Today’s Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 1
I feel so honored and privileged to be able to serve at the weekend services. A half hour before every service, each ministry group, at each campus gets together and prays. (This is so cool, everyone praying at the same time, at all different campuses, for the same thing!)
We pray for all the people who will be attending the service. We pray each person will have an open mind and heart. That they will listen to the message and be changed. Our goal is that our guests take the next steps in their faith journeys. We share life-change stories. (A life-change story is when a person puts his or her faith in Christ and is changed.) The stories are amazing and fill us with joy. We praise God for working miracles in each person’s life. We ask God to work through us to show our guests that they are loved and that they matter. Our prayer is that they will realize God has wonderful plans for their lives. We want everyone to: know Jesus, find freedom, find their purpose, and make a difference.
1 Thessalonians 1 is a beautiful letter from Paul, Silas, and Timothy to the Thessalonians. It talks about the extraordinary changes that God had made in the Thessalonians’ lives. Paul and his friends let the Thessalonians know that they pray for them constantly and praise God for their faith, love, and hope. In other words, the Thessalonians listened to what was preached, they believed, and God changed them.
1 Thessalonians 1: 2-5 (The Message)
Every time we think of you, we thank God for you. Day and night you’re in our prayers as we call to mind your work of faith, your labor of love, and your patience of hope in following our Master, Jesus Christ, before God our Father. It is clear to us friends, that God not only loves you very much but also has put his hand on you for something special. When the Message we preached came to you, it wasn’t just words. Something happened to you. The Holy Spirit put steel in your convictions.
It is amazing when you personally witness a life-change story. My husband and I have been married for 31 years. I prayed for years and years that he would accept Jesus as his Savior. My husband has always been a wonderful man, but he wasn’t a believer. He did go to church for a short time. He read the Bible, but he concluded it wasn’t true and didn’t believe it. He quit going to church. He told me to stop praying for him. He respected my faith and beliefs, so he made our daughters go to church with me.
About five years ago, he started to go to CedarCreek with me. He didn’t believe in Jesus, but he went because it was a great place to learn how to be a better husband, father, friend, person, and worker. He thought the sermons gave sound advice on how to live. Jesus slowly softened his heart and mind. Around three years ago, he became a believer and was baptized. Hallelujah!
A few months later, I was sitting in the family room having quiet time and he was upstairs cleaning the bathroom. (I told you he was a great guy.) I heard him loudly singing the lyrics to Good Good Father:
You’re a good, good father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I am loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am.
My heart was filled with joy and my eyes were filled with tears. PRAISE GOD!
What is your life-change story? Whom can you share it with? What is your next step? Whom can you pray for to have a life-change story?
Attend Growth Track. Make a list of who you can invite to CedarCreek. Invite them. Practice telling your life-change story and tell someone your story. Sign up to serve at CedarCreek.
Jesus, I am so grateful that you never gave up on me. You waited patiently for me to turn to you and accept you as my Lord and Savior. My life has been so blessed by you. Please work through me to share your love, peace, joy, and faith with others. Help me be ready to share my life-change story. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve you and others. I continue to lift up all those I love who haven’t accepted you as their Lord and Savior. Please open their hearts and minds to accept you as their Savior. I trust you to change their hearts. Amen.
This post was written by Marsha Raymond. Marsha has been happily married to her husband, Jeff, for 30 years. They have two grown sassy and fearless daughters. She loves spending time with God, her family and friends, reading, riding bicycles, yoga and walking.
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