As a kid I never understood the concept of my father saying, “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.” I never once saw a tear fall from his eye, yet I was crying a river. How could it hurt him? The paddle was on my bottom! Being a father now, I understand. I had to get a sliver out of my youngest boy’s foot. As I held him down to pry it out he was screaming. I knew how bad he was hurting and it grieved me to see him that way. A good father never wants to see his child in pain, but he knows the greater danger of not taking care of it. Sin is a lot like a sliver, both start out small but if left alone hurts worse as it goes. God would rather discipline us when it is small rather then let our lives get infected with sin. My son wasn’t thinking of me but just how bad it was hurting him. If it were up to him, he would rather limp then walk free from pain. A good father never thinks of himself but only the betterment of the child. If you are limping today spiritually, trust that your Heavenly father will take care of you. Sure it may hurt at first, but once removed you are free to move freely. The heart of God is for his children to walk in freedom. Don’t limp any longer. Go to God in prayer and have faith to ask him to remove whatever it is that is hurting your walk. He is faithful to forgive and will not only remove it but clean you up as well (1 John 1:9).

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us. ~ Augustine

This statement struck me “Loving me through…”during our morning chapel this week. I began to think and I began to recall these moments in my life of when Christ has loved me through various things I have dealt with. I know that in the midst of most of the moments I have faced, my first level of understanding is not God’s great desire to love me through them, but more my own internal battle with the particular situation surrounding me.

I know the Lord was reminding me of the process of how He wants to walk with me through each thing I face. This reality is sobering, humbling, and to be honest quite frightening as well. In all the things I think I feel about understanding this phrase “loving me through” it still doesn’t change the fact that it is God’s desire to walk with me in all my life situations. So I have been thinking about it the last couple of days and this is what I understand to be true for me. (and maybe for you)

God is, loving me through… My Pain (emotional)

I don’t always deal with pain, but there are moments when it surfaces. In fact I wasn’t really dealing with pain at all this week when this statement I am writing about hit me, it just became part of the understanding along the way. In fact I’m not sure that I was dealing with any one particular thing at the time this hit my heart. My pain, it comes and goes, it doesn’t control my life or stop me from what I am doing, but it is there and sometimes more than other times. My pain comes from the loss of my Father, a great man full of life, full of the Holy Spirit, who meant a great deal to me. In 2009 his cancer would take final toll upon his earthly body and he would go home to be with the Lord. This is an area of my life I will never get back, and there will always be a hole that he filled. I am writing today though with great humbling confidence that My God is, loving me through! In this the pain becomes a special place for me to encounter the voice of the Holy Sprit to be spoken in way that I can’t hear another way. His voice is speaking to a place that only one with pain of this style can understand, and His voice can speak to you in the same way if you are willing to allow him to Love you through your pain!

Isaiah 41:13 (ESV) – For I, the Lord your God,
 hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I am the one who helps you.”

1 Peter 5:7 (NLT) – Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

God is, loving me through… My Temptations

This particular area is God reminding me of how much he still wants me to understand his love for me even when I am weak and want my flesh to be in charge. I am human as all of you and the flesh loves to try to be in charge a lot! I believe this is part of the great battle we all face, the battle of the flesh vs. the spirit. Paul the writer of Galatians says it this way, “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” (Galatians 5:17) I think these verses sum it up pretty good, it’s a full out action movie in the battle of the two natures. But as I battle I am reminded that God isn’t trying to shove me away from him, but actually trying to draw me in closer during the times my flesh is wanting to be “The Man In Charge”. God is constantly reminding me in these moments He wants to love me through my temptations.

James 1:12a (NLT) – God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation…

God is, loving me through… My Doubts

Doubts! I know nobody ever has these, right? Well We Do. In fact we have them in all sorts of ways. I sometimes find my doubts mostly come in a form directed at myself. As I have been thinking about this concept over the last couple of days, “God loving me through”, He is in the middle of reminding me not only of how he want s to love me through any and all situations, but also how much he loves me above and beyond all situations. This reminder is energetic to the heart, it’s almost like raising the RPM level in a race car right before taking off from the starting line. When God speaks His love in me it is what I need to push me through to the next level in my life. His love reminds me of who I am! His love reinforces my gifts, calling and destiny. I know that I will face doubt and so will you, but it doesn’t have to become an obstacle it can be a launching point if we understand that God is, loving me through my doubts.

Romans 8:34-35 (NLT) – 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?

“Daddy, I don’t want you to go to work!” my 4 year old daughter said as I
was getting ready to leave the other morning. I stopped and picked her up,
gave her a kiss and said: “I know baby girl, but I have to, I love you and
I’ll see you tonight”. It’s moments like these that make us think there’s
just not enough time in the day. As I drove off to work I wondered to
myself if I’m spending my time wisely? I mean, we all have to work and have
things that have to get done, but am I using the time that God has given me
wisely and with purpose? This got me thinking about “time” and how I can
use it the best. See, time is one thing in life that we can never have
back. There’s never a restart button for our day, There’s not a “do-over”
and to my knowledge, nobody has invented a minute recycler! As I struggled
with the question of how I am spending my time my thoughts and prayers
shifted to: “am I spending the time God has given me for his Glory?”. None
of us are promised even one more minute, or even another second for that
matter. The bible says in *James 4:14 (NLT) 14 How do you know what your
life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a
little while, then it’s gone…* Since none of us are promised tomorrow I
think it’s best to live our lives (Family, Work, Church, Friends, hobbies,
etc.) as if it were the last time we were going to be able to! I’m not
saying to live in fear or to be worrisome! I just think that we need to
think about how we’re spending our time and what our life is all about
because someday, time will no longer exist! In my heart of hearts I want to
spend the time that God has blessed me with for his glory! Wether it’s
work, family time, time with friends, “honey-do’s” or whatever, do it as
unto the Lord! I know tonight when I get home i’ll be hugging my 3 kid’s a
little tighter and a little longer! Thanks for taking the “time” to read
this!!!

As we have been reading in Proverbs I came across this verse in Proverbs
21:21
“Whoever pursues righteousness and unfailing love will find life,
righteousness, and honor.” I can’t help to think about our founding
document with the right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But
if we truly want these things in our lives it comes from pursuing God. The
idea of pursuit to me is an action, a sense of straining toward the goal.
My prayer today is that I would pursue the things of God so much more then
the things of this world!

All my kids seem to have come down with the same thing, itsmineitis. You
can’t find it on Wikipedia but it’s a legit illness, that develops into
spoiledosis. There are two cures that I have found to be effective: 1.
toyectomy (removal of the toy) or 2. bottomdynia (pain on rear). Now in my
professional opinion, if not treated properly, the results can be
catastrophic. Itsmineitis is not just found in kids but in adults alike.
There is no age barrier, and it can happen at any time. Treatments for
adults can be found in God’s word and can be applied directly to the
affected area. Avoiding treatment turns into wisdomatrophy. Side-effects
consist of: sleeplessness, anxiety, fear, anger, depression, ulcers, etc.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, make an appointment with the
Great Physician today. He specializes in healing and deliverance. Take
these (Proverbs 11:24-25; Matthew 6:31-33; Luke 6:38; Matthew 7:12; Matthew
20:26-28) and call Him if you have any questions or concerns.

This week was a great week in Journey Kids. As we continue our series called “Never to Young,” this week we looked at the great illustration of how God can use anything to to do something great. As the young boy in John 6 gives his 5 loaves and 2 fish to Jesus as He blessed it and feed the 5,000. It doesn’t take God a lot to do something amazing, after all, He created the earth with just His words. (Gen. 1:1) This week I would love to challenge you students and even parents to open up to Him, allow Him to use what you have and let Him make it something great. After all, He gave us our gifts and talents so the least we could do is allow Him to use us in that way to bring glory to His Kingdom. This week make yourself available to Him and ask, what can I do or offer to You make difference in my family, friends, and neighborhood? “All must give as they are able according to the blessing given to them by the Lord your God.”
Deuteronomy 16:17

Pastor Brad Winkle
Journey Kids

I had the opportunity to share the message here on the main campus yesterday, as part of our series this summer titled “Get Smart”, we preached about this idea “Giving…and Loving it”. This message for me was a great opportunity to share about living the life of a giver and living with the spirit of generosity. In my message I brought out some ideas about a giver, these are the ideas; a giver gives to the poor and needy, a giver lives a selfless lifestyle, a giver sparks generosity in others, a giver sows generationally. Each one of these ideas we need to think about and process internally and ask ourselves how are we handling them? So do your best to process the idea of living a life of a giver, and allow Christ to be the driving force behind all that you do. Generosity through love can break through obstacles in the world and overcome many barriers that we might face, as we move into knowing Christ more He challenges in many ways to become more generous. I love that generosity and giving isn’t always about money, but more about the heart than anything else. Even the issue with money is about the heart, and let me add IT ALL STARTS WITH THE HEART!!! So in your journey of faith allow generosity to come alive in you, allow your heart to be set forth towards honoring Christ and watch what happens, Christ working through you in the spirit of generosity can achieve many things.

Proverbs 18:16 (NIV) A gift opens the way
and ushers the giver into the presence of the great

Pastor Dave

We as humans, especially us men, always seem to have a backup plan for any
project we may be working on. If Plan A does not work out we simply move
on to Plan B or Plan C. We need to always remember that God only deals in
“A Plan”, His plan. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us:

Jeremiah 29:11New International Version (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to
prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

So, if you want to save yourself time and grief, ask God for His plan
first. You’ll be glad you did.