Time for Some R & R with God by Loren Nofsinger
“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.” Acts 3:19-21 (NASB)
It is a cold winter day. You have worked hard shovelling snow in the icy cold. You are tired. You have no energy left. Your heavy winter clothes feel like they weigh 100 pounds. You finally come inside, take off the wet, snow-covered clothes, put on a warm sweater, clean up, and lay in the warmth and comfort of your living room. You begin to feel the chill flee your body. Energy begins to return as you sip a warm drink, and you think, “I’m refreshed. I’m ready to carry on.” When we are tired or have gone through a particularly trying time, nothing feels better than doing something that revitalizes us.
Revitalizing may come from many avenues but normally it involves rest and the partaking of food or drink. We recharge our batteries by resting and taking on more fuel. This will refresh our bodies and our minds, but there is a refreshing that the Bible refers to that rejuvenates our spirit.
There are only a few references to being refreshed in the scriptures but they are significant. We find in Exodus 23:12 Moses explaining the laws pertaining to the Sabbath and why they should keep the day holy. It was for them to honor God, to rest, and to have the Lord refresh them. The Sabbath rest that we now have includes peace, joy, freedom, security, grace, and refreshment. All of which are found in God. In His rest
and presence we are refreshed and renewed.
In Jeremiah 31:25 God speaks through the prophet and tell the exiles in Babylon that when they return He will refresh all those who are weary. He will not only bring them home, but He will see to it that they are reinvigorated, restrengthened, and revitalized to carry on their lives. He provides a way out for us and then makes sure that we can move on by replenishing us.
We see this principle clearly in Acts 3. Peter is speaking to the Jews in the temple about their ignorance and participation in the crucifixion of Jesus. Peter states that they had killed the Author of life. They were not in a good place. Peter did not diminish their predicament but showed them the way out. If they would repent and turn back to God, He will not only forgive but make a way for “times of refreshing.” As they were restored back to fellowship with God, this refreshing was to come from the presence of the Lord.
Restoration to fellowship with God is amazing in itself, but God then refreshes, gives us His rest, feeds us with spiritual food, allows us to drink from His fountain, restores our soul, reinvigorates our vision and purpose, strengthens our hands for the tasks ahead, and heals all of our wounds. Peter spoke of these times as coming on the heels of repentance, and rightly so. I believe that these times of refreshing can also come whenever we have need of them. When we are stressed, tired, fatigued or facing difficulty He comes and refreshes us. At other times, we draw near to our Father and are in His presence just enjoying His fellowship and He refreshes us.
We have also seen where He moves sovereignly upon the church as a whole, pours out His Spirit on the body, and He refreshes us together. These times of corporate refreshing are wonderful. God reveals His hand to bless and revitalize the body so that everyone can see His commitment to and His intervention into our lives. The body is subsequently infused with new faith and vision to see His work advanced. Are these times of refreshing revival? No, but, I believe they are precursors or forerunners
of revival because God has showed His love and power to His people and as they call out for more and draw nearer, revival is not far off.
He is a God that restores, renews, revives, and refreshes. I am glad that He does all these things and that He does them all at the right time. So, when the winds of refreshing are needed, draw close to God, put up your sails, catch the wind of the Spirit, and let Him revitalize you.
Think God by Angela Hughes
Think Hawaii. Think surf, sand, sea. Think blue skies. Peace and quiet. Think coffee. Good hot coffee. A quiet moment. On the deck. Warm sun, slight breeze. Think movies. Think books. Stories, plots you can get lost in. Think friends. Joking, laughing, sharing. History. Stories. More laughing.
How do you get your energy back? How do you get refreshed? It can vary from a week’s vacation in an exotic place to just going to bed early! We’re all different and we re-energize in different ways, but when we are weary, really weary, and we need refreshing, there really is only one source: HE RESTORES MY SOUL.
As tempting as it may be to curl up on the sofa, put on a movie, unplug the phone and lock the door, there are times when that just won’t cut it. It had its place, it worked last week, but this week…I need…refreshing. Super-charged, get-up-and-go, take on the world, yes I am actually alive and kicking, refreshing!
As already pointed out, in Psalm 23, it states, “He” restores my soul. I have had to come to the realization that only God is the restorer of souls. No-one else. Nothing else. Those other things may help for a while, but at the end of the day, it’s only God whocan breathe His supernatural breath into my soul and cause it to prosper, be in peace, and sing. Isaiah 40:29-31, “He gives STRENGTH to the weary and INCREASES THE POWER of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
According to this scripture we will:
1) Have strength.
2) Increased power.
6) Not get weary or faint.
Over the years God has given me practical tips Not me. It means surrender. When I surrender totally and try not to be a control freak, He turns up in an intimate way and it is awesome!
One way that God has taken me by the hand and led me to new levels of previously inexperienced places is in our Deeper meetings. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when we embarked on the monthly Sunday night gatherings. The first thing I thought was, “Oh good. Worship!” and then I got practical. What shall we sing? Who can play? What are we going to do for two hours? Gradually, as the months went by, the power of His presence in those meetings began to affect my life. I found the closer I drew to Him the hungrier I became. The more He turned up, the hungrier I was. I became totally convinced there was far more. That somehow, a happy contentment had stolen from me the desire to pursue God and know Him on a deeper level than I ever had before.
God began to move out of a 2 hour slot on a Sunday night and into my week. He would wake me in the night and speak to me. I began to have frequent dreams where answers would come at me. I would be driving through town and begin to cry because His presence in my car was so thick. I found His love would wrap me in a blanket of warmth that kept out the cold of lack. I found Him. All over again. And in this process of devotion HE RESTORED MY SOUL. I was not even looking for it. He just did it. And I realized a restored soul is part of His benefits when I drew near.
Having strength, having power, soaring, running, walking, it’s all part of being in Him. It is not separate. You don’t wait until you are down and out to go find Him and ask for
restoration. You don’t wait until you are exhausted to get filled again. You just live in Him. All the time. Every day. Think Hawaii? Oh yes! Think coffee? For sure! Think movies? Certainly! Think friends? Absolutely!
Think God? ALWAYS!
At Sofia’s two week check-up, her doctor found a click in one of her hips. She wanted to send Sofia to the hospital to get an ultrasound done to show what the bones looked like. If the bones were out of socket, she would need to wear a harness. However, we did not want to believe that our child would have to go through that discomfort. We asked if we could get her hip rechecked in a couple of weeks due to insurance issues and that was fine. During those two weeks we prayed for her hip to be healed and that when we brought her back to the doctor the click would be gone. However, at the next check-up, it was still there. We anointed Sofia with oil and prayed for her healing. We took her to the hospital a few days later and the report came back saying everything was normal! Praise God that He is our Healer…no matter what our age!
As a reporter, shooting, writing, and editing my own stories was part of the job, but the current direction of the industry worried me. I realized I needed to do something else and spent the past two years looking for a new job. Driving home from my vacation this past June I heard a song on the radio with the chorus, “I could really use a wish right now.” I had been dreading my return to work and that chorus became my prayer to God. I walked into work and received a separation agreement from my boss because my seniority and pay were higher than other reporters. Initially, I panicked. However, while on vacation I received a job offer. God went above and beyond. I was able to take off the
month of June with pay knowing there was a new job with better pay and better hours waiting for me. My new job is amazing; it is all I want and allows me to take my idea
and run with it. All praise to God Almighty.
As a student in School of the Word Canada, I am unable to work so, I started to run out of money rather quickly. I had no money for rent and no money for a bus pass. I went to God with the verse in Malachi that says, “Put me to the test.” Despite the fact I had little money, I gave all the money I had. That week a neighbor asked me to mow their lawn
and I received the exact amount that I previously gave. The next day God said to me, “You put me to the test and see that I will not throw open the storehouses of Heaven.”
So, I came to God with the expectation that there would be something more because God multiplies the seed sown. Four hours later I went out with some friends and they presented me with a gift from their parents. It turned out that I received enough money for my rent, a bus pass, my tithe and an offering. Praise the Lord!
Update on Haiti
Update on Haiti
by Vickie Kay Welton
Six weeks after the earthquake, Stephanie, a young Hatian mother, limped into the Double Harvest Mission clinic. With her fractured back, it was a miracle she could walk and without immediate surgery would become a paraplegic. The clinic I was working in was not equipped to handle her case and our lead doctor immediately made arrangements for a helicopter pick up.
When the earthquake tore through Haiti at the end of January 2010, I began praying for Lord’s direction about using my nursing skills to help. Less than two weeks later with much prayer and support from my husband and trusted friends, I left for Haiti on team from Grand Rapids that was assigned to Double Harvest Mission, which is about 1 hour outside Port-Au-Prince and left unaffected by the quake.
The mission’s two operating rooms, a birthing room, and a small PACU (Post Anesthetic Care Unit) are not enough and the patients and their families were grateful for a bed and a roof over their heads despite the make-shift patient wards made from converted garage bays, tarps, and plywood. The walk-in style clinic consisted of an orthopedic surgeons, a family medicine doctor, and a general surgeon. In our 16+ hour days, hundreds of patients received care, over 60 surgical procedures were performed, and 6 babies were delivered.
Years of malnutrition and unsanitary living conditions prevented patients from healing well; they were often taken back to surgery to have wounds cleaned and bones reset. In spite of challenges like these, help continued to flow in. A team from Spain arrived and measured patients for prosthetic limbs, two truck loads of previous patients were helped in addition to those at the hospital.
One patient who had lost a limb and almost everyone in his family said he was full of hope. When asked why, he replied that the world has come to Haiti and the corruption in our government is now exposed for everyone to see. He said now he has hope that things will have to change and that he will be able to get a decent job. One of our interpreter’s wife and son were killed in the quake but he took only one day off to mourn for them and was back to help us. It was individuals like these who inspired the whole team.
When I was passing out evening medications, I would sing and dance in the patients wards. They in turn would sing their worship songs and dance sitting in their beds. They didn’t understand me and I didn’t know the words to their songs but we were worshipping the same God.
The Lord gave me strength to see and hear about many horrific situations. Prayers truly sustained me. We were told that a witch doctor up in the mountains had put a curse on the clinic. I honestly thought “big deal.” Nothing can stop us from serving with the Lord at our side!
So much work is still needed. Please don’t stop praying for these people even when the media cameras are gone. I know the Lord is watching over Haiti and many good things will come out of this.. It was a privilege to serve.
The rocks in Haiti cried out; the earth roared and the world came running. Seeing nations from around the globe everywhere I turned was awesome, but more important Christians brought the Prince of Peace to minister to the Haitians.
Mission 50 Trip: Go Southwest
by Hanna Dugan
It is Thursday, July 8th and we are nearing home after eleven days on the road. We have driven over 6,000 miles and our van is smeared top to bottom with the bugs that have accompanied us on our mission; some joined us early in game, and others were picked up somewhere in California. We have eaten more than thirty meals on-the-go. We have had the pleasure of staying in gorgeous hotels and the thrill of the “not so wonderful” hotel. We have camped. We have almost run out of gas … twice. We have seen America in a whole new light. This is definitely the adventure of a lifetime.
And as I sit in the car just a few miles from home, my mind struggles to recall all we have done, all we have seen, and everyone we met. Much of it seems a blur as we accomplished so much in such a small span of time.
One thing has become infinitely clear and keeps running through my mind: this is what we are called for, to stand as the people of God, before the leaders of this land and proclaim blessings to them. To pray with them unashamedly and to bring the kingdom of God right into the offices where they make their decisions. To offer uncompromised support and overflowing wisdom. We have been called to a position of great authority, even in the company of rulers.
Mission 50 is a reminder of what you, as a child of God, are called to. As a team we were able to meet with men and women of high standing all throughout the Southwest. We had appointments with the Governor’s chief advisor in Salt Lake City and the Lieutenant Governor of Idaho. On a previous trip the team was able to meet with the Governor of West Virginia. Even when the only available staff was the head secretary or assistant, we were certain that we met and blessed the right person. He set up meetings with the perfect people because he wanted to touch their lives. Mission 50 is a call to live outside of the ordinary, outside of your routine, and completely within your calling.
There is always talk of taking the nations; talk of taking this and that nation across the globe. It is easy to forget that one’s own nation is at our feet and in our backyard. Mission 50 is an incredible way to take hold of the kingdom of God and bring it to the men and women who oversee the United States.
Your journey starts with prayer and ends with action. Pray about where God is sending you and GO!
The Prophetic Arts
by Jed Kasica
Ever since the birth of the church in first century A.D., the arts have been commonplace amongst the believer’s community. From the construction of huge intricately designed cathedrals with their beautiful mosaics and painted walls, to the songs of worship sung by the congregation. The arts have been an important part of church history as well as church outreach and growth. Recently, there has been a growing movement amongst the Christian Arts community in which the very art that is being created is not just for entertainment but also more importantly for communicating the word of God.
Art is about communication. An artist’s purpose in a painting a picture, designing a piece of architecture, or writing a song is to communicate. They may be conveying an idea, a belief, a story, or an emotion. Art is such a powerful tool for communication that it has been used in the study of history as a way of understanding cultures and peoples, their ideas, their beliefs, and their stories. And it is effective because it overcomes any obstacle that different languages or illiteracy can cause. If someone cannot read, they can still enjoy art. If someone is in a foreign nation and does not understand their dialect, they can still understand their art. One needs only the ability to see with their eyes and hear with their ears to appreciate a piece of art; having it communicate to their mind and touch their hearts.
The prophetic is also about communication. All of God’s people are prophetic people. The Holy Spirit dwells within the believer and it is through the Holy Spirit that a Christian has the ability to be prophetic. What many people do not realize though, is that the prophetic voice inside them is for more than just Sunday mornings. It is a voice that can speak to and through many areas of a Christian’s life. That voice is what can inspire an idea, making something that is just good into something that is great. Specifically in the area of the arts, it is what can inspire a song or a painting to communicate the heart of God, which will change people’s lives. In fact, when Christians decide to reach to God for an their artistic inspiration, the result is a piece of art inspired by the Creator of the universe, that can touch the very depths of one’s soul, able to bring revelation and encouragement, and communicate what God is saying to His people and to the world.
At The Point Church this fall, we will be hosting a Prophetic Art Show. As the time draws near, we encourage you to seek the Lord and draw from spending time with Him an inspired idea of creativity that you can share with the church. It does not matter if you are artistic or not, God can speak to anyone and give them the ability to do what He asks. As a prophetic people let us go down new avenues of creativity as we seek the Lord this year.
Fresh & New
By Loren Nofsinger
I like new things. I like fresh things. I like the smell of new cars and I like the feel of brand new socks. I like the fragility and potential of new babies. They are completely helpless, yet have the world of possibilities in front of them. I enjoy the challenge and excitement of new ideas. Nothing tastes or smells better than fresh baked bread. My toast only has 10 seconds before butter can be spread or the moment has been lost and I settle for mediocre toast. The first warm breeze in the spring after a long winter brings the hope and excitement of change. I like fresh and new things.
My list, as well as yours, could go on. Even those of us who are resistant to change enjoy some new and fresh things. Who doesn’t like new socks or babies? We all can get trapped in, fall in love with, or be forced to endure the same old ways of our lives, but I believe there is a part of us all that yearns for change and freshness.
Since we are made in the image of our Father, it is no surprise that we find ourselves appearing to be contradictory at times about change. Our Father is a God who does not change. He is from eternity past to eternity future the same. We can plant our lives and our faith on His unchanging nature. Yet, His mercies are new every morning. He shows Himself to us in an ever changing manner. He has progressively revealed Himself throughout the Bible. Each new revelation only adds to our understanding of Him, but He never changes. When we see God do something we may never have seen before, we are seeing a new facet or side of Him, not a new ‘god.’ Even as we spend eternity with Him, we will not discover everything about Him; it will be an ongoing unfolding of His character and goodness that will surprise us and delight us forever.
God never changes yet He is always fresh and new. His mercies are new every morning, and He puts a new song in our hearts. Everything He touches is transformed and renewed. Where His river flows in Ezekiel 47, it turns salt water into fresh water. The Psalmist encourages those in their old age to remain fresh and green, always bearing good fruit (Psalm 92:4). In Revelation we see God create a new heaven and a new earth. The tree of Life is there bearing fresh fruit every month. He never changes, yet His character always produces freshness and new things.
So how are we to live if we are to reflect Him in this world? I believe there are core values and truths that we live by and on which we never compromise or change. These beliefs and values are never to be boring or stagnant, but in themselves they must produce life and fruit. If they do not produce fruit, but produce death and stagnation, they do not originate in Him and must be dropped. Outside of these core values everything else is subject to change. We all have our preferences in food, music, art, clothes, and, of course, sports teams, but these are really just preferences. Wars are not normally fought over which genre of music is the best or which hamburger is the tastiest. Our preferences will lead us into many energetic discussions, but should not develop into heated battles. We bring our preferences into our life in the Kingdom of God: styles of worship, types and length of sermons, dress codes, décor of the building, level of the sound, correct temperature, pastoral attire and grooming, parking lot etiquette, and activities and freedom of the Holy Spirit in a meeting. I am sure the list could go on. Preferences are not evil or bad, they are a part of what makes us who we are. The danger comes in allowing our preferences to tell God what we will or will not allow. Wisdom is found in knowing what is in our lives that cannot change, and what can and must change to always stay fresh with God and man.
The God who we love and serve never changes on the core themes of His manner and character. Yet, He daily presents Himself and His Kingdom in new and fresh ways. One of the joys of being in God’s Kingdom is to know and depend on His steadfastness, yet wake up every morning to see what He is doing new and how He will reveal Himself differently today. Let’s live in the certainty of His unchanging nature and the expectancy of His creativity and freshness. What’s new today, Lord? We’re in.