See our Facebook page for regular updates. These updates include progress and important announcements as well as weather related bulletins and closures you need to know about.
Well, we gave technology a whirl and we succeeded! Using a 2-web camera shoot with the song/scripture presentation window, count-down timer to start time and more, we streamed Sunday’s Chanhassen Micro Church service! You can check out the video at our Resurrection Life Facebook page. Not bad for a first effort. From there, we should be able to improve the sound quality and cuts. The main goal for streaming the service is to remain connected. Hopefully, we are accomplishing that. If you visited us Sunday on Facebook live or watch the video, let us know.
We started a 3 Part Series on “The Secret of Joy”. The first key is to realize we have authority and power to live with a peaceful heart without fear. Yes, YOU Have the Power! In 2 Timothy 1:6-7, Paul writes that God gives gifts from the Holy Spirit. Those gifts are for you because you are unique, precious in God’s eyes and have a unique mission only you can fill. Paul also lets us know that we don’t have to live in fear or timidity because God has given us the Spirit of Power, Love and a Sound Mind. He has already given these to us! We each have them, not just your pastors or leaders. Bottom line, you have power and authority in the Spirit and the ability to think clearly to act with confidence. Ask the Holy Spirit to help.
Paul also writes in Philippians 4:4-7 that, to have Peace we should be full of Joy: Rejoice! He makes it clear that it’s a choice we make to rejoice when we don’t feel like it. It’s our choice to turn over fears to God and allow his Holy Spirit to guide us. In fact, we can be joyful out in the open where people can see that, despite the situation (“consider”…take full appraisal of the situation and not simply ignoring it) we have a peace that guides us and choose to act in accordance with it. To be clear, we pray about everything. We have a conversation with God and tell him what we need, offering prayers for our pastors, leaders, those in authority, our president. Then, and most importantly, we thank him for all he has done. It’s much like old testament mounds of rocks God’s people would setup to remind them, every time they pass it, of the great thing God did for them. When we do those things, then we experience God’s peace that passes all understanding, that keeps us grounded and guided in Christ Jesus.
Paul concludes with Philippians 4:8-9 What you feed your mind feeds your peace. He tells us to fix our thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable. We should think about those things that are excellent and worthy of praise. What is he saying? Where is your focus? Where your focus is controls your mind. Are we non-stop TV, news, internet? Do we meditate on his word? I’m not advocating ignoring, rather putting God and his word first and foremost… interpreting the world in light of scripture and how God sees things.
Do you want this peace to last? Then put into practice what you learned and received. Then the Peace of God will be (remain) with you.
These are not idle words from Paul. They are words of life and peace. When we think about all Christ has done for us and his goodness, when we meditate on his word (contemplate and think deeply–feeding our mind and spirit with good things), and then act in accordance with it – we will have God’s peace that goes beyond human understanding and Joy that gives us strength and healing.
I love you all and hope to see you at the Micro-Church Sunday 10AM – that would be on Facebook Live 😊.
Welcome Families! God is good and his mercy endures forever! The Micro-Churches in Belle Plaine, Shakopee, Eden Prairie and Chanhassen all had amazing times and I’ll share a few notes from each below. In all locations, whether few or many, we worship with our whole being, discuss the Word of God with encouragement and revelation, pray for each other with fervor and eat like there’s no tomorrow (just kidding 😊) – it’s really about relationship with God and each other!
For Rez Life Chanhassen, we studied Acts 17. A key lesson for us from Paul and Silas is about effective sharing of the Gospel. They led by example when they went to where the people were (Synagogue or Areopagus) and tailored their message to fit the passion of the people. When in the synagogue, Paul argued vigorously how the prophecies about the Messiah were fulfilled in Jesus and the Kingdom is a spiritual one (a key topic for the Jewish community.) When in Athens, he shared on an entirely different and philosophical level about the “God” who created everything we see and calls men to find him and repent from their sins (the statue to the unknown god provided the context). They illustrated What (the key to opening their minds and hearts to God e.g. what is important to them is a key to how you shape the message), Where (the Synagogue and Areopagus – going to where the target audience is), Why (sharing that pricks their thinking and demands their attention), When (the appropriate time to share) and How (to share the gospel – the effective presentation). There was great discussion and had great input. In addition, we tried something different – we live streamed the service to our Rez Life Chanhassen MCF Facebook page. Next week we will try live streaming to the Rez Life Facebook Page. Our online group was good and hope to get the word out to more that Rez Life will be streaming weekly.
Rez Life Belle Plaine shared on Psalms 91 and Acts 18. Jami had a great word on Psalm 23:4…Even when I walk through the darkest valley, Or the dark valley of death. I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me...reminding us of His commitment and great love towards us. It was a perfect tie into Mark's message on Act 18:9… One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent! For I am with you… God will always be with us despite what trials or tribulations we may face. Fear not and share the love of Christ in these trying times.
Rez Life Eden Prairie continued in Acts and is actively reaching out to families from the group and others.
Rez Life Shakopee had a great time of fellowship before the meeting started. Then they watched a powerful presentation on Psalm 91 by Joseph Prince. Afterwards, they received communion, standing in the gap for each other, families and loved ones. They prayed for those in need of returning to Jesus as well as those in need of salvation and then moved to lunch with homemade chicken soup, salad and Donna’s wonderful corn muffins (normally they do breakfast and not lunch). They finished the afternoon with a wonderful time of fellowship.
We are not minimizing the threat and impact of the virus. Rather we are recognizing that the Micro-Church Families and technology are key elements of encouragement and healing when geopolitical events and global pandemics make large church impractical.
My main question is always, who is God putting in your path today to encourage, pray for and share God’s love with? Ask the Holy Spirit the What, Where, Why, When and How and be a light of hope to someone in fear.
Love you all and hope to see you at one of the Micro-Churches 😊
What about the Coronavirus?
2 Timothy 1: 7 tells us that “God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.” By God’s power, He has given us rational, sound minds, guided by the Holy Spirit, able to do critical thinking (objective analysis and conclusion).
But, we are bombarded by sources of both information and disinformation. Some of these are the Center for Disease Control (CDC), State Department Coronavirus Response Team, all of the News Outlets, all Social Media platforms, other Internet filled with rumors and conjecture.
Are all of these fact-based and altruistic (doing for good of everyone) or are there some with ulterior motives? In reality, there is a mixture of both. News organization will spread panic because it brings viewers or readers. Health organizations may present the best case or the worst case. Politicians may slant it for their long term gain. In other words, we need the wisdom of God that comes through the Holy Spirit.
Here are a few facts as of March 17, 2020 for your consideration:
USA: Total Confirmed Cases of Coronavirus is 4,226
USA: Total deaths is 75
MN Population ~6,000,000
MN Confirmed Cases of Coronavirus: 54
MN Total Deaths: 0
2018 Vehicle Crashes: 60,438
Fatal Crashes: 349
2017-2018 Flu Season
USA: 959,000 Hospitalizations
USA Total: 61,099 Deaths
MN Total: 440 deaths
2019-2020 Flu Season
USA Total: Estimated 20,000 to 40,000 deaths
All I am saying is that there are many things out there that are lethal, but we don’t live in fear about them. Having said that, we are firm believers in doing what we can to stay healthy. Some of the things we can do are the following:
- Cover mouth when coughing
- Do masks help? If YOU are sick, yes. Otherwise, maintain some distance from crowds of people don’t know if they are sick or not.
- Clean and disinfect as you would with common cold or flu prevention.
- Take vitamins and other supplemental items to boost your immune system.
Will the Micro Churches meet at 10AM on Sunday? Yes, but we are taking all precautions to proactively disinfect and use good practices. Later this week, I will remind everyone that we will have the meeting - with the caveat that, if someone has illness or exhibits symptoms, they should remain home. The dynamics and effectiveness of our church families are much better with in-person meetings and furthers our mission: to live, love, laugh, not be filled with fear, pray for one another and be a family. We do want to be careful but also want to provide solace, relationship and comfort especially when people are going through difficult times, sickness and other. This may change in the future, but not at this point.
What can we do as Christians?
- Pray for each other (our MCF Families and Pastors)
- Pray for our state
- Pray for our leaders
- Pray for our President
- Support each other in times of need
- Be a witness to the goodness of God
Sunday March 15, 2020, President Trump declared a “Presidential Proclamation for Day of Prayer”. The transcript is below and is remarkable in his focus on both the practical and the spiritual. Thank you God for our President and your hand on him. Read the proclamation, then pray and do not live in fear. Rather seek Faith, Wisdom, God’s help and direction for our families and country. Be a witness to the goodness of God for those He places in your path.
I love you all.
“In our times of greatest need, Americans have always turned to prayer to help guide us through trials and periods of uncertainty.
As we continue to face the unique challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, millions of Americans are unable to gather in their churches, temples, synagogues, mosques, and other houses of worship.
But in this time we must not cease asking God for added wisdom, comfort, and strength, and we must especially pray for those who have suffered harm or who have lost loved ones.
I ask you to join me in a day of prayer for all people who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and to pray for God’s healing hand to be placed on the people of our Nation.
As your President, I ask you to pray for the health and well-being of your fellow Americans and to remember that no problem is too big for God to handle.
We should all take to heart the holy words found in 1 Peter 5:7: “Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you.” Let us pray that all those affected by the virus will feel the presence of our Lord’s protection and love during this time. With God’s help, we will overcome this threat.
On Friday, I declared a national emergency and took other bold actions to help deploy the full power of the Federal Government to assist with efforts to combat the corona virus pandemic.
I now encourage all Americans to pray for those on the front lines of the response, especially our Nation’s outstanding medical professionals and public health officials who are working tirelessly to protect all of us from the corona virus and treat patients who are infected; all of our courageous first responders, National Guard, and dedicated individuals who are working to ensure the health and safety of our communities; and our Federal, State, and local leaders.
We are confident that He will provide them with the wisdom they need to make difficult decisions and take decisive actions to protect Americans all across the country. As we come to our Father in prayer, we remember the words found in Psalm 91: “He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.”
As we unite in prayer, we are reminded that there is no burden too heavy for God to lift or for this country to bear with His help. Luke 1:37 promises that “For with God nothing shall be impossible,” and those words are just as true today as they have ever been.
As one Nation under God, we are greater than the hardships we face, and through prayer and acts of compassion and love, we will rise to this challenge and emerge stronger and more united than ever before. May God bless each of you, and may God bless the United States of America.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim March 15, 2020, as a National Day of Prayer for All Americans Affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic and for our National Response Efforts.
I urge Americans of all faiths and religious traditions and backgrounds to offer prayers for all those affected, including people who have suffered harm or lost loved ones.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fourth.
DONALD J. TRUMP”
From YouVersion Bible, March 17, 2020
How to choose faith over fear.
Think about the disciples hanging out with Jesus on a boat when a life-threatening storm erupts on the water. They’re unprepared to face it and, panicking, realize they might die. The entire time this is happening, Jesus is sleeping peacefully.
Instead of looking at Jesus’ reaction to their situation, the disciples allowed their situation to dictate their reactions.
After begging Jesus to do something, He calms the storm… But not before asking them, “Why are you afraid?”
His gentle rebuke over their lack of faith wasn’t because they didn’t believe Jesus could save them from the storm, but because they struggled to believe He would see them through it.
When we find ourselves in storms we can’t control, how do we respond with faith? Here are three encouraging truths to remember:
1. God has power over every storm.
If the wind and waves don’t concern Him, then they shouldn’t frighten you. You might not be able to change your situation, but you can choose to faithfully trust God in the middle of it.
2. Fixing your eyes on Jesus leads to peace.
Are you looking at the size of the storm, or turning towards the One who can calm it? It’s only by focusing on God, who knows every outcome, that you can navigate any situation with His wisdom and peace.
3. Jesus is always in your boat.
It’s easy to focus on your fears when you can’t control your future. But thankfully, Jesus knows your future, and He’s always by your side. And, He calls you to live by faith, not by sight.
Whenever you find yourself overwhelmed by life, you always have two choices: you can focus on your circumstances, or fix your eyes on Jesus.
If you choose to look to Jesus above everything else, you will begin to see that the storms you face are not nearly as powerful as the Savior choosing to walk through the storm alongside you.
Wow! What is it with this weather? A glorious 61 degrees outside and comfortable 74 degrees inside with God's people and his Glory. Yes, indeed, when we spend time at God's table in praise, worship and word, things heat up and we are changed - our attitudes are changed - our minds are changed - healing comes physically, emotionally and spiritually. Struggling with life? Rather than retreating, press forward into relationship with God's people at the Micro-Church.
Having said all that, Acts 16 (our study chapter for this week) is filled with great lessons that challenge our thinking, how we react to situations, hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit and great group discussion. One of the things I love about group discussion is that everyone has insights and experiences they can share that sheds a new light and becomes life to us all. Paul and Silas first go back to Lystra where Paul was stoned and left for dead just a couple chapters ago. What did he find? A thriving, growing church and a disciple named Timothy that would become his spiritual son. It's an amazing testimony to the love and grace of God that ignites in people's hearts when persecution arises, when they witness the great miracle of Paul's instant healing after he was stoned, and the leadership that Paul and Barnabas left in place to help protect and grow the new flock.
Paul and Silas had their agenda of where they would go share the message of freedom as decided by the Apostles and Elders in Jerusalem (see the previous chapter.) We indeed are saved by grace and not by following the law but it is the Holy Spirit who changes a heart and that's where the work has to go on. Indeed, they wanted to go North but were prevented by the Holy Spirit. What? Isn't God everywhere and can move anywhere? Yes, but God had prepared the hearts of the Macedonians and that's where the Holy Spirit moved them. They were listening, moved by a vision, and saw great salvation in Philippi and Berea. When we are seeking that person God is placing in our path to share with, we need to ask and head the voice of the Holy Spirit and wait on His direction. When we do, we will see lives saved. In the meantime, our lives are the visible testimony to God's goodness that, despite hardship, despite the trials of life, we live overcoming lives filled with joy. While Paul and Silas were in prison, did they complain and gripe? No, they worshiped and sang hymns to God. They were winning and overcoming while they were still in chains. They were free in the spirit before the earthquake set them free in the flesh. And, as a result, the jailer and his whole family were saved.
How do we want to be remembered? As someone who trusted God despite the hardships of life? Someone who as in Hebrews 11 would be regarded as a hero of the faith? Some of them suffered great loss and even martyrdom. Yet, they are the role model for us. Not that we have to die, rather we should live for him and share the goodness of his love to those God puts in our path.
In Ephesians 6:10-18 Paul writes: "10Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. 13Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.6:15 Or For shoes, put on the readiness to preach the Good News of peace with God. 16In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.6:16 Greek the evil one. 17Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere”
Good lessons we all need for both trust in God and his direction as well as our part in action. I love you all and hope you are encouraged and strengthened as you spend time in prayer, his word and pray for our Pastors, Leaders, Micro-Church Family members and those in need of healing.
I love you all and hope to see YOU at the Micro-Church!
You know, sometimes it's good to see the church leaders and Apostles having a sharp dispute! Not one of those slight disagreements. Nope, a rock-em sock-em intense fight. Yes, I know that may not be a good thing but sometimes we spiritualize our church fathers to the extent that we don't also see their weaknesses. Such is the case with Acts 15. Let's begin.
Paul and Barnabas have returned from their first missions trip. It is wildly successful with a great number of both Jews and Gentiles being born again and miracles. The church is thrilled... well most of them. Some believers who were Pharisees had issues. But this group believed that you must conform to Jewish law before you can be saved. In other words, you must clean up before God will accept into the Kingdom if you are a Gentile. Now, it is clear from scripture that holiness is important to God. And, Paul (also a Pharisee) also knew this. But he had an experience on the road to Damascus that drilled home that his (and our) righteousness was as filthy rags and could never meet the perfection required by the law. No, only God's grace towards us and faith in him can exchange our rags for his righteousness. He had revelation and they didn't. There was heated discussion and they were at an impasse.
So what did they do? They sought clarity from the council of Apostles and Elders in Jerusalem, their spiritual covering that both respected. And after much discussion and prayer, they came to a startling conclusion - one that would rock the church forever. It was to encourage not forcing legalistic rules and regulations onto the new believers. This would only bring them bondage and destroy the newly found freedom they have in Christ. Rather, new believers should abstain from 4 things (one is a clear tripping hazard we struggle with in today's society and the others a clear offence to the Jewish brethren) and then allow the Holy Spirit to do the rest. If they are hearing the word of God and growing in his grace, he will give them the mind of Christ and their nature will be changed. This is the Gospel of Freedom. I am always striving to be more like Him but I don't have to be perfect. My eternal freedom was won at the cross but my daily living and growing in Grace is done by the Holy Spirit - spending time in worship, prayer and communicating with him throughout the day. God's grace is limitless and he gives it without restriction - so much so that - when God sees us, he doesn't see our filthy rags. Instead, he sees the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus and he says, well done. And day by day, I become more like him.
There is more in this chapter, but you'll have to read it yourself. Bitterness and contention erupts between Paul and Barnabas. Whoops, forgot to ask the Holy Spirit for direction on that one! Spoiler alert... God still uses it for good even though the enemy meant to destroy them!
Next week, Paul starts on his second missionary journey. Read Acts 16 and come prepared to share your insights and questions.
Just a quick reminder that this coming week is the All Church Celebration at Church on the Hill at 4PM.
Love you all and hope to see you at the Micro-Church.