"Majoring in The Minors"

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"Majoring in The Minors"


Conform me this morning Jesus to your image….

“They are all zealous for the law, and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or walk according to our customs…”(Acts 21:.20-21)

Again, Gods timing is amazing! This chapter I am reading this morning fits perfectly into where I am at in changes taking place both at ODC and Toney UMC.

In Acts 21 Paul returns to Jerusalem and spends time with James and the council telling them all the great things God has been doing in his ministry.  They spend a few moments to praise God for these things, but then they push on through it to the more important issue to them: which was not the divine workings of Jesus through the Holy Spirit, but man made workings of their traditions, sentimental items, and customs.

The Christian church had been established in Jerusalem for many years now and existed in relative peace with the Jews there.  Paul however, a Christian comes to  the church in Jerusalem  and all the Jews want to beat him and stone him. And the Christian church itself in Jerusalem brought charges up against Paul.  Why? Why do they want to stone Peter and yet leave James and the council and church in Jerusalem alone?   All were followers of Christ. 

Because the church in Jerusalem still followed the law of Moses. These Jewish Christians remained close to and kept their Jewish practices, customs, traditions, sentimental items, and “way things have always been done” after becoming believers.  They may have believed differently, but they “blended in” with non-Christians enough to be ”ok” in their eyes. 

Paul however, proclaimed a gospel of the free grace of God and forgiveness to all.  He may have been ok if he stuck to proclaiming that Gentiles did not need to follow Jewish customs and traditions first in order to become Christians.  But he started “meddling” and went farther than that.  The big issue and charge was that Paul was also teaching the Jews in the Diaspora (Jews dispersed in other regions and countries) that became Christians that they also may abandon the law of Moses and being bound to its required practices, customs, holidays, and traditions.  It was not Paul’s “meddling” with God that got him in trouble, it was his meddling in church practices, traditions, “look”, style, and sentimental attachments that riled the Jews up enough to want him dead.

We in the church today get riled up in the same way over things other than the Jesus.  When I pastored a local church, one Sunday I moved the altar from behind the altar rail you kneel at to in front of the rail for a sermon on the Lord’s Supper I was doing that day.  I was practically charged with committing heresy for doing it!  One Sunday I read the Scriptures from my cell phone and two people left the church because I did not read from leather and paper.  Our house church meets on Wednesday and Monday evenings.  When I tell people this I do not know how many people reply back to me in shock, “You do not meet on Sunday mornings?!?” We are in the process of renovating our sanctuary at the church I am at now and the main issues and “touchy conversations” center around replacing the “original pews” and modifying the altar railing.

  The church in Jerusalem praised God and wanted Paul to continue efforts to make disciples that imitate Christ, however that praise stopped when he did not follow their traditions and “way of doing things.” The disciples he was making disciples did not imitate them as well so they wanted to stone him and take him out.  In most churches today this attitude, if not openly declared, is firmly instilled in the polity and DNA of the church.  We want you to make new disciples that conform to the image of Christ, so long as they conform to our polity, practices, customs, church structure, and traditions as well.  Or else the church will overtly or covertly make it known to you that you have crossed the line.

To Paul, all these other things he denounced as a departure from the purity of the gospel: of keeping the priority of Christ Crucified, Christ Risen and the forgiveness of sins.  Of Simply Jesus. His purpose and outlook was not looking back and keeping things the same to imitate the church in the past, but looking forward to what changes needed to be made to grow the church in the future.

Prayers:

Pray over your personal relationship with Jesus.  Are there any religious practices you are clinging to, or more importantly requiring others to cling to was well?  Are your steadfast in your obedience to Scripture and Christ, yet flexible enough to allow, accept and even join in with others who’s practices and customs differ from yours. Are open to change in from “the way things have always been done?”  Paul was flexible enough to worship with Jewish Christians and gentile Christians, and to change styles and formats to grow God’s church,  are you?

Pray over any past or current areas in you faith where you have shown prejudice resisted fellowship with, or been hostile towards other Christians, leaders or churches not over going against Scriptures and Jesus’ Gospel of Grace, But because of a difference of personal practices, customs, or traditions. In Jesus’ name. Please pray the same for me. God bless you my friends!

Please share your reflections on chapter 21 with us. in the comments box below.

 Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website:https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

Begin The Year With A Gift!

I could use you’re the gift of your financial support for my family and those on the margins God has placed in my path I refuse to walk around.  Please partner and support my family and ministries through setting up a monthly donation or a one –time gift by clicking the link below. Donation checks can be made out to ODC, 102 Champions Green Drive, Madison, Al 35758.

Thank You!  

 


  

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"Keep Out The Wolves"

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"Keep Out The Wolves"


Good morning Father, I rest here in your arms and embrace of love.

“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” v. 24

Paul was ready to surrender his freedom and, if needed, his life itself for the sake of Christ and his service.  Self-preservation and comfort were not a motive which he sought after.  His main concern was to fulfill the course which Christ had marked for him to run, sharing in the Spirit’s power the good news of God’s free grace in Christ.  Life or death was not the issue that mattered: what mattered most was, as he told the church gathered, that Christ should be magnified in his body and life.

The leaders of the church gathered around Paul and he laid on them a weighty responsibility.  The Holy Spirit had entrusted them with the charge of the people of God and the church in Ephesus.  They now were charged with the sharing of the gospel to the city and caring for its people as shepherds care for their flock.  Their responsibility was great in that the flock which they were commissioned to was the church of God which he himself had purchased for himself with nothing less than the life-blood of his beloved Son.

Paul then looks forward to their future and the prospects for the Ephesian church was not completely promising.  He tells them the sheep will have to be guarded with unceasing vigilance, for ferocious wolves will try to force their way among them and ravage them.   As in the Jesus’ parable of the good shepherd, it is the leaders of the church who are now called to be the good shepherds of their flock.  They are called protect the church from false teachers, here described as wolves, because of the spiritual death and havoc they cause.  They need to protect the church not only from wolves that will try to intrude the church from the outside, but that false teachings will come out of their own ranks and arise to try to seduce their followers away from the fold.   Later in John’s writings in Revelations, the Ephesian church is chastised for abandoning her first love. Foreseeing these happenings, Paul urges the church leaders to be vigilant and follow his example:  He urges them to maintain their course God has set them to run; to share the good new of God’s free grace; to shepherd and show compassion and concern on new converts; to be ready to surrender freedom and life; as all that mattered was that Christ should be glorified in their body.

 My family, as you read chapter 19 and my reflection, I pray you understand that each of you are now one of the leaders of the church today and Paul is speaking to you..  I pray you realize you are now called to be the good shepherds over the flock in your city, the church that God purchased with the blood of his Son.  You are now called to keep the wolves out.  And together as leaders, we are called to maintain our course God has set us to run; to share the good new of God’s free grace; to shepherd and show compassion and concern on new converts; to be ready to surrender freedom and life; as all that matters is that Christ should be glorified in our bodies, in Jesus’s name, Please pray the same for me. God bless you my friends!

Please share your reflections and prayers with us on this blog 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

Begin The Year With A Gift!

I could use you’re the gift of your financial support for my family and those on the margins God has placed in my path I refuse to walk around.  Please partner and support my family and ministries through setting up a monthly donation or a one –time gift by clicking the link below. Donation checks can be made out to ODC, 102 Champions Green Drive, Madison, Al 35758.

Thank You!  

 


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With Terrified Eyes They Will See Jesus, and Tremble With Fear!

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With Terrified Eyes They Will See Jesus, and Tremble With Fear!

I begin my day lifting the name of Jesus for the name of Jesus is the weapon I will use to fight my battles today.

Acts 19:13-16" But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, "I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches."  Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.  And the evil spirit answered and said to them, "I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?"  And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded."

The song, "There is power in the name of Jesus, to break every chain..." came to my mind as i read this chapter.  There is power in Jesus.   In the battlefield of spiritual warfare,  claiming the name of Jesus, claiming the power of Jesus, claiming to be in Jesus through the presence of the Holy Spirit in you is the ultimate weapon.  But the Holy Spirit is a consuming fire.  He is not a lap dog that you can beckon to come and go, and there is nothing domesticated about Him.  There is nothing domesticated about Jesus. So you do not "play" with The Holy Spirt or flippantly throw out the name of Jesus.  Like handling a powerful, explosive weapon, there is a sense of awe, respect, and fear involved  

 When I went to Darfur in Sudan, Africa, the region was then and still is now a extremely dangerous and violent region.  Some team members requested permission to carry a hand gun.  We were told you can bring a hand gun, but once you carry one, in the view of the military forces in the area you are no longer a civilian on a mission trip, you are a soldier on a mission, and the enemy do not play around.  You do not carry it for show.  If you are going to carry a gun, you better make sure in your inner being that you are willing to use it, without hesitation on another human being because the Islamic military personnel will not even blink an eye at using their weapons on you.

    What you need to understand, is that when you accept Christ into your life and your call to participate in and grow a church and choose to carry a cross, the way you are viewed in the worlds eye is changed.  You are no longer a civilian in the world’s economic and political system empathetic and selfishly withdrawn and docile. To Satan, the Ruler of the World (John 16:11), you are viewed as a soldier under the command of Jesus your Lord. You enter into the battle field of spiritual warfare.  And just as real and plain as my Darfur illustration, is the seriousness and the life and death consequences of your decision.  You do not carry a cross and follow Jesus for “show” or for “status.” We are trying to take back territory and communities from the enemy.  We are trying to liberate families and individuals from Satan’s rule.  We are part of the revolution of Christ. If you are going to carry a cross you need embrace the serious military and spiritual warfare implications of Ephesians 6:10-18.  Take seriously its call to put on the full armor of God and arm yourself with the sword of the spirit.  For there is an enemy who has come to kill, steal and destroy (Jn 21:25) who also will not blink an eye in using weapons at his disposal on you.  He wants nothing more to see good hearted people get hurt and hurt each other.  Press into Jesus who's battle it is and who's victory it is.  So when the evil spirits look at you, with terrified eyes they will see Jesus, and tremble with fear.

Prayers:

Pray and reflect on,”If were one of the 7 brothers in the story in vs 13-16 and the evil spirit looked at you, would he recognize you by your obedience and walk in life as a disciple of Christ?”

Pray into a full understanding of your answering “yes” to your call to follow Christ.  Not that all the details and timings involved in it need to be made known.  But an understanding of the new view as a cross bearer for Christ you now have in the world's eyes.

Read Ephesians 6:10-18, pray yourself into the full armor of God.  Then close your eyes and visualize the victorious Christ reigning in your family, your neighborhood, and Huntsville and Madison.

Read Ephesians 6:19-20.  Pray those two verses over yourself, and each member of ODC, Toney, and your church.  Pray then also right now, over 5 people you know who are Gospel bearers in their community..

Please share your reflections on your time in Acts 19 in the comments box below.

I have included Ephesians 6:10-20 below.   I spent time reading through it and added to it other verses in Scripture that support its message.  Read through it and meditate on it as you have time.

Ephesians 6:10-20 (in italics) with corresponding Scriptures inserted.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.

  • “No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.” Romans 4:20-21

  • “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus” 2Tim 2:1

  • “I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.” 1 John 2:14

Put on

  • “I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; my justice was like a robe and a turban.” Job 29:14

  • “The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” Rom. 13:12

the whole armor of God,

  • “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” 2 Cor.10:4

that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  

  • “so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” Eph 4:14

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood,

  • “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” Col. 1:13

but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 

  • “When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” Luke 22:53

  • "in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience” Eph 2:2

Therefore take up the whole armor of God,

  • “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin” 1 Pe 4:1

that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

  • “making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Eph. 5:16-19

Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth,

  • “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” 1 Pet. 1:13

“Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,

  • and faithfulness the belt of his loins.” Isa. 11:5

  • Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

  • “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,” Isa 61:10

  • “He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak.” Isa 59:17

and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

  • “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation,” Isa 52:7

  • “And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Rom 10:15

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith,

  • “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” 1Joh 5:4

with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;  and take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,

  • “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.“ Heb 4:12

  • “He made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow; in his quiver he hid me away.” Isa 49:2

praying at all times

  • "And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart" Lk. 18:1

 in the Spirit,

  • "But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit" Jude 1:20. "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." Romans 8:26

 with all prayer and supplication.

  • "Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak" Col 4:2-4

To that end keep alert with all perseverance,

  • "But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake." Mark 13:32-34

 making supplication for all the saints,

  • "First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people," 1 Tim 2:1

 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth

  • "At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—" Col. 4:3. "Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you," 2Th. 3:1

boldly to proclaim

  • "And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness," Acts 4:29

 the mystery of the gospel, 

  • "how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly." Eph. 3:3

for which I am an ambassador

  • Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God" 2Cor. 5:20

 in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak."

  • "For this reason, therefore, I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is because of the hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain.” Acts 28:20

Please share your reflections and prayers with us on this blog 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

Begin The Year With A Gift!

I could use you’re the gift of your financial support for my family and those on the margins God has placed in my path I refuse to walk around.  Please partner and support my family and ministries through setting up a monthly donation or a one –time gift by clicking the link below. Donation checks can be made out to ODC, 102 Champions Green Drive, Madison, Al 35758.

Thank You!  

 


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"You are Called to Your Work Place and Neighborhood"

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"You are Called to Your Work Place and Neighborhood"

Good morning Jesus, send your Holy Spirit to guide my life today

Acts 18 is a chapter on discipleship. In ties perfectly into the discipleship training that is taking place now on Sunday mornings at Toney UMC. God is good at lining these up to make sure we get a message isn’t He! In this chapter we meet Aquila and Priscilla.  A couple that took Paul in and were discipled by him for 1 1/2 -2 years in Corinth.  And where did Paul disciple them? At work. “because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade” (v.3). Paul discipled them at his workplace. The result was that that when Paul left Corinth for Ephesus, it was not Timothy or Silas that accompanied him on his trip,  but Aquila and Priscilla. 

While Paul was in Ephesus, God led him to witness in his neighborhood. “Then he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God, whose house was next to the synagogue. Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with all his household, and many of the Corinthians when they heard were believing and being baptized.” (v,7-8).  Paul walked next door, walked around his neighborhood, and made disciples of his neighbors. Aquila and Priscilla went with Paul as he talked to his neighbors, watching him, learning from him, being discipled themselves.  The results of this was that after Paul spent time in Ephesus, he left but Aqulla and Pricilla stayed behind, continuing to make disciples there and helped plant and birth the church in Ephesus.

We see later in chapter 18, how Aquila and Priscilla took Apollos into their house, and discipled him for a time, then sent him out to Achia to plant grow the church.  “But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” (v. 26). Discipleship, changes individual(s) to go out and change the world and to go out and make disciples who make disciples.

The Lord spoke to Paul, ”Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people." (vs. 9-10).  The Lord said there were many in his city that were “his people”, people who the soil of their hearts was good and ready to receive the seed of the gospel if Paul would just go and sow it in them.  The Lord is speaking the same to you and I.  Put your name and city in that verse, “Do not be afraid Gary, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in Madison, Toney, and Huntsville who are my people."

So who are you discipling now? In your workplace?  In your neighborhood?  Who are your Aquilas and Pricillas that you are pouring into and giving them real access to your lives so they can watch you, learn from you, and become disciples?  Real access does not happen in a hour church service, at a gym, by sending text messages, or FB posts. Real access requires an investment of real time. We are called to be a church with discipleship making at our core.  Discipleship requires investing personal and intimate time with other individuals. 

Prayers:

Discipleship flows out of us individually investing more personal and intimate time with God. Pray this morning that God will strengthen your resolve to invest time in Him by daily reading our chapter in the New Testament and reflecting on i. By, fasting day a week in prayer, spending at least one solid hour a week in prayer, and meeting weekly in a group for accountability.

Pray that aa our church, your church moves forward we will invest more in each other, that true discipleship among us will occur.  Pray for unity among us.

Pray as we move forward we will invest more in others by opening out homes to our neighbors and starting house churches, Band groups, and increased fruits into those you are discipling now.

Pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal to you two or three people you know who need discipling in their life right now.  Pray that God will give you the love to step into their life. In Jesus’ name. Please pray the same for me. God bless you my friends!

Please share your reflections on chapter 18 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

Begin The Year With A Gift!

I could use you’re the gift of your financial support for my family and those on the margins God has placed in my path I refuse to walk around.  Please partner and support my family and ministries through setting up a monthly donation or a one –time gift by clicking the link below. Donation checks can be made out to ODC, 102 Champions Green Drive, Madison, Al 35758.

Thank You!  

 


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Join The Revolution!

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Join The Revolution!

 

“These people who have stirred up trouble throughout the world have come here too, and Jason has welcomed them as guests! They are all acting against Caesars decrees, saying there is another king named Jesus!” v. 7

“This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” v.3

"Paul had also proclaimed the word of God" v.13

"because he was proclaiming the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.”v.18

 I love Acts 17.  It is a chapter of proclamation!  It is a chapter on overthrow of idols and false gods and implementing the revolution of Jesus Christ! It is a chapter on the spreading of the Gospel and the claiming people and places as part of God’s Kingdom on earth!  

We too are called to join in today and proclaim there is another King named Jesus!   "For in him we live and move about and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, For we too are his offspring."(17:28)  If this is true, then our very lives should be proclamations of our King Jesus, and as his subjects, declaring that the Kingdom of God is at hand. The people were accusing Paul, Silas, Jason and other of proclaiming “Throughout the world.” Jesus is king. (v. 6) Those present in Thessalonica had knowledge of what had happened elsewhere in the world. Word about Paul and his companions and their message was spreading. The gospel was turning the world upside down! Paul says, ““He now commands all people everywhere to repent” v.30. God was now asking all mankind to turn to him. No nation or race was excluded.  This includes all of Huntsville, Madison, Toney, Harvest, your city, your neighbors, your family, and yourself.

John Wesley said, “Give me 100 preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God; such alone will shake the gates of hell.”  We are called to join in shaking the gates of hell!

We are called to radically join in this revolution! We are called to stir up trouble, up-set the world, and turn the world upside down and declare in the face of all the idolatry in our cities,” There is another king named Jesus!” v.7.  Everywhere Paul preached in Acts 17 he was driven out of town.  John Wesley once said that if after sharing the gospel he wasn’t driven out of town he feared he did not share it well enough.  The gospel is radical message.  C.S Lewis said, “A man who first tried to guess 'what the public wants,' and then preached that as Christianity because the public wants it, would be a pretty mixture of fool and knave”

My family, I pray over you as you begin these week nothing short of a revolution::

"Nothing great happens when you hold back."  Pray that God will remove from you today anything that is "holding you back" from proclaiming Jesus is King. 

“If not us, then who?  If not now, then when?” Martin Luther said, “Delay is the sharpest arrow in the enemies quiver.”  Pray over your immediate Radical Costly Obedience to share the Gospel.

Pray right now that the Holy Spirit will lead and put in your path today the un-avoidable and obvious opportunity to share the gospel with one person today. Pray over this with sincerity and expectancy, and then walk out your door expecting and searching for it to happen and be prepared to share when it does.

Pray that your life today will boldly and joyfully proclaim Jesus is the King! 

Pray for those you know: friends, family members, co-workers, who as Paul refers to in Athens, that are worshipping an unknown god or gods.  Pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal to them the existence of the one true God.

Pray for the cities of Madison, Huntsville, Toney, your city and your neighborhood, that the proclamation that Jesus is Lord will be the chorus heard through out it!

Pray all of these in Jesus’ name! And please pray the same over me. God bless you my

Please share your thoughts and reflections on Chapter 17 with myself and others in the comments box. My purpose for writing the daily reflections is to encourage your own reflections and prayers. I would love to hear what God is revealing to you.

 Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website:https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

Begin The Year With A Gift!

I could use you’re the gift of your financial support for my family and those on the margins God has placed in my path I refuse to walk around.  Please partner and support my family and ministries through setting up a monthly donation or a one –time gift by clicking the link below. Donation checks can be made out to ODC, 102 Champions Green Drive, Madison, Al 35758.

Thank You!  

 

  

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"There was an actual cross involved"

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"There was an actual cross involved"

“The leg does not feel the chain when the mind is in the heavens.” Tertullian.

“And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.  About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened.”  Act 16:23-26

Today we are on Acts chapter 16.  In it we read where Paul and Silas were arrested, beaten and scourged for their faith and sharing of the Gospel.  Being  a Christian for Paul, Silas, and almost anyone else was not easy.  They lived in a time of hostility towards those who proclaimed Christ.  Christianity was not a comfortable practice of getting up on Sunday mornings, getting dressed in nice cloths, being greeted at a door and given a bulletin, fixing a cup of coffee in the fellowship area, sitting in a nice chair or pew for an hour in a room the thermostat has been set to keep you comfortable, then going to get a nice lunch.  There was an actual cost and commitment involved.  There was an actual cross involved.

Yet as the passage in Acts 16:23-26 reveals, no matter what trials, no matter what prisons, no matter what persecution the early Christians found themselves in, they rejoiced in praise.  Today I am going to let Tertullian speak to you in this blog. He was an early founder of the faith and theologian who lived only a little over 100 years after the resurrection of Jesus in 155-240 AD.  The excerpts below are taken from a letter of his “To the Martyrs.”

“Though the body is shut in, though the flesh is confined, all things are open to the spirit. In spirit, then, roam abroad; in spirit walk about, not setting before you shady paths or long colonnades, but the way which leads to God. As often as in spirit your footsteps are there, so often you will not be in bonds. The leg does not feel the chain when the mind is in the heavens. The mind compasses the whole man about, and whither it wills it carries him. But where your heart shall be, there shall be your treasure…

Grant now, O blessed, that even to Christians the prison is unpleasant; yet we were called to the warfare of the living God in our very response to the sacramental words. Well, no soldier comes out to the campaign laden with luxuries, nor does he go to action from his comfortable chamber, but from the light and narrow tent, where every kind of hardness, roughness and unpleasantness must be put up with. Even in peace soldiers endure themselves to war by toils and inconveniences— marching in arms, running over the plain, working at the ditch, and engaging in many arduous labors. The sweat of the brow is on everything, that bodies and minds may not shrink at having to pass from shade to sunshine, from sunshine to icy cold, from the robe of peace to the coat of mail, from silence to clamor, from quiet to tumult. In like manner, O blessed ones, count whatever is hard in this lot of yours as a discipline of your powers of mind and body. You are about to pass through a noble struggle, in which the living God acts the part of superintendent, in which the Holy Ghost is your trainer, in which the prize is an eternal crown of angelic essence, citizenship in the heavens, glory everlasting. Therefore your Master Jesus Christ, who has anointed you with His Spirit, and led you forth to the arena, has seen it good, before the day of conflict, to take you from a condition more pleasant in itself, and has imposed on you a harder treatment, that your strength might be the greater…

Let the spirit hold convene with the flesh about the common salvation, thinking no longer of the troubles of the prison but of the wrestle and conflict for which they are the preparation. The flesh, perhaps, will dread the merciless sword, and the lofty cross, and the rage of the wild beasts, and that punishment of the flames, of all most terrible, and all the skill of the executioner in torture. But, on the other side, let the spirit set clearly before both itself and the flesh, how these things, though exceeding painful, have yet been calmly endured by many,—and, have even been eagerly desired for the sake of fame and glory; and this not only in the case of men, but of women too, that you, O holy women, may be worthy of your sex.”

Read and pray over these Scriptures.

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-7)

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1Peter 5:6-11)

My family, pray over how these readings bring light and revelation to the trials and “prisons” you may have found yourself in in the past, that you may find yourself in in the present, or you may find yourself in in the future.  Pray over our ministries together as a church and your personal ministries that you may remain “firm in your faith” as we embrace our call to spread the gospel and make disciples. Pray over those around the world and the kinds of suffering that are being experienced by your brothers and sister in the faith throughout the world.

Please share your own personal reflections from Acts 16 in the comments box below.

 Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website:https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

Begin The Year With A Gift!

I could use you’re the gift of your financial support for my family and those on the margins God has placed in my path I refuse to walk around.  Please partner and support my family and ministries through setting up a monthly donation or a one –time gift by clicking the link below. Donation checks can be made out to ODC, 102 Champions Green Drive, Madison, Al 35758.

Thank You!  

 


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"Hoops in the Church to Jump Through"

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"Hoops in the Church to Jump Through"


“Since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, ”Acts 15: 24”

The gathering of the council of Jerusalem was such an important event to Luke that he took great care to write about.  Paul in Galatians 2:1-14 give an autobiographical narrative to this event and provides some details.  I suggest you read it. 

Paul states some people came from Jerusalem “sent by James” and persuaded Peter to withdraw from the fellowship of the table with the gentiles.  Paul saw both Peter’s and Barnabas’s actions as a threat to the freedom of the gospel for the gentiles.  He publicly called Peter out on this saying it was wrong for Peter to force the gentiles to adopt the Jewish traditions and way of life to have a relationship with Jesus and be saved.   Peter was then distressed by the conflict his actions had caused.  Since it all started with messengers, people sent by James to persuade Peter, then the matter had to be taken up with James and the Council in Jerusalem that was under the chairmanship of James, who was the brother of Jesus. 

The council’s decision basically was to have the gentiles prohibit Idolatry,  and sexual perversion and fortification., and allowed them to eat and drink what they wanted.  Where true religion and basic Christian ethics were involved, Paul was strong on his teaching gentiles to avoid idolatry and fornication. But in matters of food and drink which were religiously and ethically neutral, he refused to lay down the law. He believed, as God had revealed to him in his dream, that no food or drink was “unclean”, even if it had been previously forbidden by the low of Moses.  Even if the food had come from an animal sacrificed to a pagan divinity.  It was human beings that mattered, not food and drink.    If a Christian was considering whether or not to eat this or drink something, the decision should depend on the conscience of the Christian.  Paul always argued from the order of creation and the ethical implications of a law-free gospel.  To which I say Amen!!!

Which brings me back to the verse I quoted above, “Since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions,” v24

There are unfortunately way to many persons and voices in The Church today going out and saying troubling words and saying unsettling things which God gave them no authority to say, Scriptures gave them no authority to say but they are claiming authority based on religion, tradition, and personal preference.   They declare and prohibit restrictions on not only food and drink, but dress codes, worship places, worship styles, restrictions on the means of grace of who can baptize, celebrate the Lord’s Supper, and pray prayers of reconciliation.   These things hinder people from encountering the gospel and encountering Jesus.  Paul was saying to the council that these things will turn away the gentiles, those that don’t know the gospel and Jesus, before they even hear about or encounter Jesus and also burden them while they try to listen the gospel. 

The same holds true in the church today.  Most people today who do not attend church, who leave the church and walk away from the gospel, do not do so because they encountered Jesus and found him to difficult, but because they encounter at the door of the church hoops to jump through and restrictions based on traditions and personal preferences to receiving the gospel and Jesus. They walk away because they find Christians difficult. They walk away from The Church, a place of hope, disturbed and troubled, because of these things having never encountered Jesus.    A pole was taken asking people about spirituality, Jesus, and Christians.  When asked about spirituality, people responded positively, there is a need for spiritual growth in people.  When asked about Jesus, people responded positively.  Jesus and what he represents has a positive image and message.  When asked about Christians, the responses was negative.  Why, when spirituality and Jesus are supposed to be at our core and what shapes and defines us? 

I want to make it clear that if Scriptures clearly prescribe or prohibit a behavior, lifestyle, action or attitude, then our surrender to Jesus as our Lord requires obedience to these. However, if you are are following something prohibited or prescribed based on tradition, personal preference, religion, or habit, if they are bringing you closer to Christ then follow them, but the requirement to follow them stops at your property line and you forever release the rest of the body of Christ from following them.

As I said in my previous post, we need to get back to simply Jesus, the simple gospel of Christ’s crucifixion, resurrection, ad the forgiveness of sins. 

My family, pray over what people and voices are you listening to that have no authority to put laws on the gospel you receive.  Pray over are any of these voices coming from you?  What hoops to jump through does our church have in place that can keep people from encountering Jesus we need to remove? In Jesus name. Please pray the same for me. God bless you my friends!

Please share your reflections and prayers with us on this blog 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

Begin The Year With A Gift!

I could use you’re the gift of your financial support for my family and those on the margins God has placed in my path I refuse to walk around.  Please partner and support my family and ministries through setting up a monthly donation or a one –time gift by clicking the link below. Donation checks can be made out to ODC, 102 Champions Green Drive, Madison, Al 35758.

Thank You!  

 


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"One Direction"

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"One Direction"

Acts14

Father, Son, and Spirit, I place myself in the middle of your union seeking your embrace and encouragement as I begin my day.

" After they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, and to Iconium, and to Antioch.  Strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, "Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God."  (Acts 14:.21-22)

“But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers” v.2

“When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them, they learned of it and fled…” v.5

“They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead…” v.19

Paul and Barnabas went to different cities to the strengthened and encouraged the young churches so recently planted there.  The members of those churches needed to be encouraged as they had seen Paul and Barnabas violently assaulted and driven out. They had seen Paul stoned.  And he was their leader who was asking them to follow in his same path.  They themselves had certainly had to endure some measure of persecution.  It is almost taken for granted throughout the New Testament that tribulation is the normal experience of Christians in this age and, the normal experience of the church.  it is those who suffer for and with Christ now who will share in his glory. "No cross, no crown" (Rom 8:17, 2Tim. 2:12).  

In Acts 14 Luke indeed records the irresistible progress of the gospel,  but he does not do so in triumphant spirit.  In K.C. Barrett's words, "Luke make it clear that the road his heroes were traveling was the way of the cross."

My brothers and sisters understand this, that we are called to walk this same road, that leads in one direction, the cross. That is why we named the church I planted “One Direction Community.” We are called to be a community walking together in one direction that leads to the cross. We must remember who we are, we are cross bearers of Christ.  We need to press into becoming true disciples of Jesus.  However Jesus tells us, “And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:38.)  Cross bearing and discipleship are in-separatable.

My family, pray:

The NT reveals that Christians and the church understood that tribulation is the normal experience for them and they completely realized, and accepted with joy, where the road they were walking down would lead them.  Pray that we can come to understand this as well.  Pray for us a realization, acceptance, and joy in our calling to suffer for and with Christ.  To be cross bearers.

Pray thanksgiving to God for those who's willingness to bear Christ's cross in the past and in the present have witnessed to you and strengthened you like a Paul and Barnabas did for the early church. Those that brought you to this place where you now find yourself walking the same road with them.

Pray for the Holy Spirit to bring to mind those you know that are going through suffering and tribulation now and pray for them.  Give them a phone call, text or email of encouragement.  Go visit them. Be a source of strength and encouragement in your family, workplace, circle of friends and those around you will witness to today.

Pray that The Holy Spirit will raise up cross bearers to walk the road with us the one direction that leads to the cross.

In Jesus’ name. Please pray the same for me. God bless you my friends!

Please share your reflections on Acts 14 with me and others 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

Begin The Year With A Gift!

I could use you’re the gift of your financial support for my family and those on the margins God has placed in my path I refuse to walk around.  Please partner and support my family and ministries through setting up a monthly donation or a one –time gift by clicking the link below. Donation checks can be made out to ODC, 102 Champions Green Drive, Madison, Al 35758.

Thank You!  

 


 

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Satan is Such A Loser!

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Satan is Such A Loser!

Jesus, you are my everything, and everything in my day is yours.

“While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.” (Acts 13:2-3)

The church in Antioch was planted by believers who fled the persecution of the Jews following the stoning of Stephen which we read about in chapter 7.  Paul (Saul) approved of and participated in the stoning of Stephen.  Now, the same church that was formed out of Paul’s arresting and persecution of Christians, the Christian church he hated and tried to stop from ever coming into existence, is the same church that lays hands on Paul, commissions him as a Christian, fills him with the Holy Spirit, and sent him out unto the nations to build up, plant, and launch even more of the same churches he tried to destroy!  God is so awesome!!!  Satan is such a loser!!! What and who Satan tried to use for evil, God redeemed for good and used for good.  

I thank God for all the ways He has redeemed things in my past and in me for his good.  All the things the Satan has led me into and I allowed myself to participate in. All the stones I have thrown at people out of hate, prejudice, and pride. Yet praise God, Jesus has covered them all under his blood.  And he continues to do so today when I confess my sins and repent. Just like Jesus changed Saul’s identity to Paul when he encountered him, Jesus changed my identity when I encountered him as well. So that now I can be a source from which his church will be birthed. God is so awesome!!!  Praise God! Satan is such a loser!!

What was the source of the church of Antioch’s missionary outreach plan for it’s neighbors?  Was it a study of Acts or one of the four Gospels? No, as they were not even written yet.  Was it a 12 step program on Evangelism, a sermon series, or a mission training? Nope. Its source was fasting, praying, and the laying of hands.  (13:2-3) They were sent out and commissioned as we need to sent out and commissioned today, "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit says The Lord of Hosts" (Zech. 4:6)  They were sent out by the Holy Spirit. (13:4)  

 And what was Paul and Barnabas's missionary strategy?  Preach Christ crucified, (13:28,29)  Christ risen (13:33) and the forgiveness of sins (13:38).  With all the books, trainings and conferences out there today on church planting, discipleship and growing a church, Paul’s and Barnabas’s strategy sounds pretty basic and simple. Go out and preach Christ crucified, Christ risen, and the forgiveness of sins.  Simply give them Jesus.  I think we need to remember our first love (Rev 2:4) and get back to Christ Crucified, Christ risen, forgiveness of sins, and simply giving people Jesus.  That was all Paul and Barnabas relied on:

and the church multiplied so walls could not contain it, 

and disciples made disciples who made disciples, 

and the gates of hell could not prevail against them, 

and the enemy’s stoning of Stephen only fanned the flames of the church and it spread.

And Satan was such a loser!

Read Acts 13, then reflect on all the ways Satan deceived you and used you in the past and the ways that Christ has redeemed you and is now using you for his good. Look at all the ways he has changed your identity, and is changing your identity since you have encountered him. Take a few minutes to thank Him. 

Pray that your ministry, pray for our church's ministries we serve in together, that what ever they are unto, will be founded in prayer and fasting and a sending by the Holy Spirit, founded in a return to our first love, simply Jesus.

My family, I pray you claim Christ crucified, Christ risen, and the forgiveness of sins over your life.  Then I pray that the Holy Spirit will lead one person into your path today that you can share this simple message with them. And that Satan is such a loser! In Jesus’ mighty name! Please pray the same for me. God bless you my friends!

Please share your thoughts, comments and verses that spoke to you in your time in chapter 13 in the comments box below.

 Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website:https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

Begin The Year With A Gift!

I could use you’re the gift of your financial support for my family and those on the margins God has placed in my path I refuse to walk around.  Please partner and support my family and ministries through setting up a monthly donation or a one –time gift by clicking the link below. Donation checks can be made out to ODC, 102 Champions Green Drive, Madison, Al 35758.

Thank You!  a

 


  

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Persecution and Suffering

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Persecution and Suffering


“About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also… “ vs.12:1-3

 All of the 12 disciples ended up enduring persecution and suffering.

·      Peter: A Fire in Rome, under Nero, He blamed Christians and began persecuting them.  In 60AD, Peter, was crucified.  He is stated to have said he was not worthy to be crucified the same way as Jesus and asked to be crucified upside down. He was crucified with praise coming from his lips

·      James: Son of Zebedee, faithful, and he was beheaded for his faith. The martyrdom of James is recorded in the New Testament of the Bible, in Acts 12:1-2. He was executed, with a sword, by order of King Herod Agrippa I in the year 44 AD:

·      Phillip: "He labored diligently in Upper Asia, and suffered martyrdom at Heliopolis, in Phrygia. He was scourged, thrown into prison as a crippled, and afterwards crucified, A.D. 54."

·      Matthew: served in Parathia and Ethiopia, among the cannibals. In the latter country he suffered martyrdom, being slain with a halberd in the city of Nadabah, A.D. 60."

·      Andrew: the bashful brother of Peter, he did not end up bashful.  He became a missionary to many lands.  He was the first missionary to Russia, The cythians, probably the most barbaric people of the first century. Andrew might have been martyred in Achaia or Patrae, both of which are places in the western part of Greece. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, It is generally agreed that he was crucified by order of the Roman Governor, Aegeas or Aegeates, at Patrae in Achaia. Taken under arrest and scourged by 7 men with rods. And then he was bound, not nailed, to the cross, in order to prolong his sufferings. The cross on which he suffered is commonly held to have been an X shaped cross, the decussate cross, now known as St. Andrew's Cross.  His crucifixion martyrdom took place during the reign of Nero, on the 30th November, A.D. 60.

·      Thomas: Called Didymus, Doubting Thomas, no.  He preached the Gospel in Parthia and India, where exciting the rage of the pagan priests, he was imprisoned, tortured by the priests, and martyred by being stabbed repeatedly with spears.

·      John: ministered in Emphasis for many years, founded churches in Smyrna, Loudiosia, Thia, Pergamous, Philidelphia, and others. He was Captured by the emperor who threw him into a pot of boiling oil.  Miraculously he escaped with scars..  The emperor was superstitious of him.  So he put him on The Island of Patimous where he was haunted and hunted by enimies for his faith.  Only apostle we believe to die from natural causes.

·      Bartholomew: According to Eusebius, Christian writer who lived during the 4th Century of this era (about 1600 years ago), Bartholomew traveled to India to preach to the people there, leaving behind a copy of the Gospel of Matthew. Bartholomew was martyred by King Astyages in Armedia: He ordered the holy apostle Bartholomew to be beaten with rods; and after having been scourged, to be beheaded."

·      James son of Alphaeus: according to Foxs' Book of Martyrs, was beaten, stoned and clubbed to death.

·      Judas: Judas Iscariot was not a martyr. He killed himself after betraying Jesus.

·      Thaddeus (Jude): was crucified, "Jude, the brother of James, was commonly called Thaddeus. He was crucified at Edessa, A.D. 72."

·      Simon: Surnamed Zelot, preached the Gospel in Mauritania, Africa, and even in Britain, in which latter country he was crucified, A.D. 74.

I don’t know what your future is, and I do not know what mine is.  We may see a day when we are called to pay for our faith with our own blood. However, I know one way you can pretty well make sure you won’t be called to martyrdom. That you won’t be persecuted, that you won’t endure suffering.  How?

Do nothing.

Continue to adhere to and follow the others idols in the world as well as Jesus.

Continue in materialism and drive new cars, but put an Ichtus on the rear bumper.

Continue To build and live in nice, comfortable homes with back decks, but hang a cross on an interior wall.

Continue to invest, in wear, and advertise materialism to the world, but wear a gold cross hidden under your shirt.

Continue to believe that “church” is a building and being a “disciple of Christ” simply means attending that building once a week.

Continue in to be silent in conversations when Christ is being mocked or sin is being exhalted.

Continue to be silent in sharing the talking about Jesus to your co-workers, classmates, family, and friends.

Continue to turn you head and cling to your resources when confronted with injustice, starvation, homelessness, and suffering in the world and your neighborhood.

If You continue to do all this, I can almost guarantee you will never be persecuted or suffer for your faith.

But then nothing will ever come of your faith.

 

  • Everyone of those who were martyred Exhibited Immediate Costly Radical Obedience (IRCO).

  • Everyone of those who were martyred, were active in their faith.

  • Everyone who died was an “all in” disciple of Christ.

  • Everyone who was martyred could have avoided it.

  • None had to die!  None had to go through Persecution or suffering for their faith.

  • Everyone that did, went through it because they knew Jesus is worthy of it.

We cannot on our own, no matter how religious we may try to become or what restrictions we place on ourselves in our flesh, without the indwelling of and pushing deeper into and receiving the Holy Spirit personally into our lives, form a heart and soul that truly trusts, risks all, obeys, and believes that God is worthy of all and any suffering and persecution we may endure for our faith. 

My family, I pray today that you as an individual and we as a church can embrace lives of faith in which Jesus is worthy of it all.  Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what that looks like in your life and us as a community of faith. In Jesus’ name. Please pray the same for me. God bless you my friends!

Please share your reflections to this post or the verses and reflections the Holy Spirit led you into in Acts 12.

 Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website:https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

Begin The Year With A Gift!

I could use you’re the gift of your financial support for my family and those on the margins God has placed in my path I refuse to walk around.  Please partner and support my family and ministries through setting up a monthly donation or a one –time gift by clicking the link below. Donation checks can be made out to ODC, 102 Champions Green Drive, Madison, Al 35758.

Thank You!  


 

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"Full of The Holy Spirit"

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"Full of The Holy Spirit"


Good morning Jesus, fill me afresh with your Spirit as I begin my day.

“As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?..When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord” (Acts 15-17, 23-24)

.Acts 11 convicted me again of the absolute necessity of the the presence and filling of the Holy Spirit in my life personally and in us as a church for us to be people anointed by God, with a heart conformed to the heart of God and his will.  We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit if we want to have any hope of providing a place where people can encounter salvation in Christ and receive healing of physical, spiritual, emotional sicknesses and the restoration of shattered lives.  I am getting emotional now, as the desperation and urgency of this need sets into my soul. I feel bold enough to say, If we individually, and collectively as a church can not commit to seeking to be filled with the Spirit, we need to quit right now pressing into becoming radical disciples of Jesus, and walk away into the safe, redundant, and complacent cycle of Sunday church.

We all in the church as members have gifts to use use”

We have a strong gifting of service, and we are constantly either personally or in groups collectively encouraging other members help their neighbors whether it is bringing food, helping them move, working on house..ect.  Also serving at Manna House, House of Harvest, Downtown Rescue Mission and prayer walking neighborhoods. 

Some have an Apostolic gift of visioning, planning, white boarding, and strategic thinking.

Some have the gift of Evangelism and to go out and prayer walk and tell people about Christ.

Some have the gift of pastoring, and naturally can sit, listen to, love on and offer compassion and guidance to individuals.

Some have the gift of prophecy, of hearing what God's desire is for his people, where his people actually are, and live, pray, speak into and mourn in that gap.

Some have the gift of teaching and love to build up others in the knowledge of God.

 Yet all of these gifts must flow out of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. 

If we can't, if more personally I, can't, prioritize and commit to seeking being full of the Holy Spirit by committing my self to time in the Word, to prayer and to fasting, I have no business trying to use any of the gifts above.  The number one mistake of Christians that are missionally minded make, is neglecting the great commandment in observance of the great commission by spending time "doing" something for God before they have spent time "being" with God.  I can not “go” and make disciples if I myself am not willing go deep into my personal discipleship.  I can not lead others to a place I myself am not willing to go. I need to seek that place where I Love God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength, Then I can have a love for my neighbor that flows out of this intense love for God.  Observance of this great commandment is required before I can go to places and people to make disciples.  All this holds true as well for us as a church.

 Our church needs people willing to use all their giftings that are listed above, but not if they are not wiling to do so in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. If you do treat your neighbors kindly and fairly, help them out, care for them and are a good neighbor but do not do it in the Holy Spirit and sharing the Gospel with them, you will make more friends.   You will be known as a “good person. yYour popularity will increase and your circle of friends will increase, but your ministry will decrease.  Because it will be all about advancing your kingdom and not the kingdom of God. And you kingdom can not save anyone.

My family, I pray today you will reflect on, How am actively I seeking to be filled with the Holy Spirit?  How am I seeking to obey the great commandment and fall more deeper in love with God, before I obey the great commission? In Jesus name. Please pray the same for me. God bless you my friends!

 Please share your reflections and prayers with us on this blog 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

Begin The Year With A Gift!

I could use you’re the gift of your financial support for my family and those on the margins God has placed in my path I refuse to walk around.  Please partner and support my family and ministries through setting up a monthly donation or a one –time gift by clicking the link below. Donation checks can be made out to ODC, 102 Champions Green Drive, Madison, Al 35758.

Thank You!  

 

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"Everything is Clean"

Comment

"Everything is Clean"

Lord I begin my day in the complete acceptance of your love for me..

“What God has made clean, do not call common…”yet God has shown me that I should call no person defiled or ritually unclean…."" (Acts 10:15, 28)

 Acts 10 is a removing by the Holy Spirit any barriers and the breaking of the binding chains of tradition, religion, cultural, ethnicity, nationality, family heritage, food laws, personal preferences and norms that were strongholds on peoples lives, and excluded them from the Gospel.

All things are clean. It is not the object or action that is unclean when used as God designed (sex, alcohol, food, money, time, opioids, tobacco, materials). All Idolatry and addiction is the perversion of something good. It is our abuse of them to fulfill own our personal personal desires, lusts, and lifestyles that changes these “clean” things to “dirty addictions.”

More importantly, all people are "clean" and able to receive the Gospel.

“Then Peter started speaking: “I now truly understand that God does not show favoritism in dealing with people, but in every nation the person who fears him and does what is right is welcomed before him…..No one can withhold the water for these people to be baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” So he gave orders to have them baptized in the name of Jesus Christ." (Acts 10:34,.47-48)

I pray Lord to free me from the bondage and chains of pre-conceived judgments, prejudices, traditions, profilling, negative thinking towards another person. Free me from and “cliquish” thinking that I am part of the ”in group.” Release me from the control of the mindset of “Its the way we've always done it."   Free me personally and all in our church as we move forward from any hindrances or clinging to style, format, meeting space, and doctrine.

I pray daily, "Lord, send us the ones nobody else wants."  Let us truly embrace this, no matter who or what this looks like.

My family, I pray you reflect on what “clean” things you are making “dirty” by your abuse and perversion of your personal desires and lusts. I pray you ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any prejudices or profiling of people you still entertain in your heart. I pray today you step out of your comfort zone and share your love of Jesus with someone who is ethnically or culturally different from you. In Jesus’ name. Please pray the same for me. God bless you my friends!

Please share your reflections and prayers with us on this blog 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

Begin The Year With A Gift!

I could use you’re the gift of your financial support for my family and those on the margins God has placed in my path I refuse to walk around.  Please partner and support my family and ministries through setting up a monthly donation or a one –time gift by clicking the link below. Donation checks can be made out to ODC, 102 Champions Green Drive, Madison, Al 35758.

Thank You!  

 


  

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"Road to Damascus"

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"Road to Damascus"

Thank you Father, for spending this time with me this morning, encouraging and equipping me for my day.

Acts 9 contains one of the most amazing stories in the NT, the conversion of Saul to Paul on the road to Damascus.  In my prayer time reading this chapter, two verses stood out to me.  

First, The Lord tells Ananais concerning Paul, "For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name".... v.16  

We serve a suffering Savior. It was through suffering Jesus established his kingdom on earth.  It was by enduring suffering and hardship that Paul further established the kingdom of God. It is through my suffering, our suffering, the church’s suffering that God's kingdom will be further established on earth. I prayed the hard prayer for me, God show me how much I need to suffer for you, and give me the strength and ability to accept and suffer for your kingdom, for you are worthy of it. We need to pray this together as a church.

Second verse, "And laying his hands on him he (Ananias) said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came here, has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” v. 17.

God sent Ananias to Paul.  It was through Ananais laying hands on Paul and praying over him that he received the power of the Holy Spirit to open his eyes to Jesus, enable him to be obedient to God, endure the suffering and hardship, and proclaim the Gospel to the Gentiles.  All throughout this chapter and the Bible people are coming to Paul's aid and assisting him.  Without their help, Paul would not have succeeded.

God sent you to me.  God sent me to you.  God sent us to each other.  To be "Ananias" to each other.  To lay hands and pray over each other to receive the Holy Spirit, open our eyes to Jesus, enable us to be obedient to God, endure the hardship and suffering, and proclaim the Gospel to our neighbors. I prayed over all of you for the times and seasons when you have partnered and helped me. I needed it then and I need it today. I am so thankful for you all.  I prayed over my help for you when you need it.  I prayer over our help for each other as a church, we need each other. I prayed over helping each other to "be filled with the Holy Spirit and scales fall from our eyes to see Christ.

My family, I pray you will in prayer ask Jesus the hard question,  “How much I need to suffer for you?”  I pray you will also thank God for the “Ananais” he has sent to you in your life. I pray you will also ask Him who are those to whom He is sending you. In Jesus’ name. Please pray the same for me. God bless you my friends!

 

Please share your reflections from reading Acts chapter 9.  As we read through these chapters, though certain verses in each chapter stood out to me that I comment on, other verses probably stood out to you.  Please share this with us.


Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website:https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

Begin The Year With A Gift!

I could use you’re the gift of your financial support for my family and those on the margins God has placed in my path I refuse to walk around.  Please partner and support my family and ministries through setting up a monthly donation or a one –time gift by clicking the link below. Donation checks can be made out to ODC, 102 Champions Green Drive, Madison, Al 35758.

Thank You!  

 


 

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"A Scattered Church"

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"A Scattered Church"

Good morning Jesus, I’m starting my day in you so I can look back on my day tonight and see where I was led by you.

"Now on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were forced to scatter throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria......Now those who had been forced to scatter went around proclaiming the good news of the word." vs.1, 4.

The early church in Jerusalem, was forced to scatter, to leave the only "church" they knew.  This scattering, caused them to preach the tell the Gospel to new people, new neighbors, and plant new churches. Later in chapter 11 we will read:

"Now those who had been scattered because of the persecution that took place over Stephen went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch" (11:19)

Those early disciples were forced to leave their "first church", this lead to planting of other churches, including the great church in Antioch! The persecution and scattering the enemy meant to destroy the church, God used it to grow and further establish his church.  The church was designed to be a movement.  To scatter then gather, scatter then gather again.  When the church ifs forced to leave and takes with it nothing but Jesus is when it is most effective.

I am learning that the church is at its best when it is fluid, underground, subversive, and countercultural.  It is the unknown, quiet, humble stealth acts that the church changes things.

Pray over your life, the life of our church and the life of your ministries.  Have you been stuck, complacent, or comfortable in a season of “gathering”?  Pray that the Holy Spirit will motivate you and guides you into a new season of scattering.  Pray God leads you, leads us as a church and reveals to us our new “Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antiochs in which to start new house churches and ministries.  

As you start to fulfill your plans you have made for this week, remember God has set his plans he has made for you and needs you to fulfill as well.  His plan is to release you and I, ordinary people in the church out into our communities to do extraordinary things in the kingdom.  Just like in Acts 8:1. It was ordinary, un-named Jews, just some people, that scattered and spread the Gospel, lead others into salvation, made disciples, and grew churches.

  God’s plan this week includes the scattering and sending of you and I.  People are saved, disciples are made, lives are restored and churches grow not through programs, but through ordinary people spreading the Gospel.  Spreading and sharing the Gospel is not about bringing people into a building to hear someone speak, but sending people out of a building to speak it into the world. Armies of ordinary people in the church, empowered by the extraordinary power and presence of the Holy Spirit, speaking life, truth, and transformation to those they encounter in their day.

Lets all commit to get rid of any spectator mentality we may possess about our role in Christ’s church. A church after the heart of God does not simply focus on  its seating capacity, but its sending capacity.  Because I believe at the end of the day that is how God is going to judge the church.

A change in spectator mentality won’t happen accidently.  Just like setting aside and scheduling time in your day and calendar is required to fulfill your other plans for the week, setting aside time and creating margins in your day and calendar is required to fulfill God’s plan for you to do extraordinary things for his kingdom.  It requires intentionality.

My family, I pray and challenge you to open your calendar for the week and look at where you have scheduled times to release yourself in your community and spread the Gospel.  Not scheduled times in a Bible study, prayer gathering, church meeting, or small group (though these are good), but intentional times of release, sentness into an area of your community with no prescript expectation or outcome but sharing your testimony and the Gospel.  If you do not have times set aside and scheduled for this, for fulfilling God’s plan for you, it won’t happen.  Luther said, “Delay is the sharpest arrow in the enemies quiver.”  Don’t delay.

Please share your reflections and prayers with us on this blog 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

Begin The Year With A Gift!

I could use you’re the gift of your financial support for my family and those on the margins God has placed in my path I refuse to walk around.  Please partner and support my family and ministries through setting up a monthly donation or a one –time gift by clicking the link below. Donation checks can be made out to ODC, 102 Champions Green Drive, Madison, Al 35758.

Thank You!  

 


 

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"Forged Outside The Public Eye"

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"Forged Outside The Public Eye"

Jesus, I empty myself this morning, so you can fill me afresh with your Spirit..  

I read Acts 7 last night before bed and again this morning.  I usually include a section of a chapter that I focused my reflection on. However, my reflection this morning flows from all of Chapter 7 and Stephen’s amazing response to his accusers. Acts 7 is a remarkable chapter.  Stephen’s standing up to and response to the High Priest and his counsel is amazing.  It is full of confidence and power. This is because the story he is telling them is God’s story of the redemption of mankind.  His confidence is real because he really knows God, really knows the Scriptures, really knows God’s story, really knows his place and participation in God’s story, and his whole reply to them centers and focuses on the story of God in the lives of the Jews.  To be able to reply with the confidence, power, and authority of Stephen, you have to have spent much time in prayer getting to know God and much time reading, searching and taking to heart the Scriptures.  I asked myself, How deeply do I know God in prayer?  How thoroughly do I know God’s story in the Bible?  Could I reply with the confidence if asked like Stephen? 

 After I read Acts 7 last night, as I laid in bed I was strongly led into time of personal repentance and reflection over my life that continued when I woke up early this morning. My sermon yesterday morning was on our upcoming discipleship training and are call to truly imitate Jesus.  During our prayer time I asked for us all to openly confess and repent of our sins to allow God to begin a revival in our church.  These things only deepened my reflection.  I reflected over how well I know God and his story. The areas in my life that still are not conformed to God and his story.  The thoughts in my headed and desires in my heart that are not of God.  I said I was sorry for my failures as a husband and Father.  Places where pride still exist. I said I was sorry for my areas of disobedience and unfaithfulness to God.  Where my passion and ministry was directed by me and not God. Where I backed away from or sold-out of visions and responsibilities because of the cost. Where I neglected or placed on hold needed time in spiritual disciplines of prayer, searching Scriptures and fasting.  Times spent doing things for God without first being with God.

 

I reflected over my life and ministry listening to v.51 "You stubborn people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, like your ancestors did!" I repented from the things "made in my hands”: idols, degrees, resumes, house comforts, buildings, and career.  I repented from things I use to box in God. "Yet the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands,"v.46-48. I repented for any lack of authenticity in my leadership. Any lack of confidence or authority from God. I prayed to be more like Stephen.  I would like to be more like Stephen.  And I know what it takes to be like Stephen.  Stephen’s faith and confidence was forged in many hours outside the public eye, praying and reading God’s Word.

My family, I pray you reflect today on what you are forging in your mind, heart, and soul outside the public eye. I pray you honestly ask yourself as I did, How deeply do I know God in prayer?  How thoroughly do I know God’s story in the Bible?  Could I reply with the confidence if asked like Stephen? I pray for an awakening in your life.  In Jesus’ name.  Please pray the same for me.  God bless you my friends. 

Please share your reflections and prayers with us on this blog 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

Begin The Year With A Gift!

I could use you’re the gift of your financial support for my family and those on the margins God has placed in my path I refuse to walk around.  Please partner and support my family and ministries through setting up a monthly donation or a one –time gift by clicking the link below. Donation checks can be made out to ODC, 102 Champions Green Drive, Madison, Al 35758.

Thank You!  

 


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Now Stephen... Opposition Arose

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Now Stephen... Opposition Arose

Jesus,, i want to begin my day breathing in your breath of life…

“Now Stephen, a man full of God's grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)--Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia--who began to argue with Stephen. But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.” (Acts 6:8-10)

Four words to keep in mind from this passage (at least 4). They reveal a pattern we have see as the Holy Spirit spreads.

NOW STEPHEN. . . OPPOSITION AROSE.

It’s critical to understand the bigger picture here. Were we to get a birds-eye view of the first century church, everywhere we spotted the activity of the Holy Spirit we would also witness the opposition stirring. The same remains true to the present day. We must understand the real enemy is not the Jews or any other human being. Listen to how the Apostle Paul will later describe the battle.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:10-12”

Human beings must indeed be held accountable when they serve as the willing yet often unwitting agents of darkness, but they are not ultimately responsible. Evil is real and everyone remains susceptible to being drawn into its strategies. While evil is no match for the Holy Spirit, only those who learn to “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” have any hope of standing against and overcoming it.  The Big Lesson: as much as people may willingly or unwittingly align themselves with the enemy, people are never the enemy.  This is important to remember when ministering to and my prayer is "Lord, send me those no one else wants."

This core dynamic of Christian discipleship consists in the crisis and process of learning to be “strong in the Lord and in his mighty power,” who is the Holy Spirit. One more key piece of information: THE FULLNESS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL ALWAYS LOOK LIKE JESUS. We simply cannot learn or comprehend how the Holy Spirit works apart from keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus. And this will not happen apart from immersing ourselves in every detail we can grasp from the inspired accounts we have of his life as revealed in the four Gospels.

Remember in Luke 12 when Jesus said, "When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say."

Read the passage above again. Stephen remembered. Ending where I began this post.NOW STEPHEN. . . OPPOSITION AROSE. . . .But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke!

My family, I pray you reflect today on your reliances and equipping, and empowering by the Holy Spirit.  Ask the Holy Spirit to anoint you right at this moment with his power and presence.  Ask the Holy Spirit to anoint and empower our church strong 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 with us on this blog 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

Begin The Year With A Gift!

I could use you’re the gift of your financial support for my family and those on the margins God has placed in my path I refuse to walk around.  Please partner and support my family and ministries through setting up a monthly donation or a one –time gift by clicking the link below. Donation checks can be made out to ODC, 102 Champions Green Drive, Madison, Al 35758.

Thank You!  

 


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"Lying to God"

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"Lying to God"


Good morning Father, Son and Spirit; speak to me God, your servant is listening..

“But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife's knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it.” Acts 5:1-6

“Lying is a terrible vice. It testifies that one despises God, but fears man.” Michel de Montaigne”

Acts chapter 5 begins with the story of Ananias and Sapphira.  In it Peter, who had so recently experienced the forgiving and restoring grace of God after his denial of Jesus in the high priests palace, in turn speaks un-gracious words of death of the couple.  Try how we may, we cannot imagine Christ acting towards sinners as Peter here is represented as doing.

The selling and giving of goods to the community of the early church was voluntary.  The piece of land belonged to Ananias: he could keep it or sell it as he pleased. When he sold it the money he got from it was his to use as he chose. Ananais and Sapphira retained part of the sale price for their private use, as they had every right to do, but he lied and stated the balance he gave to the church as the total purchase price that he received from the sale.  He tried to lie and deceive them into thinking he was “All in” and had done an extremely pious act.  A higher standardof character and honesty must prevail among the followers of Christ.  Ananais, in an effort to gain a reputation for greater generosity than he had actually earned, tried to deceive the believing community.  However, in trying to deceive the community he was really trying to deceive the Holy Spirit, whose life-giving power had created, flowed through, and maintained the community.  If he had told a lie told to Peter on a separate private transaction, though it would be a sin, may not have been as condemning.  But this act, whether Ananias knew it or not, was a lie told to God, something prompted as Peter said, by “Satan filling his heart” and he became an adversary to God and humanity.

The desire to gain a higher reputation than one is due for generosity, an act of humility, service, or some other virtuous act is not so uncommon among us that anyone of us can take a self-righteous attitude toward Ananais.  Instead I believe from this story, we are called to deep self-reflection on how we may have or are currently lying, deceiving or exagerating to our community of faith, or more importantly ourselves personally about our level of generosity, tithing, giving, time spent in The Word and prayer, and our surrender to Christ.  What ways are we building ourselves up in our minds and the minds of others of our level of generosity and obedience to build up or maintain a reputation, while in reality with are exagerating, with holding, and deceiving others, deceiving ourselves, and more importantly trying to deceive God and the Holy Spirit. Like Ananais, we say we are “al in” with Christ when in reality in our heart we know are withholding gifts and areas of our life from God. We too are lying to God.

Satan filled Ananais’s heart with a desire to be well thought of and known, a high reputation, a person of position, and to be thought of as special and important in the great movement of the Holy Spirit and movement in the church.  His deception however was one that tried to cause the movement of the Holy Spirit in the church to stumble.  How often do we see a movement of the church that is growing, revival and power of God being seen and present, be hindered or derailed by pride and deceit of a member. 

We are reading and praying through the New Testament now seeking direction, vision and the revival of a movement of God.  Take time today to pray into the honesty of your heart.  Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal ways you are deceiving, others, yourself, and God.  Don’t lie to yourself and take 30 seconds to glance at your soul then carry on your day and pretend you gave it your all.  We are covenanting to read a chapter of Scripture each day and spend real time in prayer and reflection on the chapter over our lives and our church. At my churches I asked that we fast on Tuesdays and spend the lunch hour in prayer. Your church may have other disciplines you are going through together.  Are you fully engaging in this time of the Word and prayer or are you deceiving yourself in you level of participation?  If we want to see a movement of God, we need to be all in, not withholding anything. What is your true level of generosity and giving, not only financial, but time in service and opening your home to ministry.

My family, I pray this morning you take time in prayer to look at ways you are deceiving, exaggerating, and rationalizing the true level of of your obedience to Christ. I pray you will truly have a “Come to Jesus” moment of the clear assessment of your “all in,” withholding nothin in your life from the Lordship of Jesus. I pray then you will have a time of seeking forgiveness and recommitting your life to Christ. In Jesus. name.Please pray the same for me. God bless you my friends!

For those near me, I am here if you need to talk about anything in your faith. For those who are not, seek out those who will listen to you and respond in the love and truth of Christ.

Your participation these daily reflections is important to me and others who read them.  As we read our daily readings together, please share your reflections to my post or others from the chapter we are reading in the comments box below to bless myself and others.

 Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website:https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

Begin The Year With A Gift!

I could use you’re the gift of your financial support for my family and those on the margins God has placed in my path I refuse to walk around.  Please partner and support my family and ministries through setting up a monthly donation or a one –time gift by clicking the link below. Donation checks can be made out to ODC, 102 Champions Green Drive, Madison, Al 35758.

Thank You!  

 


  

 

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"A Church on Fire"

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"A Church on Fire"


Good morning God, As I begin writing this devotion now,, “Set a Fire” by United Pursuit started playing in the background. I claim your fire over my life and my reflections.

I love Acts chapter 4!  It is a proclamation and testimony to the power of the resurrected Jesus our Lord and Savior!  All throughout the chapter you can sense the presence and power the resurrection of Jesus provided in his believers.  It is a picture of people and a church that have confidence in Christ. They have an expectancy that God is and will do great signs and wonders in their midst.  It is a church filled with boldness derived not in themselves, but in the living Christ.  It is the picture of a church filled with the anointing and presence of the Holy Spirit.  A church that prays.  A church that has complete unity of purpose that is radically meeting each others needs and affecting lives.  It is a church that is on fire with the power of God!  It is a church I so long to re-establish and be part of.

I read this chapter on the power and presence of God in the resurrected Christ and the Holy Spirit in the church.  The church is exciting, expecting, and seeing healings, signs and wonders.  It is boldly standing up to powers and principalities, removing social barriers and injustice, and boldly spreading the gospel.  People are banqueting together and participating in life together.  And I so long to be part of that church. Why do I long for that church when the same resurrected Jesus is alive and now present.  The same Holy Spirit full of power moves among the earth today.  The same kingdom of God is now at hand. 

   I am part of the United Methodist Church (UMC). In 1786, the founder of Methodism, John Wesley, looked back on the revival begun during his lifetime. He seemed to think that it was well enough established that it would not immediately vanish after his death. However, he was not content with the survival of a lifeless sect that hung around, but failed to renew souls in the image of their creator. He wrote in “Thoughts Upon Methodism” : “I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power. And this undoubtedly will be the case unless they hold fast both the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which they first set out."  These words haunt me. It is as if Wesley continues to challenge all who call themselves Methodists to continue to have the zeal to “spread Scriptural holiness” that the early Methodists had. I can’t read this quote without asking myself the obvious question, not just about the UMC, but the church in America in general: Is the church in America a dead sect, does it have the form or religion without the power? Or have we held fast to the doctrine, spirit, faith and discipline with which the early church we read about in Acts 4 first set out?

My family, I know you, as well as I, also long to be part of a church like that in Acts 4.  Long to be part of a church that others will look at and long to be part of, because it is full of the power and presence of the resurrected Jesus!  Please pray over and into this today! I pray God’s fire falls with conviction and power over you. Please pray the same for me. God bless you my friends!

  • Pray the power of the resurrected Jesus over yourself, family, and church.

  •  its power to save humanity vs. 4, 12,

  • Its power to heal. vs.9-10, 14. 22, 30

  • its power to provide us and fill us with the Holy Spirit v, 8, 25, 31,

  •  Its power to fulfill prophesy, and sovereignty over time and our lives vs.24-29

  •  Its power over all creation v.24

  • Its power to give us boldness in proclaiming the Gospel v.29

  • Its power to give us the ability to heal and do signs and wonders. V. 30

  • Its power to give our prayers power in and through the Holy Spirit v. 31

  • Its power to bring God through the Holy Spirit tangibly into our midst. “The place where they were assembled was shaken” signifies this. V.31

  •  its power to unify us into one body v.32

  • Its power over all we posses v.32-36

  • Its power to fill all our needs v.34

  • You received the power of the Resurrected Jesus at you baptism.  Pray into that power, ask God to reveal to you people, places, possibilities for ODC. 

 Please as a community share your thoughts and reflections on Acts 4 with us today in the comments box.

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website:https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

Begin The Year With A Gift!

I could use you’re the gift of your financial support for my family and those on the margins God has placed in my path I refuse to walk around.  Please partner and support my family and ministries through setting up a monthly donation or a one –time gift by clicking the link below. Donation checks can be made out to ODC, 102 Champions Green Drive, Madison, Al 35758.

Thank You!  

 


 

 

 

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 Invitaion, Story Telling and the Super Bowl

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Invitaion, Story Telling and the Super Bowl

Good morning Jesus, let et reaching out to you in desperation lead me to outreach to those in desperation today.

I watched both NFL playoff games last night.  Both were great games!  It reminded me that in two weeks is Super Bowl Sunday. It is a day when millions of people will gather in homes and taverns to party, laugh, cheer, connect and share life together. It is one of the few days of the year that you have an excuse to invite people into your home, or accept an invitation into another home, and share stories and life together. Super Bowl Sunday is a pre-made missional outreach day that every Christian is required to participate in. . Everyone needs to preferably host a Super Bowl Party ,and is not. attend one. If you were looking for an excuse to invite your neighbors, co-workers, work-out friends, classmates, and others over to your house, Super Bowl Sunday offers that excuse. It is also an excuse to accept an invitation into another’s home, or yes Pub, for their gathering. I do not care if you do not like football! Watch the commercials, eat the food, whatever. It is an opportunity to encounter and enter into people’s lives in a real way.  Here is why.

 “Storytelling is powerful because it has the ability to touch human beings at the most personal level. While facts are viewed from the lens of a microscope, stories are viewed from the lens of the soul. Stories address us on every level. They speak to the mind, the body, the emotions, the spirit, and the will. In a story a person can identify with situations he or she has never been in. The individual’s imagination is unlocked to dream what was previously unimaginable.“

– Mark Miller 

Story telling is powerful.” Corporations know this. Obviously Budweiser has picked up on this in the last few years with their Super Bowl commercials.  They moved from the comedic frogs of Bud-weis-er to the now infamous stories of their heritage and horses.  Those are always popular each year. 

The reason is not merely because people love stories, which they do, but because story hits people’s hearts and not merely their heads.  And, because advertizers know that the Super Bowl is a story on the biggest stage, if they can develop a story within the story, they’ll win the rigorous marketing wars between companies vying for your attention.

And, if they hit your heart, that’s what causes action.  We can all watch commercials that have facts about how this pill has caused people to lose weight, or how many dentists recommend this toothpaste, but that doesn’t move us…what moves us, is the story, because it hits us deep in the heart.  This is why the Super Bowl is important, and this is what the Super Bowl is about. We as Christians have the most amazing story to tell, The Gospel, and we need to tell it.

This Super Bowl…like all others is filled with storys and everyone wants to be part of it, talk about it, be around it because as football players will say, “The game is bigger than all of us.” Everyone wants to be part of a larger story, let’s use this opportunity as a door opener to the largest story ever told. How can we use the Super Bowl to simply point to the larger story of God ? 

1. Throw a Party

For our family, we’d rather throw a party than merely attend one.  The reason is that it gives us plenty of ways to bless people and have them in our house.   I feel I can be like the Apostle Matthew and invite other tax collectors, sinners, to my party: my friends, to encounter my Jesus.

“As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him. Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?” When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” (Matthew 9:9-12)

When you invite others, you get to choose the crowd you hang with.   Usually, for Christians, this is a bad thing as we over filter who we invite.  But notice who was at Matthew’s party.  Scum, Jesus, and disciples. All mixed, partying like it’s 31AD, when Jesus rose from the dead.  The more this crowd: Jesus, followers and not yet followers hang out together, the better. Jesus gave us this example of connecting people to His salvation of grace, and He used this type of gathering over and over to reach people. We are called to use it as well.

2. Encourage Story

Encourage story with everyone.  Walk around asking people “story” questions, or ask people, “have you heard his story, it’s awesome…”  Get your guests talking and listen.  You learn so much about them during these stories.  Be the story encourager at your party.  Ask questions like:

1  How did you and your spouse meet?

2  Why did you choose your career?

3  Who is your favorite NFL team and why??

4  What do you like most about living here? 

Really, any open ended question will work.  It’s not to bait and switch them so you can talk about how unless you eat Jesus’ body and drink his blood you can never be one of his followers.   It’s so you can actually get to know them and their story so that when the opportunity comes, you know where their story needs redemption and who or what is their functional savior so you can point to the one and only Saviour who brings eternal redemption, now and forever. You’ll know how to serve them, love them and show them Jesus in the ways that will tell a story that will hit their heart. 

3. Go Overboard with Food

You ever been to a party where there isn’t much food?  It sucks.  Don’t be that party…be a party that points to the Great Wedding Feast.   Not only that, but take into consideration who is coming.  Ask if any have allergies, or a special diet.  When you take others into consideration, it shows you actually care and desire for them to be comfortable in your house.  It also gives you yet another connection point to their story.

Don’t supply all the food though.  Have people bring food.   We are having people bring a main dish.  The reason is that a main dish usually has a story behind it.  Either of how they grew up, who taught them how to make it or nothing at all.  But I usually simply ask, “Does this dish have any significance to you?”  You’d be surprised how much story can come from chicken salad. 

4. Ask the Spirit For Guidance

Who is pushing into you currently for relationship?  Ask the Spirit to show you these people.  Maybe for you it is your CrossFit gym.  Invite all 400 members.  You know that 95% of them aren’t going to come, but it gives you an open to invite them into a relationship with you, and is a personal invite.

 Ask the Spirit for time with those people who are personally pushing into you and your family for relationship so you can ask them personally as well.  For me, I don’t want them to merely get the Facebook invite, I want to look them in the eye, ask them if they would come and tell them it’d be so great if they did. Almost everyone I have been given by the Spirit in prayer to ask, and I’ve asked personally to come, everyone one of them comes.  It’s awesome, even if one of them is a fan of my opposing team. 

But, don’t stop there.

Ask the Spirit for guidance on listening to their story at the party and what you should say, or how you should listen or how to encourage further relationship.  Remember, this isn’t about a football game, this whole day is wrapped up in story, so use this to learn other’s stories.   Maybe you do get into a deep spiritual conversation, but maybe you don’t.  Don’t beat yourself up. The Spirit will tell you when to speak, when to listen, when to keep it surface level and when to go deep.  Just because you don’t present all of the Romans’ Road to them doesn’t mean you should feel guilted and shamed.  The Spirit doesn’t guilt and shame you, that’s the devil’s game.

The more the devil can guilt and shame you the more you’ll have an agenda instead of listening to the Spirit on how to show off Jesus in the ways of Jesus in the power of the Spirit.  Sometimes silence is the loudest witness.  Don’t let the devil fool you into thinking you have to convert someone to Jesus at every party for it to be a “successful” party.   But, always be thinking, “How can I make this party be a shadow of our celebratory God that wants everyone invited to His party?”

Take some time this week to ask, “Spirit, how can I ensure that what I say and do Super Bowl Sunday will be a shadow of your Story” (It’s a good thing to do everyday!)

Listen.  Then obey what the Spirit gives you.

If you do that…no matter what happens, your gathering will not be a failure, but will have happened by the power of the Spirit to bring people along as far as he wants them to so they might know more about the only story line that ultimately matters. And who knows…maybe he’ll show you even more about his Story so you can marvel at how large his Story really is, yet how much he carefully and specifically loves and hears your specific “small” requests.

 

Please share your thoughts,  reflections, and maybe other examples of what you use to invite other people into your story 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

Begin The Year With A Gift!

I could use you’re the gift of your financial support for my family and those on the margins God has placed in my path I refuse to walk around.  Please partner and support my family and ministries through setting up a monthly donation or a one –time gift by clicking the link below. Donation checks can be made out to ODC, 102 Champions Green Drive, Madison, Al 35758.

Thank You!  

 


 

 

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"Your Shores Of Grace"

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"Your Shores Of Grace"

Good morning, Lord Jesus. All that I have and all that I am, I entrust to You today. 

"Simon Peter said to them, 'I am going fishing.'... They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, 'Children, you have no fish, have you?' Then answered Him, 'No.' He said to them, 'Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you fill find some... When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea" (John 21:3-7). 

In the face of persecution and out fear of crucifixion, Peter denied you three times after vowing he never would. Naked and ashamed, stripped of his pride and still hurting inside, he went back to fishing along with Thomas and the other disciples, I'm sure he still wrestled with forgiving himself for failing You.  And in the dark night of his soul, he caught nothing.

But "just after daybreak," he heard Your voice again. Like the dawn of a new day, Your voice broke into the darkness of his soul. He remembered Your voice and remembered his past when he'd heard You call him to cast his nets on the other side of the boat before. He knew it was You. And though he had failed You, You had never forgotten him. So he jumped into sea and swam out of his self-pity to the shores of Your grace. And there by the warm fire of Your tender mercies and unfailing love, You restored his identity and released him into his destiny (v. 15-19).

Thank You Jesus, though by thoughts, actions and words in life I have denied you more that 3 times, though I also have wallowed in self pity, You've never given up on me. Thank You for the dawning of every new day, when You remind me of Your faithfulness in the past and encourage me with Your faithfulness forever. Your love never fails and Your mercies are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness! Great is Your love! Great is Your power to redeem and restore! In the fire of Your spirit You confirm my identity as a child of God and release me into my destiny as disciple of Christ. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

My Family, with tears in my eyes as God is wrecking me right now, I pray you may experience the dawn of a new day, remembering the faithfulness of Jesus whenever you may struggle with failure or lack of faith. May you hear the voice of Jesus calling you to the shore of His grace and the mercies of His embrace, redeemed and restored. Please pray the same for me. God bless you, my friends!

Please share your reflections and prayers with us on this blog 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

Begin The Year With A Gift!

I could use you’re the gift of your financial support for my family and those on the margins God has placed in my path I refuse to walk around.  Please partner and support my family and ministries through setting up a monthly donation or a one –time gift by clicking the link below. Donation checks can be made out to ODC, 102 Champions Green Drive, Madison, Al 35758.

Thank You!  

 

http://www.easytithe.com/dl/?uid=onepob279

 

 

1 Comment