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Extravagant Mercy (Excerpt)

The Bible often portrays the grace of God as a thin stream of refreshing water that perseveres in a desert land.  The only way our parched souls can survive in a spiritually desolate society is to stay close to that stream.  That is why we come to worship, read our Bibles, serve others, and pray without ceasing throughout the day.  It’s all a way of drinking in the grace that keeps us spiritually alive.  The more time we spend by that stream, the more deeply our lives become rooted in God (Psalm 1).
     Those roots are pretty important because sometimes we get more grace than we want.  It doesn’t happen often, but when the storms come, the thin stream can suddenly turn into a raging river, washing away everything that is not firmly planted.  We never want to get too sentimental about grace.  While most days it is God’s gentle refreshment to our souls, some days it comes as a terrifying reminder that our lives are out of control.

On the stormy days, we may wonder if it was such a good idea to live so close to the stream.  We may even wish God would just leave us alone.  Yet if the torrent sweeps away the things that are not spiritually rooted, then even that is a grace.  Remember, the point of God’s grace is not to be nice to us. Grace does what we cannot do for ourselves.  It carries us home to God. Sometimes on a gentle stream.  Sometimes on a raging river.  Yet always back to God.

(from Extravagant Mercy by M. Craig Barnes)

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New Songs for Sunday, March 16

We are doing a couple “new” songs this Sunday, so to better prepare your hearts for worship, I want to share the songs on here so you can be listening to them, and if you aren’t already, get familiar with them so that you will be ready to sing your heart out to our Awesome God this Sunday, March 16th!

Here are the songs, first the new ones, and then the (probably) more familiar ones!

No One Like You

Lord Most High

God of Wonders

10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)

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Revolutionary Prayer

For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. — Jeremiah 2:13

I encourage you to pray this and not be afraid.

“He’s not safe, but He is good.” — C.S. Lewis

Pray:

1. To be emptied

He must increase and I must decrease. — John 3:30

“Lord, show me as soon as possible (so I can avoid as much damage as possible) how worthless my search for satisfaction is in _____________ .”

“Lord, make me hungry for You!” (which is the positive way of saying, “Empty me.”)

What is your junk food of choice? Identify what you run to when empty and offer that to God as a sacrifice.

 

2. To be filled

“Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” — Psalm 90:14

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” –Psalm 16:11

“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” Psalm 34:8

“How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.” Psalm 36:7-9

 

3. For Him to increase our capacity!

“Lord, make me hungry for more of You!”

“Show me your glory!” — Exodus 33:18

“The house of my soul is too narrow for thee to come in to me; let it be enlarged by thee.” — St. Augustine

 

I want to be filled with all the fullness of God so that I am not hungry. I want my capacity to be full of God and stretched. I want to be filled full with His love. I want an immeasurable sense of His presence. I want to be maxed out with His peace so that I don’t seek peace elsewhere. I want to be filled with His identity (who I am in Him – who He is in me) so I don’t go searching for identity somewhere else. God, I need You to fill me.

John Eldredge says, “If a man does not find his life in God, he will become a very thirsty man. And thirsty men have been known to do some very stupid things.”

And it’s true, God. I have done stupid things, but not because I’m stupid. I have done stupid things because I am hungry and thirsty. I did not know it was You I lacked! I am hungry because I am empty. I am empty because You have not filled me. No fault of Yours. I want to be filled with all Your fullness today.

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You are Chosen

To live a spiritual life, we have to claim for ourselves that we are “taken” or “chosen.” Let me try to expand a bit on these words. When I know that I am chosen, I know that I have been seen as a special person. Someone has noticed me in my uniqueness and has expressed a desire to know me, to come closer to me, to love me. When I write to you that, as the Beloved, we are God’s chosen ones, I mean that we have been seen by God from all eternity and seen as unique, special, precious beings. It is very hard for me to express well the depth of the meaning of the word “chosen” as for me, but I hope you are willing to listen to me from within. From all eternity, long before you were born and became a part of history, you existed in God’s heart. Long before your parents admired you or your friends acknowledged your gifts or your teachers, colleagues and employers encouraged you, you were already “chosen.” The eyes of love had seen you as precious, as of infinite beauty, as of eternal value. When love chooses, it chooses with a perfect sensitivity for the unique beauty of the chosen one.

-from Life of the Beloved by Henri J. M. Nouwen

Symbolbild Trinkwasser

Prayer for Fullness

I want to be filled with all the fullness of God so that I am not hungry. I want my capacity to be full of God and stretched. I want to be filled full with His love. I want an immeasurable sense of His presence. I want to be maxed out with His peace so that I don’t seek peace elsewhere. I want to be filled with His identity (who I am in Him – who He is in me) so I don’t go searching for identity somewhere else. God, I need You to fill me.

John Eldredge says, “If a man does not find his life in God, he will become a very thirsty man. And thirsty men have been known to do some very stupid things.”

And it’s true, God. I have done stupid things, but not because I’m stupid. I have done stupid things because I am hungry and thirsty. I did not know it was You I lacked! I am hungry because I am empty. I am empty because You have not filled me. No fault of Yours. I want to be filled with all Your fullness today.