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Change Your World In 52 Days

Nearly 2500 years ago, a young exiled Jew in Iran with a high-profile government job learned some disturbing news about his homeland: Jerusalem was in complete ruin, particularly the walls around the city. Jerusalem was the spiritual ground-zero of his faith, representing the home and presence of God—the City of Peace.Nehemiah was so heartbroken that he cried for days. The news implied more than walls of rubble; it appeared that God’s plan for Israel itself was in ruin. And that devastated him.
Through a series of divine appointments, the young Nehemiah began an adventure that would change the course of his life… and discovered his destiny. In an astounding fifty-two days the walls around Jerusalem were rebuilt.
 
The New Testament unabashedly claims that disciples of Jesus are now God’s house. But what if we suddenly realized that our “
spiritual house” was in disrepair and vulnerable? And what if we discovered in Nehemiah’s historical narrative a metaphor for rebuilding our lives when we feel devoid of real meaning, passion and significance?
 
Beginning February 1st, our White Springs’ family will be taking a unique challenge to “change our world“. As we dig into the book of Nehemiah, we’ll begin to examine our lives and to evaluate the condition of our own “spiritual house” personally, communally, and globally. What will we find? And, more importantly, what will we do about it?
 
Spiritual vitality and power doesn’t just happen any more than physical health and strength does. Over the course of 52 days, we’ll tap into Nehemiah’s story—with daily readings to stay on track, family-building gatherings to unify us as a body of believers, and outreaching opportunities to minister and win others for Christ —and build a strong house to withstand life’s challenges.
 
Will you join me on this journey? Will join me as we overcome all the obstacles, distractions, and naysayers? Will you join me in discovering the destiny God has for each of us personally, the destiny God has for White Springs, and the destiny that will “change the world!”?
 
My prayer is that you will begin right now to prepare the foundation of your heart. May you clear away the rubble, till the soil, fill the holes, and pack it down so its a rock solid base for us to begin repairing and rebuilding the walls of our “spiritual house“. 
 


Praying in the Spirit: A Model for Prayer

For years I have used the A.C.T.S. model (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) for teaching and leading in prayer. However, recently I have learned a new model that I believe goes a step further in guiding us to pray powerful, spirit-filled prayers that call down the mercies of God.  We will never be able to experience the fullness of God, until we understand how to effectively communicate with God.
Our prayers need to be more than the repetitive jargon we throw up before meals and at bedtime. In 1Thessalonians 5:17 we are charged to “pray without ceasing“. Our prayer life needs to be an ongoing conversation with our heavenly Father and the only way that can happen is when we have the mind of Christ. The P.R.I.S.M. Model can be a guide to help focus our minds as we lift up praise, confess transgressions, interceded for others, make God-honoring request, meditate on His Word, and listen for what He has to say to us.
There are so many things that compete for our attention, that Satan uses to distract us from a powerful prayer life. He doesn’t want us to communicate with God. He does’t want us to access the power of prayer. In order to vanquish anything the enemy wants to use against us, we need to purpose in our hearts to give priority to establishing a strong and fervent prayer life. Are you ready? Let’s get started!!!

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How’s Your Week Been?

Guest Post by Kevin Ogle

Wow – can I say… I am sooooo glad this week is almost over!  It’s not been good.  To say a little stressing/irritating/overwhelming/hectic… are slight understatements.  More like… I want to crawl under a rock and curl up.

Anybody feel my pain? Anybody had weeks like that?  Yesterday was the tipping point for me… I heard a wise friend say earlier in the week something like this, “I’m not angry because I CHOOSE not to be.  Anger is an emotion that we choose.  Nobody can make you angry unless you make the choice to react angrily.”… Ok, he may not have said it exactly like that… but that’s the gist of what I took from the comment.

Well let me tell you… after a week of separated shoulders, wasp stings, strained backs, twisted knees, missed budgets, forgotten calls, misinformation, poor communication… I CHOSE to be angry.  It wasn’t pretty…

So you know what happened on my drive home from out of town… I started thinking… Can I look back on this week and define it as successful?


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Thoughts Running Around In My Head…

Guest Post by Kevin Ogle
 
Are you like me?  Do you ever find yourself thinking random thoughts… and those thoughts start running around in your head… and you can’t really dismiss them, rather, you actually start to explore a deeper meaning to them??  Sound crazy?  Familiar?  Let me give you an example…

What does Ferris Bueller and the Apostle Paul have in common?  On the surface… deep down… anywhere you look… NOTHING.  But these things pop up in my mind and I can’t shake them!  So I’ve settled on the following, maybe Paul would identify with a famous quip from that 80s comedy that still causes me to drop what I’m doing and watch(for the umpteenth millionth time) whenever I’m flipping the channels.  You still wondering?  Here it goes… “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Moving at the speed of life can take its toll.  Just getting out of the house is sometimes a little overwhelming…

Don’t forget the thing with your folks this weekend and I need to be at the school to pick Jacob up at 5:30, so can you take Katie and Caleb to soccer and I will get supper going and then I’ll meet you at the church, but we have to leave early ’cause they’ve got school tomorrow and the homework’s not done, and remember, you’re s’pose to help Katie study for her science test… oh, and don’t forget we have a pool party this weekend for soccer and you have to cut grass and we have a thing Saturday night at the church and another soccer game Sunday afternoon for Caleb… have a good day”.


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Do You Still Have NO Faith?

Easter Sunday is past. We enjoyed the celebration of the risen LORD. But, now what?…Where do we go from here?… Back to our everyday life?… 

Over the last several weeks, a number of our Sunday School small groups have been in a study entitled “Like No Other”. These groups have looked at different aspects of Jesus and how He was promised like no other…had a birth like no other…has power & teachings like no other… how he experienced a death & resurrection like no other… and how he ascended and is to be exalted like no other. 

It always amazes me how scriptures I’ve read a thousand times are constantly revealing itself in a new light. Throughout this study one question continually stuck out to me and also began to reveal itself through other studies and messages. “Do you still have no faith?” from Mark 4:40b. 

To give a little background, the disciples had just spent the day hearing Jesus teach and seeing Him perform incredible miracles. Now they found themselves on a boat in the middle of a raging storm and Jesus is sound asleep. At that moment, fear dominated their minds and hearts. Out of that fear they asked, “Teacher! Don’t you care that we’re going to die?” Mark 4:38b Jesus responded by getting up and calming the wind and sea. Then, he posed that fateful question, “Do you still have no faith?” 


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BE MY GUEST?

Just this week I received four postcards from four different churches inviting my family to church on Easter Sunday. Drive any direction around town and I’m bound to see a billboard or yard sign beckoning me to attend church on Easter. You’ve also seen them and received them. However, I want to offer you something paradoxical. Don’t come to White Springs because its Easter.
 
I know what you’re thinking. “Is he crazy?”
 
“The pastor is telling us not to come to his church because its Easter. We always attend church on Easter.”
 
Instead I want you to come to worship at White Springs next Sunday, not just because it’s Easter, but… because you desire to praise and worship the Lord of heaven and earth… because you need a church family… because you need authentic Bible teaching… because you’ve been hurt… because you’re not sure where you belong… because you need the truth… because you’ve messed up… because you don’t know where to turn… because you need answers… just because……
 
Come BE MY GUEST next Sunday and EVERY SUNDAY at White Springs Baptist where you are always welcome just as you are!
 


Why do we celebrate Easter?

Once, I heard a faithful church member describe some people as “E.C.O.S.” attendees. They attend church on Easter, Christmas, and one Other Sunday.
Why is it that some people choose to participate in corporate worship only a few times a year? Maybe, it’s tradition (It’s something we’ve always done, like hunting eggs or wearing a new Easter outfit). Maybe, it’s out of obligation to someone (Grandma expects us to be there with her).

Therefore, brothers, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way He has opened for us through the curtain (that is, His flesh), and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.    Hebrews 10:19-25


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Do you know… that you know… that you know?

Last Sunday in our message on the demonized girl of Acts 16, we discovered some very interesting characteristics that I believe warrant further investigation as it pertains to each of us personally and ultimately to our church family. It begs us to examine our own hearts and ask, “Do I know… that I know… that I know that I am saved? Am I a true follower? Or am I just going through the motions?” Please stay with me as we briefly look back at some key points from Sunday and then move forward to the points of question.

 The writer of Acts clearly stated that the girl was possessed by an evil spirit and “was bringing her masters much profit by fortune telling”. Acts 16:16-18 tells us that day after day this girl was around a “place of prayer” (a church) there in Philippi. This was a place where followers of Jesus Christ were gathering. Her masters were using her to take advantage of those who were there to worship. Then upon Paul, Silas, and their cohorts’ arrival, the girl begins to daily follow them around proclaiming; “These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.”


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Give it one more shot!

As everyone knows, I like to work-out. It’s a way for me to relax while giving me an opportunity to contemplate my agenda for the day.  Most mornings when I arrive at the gym there are only a few people.  However, over the last month or so, the gym has been packed!  People running on treadmills. People lifting weights. All in an effort to fulfill their “New Year’s Resolutions”.  I see this every year. In January, the gym will be overflowing with people trying to change something about themselves. Usually by February or March, they are no where to be found. 

Exercising our spiritual lives can be the same way. We have good intentions that eventually fizzle out.  We start out praying everyday, reading our bible each morning, being faithful to attend Sunday School each week, or committing  to an area of ministry. Then, life happens, priorities change and things begin to fall by the wayside. We miss out on opportunities to spend time with God, to grow in our faith, or to minister to others.


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Where ya headed?

When people ask about a church their inquiries typically are about the size of the congregation and the style of worship. Better questions would be “Where are they headed?” “What is their mission?” “What is their vision for fulfilling their mission?”
 
 
Most people have heard the phase “where there is no vision, the people perish”. Because the church is a living, breathing family of believers, this addage also applies. When a body of believers no longer look to the future and envision where their church can go… where it can reach… where it can serve… where it can express… where it can equip… where it can worship… where it can glorify God… it becomes self-centered and stagnant, then eventually begins to decay. A visionless church does not grow, it does not reach out, it does not not make an impact for the kingdom of God. It becomes like the religious hypocrites that Jesus denounced in Matthew 23.

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