Devotional Thoughts

Here is where our pastors and leaders share their hearts, and words of encouragement.  You can subscribe to these posts and receive them in your inbox when a new post is published.

 

Let Your Seed Die

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” (John 12:24) Jesus begins to warn His disciples of His impending death; that His hour has come to be glorified. He then equates His life (and by extension, ours as well) to seeds that must die for them to produce many seeds. A seed is the prolific (productive) principle of future life. The germ of life in the grain of wheat can only pass into others by departing from the original grain and leaving it dead. Jesus’ death brought about the Helper, the Holy Spirit (the germ of life, if you will, in Jesus) coming to our world and coming into us. Ultimate multiplication! Are we dying in order to multiply? (Multiplying takes sacrifice!)

Seeds do not carry with them instant satisfaction. Don’t we wish they did?! A plant does not grow overnight, well except for Jack’s beanstalk. Seeds represent giving and maybe not receiving anything in return at first. 1 Corinthians 15:36-38 (NLT) says, “When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it dies first. And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a dry little seed of wheat or whatever it is you are planting. Then God gives it a new body — just the kind he wants it to have. A different kind of plant grows from each kind of seed.” Our seed must die. This means letting your idea of what form something should have die and allowing God to give it the form or body that He desires and intends.
This past Sunday morning, I provided a way for you to respond to what God was saying to you personally. The response was in the form of a seed in your hand and a pot of soil on the stage in the front of the auditorium. Everyone was asked to take a moment, pray and consider what their seed represented in their life that they needed to let die; give to God; and allow Him to give a new body (new life) to. Next, as an act of obedience, to come forward planting that representative seed. When we truly trust God with everything in our lives, we will also trust Him to give our hopes, dreams, even our greatest need resurrection life!

What does your seed represent? Have you let it die? Do you trust God with your seed?

–Pastor Shawn



Embrace your strengths

I have begun a new Bible Study entitled “Embracing Your Strengths” and wanted to share a bit of the foreword written by Patsy Clairmont with you.  Clairmont is speaking about her friend who finally embraced her talent by living through her gifts.
“Somehow gifts and strength work that way.  It’s as if one blesses the other.  There’s just something about finding out where we fit into the rhythms of the universe that is deeply satisfying and that infuses us with confidence in the way God has created us.  Gifts and strength add to our life purpose.”
Have you ever had one of those moments or seasons when everything just falls into place, not that it is easy or smooth, but at the end you can say, “this is what I was created for.”  I have had a few of those.  Many include moments with my husband and my children – like when my son asked how he could get Jesus into his heart at age 4 and then showed me his best ninja moves or when my daughter wants to discuss deep truths from the Bible just after we discuss how cute her gecko is or when I sit nestled in next to my husband talking about our day or just quiet.  Others include moments like the first day I taught a ballet class or certain Sundays  when I can see comprehension in the eyes of the children we teach. In those moments and seasons I know what God intended for me to be. It is not always easy and sometimes I go kicking and screaming but I know in my spirit God’s intention.
It is true.  When we find what God has gifted us with, what our talents are we find strength.  When we live through those giftings, we find a life full, not always easy, but full and satisfying.  Our life purpose is lining up with God’s purpose.  C.S. Lewis once wrote, “The question is not what we intend ourselves to be but what He intended us to be when He made us.”
Sit for a few quiet moments today and ask God to reveal what He intended.
Then embrace it!
Koren Obispo
KidMaster
A note from Pastor Robert:  If you would like to learn more about your god given strengths, ask pastor Shawn or robert about “living your strengths” books and coaching


Prayer from Scripture

One of the best ways we can pray as individuals or as a group is to pray using Holy Scripture. In this way, we know for a fact that we are praying His will. If we are praying His will, we are assured that He hears and that we will have what we ask for! (1John 5:14-15)

 

Here is a prayer for our church, rewording 1 Chronicles 4:10: And the Church at Whistling Pines called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh that you would bless us indeed, and enlarge our territory (so that we are able to more effectively advance your Kingdom), and that your hand (your power) would be with us, and that you would keep us from evil, that we may not cause pain (we would in no way be a stumbling block to anyone genuinely looking for Jesus).” So God granted them what they requested.

 

Amen (let it be so).

Pastor Shawn



Life Groups & I-Groups Explained

On Sunday, August 26, Shawn McCracken, our lead team pastor, announced a major shift in how we view Life Groups.  By introducing the new, “I-Groups”, we are freeing our Life Groups to become more invitational, relationship based, with no pressure to be overtly “spiritual” or “religious”.  This will enable Life Group leaders and members to invite their friends, neighbors, families, and co-workers to enter into relationships.



Crazy Love

I have begun reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan and I feel that I am guilty of the first issue he brings up. “There is an epidemic of spiritual amnesia going around, and none of us is immune. No matter how many fascinating details we learn about God’s creation, no matter how many pictures we see of His galaxies, and no matter how many sunsets we watch, we still forget. Most of us know that we are supposed to love and fear God; that we are supposed to read our Bibles and pray so that we can get to know Him better; that we are supposed to worship Him with our lives. But actually living it out is challenge.”

Do you ever feel that way? You know what you should be doing but forget. Or you do what you are supposed to do but with the wrong heart attitude. Then you get stuck. It is a cycle that Satan likes to keep us in because we are ineffective as Christians when we spin our wheels getting no where or when we stop peddling all together.

I want to encourage you to get off the bike. Simply walk a bit with the Creator of the Universe. Ask Him to continually remind you of His greatness. Get into another routine. Start simple. It could be sitting for a few minutes each day thinking about God – He likes that. It could be washing those dinner dishes with a smile in your heart – He likes that too. Then talk. Talk to God and He will listen.

God is so awesome and He loves you!

Koren Obispo
(CWP KidMaster)



All for the Glory

Do All to the Glory of God
by David Morsey (Shared by Worship Director Lyn Smith, August 12, 2012)

Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all things to the glory of God. I Corinthians 10:31

What does it mean to do all things to the glory of God?
In fact, what is the glory of God? What does the word “glory” mean?
To humans on the earth, looking for the ultimate meaning of life,
Any clues we can pick up are of great importance. 


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