Attitude

Choose Gratitude

By Michael M. Cook

While many people believe God is real, many also believe He is only “watching them from a distance” and has no real desire to know them personally.

Actually, God is very interested in you and desires for you to have a personal and meaningful relationship with Him.

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God! They are innumerable! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the gains of sand! Psalm 139: 17-18b

‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the LORD. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’ Jeremiah 29:11

God showed how much He loved us be sending His only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. 1 John 4:9

By the world’s standards, we each have a life of incredible blessing, and the Lord is aware of the reading on our “Gratitude Meters”. He knows you, knows what He’s done for you, and has a clear reading of your thankfulness right now. God is very aware of your heart response to His grace.

When you choose an attitude of gratitude toward the Lord, something changes in your life. Thankfulness leads to wellness at a deeper level.

Celebrating “the gift of Jesus” provides your faith the opportunity to grow. Faith grows in the soil of thankfulness.

Giving Stuff Away – 4 Reflections Concerning Generosity

By Karen Polich

If a person gets his attitude toward money straight, it will help straighten out almost every other area in his life. – Billy Graham

We can do three things with our money. We can spend it, save it or give it away. Pastor Michael Cook continued his Stuff sermon series with a look at what it means to be generous.

Often we want to give. We really do. Our hearts feel the tug to be generous and help others. We’re ready until we encounter the struggle of giving versus ensuring having enough left for what we need.

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Pastor Michael Cook shared four reflections concerning generosity.

1. Planting and harvesting. God moves in tangible and intangible ways. The Bible clearly teaches that those who organize their lives around generosity receive God’s blessing.

2. Decision and follow through. Intention is not decision. We can plan how we are going to give all we want but that does not make us generous. Acting on our decision is how we follow through with a real commitment to generosity. It is not how or what we give, it is that we give. Find a systematic approach that serves you well and implement it.

3. Attitude. God loves a cheerful giver. Why? Have we considered that God is a cheerful giver? His extravagance and generosity are beyond measure. Generosity brings more than we can imagine. Living generously pushes out the ungodliness in our lives.

4. Cycle of care. This goes back to wanting to give, but looking at our needs and not seeing enough. God is able. God will always take care of our needs. Do you believe God sees, loves generosity and will provide? YES! The question we must answer is, will we put our trust in Him? We give, God provides.

There is a certain beauty and value that comes with living a generous life.

Is your life being transformed through a heart of generosity?

Challenge: Commit to a yes or no. Be very careful about the lethal word LATER. There is never an easy, convenient time to give so waiting isn’t the answer. If you want to live a life of generosity, you must decide and act.

Project for the week:

1. Give away 7 items each day for the next 7 days. (If that seems too aggressive for you, give away 1 item each day for the next 7 days.)

2. Find one valuable item you own but don’t use. Give it to someone who needs it.

Visit www.AFBCHope.com for more information regarding the Hope Effort. Listen to Pastor Michael Cook via podcast here.

Days of Suffering – Job: The Man,The Meeting & The Manner

By Karen Polich

Job had a particular belief system regarding God. Job blessed the name of the Lord in all things.

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
may the name of the LORD be praised.” Job 1:20-21

 

Regardless of life’s circumstances, the nature of God is unchangeable. How we react to our circumstances affects our relationship with Him. In all things, God is God. Understanding the character of God allows us to richly and rightly experience Him. Pastor Michael Cook brought us three driving factors that impact the way we relate to God.

Three truisms- the driving factors we need to understand:

1. Life is filled with circumstances that are not fair.
2. God may bless us in life, but He does NOT owe us blessings.
3. God is ALWAYS good; whether life is fair or not; whether we are blessed or not.

The Bible teaches us that God loves us, He wants to bless us, and He challenges us to be a reservoir of blessing to others. It does not teach us that we are entitled to demand from God. There isn’t anything that we deserve in the name of fairness or entitlement. There is a clear distinction between what God promises us and thinking that we deserve something from Him. God’s goodness is eternal and unyielding. Job understood this. It was the very foundation of his belief system.

Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job?” Job 1:8.  Ponder this: “Have you considered my servant (insert your name here)?”

How do you relate to God? Are you ready for your name to be on His lips in that question?

Listen to Pastor Michael Cook via podcast here.

Kid’s Klub – Get in the Game

By: Karen Polich with Kasimira Polich

Looking for a game changer? Look no further than the children around you.

Sunday was special. Parents had the opportunity to join their children during Kid’s Klub as the leaders wrapped up the series, ‘Get in the Game’.  It was a time of worship and praise. Games, Bible stories and music revealed how these children seek God. Small voices poured out Bible verses and explained stories from God’s Word. It was beautiful.

I was reminded of the words Jesus spoke in Matthew 18:1-5. At the time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.’

I saw joyous faces and humble hearts, so ready to answer the next question. God’s Word, hidden in the hearts of children, was shining brightly.

I asked my 8 year old daughter to explain Kid’s Klub to me. What does it mean to her? Why is it important? She told me that she enjoys the games. She loves spending the time with her friends and with the adults who are so willing to teach. Then she started talking about what it means when it comes to God.

Praising God – It’s like He is right in front of you. You are giving glory to Him. We do cool moves when we sing to praise Him while having fun. It feels like He is there and He is going to give us the crown of righteousness. It is almost like being in heaven and He is shining bright right there. He’s just going to hug you and keep you in His arms the whole time. When we praise God and play games, it’s all for God, not just for ourselves. It brings us closer to Him.

Bible Stories – They teach me a lesson. We should try not to do what some of the people in the Bible did, but there are others we should copy. They all had consequences. Some of those consequences I don’t want. There’s always something to learn from Bible stories. It feels like God is right there telling us the story.

Review Time – Knowing answers and verses is like God is telling me, ‘You can do this’. Jesus is right there guiding me in His Word. It helps me to know God more.

Get in the Game – It was full of great lessons. If you are in sports or anything else, take time for God. He deserves your best and should be your first priority in life. If He isn’t, you aren’t really living a Godly life.

Attitudes – A bad attitude tries to get you to stop praising God, but a good attitude helps you praise God even more. With a good attitude you don’t talk badly to your friends, your parents, or other people. It helps you to live a better life, the life that God wants for you. Attitudes matter.

I was reminded of the immense value of Kid’s Klub and what it means to build a new generation full of hearts that seek Him. I couldn’t help but examine my own heart. How about you?

Prepared

By: Karen Polich

We place such value on being prepared. We plan everything from vacations to what we are going to have for dinner. We plan our careers, our weddings, our lives. We plan for excellence. The question is do we really prepare?

The best athletes work tirelessly to be ready for any situation the game throws at them. They know what they need to do to be ready, to build on their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. We celebrate their success, but never see the endless hours they put into the preparation before the big moment. They always come prepared,  leave nothing on the table, and give everything they have.

That is how we should approach our Lord when given the opportunity to share in The Lord’s Supper. We should be ready to offer everything we are, everything we have. Do we prepare for this in the same way we prepare for the things that occur in our daily lives? Do we prepare with the best we have?

Pastor Michael Cook shared what it means to be prepared spiritually. Our preparation is truly an act of faith. Each small action leads up to something that impacts the days ahead. God has placed us here to be extraordinary. We are here to touch lives. We should be pursuing Him with everything. Pastor Cook shared how we can be prepared.

Six areas we need to look at when it comes to preparing ourselves.
1. Surrender Yielding to God in surrender is the beginning point in approaching Him. We are each unworthy, but made worthy in Christ. (Matthew 16:24-25)
2. Know Him We need to really know Him. Matthew 22:37 says, “Jesus replied; “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and will all your soul and with all your mind.”
3. Attitude Many times we drag cultural influences into our worship. We think about our rights, what we like or don’t like. Our attitudes and thoughts should be one of a servant. (Romans 12:2)
4. Words/Communication How clean is our communication? Not just our words, but every way we communicate in this fast paced world. Are we ready to account for every empty word? (Matthew 12:36)
5. Relationships The relationship we have with our Lord and with others matters. We should love the unlovable and be willing to restore what is broken. (John 13:34-35)
6. Search our hearts We need to search our hearts for the sins laid out biblically, but also for the sins of omission. The sins we commit because of something we have been called by God to do that we don’t. (Luke 6:46)

Preparation can bring us closer to God. We have every opportunity to prepare ourselves in everything we do. If we are simply willing, we can prepare ourselves to come before our Lord with great reverence and intimacy.

He is waiting. Are you prepared to approach Him?