Unmovable

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Unmovable

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

"I keep the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure" (Psalm 16:8-9).

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

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

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

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

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

 

Gary Liederbach-Lead Follower

One Direction Community

 

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It is Your Father's Pleasure to Give.

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It is Your Father's Pleasure to Give.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

 

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"Repent"

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"Repent"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Gary Liederbach-Lead Follower

One Direction Community

 

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Wait

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Wait

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

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

“Oh not fear, for I have redeemed you;

I have called you by name; you are Mine!

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

And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.

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

Nor will the flame burn you.

“For I am the Lord your God,

The Holy One of Israel, your Savior….

Behold, I will do something new,

Now it will spring forth;

Will you not be aware of it?

I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,

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

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

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

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

Gary Liederbach-Lead Follower

One Direction Community

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Rebuke Satan and Keep doing the Lord's Work

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Rebuke Satan and Keep doing the Lord's Work

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

 

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Humble Thyself

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Humble Thyself

Good morning, Lord Jesus. I lift my eyes up to you Father, Son, and Holy Spirit of God, for you are my help and my hope. 

"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.... Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up" (James 4:8-10 NKJV).

I watched the news and the stories of people who were affected ny Harvey, Irma, and the earthquake in Mexico.  As I watched people battle the storms, to struggle to survive, to press on and persevere, you remind me to draw near to You. You remind me to humble myself before You, so You can lift me up. You remind me to remember You. Because apart from You, I can do nothing (John 15:5).

To humble ourselves is to willingly choose to be desperately dependent upon You alone. It's the opposite of pride, which says I can do all things in my power, in my wisdom, with my resources. Pride says, "I will survive; I will thrive; I will restore; I will rebuild, all in my way, all as I will, all by myself." Humility says, "I need You, Lord; I'm desperate for You; apart from You, I can do nothing; and I praise You, that I never have to be apart from You, for You are my Help and my Hope."

Pride, in this sense, is an unholy independence from You, manifested in rebellion from Your presence and rejection of Your ways. But humility, in this sense, is a healthy, reverential fear of the Lord to honor You, embrace You, and desperately depend upon You to be our provision and protection, our loving Father who always knows what's best and who is always near and always ready to help through whatever we endure. So Lord, slay our pride and give us humble hearts, for "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6).

It's a heart of humility that will fill our hearts with hope. And hope is what we need. Hope in You alone is what we need. And hope is what we will have if we humble our hearts to hope in You. "Now may the God of hope fill (us) with all joy and peace in believing, that (we) may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:13 ). In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

My family, I pray you abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit, as you humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, willingly choosing to be desperately dependent upon Him alone, allowing Him to lift you up and bring you through whatever you're enduring, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same of me. God bless you, my friends!

 

Gary Liederbach-Lead Follower

One Direction Community

 

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Nothing is Guaranteed in Life

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Nothing is Guaranteed in Life

Good morning Father, Son and Spirit, I enter into this day you have set before me with eyes wide open in anticipation and complete gratitude.-- 

I pray wherever you are, you are safe from the effects of Irma.  I am posting a day late this week.  This past weekend was a couple days of fluctuating, real, and raw ministry. 

On the challenging side the church that lets me have space in it for an office in was broken into and every office vandalized including mine.  In ministering to people I was assaulted, had my headlights and windshield smashed out, and I had a person pull a gun on me.

On the blessing side, I witnessed and heard the testimony of 22 men who’s lives get completely wrecked by the love of God on their Emmaus walk.  I got to mentor 4 teenage girls who hearts on now on fire for God.  I attended an amazing outreach of the Gospel in a high-crime and high-drug use Latino apartment complex.  And I was invited to participate in a community celebration in a HUD housing project.  You never know what the next moment will bring in life.  I was reminded of this again last night.


Yesterday was the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York City. My wife Nancy and I watched a documentary on the tragic event on the History Channel, “102 Minutes that Changed America.”  We remembered and prayed over those families that lost loved ones in the tragedy. We were also reminded that nothing is guaranteed in this life. As God’s word tells us:

“ 13 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." 14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15 Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that."16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin”. (Jam 4:13-17)

Those that died, were injured, or affected by 9/11 were engaged in their normal day of business when something unimaginable happened; the millions to one odds of a jet crashing into the building they were in. No one would have imagined that happening at the start of their day.  Nothing is guaranteed today. All of today is a gift.  If there is a “right thing” you know you need to do: towards a family member, friend, co-worker, neighbor, acquaintance, maybe even yourself; then simply do it.  Do it today. That is what today was intended for.

My family, I simply pray you will do the right things you know you are to do today. And do them in love and out of love and appreciation for the gift of today. Please pray the same for me. God bless you my friends! You are a gift to me!

Gary Liederbach-Lead Follower

One Direction Community

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Hear Our Cry!

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Hear Our Cry!

Good morning, Lord Jesus. Lead my heart, renew my mind, and guide my steps in the way, the truth, and the life of Christ today. 

"I waited patiently for the Lord; He inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.... Do not, O Lord, withhold Your mercy from me; let Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness keep me safe forever.... Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me; O Lord, make haste to help me.... As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!" (Psalm 40:1-17)

O Lord, our God, hear our cry. Hear the cry of every soul whose patience is running thin and whose faith is growing weary. Reach down into their pit of despair and lift them out of the miry bog of confusion and disillusionment. Set their feet on the solid ground of the assurance of Your presence, Your protection, and Your provision. Bring order out of their chaos and hope to their hearts.

O God, hear! O God, act! O God, come in Your power and love in both Your supernatural miracles and in Your Spirit-led people, reaching out to the hurting and taking hold of the helpless, to weather this storm and rebuild their lives in You. We need Your hope! We need Your help! "You are (our) Help and (our) Deliverer; do not delay, O (our) God! (v. 17) In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

My family,  I pray in agreement with you and all who are led to join us in prayer by the Holy Spirit over those affected by Hurricane Harvey and those who now find themselves in the path of Hurricane Irma, that all who are suffering in the wake of these storms would experience the protection and provision of our God, in Jesus' name! May the presence of God in His mercy and love and through His people be evident in the midst of it all.  And may these terrible storms be turned into a great harvest. God bless you, my friends!

Gary Liederbach - Lead Follower

One Direction Community

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Stand against the Destroyer

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Stand against the Destroyer

I am posting tomorrow morning's blog tonight because the events at our house church gathering tonight has got me fired up spiritually and I had to put to paper my reflections.

Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless.  Not to speak is to speak.  Not to act is to Act”  Deitrich Bonhoeffer

To ignore evil is to become accomplice to it.”  Martin Luther King Jr.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”   Edmund Burke

The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”  Albert Einstein

Lord Jesus. I speak out Your name and listen for Your voice and wait for Your leading. 

"And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:1-7).

There is a so-called "prince of the power of the air" who is a "spirit;" an evil and destructive spirit (Ephesians 2:2). It's the same spirit who is "the thief" who "comes only to steal and kill and destroy" (John 10:10). It's the same spirit Jesus called "the ruler of this world" (John 12:31). And it's the spirit of destruction and death at work in our world, seeking to destroy and defile God’s creation by every means possible and at every opportunity available. "We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now" longing to be "set free from its bondage to decay" (Romans 8:19-23).

We had 6 girls we sponsored on a Chrysalis retreat last weekend who rededicated their life and re-claimed their identity in Christ.  We have four men attending an Emmaus retreat this weekend, and another woman attending her Emmaus retreat next weekend.  So I was not surprised tonight when at our house church during our time in contemplation over the Word and in prayer people reached out and requested prayers over attacks from past addictions, attacks from current addictions, attacks on their marriage, attacks of life long friendships, attacks on their health, and attacks of depression on their minds.  I called our gathering together in prayer and  in the laying of hands and anointing of oil and we called out "the prince of the power of the air." We called out "the thief who comes to steal and kill and to destroy." And we called out to and we turned our hearts and our prayers and our hope to the One who says "I came that (you) may have life, and have it abundantly" (John 10:10).  We turned to the One who is "rich in mercy," who reaches out to us -- even in our sins, even in the places our destructive, accusing enemy of our souls and of Your creation claims we have opened the door to destruction in our hearts or in our land throughout our generations -- and invites us to call on Your name in our distress (Ephesians 2:4).

O God, hear our prayer. Crush "the prince of the power of the air!" Grant us mercy in the face of its attempt to destroy. Stir in the hearts and prayers and proclamations of Your people who are called by Your name to take a stand in faith to speak against mountains of destruction, even as we humble ourselves to be desperately dependent upon You alone.  “And Jesus answered saying to them, “Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.” Mark 11:22-25). 

And as You bring us through no matter what we may endure, as we groan with all Your creation for the redemption of our broken, fallen world, may we continue to turn to You to be our Hope and our Help. "Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth" (Psalm 124:7). May You continue to fulfill Your Word through these days of what seems like unrelenting catastrophes:  "The God of peace will shortly crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with (us)" (Romans 16:20). In Jesus' name we pray. 

My familyI pray in faith in agreement with you that our God who is rich in mercy will give faith and grace to all to endure and overcome the "prince of the power of the air" and its destructive forces, in Jesus' name! And I join with you in prayer that lives would be restored and those caught in the storms of this season would experience the protection and provision of our God, in Jesus' name! May the presence of God in His mercy and love and through His people be evident in the midst of it all. God bless you my friends!

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

 

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"Holy Teens"

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"Holy Teens"

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:5)

As I stated in my last post this past Friday, I spent this past weekend with my daughter serving as a spiritual director on a Chrysalis team in which 14 mainly teenage girls attended.   We left Friday afternoon and returned late Monday night.  It was an amazing weekend of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the love and presence of Christ. 

As I heard some of these girls stories shared in counseling and conversations, I was amazed and saddened at the trials and struggles many of them have gone through already in life at such an early age.  They were two young to have been exposed to such “adult” circumstances that required them to be “strong” and “hold things in” way to early in life.

As the weekend progressed the girls opened up and let go of their loads and simply became beautiful teenagers girls.  Saturday night during a time of examination of conscience and letting go and releasing while gathered in the chapel, The Holy Spirit fell in a real tangible way.  The girls in spontaneous ways came to the altar, turned to each other in their chairs, on the floor in corners and shared prayers and tears over each other.  Myself and others on the team had the privilege of being invited into these groups and leading prayer over them and being led by prayer over them.  Their prayers flowed out of true repentance and a desperate desire for God in their lives. Their prayers flowed from their hearts and souls and the Holy Spirit met them there and real healing, restoration, release, and renewing of faith took place as these ladies, all of us present, found and re-affirmed our identity in Christ. 

I remember getting off my knees with one group and before being led into another group just standing there and looking around the room.  In every corner of it every girl and team member was huddled in true prayer and worship, and it was so beautiful that all I could do was look and praise God!    It was raw, it was real, it was simple, it was Holy, it was church!!  And I was convicted of the ways some church's youth groups in their programs and attempts to be “seeker friendly” and “fun” don’t expose their youth to simply the Gospel and raw worship.  Our youth are far more capable of deep spiritual encounters and being sources of spiritual renewal and leadership in our churches than we give them credit.   Their prayers and praise that surrounded me impacted me and drew me into Christ’s presence as much as any “adult” led gathering I have attend.  I was so blessed.

““..I tell you the truth, unless you turn around and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven! Whoever then humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a child like this in my name welcomes me.” (Matthew 18:3-5)

My ODC family, I pray today if you run into a teenager today, you will see in them and share with them and encourage them to understand what an amazing potential vessel they are of the Holy Spirit.  I pray that in your churches you will encourage and place your youth in leadership, and allow them to lead you “become like little children” and enter the kingdom of heaven!  Please pray the same for me.  God bless you my friends!!!

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

 

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"Your daughter is dead"

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"Your daughter is dead"

Good morning Jesus, Lover of my soul.  I start my day in that complete assurance of your love for me.

“While he was still speaking, people came from the synagogue rulerʼs house saying, “Your daughter has died. Why trouble the teacher any longer?” But Jesus, paying no attention to what was said, told the synagogue ruler, “Do not be afraid; just believe.”…. When he entered he said to them, “Why are you distressed and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.” And they began making fun of him. But he put them all outside and he took the childʼs father and mother and his own companions and went into the room where the child was. Then, gently taking the child by the hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up.” The girl got up at once and began to walk around ... They were completely astonished at this. “ (Mark 5:35-42)

My heart and mind this morning is on our youth.  Our teenage sons and daughters who are growing up in raw and unfiltered exposure to the world through the unlimited access to social media.  Teenagers, who because of the proliferation of divorce, the break down of the family and the re-defining of family lack the safe place to be loved, mentored and guided through these experiences.  Teenagers, who because of societies perversion of what is “success” have egotistical and narcissistic role models to follow.  Teenagers, who the ruler of the world is subversively whispering into their parents, teachers, and pastors ears, “Your daughter is dead.” V.35.

Over our teenage youth I cry out, Lord have mercy!  Christ have mercy!  Lord have mercy!  I pray the Holy Spirit will surround them and protect and empower them.  I pray that through men and women in love with Jesus, and direct revelation form the Father in prayer, they will experience Jesus taking them by the hand, bring them back to life, and get up and walk, run, and lead a renewal in our churches. communities and families.

“Let the little children come to me and do not try to stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” After he took the children in his arms, he placed his hands on them and blessed them.” (Mark 10:14-16)

My ODC family,  I pray today you will seek out a teenager who needs the love and guidance of a mentor who is in love with and guided by Jesus.  You may be 80, and they may be 16, however both of you will be richly blessed by the time you spend together.  Pray over this today.  Please pray the same for me.  God bless you my friends!!!

My daughter Milan and I will be leaving this afternoon to serve this weekend on a Chrysalis weekend.  This Chrysalis is a weekend spiritual retreat for teenage girls ages 15-20.  Through prayer, mentoring, and discussions these girls will experience Jesus and discover/re-discover their identity in him and their calling as daughters of the King of Kings.  We will not return home until late Monday evening so it will be Tuesday before I post another blog.

Please pray daily by name over these teenage girls attending this weekend.

1. LeighAnn
2. Hannah W
3. Rachel
4. Cylah
5. Taylor C.
6. Taylor L.
7. Melisa
8. Brea
9. Andi
10. Naomi
11. McKenzie
12. Alexis
13. Alyssa
14. Madison
15. Hannah L

Please pray over, Milan, myself, and the staff as we listen. love, and lead these girls to Christ. Milan and I are both giving 20 minute talks in which we share our testimonies. We both would appreciate if you stopped and said a prayer during our times.

Milan: 9:00pm Saturday night
Gary: 11:00am Monday morning.

 

Gary Liederbach-Lead Planter

One Direction Community.



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"Jesus Loves Prostitutes"

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"Jesus Loves Prostitutes"

Good morning Father,  may I be drawn like this throughout my day to spend time listening to You, before I begin to do something for You.

 

I did not write a blog post yesterday.  Life and ministry began early yesterday morning.  And it continued throughout my day and closed with an amazing church gathering in my home last night.  After an open and raw time of worship and prayer we collectively read through and discussed this beautiful story of a heart completely surrendered and in love with Jesus.

 

“Now one of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went into the Phariseeʼs house and took his place at the table. Then when a woman of that town, who was a sinner, learned that Jesus was dining at the Phariseeʼs house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfumed oil. As she stood behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. She wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the perfumed oil. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.” So Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” He replied, “Say it, Teacher.” “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed him five hundred silver coins, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” Jesus said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then, turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house. You gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss of greeting, but from the time I entered she has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with perfumed oil. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which were many, are forgiven, thus she loved much; but the one who is forgiven little loves little.” Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”   Luke 7:36-50.

 

In our discussions together, when looking at who we wanted to be like in this story, we all agreed we wanted to be not like those in the church, but we wanted to be like the prostitute.  We did not want to be the one pointing out sinners to Jesus, but a sinner, forgiven and being touched by Jesus.  Jesus knows what is in control of the one thing that controls everything you do in life, your heart.  We talked about what controls our hearts?   And the discussion that flowed out of this was holy, “real”, and tears were shed.

 

My ODC family, I pray today you have an honest discussion with the Holy Spirit on what controls your heart.  If brave enough, say in complete surrender this prayer to God.

“I am no longer my own, but thine. Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt. Put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee, exalted for thee or brought low for thee. Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal. And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen”. (John Wesley)

 

Please pray the same for me.  God bless you my friends!!!

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

 

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Refuge in the Storm

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Refuge in the Storm

Good morning, Lord Jesus. Your sheep hear Your voice, so I call on Your name and listen for Your leading. 

"Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress; He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad because they had quiet, and He brought them to their desired haven" (Psalm 107:28-30).

I watched the news this morning of the first hurricane to hit the coast of Texas in twelve years.   Though the hurricane has passed, the rains remain (up to another 24 inches!!) and the rivers are rising in what they're calling unprecedented, catastrophic flooding on the Texas coast. Thousands are stranded and wait for rescue. Thousands more wonder when it will ever end. While I'm thankful that we were not impacted in our community, I'm moved with compassion and stirred to intercession for all who were and for all who long for this nightmare to be over.

So I join with every heart crying out to You, calling on Your name, and seeking Your help. Lord, dry up the rains, push back the clouds, clear up the skies, and send forth Your word. Bring provision and protection for all who are in need. Send out Your angels and send out Your servants to be Your hands and Your heart. 

You've stilled the storm and hushed the waves, now be our Rescue and our Refuge for all who are crying out in distress. We need You now in our hour of need. And we thank You now for every way we will see You come through and bring each soul "to their desired haven.

We set aside our pride and humble our hearts to be desperately dependent upon You alone. You are our Rock and our Refuge. Be our Strong Tower, our Mighty God, as we call on Your name.  "Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in You my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge, until the destroying storms pass by" (Psalm 57:1).  May our prayers of urgency become prayers of consistency, as we continue to keep our hearts humble and our faith strong before the One who is our only true and lasting Hope, come hell or high water.   In Jesus’ name I pray.

My ODC family, I pray you'll be rescued and comforted if you're in distress and that you'll be moved to intercession for all who are. Please join me in prayer for all who are suffering in the wake of this hurricane. May the presence of God in His mercy and love and through His people be evident in the midst of it all. God bless you, my friends!

 

Gary Liederbach-Lead Follower

One Direction Community

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Do you Want Your Church?

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Do you Want Your Church?

Good morning Father, Son and Spirit,

I give you my day, in every way,

Whether at work or play,

 All I will do or say,

Lead and direct I pray.

I graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary in 2012 and church planting was the focus of my Master of Divinity.  I saw a blog from someone who went to seminary in the seventies.  He stated, I don’t recall the language of church growth and church planting figuring prominently, if at all, in the conversations we had, and we certainly weren’t talking about “the decline of the mainline church” or “the end of the Protestant Reformation.” My classmates were a conscientious lot and, in truth, I suppose we worried more about doing a good and faithful job than about the longevity of our congregations.

That isn’t the case any longer. Most congregations, regardless of their size all seem to be and need to be asking themselves questions about the future. But the most important question is, “Do you want your church?”

The answer to that question will probably depend upon what you think “your church” is.

For far too many, the answer is often that it is a place that my needs, and/or the needs of our family are met. It’s not uncommon for people to say that they have chosen a church because it had a program for their children or that the church had an outstanding worship service, that the time of the services fit with their lives, or that they liked the preaching. To put it bluntly, some people treat the church as an end-user of a product and, to be fair, most in the church often “advertise” their church in conversations with friends and to perspective new members as if that’s exactly what it is and that is the reason they need to attend.

But a better way of defining “church,” apart from the all important definition of it as “the body of Christ,” is to ask ourselves, “Where can I be available for the work of Christ in the world?”  Because, in the final analysis, it’s not all about us, about meeting our needs, or about meeting the needs of our families; The church is a living extension of the incarnation and is meant to be a living, breathing embodiment of Christ’s love in the world that draws and embraces a broken world.

As an end user, the answer to the question, “Do you want your church?”  is always conditional and it can be answered by asking the question, “What is it doing for me now?” Or your answer may change in a conversation as a friend “advertises” what a new or another church has to offer you that sounds like it can better meet your needs.  For the Christians who have sought out a community were they can be the living, breathing embodiment of Christ’s love in the world, the answer is never conditional, but always “yes.”

My friends, I pray today in the Holy Spirit you will seek to answer the question, “Do you want your church?”  That’s not a question I, your priest, pastor, minister, spouse or parents can answer for you. However, the future of your church depends upon it.  The embodiment of Christ’s church into the world depends on it.  Please pray the same for me.  God bless you my friends!

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

 

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With My Whole Heart

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With My Whole Heart

Good morning, Lord Jesus. By the moving of Your Holy Spirit, I come to You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus the Son, and give You the glory for all the great things You've done and for the great God You are. 

"With my whole heart I seek You… Let Your steadfast love come to me, O Lord, Your salvation according to Your promise….. Remember Your word to Your servant, in which You have made me hope.... I implore Your favor with all my heart; be gracious to me according to Your promise.... Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.... Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is Your custom toward those who love Your name.... You are near, O Lord, and all Your commandments are true.... Let my cry come before You, O Lord; give me understanding according to Your word.... My lips will pour forth praise, because You teach me Your statutes. My tongue will sing of Your promise, for all your commandments are right" (Psalm 119:10-172).

O Lord, give me a love for Your ways, just as You've given me a trust in Your nature. Give me faith to believe You know what's best and give me courage to act according to the faith You give. "O that my ways may be steadfast in keeping Your statutes" (v. 5). "Happy are those who keep (Your) decrees, who seek (You) with their whole heart" (v. 2).

I admit I don't always follow Your ways from a faithful heart or honor Your statutes with a willing spirit or keep Your commandments in the way that expresses my trust in You as my wisest Father, loving Savior, and constant Companion. I admit I don't always seek You "with my whole heart." And those are the very places where I lose my peace and let go of my hope and allow my joy to fade away. That's no way to be; that's no way to live, when there's so much more of life and peace and joy in You and the wisdom of Your ways. "O that my ways may be steadfast in keeping Your statutes! (v. 5)

But by the power of Your grace at work within me, my part is not to do this in my power and strength or strong will and self-determination, trying to try harder and praying to pray harder. No, my part is to humble my heart and ask for Your help, to willingly choose to be desperately dependent on You alone. Then like a mighty rushing wind, You move in my heart to give me the desire and the power to seek You and trust You, to desire to obey You and then act in obedience to You (Philippians 2:13). 

My part is call on Your name, as I choose to trust in Your nature. "For You, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call on You" (Psalm 86:5). My part is set my mind and my heart on the things of Your Spirit, rather than the things of my flesh. "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind of the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace" (Romans 8:5-6).

Come, Holy Spirit. Help me set my mind right, as You get my heart right. Give me the desire and the power to seek You with all my heart, "with my whole heart," so I can obey Your leading from my heart. I, of course, can't do it alone. And You never intended me to. That's why You are my Helper, just as God is my Father and Jesus is my Savior. How I need You today and every day. And O, how You're faithful to help me day after day -- especially on the days I deserve it the least.

As I finish this prayer this morning, not even knowing where all this came from or where this is going, I hear in my heart Your reminder of one of my favorite promises of Your Word:  "But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:  The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul 'therefore I will hope in Him.' The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul that seeks Him" (Lamentations 3:21-25). In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

My ODC family, I pray you will be empowered with the desire to seek the Lord with your whole heart, holding nothing back, and embracing His steadfast love and tender mercies to live your life today filled with His joy and peace and favor, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same for me as I want to embrace this as well!  God bless you, my friends!

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

 

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5 Guys: Burgers, Fries and the Gospel

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5 Guys: Burgers, Fries and the Gospel

Good morning Father, Son and Spirit!  I begin today with a heart of thanksgiving for all that you have in store for me today.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16)

Last night I was at a dinner at 5 Guys with a group and my daughter Milan was sitting next to me.  My daughter and I were in a side discussion together arguing a point when the person across the table commented at us, “You two look just alike.” 

I thought of who is Milan?  She has a passion for life and people that is contagious.  She questions and examines the reason why and purpose for everything and loves discussing and arguing points.  Milan pushes back at the “status quo,” and establishment with a rebel heart that doesn’t like conformity or doing things “just because..”  She stands her ground when she knows she is right despite the consequences.   Yep, she is just like me.  So parenting her for me at times has been challenging when our “likenesses” collide.  Parenting her has also been amazing.

Back to the dinner table we were atin 5 Guys.  My wife, Milan, and I were at the table, with other 17-19 year old teenage girls.  Milan and I are serving on a Chrysalis flight for three days over Labor Day Weekend.  It is a girls flight, where teenage girls are invited to come and spend a weekend on a spiritual retreat to deeper discover their identity in Christ, their purpose, gifts and their calling.  All the girls around the table Milan had missional reached out to and invited to attend the Chrysalis weekend and I had invited the girls to come have dinner with us to discuss, explain, answer questions, and pray over the weekend. 

I looked at these girls Milan had reached out to: One is a teen mom who the father of the baby left her to raise it alone.   One girl, her father left her and her mom when she was a child.  Her mom got into a relationship with a man who did not want her around, so her mom chose him over her daughter and literally kicked her out.  She lived in her car for over a year, got into drugs, is clean now however is pregnant.  One girl’s father has little to do with her and she spends time living either with her mom who is a recovering meth addict or her grandparents.  Another girl who’s family does not have a vehicle questions if there is a God and struggles with her identity.

I began the meal with a prayer then started explaining the weekend to the girls.  However, after a minute Milan jumped in and took over most of the conversation with these young ladies.  With love for them she told them about the weekend and Jesus and the blessing they will receive by letting go and opening their hearts to Christ.  She told them how excited and proud she was they were going, that she is here for them, and wants to start a group meeting weekly with them for accountability and support after the weekend.  After the discussion Milan had all of us hold hands in a circle and prayed over these young ladies.

During the meal as I looked around at these young ladies Milan had sought out who are marginalized by society and I listened to my daughter share the Gospel with them out of love for them, my heart praised God!  Yep, she was just like me.

I am the Lead Follower at One Direction Community.  I launched One Direction Community (ODC) to be just that, a community of house churches that meets in homes, restaurants, laundromats, flea markets, apartments and other locations in the Madison-Huntsville, Al area. I believe we can more effectively reach our city through a network of reproducing churches.  My home is the central gathering place of ODC where trainings take place, food for feeding the community is cooked, accountability groups meet, counseling and prayer takes place, and a house church meets every Wednesday night.  Our home always has people coming and going, spending the night, and hanging out.  Sometimes the lack of privacy and dynamics of this can be a challenge for my daughters and they at times have brought this up to me.  I at times questioned how it was effecting them and their faith.  Last night, as I sat their and watched and listened to the Holy Spirit just work through my daughter and reveal her missional heart and love for people and her love for Jesus, it answered my question about what I have been exposing her to.  She gets it.  She led church last night. She is just like me.  I am full of praise!!!

My ODC family, I pray today you will seek and allow the Holy Spirit to work through you and create and reveal a missional heart and love for people and love for Jesus.  I pray you will invite to coffee, lunch, or dinner today someone who needs you to speak the Gospel of grace and love into their lives.  Please pray the same for me.  God bless you my friends!!

 

Gary Liederbach-Lead Follower

One Direction Community

 

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"Darkened Sun"

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"Darkened Sun"

Good morning, Lord Jesus. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit of God! I worship You in every dimension of Your Being and welcome You into every dimension of my being. 

"And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth:  Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the Lord has said, among the remnant whom the Lord calls" (Joel 2:30-32 NKJV).

Yesterday we all experienced "the sun shall be turned into darkness" across America. Many of us gathered to celebrate the signs in the heavens, and many gathered to cry out to God in repentance and prayer for the sins in the heart of our nation. Many studied the science of this event, and many searched in all kinds of ways for it's spiritual significance.

It's of interest to me that this day of the total eclipse of the sun marks the first of the forty days leading up to the Day of Atonement on the Biblical calendar -- the forty days set apart for prayer and repentance to prepare for the most holy day on the Jewish year. Perhaps it's a sign in the heavens of a call to prayer for repentance and revival in our hearts and in our land, as with all the hate, racism and violence we have experienced lately we needed one.

And just as the ancient prophecy speaks of dramatic moves in the heavens, it also speaks of a dramatic move of the Spirit:  "And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days" (Joel 2:28-29).

So often in Your Word and in our lives, Your judgment leads to conviction; conviction leads to repentance; repentance leads to mercy; and mercy leads to revival, as You "create in (us) a clean heart," "renew a (right) spirit with (us)," and "restore unto (us) the joy of Your salvation" (Psalm 51:10-12). May Your signs in the heavens lead us to seek Your Scriptures and search our hearts and lead us to our Savior. And by the power of the grace of God, may we yet repent and return to You in our hearts and in our land to experience a great breakthrough revival and awakening and outpouring of Your Spirit in the great "harvest" Your Word promises to come (Matthew 9:37-38; 13:24-30 and 36-43).

Thank You for Your covenant of revival that comes in power, as Your people see what You're revealing, hear what You're saying, and obey what You're doing. "If My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray, seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV). "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord" (Psalm 33:12 NKJV). 

So come, Holy Spirit. May we hear the voice of Jesus and "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" (Matthew 4:17)  May You use these signs in the heavens to lead us to repentance in our hearts and revival in our land. Thank You that though the 40 days of preparation began yesterday for the Day of Atonement,  it is simply now a remembrance as the Day of Atonement was eternally fulfilled on the Day of the Cross. And may yesterday, the day the sun was darkened across America be a day that America begins to repent and return to the light of the glory of the Son. "For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6). Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

My ODC family, I pray you'll be moved to pray and repent in your heart and for our land, that we may experience revival and awakening for the great harvest to come, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same for me. God bless you, my friends!

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Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

 

 

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"Leave The Harbor"

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"Leave The Harbor"

"These words I am commanding you today must be kept in mind, and you must teach them to your children and speak of them as you sit in your house, as you walk along the road, as you lie down, and as you get up. You should tie them as a reminder on your forearm and fasten them as symbols on your forehead. Inscribe them on the doorframes of your houses and gates. “ Deuteronomy6:7-9

This past Friday I did not write a blog post.  Friday was move out of the house and move-in day for my oldest daughter Paris at Birmingham Southern College where she will attend for the next 4 years.  My wife Nancy and I have two daughters and Paris is our first one to leave and start her life outside of our home.  It was a full day for all of us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. 

Physically, we left our home at 6:20am to get there at 8:00am.  After checking in we spent the four hours along with the hundreds of other students and their parents helping them move in into their dorm rooms. We carried clothing, bedding, furniture and items up flights of stairs to get their rooms set up.  Then running to Wal-Mart and back getting items needed.

Emotionally, we were surrounded by incoming students who were excited, terrified, sad, and joyful, and their family members like us who shared these emotions.  As final good byes were said lingering hugs and tears took place then that release when both parent and child looked into each others eyes and expressed to one another, “This is really it, the moment of separation has taken place and our relationship will never be the same again.” My wife, younger daughter Milan, and Paris hugged and shared tears as well.  I hugged Paris goodbye as well through all kinds of emotions. 

Spiritually. Prayers were said by all, both parents and students; out loud at times however constantly in silence by parents wanting to get in their last minute prayers and blessings over their children.  Parent's joyful yet reluctant prayers of thanksgiving and release of the precious gift their son or daughter is the Father has allowed them to raise for 18 years and letting them go to discover what God has in store for them on their own.

Before Nancy and I left our home after her water broke with Paris to head to the hospital for her delivery, Nancy stopped at the front door and said turn around and look at our house, when we return it will never be the same.  18 years later, Nancy and I returned and walked into a home that again will never be the same.

And as I looked over the auditorium during their Convocation at the room filled with 18 and 19 years old young men and women (my daughter is the girl near the middle smiling) looking around with deer-in-the-headlights looks on their faces of all the unknown and uncertainty that lies ahead of them it was a reminder to me of the inevitable, constant, continual change that occurs in our lives.   For Paris to continue on in all that God has in store for her it requires a change in her life’s structure and surroundings,  A release of the comfortable, the familiar and a going forth into the new, uncertain, yet wonderful adventure God has for her.  And it requires a releasing and encouraging to go by her family structure.  The only thing that is constant in life is change. 

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In our walk with Christ the only thing that is constant, besides the Father, is change.  For us and the church to continue into all God has in store for us and are calling also requires a change in The Church’s structure and surroundings.  A release of the comfortable and familiar and a going forth into the new, uncertain, yet wonderful adventure Jesus has for it’s bride. 

I am reminded of a quote, “A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for.” John A. Shedd.   My daughter was safe at home, but that is not what God designed her for.  And The Church is safest gathered in a building, but that is not what God designed it for.

My ODC family, I pray today you will listen to the Holy Spirit and embrace the calling and adventure God is calling you to enter into outside of your comfort zone, your structured life, and your safety net of familiarity, family and friends, your harbor, and sail out into the adventure you were built for.  Please pray the same for me.  God bless you my friends!!!

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

Gary Liederbach

One Direction Community – Lead Follower

 

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I Regard Them as Rubbish

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I Regard Them as Rubbish

Good morning, Lord Jesus. Fill my spirit with Your Spirit and my heart with Your heart, so that Your will becomes my will and Your ways become my ways, more and more, every day. 

"Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith" (Philippians 3:7-10).

I've tasted and seen much of what this world has to offer. At one time in my life I tried to be bad and was bad; embracing, succeeding in, and being identified with the culture of sex, drugs and rock-n-roll.  And at a time that followed, I tried to do good and be good at what I thought religion had to offer and required of me. I wanted badly, and then succeed at pleasing religious systems and structures and being accepted and identified with them.  But whether I was trying to please the rulers of this world or the leaders of religion, what I've come to know is that what I really want, deep down inside, is to please You.  And the only identity I want is in You.  That's become my hunger and my passion. And by the power of the grace of God that stirs my heart and moves my soul, by God I'll settle for nothing less because I've come to know I'll never be satisfied with anything less.

"I want to know Christ" (v. 10). I want to "gain Christ" (v. 8). I want to "be found in Him" (v. 9). I want to be free from trying to live a life that somehow defines success as "having a righteousness of my own," based on my own abilities or hard work or self-will or self-righteousness. And I want to embrace a life where I daily humble myself to willingly choose to be desperately dependent on You alone; hungering and thirsting for more of You, more of Your Presence, more of Your Spirit, more of Your power at work in me to change me from the inside out to be more like You every day. This is the righteousness of a right heart that I'm asking You to form in me.

So as best as I can and all by Your grace, this is the choice I choose to make today and that I pray I will make every day:  "I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own.... I press on toward the goal for prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus" (v. 12-14). To be like You, because You are work in me, from the inside out by Your Spirit within me, is my goal. And You are my Prize. May I settle for nothing less and never be satisfied with anything less.  May my ministry be about leading people to nowhere else but the same goal. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

My ODC family, I pray you'll be free from the expectations and demands of the world and religion, and be free to pursue Christ by the desire and power of His Spirit at work within you, just as He is pursuing you, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same for me. God bless you, my friends!

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Trust and Love

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Trust and Love

Good morning, Lord Jesus. I speak out Your name and listen for Your voice. 

"If you love Me, obey My commandments.... All who love Me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and We will come and make Our home with each of them. Anyone who doesn't love Me will not obey Me. And remember, My words are not My own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent Me. I am telling you these things now while I am with you. But when the Father sends the Advocate as My Representative -- that is, the Holy Spirit -- He will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you" (John 14:15-26).

Does loving You also include obeying You? Or does loving You only include receiving Your mercy and grace and the freedom to do what seems right in my own eyes to follow the leading of my own heart in the logic of my own reasoning? Will Your Holy Spirit lead me in love without leading me in obedience?

I sense there is something You want me to hear about love and obedience. 

It seems I hear You speaking in my spirit:  "My son, your desire to obey Me is a mark of your desire to love Me. It's a matter of the nature of faith; faith that trusts Me to know and to desire what's best for you.  To trust Me and believe if you surrender your life to Me I won’t wreck it.  To love Me is to trust Me, and to trust Me is to obey Me. This is the nature of love and obedience I want you to come to understand. Seeking to love Me without the desire to obey Me is loving some idea of Me that is crafted by human minds, not by My sovereign will."

Yes, Lord. Help me understand this more deeply. Help me test what seem to be Your spoken words against Your written Word. "My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become My disciples. As the Father has loved Me, so I have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. I have said these things to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete" (John 15:8-11).

There is a connection between love and obedience, between living in faith that trusts You and Your Word and the complete joy we're created to experience in our loving relationship with You and one another.

A Scripture that comes to mind now is from Galatians 5:3-6:  "For through the Spirit, by faith, we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that counts is faith working through love." And this:  "For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh.... those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:13-21).

Truly loving You will lead me to seek to obey You because I trust You. And You've given me Your Spirit who is at work in me, changing my heart to love You more, trust You more, obey You more, and become more like You every day (Romans 8:29).  "For God is working in (me), giving (me) the desire and the power to do what pleases Him" (Philippians 2:13). As the old song says, help me "trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey." In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

My ODC family, I pray your joy will be made complete as you grow in the desire to love and obey the Lord our God in ever-increasing, trusting faith in Him, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same for me. God bless you, my friends!

 

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