June 4 – Wait, who? – Jabez

Read 1 Chronicles 4:10

“The Blessing” a song that is sung in many churches in the USA and throughout the world. It is an uplifting song and prayer asking God for peace to bless your children, your grandchildren, your great grandchildren and their children and their children. The song is full of scripture verses and is one of the greatest songs I’ve ever heard. It is inspirational and encourages me to live a life that loves other people and to be a good example! It makes me want to honor God with all my heart in everything that I do!

Recently, I watched on You-Tube 100 churches sing it together in New York City to bring a blessing to their city after it became the epicenter of The Covid-19 virus killing over 25,000 people and then their streets were filled with rage, fear and frustration in 2020. In my view, this song brings the house down. It stops me in my tracks.

You can read in 1 Chronicles about a person in the Old Testament named Jabez and how he wanted to go the extra mile with his faith. He wanted to make the most of every opportunity with his faith. He prayed to God and asked that that would happen.

Jabez’s name, according to the footnotes in the NKJV version, literally meant “he will cause pain.” Every time Jabez was called, it was as if he was being labeled as a man who would bring nothing but pain upon the people around him.

He didn’t live that way, however. Jabez became honorable. He rose above the label that was given him since childbirth. This teaches us that no matter what the labels are that are given to us, we can rise above them.

Jabez rose above the label by calling on God for help.

In his prayer, Jabez asked God to undo and nullify the label that was given to him. And God, being merciful and gracious, “granted him what he requested.”

This should bring us hope. Regardless of what the people around us say or how the world labels us, God is able use us for His purpose and bless us. If we pray like the prayer of Jabez, God can lift us up and cause us to be a blessing to all who come in contact with us.

What labels in your life would you like to rise above? In what way can God help in that? Have you asked God to show you how you can be a blessing to others?

Jabez’s short appearance in the Bible gives us hope, that no matter how much the world, even the people we love, try to bring us down, we can ask God for direction and protection from

evil.

Tom Weckesser

October 31 – The 2020 Election – Control

Day 7: Control

“There is a spiritual hunger and thirst, a restlessness in this nation, that cannot and will not be filled with anything BUT GOD.  Joe Biden won’t fill it.  Donald Trump won’t fill it.  A COVID vaccine won’t fill it.  Legislation won’t fill it. The Supreme Court can’t fill it.  Big 10 football can’t fill it.  The only thing that will settle and satisfy the deepest and most intimate desire and need inside of you is God.  Only God.”  – Chad Fisher

Inside of every human is a craving for something bigger than oneself.  We have a God-sized void that only God can fill.  Nothing else can fill it.  No one else can fill it.  Only God.  You know what I know about November 4th?  No matter who wins an election, Jesus is still King and He is on the throne and only He can fully and finally satisfy my life.  May we remember we don’t have control over the future and didn’t have control over it last month or last year.  If this year has taught us anything, it’s how much we’re not in control and need Jesus.

“Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the splendor and the majesty, for everything in the heavens and on earth belongs to You. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom, and You are exalted as head over all. 12 Riches and honor come from You, and You are the ruler of everything. Power and might are in Your hand, and it is in Your hand to make great and to give strength to all.” – 1 Chronicles 29:11-12

Do you trust that God is in control?

Prayer:  God, you are in control.  I hunger for more of You and less of me.  I repent of trying to fill the void in my life with anyone or anything other than Jesus.  Jesus, You are better than anyone or anything.  I trust You.  I know You’re in control.  I know Your greatness and power is on display.  You are the ruler of everything!  In Jesus name, Amen.

Nick Cleveland

February 12 – We are ALL IN!

Read 1 Chronicles 29:17-18

I’m the Creative Arts Pastor at Grace and every week I get to work with our incredible worship staff and volunteers to make sure our 3 worship venues are ready to go. I’m always looking for fresh ways to tell the timeless message of the gospel!

I came to Wooster straight out of Bible college over 10 years ago, and the reason I’ve stuck around is pretty simple: I’m addicted to what God’s doing in this church and community.

Jesus said in John 5:19, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing.”

Jesus kept an eye out for what the Father was doing and He joined in. I want to live as Jesus did. When I came to Wooster, I spotted God doing something amazing in this church and wanted to join in. He’s still doing amazing things today!

Recently, I came across 1 Chronicles 29:17 and I believe it has direction for 2019 and where we’re headed with creative arts ministry. It’s a portion of King David’s final public prayer before his people. It’s like a curtain bow at the end of his legacy, but also looks forward to a new day. This is what I want for our church, beginning with me.

“I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity.”

I want a pure heart. I want to be available and yielded to the Holy Spirit and renounce any instinct or motive that is self-seeking. God, may our creative input be about bringing YOU glory, not us.

“All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent.”

GIVING is the heart of the arts – giving first to God and then to others. I don’t want “making stuff” to be an end in itself. Let our artisans and musicians gift their work in hopes that others are surprised by the joy of Jesus. Let our creations communicate to our church: “Come; Experience what we’ve discovered about Jesus! Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8)

“And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you.”

David had joy when he saw that his contribution had motivated an entire kingdom to respond to God. When we give our best work to our church, it inspires and moves our community to respond to Jesus. Lord, inspire our church to rise up and worship.

I love that I get to serve Jesus and our church family by giving my talents and gifting. What are you giving to the Lord? Is it from a pure heart? Pray David’s words to the Lord today and devote what you have to Him!

Ben Framstad