"How Deep is Love"

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"How Deep is Love"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Songwriter:  Stuart Townsend)

 

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

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

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

Please share your reflections and prayers in the comment box below

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

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

Link to our Newsletter and photos of our ministries.

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No Greater Love Than This.

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No Greater Love Than This.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

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

Link to our Newsletter and photos of our ministries.

 

 

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"You Personally Did It."

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"You Personally Did It."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

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

 

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

 

 

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Start Small

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Start Small

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

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

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

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Time With Jesus

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Time With Jesus

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

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

Link to our Newsletter and photos of our ministries.

 

 

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Destiny of Greatness

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Destiny of Greatness

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

 

 

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

Link to our Newsletter and photos of our ministries.

 

 

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"What is a Disciple?"

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"What is a Disciple?"

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

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

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

…a committed apprentice… of the Lord Jesus Christ

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

…growing in love for God

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

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

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

…growing in love for others

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

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

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

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

….sent out

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

….and making disciples

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

…through the power of the Holy Spirit.

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

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

How do you make a disciple?

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

Am I a disciple worth multiplying?

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

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

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

 

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

Link to our Newsletter and photos of our ministries.

 

 

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Centered in Peace

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Centered in Peace

Good morning, Lord Jesus. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit of God; You are One and You are with me. I welcome You here within me and every moment of my day. 

"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.... Rise, let us be on our way" (John 14:27-31).

Every morning, I can rise and be on my way with You because Your peace is within me. As You promised to Your first disciples, You continue to promise every disciple, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33 NKJV).

The first disciples world under Roman control was a world full of foreboding and fear, chaos and confusion, injustice and inhumanity, troubles and tribulations.  Sound familiar?  You invited them and You invite me to find my peace in You. You remind me You are the "Prince of Peace" -- my "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6). You encourage me to overcome by embracing the One who has already overcome (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21).

The mornings I begin my day in word and prayer centered in your peace,  there's a shifting in me, long before there's any shifting in the world around me I am about to go out and enter into. It's a shifting of perspective that gives me peace in the confidence and assurance of Your Presence. You're with me through it all (Isaiah 43:2; Psalm 23:4). You never leave me, nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). You're with me "always" (Matthew 28:20). 

And at the end of my day when it's all been said and done, when I see with my eyes what I've known in my heart, that You've been with me to the end, I will look and see that none of the things of this world that tried to overwhelm me and overcome me to steal my peace had the last word or defined my life. You did. You always have and You always will. And Your word over me is always good (Jeremiah 29:11). You are the Living Word of God, who is always with me (John 1:14). And that's what gives me "the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard (our) hearts and (our) minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7). In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

My family, I pray you will know the peace that surpasses all understanding through every trouble and tribulation you ever endure, safe and secure, encouraged and overcoming in the One who is your Prince of Peace, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same of me. God bless you my friends!

I continue to join with you in prayer for all those who are grieving and struggling with the tragic loss of life in the community of Sutherland Springs, Texas and everywhere the troubles and tribulations of this world seek to overwhelm and overcome.

Please share your reflections and prayer requests over trials and tribulations in your life in the comment box below.

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

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

Link to our Newsletter and photos of our ministries.

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Southerland Springs

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Southerland Springs

Good morning, Lord Jesus. Lord and Savior -- Lord of my life and Savior of my soul, lead my heart and my steps today. 

"Listen, I will tell you a mystery. We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:  'Death has been swallowed up in victory.' 'Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?' ... Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:51-57).

I am sitting in my chair watching the tragic updates from this past Sunday morning, in the little town of Southerland Springs, Texas, where a church full of mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, friends and family went home to be their Lord. They see You now "face to face" (1 Corinthians 13:12). "In the twinkling of an eye" their work on earth was done and they now rest forever in Your embrace. In the everlasting joy and eternal peace of Your resurrection power, they are "away from the body and at home with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Here on earth, as I sit in my chair, I struggle, we all struggle to try to make sense of the senselessness of their horrific mass murders in the middle of their Sunday morning worship. We will try to seek answers. We will try to seek justice. We will try to seek and make adjustments to try to guard against the terror and tragedies of this kind of evil in our world. But for every one of them who had You in their hearts, their fight with the evil of this broken and fallen world, of trying to seek answers, justice and make adjustments, is finished. Death has lost its sting; death has found no victory, for You snatched them out of the grip of death and delivered their souls into the arms of their Father forever.

One day the last trumpet will sound and all who have lived or are living in personal relationship with You as Lord and Savior "will be caught up in the clouds together ... to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever" (1 Thessalonians 4:17). But in a sense, the trumpet could sound just as suddenly, just as unexpectedly for any one of us or for any one of those we love, in any place, on any day. 

So whether we're the one going home to be with the Lord or whether we're among the ones left here to mourn and grieve through the sorrow and anger, we all need You. We need to know You're with us, You're for us, and that You'll love us and lead us through whatever death or devastation we may endure until it's our day for all to be changed in the twinkling of an eye. "Now may the Lord of peace himself give (us) peace at all times in all ways. The Lord be with (us) all" (2 Thessalonians 3:16). In Jesus' name I pray. Amen

My family, I pray you will live every day with the peace of Christ in your heart, ready at any moment to be with Your Savior forever.  I pray you will leading those around you to live in that peace of Christ as well, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same of me. God bless you, my friends!

I join with you in prayer for all those who are grieving and struggling with this tragic loss of life in the community of Sutherland Springs, Texas.

 

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

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

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

Link to our Newsletter and photos of our ministries.

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"Funeral For A Friend"

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"Funeral For A Friend"

Good morning Jesus, I begin my work week by surrendering all my works at the foot of your cross so that your will not mine be done...

Yesterday, I performed a funeral for a friend of mine, Ashley.  Ashley is a waitress at the Waffle House (WH).  Last Monday her mother Cathie died in a fire that burned her house to the ground.  A house she has lived in for the past 44 years.  I first encountered Cathie through stories Ashley shared with me as I sat at the WH bar.  Through my daily visits month after month, year after year Ashley has shared with me in our conversations her love, concerns and life with her mother. 

I got to meet Cathie about a year and a half ago.   Cathie’s home was in need of repairs and renovating and Ashley was helping her mother to complete this project.  I was able to get a donated stove, dishwasher and other items for the project and delivered them in my truck to Cathie’s home.  With my background in construction whileI was there I spent over an hour walking through her home, listening to what needed to be done, and I gave her some tips and advice.  Cathie shared stories and the history of her life and home as we walked through its rooms.

Last Tuesday morning (Halloween) I walked into the WH.  And as I was sitting at the bar a waitress asked me if I had heard about what happened to Ashley’s mother.  I told her I had not.  As she was telling me  what happened I received a text from Ashley telling me the same thing and asked me if I would perform her mom’s funeral and to please call her.  Ashley and her mother do not attend or are connected to a church.  And her only contact with the Gospel and grace of Jesus is my visits and sharing and praying with her and over her.  I told her it be an honor.

This is the second funeral I have been asked to do by WH staff and regular guests.  “Chuck”, the man I wrote about in my earliest post “He’s My F*cking Pastor" was the first.   I have also been asked to perform one wedding, and have made hospital visits for waiters/waitresses because of illness and to bless the birth of a children born.  My church conference and most do not use funerals and weddings performed as a church metrics of church health.  I do not count numbers of waitresses and customers at the bar of the three WH I visit weekly as “seats in the pews” for weekly attendance.  And I do not pass a plate or get any financial support for my time spent in ministry to them to claim.  However, to me these instances I have been invited to share in the intimate and holy moments of peoples lives just re-enforces to me that besides what it may look like; “For better or for worse, in sickness and in health”, my presence and commitment those at the WH, though lacking the form, is functioning as a “church.” 

Performing Cathie’s funeral instilled a new level of trust and intimacy with Ashley, the WH employees and regular customers that attended the funeral.  I pray God will use that to allow me to draw them closer to Him and His Son.

My family, I pray this morning, as you begin your week you will pray and reflect on who you are called and sent to serve day in and day out in your week. You were not sent by God to a church.  I have been and you you may have been called to help serve and participate in a church, but it is your neighborhood, apartment complex, workplace, school, and other third places you find yourself in to whom you are sent.  You are sent into these places where you live your life and spend your time to be to them a tangible example of the kingdom of God in their lives.  You are sent to be to them examples of salt and light, justice and mercy, love and compassion, partying and banqueting, laughter and dancing.  You are sent to them to be "The Church" with them.  If not you, then who?  If not now, then when?  In Jesus’ name.  Please pray the same for me.  God bless you my friends!

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

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

 

 

Please support and partner with me as my family and I serve as local missionaries our community with a one-time or month gift.

http://us13.campaign-archive.com/?u=7ca90509476db4c3737dcfabb&id=bdb542e0bc

2 Comments

"Reformation and Revolution"

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"Reformation and Revolution"

Good morning, Lord Jesus. You are the King of kings and Lord of lords. I bow low and lift You high, as I begin my day, both reverently and intimately, in the Presence of my King in the communion of prayer with You; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit of God. 

"For I am not ashamed of the Gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Gentile. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, 'The one who is righteous will live by faith'" (Romans 1:16-17).

Tuesday we celebrated Halloween. Tuesday also marked the 500th anniversary of the Reformation; the day the Catholic Monk, Martin Luther, nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the All Saints' Church in Wittenberg, Germany. It set off a revolution of reformation against many practices and doctrines that had crept into the teachings and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church. Luther was especially and passionately incensed against the spiritually coerced practice of requiring "indulgences" as payment to the church for the salvation of souls being purged in the fires of "purgatory." It's said that perhaps the straw that broke the camel's back for Luther was the inflammatory saying of Fr. Johann Tetzel, the Papal representative tasked with raising money from the people for building the basilica of St. Peter in Rome, "As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs!"

It's not our coins, money, wealth, or assets but our hearts, turned to you in faith alone that determines our eternal destiny. And as I understand Your Word, there is no "purgatory," for "we are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:8). I thank You, Lord Jesus, that You have paid in full the penalty for my sins that I am forever cleansed of all unrighteousness through the repentance of my heart (1 John 1:9 and 2:2; Romans 5:8; Isaiah 53:5; Hebrews 7:7). When we depart this earthly realm in faith, we are with You in Your heavenly realm forever (Philippians 1:23; John 3:16). Though our works in this world may tested in the fire, we ourselves personally never will because of God’s mercy and grace by the sacrifice of Jesus and power of Your love for us "Through Him God was pleased to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of His cross" (Colossians 1:20).

Come, Holy Spirit. Awaken a revolution of reformation in my soul today. Cleanse my sins in the blood of Christ. Purify my heart in Your holy fire. Let my soul spring forth, filled with Your Spirit, to turn "(my) world upside down" in the name of Jesus for the glory of God and the salvation and sanctification of souls by faith alone (Acts 17:6). "For by grace (we) have been saved through faith, and this is not (our) own doing; it is the gift of God -- not the result of works, so that no one may boast" (Ephesians 2:8). Make it clear to me the practices and doctrines that have crept into and are present today in the teachings and traditions of the church and ignite a revolution of reformation in my heart against all of these.  In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

My family, I pray the Holy Spirit awaken in your soul a revolution of reformation, sending you out in His power and love to share your hope and faith in Jesus Christ to turn your world upside down today, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same of me. God bless you, my friends!

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

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

We could use your financial support. Please click on the link below to our news and support letter and view photos and stories of One Direction Community’ ministries.

http://us13.campaign-archive.com/?u=7ca90509476db4c3737dcfabb&id=bdb542e0bc

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"Banqueting Your Neighbors II"

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"Banqueting Your Neighbors II"

Sorry I did not post my blog yesterday morning.   Some morning events and an early start to cleaning my yard up after our Halloween Party just did not me to have the hour to hour and a half it takes me to write each morning blog.

Last Tuesday night was Halloween.  Our One Direction Community house church put on a Halloween gathering in our front yard for our neighborhood.  We went all out on decorations in the front yard and moved our fire pit onto our driveway.  We put out hot dogs, made chili, akk kinds of chips and s’mores makings, coolers of soft drinks and beer, and got lots of candy. Then we had fun with our neighbors.  We had well over 200 kids come and Trick or Treat us.  And those kid all had at least a couple or more adults walking them around the neighborhood so we estimate we 400-500 people stop by our party throughout the night. When the kids and parents came up to the house and asked what was going on, we told them to come and cook a hot dog and s’more and grab a drink.  Their eyes would light up and say “Wow!” and they would head to the fire pit. Throughout the night we had people hang out around the fire, cook a hot dog or s’more with a stick over the fire, and get a drink.  Hands were shaken, introductions were exchanged, and life stories were connected.  Besides the craziness of cars parked all over our streets the night went perfectly.

Everyone can reach their neighbors. This “church event” neighborhood party of 400-500 people was put together by the 11 families of my house church who each pitched in $20-$25 each for the food and drinks.  If we had a church building it would have cost us allot more, and I believe allot less would have come.  We did not have spend money to trying to “draw” people or get them to “come to us” by renting large blow-up stuff for kids or provide carnival-type games.  We came to them in their neighborhood, and offered a fire pit and friendship.  I don’t know how many of my neighbors stopped and took time to take family pictures and “selfies” in our front yard.  Imagine if a church of 200 families instead making everyone come to them for a "Harvest Festival" divide the 200 families up in groups of 10 families and had 20 of these events at 20 houses around their city.  It would be amazing!

Many of the people who came were people who don’t attend a church. That is who we hoped would come.  People love Halloween so we did not “weird it out” by calling our gathering a “Harvest Festival” or as I saw a sign in front of one church a “Halleluiah Party.”  Being real, non-church people do not want to attend either of these, the want to go to a Halloween Party.  No one asked or cared if I was a church planter or that I am and Elder in the UMC, they just cared that I cared about their neighborhood.  No formal prayer or liturgy was given in a building but I shared stories around a fire pit.  Through people talking it got out around the fire who we were. I had several fathers who came up to me with a beer in their hand that they delighted in, come up to me and said, “So you guys are a church?  How is that?  Or “Tell me about it.”  A party of over 400 people took place “in the community” and God was glorified.  And we “loved our neighbors as we love ourselves.”  And our neighbors loved us.

A father with three kids came up with them to get candy.  The father said, “The kids all discussed before we headed out they wanted to go to this house last. Save the best for last!  Plus once we come her we usually hang out awhile.”  Then they headed towards the fire pit and fun. Another woman who found out I was a “pastor” came up and shared about her 30 year old son who was addicted to heroin and she did not know what to do and asked if I would help her. 

How are you known in your neighborhood or apartment complex? Not your church whether it is ODC or another, but you personally?  If you were to move out would your neighbors miss you?  Would they grieve the loss of you in their lives?  You were not sent by God to a church.  You may have been called to help serve and participate in a church, but it is your neighborhood or apartment complex you find yourself in to whom you are sent.  You are sent into your neighborhood to be to them a tangible example of the kingdom of God in their lives.  You are sent to be to them examples of salt and light, justice and mercy, love and compassion, partying and banqueting, laughter and dancing. 

My family, I am asking you to take time to pray over this today however not in your house or apartment or where you usually spend your devotion time, but in your neighborhood.  Go outside and spend time prayer walking your neighborhood.  Take your spouse, children or roommate with you.  As you walk, pray over the houses and apartments to which you have been sent.  Pray for the Holy Spirit to give you opportunities to connect with your neighbors.  Pray and come up with ways and events you can be to them tangible examples of salt and light, justice and mercy, love and compassion, partying and banqueting, laughter and dancing, in Jesus’ name.  Please pray the same for me.  God bless you my friends!

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email:Garyl@onedirection.community

https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

Click on Photos to rotate through them.

Please share in the comment box below your reflections with us, as well as encourage us with ways you are tangible examples of Christ in your neighborhood.

 

Help us financially do what we do. Please click on the link below to our news and support letter and view photos and stories of One Direction Community’ ministries.

http://us13.campaign-archive.com/?u=7ca90509476db4c3737dcfabb&id=bdb542e0bc

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Graham Crackers

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Graham Crackers

“Then Jesus sat down opposite the offering box, and watched the crowd putting coins into it. Many rich people were throwing in large amounts. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, worth less than a penny. He called his disciples and said to them, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the offering box than all the others. For they all gave out of their wealth. But she, out of her poverty, put in what she had to live on, everything she had.” (Mark 12:41-44)

Tonight we are having are big neighborhood Halloween Party at our house.  We will have lots of food, lots of candy and coolers of drinks.  I created a sign-up sheet for ODC members to sign-up to bring food items for the party.  One of our members, I will call him “Tim”, called me yesterday to talk about some things his family is going through and near the end of our conversation he said, “I have the box of Graham crackers I signed up to bring.”  Here is the story behind the box of Graham crackers.

Tim and his family are new to Christ and new to church.  I baptized him, his wife and  his two children 6 months earlier.  They live in a small three bedroom trailer they rent, his wife recently had a baby so they live off of his income and they struggle from time to time to make ends meet.  He works hard though, and comes to our house church at 6:30pm in muddy boots and work cloths as he comes straight from his 12 hour work day.

A month or so ago Tim’s sister and he husband and their two kids moved into their small trailer with them.  Where his sister and family lived was not a good place for them.  They started getting caught up in drugs and had to get away.  So Tim, out of his now love for Christ took tem in.  Though his small trailer barley held them he struggled feeding his family,  he took in  another family of  four and is feeding them as well.

The phone call we had earlier concerned him sharing some of the challenges he was going through with this.   However, before Tim hung up, he said he got the box of Graham crackers he signed up to bring to the party to use for s’mores.  He said when he got his paycheck cashed, the first thing he went and bought before he began paying his bills before he ran out of money was the box of Graham crackers.  He was so proud to be able to pitch in and help the church outreach.

The story of the poor widows offering above in Mark’s gospel came to mind. Tim’s box of Graham crackers was purchased out of his poverty.  And the kids who use the Graham crackers to make a s’more, and maybe take a couple bites and offer the rest to their parents or throw it away will have no idea of the Christ-like love and sacrifice that those simple crackers represent.  Jesus’ sermon on the mount also come to mind, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:3)  The kingdom of heaven is Tim’s.  I am so proud of Tim and where he has come in his short time in Christ.  I am also so convicted by his simple example giving and tithing.  He gave the “first fruits” of his paycheck to reach out to his community for Christ. 

My family, I pray today you will also be proud of Tim’s giving, and also convicted by his simple act of giving out of his need and his beautiful embracing of tithing to God, in Jesus’ name.  Please pray the same for me.   God bless you my friends!!

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

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

 

 

Please click on the link below to our news and support letter and view photos and stories of One Direction Community’ ministries. We could use your support.

http://us13.campaign-archive.com/?u=7ca90509476db4c3737dcfabb&id=bdb542e0bc

 

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Intentional Obedience

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Intentional Obedience

Good morning Jesus, I begin today placing all that I am and all that I have into you hands.  

Yesterday Curtis Sergeant and his wife Debbie  came to our house and listened took part in a discussion with us on obeying Jesus’ command to go and make disciples who make disciples.  Multiplication is a critical aspect of discipleship.  Multiplying disciples is at the core of being a Christian. It is the DNA Jesus instilled in his disciples.  This same DNA was instilled in you when you accepted Christ as your Lord.  One of the questions our conversations centered around was, “Am I a disciple worth multiplying?” God does not want to multiply all disciples, but those who are his true disciples. God does not want to multiply mediocrity.  “Mediocrity” in Christianity, the western church is multiplying quite well on its own.   However, you must examine and improve your personal prayer life and level of discipleship before you can step into trying to examine and improve your community and your church.  God desires to multiply those who exhibit Immediate Radical Costly Obedience (IRCO) 

Immediate: Martin Luther said, “Delay is the sharpest arrow in the enemy’s quiver”

Radical: If your life is rooted in Christ, you will stand out to the world.

Costly:  no matter what is required.

Obedience:  “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.” (John 14:15)   “Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and take up residence with him.” (John 14:23)

 

Throughout Scripture, God’s multiplication of disciples was achieved through those individuals who exhibited Immediate Radical Costly Obedience (IRCO). One example is Abraham.  God chose Abraham to be the source of multiplication and blessing because he exhibited IRCO.  Read these four stories of his life in Genesis. 12:1-4; 17:9-11, 22-23; 21:8-14; 22:1-3.  In all these stories, Abraham basically heard what God was telling him to do, and then he did it.  He obeyed what God told him without delay, faithfully, no matter what the personal cost. 

If I were to add another letter “I” to IRCO it would be for “intentional”.  For the Great Commission to be completed and the making of disciples requires intentional action and resoluteness. Jesus commands us today to set our eyes on the goal of disciple making and pursue that goal with stubborn focus. This means that unless you pray and plan to make disciples, you won’t do it.  Though we at ODC may make allot of mistakes along the way of making disciples, However, like inviting Curtis into our mist and setting aside a day to be with him shows, we are seeking to be very intentional to make disciples.

Disciples are not made accidentally or may I add at Sunday morning worship services.  Worship is an aspect of a disciples life, however Sunday morning worship does not train, model, or create disciples. We must intentionally change our mindset that we can make disciples without changing anything in our daily lives and the daily lives and formats of our churches. That disciples will be made if we keep going about doing our own thing. Making disciples requires intentionality and it requires Immediate Radical Costly Obedience.

My family, I pray today you will open your Bible and read through these four stories of Abraham in Genesis. Then take time in prayer to reflect on these passages.  If you love God, you will obey what he commands, and his commands are not burdensome.  They are not legalistic or to be negatively obeyed, but obeyed out of love. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt 19:29-30) How is your love for God being expressed in your life through IRCO?  Please pray the same for me.  God bless you my friends!!!

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

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

 

 

Please click on the link below to our news and support letter and view photos and stories of One Direction Community’ ministries.

http://us13.campaign-archive.com/?u=7ca90509476db4c3737dcfabb&id=bdb542e0bc

If you are in the neighborhood tomorrow come by and grill a hot dog and s'more, and say "hi!"

If you are in the neighborhood tomorrow come by and grill a hot dog and s'more, and say "hi!"

2 Comments

Eyes of Heaven

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Eyes of Heaven

Good morning, Lord Jesus. I welcome You into my heart and every moment of my day. 

 

"The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, 'The Lord is with you, you mighty warrior'" (Judges 6:16).

 

Gideon saw himself with the eyes of his present circumstances, but You saw him with the eyes of heaven (v. 11-13). Gideon spoke out of his pain and disappointment and fear, but You spoke to him with words of his calling and identity and destiny. Gideon wanted to murmur and complain about all that You weren't doing, but You came to commission him and empower him to go be a part of what You were doing. And when Gideon was afraid he could never fulfill Your calling and plans for his life all on his own and all in his power, You assured him he would never have to:  "Go in this might of yours and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian; I hereby commission you.... I will be with you" (Judges 6:14-16).

 

Jesus, You allowed Gideon to give ask his questions, to give voice to his concerns, and express his doubts. You even allowed him to set out a "fleece" to test the faithfulness of Your promises in all of his doubts and fears (v. 36-40). But at the same time, even in the midst of Gideon's reluctance and uncertainty, You gave him courage and faith, as You inspired him and empowered him. And when the time came for him to step out in faith and move forward in obedience, You possessed him with Your Spirit:  "The Spirit of the Lord took possession of Gideon!" (v. 34)

 

You kept speaking to his spirit and confronting his fears each step of the way along the path of his destiny. And "he worshipped" You in response to Your guidance and hope, with Your assurance of Your presence through every he would face (v. 7:15). You gave him great victories for himself and for his people, fulfilling the promise of Your word (v. 8:28).

Gideon was no saint, and he still struggled with temptations and sin, even in the light of all You had done (v. 8:22-27). Yet in Your mercy and love, for him and his people, You moved mightily on their behalf. "The land had rest forty years in the days of Gideon" (v. 8:28).

 

Lord, You know I am no saint either and you know my struggles with temptations and sin. You know the times my doubts and fears try to hold me back from all You've created me to be and commissioned me to do. So I'm forever in need of my Savior. I'm forever in need of Your mercy and love. I'm forever in need of Your Spirit to possess me and inspire me and empower me. It's only in You that I can know my identity and fulfill my destiny.  So I'm forever thankful that I am in You and You are in me (John 14:20 and 17:21; Romans 8:9-11).  In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

 

My family, I pray you'll see with the eyes of heaven, and pray and seek the Spirit of the Lord to possess you and empower you to know your identity and fulfill your destiny in Christ, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same of me. God bless you, my friends!

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

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

 

 

Please click on the link below to our news and support letter and view photos and stories of One Direction Community’ ministries.

http://us13.campaign-archive.com/?u=7ca90509476db4c3737dcfabb&id=bdb542e0bc

1 Comment

Hunger and Thirst

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Hunger and Thirst

Good morning, Lord Jesus. I lift my eyes and open my heart to welcome Your Word and Your Spirit into me and every moment of my day. 

"Remember the long way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, in order to humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commandments. He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna, with which neither you nor your ancestors were acquainted, in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord" (Deuteronomy 8:2-3).

Give me a holy hunger.  One that is never satisfied. Give me a hunger for Your Word and for Your Spirit, for Your promises and for Your presence. Rather than filling myself up every moment with the food I can provide with my own hands, food that will never satisfy me, give me the grace to wait for the "manna" that only You can provide. Let the delays of "the long way" you lead me make me hungrier still for the only One who can ever satisfy the longing of my soul.

With this holy hunger may You humble my heart to keep and obey your commandments as You guide my steps along the long and narrow way that leads to life in You. Give me a faith to persevere  and believe You're using the journey you have me on to make me more like You each day and to conform me into the image of the Son of God (Romans 8:29).  Help me understand the journey will be worth it. 

Just as You led Israel on her journey, so You're leading me to on my journey to the place You've prepared for me all along. "For the Lord (my) God is bringing (me) into a good land ... where (I) will lack nothing.... (I) shall eat (my) fill and bless the Lord (my) God for the good land that He has given (me)!" (Deuteronomy 8:7-10)  

As You have said to all who would choose to humble themselves and follow You, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled" (Matthew 5:6). In the power of Your grace, give me that holy hunger and righteous thirst for You today so that I may be filled with your righteousness.  In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

My family, I pray you'll begin your day seeking to hunger and thirst for the One who longs to fill you with His Word and His Spirit to make you more like Him each day, including today, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same of me. God bless you, my friends!

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

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

 

Please help support us financially as we seek those "No one else wants" in our community.

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"Teach Them Diligently"

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"Teach Them Diligently"

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6:4-7

In Deuteronomy God reveals through Moses what the Greatest commandment of all is, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” And what is the first thing God tells his people to do to obey this commandment?  Teach this to your children.  God’s first commandment to his people after placing loving God at the core of their being is not plant churches, cast out demons, heal the sick, or set the captives free, but to teach your children.  And that to teach is not just directed to your biological children, but all children. And not just to people with children,  but all people.

Today, especially in the USA and Western cultures I believe we do not do a good job of teaching and mentoring our children.  Especially by providing them access to those who are “seniors” in our churches and communities.    Seniors have attended and graduated life’s “School of Hard Knocks.”  They “paid” the full tuition required to graduate this school. They paid the tuition of pain, mistakes, heart break,  bad decisions, disappointment, financial loss, struggle, anxiety.  They have a wealth of knowledge gained from life’s school of hard knocks they can mentor and share with children and youth so that they do not have to pay the full tuition.   Their life’s wisdom and knowledge they can pass on are amazing “Grants” or Scholarships” that if shared with youth can enable them to avoid and not pay all of the required tuition I listed above.

However, in the USA and western culture and  western church structure there are very few intentional opportunities for youth to “hang-out” and be mentored by seniors and adults in general.  Most children and youth’s  opportunities throughout the year to interact with seniors is the half a dozen or so times they see their grandparents at holidays, birthdays, funerals, and special occasions.  In our churches efforts to excel growth and numbers of those attending they have launched contemporary services and most churches now have a contemporary service and a traditional service.  So the minute people enter the church youth are separated from seniors as youth go to contemporary service, seniors to the traditional service.  Youth go to youth groups, seniors go to Bible studies, and the only time the two meet again is in the parking lot headed to cars.  I think most churches never look at the theology behind separating youth and seniors in their gathering structures.

The reality is that today's youth have very few real, intentional opportunities to to contact and connect with adults and seniors in their day to day, year to year American structure of life.  The reality is  that we in the USA and western church are not doing well at “ Teach this to your children.”  The reality is that we all need to be more intentional, and intentional being the key word, at making opportunities to not just teach in a classroom setting, but to do life with and mentor our children and youth.  And remember God commanded all of us, not just those ”gifted with children” to teach our children.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon at ODC’s Kids of the Kingdom ministry which  meets in the pool are of an apartment complex and intentionally reaches children who would otherwise not attend a church or be taught or mentored in “loving God with their whole heart.” 

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Afterwards, I went out and bought a bunch of pumpkins and last night I invited eight of my daughter’s teenage friends over two carve them.  It gave us a chance to laugh and share life in a “not-weird-classroom” setting and for my wife Nancy and I to share ways we paid, and ways they could avoid paying tuition to the school of hard knocks.

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My family,  I pray today you meditate on God greatest command to love him with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.  I pray you meditate on God’s command for you to teach this to children and youth.  I pray today you meditate on how you can intentionally do this.  Please pray the same for me.  God bless you my friends!!!

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

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

 

Please click on the link below to our news and support letter and view photos and stories of One Direction Community’ ministries, including those to our youth and children.  We would love your support.

http://us13.campaign-archive.com/?u=7ca90509476db4c3737dcfabb&id=bdb542e0bc

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You're Always With Me."

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You're Always With Me."

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

"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? ... Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ... Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, no height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord!" (Romans 8:31-39 NKJV)

 I know You are with me. I know You're always for me. And I know You're fighting for me. Allot of the time it is in ways I don't always see.  You are walking with me in ways I don't always feel.  You are leading me in ways I don't always know; at least not at the time.  But when I look back, I see Your steps and I see Your hand at work in my life to bring my walk into line with Your will and Your will for me, Your plans for me, they are always for my good, never for my harm. You plans are lining up my heart with Your hope and my faith with Your future that You're always working together for me because you love me and are calling into Your purpose for me.(Jeremiah 29:11; Romans 8:28).

So though I don’t always see you, I will trust You.  Though I may not feel you, I will seek to follow You.  There's no temptation I'll face today, no challenge I'll encounter today, no step I'll take today that You've not already faced and overcome before me and that You're not also facing and overcoming with me. "This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin" (Hebrews 4:15 NLT).

If God is with me, who can be against me? "This I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I am not afraid. What can a mere mortal do to me? ... For You have delivered my soul from death, and my feet from falling, so that I may walk before God in the light of life!" (Psalm 56:9-13) In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

My family, I pray you'll boldly face and faithfully overcome every challenge along the path of your steps today, knowing our God is with you and our God is for you, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same of me. God bless you, my friends!

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

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

 

Please click on the link below to our news and view photos and stories of One Direction Community’ ministries that you can support.

http://us13.campaign-archive.com/?u=7ca90509476db4c3737dcfabb&id=bdb542e0bc

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Put Your Feet on Their Throats!

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Put Your Feet on Their Throats!

Good morning, Lord Jesus. Speak to my heart, as I listen for Your leading -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit of God. 

My wife Nancy is in the middle of a 9 week training on spiritual warfare with a group ofwomen on Thursday nights.  My prayers over her and those women directed my reflection time this morning.

"Then Joshua said, 'Open the mouth of the cave, and bring those five kings out to me from the cave.' They did so, and brought the five kings out to him from the cave.... When they brought the kings out to Joshua, Joshua summoned all the Israelites, and said to the chiefs of the warriors who had gone with him, 'Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings.' Then they came near and put their feet on their necks. And Joshua said to them, 'Do not be afraid or dismayed; be strong and courageous; for thus the Lord will do to all the enemies against whom you fight'" (Joshua 10:22-25).

Our battle is a spiritual battle. And even though our battles may involve hurtful or hateful people, speaking painful words or deceitful lies, accusing us, judging us, or condemning us, our true enemies are the spiritual enemies taking advantage of every situation and every vulnerability "to steal and kill and destroy" (John 10:10). "For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12).

Just as You led Joshua to bring those kings out of their hiding place and into the open, out of the darkness and into the light, Your Spirit leads us to call out our spiritual enemies who have sought to rule and reign over us. In the light of Your glory and truth, let there be no place for them to run and no place to hide. Let them be exposed for their deceit and destruction so that that "everything exposed by the light becomes visible" (Ephesians 5:8).

And in the authority and power of Your name, may we crush their lies and silence their accusations, with our feet on their necks and Your victory in our hearts. We stand in You, and You stand in us, so that together we stand on the necks of our spiritual enemies (Ephesians 6:13). With the sword of the Spirit of the Word of God, let their lies be renounced, their chains be broken, and their strongholds destroyed (Ephesians 6:17). As with the enemy kings of Joshua, cut off their heads with their place of authority and rule in the regions of our souls they sought to hold captive under the dominion of their darkness and hang them high for all the hordes of hell to see what happens to the spiritual enemies of our God and His children (Joshua 10:26).

In our hearts and every region of our souls, through the victory of Your cross, the power of Your blood, and the authority of Your name, fulfill the promise of Your Word:  "The God of peace will shortly crush Satan under (our) feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with (us)" (Romans 16:20). "Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!" (1 Corinthians 15:57) "Thanks be to God, who in Christ Jesus always leads us in triumphal procession!" (2 Corinthians 2:14)

"Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered; let those who hate Him flee before Him.... But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God; Yes, let them rejoice exceedingly!" (Psalm 68:1-3 NKJV) In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

My family, I pray the enemies of your soul be exposed and crushed under your feet by the victory of the cross, the power of the blood of Jesus, and the authority of His name in every area of your life, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same of me. God bless you, my friends!

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

Email: garyl@onedirection.community

Website: https://www.onedirection.community

 

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

 

One Direction Community is fundraising now to support our ministries.  We would be grateful for your one time gift or monthly support.   Here is a link to our newsletter.  http://us13.campaign-archive.com/?u=7ca90509476db4c3737dcfabb&id=bdb542e0bc

One Direction Community P.O. Box 1293 Madison, Al 35758

 

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"Fortress and Refuge"

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"Fortress and Refuge"

Good morning, Lord Jesus. Lead me in the paths of righteousness for Your name's sake today and all the days of my life.   

 

"You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord, "My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust" (Psalm 91:1-2).

 

You're my Shelter and my Savior. You're my Covering and my Comforter. Secure in You, I find my safety and peace. Trusting in You, I find my certainty in Your sovereignty and my confidence in Your compassion (v. 3-8).

 

When I'm in You and You're in me, no mater what goes on around me, it cannot come near me to destroy me or define me. "Because I have made the Lord my refuge, the Most High my dwelling place, no evil shall befall me, no scourge come near my tent. For You will command Your angels concerning me to guard me in all my ways. On their hands they will bear me up, so that I will not dash my foot against a stone. I will tread on the lion and the adder, the young lion and the serpent I will trample under foot" (v. 9-13 personalized).

 

In Your goodness, You'll cause good to come out of all I endure. In Your mercy, You cause me to become more merciful out of all for which I've been forgiven. And out of Your overcoming power through the victory of Your cross and the glory of  Your resurrection, You cause me to overcome every challenge that would seek to overcome me, making me stronger in Your strength and more humble in Your grace.

 

I've lived long enough to know there will always be battles in this broken and fallen world, but I've also walked long enough with You to know You've already won the victory for me. "Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!" (1 Corinthians 15:57)

 

 Neither darkness nor death, neither demons nor the disappointing or destructive choices of those who don't know any better or willingly choose to do the opposite of what brings life and peace to the world around them, nor anything else in all creation will be able to have the last word or the final say in my life (Romans 8:38-39). "No in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Romans 8:27).  Jesus will always have the last word. Jesus will always have the final say.  And Jesus’ speaks into my battles and His words over my life are always spirit and life to me and to all who call on His name and trust in His grace (John 6:63). This is the blessing and the heritage of all "who live in the shelter of the Almighty" and "abide in the shadow of the Most High" (Psalm 91:1). Thanks be to God! Hallelujah and Amen! So let it be! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

 

My family, may you know in your heart and experience in your life the promises and protection of our God, finding your shelter and security in Him alone, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same of me. God bless you, my friends!

 

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

https://www.onedirection.community

Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC

 

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

 

 

Please click on the link below to our news and support letter and view photos and stories of One Direction Community’ ministries.

http://us13.campaign-archive.com/?u=7ca90509476db4c3737dcfabb&id=bdb542e0bc

 

 

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