We hope you will be encouraged by these testimonies shared this morning!

God sent someone to talk to one of my family members about Him, and now he wants more.

Jesus wants you to rest on His shoulders, like a child on the shoulders of a father.

I woke up in the night feeling strange. I called my doctor, but she wasn’t in the office. I got the answering machine instead, and all I heard were the words “emergency room,” and I felt I should go there. I ended up with a triple bypass, and the doctor told me I wouldn’t have lived another month otherwise.

Our Bible study started out with 2 women who wanted to go drink coffee and talk about Jesus. It expanded into a larger group of women, and also a men’s group.

I’ve been praying for some of my family and friends, and I can thank God because I see unbelievable things starting to happen, and I want to thank Jesus, and everyone praying with me.

A friend of mine has struggled with drugs. She finally called me last night and said, “I don’t get this ‘God thing,'” so I was able to talk to her about God in my life.

Jesus invites us to invite Him to live in our lives. He loved us before, He loves us now, and He loves us for eternity.

God healed me. About 7 years ago, I had a stroke. I was unable to sweat on one side of my body. But today, here, I am sweating on that side of my body. And it happened here.

Expect God to move. We don’t know what He will do, but we know that He will.

I’m grateful for the opportunities to help the people I work with.

A family member of mine had a mass by her heart, and now the scans show it is gone.

The Lord loves you. He wants you to know this. Learn to rest in Him and trust Him. The things that weigh you down will begin to lighten. “He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1)

God Will Prepare You

God is prepared, and He is prepared to meet your needs. When He created the world, He was prepared to send Jesus to take away our sins. He is prepared to reveal Himself to you in a new way. Trust Him to do this.

As time goes by, God threads things together, weaving them into a whole that we begin to see.

“Oh, how great is Your goodness,
Which You have laid up for those who fear You,
Which You have prepared for those who trust in You
In the presence of the sons of men!” (Psalm 31:19)

76 “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest;
For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,
77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people
By the remission of their sins,
78 Through the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Dayspring from on high has visited[e] us;
79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1)

Turning on the news is quite the lesson in being prepared nowadays. Violence, economic uncertainty, disease… A person could make themselves crazy trying to be prepared for all these things. Satan would like us to be bound up with fear over these things, rushing around, trying to prepare for any circumstance. But how would God have us prepare? Hear the words of David in Psalm 23:

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell[a] in the house of the Lord

He does not want us to panic. He wants us to recognize that He has time in His hands. The Lord prepared all the events leading to Christ’s arrival on earth. He prepared Mary, Joseph, the wise men, John the Baptist, and all the prophecies leading to His birth over hundreds of years.

To be truly prepared, take in His Word daily. As Jesus was born in the world, He comes to be born in each of us. When He enters into our lives, He brings grace and mercy. “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” (1 Chronicles 16:34)

Through Jesus Christ, coming into our hearts, we are made children of God, and are no longer servants.

“9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2)

Be Born In Me
(a song reflecting Mary’s heart)

Everything inside me cries for order
Everything inside me wants to hide
Is this shadow an angel or a warrior?
If God is pleased with me, why am I so terrified?
Someone tell me I am only dreaming
Somehow help me see with Heaven’s eyes
And before my head agrees, my heart is on its knees
Holy is He. Blessed am I.

All this time we’ve waited for the promise
All this time You’ve waited for my arms
Did You wrap yourself inside the unexpected
So we might know that Love would go that far?

Be born in me, be born in me
Trembling heart, somehow I believe that You chose me
I’ll hold you in the beginning, You will hold me in the end
Every moment in the middle, make my heart your Bethlehem
Be born in me

I am not brave
I’ll never be
The only thing my heart can offer is a vacancy
I’m just a girl
Nothing more
But I am willing, I am Yours

Knowing God’s Will (part 2)

“For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

“When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth.” (John 16:13)

Sometimes we want to make up our own plans and then ask God to bless them. But Jesus said to pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done…”

For some of us, it is time to move on from what we are currently doing. For others, it is time to stand firm in what we are doing.

“And now I am on my way to Jerusalem, bound in my spirit,not knowing what I will encounter there, 23 except that in town after town the Holy Spirit testifies to me that chains and afflictions are waiting for me. 24 But I count my life of no value to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus…” (Acts 20)

Paul was willing to give up his own safety to become a blessing to others. Sometimes God calls us out of our comfort zone.

We live in a time of hurry and rush. Hurry will destroy everything God is trying to do in your life. The most important things in life cannot be rushed. Can you hurry while listening to a child? You can’t. Can you hurry through spending time with the Lord? It is impossible. Jesus was busy, but He was never in a hurry.

“Enthusiasm without knowledge is no good;
haste makes mistakes.” (Proverbs 19:2)

Sometimes following the Lord’s lead can be painful — leaving the comfort zone, or giving up something that is important to you. Perhaps what you have been given is meant to be given away.

Warning signs that what you are doing might not be in God’s will:

  • Making a huge life-changing transition quickly
  • Going into debt
  • Putting someone else in danger or in an awkward position
  • Compromising against God’s Word
  • Causing unrest or division between believers

The Lord has given you specific gifts. He has a will and plan for each of us. You’ll find the most joy in life when you’re operating in your gifts and talents. Ask Him to reveal your gifts to you. What excites you? What are you passionate about?

We often look at disappointments as obstacles, but our disappointments do not cancel His plan, or His presence. Sometimes we hit a disappointment and we quit and walk away. Pray for grace to accept the doors He closes, and faith to walk through the ones He opens. His grace supplies what we need, and He is with us always, even to the end of the earth. (Matthew 28)

If you’re missing out on your calling, you’re also missing out on the joy and peace that come from living in His will. Take your calling seriously — you only have one life to give. It is so much more than eating and sleeping!

When the Lord reveals some of His plan to you, it is wise not to rush out and tell everyone. Instead, let it percolate. Wait for the Lord to prepare you, and others, for the next part of His plan.

God knows the calling He has for each of us; it is up to each of us to discover it. “15 Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise— 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17 So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”(Ephesians 5, HCSB) Also, “15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.” (NLT) Diligently seek Him; you will be rewarded! (Hebrews 11:6)

“You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.” (Psalm 139:16)

Know this: The greater the call of God on your life, the greater the attack of the enemy. So, encourage one another, and pray for one another. Whatever happens, pray for humility. David experienced a great triumph over Goliath, but he did not write a song bragging about it. Humble people seek the well-being of others. Staying humble means God can guide you in His will.

Upcoming Events

Christmas Sunday Service: December 23 @ 10:30a. Candlelighting and communion will be held this Sunday.

Christmas Eve Service: December 24 @ 6p. This will be a very simple service with carols and the Christmas story.

Men’s Bible Study: December 26 @ 6:30p

Ladies’ Bible Study: December 29 @ 10:30a

ChurchLink App

churchlinkApple and Android users now have a new way to stay connected with church news and messages: ChurchLink. Visit http://www.churchlinkapp.com/users, or look up “ChurchLink” in your app store. When you first sign in to the app, you may need to enable location detection (if you don’t have it on already) to find Centralia OBC.

The app is a quick and friendly way to see a nice summary of the church’s blog and Facebook posts. We’re looking forward to experimenting with this app to make it even more useful.

Knowing God’s Will

Right believing produces right living.

Christ Jesus has a plan for each of our lives.  If you believe in Jesus, know that God has a perfect plan for your life.  He only has perfect plans. You already have the ability to hear from the Lord God and accomplish whatever He has called you to do.

Listen to these scriptures that support  this ability you have to hear and accomplish:

“For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].” (Ephesians 2:10)

“[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.” (Phil. 2 :13 NKJ)

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue…” (2 Peter 1:3)

These scriptures teach us that we can know God’s voice and follow His plan for each of our lives.

God speaks to me many different ways….

  1. When I read the Bible there is always a word from the reading that stands out and as I meditate on that word…God reveals something new to me, a fresh revelation!
  2. God will speak to me through various people.  God may use them for correction, teaching prophesying, counseling encouraging, confirming or advising me a word of wisdom or knowledge.
  3. God will send the Holy Spirit to me to comfort, encourage, wisdom, caution, knowledge, speak in tongues all to bring me His peace love and rest.

My faith is a very real and very personal relationship with The Lord Jesus.  He speaks to all of us, today and every day.

So to begin–knowing God’s will requires regular time spent together.  Try not to do all the talking, but listening as well!!

Have you ever been with someone who only talks and really does not ask or listen to you? How does that work for you? God will listen to us but we need to be listening to Him. The Bible is filled with situations where God is talking to people, leaders and nations.

Paul reminds us about the work of the HOLY Spirit.

“But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)” (Rom 8:9 NLT)

How to we keep from misspeaking, or misleading, or misinterpreting God’s voice?

So The Holy Spirit is telling me this…..

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Gal 5:25 NKJV)

So if we are walking in the Spirit, let’s stay in Him, and with Him, because what He has is important, and often it’s not only for you, but for others. The benefit is great because you will experience reward, you bear fruit, you will experience joy and peace knowing you did the right thing.

God will never lead you to cheat people, manipulate people, cause division in church, be dishonest, steal, gossip, murder, mislead or deceive.  God cannot lie and what He tells you lines up with His word.

God will also lead us on a path that goes with our giftings, our talents.  The Lord gave us those talents.  God will not lead you in a way that contradicts your gifts.

Is what you are currently doing preparing you for your future or is this what the Lord has called you to do for the rest of your life? Is what you are currently doing a distraction from satan or, do you have a complete peace about your work?

Paul was speaking to the Ephesian elders for the last time on the beach when he said, “And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead.” (Acts 20:21-24)

Paul would continue to use his gifts. He would continue to preach and encourage the new churches just as he had been doing. At the same time, Paul would be willing to give up his own safety to teach and bless others. How could he do this? The same way he is able to teach it–through God and His grace, given us through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

“So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” (Acts 20:32)

Paul goes on to say, “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” (Acts 20:35)

The Lord’s will may involve sacrifice or pain, but you will grow. As you follow the Lord’s leading, others will benefit, and you will bear fruit.

These might be warning signs that something is not God’s will:
If you have to make a huge life changing decision very quickly…
If you are required to go deeply into dept….
If you are required to put some one else in danger…
If you are required to put some one in a very uncomfortable position….
If you are required to compromise with some one against God’s word….
If it requires you to destroy family ties….
If it causes unrest between friends and other believers…

The Lord has given you specific gifts. The Lord has a will ….a plan …for your life. We all have a specific calling.
People here …on earth….have needs and we are part of the Lord’s plan to meet their needs. When you are operating in your giftedness, you will overcome obstacles. From each obstacle, overcomers will grow from the experience. There is joy and peace in what they do.

If you miss out on your calling, then you are missing out on what God called you to do. We must take our calling seriously.  We only have this one life to give.

If you are questioning or unsure, ask yourself:

What do you enjoy doing?
What do others say you do well at?
What gives you joy and satisfaction?
What gives you peace?
Is it the financial reward or something else?
Are you doing what you love to do or are you pleasing some one else….
Is it your dream or your parents’ dream you follow?

“I can do all things thru Christ who gives me strength.” Your calling and your giftedness is something God knows and gives.
God knows it…..you need to discover it.

Eph 5:15-16 NLT
15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.

Ps 139:16

16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

1 Peter 4:9-11 NLT

10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 11 Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

The Lord has given you gifts to accomplish the assignment. I believe you are not here by chance today.  You are in a place where The Lord can speak to you.  We need to spend regular time in places where God can speak to us.

News & Upcoming Events

candleChristmas Eve Service: Join us on Christmas Eve at 6pm for a traditional service of carols, reading of the Christmas story, and candlelighting.

Men’s Bible Study, “Experiencing the Heart of Jesus,” will meet next on December 26 at 6:30pm.

Women’s Bible Study, also on “Experiencing the Heart of Jesus,” will meet next on December 29 at 10:30am.

The “Tilling the Soil” table in the library is featuring Christmas books and media. Please browse and check them out.

Upcoming Events & Latest News

Experiencing the Heart of Jesus” Bible studies: Next men’s study will be Wednesday, December 12th at 6:30pm. Next women’s study will be Saturday, December 15 at 10:30am.

Ladies’ Christmas Celebration: Plan to attend this event for a great time of humor and fellowship! Theme for this year is “Sweet & Savory” – bring a dish that is either sweet or savory!

Library News: The “Tilling the Soil” table has Christmas items out for your perusal. Stop by, take a look, check something out!

Advent: Today marks the first Sunday of Advent. If you would like to reflect on this special time of year, d365.org is one website offering a special devotional, “Following the Star.”

Please visit the “Events” tab at the top of the page for a more comprehensive listing.

Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled

“Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also. You know the way to where I am going.”“Lord,” Thomas said, “we don’t know where You’re going. How can we know the way?” Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14)

Jesus tells us not to be troubled. He gives us permission not to be troubled.

““Don’t be afraid, Daniel,” he said to me, “for from the first day that you purposed to understand and to humble yourself before your God, your prayers were heard. I have come because of your prayers.” (Daniel 10:12)

Stop and listen to His voice. He hears us! The second half of the story in Daniel is that the angel was delayed 21 days because of the enemy. Even though Daniel waited for 3 weeks to hear a response from God, the Lord heard him right away.

“But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus,[i] because He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1)

Joseph was afraid and didn’t know what to do because his fiancee was pregnant, and not with his child. Things were not going as he’d planned in his life! But he heard the Lord’s word telling him not to be afraid. Why? Because Jesus was coming! In Luke 1, the Lord also tells Mary and Zechariah not to be afraid.

“17 In this, love is perfected with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, for we are as He is in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love. 19 We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4)

Fear is a thief. It will steal your joy, your health, your purpose.If you’re gripped in fear, God’s will cannot be fully realized in your life. God does not operate in our strength; He operates in His strength.