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The next teaching we received from our Pastor Mike

The next teaching we received from our Pastor Mike; is how we can see the increase of God’s glory by our willingness to show our fruit.
He’s not speaking about fruit such as apples, oranges or banana’s; he is speaking about the fruit of the Holy Spirit that lives within us if we are believers.
In Galatians 5:22 [But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.]
Then Pastor shared how a master gardener takes great care to tend to his ‘branches’ so it can bear better fruit. If the plant looks like it’s not well, it gets pruned so new growth can happen. No branch can bear fruit on it’s own it must be tenderly treated by the gardener.
This is so much like our relationship with the Lord.
As we grow and learn of him we become more in tune to His nature.
We watch and remain in awe as His glory is breaking into a very dark and dim world.
Remember darkness cannot live in light. we also know light produces life.
It is God’s glory breaking into and through our dark places, the places that keep us stuck.
The places in our hearts that need healing.
Jesus said: John 15:8 [“When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings much glory to my Father.”]
The book of Luke says: [A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.
What you say flows from what is in your heart.]
He said it’s like the concept of raising up or lifting up, the word means Airo.
The branch gets lifted off the ground and lifted up so it can grow well.
That concept is for us too.
1. Increase through lifting
2. Increase through pruning
Pruning is not punishment it is to cultivate deeper and more meaningful growth.
The concept of pruning is very necessary, anyone who has ever done a garden realizes that it grows better when you cut back what is not needed.
Then Pastor said, “what you feed the most will grow the strongest.”
John 15:9 says: [“I have loved you as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.”]
So we are to remain, walking in His love, in the truth of who we are and who He is as we abide with Him in relationship.
Trusting in the process of pruning and releasing our fear of what is happening to us.
Our intimacy with God and His love for us is a heart issue. Our heart.
As we encounter and become more aware of His love for us, we allow a new awareness of the fruits of the Spirit and allow them to breakthrough our mind.
Matthew 7:20 [“Yes, just as you can identify a tree by it’s fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.”]
Let us be sure our actions match what we share and proclaim.
Remember the saying, “your actions speak louder than your words?”
Yes it’s definitely something for us to think about as we think about this process.




More teaching notes from our Pastor

More teaching notes from our Pastor Mike on the series, “The Increase.”
I am two weeks behind so I am catching up as fast as I can.
This teaching is called, the increase through God’s glory.
He began with the thought that we live in a celebrity culture.
We get excited when we see them, and tend to point them out in an effort to ‘show’ them off.
In our church we have many of the Portland Trailblazers who attend off and on.
That would be a ‘celebrity’ we would observe and notice and of course they are tall and you really can’t miss them.
Our Pastor is their chaplain and a few coaches have attended with their families.
It is a type of celebrity status although they probably don’t appreciate that ‘kind’ of attention.
Especially off the court and in real life doing family things.
Pastor was saying, the word celebrity comes from the root ‘celebrate’ as in your birthday.
A day of celebration for your unique wonderful person who you are; where you are esteemed and honored.
He spoke of the idea that we can learn to come to church with an expectancy, a breaking forth of what God can manifest through himself to us.
He speaks of how we leave a legacy through who we are; just like God leaves a legacy to us through who HE IS in the brilliant display of His glory.
Then he shared the ‘visual’ of a dark room, and if you were holding a match that brilliance of the flame would enlighten the room. Darkness cannot stay in brilliance. It must leave.

When we see celebrities we often wonder if they have every opportunity to say, it’s not about me, it’s about the gifts given to me; would they do it? That is humility in it’s fullness.
Then he taught that God’s glory must be greater than ours.
1. His increase is MY increase through trusting in His power.
2. His glory is in His love for us.
3. His glory is in His legacy left for us.
Then in turn we can reveal all those for others who are watching us.
He taught us that the enemy (we all have one) will do everything he can to remove God’s glory from us.
He wants to convince us that WE are important and God is not so important to us.
Then Pastor said something I really listened to and clung onto.
“What you behold the most… You become.”
That is a very intense comment and something definitely to think about.
What we behold, what we esteem, what we place value on, WE become.
Makes perfect sense and certainly gives me something to challenge myself about in the next week.
I choose to be thankful that God created me to be a unique and special person.
I do not ever fail to say thank-you to the one who made me and continues to give me breath.
How about you? Are you beholding something that is unhealthy for you?
Is there something that needs to change?
It’s your choice what you want to become like. I pray we all make a good one.

A time for listening and learning

A time for listening and learning.
In the professional writing group I have joined there is a guest speaker every Tuesday
bringing to us new topics and new ideas.
What I am learning about as I listen; the whole point of writing is to become authentic, real and open.
Not spending a lot of time on meaningless words but to focus on words that have value.
Sharing the voice inside and the meaning so that there is no guess work as to what you are trying to share to the reader.
Learning to have white space and less words, listening to the content as you write.
They share the point that if you are a writer there is no down time.
When you have nothing to share and you feel dry and drained, all one has to do is look around, observe the world and discover stories to share.
I see that often if I go to the store, or mall or even church.
Stories of people that I can see, or share or discover.
I am sort of a people person, I love to ask questions and receive ‘personal answers.’
I am also a very private person, but when visiting I like to get into the real ‘words’ with them not the shallow parts of conversation.
The process of writing takes time, maturity and practice.
To take the risk and share and then be perhaps even vulnerable and real at the same time.
The most important part of writing is to remain faithful to the goal, intention and journey.
Everyone’s process is different. Everyone has stories to share and words to write.
It takes discipline and drive to get the words down and the paragraphs written.
Rejection or fear cannot hold you back. If you write with the intention of pleasing others you won’t write it or spend the time learning how to write it well.
This group is teaching me to be true to my message, vision and aspiration as a writer.
It has been money well spent.

Indepence day… a day that means freedom

Independence day is a day that reminds us of our freedom we have in this ‘United States of America.’
Typically it is a day for hotdogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob, rodeo’s and parades.
We must also remember it is a day for celebration of our freedom.
God Bless America, we say with our lips but we must also believe it to be true.
God HAS blessed us and kept us safe.
We can be very thankful for that and for the testimony of our patriotic father’s before us.
Freedom always costs something. Someone has to pay the price.
Remember the veteran who is recovering from serving or is currently serving.
Remember the call to serve their country no matter what that eventually will mean.
Some come home physically and some come home in a box.
Each one of them paid a price so we can remain free.
Our country right now is in a political mess and I just want to say to everyone, be quiet.
Today we celebrate the independence day fourth of July.
Whether you have a family BBQ or a potluck dinner with friends.
Today we all can be thankful for the blessing we received.


The next teaching from our Pastor

The next teaching from our Pastor is a continuation of the topic ‘The Increase.’
This time it was our Pastor Scotty with his Scottish accent.
He begins with the statement, “When the season of your life is busy the best thing you can do is stop.
“Stop and breathe.” Read the verse in Psalm 46:10 {Be still and know that I am God.}
We will find increase when we stop.
Stopping our work to rest in God: Sabbath
Stopping our pursuit of people to be alone with God: Solitude
Stopping our words to listen to God: Silence
Stopping our actions to wait before God: Stillness
There is increase through taking a break and stopping as we lean into the lessons learned.
Scotty said, “stopping rejuvenates us, even God stopped and rested on the 7th day.”
Stopping raises us. It reminds us to remember the sabbath and keep it holy.
Stopping reminds us that we need rest. It creates a discipline within us to stop and be refreshed and to be renewed to restore our strength.
Silence reminds us of our identity and it reminds us of the work God has done within us.
Sabbath is God’s way of saying, stop, notice your limits and be sure to not burn out.
Stopping releases us into the freedom that God has given to us.
Stopping reorients us. Even Jesus went alone to pray often withdrawing to a lonely place to pray. {In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.} Mark 1:35
We are encouraged to make every effort to rest.
{ So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.
10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.} Hebrews 4:9,10,11
When we say, “be still and know” it is a heart and mind relational experience. Like when you say, I know her or him. Relationship status. The word still can also mean cease striving, stop your fighting, calm down, desist and learn in your quiet.
Stopping reveals God to us if we listen and pay attention.
(For example my husband and I go the beach weekly.
When I stop and listen; I feel and hear the majesty of our creator. I can’t help it, it is clear to me all around as I see the beauty.)
Finally stopping increases our transformation. Transformation meaning: a seemingly miraculous change in the appearance;change in form, appearance, nature, or character.
When we truly begin to take time for stopping we become increasingly more aware of our need for quiet, restful and peaceful moments.
Let us be still and know, that He is God.

{Unsure where image came from. Credit unknown.}