Change of Atmosphere

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Change of Atmosphere

Good morning, Lord Jesus. Fill my heart and guide my thoughts, as I begin my day grounded and centered in You, my God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 

"Now a certain man named Simon had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he was someone great. All of them, from the least to the greatest, listened to him eagerly, saying, 'This man is the power of God that is called Great.' And they listened eagerly to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. But when they believed Philip, who was proclaiming the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Even Simon himself believed. After being baptized, he stayed constantly with Philip and was amazed when he saw the signs and great miracles that took place" (Acts 8:9-13).

With confident boldness and passionate faith, Philip was speaking Your name and proclaiming Your kingdom in word and deed. He was changing the spiritual atmosphere around him from the power of magic to the power of the Messiah, from the kingdoms of this world to the kingdom of our God, from exalting the "great god" of humanism to exalting the Great God who created the heavens and the earth and every human in His eternal sovereignty and authority over all.

Even Simon the magician believed and was baptized. When the name of Jesus is proclaimed the kingdom of God is advanced. When you speak the name of Jesus out loud, read Scriptures out loud, pray out loud or sing and worship out loud you change the atmosphere around you.  And as importantly, you change the atmosphere of those around you.  " Jesus replied, “Let us go elsewhere, into the surrounding villages, so that I can preach there too. For that is what I came out here to do.” (Mark 1:38) Jesus came to speak the Gospel out loud into communities and it created an atmosphere where people were healed, the blind received sight, and demons fled.

Like Philip, I want to boldly speak out Your name to change the spiritual atmosphere around me and by doing so it will change the spiritual atmosphere within me. I want to see Your kingdom come, Your will be done here in my world, here in my community, here in my family, here in my heart, on earth as it is in heaven. I want to see every counterfeit power and every false god, every deceptive controlling force bow before the One True God. "Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth -- as in fact there are many gods and many lords -- yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist" (1 Corinthians 8:5-6).

Father God, in the name of Jesus, by the power of Your Holy Spirit, advance the kingdom of God within me and give my a voice to speak it aloud to those around me today. Let my words share The Word and create an atmosphere in which knees bow and tongues confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Let lives be changed, beginning with mine. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

My family, may you boldly and passionately proclaim out loud the name of Jesus and the coming of the kingdom of God in word and deed today, in Jesus' name! May you see a shifting of the atmosphere you find yourself in today from kingdoms of this world into the kingdom of our God in your world around you, and in your heart. Please pray the same of me. God bless you, my friends!

 

Gary Liederbach-Lead Follower

One Direction Community

 

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

 

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"Everything Needed For Life"

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"Everything Needed For Life"

Good morning, Lord Jesus. First things first, as I begin my day embraced my Father, centered in Christ, and filled afresh with Your Holy Spirit. 

"His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Thus He has given us, through these things, His precious and very great promises, so that through them (we) may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:3-4).

Jesus you've already given me everything I need. Knowing You and Your nature, trusting You and Your will, helps me rest and receive all You've provided for me in my personal and intimate relationship with You. "Grace and peace (are mine) in abundance in the knowledge of God and of Jesus (my) Lord" (v. 2).

Help me to believe and embrace these "precious and very great promises." When I need protection or provision or power, when I need hope or healing or help, when I need guidance or gentleness or goodness, when I need faith or fruitfulness or fulfillment, You've already promised it and already provided it. It resides in my heart which is a tabernacle and storehouse of your glory and riches.  "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly place.... according to the riches of His grace that He lavished on us" (Ephesians 1:3-8). 

You are faithful and true, so worthy of my trust. So I take You at Your Word and embrace You by grace to believe in Your promises by faith.  "And my God will fully satisfy every need of (mine) according to (Your) riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever" (Philippians 4:19). In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

My family, I pray you may believe and embrace the precious and very great promises of God in every area of your need and every moment of your life, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same of me. God bless you, my friends!

 

Gary Liederbach-Lead Follower

One Direction Community

 

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

 

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"Deeply From The Heart"

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"Deeply From The Heart"

Good morning, Lord Jesus. Be at the center of my heart and every moment of my day. 

"Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart" (1 Peter 1:22).

Lord you have been calling me to return to truth of my complete reliance on your presence in my life.  You have been calling me to return to simple, undignified, shameless, foolish sold out worship of you.  Lord, today I pray you use this renewed love for your to rekindle the fire of my love for others. Lord, help me learn to love others more deeply, not shallowly from my head, but "deeply from the heart." Help me learn to love with more than words, with more than knowing the truth, with more than seeking to do what's right and seeking to not do what's wrong, but to also love "deeply from the heart."

So Father, break through my barriers I have placed between my heart and loving others. Heal my wounds. Free me from my fears and prejudices. Deepen my willingness and capacity to trust more completely in you so I can be loved more deeply by you which will allow me to then trust others and love others more deeply -"deeply from the heart." 

I have a sense I don't even know what I'm asking. But I also have a sense it's Your Spirit leading me to ask this. And when You lead me to ask, it's because You know what I need. So I'm willing to acknowledge my need and ready to receive by Your grace the desire and the power to love others "deeply from the heart." In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

My family, may you be free and full of God's grace to be love by him more and then be loved others more deeply from the heart, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same of me. God bless you, my friends!

 

Gary Liederbach-Lead Follower

One Direction Community

 

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

 

 

Please partner and support us in our effort to love those who need love the most in our community.

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Offering of Dance

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Offering of Dance

Father, Son and Spirit, I begin my day in desperate need of complete communion with you.

 

“When David went home to pronounce a blessing on his own house, Michal, Saulʼs daughter, came out to meet him. She said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself this day! He has exposed himself today before his servantsʼ slave girls the way a vulgar fool might do!”

David replied to Michal, “It was before the Lord! I was celebrating before the Lord, who chose me over your father and his entire family and appointed me as leader over the Lordʼs people Israel. I am willing to shame and humiliate myself even more than this! But with the slave girls whom you mentioned let me be distinguished!” (2 Samuel 6:20-22)

 

A few years back I went for a month to Southern Darfur, Sudan.  The area has been ravaged by years of civil war as the Muslims of Northern Sudan continue military attacks and raids of kidnapping and rape against the indigenousChristians of Southern Sudan.  There are thousands of orphans in Southern Sudan.  The Muslins would raid the villages andkidnap the women and carry them off to the north for forced marriages/sex slaves.  The men in the village they would either kill or carry off as well for slave laborers.  The children of the villages would flee and run off into the bush and hide, and come back out after the Muslim raiders left, now orphans.

 

These children are poor of the poor.  Each child has only one outfit of clothing, and their only possessions are a small plastic bowl and a spoon, which they hold onto for dear life as it is the only way they receive food.  If there ever was a group who’s life and childhood experiences could cause them to take on a “victim mentality” it would be there children.  However they are not depressed or seeking pity. Instead, every morning they would line up at 8:00am.  And they would sing!  Out of their hearts in a body of absolute physical poverty would come the most amazing joy filled worship!  They would sing of their love for Jesus and thank him for all the blessings they receive from Him.

 

I attended and help lead the Sunday church gatherings held in a large grass roofed hut.  When it came time for the offering, those attending the service had absolutely nothing of any monetary value to offer up, tithe and put in a plate.  So they offered up and tithed themselves and put themselves into God’s hands.  As the time in the service for the offertory began, instead of lining up and coming up to the front of the church, their line would lead them to the back.  Then each one would offer them selves up to the Lord in a dance.  They would dance down the isle spinning, and leaping in front of God in an offering dance of all they are.  When they got to the altar in front they would drop to their knees and bow in complete surrender and then return to their seats.

 

In the USA churches struggle to get people to tithe 10%.  And what ever amount people put in the passing plate they feel justified from their giving.  I just sit here and try to imagine how different our churches would be if every member, every Sunday danced down the isle and offered all that they are to God.  How different every marriage and family would be if families together led by their parents would dance down the isle and surrender themselves together to God.  How different our communities would be if we un-shamefully danced together in front of the Lord and gave him all we are.  How different our governments and nation would be if our leaders would say like David, “I am willing to shame and humiliate myself even more than this!” and dance and surrender their potion of leadership to Jesus.

 

My family, I pray today during your time of devotion you will get up in you living room, kitchen, go out in your yard and simply but powerfully dance before the Lord and offer all you are up to him.  It would be the most fragrant gift pleasing to him you could ever offer.  And I pray your dance of offering would continue throughout your day.  Please pray the same for me.  God bless you my friends!

 

Gary Liederbach-Lead Follower

One Direction Community

 

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

 

We could use your financial support and partnership to enable us to dance into the injustice of our communities. 

I went to Southern Darfur with an amazing ministry called Make Way Partners.  Click on the button below to go to their website to better understand their ministries  into some of the darkest and toughest places on this earth.

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Why Jesus Would Not Attend Your Church's Harvest Festival

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Why Jesus Would Not Attend Your Church's Harvest Festival

Or 3 practical ways to be missional this halloween

Halloween is coming upon us. This week I will be getting my Halloween decorations out of my attic and decorating my yard for our annual Halloween yard party. It’s interesting to me that for many this becomes a “hot button” topic to discuss. I was sitting in the Waffle House yesterday morning talking with a couple Christians at the bar.  Our talk over coffee came to Halloween.  One man stated how he hate's Halloween and went on to explain why.  I was driving with another Christian the other day and they stated how their family does not do Halloween.

 So today I want to address the question: Should we as Christians engage in Halloween or should we abstain? I am copying and pasting allot of this blog from a similar blog I posted last year at Halloween. In actuality if you start reading about Halloween’s roots, it’s hard to find an answer of where it came from. But, regardless of where it comes from, the question at hand should be: Why is Halloween celebrated today?  For most of us, Halloween isn’t a time where we celebrate the dead and go and skin a goat and sacrifice it to Satan.  For most of us, it’s a time to dress up our kids as a super hero and send them to strangers’ houses to get free candy.

It has become just part of our culture in the West and has very little to do with the “darkness”…it’s not good, it’s not evil…it’s just something we celebrate, like the 4th of July.  I know we might have stories of darkness, but there are also many stories of overdrinking and evil happening on our other holidays as well.

The whole of the Bible talks of God bringing reconciliation and redemption to all things back to himself.  To bring peace to all things.  Not only that but Paul speaks (1 Cor 8) to us about pagan festivals and says that there is nothing in them that is powerful, because there is only one God and everything and everyone comes through him and are because of him.

Paul then talks about eating food sacrificed to idols…saying…it’s no big deal, unless you have a brother who would be deeply hurt by it because they struggle with the idol and eating of that meat because they actually used to do those things.

Here’s how to contextualize for Halloween: If you have a brother who used to worship Satan and they used to sacrifice goats and drink its blood, then it might be a good idea to work through Halloween with them and whether or not it would make that brother stumble.  This does NOT mean, if you have a brother who thinks it’s merely wrong to celebrate Halloween then you should put it to the side. That’s never the intent with any of the passages of making a brother stumble…if that was the case, many of us would be in sin because of all the things we do that make other Christians merely uncomfortable.  Jesus was not about making people comfortable.

And Jesus would have made many people stumble with the life that he led around sinners as he ate and drank (yep wine) with them.  Again…making a brother stumble and making a brother uncomfortable are completely separate issues.

With all that said, what are we to do with Halloween?  If we are to look to redeem Halloween, what does that mean?  If we are to do all things to the glory of God, what does that look for Halloween?

First, a few things you should probably STOP doing:

1.  Dressing Your Kid Up as St. Paul or Moses

2.  Calling the Halloween Party at your church building a “Harvest Party.” It is like an atheist calling a “Christmas Party” a “Holiday Party.”  It’s just calling the elephant in the room a squirrel and it’s weird.  

3. Taking all your people away from their neighborhoods and into your building.

4.  Wrapping a tract around an apple and handing it out to the kids who are trick or treating and calling it “evangelizing”

None of these things redeem anything, but just add to the notion that Christians want to be apart from the world and create their own subculture.  Instead, let’s be like Jesus and celebrate it like he would have.

When we look at the life of Jesus and our God, we see that they always pursued the sinner and the world.  They loved us right where we were and engaged us in the ways that we’d understand who God is and what He has done.

Not only that, but Jesus used the everyday celebrations as a way to build relationships so he could speak into the lives of those around him.  He was continually at parties.  So much so, that when Matthew was called to follow Jesus, it seemed normal to Matthew to invite Jesus and all the apostles back to his house to party with all his “sinner” friends. (Matthew 9:9,10; Mark 2:14-17) People knew that Jesus was about celebrating, he was about truth, he was also about pursuing and about building relationships with people. With that in mind, how can we then show people THAT Jesus to our communities during Halloween?

1. Be THAT House

You know “that” house.  When you were a kid and you went to a house and said “trick or treat” and they handed you a full size candy bar, it was like winning the lottery.  It was such good news, you’d tell strangers dressed up like a clown zombie where to find the goods.  Everyone knew that house in the neighborhood and if you didn’t have one in your neighborhood, you’d travel what seemed to be miles to get to that house. Be THAT house.  We have been blessed to be a blessing.  Think about how this shows people the Father.  Everyone is expecting to get a small fun size bar.  It’s what they’ve earned by dressing up and having the courage to knock on your door and say “trick or treat.” What they know they haven’t earned is a full size candy bar…it speaks to this idea of grace and blessing.

You don’t need to tell the kids this, but it starts to tell the story of what your house is about to the neighbors.  It tells a different story than what they expect or are used to and this is exactly the story of the gospel. Spend the extra cash to make that happen.  If you can’t afford it, get your Missional Community to all pitch in.  Ask your church to put it in the budget for next year…whatever you gotta do…be that house! You’ll be amazed at what doors that opens with your neighbors.

2. Be a Welcoming Presence

If our God is about pursuit, blessing and welcoming then what would it look like to be about pursuit on Halloween?  How about instead of staying inside your house, be in the driveway or front porch.  I know this isn’t available for everyone because of weather, but what would it look like in your neighborhood for people to feel welcomed to come to your house and feel blessed by it?

For The Liederbach's, we are going to have fire pit in our front yard. We will be cooking hot dogs over the fire and making s’mores.  We put invitations in all our neighbors mailboxes.  Last year we had over 150 kids trick or treat our house and 80 or so hang out and cook a hot dog or s’more.  It’s a way for us to come together and hang out and bless our neighborhood.  It shows that we are more than about handing out candy, but we are here to bless their entire family and in a sense, welcome you into our lives.

Again, it shows something quite different than every other house.  Last year a father with three young kids came up with them to our front porch to get candy.  The father said, “The kids all discussed before we headed out they wanted to go to this house last. Save the best for last!  Plus once we come her we usually hang out awhile.”  The kids put candy in their bags then they headed towards the fire pit and fun. We have been doing this for years and the neighborhood now expects it and people come and hang out and have a great time meeting their neighbors.

If you can’t be outside, how can you bless the families that are walking around your neighborhood?  Maybe offer coffee, tea, hot chocolate, etc. to the parents and trick or treaters that come to your door.  Again…think, “How can I be a blessing and show that we are a welcoming and pursuing people like our Dad?”

3. Celebrate

It is not secret that Jesus loved to party.  So much so, that people kept inviting him to parties.  Pretty amazing to think about.   If we have a Dad in heaven that loves us and accepts us, not for what we do or have done, but because of what his Son has done for us and now we are heirs to the throne of heaven…don’t we have the most to celebrate?

We should be defined as Jesus was defined: a glutton and drunkard.  He was celebrating so much that the religious saw him as a glutton and drunkard but the sinners and the world saw him as a dude that they’d like to hang with. Where have we gone wrong here?  Christians shouldn’t be the ones avoided for parties, but should be the ones that people are most excited to have come around because they bring the “better wine.”

We made it almost a rule in our house that if we are invited to a party…we are going and we are going to think through how we can bless that party as much as possible.   We are always invited to parties because of this. People know what Nancy and I are about, but they also know that when we enter a room we won’t make it weird, but we hopefully make it more enjoyable by being there.  We have literally had people say, “if Jesus is like this…he was a lot different than we’ve ever been told.”

If you aren’t invited to parties…this Halloween is a great time to throw one. Throw a costume party, a pumpkin carving party, a cookie decorating party, have a photo booth at the party, have a party with games for kids.  You can do all kinds of things for Halloween…it’s a party holiday.  By doing this, meaning throwing an awesome party, you start to show off something different about you as a follower of Jesus and showing off who Jesus was and what he was about.

He was about parties because that’s where people were and that’s where people connect and share stories and start and continue relationships.  Halloween is a really funny holiday when we think about it.  But, it’s a holiday that is so easy to build relationships and bless the community and start (or continue) to show off what our Dad is like.

If instead, we turn off our lights, go to our church buildings and we have a “harvest party” we show the world exactly what they’ve always seen about our God.  He is closed off, judgmental and waits for us to come to him.  This isn’t our Dad…he is quite different.  He is welcoming, he is gracious and merciful and he pursues us and can’t wait to celebrate with us. Don’t use this holiday to make a point.  Use this holiday to point to the true reason we all get to celebrate and bless…Jesus.

My guess is that if Jesus lived in our neighborhood, everyone couldn’t wait to go to his house to see what he was going to hand out this year.  Everyone would be excited to go to Jesus’ Halloween party and couldn’t wait to invite him over to their party.   My only question I wonder is “Who would Jesus dress up as for Halloween?” Who knows…but you know it’d be a killer costume.

 Gary Liederbach-Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Please add your thoughts or questions in the comments box below.

 

 My daily prayer is, “Lord send us the ones no one else wants.” Please give, support and partner with us as reach out to those in our community.

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"Undignified"

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"Undignified"

“And David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, and David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouting and the sound of the trumpet. Then it happened as the ark of the Lord came into the city of David that Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord…” (2 Samuel 6:14-16)

I spent this past Thursday through Sunday at United Pursuit’s Reunion 2017 gathering in Bon Aqua, Ten.  I took my family and a group from One Direction Community up to Reunion to experience raw worship and prayer.  It was attended by approximately 1,500 simple worshippers and lovers of Jesus from across our country from LA to Boston, and a some from overseas. Together we camped in tents in the middle of a farm that was in the middle of no where.  Because of issues with portable showers we took cold showers all weekend and we endured portable toilets.  However the lack of “western standard” comforts only highlighted why we were there, to simply encounter Jesus.

Reaffirming simply encountering Jesus at the DNA of what my ministry and life needs to flow out of has been the theme God and the Holy Spirit has been speaking to me and re-calibrating my life around the past couple weeks. As I looked back at my morning reflections blog posts, before the tragedy of the shooting in Las Vegas drew our hearts and prayers to those effected, my posts reflect this theme.  “Repent”, “Jesus Came”, “Are You Sure God Said Me?” and “Twist and Shout” have all been reflections leading me back to the basics of seeking, embracing, worshipping and loving Jesus.

This past weekend at Reunion 2017 I found myself in the “oldest” 10% of those attending. I was surrounded by young people in their 20s and 30s and their passionate, sold-out, undignified, jumping, dancing, and completely saturating them selves in the worship of their Lord and King Jesus was so beautiful and it so blessed and encouraged me! It drew me into the dance and we all got caught up in the Spirit in pure, raw, powerful worship.  “As the lyrics to the United Pursuit song we sang one night state,

“There’s no shame

in looking like a fool.

When I give you what I can’t keep

And take ahold of you.’

Here is a link to a video I took of a short portion of our Saturday morning worship session.  It is a little "rocky" as I was dancing while I recorded it! :) 

And it is in that place where I give all of myself to God and take ahold of him and loose all shame and dignity in worship that I find myself in the embrace of a Father who has absolutely no reservation, no shame or no dignity in expressing his love for me.  During our time of worship Saturday night those leading worship asked the gathering if those who are struggling with shame in worship or their identity in Christ, and have feelings of unworthiness to sit down. (We all were standing in Worship.)  They asked those standing to lay hands on them and pray over and with them.  All around me young people were sitting and others were praying over each other.  At one point I was on my knees praying and laying my hands, one on each of the backs of two young men who where face down on the floor needing prayer.  As I was praying, I felt the hands of someone on my shoulders.  And from behind me I heard the prayers of a young man speaking amazing words over me.  I found my self on my knees in the middle of hands on my shoulders pouring into me while I had hands on people pouring into them. I was in almost perfect communion with the Holy Spirit.  After our time of prayer I stood up and turned around to see who had been anointing me with prayers.  We introduced ourselves and his name was Alex, he was 23 years old from North Carolina.  He said he was in the back asking God who he needed to pray over.  He said God told him to pray over someone in a Cleveland baseball cap. (I had my Indians cap on).  He said he does not follow baseball at all, yet he walked around not knowing why looking for someone with a Cleveland cap on, saw me on my knees praying, and knew I was the one he was to pray over. The whole weekend was full of God moments like this.

After each night’s worship ended, people would gather around the 30 or so camp fires around the farm and share lives and stories of God, pray over each other, cook smores, and sing worship songs until 2:00am or later.

I know this blog is a little less concise than most, as what I and those that attended the weekend experienced if not concisely explained. All I know is Jesus is calling me into a deeper, freer, more fool-like love and worship of him. I found myself this morning praying and meditating in the Spirit the lyrics of another United Pursuit song, and asking God,   

Help me let You go

Help me give up control

of the god i have made you

when my fear has contained you.

My family, I pray this Monday as you begin your week you begin to let go of God and all you have conformed him, contained him, and made him into by your fear of pure worship of him and fears of who he really may be and who you may be if you surrendered completely to him.  I pray you will let go of those fears and let God be free to be God, and be free to be God in you, for you, and around you all who is truly is, so that you may be free to be, live and worship as you were truly meant to be.  PLEASE pray the same for me!  God bless you my Friends!

 

Gary Liederbach-Lead Follower

One Direction Community

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

 

I so welcome your support and partnership in to enable me to reach out as a missionary into our community.

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"WHY?"

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"WHY?"

Good morning, Lord Jesus. I seek You and need You. So as best as I can and all by Your grace, I entrust this day and my life to You. 

"Why, O Lord, do You stand far off? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?" (Psalm 10:1)

It seems we are in the midst of all the tragedies in our land that are coming wave after wave, one after another – hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, floods, racial violence, ISIS attacks, and mass shootings.  And we're tempted to ask "Why?"  We want to know "Are we under attack or under judgment?" We wonder, "What have we done and what can be undone? What can we do now or is there anything we can do?" We take our questions go to Facebook, Youtube, and other online sites with so called “prophets” looking for answers. And in the midst of our questions, we find ourselves directing our questions to You God.  "Why, God?  Why do you allow this to happen?  Why God? Why, O Lord, do You stand far off? Why, God? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble? Where, God? Where we You when we needed You? Where are You now?"

Some would say we should never ask "Why?" Some would say that's dishonoring and disrespectful, allowing our thoughts and our hearts to be filled with doubt that could lead to disbelief or hopeless despair. But that's not my theology. That's not my experience in my journey of faith with You, God. 

I've found that You're a God who calls us to come with our questions, to open up our hearts with our need for guidance and our desire for answers. You're a God who listens, who cares, who comes alongside us in our confusion and concern, who sees us in our suffering and in our frustrations and fears. And You're a God who reminds us that You're always with us through whatever we endure on our journey of faith through this broken and fallen world, though the things that break our hearts and Yours.

So I bring You my questions and listen for Your answers. We don't turn our own children away when they come to us with their questions. And neither do You. A loving father or mother doesn't tell their children "Be silent. Don't question. Just learn to take it. Just shut-up and get over it." And neither do You. We allow them to ask "Why?" And so do You. 

"Why?" is an expression of one of the deepest yearnings You've placed in our hearts to draw us nearer to You. As we ask our questions, seeking to know and understand, to sort out the confusion and the chaos of all our tragedies and trials, seeking to learn the principles and solve the problems, to learn from our mistakes as we learn to love in the midst of it all, our questions of "Why?" ultimately lead us to the question of "Who?"

As our "Whys?" turn to "Who?" our questions may begin with "Who did this?" or "Who allowed this?" but sooner or later, they will lead us to the questions of "Who will be with me through this? Who will give me the grace and the wisdom and the power to overcome this?" Then, in the fullness of time -- after the journey of shock and denial, anger and pain, forgiveness and healing -- our questions will even become, "Who will use this in my life and in the lives of others? Who will even cause good to come out of this evil and triumph out of this tragedy that You never intended and You will not ignore?" 

You never waste a moment of our suffering or miss an opportunity to draw us nearer. In the power of Your grace and the sovereignty of Your love, You will always have the last word as we turn our questions and our hearts to You. And Your word for us is always good for Your nature is always good (Exodus 33:19, Mark 10:18). In Your time and in Your way, You cause it all to work together for good because You love us and You're for us, because You're always with us to always bring us through it all (Romans 8:28). 

As You promised Your children in their times of questions long ago and still promise us in our times of questions today, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I Am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.... You are precious in My sight, and honored, and I love you.... Do not fear, for I Am with you" (Isaiah 43:1-5).

Through countless experiences of Your constant Presence, I have come to find peace in the One who always allows me to wrestle through my questions and always walks with me along my journey. Thank You for giving me permission to ask the questions of "Why?" And thank You that in one of the most profound examples of our freedom to ask "Why?" You asked that very question of our Father as You hung upon the cross in Your unfailing love for every one of us:  "And about three o'clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, 'Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?' that is, 'My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?' "(Matthew 27:46). There, You bore upon Yourself for each one of us all "our griefs and carried our sorrows" (Isaiah 53:4,). Then You entrusted Your spirit and Your questions into the hands and the heart of our loving and faithful Father (Luke 23:46). 

There at the cross, for You and for us, the question of "Why?" led to the Answer of "Who" -- to the One who sees the end from the beginning and causes all things to work together for good -- even the things that break our hearts and Yours. Lord, keep giving me grace to keep asking my questions and giving me faith to keep finding my Answer in the One who's always so faithful to me. "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-23). In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

My family, may you always be free to ask God "Why?" as He uses your questions to bring you closer to Him in the sovereignty and faithfulness of His unfailing love for you, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same of me. I continue today to join with you in prayer for all who are suffering or shaken by what has happened in Las Vegas and has been happening in our world. Together we call upon the name of the Lord who hears us when we call to answer us and lead us to His salvation and peace. God bless you, my friends!

Gary Liederbach-Lead Follower

One Direction Community (ODC)

Please share your reflections and prayer s in the comment box below.

A group of us from ODC will be attending the Reunion 2017 event this weekend.  Reunion 2017 is a spiritual retreat of worship, teaching, prayer, and relaxation held on a farm in Bon Aqua, Tenn. We will be camping without electricity so I will be off “grid” and will not post a blog again until Monday at the earliest.

 

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Lord Have Mercy

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Lord Have Mercy

Good morning, Lord Jesus. Every morning is a good morning in You. No matter what's going on in my world, You're always here in my heart. As you said long ago, "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world" (John 16:33 NLT).  

As I enter into my time of prayer, the news is on in the background showing images of the Las Vegas shooting.  This morning, my heart is still heavy with the massacre of so many in this shooting that is still fresh in all our thoughts and prayers. The music and dancing turned to screams and fleeing with nowhere to hide from a hailstorm of bullets out of a hell-storm of hatred and cowardice and evil. They'll try to find out what darkness filled his mind, but we know all too well and see all too often the darkness that seeks to invade any of our hearts to turn us against God and one another and ourselves. "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy" (John 10:10).

Ultimately, evil is not a person, but a spiritual force of darkness looking for every opportunity to divide and conquer and destroy. "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12 NKJV). So it's only in Jesus Christ and the mercy of Your grace and the power of Your name that we can find the security and peace we need in these dark days to "stand against the wiles of the devil" through every onslaught of his hatred, cowardice, and evil (Ephesians 6:11).

The only true shelter we have is "the Shelter of the Most High" as we seek to "abide in the Shadow of the Almighty," choosing to humble ourselves and call on Your name, to "say to the Lord, "My Refuge and my Fortress; my God, in whom I trust" (Psalm 91:1-2). You alone are our Comforter and Healer. You alone are our Redeemer of all that doesn't make sense and is so out of our control.

You never intend or will the evil in our world. But at the same time, You are never unaware of our suffering and our needs, our fears and our fights. And You never leave us nor forsake us through whatever we endure in our lives or in our land through the darkness of these days. Evil will never have the last word or the find say. And You never back down from the promise and the hope of Your Word to those who choose to find Shelter in You:  "Those who love Me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know My name. When they call to Me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them. With long life I will satisfy them, and show them My salvation" (Psalm 91:14-16 ).

Here in my heart, here in our land, be our Shelter again. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

My family, may you be safe and secure in the shelter of the Most High, knowing God is with you through whatever you endure, making sure His Word will have the final say over your life, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same of me. I join with you in prayer for all who are suffering or shaken by what has happened in Las Vegas and is happening in our land. Together we call upon the name of the Lord who hears us when we call to answer us!  Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.

God bless you, my friends!

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

 

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What Controls Your Heart?

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What Controls Your Heart?

Good morning, Lord Jesus. Put Your thoughts in my mind and Your desires in my heart to guide my steps along my journey of faith in You today. 

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consume and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will also" (Matthew 6:29-21).

Everyone lives for some kind of treasure. Your treasure will control the one thing that controls everything else, your heart.  What controls your heart controls your words and your life.  

My heart will be in the right place when my treasure is in the right place. What I treasure most is what get's the most of me -- my time, my attention, my resources, my passion. And You said my treasures should be in heaven.

Things on earth should never be your treasure.

As things on earth will never be your savior.

Lord, what are "treasures in heaven?"  "Treasures in heaven are the things that are treasured most in the kingdom of heaven. They are not treasures of silver or gold or diamonds or rubies. They are treasures of humility and faith, obedience and love, kindness and joy. They are the treasures that Jesus treasure’s most in your heart as he allows you to form his heart in you. For the kingdom of heaven is within you, and Jesus’ desire is to see the treasures in heaven become his treasures in you."  

Lord. Grow these treasures in me. Store them up in me. Give me the grace to grow and embrace humility and faith, obedience and love, kindness and joy, and everything else that You long to see maturing in me. Let this be my treasure and let this be my heart. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

My Family, may you treasure what Jesus treasures, and may His treasure grow in you every day, as you keep growing in Him. May “treasures from heaven” be what controls your heart  and controls your words and your life today, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same of me. God bless you, my friends!

Gary Liederbach-Lead Follower

One Direction Community

 

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Twist and Shout!

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Twist and Shout!

“For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ʻHe has a demon!ʼ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ʻLook at him, a glutton and a drunk, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!ʼ” (Luke 7:33)

Friday night some good friends of my wife Nancy and I whom we have not seen for awhile, Ty and Joni, invited us out and treated us to dinner and a show.  They took us to the Black Jacket Symphony’s rendition of the Beatles Sergeant Pepper’s Album that was at the Van Braun Civic Center Arena.   Before the concert, we went first to an Italian restaurant in Big Spring Park.  For two hours over good food, craft beer and wine we shared stories, laughed, and caught up on life.

We left the restaurant and walked over the VBC for the show.  We had great floor seats, the musicians were talented, the complete Alabama Symphony Orchestra accompanied them, and the show was amazing! What surprised me was the subdued and reserve disposition of the crowd. 

Being a Beatles concert, the majority of those attending were in the age 40-50 and up. In my BC days (before Christ) sitting in a concert seat I would encounter the aroma of pot in the air.  The aroma that surrounded me Friday night was that of popcorn.  The couple to the left of me and those in front of me had large bags of popcorn like at a movie theatre.  And they sat there, silently eating their popcorn and listening to this amazing concert, putting popcorn in their mouth as if they were watching “The Note Book!” People all around me just sat there with their hands on their laps, giving an occasional nod of approval during a song. Neither those next to me or in front of me clapped or cheered at all until everyone applauded at the intermission.  And then for the first time they got to their feet to go use the bathroom. And we had floor seats!  Nancy and Joni stood up to sing and dance to “Strawberry Fields Forever” only to be told by a man behind them to please sit down so they could see.  Finally when they played, “Got to Get You into My Life” and the crowd still domesticatedly watched the show, I had to get up out of my seat and stand in the isle so I could dance and sing to the song without getting yelled at to sit down.

As I looked around the civic center of over 5,000 of my peers I wondered, How and when did we become so reserved and domesticated? When did we stop singing and shouting?  When did we stop dancing?  When did we become and start acting so old?  And as I looked over the crowd sitting in their neat rows facing forward conformed and proper, it reminded me of the typical church service, that in so many ways lacks the same passion.  We are being discipled and influenced by the knowledge that the same people that sit behind and around us at concerts ready to shout, “Sit down!” if we show passion and act undignified, are also sitting behind and around us at church ready to say the same thing, if not with words, then with a glaring stare.

The people that attended the concert last night paid good money for their tickets.   It wasn’t the thought of sitting their with their hands on their laps that motivated them to purchase tickets to the show, it was thoughts and remembrances of when they first heard and fell in love with the Beatles. Remembering the past when their music brought them to life, impacted their lives with its passion and joy and caused them to dance and sing, and the hope of re-encountering those feelings.

The people that attended church on Sunday’s also are not motivated to attend by the thought of sitting their with their hands on their laps, nodding occasionally in approval of a song or the sermon.  They attend because they remember when they first heard the Gospel and fell in love with Jesus. Remembering the past when his love brought them to life, impacted their lives with its passion and joy and caused them to dance and sing, and the hope of re-encountering those feelings.

There was nothing domestic, dignified, complacent, or formal about the songs and music that that flowed from the musicians voices and instruments on the stage last night that invited all to stand and sing and dance.  There is nothing domestic, dignified, complacent, or formal about the cross, and the songs and music that Jesus released and flowed from the stage of Calvary 2000 years ago that today still invite all to sing and dance.

My family, I pray today you will throw all reservations aside and become undignified in your love for Jesus.  May you dance, sing and shout along with the one, Jesus Christ, who is constantly dancing and singing over and around you.  Remember, the accuser, the enemy who stands behind you shouting “Sit Down!” Jesus crushed under his heal when he walked out of the grave and began the dance!  Please pray the same for me.  God bless you my friends!!!

Gary Liederbach-Lead Follower

One Direction Community

 

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Who's Side Are You On?

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Who's Side Are You On?

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “ But the righteous man shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17)

I saw a documentary on The Church in China and how it is spreading like fire.  The interviewer asked, a couple small house church leaders why they think it is spreading?  One Chinese woman replied, “When we were being persecuted for our faith, our persecutors forbid the mention or sharing of the name of Jesus or the spreading of his Gospel.  Now that we can share it, if we do not share it everyday, the days we don’t share  Jesus's name we partner with those that persecuted us.  The days we do not share the name of Jesus we are like those persecutors who would not share the name of Jesus. For how are we different from them?  We want to be on the side of Jesus every day, so we must share his name to at least one person every day.

Today is Friday, the last day of our work week.  If you look back on your week, how many days this past week have you been on the side of Jesus and how many days have your been on the side of those persecutors who silence the sharing of the Gospel of Jesus?   We are at the end of the month.   Looking at your calendar for the month, check the days on your calendar you shared Jesus with someone new.  Does your calendar align you as a persecutor of Jesus or a presenter of Him? Remember the sin of omission.

Below is a video of my daughter Milan.  She is 17 years old and is a senior at Bob Jones High School. In her English class they read the book “Beowulf.”  Their teacher assigned the class to present a “Beowulf” speech; boasting on themselves, their greatness and their power.  The video is of my daughters speech to her class.  Without fear, (or maybe with fear) she shared the Gospel and name of Jesus to her class.  When you watch it you may reply to yourself, that is amazing!  However it is supposed to be the norm of your daily walk, some thing you do daily. 

“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity” 2Timothy 1:8-9

My family, I pray today you will reflect on, “Who’s side you will be on today?” I pray by the leading of the Holy Spirit that at the end of the day you will be able to put and “X” on your calendar that you sided with those who are not ashamed of the Gospel and shared it.  Please pray the same for me.  God bless you my friends!!

Gary Liederbach-Lead Follower

One Direction Community

 

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

Please partner with and support myself and my family to enable us to share the Gospel to those in out community.

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Peace Not From This World

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Peace Not From This World

Good morning, Lord Jesus. Help me begin my day embraced by my Father, centered in Christ, and filled with Your Holy Spirit.  ...

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:26-28)

The divorce rate among marriages of active protestant church attenders is around 28%.  I wonder what the “peace” rate is among us in the church.  Last night at our house church people requested prayers over health, financial, marital and others that were affecting their faith and their peace.  Things that “the world” gives them. Through our worship and prayers we tried to reconnect them and each other to a Peace not of this world.

God,  there's no need for troubled hearts here;  here in Your peace, here in Your presence, here in the grip of Your grace. I'm reminded of what David came to know in his life-long journey with You through every hardship and injustice, through every heart-breaking disappointment, whether in himself or the world around him or even in You at times. Through it all, his heart continued to turn to You in trusting faith and the steadfast peace that only You can provide, saying for all to hear throughout all generations, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.... Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me" (Psalm 23:1-4).

Thank You for Your Holy Spirit, the One who comes from our Father in the power and the presence of Your name to help us and comfort us and remind us that You're always with us. You never leave us nor forsake us, so we never have to be afraid. You keep filling us with Your peace, and Your perfect love keeps casting out all fear (1 John 4:18).

 

Lord, through it all, let it be so. Let it be well with my soul, as You keep me close and steady in Your peace. "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You" (Isaiah 26:3 ). There's no need for troubled hearts here. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

My Family,  I pray your heart is not troubled through whatever valley or struggle you or those you love may be going through, as you keep trusting in the One who is always with you with His peace and comfort and help. !

I'm joining with you in the agreement of prayer for all who are recovering from these hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires, along with every storm and every shaking any of us are facing in our lives or in our land. May hope in our God abound, and may His love and grace be evident to all through His people who are there to pray and to help as the heart and hands of Jesus Christ. God bless you my friends!

 Gary Liederbach-Lead Follower

One Direction Community

 

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

 

Partner with us as we reach out to our community with the peace not from this world.

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"Are You Sure God Said ME?"

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"Are You Sure God Said ME?"

This morning is a guest blog by a beautiful friend of mine and member of our house church, Susan Dreyfus.  The blog is her reflection on the Kairos Prison ministry team she served on last weekend at Julia Tutwiler Prison for women in Wetumpka, Al.  Susan was part of a team, along with my wife Nancy, that spent four days in the prison sharing the Gospel and the grace of Christ with the inmates.

Isaiah 61:1- “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners”

I Just wanted to share a God filled moment. Earlier this year, I was chosen to be a Table Leader for this Kairos, which included giving a talk. When I was asked, I laughed and asked “Are you sure God said ME?” For weeks and weeks, I was stressing over it all. I put something in my talk that I didn’t think fit in. Pete told me that he thought they needed to hear it. So I left it. I was nervous giving the talk to my parents, as they didn’t know some of it. I was petrified when I had to give it at the team meeting and I can say that I didn’t handle the critique well AT ALL! I kept questioning if I was meant to be a leader. I am a follower, not a leader!! I know now, why God chose me.

One woman in particular said first thing to me Friday “I know God loves me, but does He like me?”. I told her yes and we talked further about it. Saturday morning, they're given pieces of dissolvable paper on which to write down people they need to forgive. She wrote names on top of names on top of names. There wasn't an empty place on the paper. I even offered her some of mine! At the forgivenesses ceremony, we’re in line and she says she has to talk to Clergy (specifically ours) that night. She wants to say something out loud that she's never said before and leave it at the altar that night. Of course I tried EVERY THING to arrange it. I even tried to arrange in line how she could get to her because she was cleansing hands. I realized it wouldn’t work out logistically. I tried to convince her to talk to Clergy who were saying blessings over everybody. She didn't feel comfortable. I explained that after the ceremony they will leave immediately in silence and I wasn’t sure it would workout. With a look of a child-like innocence she asked if she could just talk to me. I hesitated but I told her yes and she could trust I wouldn’t tell anybody. We were in a corner right behind Clergy sitting on the stage talking, which we weren’t supposed to do. So she is telling me all these things and I didn't know what to say to her or how to respond. I kept explaining how she was forgiven and what happened was forgiven and God loved her etc. I had nothing of "spiritual counsel" to say. I couldn’t find the words. As she finishes, we hug and she thanks me for listening.

The women left and I was walking around and couldn't quit crying and I couldn't breathe and I didn't know what to do. Other team members noticed something was wrong but I didn’t know what to say. I had taken on her burden. I couldn't focus on whatever was said before we left. I could only stand in the back and cry. I told my assistant table leader and Clergy member that we needed to talk. I had such a weight on my shoulders. I cried the whole way back to the church for our team meeting. At the cross ceremony, I was turning the crosses face down after they were prayed over and the first one I touched was hers! I did NOT go looking for it!! It made me cry because my heart hurt for her but also smile because I knew it was from God! At the hotel, myself, my assistant table leader and 2 Clergy members talked. I was able to debrief with them and my heart truly hurt for her. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around being the chosen one! They reminded me that we are all ministers! God sent me in there to be the set of ears this woman needed. I am not one to ask for prayers but I asked them to pray over me. I didn't sleep well that night because I kept thinking that I couldn’t believe God chose me for her!

First thing Sunday morning the woman thanked me for listening to her and not judging her. Well when we were in Chapel, at one point she put her hands in her ears and was rocking back and forth. She didn’t want to hear what was being mentioned. I mouthed to the team leader if I could go to her (it’s made real clear that we are NEVER to get up during Chapel). I went over just tell her to calm down and breathe. She eventually did.

At discussion time, our entire table family (even the street team members) shared stories of our experience which included our own sexual assault and abuse encounters. I even told them details from my story that nobody knows. When convicted felons realized we all had experienced similar things as them, they were in awe. They couldn’t believe we were just like them! Mostly they were in awe of God’s love through us. Two ladies had a such a hard time with me leaving. They sobbed and hugged me before we left and wouldn't let go of my shirt. I kept saying that they have each other! They have God! I also told them that I come back for reunions and I come to Tutwiler on the 3rd Sunday of every month.

Months ago when I began praying over this specific Kairos, I prayed to God that I wanted to help at least one woman. Let my story resonate with just one woman this weekend. While God made that happen, I also helped change 5 other women in inmates and 2 team members who’d never been in Tutwiler. The Clergy member said that I never once was boastful about my position. She said I made them feel like we were all one family. We are all members of God’s family!

We are all called to minister to others. I always thought I wasn't equipped or strong enough. I didn't have the piece of paper that I thought I needed. As it was so graciously put to me, God “slammed me” this weekend to truly show me that I don’t have to have it all together to share His love and His message. My heart has never been more full of love for God and these women. I truly pray that they will share God’s love throughout the walls of Tutwiler!

-Susan Dreyfus

 

My family, taking my prayer over you from above quotes from my sister Susan,  I pray God “slamms you” today to truly show you that you don’t have to have it all together to share His love and His message.  I pray you can “wrap your mind around” being the chosen one for your story to resonate with just one person today.  I pray you will be reminded  today that we are all ministers!  Please pray the same for me.  God bless you my friends!

 

Gary Liederbach-Lead Follower

One Direction Community

 

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

 

Partner and supprt ODC’s ministries as we remind those in our community of the love of God.

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"The Way that leads to death"

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"The Way that leads to death"

Good morning, Lord Jesus. I'm waiting and listening for Your leading, as I begin my day in the communion of prayer. 

"There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death" (Proverbs 14:12).

Last night at our Community Dinners gathering at Terranovas Italian restaurant Bayram Erdmen was our guest speaker.  Bayram was Born Muslim in Turkey and was a devout Muslim all his life until around 3 years ago when he had a vision of Jesus and gave his life over to Christ.  For most of his life he was deceived and kept from “The Way”, Jesus Christ the source of eternal life.

Proverbs tells us there is a right way, among many alternative ways. But all ways are not the same. And all ways do not have the same end. There is a way that leads to life and there is a way that leads to death. And according to Your Word, the way that leads to death can seem like the right way to us. 

We can be deceived. We can be confused. So we need discernment and determination -- discernment to know what's right and determination to do it; discernment to find the way that leads to life and determination to follow it.

So how do I discern the right way that leads to life?

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God…what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Romans 12:2).

Lord, continue to renew my mind every day. Put Your thoughts in my mind; put Your desires in my heart. Align my thoughts with Your thoughts and my ways with Your ways, so I can rightly discern the right way that leads to life. Give me the desire and the power to seek "the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:16). Humbling myself to seek Your mind, the mind of Christ rather than the mind of this world. For it is the only way that leads to life, for You alone are "the Way, and the Truth, and the Life" (John 14:6).  And as I discern it, empower me to be obedient and to do it; day by day, step by step, decision by decision. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

My family, I pray that through prayer, searching the Scriptures, and personal accountability, you will be transformed by the renewing of your mind, discerning the will of God for the direction of your life that leads to the fullness of life in Christ every day, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same of me. God bless you, my friends!

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

 

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

 

 

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"Jesus Came"

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"Jesus Came"

Good morning Jesus, this morning I again start my day at the foot of your cross, which restored me access again to the embrace of the Father, and the healing waters of the Holy Spirit.

“And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins…In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.” Mark 1:5,9

Mark’s gospel states, “In those days Jesus came” (v.9).   As a leader embracing my call to make disciples of Jesus, my main goal is to get people into a place, a situation, or an atmosphere where they will encounter Jesus.  So when I read the phrase, “In those days Jesus came” my mind goes to, “What were “those days”?  What was going on and happening; the place, situation or atmosphere that was conducive for Jesus to come?  “Those days” recorded in Mark were a time when people were coming together and confessing their sins, and seeking repentance and forgiveness of their sins. (v.4).  They were coming together and confessing on a massive scale!  It says all of Judea and Jerusalem where coming.  The passage does not state if they were confessing their sins to John or to God, however, it does say they were not just stating problems or concerns, they were confessing their sins: their deep, personal acts, attitudes, choices and lifestyles that were keeping them from God.  They were repenting of all these personal acts, deep sins, and seeking forgiveness to “prepare the way” (v.2) for Jesus to come into their hearts.  It was this into atmosphere of confession that facilitated “These days” that Jesus came.

My daughter and I went to The New Room Conference in Franklin, Tn last Thursday.   It was a conference on returning to Wesleyan roots of Holiness, Scripture, and discipleship.  During the conference we attended a break out session on Living in reliance on the Holy Spirit.  There were over 300 people attending this break out session: pastors, bishops, church leaders and members.  Now I know this may not seem like something proper “Methodist” do, but the presenter, named Mark, asked everyone in the auditorium to seek a space they could and lay face first on the floor before God.  And the whole assembly did.  And Mark led us into a worship time of confession and repentance of everything; actions, attitudes, choices, programs and plans that we have chosen as leaders in the church that we have put before simply loving and knowing the Father. 

And face first on the floor I confessed all the strategizing, white-boarding, and striving I have put in place of simply loving God.  I found myself with tears running down my face, listening to my daughter sobbing face-first on the floor next to me and other around me.  And the Spirit fell on the room and it became “ in those days Jesus came.”  I, my daughter and others experienced the love and the presence of Jesus and we laid there, sat there, prayed over each other, and rested in His presence for almost 2 hours.

It is in a “Those days,” an atmosphere of confession and repentance of sins that leads to an awakening, that leads to a revival, that leads to “Jesus came.  I have attached a 30 minute video of a “those days”, a revival that took place at Asbury College in 1970 in which “Jesus came”.  It began with a time of confession of sins.

My family, I pray today that we together as a community, starting with you individually, will confess your sins: your deep, personal acts, attitudes, choices and lifestyles that are keeping you from God.  May we come together today in repentance as a church to create an atmosphere into which we can experience “Jesus came.”  Please pray the same for me.  God bless you my friends!

 

Gary Liederbach-Lead Follower

One Direction community

 

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Unmovable

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Unmovable

Good morning, Lord Jesus. You're One with the Father, One with the Holy Spirit. Be One within me today, as I entrust my life completely to You, as best as I can and all by Your grace. 

"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 also rests secure" (Psalm 16:8-9).

God, you are always before me, always encouraging me, strengthening me, inspiring me, and empowering me. You are Emmanuel -- the God who is always with me (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23). And by the abiding presence of Your Holy Spirit, You're always here within me (Romans 8:9).

That's why my heart is glad and my soul rejoices. That why I don't lose heart and my hope doesn't fail. There's nothing I'll ever face that You've not already faced and nothing I'll ever endure that You've not already endured -- all on my behalf, all because You're for me, all because You love me. "Let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have One who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:14-15).

Because You areimmovable, I can be immovable in You. Because You are unshakeable, I can be unshakable in You. That gives me hope. And that steadies my soul in all that is going on around me and gives me peace, as live out my journey of today.

With You always before me and Your Spirit always within me, I shall not be moved. "I shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. I shall not fear when heat comes, and my leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought I am not anxious, and I do not cease to bear fruit" -- all in the power of Your grace (Jeremiah 17:8). When I read that passage over myself, it encourages my heart. It makes my soul rejoice and allows my body to rest secure, with my hope and faith secure in You. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

My family, I pray you will read these Scriptures over and into you life! I pray you will not be moved, being firm and steadfast in your faith, even flourishing through whatever you endure. With the Lord Jesus ever before you, with our heavenly Father always embracing you, and His Holy Spirit always filling you, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same of me. God bless you, my friends!

 

Gary Liederbach-Lead Follower

One Direction Community

 

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It is Your Father's Pleasure to Give.

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It is Your Father's Pleasure to Give.

Good morning, Lord Jesus. I want to begin my day with you! Meditating on the written Word, in the conversation of prayer with the living Word. You are the Word of God; and I'm watching and waiting for God's Word to speak to my heart. 

"Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32).

You're a good Father. And it's Your good pleasure to give me the kingdom. What is "the kingdom" that You desire to give me, my Father? 

As I meditate this morning, this Scripture comes to my heart:  "For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14:17). 

Yes, Lord. Everything that I need to experience Your righteousness it is Your good pleasure to give me. Everything that I need to experience Your peace it is Your good pleasure to give me. Everything that I need to experience Your joy is Your good pleasure to it give me. And You give it all to me through Your Holy Spirit, the "Spirit of God “ who dwells in me. (Romans 8:9)  The "Spirit of God" who leads me and positions me to receive everything that it is Your good pleasure to give me (Romans 8:14).  Lord, know everything I need, so You invite me to ask you for it and you command me not to worry. (Philippians 4:6).

Thank You, my Father.  Remind me that it's not prideful or selfish to ask for myself personally, and to seek and to receive all the things I need that it's Your good pleasure to give me. It bring You joy to bring me joy.  It brings you peace to bring me peace. It delights you when I spend time delighting in you.  It delights You to delight in me. "For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs!" (Zephaniah 3:17 NLT)  

So may it be my good pleasure to delight You by graciously asking and receiving from You all You're generously giving to me in Your good pleasure. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

My family,  I pray today you will ask for and receive everything it's your Father's good pleasure to give you, delighting in Him as He delights in you in an embrace of gladness together, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same for me. God bless you, my friends!

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

 

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"Repent"

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"Repent"

Good morning, Lord Jesus. In my prayers and worship, in these offerings of the first fruits of day, I draw near to You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit of God and welcome You to draw near to me. 

"Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the good news of the kingdom of God, and saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.... Then Jesus said to them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men' " (Mark 1:14-17).

 At One Direction Community we are beginning tonight a time together discerning and reflection the Gospel of Mark and it’s application on us as disciples of Jesus trying to imitate Jesus. I read through the first chapter of Mark’s Gospel again this morning the first word spoken by Jesus in this Gospel stood out to me.

The first words of Jesus in this gospel of the kingdom of God is not "Believe in Me" or "Follow Me" or "Go into all the world and make disciples of Me."  His word’s are not "Go, be baptized in the Holy Spirit, pursue the fruit and the gifts of the Spirit, save souls, heal the sick, cast out demons, raise the dead, storm the gates of hell, preach with power, teach with authority, grow up into the maturity of Christlikeness, as you are being transformed and conformed into the image of the Son of God." Without question, these are all part of the gospel of the kingdom (Mark 6:7; Matthew 10:8 and 28:18-20; John 14:12 and 20:21; Luke 9:1-2; Acts 1:4-8). However, all these powerful commands and worthy aspirations are not first.

Jesus' first word of the gospel of the kingdom of God is simply "Repent."

Before we do anything else, we must repent. We must make a choice to turn to Jesus: to change our mind, to have a change of heart, to trust You and entrust our lives to You, as best as we can and all by Your grace, just as we are. We must simply repent.  Repentance is the first thing required to enter the Kingdom of God.

And it's not just a one-time choice, a one-time prayer, a one-time “X” we put on a day of our spiritual calendar. Something we check off once as completed on a check list.  It's choosing a lifestyle of repentance -- choosing to continue to turn our hearts over to Christ, every moment of every day. It's the on-going attitude of a heart of being transformed by the renewing of minds, being conformed to the image of the Son of God, being filled with Your Spirit, and being empowered to be more like Christ every day.

We can't do any of that in our own power. We can't even desire any of that in our own will. Apart from You, we can do nothing that would ever bring any good or lasting fruit for ourselves or for others. You have to give us the desire and the power. However You're always so ready to do just that. Our part is to make that choice and keep on making that choice. Our part is to repent.

We repent because the kingdom of God is at hand. And as we repent, the kingdom of God begins to live and grow in our heart -- for "the kingdom of God is within (us)" (Luke 17:21). "For the kingdom of God is ... righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14:17).

So come, Holy Spirit. Move in my heart, remove any pride and move me to repent and keep on repenting in a lifestyle of repentance, allowing You to keep changing my mind, my heart, and my soul into who I'm created me to be, a reflection of Jesus.  Abba Father, let Your kingdom come and Your will be done, here on earth and here in my heart, as I continue to turn and entrust my heart to You. 

As Your Word proclaims and promises, "This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come" (Matthew 24:14). Come, Lord Jesus. "The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!'" (Revelation 22:17) In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

My familyI pray today you will take time to simply repent. That you will daily choose to repent and embrace the kingdom of God with all your heart and mind and soul and strength as best as you can and all by God's grace, that the King of the kingdom may advance His kingdom in you and in the world around you every day, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same for me. God bless you, my friends!

 

Gary Liederbach-Lead Follower

One Direction Community

 

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Wait

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Wait

Good morning, Lord Jesus. Help me start this day and every day embraced by my Father, centered in Christ, and filled with the Holy Spirit. 

Yesterday morning I sat in the Waffle House and talked with “Chuck,” from my previous blog post, “He’s My F*cking Pastor.”  If you did not read the post, here is the link to it: https://www.onedirection.community/conversations/2017/7/14/hes-my-fcking-pastor.  We sat at the bar and he told me that today was two months since the death of his son.  With tears in his eyes he told me of the struggles his son’s two children were having.  How his wife still can’t get the video in her head of witnessing her son’s death to stop playing.  And he shared of his continued pain.  Chuck said his son always wore one type of cologne.  And he said I know its crazy Gary, but I swear I smell his cologne many times and in different places and it makes me turn around and look for him.  We talked for another 45 minutes, and Chuck even let me pray with him at the end.  His return journey to a relationship with Jesus is slow, as he still has a lot of baggage he is carrying.  However, is releasing it little by little, and I am so proud of him. I prayed God would make a river in his dessert. And I will simply pray and wait.

“Oh not fear, for I have redeemed you;

I have called you by name; you are Mine!

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.

When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,

Nor will the flame burn you.

“For I am the Lord your God,

The Holy One of Israel, your Savior….

Behold, I will do something new,

Now it will spring forth;

Will you not be aware of it?

I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,

Rivers in the desert…” (Isaiah 43:1-3,19)

God, You're the one who makes a way where there seems to be no way. And while You're making a way, You call me to wait. And though I struggle in my passion to wait,  it's in the waiting that I'm learning to trust You and allow You to make the way in Your wisdom, Your power, and Your timing. It's in the waiting that I'm learning to "trust in the (You) with all (my) heart, and lean not on (my) own understanding; in all (my) ways acknowledge (You), and (You) shall direct (my) paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6).

So as best as I can and all by Your grace, I choose to wait for You to make a way in the places where I look but can't see a way. Open the eyes of my heart to see the One who is the Way -- "the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (John 14:6). W ith my eyes on You, with my heart set to wait on You, trusting in You, I'm choosing to believe You will make a way. And that way will be good and right and true, because it's made by You. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

My family, I pray you will be filled with trust and faith as you wait on God, trusting in Him with all your heart, to make a way for you in the places where there seems to be no way, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same for me. God bless you, my friends!

Gary Liederbach-Lead Follower

One Direction Community

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Rebuke Satan and Keep doing the Lord's Work

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Rebuke Satan and Keep doing the Lord's Work

Good morning Father, I come to you this morning to listen to you voice to hear your direction for my day this morning. “Speak, your servant is listening”(1Samuel 3:10.)

“because we wanted to come to you-I, Paul, again and again-but Satan hindered us.”1Thes. 2:18.  As I was walking to our house church last night at our neighbors house around 6:00pm, I knew tonights worship gathering was going to be amazing because all day Satan was trying to show-out and being the biggest dick!!!  

Because we were celebrating the young ladies and men who went through their Chrysalis and Emmaus Walk weekends, we rented and reserved our adjoining neighborhoods Community building for our gathering, which we have rented before.  A few hours before the event when I went to get the key for the community center the lady I met backed out of renting it to us! I had 3 hours to find another location and notify everyone of the change.

I left the Community Center to pick up some food for the gathering and on the way back I got a flat tire on 255 Research Park highway. And I just got new tires 8 days ago on my car!  Our neighbor and member of ODC opened their house to host our gathering and their kitchen sink plogged up so we could not use it.  All through out the day I received calls: a family being attacked and separated because of addiction; a mother saying that her daughter is possessed; another that her daughter is in jail.  I just kept rebuking Satan and doing the Lords work.

Last night was amazing.   Our worship flowed from the throne room of God.  People there from age 16 to 70 stood and spontaneously prayed over the gathering.  We anointed with oil and healed the sick. We shared a meal and 7-8 people stood up and shared testimonies of Gods presence and deliverance in their lives. We closed saying goodbye to our friend from Turkey and she prayed over us in her native tongue.  We all left knowing in the praise and presence of God.

“The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.” (Luke 10:17-19)

My family,  I pray today you will rebuke Satan when he attacks and keep doing the Lords work. I pray Paul’s words over you today as you go out to your schools, work, gyms, and neighborhoods, “…I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’ (Acts 26:17-18)  Please pray the same over me.  God bless you my friends!!

Here is a link to a2 minute video from last night: https://www.facebook.com/pete.lawrence.714/videos/10155123102495756/

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

 

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