Be Still

There have been many, many spiritual blessings that I’ve been given by God throughout the course of my life—my salvation, His presence with me through the Holy Spirit, the empowerment to live a life of faith in Jesus Christ—that have truly impacted me. But there is another blessing that God has given to me recently that I believe is one of the simplest lessons and yet in our society and culture in the United States today is one of the toughest for people to receive, even for the Church of Jesus Christ. Let me share a little of this journey with you today. 

One point from God’s character that I see throughout Scripture is that God is the God of progression—He never wants us as His children to stay where we are—He desires us to progress. He longs for us to progress in our relationship with Him. He longs for the Church to progress in holiness and also in making disciples of all nations. And there’s one area where God has been speaking to me recently that is of such importance, but honestly, sounds counterintuitive to the issue of progression—God is calling me to progress in stillness. 

I must make a confession to you all today. Many of you know that Pastor Levi and Megan’s departure to Alabama was a bittersweet moment for me—sweet to see this couple follow God’s leading, but bitter as I lost not only this daily relationship, but also my ministry partners. We saw the staff work of the church get even busier while trying to perform these tasks with half of the laborers. For about the last month and a half, I’ve been putting in way more hours on the job than was healthy for me—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I’ve been confronted about this not only through the conviction of the Holy Spirit, but by my family and some of our church family as well. Friends, this is not good, I am wrong for doing it, but despite this God is using it to grow me. 

I know that many of you, especially as we look at the newness and busyness of the fall season rapidly approaching, are tempted to continue to live a life that is so all over the place that we lack any real focus and perspective. I struggle with the same thing. But God gives us tools to be able to be still in our lives. Let me share some with you. 

 Cultivate your relationship with God: Nothing is more important than this, but it oftentimes seems to be the first thing to be sacrificed on the altar of busyness. Make this time the priority of your day. Spend it reading the Bible, enjoying other books that cause you to think about God, praying, taking time to enjoy His creation and praising Him for it. 

 Purposefully Unplug: We live in a world that is full of technology at our fingertips, and this does make life easier in certain regards. But the constant strain of always being “on call”, having to check and deal with that final email of the day, or “checking in” so that your friends know you’re done for the day, really does impact our ability to be still with God. Take time to unplug—you will survive, your job will survive, your friends will survive, and the time away with God will refresh you! 

Set Up Boundaries: don’t let the work day comingle with your God time or your family time. Many of us are guilty of this. If we continue to get caught up in constantly working, other relationships will suffer. Set up times during the day that are sacred and are not to be interrupted. And remember the only time that should go throughout the day is your God time! 

My prayer is that you’ll consider these. 

We are headed into a busy season, and many of us struggle with busyness. But friends, it doesn’t have to be that way. God is speaking to me and to us. Let your life be so secure in Him that we don’t have to be constantly trying to fill our lives with busyness or other purposes. Instead, may the Lord Jesus bless you with the ability to simply “be still and know that I am God.” 


Peace On Earth

Originally Posted December 17, 2014 By Pastor Adam

One of my favorite Christmas carols is “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”.  While the original version is nice, I really love to hear the group Casting Crowns perform their rendition of this great song.  For those of you who might not be familiar with this song, it deals with the issue of the bells ringing out on Christmas day, proclaiming peace to the world.  But the writer saw this as a bit of a contradiction because there didn’t seem to be a lot of peace happening in the world at the time–the song is based on a poem that was written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1863–the height of the Civil War.  He was noticing that this obviously wasn’t a very peaceful time and, as I would imagine, how could they celebrate like it was.  But as the song progresses, we find that even through the midst of this turmoil and tumult, God is still there, longing to bring the real peace through Jesus Christ to the world.

As I sit and write I think of all of the turmoil around the world that makes me, as the song, question the fact of whether there really is peace on earth.  We only have to look into the neighborhoods and streets in our own cities and country to see that there are racial tensions that are boiling over.  There are disease outbreaks all over the world–remember the Ebola outbreak?  There are governments that are warring against other nations, people are fighting all over the place.  Simply watching the world news is enough to make us question the notion of peace on the earth.  But, as soon as I think of these terrible things, I am reminded that Jesus Christ is, as the prophet Isaiah says, our Prince of Peace.  It just might not be the type of peace that we think.  It is peace with God for all who believe in Him as Savior.

With all of that said, I’m still a believer in the notion of peace on earth.  I sing because I know this is true.  It might not be in our conflicts, for we live in a sinful world.  But, Jesus came to make peace between us and God–and that peace will last for all eternity.  Wow!  What a blessed moment it is to realize that and understand that it is the reason we celebrate Christmas.