by Kevin Litchfield
While reading Gary Mayes book, “DNA of a Revolution”, Gary brings up a different thought in regard to Acts 1:8. He implies that this verse is really a reply to the question in verse 6 asking has the time come for the restoration of Israel?
He shares that perhaps the underlying thought behind the question was a desire to settle down and make Jerusalem their home base. But Jesus offers a different response. Gary paraphrases the conversation in Acts 6-8 like this:
Jesus can we finally set up shop in Jerusalem? Jesus replied: No, I didn’t call you to be a set-up-shop people. You are a sent people. I didn’t call you to be a community that waits for the world to come to you.
You are a band of witnesses going to the world around you – a community of people on mission. Just as I invited you to come and follow me a long time ago. I am sending you with my spirit as witnesses into this world I love.
Reflect on this thought day.
by Kevin Litchfield
Recently I was struck once again by 2 Chronicles, Chapter 29. Hezekiah began the process of leading a nation to repent and awaken to God’s calling for their lives both as a nation and as an individual. In verses 16-17 a picture is given to how far the people had drifted.
16) The priests went into the sanctuary of the Temple of the Lord to cleanse it, and they took out to the Temple courtyard all the deviled things they found. From there the Levites CARTED it all out to the Kidron Valley.
17) They began the work in early spring, on the first day of the new year, and in 8 DAYS they had REACHED the ENTRY ROOM of the LORD’S TEMPLE.
What things, people, activities, and strategies need to be carted away in your life that block truly experiencing all that God has for your life.
Hebrews 12:1-2, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.”
by Kevin Litchfield
This has been an interesting week for me as I have focused on the path of Hurricane Irma. The threat of that storm prompted at least 2 responses;:
1) worry and fretting or 2) action causing water and food and lumber supplies to literally disappear off the shelves.
But I wonder this morning if any of you are experiencing a different kind of storm in your life – an internal storm perhaps one that is physical, emotional, financial or even spiritual.
In the midst of that storm you too are faced with options: do you become paralyzed with fear and dread or do you lay them at the feet of our All Powerful and All Knowing Ever Present Father.
I would love to offer my company in the midst of that storm by praying for you / by standing in the gap for you.
As I thought about hurricane Irma this week I was reminded of a Casting Crowns song. Here are some of the lyrics.
I was sure by now, God you would have reached down And wiped our tears away, Stepped in and saved the day. But once again, I say amen That it’s still raining
As the thunder rolls I barely hear your whisper through the rain I’m with you And as your mercy falls I raise my hands and praise The God who gives and takes away
And I’ll praise you in this storm And I will lift my hands For you are who you are No matter where I am And every tear I’ve cried You hold in your hand
Praise You in the Storm – Casting Crowns with lyrics:
By Pastor Clay Smith
Babies go from crawling to walking. Teenagers go from walking to driving. Adults go from driving to praying when their teenagers start to drive. You have a next step, no matter what stage you are in life.
You have a next step spiritually.
It’s up to you to decide if you take or not. If you do, you will grow your soul. If you don’t you will experience frustration with yourself, with others, and with God.
Ever meet someone who is continually frustrated? They did not take the next step God laid before them.
No one can take this next step but you. Your parents can’t do your spiritual journey for you. Neither can your grandparents. A pastor can’t do it for you.
This is a journey you have to do yourself. If you don’t do it, it won’t get done.
So what’s your next step?
God wants you to take that next step. Just like he:
- Invited Abraham to go on a journey to a new land and a new future;
- Invited Moses to go back to Egypt and lead his people;
- Invited David to leave the sheep and be a King.
Jesus wants you to take that next step. Just like he:
- Invited Peter, Andrew, James, and John to leave their nets and become fishers of men;
- Invited Matthew to leave his tax table and follow him;
- Invited Paul to stop persecuting him and his people and be a missionary.
Not everyone accepts the invitation to take a next step:
- The rich young ruler loved his money more than he wanted eternal life (ever wonder what he thinks now?);
- One man volunteered to follow him until he heard there would be no Holiday Inn for the holy;
- Religious leaders wouldn’t follow him because they would lose their power and prestige.
What about you? Are you ready to stop a life of frustration and start taking your next step toward Jesus?
By Rev. Kevin Litchfield
A Few weeks ago on our Cleveland Mission Trip, I was drawn to a passage in John 4 where Jesus challenges all social and religious norms and taboos by having a conversation with a Samaritan woman. In the course of the conversation Jesus opens up his reply with 4 words: “IF YOU ONLY KNEW.”
In verse 10 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”
I wonder how many times Jesus responds to us “IF YOU ONLY KNEW.” If you only knew: How close you were to falling or failing? How you quit praying when God just begins to answer? How you worry and fret and yet peace and deliverance is just beyond the horizon? How you forget this world is not your true home and the best is yet to come?
As a network of Churches called the Santee Baptist Association, may we look with passion and enthusiasm to the future for we never know what lies ahead.
IF YOU ONLY KNEW!!!!
by Kevin Litchfield
Most recently, I was reminded of Proverbs 19:21, “Many plans are in a man’s mind, But it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand (be carried out).”
The Lord directs our steps. SO why try to UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING along the way.
The steps of a [good and righteous] man are directed and established by the Lord, And He delights in his way [and blesses his path]. (Psalm 37:23, AMP).
I was in Cleveland last week serving alongside a mission team of 23. Throughout the week we consistently saw that it is our job to encourage others and share the love of Jesus and leave the results up to God.
May together we learn to trust the Lord and not our own understanding of what we think God may or may not or should be doing.
Praying for an increase of the awareness of His Presence and Peace in the midst of trials, challenges, and successes.
by Kevin Litchfield
I was reminded this week of a quote by Jim Branch that has really encouraged and challenged me over the last few years. He talks about the time JESUS walked on the water and invited Peter to come and join Him. Jim says:
“There has been one particular aspect of this story that has been a wonderful source of reflection for me lately. It involves the sacred space that JESUS invites Simon Peter to step out into. It is the space “between”… Between the boat and JESUS… Between letting go and being taken hold of… Between the old and familiar and the new and the unknown… Between control and agenda and dependence and detachment.
It is a space that is both completely terrifying and unbelievably exciting. It is the space before your answer has come or your problem has been fixed. It is the space where you must trust God alone for your life. It is the space of genuine transformation.”
If you find yourself today in the in-between space, try to keep your eyes on Jesus not on the impossibility and frustration of your current life situation.
“I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken” (Psalm 16:8).
“Look to Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith” (Hebrews 12:2).