Life can be unfulfilling- but with Jesus you can find meaning

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26 September, 20222022

There is an age old question... ‘what is the meaning of life’ and many have tried to answer it, some well, some not so well and a lot of us are still working it out. However, as Christians we can look to the One who has all the answers!

Jeremiah 29:11-13 ESV, is a great place to start and reads…. “11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”

There is a lot of Scripture about knowing God and sometimes, we can feel overwhelmed at the thought of the Creator of universe, the Almighty and All Powerful God would be interested in us as individuals. However please take courage, be assured, God wants us all to know Him. (1 Tim 3:3-4)

God is so interested in us that He sent Jesus as the way for us to come to Him. Jesus also shows us the way to live, which gives us meaning and purpose. Whilst in practical terms it will look a little different for everyone, there are some basic principles that as Christians we can all adopt. If you are reading this and don’t have a relationship with Jesus, then today, my friend is the day. Please seek out a person of trust and or contact us here at the Church, we would love to explore this with you.

For those of us who have accepted Jesus, we know we are forgiven, we also know we are not perfect and have work to do. Following Christ is not just a Sunday thing it is an everyday thing and God really wants us to know Him. We get to know God by reading His Word and communicating with Him, just like anyone else. This is a one on one relationship, but another great way to do this is in a life group. If you are not in one, then please take the leap and enquire with the office or the Pastors to help you find the right fit. Learning with others is always easier and we don’t need to journey on our own. God knew this when He created His Church.

So today, take time to reflect and ask yourself a few questions to check in and evaluate just how you are going with finding meaning in your life. Is Jesus the most important part, or is He fit in as you can. Be encouraged to ask Jesus to help you work it out, pray and read His Word and don’t be afraid to ask for help. We are all in this together!

 

More from '2022'

Devotion: Personal Evangelism

John 4: 1-26 recounts the time when Jesus went on a journey to Galilee and had to go through Samaria. Jesus sat down by the well and chatted with a woman who also came there. Now, despite their obvious social differences at the time, Jesus didn't hesitate to interact with her. He simply asked her a question. From there Jesus and the woman talked, and the conversation, like the well that they were sitting at, was deep and meaningful. Jesus revealed to her who He was, and her need for Him.

It simply started with a conversation.

Now Jesus wasn’t without his own challenges, He and his disciples needed to go to Galilee because of the Pharisees who weren’t at all happy with Jesus. So Jesus, could have easily thought to Himself I am tired and hungry, I can’t be bothered talking with another person at the moment. However, Jesus put people’s needs above all else. He is the Messiah, He is our Saviour and we as people need Him. People needed Him then and we all certainly need Him now.

So who are you going to start a conversation with? Are you going to put aside your own needs/challenges, social differences, or any other reason and simply tell people that you have Jesus in your life and would love to invite them to learn more?

Let’s be personal about our evangelism and simply share what God puts on our heart, just as Jesus did and still does. Let us share our hope and assurance in a God who holds the future and in whom we can rest and rely.

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A Global Advent: 25 Stories of God With Us Around the World: Devotional from Compassion Canada on YouVersion

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Breakthrough

Last Sunday was one of significance in the life of our church family. One that marked an end of the ministry of Bill & Chrissie Tyrie as Bill concludes his role as Senior Pastor here at MCC. It is one that is filled with wonderful memories, the good times, the challenging times, and it was different for everyone. One thing that we all can easily recognise is the way in which Pastor Bill has journeyed with us over his time here with the Spiritual Focus: Connection | Faith | Hope | Love | Growth | Fruitfulness | Restoration. What a joy and privilege it has been to see God work through His people here over these years.

This year is our year of ‘Breakthrough’. Like most years it has been filled with plans and events—some were welcome, and some were not so. (Covid’s continuation being one of the not so welcome.) Throughout it all, it is wonderful to be able to recognise God’s hand over us and the journey we travel. We serve an amazing God. A God who is not surprised by setbacks and unprecedented times. It is like the account in Luke 5:1-11, of Peter and the other fishermen being told by Jesus to cast their nets again, even after a whole lot of catching nothing. Yet once they followed Jesus’ directions they were amazed to see the fish in their nets. Not just a few, but overflowing.

As we reflect, remember, and look forward, we know that despite change, God is for us and is willing to direct us if we simply listen and obey. God calls each one of us for who we are, not for what we have. In other words, God sees us, the person, not our shortcomings, failings, and weaknesses. He can do this because of Jesus, who stood in our place and paid the consequences of all our mistakes and failings (sins). God provided Jesus, His only Son to do for us that which we couldn’t do for ourselves; and He is still providing for all our needs. Like the nets overloaded with fish, God will supply and provide to a point of overflowing. God wants us to have a deep relationship with Him and experience His guidance and power. He is ready to break through the barriers, the doubts, the challenges, and give to us abundantly. But He also wants us to share that love and grace with others, so that they too can receive salvation, freedom, and overflowing blessings. Are you willing to step up and step out as God leads?

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A Global Advent: 25 Stories of God With Us Around the World: Day 1 • Devotional Compassion

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Prayers for Evangelism

Paul writes some instructions about prayer in these verses...

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Col 4:2-6 NIV

Its a call to action. We are being encouraged to be

Engaged in prayer, stay busy in it and persevere. It is not to be seen or thought of as an optional extra, but rather we are to be devoted and give of ourselves—give our attention and energy to prayer. We are to keep alert keep focussed—vigilant.

We can also see that thanksgiving is a key component of our praying. Remember praying is simply a generic term of communication with God.

Then Paul asks for something else, we get a prayer request from Paul. When writing this he’s under arrest—being detained in some form, he is confined. Paul asks for people to pray that God will make open a door for the message of God to be spoken.

Even though he is confined, limited and not as able as he would like, Paul is asking for God to step in and open the way for Paul to speak about Jesus and empower him as to what, when and how to speak.

These verses are a call to action and a great example.

We need to pray, we need to acknowledge we simply can’t do God’s work in our own strength, nor do we need to. We simply need to ask. We need to ask for ourselves and we need to ask for others and intercede for those who are speaking for God. We need to pray for our pastors, missionaries, all those in ministry, and in fact all Christians—as we are called to be ready to speak of the hope we have in Christ. (verse 6b and 1 Peter 3:15).

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Loving one another through forgiveness

I don’t believe any of us would have to think to hard or long to recall a time when we have been hurt or upset by another person/s. The truth of the matter is, we are not perfect—not yet! Actions of hurt need forgiveness.

When we are navigating forgiving others, we can sometimes think, ‘maybe they didn’t know it would be hurtful’. But there are other times it is very clear, peoples actions can be those that are malicious/mean/selfish/ etc. We have to make the decision over and over to forgive those who either intentionally or unintentionally left us scarred.

Forgiveness is a core value in God’s Kingdom and there is no better example than Jesus. Jesus is our perfect model of forgiveness. As Christ followers, forgiveness is not-negotiable, it is the very essence of our faith. After all, we can only be where we are, because we were loved enough to be forgiven.

Forgiveness was so important to God that He sent Jesus, therefore it has to be important for us. Whether we are the offender or offended, God desires to see His love demonstrated through people by giving or seeking forgiveness. We are meant to extend the same grace that we receive to others.

Forgiveness is not about making the other person change their actions, behaviour or words—it is about remembering how forgiveness has changed our own life. When we experience God’s forgiveness, we know the deep affect it has, and when we genuinely love others, we want for them to experience that gracious love too.

Is there someone whom you need to seek forgiveness?

Are there those you need to forgive?

Ask the Lord to speak to your heart and bring to mind anything that needs His grace and love.

God, when I am overwhelmed by the brokenness I feel and witness, please help me to remember that You see too. You are in control. I might not be able to stop all the pain and injustice I see, but I can overcome by doing what is right and good. Please help me to do that. Help me to forgive, help me to seek forgiveness, give me the courage and humility to love people well. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and guide me I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Pastoral Care month is a time to highlight that we need each other and ways we can do that. If you would like help, or learn more about Pastoral Care or perhaps joining the team. Please seek out a Pastor today, or contact the Church Office during the week.

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Pastoral Care—what does that look like?

There are many different ways to show we care, and caring is a privilege and responsibility of every member of the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:24-25).

Sometimes just showing up and being there for someone is a powerful way of comforting others. This brings comfort in simply knowing that when hurting, people can tangibly see that they are not alone.

Being present requires us to put our own concerns aside and give our full attention for that moment you are needed. Being with others and acknowledging the fact that they are precious and valued, is a wonderful and practical way to show God’s love and an incredible and timely reminder that they are not forgotten by Him. He promises us He will never leave, nor forsake us (Heb 13:5b).

As well as ‘being’, there are some ways to be ‘doing’ pastoral care.

Pray– Like all things we need to open our hearts to the Lord’s leading so we do as He would have us do. So we start with prayer.

Call– Get in touch, phone first. Depending on the circumstances, people may only be ok with a call at first. Allow them to guide you as appropriate. Perhaps offer to meet for a cuppa, or deliver a meal?

Resist-Sometimes we care so much we simply want to fix things. Here is where we need to resist the urge. Our role as pastoral care is to support and to show empathy, not to try and solve.

Empower and Encourage– Everyone is different and we will respond in a way often unique to us and our circumstances. In our being present for people, we need to encourage people to be ok to make their own decisions and do what they can for themselves. In some circumstances it may mean encouraging them to seek professional help in one form or another.

Trust– Confidentiality is imperative—we must not disclose personal information without the express permission of person/s involved. (Exceptions would only be due to requirement of the law or risk...speak to a Pastor if you are unclear on this.)

Pray– Just as we start with prayer—we continue in prayer. Offer to pray with people you are caring for. Sometimes people find it hard and intercession for those hurting allows God to do only what He can.

Pastoral Care month is a time to highlight that we need each other and ways we can do that. If you would like help, or learn more about Pastoral Care or perhaps joining the team. Please seek out a Pastor today, or contact the Church Office during the week.

Tender and compassionate God, You are our steadfast companion in the joyous times of our lives. When we rejoice, You celebrate with us; when we are anxious and afraid, You offer us a relationship where we can find courage to face the unknown; when we weep with sadness, You are our comforter. We give You thanks and praise for the wonderful God You are. We ask You to full us with Your Holy Spirit to love and serve one another. Bless us with wisdom and understanding and the courage to speak hope into despair. Thank You for Your Church, a family united by Your Son, Jesus. It is in His name we pray, Amen.

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What does John 12:3 mean?

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How to Find Soul Satisfaction By Brooke Holt

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Devotion Life is not fair

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Devotional

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The Major Key to Having a Great Life by Joyce Meyer

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LIFE Sermon Series Devotional

May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose.

PSALM 20:4 NKJV

Times of prayer should never be an option for us. Getting alone and quiet with the intent of hearing God is the most encouraging, energizing, and edifying thing we can do. Our souls are moved when we move closer to our purpose. And there is a deep satisfaction in being confident about how we’re created and why the desires of our hearts are what they are.

God has everything to do with discovering what we’re in this world to do. He saw our life in its entirety before we took our first breath. It’s amazing to think about. Who better to turn to and trust completely? We need only to look back at what He’s done, how He’s shown Himself in unquestionable ways and small miracles, and how we’ve grown in the wake of them. He has so much more for us to do. Each of us is an invaluable, irreplaceable part of His plan.

Our purpose is connected to the passions God put in our hearts. Our gifts—the unique traits we have and what ignites a fire in us—will be engaged in our life’s journey. Not one of our paths will be exactly the same. They might run side by side, intersect, or go in completely different directions, but they all lead to the glory of God. That’s why we’re here. We’re here, most importantly, to love as He loves. The good life is never about us or what we gain or accomplish; it’s how good we are at loving the people God puts in our lives.

Our purpose for today is perfectly bound to the One who is love, life, light, and kindness. All the things that make this world beautiful are found in Him. We’re here to learn to trust Him with our one, extraordinary, unique life and to pour it out with love and grace.

Dear God, I trust You with the plans You have for me. I know they begin and end with love, and every desire in my heart leads to a life lived for Your glory.

This is an excerpt from The Mountains are Calling: 90 Devotions for Peace & Solitude – a devotional journal by Dayspring.com

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What happened after Easter?

How did Jesus spend his time?

2,000 years ago, Jesus conquered death forever. The stone was rolled away from the empty tomb, and we were given new life in Christ.

But what happened next?

Discover five things Jesus did after His resurrection—and what they mean for us today:

1. Jesus showed up.

Jesus spent 40 days on earth after His resurrection. During this time, He eased His followers’ doubts and gave them direction for the future.

Jesus didn’t shout His love from heaven. He showed His love on earth. Today He does the same, by bending low to hear our cries and heal our hearts.

2. Jesus modelled community.

From breaking bread on the road to Emmaus, to having breakfast on the beach with His disciples, we see Jesus make time for relationships.

Jesus was never too busy to stop and show He cared. As His followers, we’re called to intentionally serve people in our families, workplaces, and cities.

3. Jesus comforted the broken.

When Jesus came back, He wasn’t frustrated that His disciples hadn’t understood His plan. He met them in their uncertainty and fear instead.

Jesus consoled the woman weeping at the empty tomb. He eased Thomas’ doubts. He spoke words of life and peace.

Today, our Savior still has grace for our questions and confusion. He still draws near when our hearts are broken.

4. Jesus redeemed mistakes.

Before the crucifixion, Peter denied knowing Jesus three times. Later, we see Jesus restore Peter by asking Him three times if he loves Him, and instructing Peter to care for His flock.

Even though Peter stumbled in his faith, it didn’t cancel his identity in Christ.

In the same way, we can trust that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness.

5. Jesus instructed and empowered.

Right before Jesus ascended into heaven, He told His followers to “go and make disciples of every nation.” With these instructions, we’re called to live every day with intentionality, looking for opportunities to share the Gospel.

It’s our job to show people what it means to know God and to make Him known.

Easter might be over, but what it means for us matters all year long.

Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we’re able to access God’s grace, presence, and reassurance like never before.

If you would like to read more https://blog.youversion.com/2022/04/what-happened-after-easter

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Easter Devotion : Easter Weekend

For a lot of people Easter is about a holiday, time out with family and eating hot cross buns and chocolate eggs etc. Whilst there is nothing wrong with any of these things—after all who doesn’t love a good hot cross bun—as people of faith we know that the true meaning of Easter is about Jesus!

So here is our challenge….how are we going to share what we know to be true with those who don’t yet know or understand Jesus’ relevance to them?

As Christians, it’s our lifelong challenge isn’t it. We can come and worship our God and enjoy the company of our friends and church family and then go about our lives, until next Sunday. But when was the last time you actually spoke up and were open to the fact that you are a Christ follower?

We are not talking about standing on a soap box and yelling out to anyone that will hear, we are talking about relationship. Just as Jesus encourages relationship with us and seeks to communicate and impart His holy wisdom and way of life. We too need to be doing the same with those around us.

I can almost hear you thinking, well it was ok for Jesus, after all He is God and it’s easy for Him. However, surely the very sacrificial act of willingly going to the cross to endure the cruelty, abuse and horrific death as an innocent man shows Jesus knows about difficulty and hardship, yes?

Sometimes we simply need to be reminded that as challenging as some things may be, we have a God who is for us and will equip us to do His will. All we have to do is ask.

So this Easter, let us remember and honour Jesus, who died for us, in our place, so we could have abundant everlasting life with our God. Let us rejoice as we celebrate Jesus being resurrected from the dead on the third day, as we can know we too have received life through Jesus. And let us share why we celebrate Easter with those around us and be brave enough to ask the Lord to reveal to us and open up opportunities to speak about His love and the extreme lengths He went to, so we could have a living, loving relationship with Him. A relationship He wants with everyone. 2 Peter 3:9 The Message: ‘He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change.’

Jesus will come again, and until then we have some work to do. Will you be ready to speak of the hope you have?

1 Peter 3:15 The Message: ‘Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. ….. It’s better to suffer for doing good, if that’s what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad. That’s what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others’ sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all—was put to death and then made alive—to bring us to God.’

Praise our Almighty God and give thanks for Jesus our Saviour and the amazing grace and love freely given.

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VISION SUNDAY DEVOTIONAL

“Anything is possible if you have faith.”

Mark 9:23 NLT

One might read this and think, wow! All my problems are fixed. Well, yes and no.

Last week we looked at needing to read the Bible, God’s Word. One of the key things we need to know about doing this is, not to take things out of context. In other words, don’t get the wrong meaning of verses, by just pulling them out because they sound good and convenient.

God’s wisdom is far beyond ours and so He gave us all the Bible to help us gain insight of Him and His purposes. His main purpose is to have a living, working, and genuine relationship with us. To do this, we needed Jesus. Jesus is our way, our truth and our life, leading us back to God.

So when we read sections of God’s Word such as our verse this week; we need to keep in mind, it is about God and our relationship. Not our wants.

This verse is the response from Jesus who is being asked by a desperate father to heal his child. The verses around it read…’Oh, have mercy on us and do something if you can.” 23 “If I can?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if you have faith.” 24 The father instantly replied, “I do have faith; oh, help me to have more!”

This gives us a clearer picture; Jesus was showing us that whilst anything can be possible if we have faith, it is more about the whom we have faith in, rather than the request in the first place.

On this occasion, the son was healed and Jesus cast out the demons that had taken over his body. But the result wasn’t only healing, it was about a God loving man, yearning and seeking to have more faith in God. That is relationship.

This Vision Sunday as we explore the theme for the year, may we always remember the fact that God desires for us to have a heartfelt relationship with Him.

Ephesians 1:4-6

Long ago, even before he made the world, God chose us to be his very own through what Christ would do for us; he decided then to make us holy in his eyes, without a single fault—we who stand before him covered with his love. 5 His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. And he did this because he wanted to! Now all praise to God for his wonderful kindness to us and his favour that he has poured out upon us because we belong to his dearly loved Son”

May we each rise to the challenge that our Lord calls us to. It might look a little different for us as individuals; but for as a church family—let us unite in the direction we are being called to and work towards increasing our knowledge and understanding of our Lord along the way. When we need help we know we can still ask, God encourages us to ask—especially if it seems beyond human capacity.

Remember Jesus’ words are not a promise that we can do whatever we want; rather, He makes it clear that the believing one has power only due to whom he believes in; namely, Jesus, the Son of God. The power is God’s, accessed through faith and prayer according to His will. It is because of God that the believing one can accomplish much. As we live for Jesus, let us focus on the object of our belief.

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Why do I go to church?

Last week Leighton raised some interesting questions for us to ponder and reflect on. Here is someone’s thoughts on why they go to church….

“In a culture that minimizes commitment and maximizes self-indulgence, I have learned the precious gift of church attendance or, more specifically, the church gathered. I do not see church attendance as a burden or legalistic commitment. I view it as a joy—a place where I can give and serve, a place where I can focus more on others than myself. I could name many but here are ten reasons I attend church:

¨ I attend church to serve others

¨ I attend church to encourage others

¨ I attend church to encourage my pastor

¨ I attend church to state my priorities

¨ I attend church to participate in worship

¨ I attend church even if it doesn’t meet all my needs

¨ I attend church with frequency, not on occasion.

¨ I attend church to set an example for my family.

¨ I attend church because the Bible tells me to do so.

¨ I attend church because I love my church

I love to attend church. I attend church for these reasons and many more. I thank God for my church.”

Do you attend church regularly? What are your reasons? Let us pause and thank God for His church here at Marion Church of Christ.

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Baptism

At our Sunday 10am service, we were delighted to be able to witness Noah go through the waters of Baptism.

Water Baptism is an act of obedience to the commands of Christ. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28-19.20

Baptism declares that you are a follower of Jesus Christ. It is a public confession of your faith in, and commitment to, Jesus Christ. It is the next step after salvation through repentance and faith and is an important foundation for the Christian life.

Baptism is a symbol of Christ’s burial and resurrection. Our entrance into the water during baptism identifies us with Christ’s death on the cross, His burial in the tomb, and His resurrection from the dead. It shows that you love, trust and have put your hope in Christ.

“Going under the water was a burial of your old life; coming up out of it was a resurrection, God raising you from the dead as he did Christ. When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive—right along with Christ! Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross.” Colossians 2:12-14 MSG

If you have any questions or are interested in exploring your faith or baptism further, please either put a note on your Care Card or contact the Church Office during the week, so we can arrange for you to meet with a Pastor.

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