Friday, September 25, 2015

Adopted + Mountain People + Pray

Adopted + Mountain People + Pray
Points to pray on behalf of our adopted Mountain People

On May 24, 2015, Ridgecrest adopted two people groups, the Phunoi and the Akha, who live in SE Asia. Upon doing this, we agreed -- as a church -- to show them the Light of Jesus. Pastor Chad said, "Maybe we can't all go, but we can pray. We can give financially." 

Many of you took magnets and wrist bands as reminders to pray for these people. Our missions pastor, James Copeland, has shared, below, ways in which EACH OF US can pray on behalf of our adopted people groups.

1. Pray for God to soften and prepare hearts to hear the Gospel.

2. Pray for God to raise up people among the Mountain People who will be curious and interested in hearing the story of the Gospel.

3. Pray for opportunities for Scripture translation among these people.

4. Pray for God to send workers to these people. 

5. Pray for wisdom for Ridgecrest, as we develop methods of presenting the Gospel to the Mountain People.

6. Pray for finances to be readily available to send teams to Southeast Asia.

7. Pray for God to begin working in the hearts of some who could one day come to know Jesus, and lead others in the villages to Jesus.

8. Pray that God will open the hearts of the governmental leaders to the Gospel.

9. Ask the Lord to bring forth a triumphant church among the mountain people for the glory of His name.

10. Pray that Ridgecrest #rbcMissions teams will have favor with the government, as well as with the people in the villages.

11. Pray for the development of "The Hope" video project, as this will make it possible for many to hear the Gospel.

12. Pray for God to prepare people from Ridgecrest to go to the Mountain People, whether short-term or long-term.

13. Pray for many Mountain People to respond to the message of the Gospel.

14. Pray against the darkness of Buddhism and tribal religions, that the truth of the Gospel would shine brightly.

Encouragement | He Is Personal

Encouragement from the Character of God

He Is Personal
by: Julia Bennett

The Almighty God, Creator of the world, is everlasting, all-powerful and sovereign, yet He chooses to step down to our level and get in our lives.

Through scripture we see that God didn’t just create the world and let it continue on without Him, as some believe. From the beginning of time He interacted with mankind on a personal level. In Genesis, He was watching out for the first man and going above and beyond to meet his needs. The fact that the God who created us puts us at the forefront of His mind is nothing less than incredible. 

God showed that He cared for people and the details of our lives all the way through the Old Testament, using ordinary people for extraordinary things. The greatest example of His desire to know us intimately and personally came 2,000 years ago, in the New Testament, when He humbled Himself to take the form of His creation (Philippians 2:5-8). 

He became a man. 

Jesus was the embodiment of God in the flesh, He bridged the gap between heaven and earth so we can access God through Jesus anytime. All we must do is follow Him. God coming to us, to live in and through us, is the most personal thing He could possibly do. 

“He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth,” (John 1:10-14).

God pursues all of humanity, drawing us to Himself. Many reject Him. But knowing He personally desires every person is key (2 Peter 3:9). He cares for you. He does not just "like" you sometimes, but He is fully head-over-heels in love with you. If you are in Christ, that means you have a personal moment-to-moment relationship with Him. He not only cares about our hearts and our eternal destination, but He cares about each detail of our lives. 

Knowing He cares about the details of our lives is encouraging because we can be confident He has not forgotten us. He is in control. We are not alone. Did you hear that? You are not alone. You are loved. You are treasured. Even when other people move on and leave you, God is still there to reassure you of your value. He is there in the storms to hold your hand and lead you. Trust Him, walk with Him and know the Lord of all creation loves you personally.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Encouragement | He Is Strength

Encouragement from the Character of God

He Is Strength
by: Julia Bennett

Not only is our God the God of peace, He is the God of incomparable strength and power. We know He is big and strong; after all, He created the world. His power is even more than that though. The incredible creation we see in the world is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to a show of His power. He is powerful enough to change lives, heal the sick and brokenhearted; He conquered sin and, through His power, defeated death! Wow, that is our truly powerful, strong, mighty God. Over and over in Scripture we see His power. He parted the Red Sea, planned out the rise and fall of great kingdoms, saved sinners of every kind and made the greatest sacrifice in the history of all eternity - conquering death by giving His own life. That is one powerful God. 

But though all of that is amazing, where does it come in as practical encouragement?

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand,” (Isaiah 41:10).

That’s right, the same God who is that powerful desires to strengthen you! When the storms of life are raging and you don’t think you have the energy to get up in the morning, the God who moves the same mountains He created wants to give you the strength and faith to move the mountains in your life.

We are weak, we can’t do this life thing on our own, but as God told Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” What’s the application? Stop trying to be self-sufficient. Don’t try to work any of life’s troubles out on your own. Instead, rejoice in your weakness because God strengthens those who recognize they can’t do anything apart from His power. The same power that rose Christ from the dead is the same power that God offers you freely. The verse in 2 Corinthians mentioned above finishes with Paul saying, “Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast in my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”

When you need strength from the Lord, dwell on verses about His power and ask that He would fill you with His strength and not the willpower to just get through it on your own. Say the name of Jesus out loud; there is power in His name (Philippians. 2:9-11, Jeremiah 10:6).

As we are filled with the strength of the Lord, we can support and encourage those around us who are struggling. Rejoice in your weakness, but even more so, rejoice in Jesus’ power!

If you want to dig deeper into this subject, here are some passages to get you started:

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Encouragement | He Is Peace

 Encouragement from the Character of God

He Is Peace
by: Julia Bennett

Encouragement. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as, “Something that makes someone more determined, hopeful or confident.” 

All right, that sounds simple enough. 

Is it simple, though? 

Is there a way to be so encouraged that we live “determined, hopeful and confident” on a daily basis, even on the days when life just doesn’t feel encouraging? So often life seems to leave us discouraged. This feeling not only comes in the trials and storms, but many times in the mundane normal parts of life where routine rules. Many people are weary after the summer and are looking forward to the changing of seasons, whereas some of us may be discouraged just thinking about the challenges or changes that will come with autumn. Whatever the case may be for each of us, I pray that by looking at the character of God, we would draw encouragement and learn to live so deeply rooted in Christ that we would also be an encouragement to others.

To find encouragement in the midst of our world, we have to go to the source of encouragement -- God Himself. There are many parts of God we can draw encouragement from daily, but we are just going to focus on a few parts of who He is.

God is Peace

Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He is the creator of peace. He is peace.

His entire purpose in coming to earth was to redeem us, which in turn gives us peace with God. That peace He gives us is the kind of peace that overcomes sin and separation from God. Isaiah 53:5 says, “But He was pierced for our transgressions, crushed because of iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds.” What does the peace He gives us look like beyond peace in Salvation?

There is a deep, daily peace available to all who have put their trust in Christ and what He did to bring us peace with the Father. This peace is a practical foundation in life that gives us the ability to trust God and rest in His promises despite whatever may be going on in our lives or around us. If peace is the opposite of fear and if He Himself is peace, then through His power we have the ability to cast aside all fear and doubt. 1 John 4:18-19 says, “There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. We love because He first loved us.”  How do we practice living in that? I think the answer to that question is summed up in Isaiah 26:3-4, which says, “You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You. Trust in the Lord forever, because in Yah, The Lord, is an everlasting rock!” 

If we keep our minds and hearts dependent on Christ, He will bring us a satisfying, overwhelming peace which in turn will make us more “determined, hopeful, and confident” through the power of our God of peace. JB 

Julia Bennett is beginning her senior year of high school.