8:15, 9:35, 11:05, & 6pm Sunday worship services in Spring Hill at 1001 Chapman's Crossing. Join us!

20 Days of Prayer

Join us for 20 Days of Prayer!
We’re kicking off 2020 with 20 Days of Prayer, which coincides with a new teaching series called “20/20 Vision.”  Between now and Saturday, January 25, we’re opening our building from 6 to 6:30am on Monday through Friday, and from 7 to 7:30am on Saturday.  Join us for a ten minute devotional and twenty minutes of prayer. 

Tap or click on a date below to view that day’s devotional.  We won’t be opening the building early on Sundays—plan to join us at our usual service times!

Sunday, January 5—Join us for worship at 8:15, 9:35, 11:05, or 6pm!

Names are important. Names help us understand who a person is and what they mean to us. They help us understand how we should relate to an individual. Names aide us in setting the framework of a relationship.

Let me give you an example of how a name was important to my family last week. As I was getting ready to put my daughter to bed I walked by the Christmas presents she had wrapped earlier that evening. I noticed that the one that was wrapped for her father said, “to Dad” and then I scanned over to one she wrapped for me and instead of “to Mom” it said “to Arica.” This caught me off guard and I was a little upset. I have a lot of names: Arica, wife, Aunt, friend, daughter, Mom and maybe more. The one I prefer to be called by my daughter is Mom. It is a name I asked her to call me from the time she was born and since then we have built a relationship that is attached to that name. It’s a name that means a lot to me and only four people in this world call me Mom. Names are important.

In Genesis chapter 1 the name God or Elohim is used as he creates the Earth. Elohim meaning “deities” was used up until Genesis chapter 2 verse 4 when something amazing happens. On the seventh day God rests from his work and declares the day holy. Then as the Bible begins to tell the story of how God created man the name Yahweh Elohim is used beginning in Genesis chapter 2 verse 4. Indicating to the reader that is not just God, but now it’s your God. The definition of the name Yahweh is “eternal and self-existent.” Man was created by an eternal God without beginning or end, existing independently of other beings or causes. This is not just any God, but our God. These are powerful meanings. Sometimes in life we can get confused or complacent to who God is. Just like my sweet daughter in the example above we can diminish or lack reverence for the name of our God. This happens because we do not see clearly what it means to worship the God who has no beginning and no end, whose existence does not depend on anything else, a God who does not exist for a certain cause that could diminish, a God who created the entire world then created you and gave you a name to call him by. Yahweh is the name which God reveals himself to his people.

Although this name Yahweh, is used as early as Genesis, the first time God reveals this name to his people is to Moses in Exodus chapter 3. Moses had left Egypt because of a murder he committed. The Pharaoh, his adopted uncle, heard about it and tried to kill Moses. So Moses fled to the land of Midian where he settled, married, and had children. During this time the Bible says the sons of Israel cried out for help from their slavery in Egypt and God took notice of them. God appeared to Moses in a burning bush (talk about seeing God clearly) and converses with him.

Exodus 3:9-15

In our everyday lives we are met with distractions, problems, pain, suffering, and cries for help. These could come from you or maybe you are experiencing this from others. Elohim Yahweh sees these situations and hears the cries for help. You may ask yourself like Moses did in verse 11: “Who am I to deal with this? Who am I to endure this? Who am I to help with this?” But this morning I encourage you to instead see God clearly and ask Who is sending me?

Some of us are enjoying times of creation, growth, happiness and prosperity. During these times you may say to yourself, “what a great job I have done. Look at the great things I have built. The sky’s the limit on my success.” But this morning, I encourage you to instead see God clearly and say, “Yahweh is my creator, he builds, and allows me to succeed.” Yahweh your eternal, self-existent, powerful God is who sends you and is your creator.

—Arica Robinson

In the book of Genesis chapter 22, God tested Abraham. He told him to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac. This very son was promised to Abraham with a covenant agreement that he would have descendants that would outnumber the sands of the sea. Amazingly, Abraham prepared the sacrificial altar and placed his son Isaac upon it.

As Abraham took the knife to kill his son, an angel of the Lord told him to stop. The test had been passed! Abraham had willingly in his heart already sacrificed his son. He had withheld nothing from God. The Lord then provided his own sacrifice by showing Abraham a ram that was caught in a thicket.

Have there been times in your life when God has asked you to sacrifice? There have been many times in my own life when God has asked me to hold all things loosely and be willing to “sacrifice” something. Perhaps he asks me to give a monetary gift to someone in need, perhaps my time for someone who needs a listening ear, perhaps a leadership position so that someone else may take the lead.

I am amazed that the Lord also provides more than “things” for his children. He also provides comfort, grace, wisdom, mercy, restoration, deliverance and eternal life. Let’s go to Him with confidence knowing that He loves us and is our God who provides – Jehovah Jireh.

—Lyn Krueger

In Psalm 23 we see that the Lord is our Shepherd and that we shall not want. That doesn’t mean we won’t want nice things – cars, homes, clothes, etc. It simply means we will always have as much as we need. Psalm 34:9 -10 says, “Oh, Fear the Lord ye his saints for there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack and suffer hunger but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.”

Also, Philippians 4:19 says, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Many times our wants overwhelmingly exceed our needs. My wife and I sold our home a few years ago and as our new home was being built, we had nowhere to live. We spent the summer of that year living at friends’ homes and carried a small amount of our possessions in our car. We didn’t miss having anything! Since then, we have done a lot of downsizing! For Christmas, we even started giving our kids and grand kids some of our family memories and hand-me-downs to enjoy before we pass on.

If He is our Shepherd, then we are his sheep. In the book of John, it says that “my sheep hear my voice and they will follow none other.” Let’s take every opportunity to trust Him as our Shepherd. God is good at being a shepherd. He loves to lead us and take care of us at all times. Let’s start thanking God for what we have and remember that he works all things out for our good!

—Terry Krueger

Jesus is known as the Great Physician. (Mark 2:17)

He forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases. (Psalm 103:3)

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)

But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds, because you are called an outcast. (Jeremiah 30:17)

Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it. I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. (Jeremiah 33:6)

He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and open up the prison to them that are bound. (Isaiah 61:1)

He took our infirmities and bore our sickness. (Matthew 8:17)

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you, not as the world giveth, give I give unto you, let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27)

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God , which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7)

Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness. (Psalm 30:11)

—Larry Gill

He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. (Psalm 23:3 ESV)

Why does God lead us and take care of us? We can probably list a number of reasons. A popular one may be, “Because of his love.” We know that God is love (1 John 4:8) and that we are to love above all (1 Peter 4:8). While these are true about God and love, they aren’t the only reason he takes care of and directs his people. Scripture teaches here that he does it “for his name’s sake”.

This isn’t an isolated verse or reason for God doing what he does throughout Scripture. We read in Ezekiel 20:14 that he took care of the Israelites in order that the foreign nations wouldn’t profane his name and the list of verses could go on. This can be a hard concept to grasp. We would say a person is conceited and self-centered if they do things or help others simply to look good, and have people fawn over them. But with God, this is no mere cockiness or arrogance, it is profound love.

In Psalm 109:21 we are told that God deals on our behalf because his steadfast love is good. God can be loving and also care about his name without the negative connotations that may seem to accompany it. He isn’t any of these negative things, because he is the best, because he is the strongest, because he is the kindest, because he loves the most and the greatest! And because of all of these things he deserves his name to be praised as he is above all other names.

In fact, God would be unloving if he made any less of himself, because drawing people to him will ever be for their greatest good. Understand this and be encouraged that we will be led and be taken care of by the Father, because he has a name worthy to be praised!

—from Short Daily Devotions

Prayer time

      • Pray that God will guide you in the path that you are on to restore your heart every day.
      • Pray for us as a church to be selfless and love others like Jesus would.
      • Pray that God would help us be in love with Him throughout our days.
      • Pray for us to understand God’s love that he has for us.
      • Pray for to restore our love for the lost and those who are far from Jesus.
      • Pray for God to become Lord of our lives in every way, in our homes, jobs and schools.
      • Pray the name of God would be lifted up in every part of WellSpring.
      • Pray for God to mold us into his likeness.
      • Pray for God to restore peace in our country and world.
      • Pray that we submit our lives to God.

—Cam McLaughlin

This week our devotionals have centered around the many names of God. Today we focus on maybe the most glorious aspect of him: El Olam, meaning God Everlasting.

He is forever, from the beginning until the end. Moses proclaims this in Psalm 90: 1-2

1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. 2 Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

God will always be exactly who he says. He is the love that fills us. He is the peace that steadies us. He is the grace that sustains us.

El Olam is our everlasting hope and our future, and he desires to be near us. He hopes to live in us to the degree that each decision we make centers on his holiness.

In verse 12, Moses says: “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Each day is an opportunity to engage in Holy time with God so we can grow in His Word.

As we set aside Holy time, we begin to understand how much he loves us. When we focus on him, our hearts open his great plans.

He sent the Holy Spirit to guide us every day. He knows we are busy with many priorities. We can easily get caught up in them and feel desperate. We may find ourselves with Bible in hand and the noise of the world blasting. Only when we clear the airwaves and seek silence will we come to understand a conversation with him, the most Holy One. In the silence, he will fill our hearts with wisdom and hope.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says:

…He [God] has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. He will be with us until the day he calls us to our eternal home. We can live each day filled with joy and the expectation of meeting our Him in Heaven. Nothing is as solid as his plans. We can be confident in that.

—Ruste Foster

Sunday, January 12—Join us for worship at 8:15, 9:35, 11:05, or 6pm!

“Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; Prone to leave the God I love: Take my heart, oh, take and seal It, with Thy Spirit from above.”

These lyrics from the beginning of the third verse of the hymn, Come Thou Fount of Many Blessings, by Robert Robinson and John Wyatt, anchor a truth that many often neglect, deny, or the effects of which at least are chosen to be minimized.

In fact, the human heart’s neglect in dealing with our spontaneous tendency to wander from God was a theme around which God structured the daily life of the Israelites in the Old Testament, via the various offerings, including the burnt offering and the sin offering.

When one entered into the Tabernacle, one was immediately confronted with the Altar of Burnt Offering, on which all the offerings were made. In particular, there were the burnt offerings of devotion (a twice-a-day national ritual each and every day: Numbers 28:1-8; Exodus 29:35-46), and the sin offering for confession and forgiveness. This was followed by the laver of washing, at which the priests were to cleanse themselves.

While the ceremonial and sacrificial parts of the Old Testament Law have been ‘fulfilled’ by Jesus’ perfect sacrifice, the Tabernacle can nevertheless serve a model to teach us what approaching God should look like, symbolically.

Such a model has, autobiographically, assisted me in realizing that coming to God in prayer is more than rushing in with what I have come to call my ’53 second tyranny of the urgent list’ of requests, skirting around the Altar and laver, to be followed by rushing through the Holy Place, by the lit candlestick and table of showbread, and then thrusting my ‘urgencies’ upon God’s incense altar, only to then leave without spending quality time with the God located beyond the inner curtain.

Isaiah 59:1-2 speaks with sobriety to such actions: “Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”

We kid ourselves with such behavior. In what might be the most poignant Scripture on this topic, the Apostle John breaks down the importance and centrality of ‘being up-to-date in our confession’. Consider 1 John 1:8-2:2:

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves …”: We have a sin nature!

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive…”: Forgiveness is available!

“If we say we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar…”: Don’t kid yourself!

“My dear children…”: This passage is talking to believers, not unbelievers!

“I write this to you that you do not sin…”: Now, that’s the standard!

“But if anybody does sin…”: But, that’s reality!

“We have an Advocate, Jesus Christ the righteous…”: There is no lawyer like Him, ‘24/7’!

“He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins …”: Every base can be covered by Him!

“And not only for ours but…”: Everybody can be covered by Him!

Let’s not approach God without being devoted, and clean, before Him. There is simply nothing like being ‘up-to-date’ in our confession in order to have a great conversation with God.

Selah, meditate on these things.

—Doug Henry

I am about to blow your mind. The idea of thanksgiving is to…give thanks. Crazy right? Now, we know what this means. Giving thanks, at its foundation, is an expression of gratefulness to another person. For example, I give thanks to my wife who let me get early showing tickets to the new Star Wars movie. I believe most of us grasp this concept from an early age where some parent, guardian, teacher, minister, etc. taught us to say “Thank you” to those who gave us presents, time, a kind word, and so on. It would, then, make sense to express this same kind of gratitude toward God. David writes in Ps 69.30, “I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.” We are to be grateful for the many things God has given us an done for us and it would be super easy to make a list of those things, but I believe there is a second part of thanksgiving that we do not think about as often.

When we give thanks to God, we are not simply expressing gratitude. We are also expressing our dependence on Him, and ultimately, that is what matters. We are acknowledging that we cannot get through life without Him. Even more foundational is that we are completely dependent on Him to even exist. We are also completely dependent on Him to be freed from our sin. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15.56-57 “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” God has done so much for you. He has put people in place who love you: family, friends, teachers, and ministers. He has put you in places that have helped you grow: schools, churches, and jobs. He also sent His Son to die for you, so that you could have the opportunity to live with Him in Heaven for eternity. There is so much to be thankful to God for.

Prayer Time

        • Simply thank God for the relationships he has put in your life. Family, friends, employer, etc. Any relationship that brings you joy and challenges you to grow.
        • Simply thank God for faith-filled blessings. God’s creation, His grace, His guidance, His patience, His consistency, etc.
        • Simply thank God for material possessions He has given you. A home/shelter, food, clothing, clean water. Even the smaller things. Maybe it is concert tickets or that tool set you have been wanting.
        • Thank God for our identity in Christ. That our sins are washed away, that we have new life in Him that we can have peace when life goes crazy, that His Spirit lives in us.

—Drew Bromm

Have you ever wondered why God made you…you? And who would you say you are, anyway?

That’s a question we don’t often ask people when we’re getting to know them. Instead, we say, “What do you do?” And then, to us, their answer becomes their identity.

In work and social circles, we even introduce people by what they do. “This is Phil. He’s my accountant.” Or, “Hannah is my favorite barista.”

I’m a writer and editor who loves nothing more than getting lost in a good book and to learn something new.

Another way we define our identity is by our relationship to others. I love being a wife to Doug, mom to beautiful daughters (best job in the world!), and grandma to the most wonderful little people on the planet. I would hope I’m a good friend to many. Again, we’re born with roles like these, or usually take them on at some point in life.

But if my job and my relationships were all tragically taken away, it still wouldn’t strip me of my true identity.

Our performance, or the current status of our relationships, do not define who we are at our core.

All the good works we do—whether roles in relationships, acts of service, or making a living—flow out of our identity, not vice versa.

So what does define our identity?

In Ephesians 2:10, God tells us plainly who we are: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (NLT).

When I think of a masterpiece, I think of something like the Mona Lisa. Her value didn’t come from anything we think of as spectacular from our physical world. Basically, she’s globs of oil paint on a piece of wood.

And yet, she’s in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most highly insured painting on the planet. Today, the painting’s estimated worth is $2.67 billion dollars and she didn’t have to raise a finger. Her worth came simply because of who she was—the marvelous work of an incredible artist named da Vinci.

And so it is with us. Our identity as His masterpiece by far exceeds any definition of worth we humans can dream up. Wealth, beauty, success, ambition, charm—none of that increases our value as a precious child of God.

Prayer Time:

As we pray this morning, I’d like us all to reflect on who God is, and allow God to remind us of who we are. When we remember that our Creator God designed us down to the last DNA molecule, all the distractions vanish and our purpose becomes clear. What we do doesn’t define who we are. Who we are informs everything we do.

—Lyneta Smith

Contentment is a powerful word. Standing alone, it generally appears as more of an Ideal, and less of an Achievable.

Who is Contentment for? Buddhist monks (or is that Enlightenment?). Rich people, who already have it all. Hippie types who don’t care how they smell or where they sleep. People who don’t have responsibilities. Folks who aren’t trying to run their own business. Super-old people who have already peaked. People in other countries who don’t really have an option to get ahead. Lazy people who don’t have the gumption to get ahead.

It is usually easier to think about people who have a deep sense of Contentment in such general terms, simply because, when it comes to Ideals, well, we don’t know too many folks who fit the description.

Take a few moments to think about the people you know. In that crowd, which individuals or couples exemplify Contentment, in the way they live, they share, they live peacefully? I’ll wager the list is short. I’ll also wager that it is because we tend to think of Contentment as a Point Achieved, as in “with this last purchase, I am complete!” or “Now that I’m pulling in $XXXXXX per year, I now know pure satisfaction!” But that’s not true at all.

I once was on a mission trip with a man who taught at a local community college. He was a very nice man, pleasant to work and talk with, always seemed very happy. But he was kinda weird. Not like most weird people are weird, either. No, his weird took at least 2 days to start to notice. If you had a week, you’d know beyond the shadow of a doubt. It wasn’t based on his personality or hair choices or hygiene or politics… it was… well… it was his clothes. Years ago he had decided that clothes took up too much attention in his life. You had to shop for them, buy them, wash them according to specific instructions, coordinate them, fold them or hang them or store them in the off-season, own certain clothes for different occasions… all of which is… pretty legitimate, actually. So his solution was to wear one type of clothing: a set of light blue Dickies coveralls. Sort of a like a custodian might wear. So he purged his clothing collection and bought 7 sets of coveralls.

Every day he looked exactly the same—a guy in light blue Dickies coveralls. He could get dressed in the dark. Anyone wanting to coordinate with him never even had to call him. No one was ever surprised, thrilled, or disappointed in his outfit when he showed up. Over time some of his coveralls became worn, maybe even lightly stained. Those he labeled as Grade B coveralls, which he tended to wear for labor-intensive activities, such as mission trips. Eventually he had Grade C coveralls, which were reserved for mowing the grass or changing the oil. Beyond that they were simply discarded.

In this one area of his life, he had set a standard by which he lived, and had decided to be content in that. I wanted to be content, too; it’s just that I didn’t want to look like him while being it.

His contentment was not Achieved… he hadn’t stumbled upon the perfect shade of light blue and reached Nirvana. He hadn’t discovered that one specific type of cloth would make you feel whole. He hadn’t lucked into just the right brand or right buttons or right pockets or right price. He didn’t accomplish, through some goal or act, this point at which he found Contentment. His Contentment was based upon a decision and a discipline: he had drawn a line in the sand, determined that he would be satisfied with it, and then learned by following through consistently.

Contentment is much more a Mental game than a Physical one. Undoubtedly this man saw the occasional shirt or suit or shoes and thought, “Man, that’s a sharp looking outfit. I wouldn’t mind looking that good.” But instead of acting on it and heading to the mall, he simply said, “Nope.”

Since you rarely win a Mental game without having a plan, and the plan in this case is to identify the problems of Discontentment.

Discontentment says:

“God has not blessed me enough. I’m able to look into my life, at all I have, and say that I simply have not been given enough. God has been insufficient.”

“God does not understand my needs. He just doesn’t get what it takes to take care of me in the fashion I deserve, or must have. God has been inconsiderate.”

“God cannot take care of me in the future. He has not satisfied me so far, how can I expect Him to do better from this point on? God has been inadequate.”

Of course, WE would NEVER say those things! We would only feel them. I mean, wait, no, I mean we would only think… AGH! No, wait, those are BAD things to say, or feel, or think!! Yet when we yearn for more with a must-have determination, isn’t that essentially what lies at the core?

iBelieve.com offers a “Prayer for Radical Contentment”. Here’s their suggested formula:

Seek it—Acknowledge to God and to yourself that MORE does not help. MORE is not what you need. Mark 10:25 says, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” The indication here is that having MORE is not only unhelpful, it would likely hinder us in our pursuit of Godliness—and Eternity. Instead of seeking MORE, start seeking Contentment.

Say It—Start actually saying to yourself, “I have enough.” And not just in your head. SAY it, so that your ears will hear. Perhaps your family will hear. Perhaps a stranger will hear. Rather than yearning for more, start praying “God, how can I use what I have for You?” Better than craving increase is craving purpose, and God will supply all your needs.

Settle It—Choose a lifestyle that takes care of your needs and comfort adequately, rather than luxuriously. Do not let your income choose it, or you will simply end up spending more. Do not let the Culture choose it, or you will end up living beyond your means. Choose it yourself, and use the excess (Excess Money???!) to bless and minister to others. Psalm 62:10 says, “Do not trust in extortion or put vain hope in stolen goods; though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them.” Set your heart on things above, not on earthly things.

The bonus of choosing your own lifestyle is that you can customize it. Choose a lifestyle that is Biblically based, Eternally focused, and Others oriented. And regularly pray to God, “God, I have enough, because I have You, and I will trust each day that You have me.”

Philippians 4:11-13 New International Version (NIV)

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

—Keith Buddemeyer

Who or what do you put your security in on a daily basis?

_____________, _____________, _____________, ______________, __________, __________

At different times in my life, I have put my security in different people, abilities or circumstances.

*Job, *Spouse, *Family, *Church/Spiritual leaders, *Education, *Health, *Bank account, *401K, *etc…

What happens when these fail you, disappoint you, or go away? Is your faith shaken? Does your life fall apart? Do you end up on an emotional roller coaster?

The reality is you can lose your job, your spouse can divorce you or pass away or become ill, your family can make decisions that hurt you, your child can be taken from you, your church leaders can let you down, you can be given a terminal diagnosis, your bank account can be wiped out, the stock market can crash, etc…

Even if we are making good and wise decisions, there are still a lot of the events that happen in our lives that are out of our control. We do, however, have a choice in whom we place our trust.

Our security should be placed in Jesus. If we place our trust in Him, our lives will not be shaken when the “storms” of life come.

Read these scriptures and answer the following questions:

Matthew 7:24-27 – According to this parable, upon what did the wise man build his house?

Psalm 16:8 – Who did the Psalmist set before him? Why?

Psalm 18: 1-2 – How does the Psalmist describe the Lord in this passage?

Psalm 71:5 – According to this verse, what happens when we put our confidence in the Lord?

1 Peter 5:7 – What command does Peter give us?

My security needs to be in the character of God, not in my ever-changing circumstances or in the people in my life. What do you know about God’s character traits that allows you to put your confidence in Him?

List some below:

Loving, faithful, ____________, _____________, ____________, _____________, ____________, ___________, _____________, _____________, ____________, ____________.

Because God is the same yesterday, today and forever, I do not need to worry about my circumstances. My future is in His hands and in His control. Regardless of what happens in my life, I am commanded to keep my focus on Him and trust His promises.

—Kindra Adams

If I were a bettin’ man, I would say that almost none of us have specifically used the word “integrity” in our prayers within the last year or so.

That’s not to say that integrity isn’t important to us as Christ followers, it’s just that we typically assume that integrity is a byproduct of following Christ, and as such doesn’t usually require specific attention. I for one am quite guilty of putting integrity on the back burner. So, before we dive into some integrity centered prayer, lets look at what the scriptures say on the subject of integrity, both in our application, and in God’s application. We will start with the latter.

1. God is perfect integrity.

One of the best attributes of God is his unfailing, unwavering, nature. God is incapable of breaking a promise. Hebrews 6:13 says: “For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater to swear by, he swore by himself”. It was Hebrew tradition to swear by something higher than yourself to signify your sincerity in a promise. God having nothing above him, is already perfect in integrity and has no one to swear by other than his perfect self. God is accountable to no one. And is perfect in trustworthiness. Joshua 21:45 details Joshua’s personal account of God’s faithfulness, as he looks back on God’s work in giving Israel it’s promised land. “None of the good promises the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed. Everything was fulfilled.” Joshua 21:45. God is Trustworthy.

2. Our integrity is judged by God and not by fellow man.

1 Samuel 16:7 says: “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or his stature because I have rejected him. Humans do not see what the LORD sees, for humans see what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart.’” In comparison to the people around us, it isn’t that difficult to be perceived as a person of integrity in today’s day and age. But our standard is Christ. God isn’t concerned about people finding out you lied, stole or anything else. He is concerned about his relationship directly with you and as such, our strive for integrity is integrity before the LORD who sees all things and knows all things—even the things that are done in secret. Praise God for his incredible mercy and grace towards us!!!!!

3. We are to pray for integrity.

Integrity is not natural, sin is. Romans 3:13 states (among a longer list describing our dire condition) “Their throat is an open grave; they deceive with their tongues. Vipers’ venom is under their lips.” So if integrity is not natural for us, that means that effort has to be put into having true integrity. As such we find prayers of integrity throughout the Bible, the most notable is David’s prayer in Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way.” We also see that the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22) include faithfulness and self control. And finally it could be argued that the model prayer that Christ gave us, (that is what we call the “Lord’s Prayer”) refers to our integrity (among other things) in Matthew 6:13 “And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one”.

Prayer Time

1. Thank and remember God for his perfect integrity.

2. Repent of the times we have fallen short in our integrity before God and seek his forgiveness.

3. Pray that he would make us men and women of integrity through His mighty power.

—Nick Paton

Sunday, January 19—Join us for worship at 8:15, 9:35, 11:05, or 6pm!

A boy was sitting in church with his mom and dad, but couldn’t sit still. And then he couldn’t keep quiet. After trying to settle him down, dad finally said, “If you keep this up, I’m going to take you outside and give you a spanking.” But his son just couldn’t help it. Dad scooped him and put him over his shoulder and as they walked down the aisle to go outside, the boy said loudly enough so that everyone in church could hear: “Please pray for me!”

Why do we pray?

Sometimes we pray because we are scared (which is a good reason to pray). Sometimes we pray on behalf of someone else and a situation they are going through. Sometimes we pray out of gratitude. There are a number of good reasons why we pray.

But there is another reason why we should pray.

We should pray for alignment.

God’s desires, plans, and heart are, sometimes, different from our own desires, plans, and heart. And often God is focused on things far, far beyond our own desires, plans, and heart. We need to see that God is moving, not just in our own life, but in the lives of all people. God is moving, not just in our church, but in churches all around the globe. We tend to get focused on the here and now, but God’s desire, plans, and will are moving all of us toward eternity.

Aligning ourselves with God’s desires, plans, and heart means being “Kingdom-minded.”

And being kingdom-minded means that we see things the way God sees them. It means being focused on eternity. It means making God’s Kingdom the center of our life. It means giving top priority to the advancement of those things God is involved in.

When Jesus taught us how to pray in Matthew 6, He said, “Here’s how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done.’” Jesus is teaching us that when we pray we should align ourselves with God’s Kingdom and God’s will.

What God is doing is much bigger than you and me and we should be a part of it. There is nothing wrong with being real with God on a personal level. But we should also pray seeking to become more Kingdom-minded.

Prayer Time

        • Pray for others.
        • Pray for other churches.
        • Pray for your ministers/pastors.
        • Pray for God to be moving in the lives of government officials and politicians.
        • Pray for God’s will to be done in the concerns we see happening around the world.
        • Pray for unreached people groups to be reached with the good news about Jesus.
        • Pray for the salvation of those who are far from God.
        • Pray and align yourself with God – be Kingdom-minded.

—Barry Clark

We all are called to serve God’s mission with an outward focus towards others.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

Our outward-focused use of our God-given gifts takes the focus off ourselves, and points us towards God and those who need what we have to share. We are never happier than when aren’t focusing on ourselves.

We are blessed to be a blessing to others. And as we share our time, talents, and treasure with others, we end up being more blessed as a God-given by-product, like living waters that never run dry.

We are called to serve our families first, to be the most devoted and faithful husband, wife, dad, mom, son, or daughter possible. But we aren’t to be so busily self-focused that we miss the needy world around us. If we’re too busy to see needs outside our four walls, it’s time to adjust our schedules.

There is something unique that only you can share with this hurting world, and you’ll only find it when you take the time to pursue it with all your heart. When you hear God say “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23), you’ll be so grateful you joined God in His outward-focused mission of love.

Guidance for Prayer

Thank God for His great love for you. Take time to recognize that you are fully and completely loved, right now.

Open your heart and mind completely to God, making yourself available to all that he would want to do through you.

Invite God to search you and know you, and to reveal anything He would like to change or remove from your life as you prepare to serve Him in a deeper way. (Psalm 139:23-24)

Ask God to remind you of the specific things He has helped you overcome. Then ask Him to show you how to help others who are in bondage to the same things.

Pray that God will show you where He has gifted you: where your passions and gifts intersect a deep need in our world. Matthew 25 is a great starting point: those who are hungry, thirsty, alone, needy, sick, or in prison.

Offer yourself to God: “Here I am, send me!”

Now, pray for those to whom God is sending you. Pray that they will receive all that God has for them. And pray that as a church, WellSpring believers will join together to make a huge impact in our community.

Thank God again for His mercies and grace, and for His willingness to use you to accomplish His purposes in our world.

—Doug Smith

Church. That single word means something different to each of us. For some, it evokes the image of a simple building where everybody knows your name and potluck meals abound. Others envision arena-like auditoriums, seating for thousands, and a sensational worship service with laser shows and fog machines. The word “church” can bring memories of healing or pain, judgment or grace, power struggles or humility, disgraced megachurch pastors or meek servant leaders.

Despite our impressions of the word, however, we almost always have this in common: we think of church as a place where we go instead of a movement that we’re a part of. We go to work. We go to school. We go to the beach, to the grocery store, or to the movies. And we go to church.

While that idea of church is common, it isn’t exactly biblical. So let’s look at a few passages that will shed light on what the church is and should be. But first, an aside: It’s easy to fall into the thinking that we have to do things EXACTLY the way the early church did it. But we’re never commanded to mimic the exact practices of the first century church (Jesus wasn’t creating a replica of the Old Covenant, whereby keeping certain rules, regulations, and practices ensured our holiness). Few of us would argue that God is offended that we don’t wear robes and sandals, or that we don’t have the early church’s exact recipe for unleavened bread, or that we project lyrics to worship songs onto the walls of our auditorium. God used a first-century church to reach a first-century generation, and He’ll use a 21st century church to reach our generation. Our methods will change. But the heart and mission of the church are the same now as they’ve always been. Now….on to the Word!

Read Acts 2:38-47.

From this passage, we learn a few things.

        • The church grows numerically as the good news is shared (vv. 38-41). Sometimes that growth can be astronomical!
        • The church recognizes that everything is spiritual (v. 42). They enjoyed teaching AND fellowship. Eating together AND prayer. We shouldn’t limit the church’s scope to things like singing, sermons, communion, and prayer. We need to make time for seemingly-mundane, not-traditionally-church things. Things like sharing pizza and honest conversation about parenting with another family…or taking time to pray with and for a stressed-out waitress…or talking about our faith while watching a Little League baseball game.
        • The church is in awe of what God is doing (v 43). Are you begging God to show up in your day-to-day life? Are you expecting him to answer that prayer? And are you bragging to others about Him (giving Him glory) once He does? It’s good for the church to share stories of God’s power and faithfulness!
        • The church looks more like a cult or a holy form of communism than we’d like to admit (vv. 44 & 45). The idea of being together, having everything in common, and selling property and possessions to take care of needs is really odd in our independent, private, skeptical American culture. Many of us would be VERY concerned if a loved one joined a religious group that touted common possessions and a devotion to selling off personal property to take care of the group’s needs (“If they offer you Kool-Aid, DON’T drink it!”). But radical generosity and a shared sense of community are part of the church’s DNA.
        • The church meets together every day in the temple courts and homes (and they like it!). Verse 46 shatters the idea that the church only meets weekly for a worship service, or that a pastor or church leader has to unlock a building for a church meeting to occur. Any time believers gather, the church is meeting. How much different would your life look if you were spending time with other passionate Christ-followers multiple times a week…not out of obligation, but with glad hearts? How encouraging would that be?
        • The presence of the church is a blessing to its community (v. 47). The gospel is literally “good news.” A church bringing good news will very likely enjoy the favor of its community as it serves, loves, shows grace, and offers the hope of Jesus. And eternities will change!

Maybe you’re reading or hearing this and wondering, “How did we get here? What changed about the way God’s people think of church? And how can I maintain the right mindset about the church going forward?” As the people of WellSpring, let’s challenge ourselves in these two ways:

1) Commit to the structure and design of the church.

Read Ephesians 4: 11-16. It’s interesting that God put the church’s leaders in place to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church. It’s easy (and common) to sit back and cheer for church leaders as they do ministry. “She’s such a great teacher! He’s such an amazing communicator! Their music is so impactful!” But this passage shows that WellSpring’s leaders are to primarily be about equipping the church to do ministry. WellSpring’s pastoral staff, in other words, should function much more like coaches than star athletes.

Additionally, note that Christ is the Head of his body, the church. The head is the most defining and critical part of the body. It’s our command center. Our thoughts, our direction, our personality…they all come from the head. Instead of looking to Christ as the head of the church, however, we are often guilty of trying to put a church leader in that role. It’s easier to get our direction from Francis Chan, or Andy Hudelson, or Beth Moore, or almost anyone else with a microphone and a platform. But ultimately, the church must look to Christ. As a side note, this is incredibly freeing! Jesus will never disappoint you. Jesus will never make a bad decision or send a poorly-worded tweet. Put your hope, faith, and trust in another human, however, and the odds are pretty good that you’ll be disappointed at some point in the future. If that person has been the head of the church in your mind, that disappointment will likely become a general disillusionment with the church.

Finally, note that the church (the body of Christ) reaches its full ministry potential when each part does its own special work. God brought you to WellSpring for a reason; over the long term, that reason is probably not to sit in a chair for 60 minutes every Sunday. Do not believe the lie that you have nothing to offer the Kingdom, or that a sin, hurt, or mistake has permanently disqualified you from being an effective ambassador of Christ. If you don’t have a good handle on what your role is in the body (how God is using you in the church), pray for Jesus to reveal that to you! Our LifeTrack will also help you connect those dots (more info is at WellSpringChristian.org/LifeTrack).

2) Commit to the mission of the church.

The gospel of Matthew ends with Jesus’ stirring call to action in Matthew 28:18-20 (take a moment to read it). The primary mission of the church isn’t to feed the hungry, or to save the rainforests, or to build houses for the less fortunate. All of those things are wonderful and important, and they’ll happen as God’s people respond to the gospel in tangible ways. However, the primary mission of the church is to go and make disciples…baptizing them…and teaching them to obey Jesus and His commands. And we are to do that with the certainty that Jesus is right there with us as we’re doing it!

This passage is often referred to as “the great commission.” It’s effectively the mission statement for every believer (and for every body of believers). WellSpring’s mission, “Helping people follow Jesus,” aligns beautifully with the great commission. So…how devoted are we to that mission as a church? How effectively are we carrying it out? Or, to make it personal…how devoted are YOU to the great commission, and how effectively are YOU carrying it out? Perhaps you need to wrestle with that question, and to ask God to give you a passion for this great mission. Ask Him for a heart like His…a heart that yearns for people to be reconciled back to Him. Close to 1,000 people claim WellSpring as their church home. Imagine the breathtaking, life-giving results if all 1,000 of us lived with a radical commitment to making disciples in our city!

The church is messy. The church isn’t perfect. The church doesn’t always get it right. But the church is also the bride of Christ, and we’re promised that we’ll one day be presented to Him without spot, wrinkle, or blemish (Revelation 21:9, Ephesians 5:22-33). You’re the church, and so am I. Let us not limit ourselves to “going to church.” Let’s BE the church. Let’s carry out this great commission together every day, and watch how God starts to move through us!

—Scott Hancock

1) Let’s let the dictionary help us get started:

Definition of “Lost”:  Unable to find one’s way; not knowing one’s whereabouts.

Definition of “Community:  A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.

As defined by Christians:  A group of people living among us that are unable to find Christ on their own.

2) Scriptures to help:

Psalm 69:13    Romans 11:11    Titus 2:11    James 5:19-20

Luke 15:4-7    1 Timothy 2:3-4    Joshua 1:3    Psalm 84:11

3) Can we agree of the premise that:  “God calls us to pray and reach out to the unsaved?”  Part of Wellspring’s mission is: “To reach the unreached within reach”.

4) Have you ever gone on a Prayerwalk or Drawn a Circle of Prayer?

Prayerwalking can be described as “Praying on-site with insight.” 

Drawing Prayer Circles teaches us a new way to pray.  Draw an imaginary circle and join others as you circle in prayer.

5) As we move into our prayer time, let’s go outside and circle WellSpring’s facility. 

Ask that our eyes be open to the needs of our “Lost Community”.

Pray that WellSpring will always have the programs and resources available that the “Lost Community” needs.

Focus on one of the scriptures you looked up as you walk.

Take your Prayerwalking to your neighborhoods and pray for the needs of the homes you pass.

—Dave & Karen Spirk

Roman Emperors Claudius and Nero were among the most vile, oppressive dictators in history. The Roman senate was full of corruption, greed and scandal. Early church leaders were sometimes plagued by division as opposing sides differed on how to approach the Roman occupation.

It was in this setting that Jesus launched His Church… a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell would be able to keep it out.

How did God navigate His Church through these turbulent times?

Psalm 121:1-2

Gal 3:26-28; Colossians 3:9-11

1 Timothy 2:1-4; Titus 3:1-2

Colossians 3:15

Matthew 16:13-18

1 – Luke 6:15 – Matthew worked for the Romans as a tax collector. Simon was a Zealot – a group who wanted to drive the Romans out by force.

2 – Galatians 4:4-5

3 – Matthew 16:18 (MSG)

—Andy Hudelson

Saturday, January 25—Come to our main auditorium at 6pm for a night of worship!