Tag Archives: Spiritual Growth

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July 2014

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Celebrate Independence!

Tensions flared in Ukraine.  Crimea was annexed by Russia.  The tension isn’t over, but it has almost faded away in the minds of many Americans.  It has faded, because now we are focused on the crisis in Iraq, even if only because it has driven our gas prices through the roof and has burned holes in our pockets.  We may live in relative peace in our own country, but we are not completely naïve about the state of our world.  There is war.  There is violence.  There is hatred.  As we celebrate Independence Day we do reflect on the privilege and gift that independence is.  We understand the importance of the relative peace we enjoy, because it is fragile.  IT could easily go away, and that is a scary thought.

We can have a confidence that goes beyond the strength of our armed forces.  We can join with the Sons of Korah, who wrote:

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

God is our refuge.  Always.  God is the one to whom we can turn, when anyone or anything threatens our peace.  God is the one to whom we can turn when any fear attacks us.

 Therefore we will not fear, thought he earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

There is no certainty apart from our God.  We can search for certainty in science or morals or ethics or the economy, but deep down we understand that type of certainty is but a wisp of smoke.  We can search for certainty in treaties and alliances, but they can and will be broken.  Yet there is certainty in our God:

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.  God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.

Even when..

Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

            We do not fear because…

The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

The Psalm continues in verses 8 as we are beckoned to “…come and see the works of the LORD..” There are many works of our God that point us to his power, his might, and his strength, but there is one that demonstrates all of that and his incredible love for us.  We have seen how God carried out his plan of rescue and redemptions through his Son Jesus Christ.  It was on the cross as sin was consumed and at the grave as death was swallowed up in victory that a true and eternal peace was shown to this world.

It is in Jesus that we see our God’s strength of love.  It is in Jesus that we can always be confident of the peace God brings to us:

He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth… ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’ The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

 

Beautiful Savior’s newsletter articles in 2014 will focus on portions from short Psalms.  These Psalms can be easily committed to memory and serve as wonderful prayers and tools for daily meditation on God’s Word.


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Come Follow Me

Come Follow Me Study

Category:Bible Studies Tags : 

Come Follow MeCome Follow Me is a movie that depicts what it means to follow Jesus.  This movie is based on the Bible and recounts the experiences of one of Jesus’ most prominent followers, Peter.

Peter had doubts and fears, shame and burdens, but Jesus assured Peter of his loving forgiveness. Peter was a faithful follower of Jesus through Jesus’ own power and promise – the same promise Jesus has for you.

Please join us as we examine the themes you will discover in Come Follow Me.

Details:

  • Discussion-based studies of Come Follow Me
  • Sundays, May 4th – 25th 2014, at 10:45am
  • DVD’s available as our gift to you.

These studies will focus on the following segments of the film:

May 4th – In the Upper Room (Download Study Guide)
May 11th – The Denial (Download Study Guide)
May 18th – At the Sea of Galilee (Download Study Guide)
May 25th – A New Future (Dowload Study Guide)

We hope that you will be able to join us!

Your children would be invited to join our Sunday school classrooms during this time. We also invite you to join us in worship at 9:30am on those Sundays.

Watch the trailer!


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From Garden to Glory

From Garden to Glory

Category:Bible Studies,Events Tags : 

From Garden to Glory

Midweek Interactive Worship

Wednesdays, March 12th- April 9th, 2014

These services will blend meditation, worship, and study as we walk with Jesus “From Garden to Glory.”

Soup and salad suppers will be served at 5:30. The services will begin at 6:15 following the supper.

 


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Read the Bible in a Year

Category:Bible Studies Tags : 

Bible in a YearHave you ever wanted to read through the entire Bible?Haven’t found the time? Started, but then gave up?

Beautiful Savior has begun a new initiative to read through the Bible together in a year. We will follow a structured reading plan that even allows for catch up days. Grab a partner for some accountability and let’s read through the Bible together.  The readings will be posted on Facebook and Twitter, as well as sent out via e-mail.

Sign-up for the e-mails!

Like us on Facebook!

Follow us on Twitter!

 


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I Need More…Joy!

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After hastily opening the wrapped package and making the obligatory “thank you’s”, it certainly didn’t take long to turn away from the thoughtful gift as something ho hum.

Then three year old Eleanor came along, stopped by the discarded item, and exclaimed, “What a beautiful gift! Is that yours? You must be so happy?”

As she walked away I thought to myself, “Why don’t I have joy like that?”

At times we have those feelings which cause us to cry out, “I need more joy in my life!” It’s even true at this time of year. For one reason or another we find ourselves lacking joy. There are indications everywhere that joy should fill our lives. Decorations are going up inside and outside. Christmas music surrounds us and cards start arriving daily.

Some days the festive joy does fill our hearts as we excitedly go about our holiday shopping and schedule planning. Yet, deep down we know this joy will not last. Planning becomes overwhelming, schedules start falling apart and decorating gets tiresome. Above all, we know from experience, there will be no joy when we find we don’t have enough money to purchase the perfect gift or when credit card payments come due. All of that may lead us to shout out, “I need real joy! I need joy that will last!”

Here’s some great news. Christmas brings us joy that does last—the true joy found in Jesus.

With a love we cannot comprehend, our heavenly Father gave his only Son, born to be save us. Starting in the manger in which he was laid up until he was placed on the stone slab of a borrowed tomb, Jesus lived the life of perfect obedience all of us are unable to live. Each and every evil thought, evil word and evil deed we have done has been picked from us by our heavenly Father and placed on Jesus. On Calvary’s cross, Jesus bowed his head in death declaring, “It is finished.” These words of Jesus bring us true joy. They mean that all is done and Easter’s announcement “He Is Risen!” guarantees that God our Father has accepted Jesus’ life and death as payment in full for all our sins. Easter’s announcement guarantees the announcement of Christmas: “A Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” True, lasting joy is found in the forgiveness of sins that is ours through Jesus.

While we are in the midst of the season when it seems hard to keep joy in our lives, focus on the true Joy Giver. Ponder again the words of the angels to the shepherds, “Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born. He is Christ the Lord.” Come and worship the Babe born in Bethlehem, and may God the Holy Spirit fill you with a joy that never ends.

Join us this Christmas to hear about the child born to save us!

Christmas Worship 2013 at Beautiful Savior


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I Need More…Knowledge!

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Is school on the brain?  For many of us it is.  We are thinking about school, we are planning for school, and we are doing school work.  School is a huge component of our culture and the rhythm of our life.  Which makes sense, because in school we gain knowledge, and knowledge is important to us. Gaining knowledge satisfies an itch we all have. Who doesn’t feel they need more knowledge? And how about being able to pat yourself on the back for pursuing it and finding knowledge within yourself?

Then again, when you pursue knowledge, do you sometimes feel like a hamster on a wheel?  Do you feel that you’re learning more and more, but also forgetting more and more?  Do you feel that even though you know many things, it still seems like you’re missing something big?

God says all people are the same: “There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God…The way of peace they do not know” (Romans 3:11,17). God says people’s natural capabilities are limited to sinning and rebelling against God. God says people naturally miss something incredibly big when it comes to knowledge.

Think about Adam and Eve when they pursued more knowledge on their own apart from God. They rejected God’s Word and sinned. Look at what their own inner pursuit of knowledge got them, and also what it got us: a world infected by sin so badly that everyone dies.

God knows we all lack the best knowledge, and he wants to fill that void. He does so not by telling us to find it inside ourselves, but by telling us to look outside ourselves. We find knowledge in the Bible. Through his Word, God makes us wise; he gives us insight and understanding (Psalm 119:98-100). That’s because God’s Word gives us knowledge that we can’t find or discover anywhere else.

The Bible tells about Jesus. It tells how wide and long and high and deep Jesus’ love is for people. That love drove Jesus to come to this world, to bear the sin of every person, to die on a cross, to suffer the eternal punishment for all sins, and to reverse the effect of sin.  In Jesus a gate has been opened to you, not to mere knowledge, but to eternal life.   That gate was opened by love—love so amazing that God declares your sins are forgiven because of Jesus. That’s love—love so beyond understanding that Jesus, the righteous one, should die for the unrighteous. And he did! That’s why the Apostle Paul says that “this love surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3:19). In Jesus’ love for you, you have everything you truly need to know, both now and forever.


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September 2013

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Follow the Leader

The last week of August marked a significant milestone in American history. Fifty years ago on August 28th, 1963 the civil rights March on Washington took place, during which Martin Luther King Jr. presented his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. The March was an impressive feat.  Over 250,000 people gathered on the National Mall in Washington D.C. That took organization. That took planning. That took leadership. Not only was leadership important for organizing and maintaining a peaceful march, leadership was also necessary to encourage the people who gathered and give them direction.  It took leadership to rally those 250,000 people.

Leadership is critical to accomplishment.  Without leadership things quickly fall apart, so we look for leaders to emerge in our lives whom we can follow.  There might be any number of people we would look to as a personal role model, mentor, or leader, but isn’t there one person who must be our leader?  Isn’t there one person whom we need to follow? Isn’t it Jesus?

Jesus asks us to follow him.  Jesus asks us to keep him as the leader of our life. When we do that we simply recognize the truth:  “God placed all things under [Christ’s] feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”  Without Jesus our lives would be in chaos and confusion because of our sin, but Jesus has removed that sin and offered us life in his name. Jesus demonstrated his leadership by laying down his life for his sheep. Now his leadership assures us that he watches over all things for our good.  His leadership guides us, encourages us, and strengthens us throughout life’s weary way.

Leadership is also important for Christians when they gather as the church. In Hebrews chapter thirteen God’s inspired writer notes that importance when he writes, “Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you.  Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.”  Whenever a discussion of leadership comes up, a discussion of leadership qualities usually follows.  Notice the qualities mentioned in that verse.  Leaders speak the Word of God.  Leaders live an exemplary life.  Leaders demonstrate strong faith.  In consideration of those qualities, it’s obvious Christian leadership flows from following the leader – Jesus.

Leadership doesn’t always have to bring 250,000 people to gather for a march. When leadership is carried out as we follow our leader, Christ, it often may take on more subtle, but no less important, forms.  Parents are leaders when they teach their children the truths of God’s Word and love them.  A friend becomes a leader to us when we struggle with life’s difficulties and they stay by our side and offer words of comfort and encouragement. As you follow your leader, Jesus, note the examples of Christian leadership around you and look for the opportunities to be a leader.

Reflection:

List the qualities you seek in a leader.

Does your list change in any way when you consider Christian leadership?

What comforts can you expect knowing Christ is your leader?

What challenges can you expect knowing Christ is your leader?

Write a prayer asking God to help and strengthen you when you have the opportunity to be a leader.


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Grow in the Knowledge of Christ

Category:Bible Studies Tags : 

Grow in ChristPeter addresses his second letter recorded in the Bible to those who have received a precious faith.  He then proceeds to wish his audience grace and peace in abundance through the knowledge of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Peter’s words are also addressed to you. You too have God’s grace.  You too have God’s peace.  You too have received something incredibly precious from the hand of our God.  With that precious gift you have you can now grow exponentially.  You can grow exponentially as you grow in the knowledge of Christ.

Kick off your own spiritual growth and join the family of Beautiful Savior from September 8 – September 29, Sunday mornings following worship, as we study 2 Peter and grow!

Check here for the study guides during those weeks.

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4


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August 2013

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Back to School?

Is it really August already?  August means summer is drawing to a close.  August means the pool parties, the days at the park, baseball, softball, and everything else will soon have to fight for room in the schedule along with school.  For many young children, young adults, and older adults as well, August brings the start of another school year.  If you don’t believe that school is here, all you need to do is take a trip to Wal-Mart, Target, or Meijer and you will find the “Back To School” section. It’s filled with pencils, crayons, glue sticks, erasers, pens, notebooks, loose leaf paper, binders, rulers; everything students need as they return to the classroom to learn.

Do you need to go back to school?

For some, those between the ages of 5 and 18, the answer is an obvious “yes,” even if they don’t want to admit it. For others the answer may not be so obvious, but it certainly is a “yes.” All need to go back to school in God’s Word.  All need to continually be enrolled in Bible study.  Over the last several weeks of worship at Beautiful Savior we have heard encouragements to do so in the words of our scripture readings.  In Romans 15 we hear, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”  In Colossians 2 we hear, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” In Luke 10 we saw how Mary sat at the feet of Jesus listening to his word.  God’s desire for all the people he has called as his own is that they constantly enroll as pupils in his school with the textbook of the Bible. Pencils, pens, and notebooks may be valuable tools as we study, but the only thing that needs to be on our supply list is God’s Word: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” (2 Timothy 3:16).

The goal of our study of scripture is not a degree or a diploma.  It’s not so that we can secure a greater salary when we enter the work force.  The goal of our study of Scripture is not even to secure our salvation.  Jesus did that for us when he went to the cross and bought us as his very own with his blood as the price.  The goal of our study of scripture is that we might be constantly built up in Christ. “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” (Colossians 2:6-7)

So, are you ready to go back to school?

Reflection:

What are some ways you can personally enroll yourself in the study of God’s Word?

What special blessings have you found in your own life when you have been enrolled in the study of God’s Word?

Write a personal prayer asking God to strengthen and build you up as you study God’s Word.


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