedom to all who would welcome Him into their hearts. 

He knew from the prophecies of Scripture that this Child to be born - the Messiah, the Christ --would be fully God from the glory of Heaven, but also fully man in the likeness of human flesh and blood. "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel" -- meaning "God with us" (Isaiah 7:14, fulfilled in Matthew 1:23). By the Spirit of the Lord, Isaiah had prophesied long ago:  "For a Child has been born for us, a Son given to us; authority rests upon His shoulders; and He is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.... The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this" (Isaiah 9:6-7).

In this Christmas season of Advent, we long for the coming of the Messiah. Like Simeon, we long to see and embrace the One who brings consolation and comfort, healing and hope, forgiveness and freedom to all who welcome You into our hearts. And at the same time, we no longer have to wait for a day on the calendar to welcome You into our hearts.  We can do it this morning, for you are with us always (Matthew 28:20). You are Immanuel -- God with us (Matthew 1:23). Every moment of every day, You are our "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6). So as we long for Your coming, we also celebrate Your Presence. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

My family, I pray you experience the Presence of Immanuel --the One who is your Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same of me. God bless you, my friends!

 

Please share your reflections and prayers in the comment box below.

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

Please support and partner with my self and my family as we serve as local missionaries to those in our community with an end of year financial gift.  Give your one-time or monthly financial gift by clicking link below.  Donations can be made by check made out to ODC, PO Box 1293, Madison, Al 35758.  Thank You!

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Determined Seekers

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Determined Seekers

“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:6

Last night One Direction Community members gathered for a two hour time of prayer we named Secret Prayer 606 (SP606) centered on the verse in Matthew above.  We soaked in God’s presence, we openly repented of sins, we laid hands and anointed with oil, we shared the Lord’s Supper, and we prayed for a revival in our lives and ministry.

Revival is God's strategic way of working in the earth between the resurrection of Jesus and his coming again to keep us moving towards Him.  In Acts 2 and passages following is wave after wave of outpouring of the Spirit. In Joel 2 are massive outbursts of revival before the end of the age. In Romans 11 it speaks to the revival and the fullness of the Spirit to come in the nations that will be so powerful it will turn all to Jesus to accept Him as their Messiah

So if revival is the strategy of God leading to all nations accepting Jesus as their Messiah, why does he wait around for us to pray?  Only as you give yourself to prayer are you transformed in your heart to be a determined seeker of more of God.  And God will only trust a revival to determined seekers of more of Him. All those in the past who God has entrusted to revival are those who have dedicated themselves to long periods of prayer.  Early Methodist revivals came because of a gathering of people who expected to see God move among them.  Revival occurs out of Determined Seekers of more of God. Here is the thing though, you can't make yourself a Determined Seeker of more of God, you can only pray yourself into one. You have to give yourselves to something you do not see and can’t control. God doesn't want you to be confident in yourself, he wants you to be desperate for him and find your confidence in him.  This thing is, revival is not something that is a peripheral of our faith, but needs to be at the heart of what we are after.  Ask the Lord in prayer to give yourself over to this.

 What is the essence of true revival? It is an intense experience of the presence of God in and among the people. The peculiar and mighty sense of the presence of God which is manifested.

4 thing happen when a revival happens.

•  Restoration of love and devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ.  Re-falling in love. Song of Psalms

•  There is a restoration of Jesus' Lordship.  What does Jesus want me to do and this church to do?

•  Restoration of Holiness and zeal for God's glory.  How do you want to use me? Revivals always lead to a releasing of people into ministries.

•  Restoration of Boldness.

We are designed to be carriers of God and to be carriers of God to others.  Yet we cannot give someone a virus we ourselves are not carrying.  We do not have a problem with prayer, we have a complacency with prayer.  We can't get people to pray if they are not hungry for it.  When people and churches quit praying, then God withdraws from them, then they are in trouble, then they cry out.

How do we provoke hunger if there is a lack of hunger to pray?  I wrestle with this, as much of it is out of my control.  First, you must teach on prayer. In prayer we are invited into the throne room of God, we are privileged to enter into kingdom making decisions. However, everyone at some time feels disappointed with prayer.  Each one of us has had a prayer that has not been answered.  Take this cup from me.  Lord let them be one.  We must minister to the disappointments in prayer as much as we celebrate the answer of prayer.  Second, you must de-clutter your program and calendar if you want to prioritize prayer. We need to be seekers of more, more power of God, more revelation of the Spirit. Third, you need to set times for simple gatherings for prayer. Some people miss the sparks because they are always looking for the big flames. Driving to this big event or conference: IHOP, Passion, Catalyst, New Room..ect. or chasing after "gifted teachers and prophets."  These events and people are all good and holy, however they are not meant to be our focus or highlight, and they cannot be the source of revival for your church.  The source is Determined Seekers of more of God.  We are called to start a spark, to look for where the sparks of God are working among us, and then a pour gasoline on it.

Many people are leaving the church because they have not seen the power of God moving in the church. Yet God's desire at creation, Jesus death and resurrection, and the Holy Spirit's in dwelling, were are all for the creation and existence of a church full of the presence and fire of the Holy Spirit.  A "supernatural church" that is unstoppable. Churches today are so easily "stoppable."  A talented leader leaves, a donor dies, a strategic plan fails, and church doors close or its ministries become ineffective.  In order for a church to be an unstoppable, supernatural church, it has to rely and be surrendered to our unstoppable and supernatural God.   There is only one way you become a supernatural church, and that is by spending hours doing what does not come natural to us, hours spent together on our knees in prayer.

My family, I pray today for something that I nor anyone else really has any control over, that you become a Determined Seeker of more of God. Here is the thing though, you can't make yourself a determined seeker of more of God, you can only pray yourself into one. I pray today you give yourselves to something you do not see and can’t control and become desperate for God through prayer, In Jesus’ name.  Please pray the same for me.  God bless you my friends!

Please share your reflections and prayers in the comment box below.

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

Please support and partner with my self and my family as we serve as local missionaries to those in our community with and end of year one-time or monthly financial gift by clicking link below.  Donations can be sent by check to ODC PO Box 1293, Madison, Al 35758

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"Filled Afresh"

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"Filled Afresh"

Good morning, Lord Jesus. In Your grace and from Your embrace, I seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness, as I begin my day in the intimacy of Your Presence - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit of God. 

"Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue ... and others from Cilicia and Asia, stood up and argued with Stephen. But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke" (Acts 6:8-9).

I love the story of Stephen because he was like you and me and we can be encouraged from him. Stephen was not one of the 12 apostles; he was simply like you and I, a servant of Jesus.  He was not a learned scholar; he was a student of the faith.  He was just a person who sought to live his life in "good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom ... a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit" (v. 6:3-5).  Yet the Holy Spirit anointed him and empowered him, and did "great wonders and signs" through him. And the Holy Spirit desires to do the same through every one of us in the authority of the name of Jesus and the power of the Spirit -- "through those who believe" (Mark 16:17-18).

Father God, lay Your hands upon me today. Fill me afresh with Your Holy Spirit today. With the authority of the name of Jesus in my words and the nature of Jesus growing in my heart, do great wonders and signs of Your love and grace through my life. Just like Stephen, I'm Your servant and I'm Your son -- a child of God, being filled up to overflowing with the same power and the same nature that raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11). Display the glory of Your power and love, Your wisdom and grace, through me today -- "Christ in (me), the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27). In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

 My family, I pray you will ask the Holy Spirit to be filled afresh with the Holy Spirit, full of God's grace and power, for the Father to display His glory, His great wonders and signs, through your life today, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same of me. God bless you, my friends!

One Direction Community is fasting today, the first Monday of the month emphasizing and seeking the “spiritual food” to grow our faith.   We will fast through our gathering tonight from 6:00pm-7:30pm of a time of simple, secret prayer.   You are welcomed to join in and fast with us  today and attend if you are in the Madison. Al area. 

 

Please share your reflections and prayers in the comment box below.

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

Help us continue our ministries to those “no one else wants” in our community with a fear end one-time or monthly financial gift by clicking link below. Donations by checks can be made out to "ODC" and mailed to: One Direction Community, PO Box 1293 Madison, Al 35758

 

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"Go and Tell"

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"Go and Tell"

Good morning Lord Jesus, with all I am, and all I have I seek to start this day giving glory to you.

I read through the same passages in Mark's Gospel this morning and my reflections center around the same two verses as my last two blog posts.

“Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.” Mark 5:19-20

Just like in the world when Jesus walked it, we also live in a world of great needs: physical, spiritual, emotional, and the like. People all around us are crying out in search of a source of hope. As believers, we know exactly what they need: Jesus. He is the only one capable of bandaging their wounds, healing their hearts, and, most importantly, forgiving their sins. Given this, telling people about the good news of Jesus Christ is all the more urgent. Here are some lessons I’ve learned and thoughts I’ve had on how to be more effective at sharing the gospel.

First, we must find our ‘sailboat’.

Bill Hybels, who founded Willow Creek Community Church, often references his passion for sailing and his excitement about his boat in speaking. He has made a habit of using his sailboat as a means to tell people about Jesus.  Hybels uses his sailboat and his love for sailing to evangelize to others who love sailing. Everyone needs to have a similar example.

So the question is: What’s your sailboat? Not all of us have our own boat, but most of us have a house or apartment. Maybe some of us have a really neat backyard, a pool, of and a whole community of people around us to invite.  We may belong to a gym, club, professional network or other social group.  If you do not, you need to join something.

My sailboat happens to be my neighborhood. I go to my neighborhood Waffle House almost every morning and spend time talking and listening to my neighbors who meet there.  I became a member of our homeowners association board to invest in our community and hear of needs of my neighbors.  At one meeting a resident came and complained about the state of her neighbors yard. The grass had not been mowed in a month and its shrubs and landscaping were over run with weeds. Before the board gave them a notice I told them I would talk with the homeowner.  I found out the owner had to have heart replacement surgery.  So to avoid them getting a fine, I walked back over with my lawn mower, edger, weed eater, and chain saw and spent a afternoon getting their lawn and yard in shape. 

Second, it helps to make a list.

Given the hectic, fast-paced nature of most of our lives, it’s easy to place things—people, even—on the backburner. In the heat of the moment, we think to ourselves, I really want to connect with that new neighbor across the street or I need to dedicate myself to praying for that struggling parent in my church small group. But sometimes we let hours, days, and even weeks go by before suddenly remembering all the people we forgot to reach out to and pray for.

 I tell everyone at ODC to write down a list of 100 names of people they have influence and a connection with them: family members, friends, co-workers, classmates, all the way down to the mailman. Then write after their name if they are Christian, non-Christian, or unknown. Then pray over the list daily and begin to intentionally reach out to people on your list who don’t know Christ. If we are serious about the gospel, our natural response shouldn’t be to bottle up the gift we’ve been given in our hearts and keep it to ourselves. The message of Christ’s love and redemptive work on the cross was meant to be shared and it’s our job—not someone else’s—to testify to its power. 

Third, Those who are in leadership areas of your church: we need to dedicate ourselves to leadership in this area.

It’s not enough for us to talk about evangelism from the pulpit, in a class or a meeting,. We need to make sharing the gospel a priority in our individual spheres and circles if we want to inspire our congregations and our familes to do the same. We need our churches to be places of accountability where churchgoers, staff, and leaders come together with one common desire: reaching people. This is because, at the end of the day, sharing the gospel isn’t just a side job—it is, arguably, one of the most important of our Christian responsibilities. The command to love God and neighbor is most fully expressed when we bring the message of his love directly to those who need it most.

My family, when it comes to evangelism, you can’t lead what you won’t live.  I pray today and over this weekend you will set aside time and intentionally pray over your “sailboat, make your list of 100, and dedicate evangelism to be part of your life starting next week.  In Jesus’ name, amen.  Please pray the same for me.  God bless you my friends!

Please share your reflections and prayers in the comment box below.

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

Please support and partner with my self and my family as we serve as local missionaries to those in our community with your one-time or monthly financial gift by clicking link below.  Donations can also be mailed to One Direction Community, PO Box 1293, Madison, Al 35758

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"Look At Me Now!

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"Look At Me Now!

Good morning Jesus, tune my mind and my heart to you so I can play your melody throughout my day.

“And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.” (Mark 5:19-20)

In my reading again through the story of the demoniac in Mark 5 this morning, the same 2 verses I blogged about yesterday again stood out to me.  In this story we have a man who was broken, insane and in evil bondage and Jesus sets him free. Jesus immediately sends him back to his home and to the cities around him to tell them what Jesus has done for him.  He goes from a demon processed lunatic to a traveling preacher.  And he was doing an amazing job as the story says the people “marveled” at him. I suppose he could have stood before the people and pointed to the scars all over his body he made and said, “Do you see what kind of deranged creature I was?" Look at me now!”

 I want to say that is the heart of Christian witness.  The heart of Christian witness is not, "Let me argue with you and try to persuade you in the logic of why God exists." It is not, “Let me persuade you how bad society is now.”  It is not, "If you die today do you know where you will go?" And it is not explaining to them, "Why you should go to church."  None of these are at the heart of Christian witness.  The heart of Christian witness is like the response of the man in John 9:25, “I was blind, but now I see.”   Here you have a person saying, “I was once insane! I was cutting myself in a cemetery!  Look at me now!”

There really can not be real Christian witness until there is real Christian experience.  Not until we have met Jesus.  Not until we know what it is like to be rescued. Not until we have lived through being one thing and becoming another.   It is kind of hard being a witness to Christ when we do not know what that is.  And I would say maybe for some of us reading this blog, we need to sign up again from the very beginning and say, “I am not a new person. I have been acculturated to church, I go to church,  I give my money, I help out, I am a good soldier in the church “machinery” and programs, but to be honest with it, I never have ever been actually rescued by Jesus.”  That would be a great place to start or restart the journey.  To start the journey at the beginning by being rescued by Jesus. 

My family, this story in Mark is a story of the beauty of deliverance, the beauty of witness, and the beauty of peace being drawn right out of the midst of death and chaos.   I earnestly pray with tears in my eyes that this will become your story today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.  Please pray the same for me.  God bless you my friends!  I have never ended with this before however the Spirit is leading me to day to say if God is working with you in this area now and you are wrstling with this at all please contact me!  garyl@onedirection.community.  Or please contact another solid person you know in Christ.

Please share your reflections and prayers in the comment box below.

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

Please support and partner with my self and my family as we serve as local missionaries to those in our community with your one-time or monthly financial gift by clicking link below.  Donations can also be mailed to One Direction Community, PO Box 1293, Madison, Al 35758

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"What Difference Does Your Relationship With Jesus Make in Your Day to Day Life?

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"What Difference Does Your Relationship With Jesus Make in Your Day to Day Life?

Jesus, I am in no hurry as I wait here in your presence and seek to hear your voice.

 

“But Jesus did not permit him to do so. Instead, he said to him, “Go to your home and to your people and tell them what the Lord has done for you, that he had mercy on you.” So he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis what Jesus had done for him, and all were amazed.” Mark 5:19-20

 

The verses above are part of the passages in Mark’s Gospel that the group I am leading going through the Gospel of Mark is looking at this week.  As I read through the story of the demoniac again this morning and these last two verses in the story stood out to me.  They tie in with and build upon my post yesterday, “Is There Not A Cause.”  The cause of Christ and are calling to bear witness to the world the truth of Jesus.

 

The man in the story was broken and  controlled by the evil inside of him.  When he encountered Jesus, he was free of all that bound him, he was no longer recognized by those who knew him, by his past and given an amazing new life and future.  Jesus then told him to tell his family and friends what He did for him.

 

All of us encountered Jesus out of some form of brokenness and bondage and when we did Jesus set us free as well.  In the same way we are called to share what Jesus has done for us.  Paul tells us, “Be conscientious about how you live and what you teach. Persevere in this, because by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.” (1 Timothy 4:16)  We all have a testimony to share.  When we share with someone there is always one question they want to hear an answer to,  “What difference does my relationship with Jesus make in my life?”   They want to hear the tangible truth of who Jesus is to you and in you and how that truth then can apply to them.

 

When you came to Christ and were baptized the Holy Spirit fell upon you and you were filled with his presence and power.   Your filling with the Holy Spirit has a purpose, a “Because” by God and that is, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; “ (Isaiah 61:1-2)

 

My family, I pray today you will share in your home, and then to the people you encounter today all that Jesus has done for you.  I pray over you Paul’s words, “Pray for me also, that I may be given the message when I begin to speak - that I may confidently make known the mystery of the gospel…Pray that I may be able to speak boldly as I ought to speak. “ (1 Corithians 6: 19-20)  Please pray the same for me,  God bless you my friends!!

 

Please share your reflections and prayers in the comment box below.

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

 

Even though Giving Tuesday was yesterday, it is not to late to support and partner with my self and my family as we serve as local missionaries to those in our community with your one-time or monthly financial gift by clicking link below.

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Is There Not A Cause?

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Is There Not A Cause?

Good morning, Lord Jesus. Put Your thoughts in my mind and Your desires in my heart to lead me in Your steps today. 

Last night during our Bible study our conversation turned to the complacency that is common in the church today and is there a way to instill in a fire for the cause of Christ.  My reflections on this took me back to a familiar story in the Bible those of us who grew up in the church have known since we were children.

"And David said, ... 'Is there not a cause?'" (1 Samuel 17:29)

The armies of Israel and their king were trembling in fear before the Philistine giant, Goliath. But David was stirred in his spirit with passion for the honor of his people and with faith in the power of his God. "Is there not a cause?" was his battle cry.  "Is there not reason to arise and shine, to walk by faith, to move in the power of God, trusting in the victory of His will?" was the declaration of his heart. "Then David said to Saul, 'Let no man's heart fail because of (this giant); your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.... The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine" (v. 32-37).

While others were trembling in fear, paralyzed by the puniness of their faith in the face of their enemies, David ran to the battle. His cause was to be the one, by power of the grace of God "who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel," saying "who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?" (v. 26)

Full of faith and inspired by the power of Your Spirit, David's heart would not fail and David's aim would not miss. Neither did his words fall to the ground empty. "David said to the Philistine, 'You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel! Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord's, and He will give you into our hands! (v. 45-47) 

With a cause in his heart and confidence in his spirit, "David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and stuck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth!" (v. 49) "And when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. Now the men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted, and pursed the Philistines" (v. 51-52).

Lord, let there be a cause in me!  Stir up my faith, inspire me and empower me by Your Spirit. Give my life meaning and purpose, with a strong sense of direction, to honor Your name and advance Your kingdom through my life each day. Give me courage to face my giants and faith to speak Your Word with authority through my words and my actions that inspire others to remember their identity and fulfill their destiny.

"Is there not a cause?" ... Yes, there is! It is the cause of Christ. It is the cause of the truth and power and love of the Kingdom of God being made manifest here in my heart and here in my world, on earth as it is in heaven. And by the Spirit of Christ, arising and shining through me, I can say with You, "For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth" (John 18:37). In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

My family, I pray you are stirred up and running to battles the Lord sets before you today, inspired and empowered by His Spirit for the cause of His glory. I pray  you will come to the full understanding, put a stake in the ground and declare from this day forward,  "For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth"  in Jesus' name! Please pray the same of me. God bless you, my friends!

Please post and share your reflections and prayers in the comment box below.

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

#GivingTuesday.

Todayis Giving Tuesday.  Please support and partner with my self and my family as we serve as local missionaries to those in our community with your one-time or monthly financial gift by clicking link below.

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Lips and Hearts

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Lips and Hearts

Good morning, Lord Jesus.  Come into my heart and every moment of my day. 

"(Jesus) said to them, 'Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, 'This people honors Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship Me, teaching human percepts as doctrines.' You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition'" (Mark 7:6-8).

Uproot and remove all that merely ritual and religion. Give me a passionate desire and uncompromising hunger for authentic relationship with You. May my actions and my heart be genuine expressions of my true faith in my one, true God. May the relationship with you I claim I have when I speak to others be an honest representation of my relationship with you.

 If I am wearing a golf shirt and someone comes up to me and says, “So you are a golfer.”  I would immediately reply,” no, I am not a golfer, I like to go out and hit a ball once in a while and try to get in a round in once a month, but I am not a golfer.  I realize and understand the huge difference between a being a true golfer and a person who occasionally plays a round of golf.   The commitment to spending time on the driving range, with a trainer, on the practice green and on the course that is required to be proficient enough at the game to call yourself a golfer.  The same is true if I played occasionally in a touch football league, I would not call myself a football player.  Or if I played a few times a month in a Saturday morning church basketball league. I would say I like to play basketball, but would not define myself as a basketball player.

Yet if someone saw me with a crucifix around my neck or on a bracelet on my wrist and asked me, Are you a Christian?” I automatically without thought reply, “Yes I am.”  As most Christians do.  I do not differentiate like I do with everything else in life before I answer if I am truly a Christian, a disciple of Christ. I do not reply if I am someone like the person who plays an occasional round of golf, a person who when it is convenient plays around occasionally with Christianity.

  And I guess I can get away with going to church once or twice a month, spend 30 minutes or more reading the Bible the just as often, praying when I am sick or my transmission goes out in my car, and still look that person in the eye and say I am a Christian.  But I cannot look them in the eye and say I am a disciple of Jesus.  As the verse above states, I “honor you with my mouth” but my heart and my commitment are far away from you.  In my heart, just as I know what is required to call myself a Golfer or a Football Player, I understand the level of commitment to time spent in prayer, the Word, and accountability to others, and the deep zeal and love for God and my neighbors that is required to call myself a Christian, a Disciple of Jesus.

My family, As we begin our week I pray that may your lips and your heart both be a genuine expression of your true love, faith and commitment in our one, true God throughout your days.   in Jesus' name. Please pray the same for me. God bless you, my friends!

Please share your reflections and prayers in the comment box below.

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

We need your help.  This Giving Tuesday, please support and partner with my self and my family as we serve as local missionaries to those in our community with your one-time or monthly financial gift by clicking link below.

 

Link to our Newsletter and photos of our ministries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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"Attitude of Gratitude"

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"Attitude of Gratitude"

God, thanks for everything….

 

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:15-17

 

“Do everything in the name of the Lord, giving thanks” v.17.  Christians, those forgiven, redeemed, restored, and saved by love and grace of God through Jesus Christ are to be the most thankful people on earth.  We are to be people a people infused with the “Attitude of Gratitude!” Christians should be known to everyone: co-workers, classmates, neighbors, friends, family, as a thankful people full of gratitude towards God and others.  Are you?  Are you known as one who is joyful and full of gratitude and encouragement of others or as one who complains allot and “difficult” to be around? 

 

Today is the day we centered around Thanksgiving and reminding and re-centering our life around gratitude. “Thanks-giving” is a verb.  It requires the intentional action of the giving of thanks. To God first, and as importantly to others

 

I am typing this blog in the breakfast area of the lobby of the hotel in Cleveland, Ohio my family are staying in.  We came up here to visit my parents and family for Thanksgiving.  I came down here because my wife and daughters are sleeping in in our room.  When I came into the lobby and walked to the large coffee thermos for coffee, I was greeted with a “Good morning” from the hotel employee who was wiping down the tables and bring food to the buffet bar.  She did not get to sleep in today nor did the people behind the hotel registration desk. I was at the Waffle House earlier in the week and I asked a waitress, "What are you doing for Thanksgiving?" She said, "Working." I am working 7:00am-2:00pm, then I have to come back in and work 9:00pm-7:00am.  I have to come back and work Black Friday as well." For many single moms, students, those living paycheck to paycheck and others who work in the restaurant industry, Thanksgiving and Black Friday will be time away from family working. Stopping by your local WH, IHOP, or other restaurant with a couple to go plates of food, a few slices of pie or cake, or a plate of cookies to snack on during breaks would mean so much to them and make them "thankful" for you. 

 

My family, I want to thank everyone of you for even the smallest act of love, encouragement, support and friendship you have ever shown me.  I am so gracious of even the shortest span of time I was invited into your life to share a moment. I thank you for any prayers directed towards me and times we have prayed, worshipped, and read Scripture together.  I thank you for the gift you are to my life all in and through the grace of God and Christ Jesus.  And though I end every blog] posts of mine with the same five words, this morning they are even more from my heart, God bless you my friends!!!

 

Please share your reflections and prayers with us in the comment box below.

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

We need your help! Please support and partner with my self and my family as we serve as local missionaries to those in our community with your one-time or monthly financial gift by clicking link below.

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"How Deep is Love"

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"How Deep is Love"

Good morning, Lord Jesus. Let me hear and see and sense Your Presence here with me, here within me, as I begin my day in the communion of prayer -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 

"Then Jesus said, 'There was a man who had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.' So he divided his property between them. A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself he said, 'How many of my father's hired hands have bread enough to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.' So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. Then the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, 'Quickly, bring out a robe--the best one--and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found! And they began to celebrate!" (Luke 15:11-24)

When the prodigal son came to the end of himself, he said, "Here I am dying.... I am no longer worthy." He was giving up hope, believing his sins were too dark, his heart was too hardened, his character was too tarnished, his faith was too weak, his life was too wasted. He believed he was too far gone and began to give up to hopeless despair.

But then a thought came to his mind of the father he knew. And though he felt so much rejection from within him, so alone and so unworthy that surely he would be unloved and unwanted, he chose to "get up and go to (his) father, and (speak) to him" (v. 18). He was sure in his mind and convinced in his heart that he would only face more shame, more rejection, more disappointment, all in confirmation of all the negative things he'd come to believe about himself and his worth in the eyes of his father and everyone else. Yet, something drew him to come and see, to take a risk to come receive, to humble himself come and ask for his father's help.

And the amazing reception from his father was beyond what he ever imagined! His father ran to him and hugged him and kissed him and welcomed him home in the embrace of his love. He father was filled with joy at his son's return -- the one who was dead was now alive, the one who lost was now found!

As I am writing this, the song, “How Deep the Father’s Love for us,” right on cue from God!  “How deep is our Father's love for us,How great, how vast beyond all measure” The song of worship says:

How deep the Father's love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the man upon a cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers

 It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

 I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

 Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

(Songwriter:  Stuart Townsend)

 

My Father, I thank You for never giving up on me. Thank You for never letting me give up on myself. Thank You for Your sacrifice of love for me and for all, through Jesus Christ, that there is no sin You won't forgive, no wound You won't heal, and no bondage You won't not break if we humble ourselves to turn to You, to call on Your name, and ask for Your help. When we humble ourselves in Your sight, You lift us up (James 4:10). 

Thank You for Your everlasting promise and unfailing love:  "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I will hope in Him.' The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul that seeks Him" (Lamentations 3:22-25). In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

My Family, I pray you embrace the Father's love for you--His unfailing love, poured into your heart by His Spirit through His Son, every day, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same of me. God bless you, my friends!  Take three minute to listen to the song.

Please share your reflections and prayers in the comment box below

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

We need your help! Please support and partner with my self and my family as we serve as local missionaries to those in our community with your one-time or monthly financial gift by clicking link below.

Link to our Newsletter and photos of our ministries.

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No Greater Love Than This.

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No Greater Love Than This.

Good morning, Lord Jesus. I speak out Your name and listen for the leading of Your Spirit, here in the embrace of my Father to begin my day in the intimacy of prayer. 

"No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends" (John 15:13).

Last night at our house church we  read passages of scripture, and watched o video on Thanksgiving and gratitude.  We all shared things and people for which we were thankful.  One member brought up our veterans and those currently serving in our military.  He said how he has to travel time to time with his work and he hates to leave his family for a week of business travel.  It is hard to imagine the sacrifice of the men and women who serve in our military who are away from their families for years.

This past weekend our nation honored the men and women who have been willing to leave their families and comforts of home to go fight and die for our freedom and injustices in the world.  We're thankful for their service. We're thankful for their sacrifice. We're thankful that they answered the call with courage and conviction to willingly lay down their lives for us. We owe them our respect and honor them with our gratitude -- "respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due" (Romans 13:7).

And as I honor them, I honor You Jesus. You set aside the glory of heaven to humble Yourself in the likeness of human flesh and blood to lay down Your life for me -- "even death on a cross" (Philippians 2:5-11). You are the Veteran of the greatest war ever fought -- the war between heaven and hell, between good and evil, between forgiveness and sin. The battle scars You bear are the jagged nail wounds upon Your hands and feet forever for us (John 20:27).  

Through Your sacrifice of love -- a sacrifice we really can't even begin to fully grasp -- our world condemned to die will experience a new heavens and a new earth through the sufferings of Your cross and the glory of Your resurrection (John 3:16). "Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him" (John 3:17). We honor You and thank You. Thank You for Your service and Your sacrifice. "Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through Jesus Christ!"  -- our Greatest Veteran! (1 Corinthians 15:57)

My family, I pray you daily pray for and give gratitude and respect in honor of our veterans and our Greatest Veteran, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same of me. God bless you, my friends!

Please share your reflections and prayers in the comment box below.

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

Please support and partner with my self and my family as we serve as local missionaries to those in our community with your one-time or monthly financial gift by clicking link below.

Link to our Newsletter and photos of our ministries.

 

 

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"You Personally Did It."

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"You Personally Did It."

Jesus, I welcome you into my life with the same radical hospitality in which you welcome me.

“Then the king will say to those on his right, ʻCome, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.ʼ Then the righteous will answer him, ʻLord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?ʼ And the king will answer them, ʻI tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me.ʼ” (Matthew 25:34-40)

I was in the Waffle House (WH) yesterday sitting at the counter and I started up a conversation with a new cook who just recently started working there.  He looked in his early to mid 20s and had the normal piercings and tattoos of a WH employee.   As we talked he told me he moved up here when he was 18 to attend college at UAH.  His major was Chemical Engineering and he had one more semester to go and will graduate this spring.  He said when he graduates it will have taken him 6 years to get his 4 year degree because it has been a struggle at times, but he hasn’t given up.

Our conversation got around to family and Thanksgiving and I asked him about his plans.  He got a little quite as he talked.  He said I really don’t know where my mother is, she left us when I was little.  My dad is in Montana and we talk now and then.  I have a sister in Las Vegas and a brother who I think is in North Carolina.  We don’t talk much.  I replied, so you do not have any family support at all do you?  He said no, for the past 6 years I have been pretty much trying to make it on my own. 

I though to myself Wow!  My oldest daughter just moved out of the house and went away as a freshman in college.  I thought of all the help she had from family moving into her dorm, setting it up and getting what she needed, phone calls and visits of encouragement, and financial support. This young man received no support at all. Then I also thought, he has no place to go to, no table to sit at for a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal. 

As I spend time intentionally and missionaly hanging out in my community, I am discovering there are many, many people out there like this young man.  Young adults from broken families, single moms struggling to make it on their own, elderly on welfare who are isolated and alone.  During the holidays there are lots churches, agencies and ministries that provide food, food boxes, and meals for those with low income, isolated, and marginalized in their community.  However, as much as they need food, even more so they need fellowship.

Most of these churches/agencies/ministries ask their congregations and people to drop of food items to be handed out to those in need.  People giving come and bring food and drop it off for the food boxes to be handed out.  People receiving come and get a box or have it delivered to their home.  The people giving walk away satisfied they have given.  The people receiving walk away satisfied they have received.  However it is all a transaction and it does not foster transformation.  These church and ministry outreaches actually insulate people from contact with the poor, isolated and marginalized.  As dropping off food to a church removes all contact with the poor and isolated, and dropping off food to a home keeps contact to a polite minimum.

Instead of churches/agencies collecting names of people who need a meal to hand out to them a food box, they need to hand out names of people who need a meal, and have the “givers” invite them over to their house to share a meal at their table.  Then it is no longer a transaction but an invitation that allows transformation.  Above when Jesus says, “You gave me food” he does not mean you dropped off can goods and mac and cheese boxes at your church, he meant you personally shared a meal with him.  When Jesus says, “I was a stranger and you invited me in”  he did not mean you scooped mashed potatoes in a serving line somewhere, he meant you invited him into your home.  When ha says “I was naked and you clothed me,”  He did not mean you dropped your second hand clothing off to Good Will, he meant you personally gave me cloths. 

We need to get beyond ministering as a transaction and go deeper into ministering as transformation.  We need to be brave and bold enough to allow ourselves to be personally involved in those we minister enough to love them, and even braver and bolder to allow them to love us.

My family, I pray as you plan your charitable holiday giving and holiday meals the Holy Spirit will convict and remind you of the way Jesus personally and intimately  saves, provides for and ministers to you. How he always seeks a transformational relationship in which he can love you and you love him. I pray the Holy Spirit will encourage you to save, provide for, and minister to others in the same way.  In Jesus name.  Please pray the same for me.  God bless you my friends!!!

 

Please share your reflections and prayers with us in the comment box below.

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

We need your help! Please support and partner with my self and my family as we serve as local missionaries to those in our community with your one-time or monthly financial gift by clicking link below.

 

Link to our Newsletter containing information and photos of our ministries.

 

 

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Start Small

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Start Small

Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I begin today in the spirit of complete gratitude for your Gospel of Grace.

"Always rejoice, constantly pray, in everything give thanks. For this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

This morning, instead of a personal reflection of mine, I want you to take a moment to watch this short 4 minute video.  We are entering into the holiday season and Thanksgiving Day is next week.  This video is a great reminder of allow have to be thankful for in our lives.  I probably need to watch this video once a week as a constant reminder of to be grateful, and remove any feelings of entitlement  or reasons to complain I may feel about my life.  

"Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, and his loyal love endures! (Psalm 107:1)

My family, I pray you will begin this day and everyday of your life in a posture of gratitude and thanksgiving for all God has done, is doing, and will do in your life. In Jesus' name.  Please pray the same for me.  God bless you my friends!!!

 

Please share your reflections and prayers in the comment box below.

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

We need your help. Please support and partner with myself and my family as we serve as local missionaries to those in our community with your one-time or monthly financial gift by clicking link below.

Click the link below to our Newsletter and photos of our ministries.

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Time With Jesus

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Time With Jesus

Good morning Jesus, I begin this work week centered in you.

 

“Now Jesus went up the mountain and called for those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve (whom he named apostles), so that they would be with him and he could send them to preach and to have authority to cast out demons. He appointed twelve: To Simon he gave the name Peter; to James and his brother John, the sons of Zebedee, he gave the name Boanerges (that is, “sons of thunder”); and Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.” (Mark 6:13-19)

Jesus called twelve people to be follow him, to be his disciples, to be members of his “church.” What was the first and most important thing Jesus required of them?  To spend time with him.  At the core of being a disciple, at being a follower of Jesus is  the necessity of spending time with Jesus and developing a deep relationship with Him. 

Jesus’ call of his disciples reveals three things.  First, Jesus “called those he wanted” (v.13).  Jesus’ wanted and desired a close, personal friendship with his followers.  Jesus did not call them as a marketing plan  or to hire workers. He did not call them with a “human resource model” like most churches of getting them to sign up to be greeters, ushers, childcare workers…and the list goes on.  He simply wanted to spend time with them.  Second, “they came to him.” (v.13)  The disciples attraction was simply Jesus.  It was not a program, building, or ministry.  They came and desired to spend time with Jesus.  Third, “So that they could be with him.” Again, though whole point of Jesus calling those to follow him was so so that they could be with him. Yes, he wanted to “send them out to preach and cast out demons” however all authority and power for them to be able to do this  has its source and is only possible from a deep abiding relationship with Jesus.

What is the whole goal and purpose of being a follower of Jesus today? Why did he Jesus call you to follow him?   To spend time with him.   At the core of Jesus calling of you is his desires to personally and intimately spend time with you.  At the core of your Christian walk needs to be a desire to personally and intimately spend time with Jesus.   I have found as a Christian leader that if I do a service project of some sort people willingly show to serve and work even though the tasks may be difficult and outside in hot conditions.  I have found that people willingly get up on Sunday mornings and get dressed, get in cars and drive to a church to attend a service.  However, I have found that getting people to spend time daily with Jesus: to sit comfortably on a couch in their pajamas with a cup of coffee or tea in their own home and read the Bible and prayer, is a struggle for them.

Yet “doing” things: attending church services, serving in a church or in a ministry and teaching or leading a church event is not at the core of Jesus call of you, just as “doing” things was not at the core of the first group he called to follow Him.  It is “being” with Him.  You must first desire to be with Jesus before you can go out and do things for Jesus.  The great commandment, to love God with all you heart, soul, mind, and strength ( Mark 12:30) comes before and is a pre-requisite to fulfilling the great commission, “Go and make disciples.” (Matt. 28:18-20)

There is nothing myself or any other leader can do to get you to desire to spend time with Jesus.  As much as Jesus desires to be with you, he can’t make you spend time daily with Him in Scriptures and prayer.  All he can do is call out to you, and expectantly await your response.

My family, I pray today as you begin your work-week, you will come to realize that answering your call to follow Jesus is not centered on “doing” things for Jesus, but “being” with Jesus.  May you desire to be with the one who desires to be with you, Jesus Christ.  Please pray the same for me!  God bless you my friends!

 

Please share your reflections and prayers in the comment box below.

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

Please support and partner with my self and my family as we serve as local missionaries to those in our community with your one-time or monthly financial gift by clicking link below.

Link to our Newsletter and photos of our ministries.

 

 

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Destiny of Greatness

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Destiny of Greatness

Good morning, Lord Jesus. Make me more like You today.  ...

 

"We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies" (Romans 8:22-23).

 

We all have a destiny of greatness. We are all groaning for greatness.  We are all yearning to be all we were created to be.  We're yearning to be all You created us to be: forgiven for our sins, filled with Your Spirit, filled with your power and peace, and fulfilling our destiny as the sons and daughters of the King we are. May we settle for nothing less.  As we seek to fill our hunger and fulfill our greatness and redemption in you, may we not try to satisfy our hunger with personal greatness and popularity, material possessions, and careers.  May we hunger and thirst for more: more of You, more of Your love, more of Your grace, more of Your nature in our hearts and Your power in our lives. 

 

Lord, let it be so. Set us free from complacency and give us fresh passion. Deliver us from the poverty of lacking a zeal for You and the fulfillment of Your Word and Your will in our lives. With an increasing, insatiable hunger for Your kingdom and Your righteousness, we're groaning for greatness in You (Matthew 6:33). And as we do, Your Word will be fulfilled:  "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled!" (Matthew 5:6).

 

Hear God’s words for you,  "Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it -- the Lord is His name:  Call to Me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known... I am going to bring (you) recovery and healing; I will heal (you) and reveal to (you) abundance of prosperity and security.... And (you) shall be to Me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for (you); they shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for (you)!" (Jeremiah 33:2-9)

 

My family, I pray you will be filled with a hunger and thirst for righteousness, that you groan for greatness, and that you will settle for nothing less than the greatness in the Lord and the great and awesome things He desires in you and through your life, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same of me. God bless you, my friends!

 

Please share your reflections and prayers in the comment box below.

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

 

 

Please support and partner with my self and my family as we serve as local missionaries to those in our community with your one-time or monthly financial gift by clicking link below.

Link to our Newsletter and photos of our ministries.

 

 

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"What is a Disciple?"

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"What is a Disciple?"

"Then Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” 

Jesus commands us to "Go, and make disciples" v.19.  That is all of are calling.  At our Wednesday night house church last night we looked at this command. After our time of worship, prayer and sharing the Lord's Supper, I began our discussion type by asking those in my living room, "What is a disciple?"  You can't obey Jesus' command make disciples until you understand and define what you are trying to make.  We went around the room and everyone gave their answer to this question.  Afterwards, I handed out One Direction Community's definition of a disciple and a highlighter marker to everyone.  We then went through the definition line by line and everyone highlighted and shared the parts of the definition that stood out to them.  I have included ODC's definition below and its description for you to read and reflect on this morning and through ought you day.    

A disciple is a committed apprentice of the Lord Jesus Christ who is growing in Love for God and others, sent out to make disciples, all through the power of the Holy Spirit.

…a committed apprentice… of the Lord Jesus Christ

ODC’s definition of disciple rests on the confession of the earliest Christians: Jesus is Lord.  If Jesus is Lord, then no one and nothing else can be. This implies exclusivity: Lordship excludes all other claims to loyalty; and totality: there is no area of life that is not under the rule of God. Jesus modeled total submission to his Father to the exclusion of all else and expects his followers to do the same. This is not something we can do by ourselves. We need each other and the power of the Holy Spirit.

…growing in love for God

We recognize discipleship as a life-long process of growing… becoming more and more like Jesus. As God reveals thoughts, attitudes, and actions that are not “Christ-like,” a committed apprentice responds by changing to be more like Christ.

The ongoing growth process is a series of baby steps of immediately obeying everything we hear Jesus commanded us to do.  His first command was to love God.

Loving God includes all that we are (our soul), the expression of our emotions (heart); the exercise of our will to obey what Jesus commands (strength), and the content of our thoughts (our mind). It is not hard to see why loving God is a process that can be costly, or that seems radical. Nevertheless, it’s what Jesus expects of His followers, His disciples. (Matt 22:37)

…growing in love for others

ODC wants to form disciples who are growing in love for God (through Immediate Radical Costly Obedience) and others (by putting them first). (Mat 22:39)

Loving others extends beyond warm feelings or treating people with simple courtesy (although that is not a bad place to start). It involves listening (for many people, being heard is so close to being loved that they can’t tell the difference). We notice their needs, and take time to meet those needs by serving them.

Loving others by serving them often means inconvenience, and the sacrifice of personal time and resources. Radical hospitality… inviting our neighbors to enter into our lives… sets people at ease and fosters trusting relationships. “Welcoming the stranger” demonstrates our love for God by extending His love to those who are right in front of us.

Loving others by the practice of seeing them spiritually through the eyes of God. If we want to minister to them as Jesus would, we need to be able to see them as Jesus does.

….sent out

Jesus exemplified the Missio Deo or “The Mission of God.”  That is the spreading of the gospel that the Kingdom of God is at hand and ushering in that good news in a tangible way.  Just as God sent Jesus in to this world to proclaim this gospel, Jesus sends us out to proclaim it as well (Joh. 17-18).  Disciples are to be missionaries.  Missionary defined as someone who forsakes everything but the Gospel, for the sake of the Gospel.  Discipleship is actively following Jesus through the presence of the Holy Spirit out into their neighborhoods and communities. (John 17:18)

….and making disciples

Jesus’ last commandment to his disciples was for them themselves to go and make disciples. (Mat 28:19)  His commandment applies to all of us as well.  It is a good thing when we come to know Christ.  It is a better thing when we lead someone else to Christ.  It is the Greatest thing, the most Christ like thing, when we lead someone to Christ and disciple them so that they then lead someone to Christ.  Moreover, the goal of discipleship is to become the most Christ-like.

…through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Finally, this definition of disciple reveals our total reliance on the power of the Holy Spirit for transformation and growth.

A core value of our House Churches is that truth is revealed through the study of scripture, in community with others, under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Gifted teachers and great curriculum are valuable but can never replace the Holy Spirit’s work in exposing the truth of scripture. Reading a few verses directly, without external commentary, allows the Holy Spirit to flow through multiple believers whose various personal experiences, traditions, reason, and spiritual gifts reveal the simple and obvious meaning of the text.

How do you make a disciple?

First and for most if you desire to make disciples is to personally answer and reflect on this question, “Am I a disciple worth multiplying?” God does not desire to multiply mediocrity.  He desires to multiply those who exhibit Immediate, Radical, Costly, Obedience (IRCO).  Discipleship is the act and process of modeling and conforming yourself to Christ.  I have come to understand that there is no “easy button” to achieve this, to become or make a disciple.  It requires reading Scripture more than I ever have before, praying more than I ever have before, and being openly accountable to others in the body more than I ever have been before.  How I become or “make” a disciple is simple, but it is not easy.  If I am not willing to consistently embrace and model this, then I cannot effectively lead others to become disciples.  For I cannot lead them to a place I myself am not willing to go.  And no program, training, technique or tool I try to use can replace lack of obedience.  

Am I a disciple worth multiplying?

My family, I pray this morning you will read and reflect over what is a Disciple of Jesus and return to read and reflect on it until it is instilled in your very being that this is command that YOU are called to obey.  Then "Go" into your work place, school, neighborhood, and third places and by the Holy Spirits leading enter into peoples lives, give them access to you life, and begin to intentionally make disciples of those God's has placed in your path.  Please pray the same for me! God bless you my friends!!

Please share your reflections and prayers in the comment box below.

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

 

Please support and partner with my self and my family as we serve as local missionaries to those in our community with your one-time or monthly financial gift by clicking link below.

Link to our Newsletter and photos of our ministries.

 

 

2 Comments