Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Just Keep Running…

Isn't it comforting to know that God doesn't label us a "failure" when the going gets tough.  He never promised life would be smooth ride, that's not what being a Jesus follower is about.  He does promise that He will be our strength in difficult times, and that He'll use those trials to continue fashioning us into the masterpiece He's created us to be.  This week we're looking at the sufferings of Paul.  He went through some crazy stuff (2 Corinthians 11:23b-27), but he was determined to complete his calling.  Paul's determination can be felt in Acts 20:24: "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace."  That pumps me up!  This week we want the kids to grasp the fact that no matter how difficult life can get, God is for us, and through Him we are able to keep moving forward.

Just keep running!!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Seek the Finish Line

"Let us keep running the race marked out for us!" -Hebrews 12:1

We're heading into the second weekend of 2011 with "Determination!" Interesting how we're following the story of the Israelites again—just with a different outlook. Man how I want to be more determined than the Israelites! They were stuck in the desert wandering for 40 years!!! You'd think after year number two they'd get the point? The cool thing is that God never quit on them, He never gave up them, and He finished what He started with them! God used a few strong leaders to bring the nation of Israel to their destiny—The Promise Land. It took some determination, and refocusing their hearts back on the One who set them free!

I've realized that when we're walking on our own through life, seeking to please ourselves, we begin to wander. It's no wonder we wander, our purpose is found only in seeking our Creator. Matthew 6:33 says "But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and everything else will be added to you." God's purpose in creating us is to know Him—to know His love, and to share it! Let us move forward, with determination, in seeking Him! Don't give up! God never quits on us! He never gives up! And He is determined to finish the good work that He's started in us! Eyes fixed on Christ, we will run this race to the full, till the day we see Him face-to-face. Heaven our Promise Land, our Finish Line.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Mission Possible

For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment. – Luke 1:37

I looked up the meaning of impossible on and found this amazing explanation:

Impossible: (adjective) not possible

Why thank you. All jesting aside, here are some other words that define impossible; unable to be, unable to be performed, incapable of being true, not to be done with any degree of reason, utterly impracticable. And then…I saw this one, which really hit home for me,” hopelessly unsuitable or difficult.” Have you ever been in a situation you could describe with those words? Unable. Void of reason. Impracticable. Hopeless. I would venture to say we all have, I know I have. But there is good news!!! When it comes to God and his will for us, those words have no meaning! Last week we learned that we can have Joy because God always keeps his promises, and this week we’ll be learning we can have Joy because NOTHING is impossible with God.

Our story this week is one many of you are familiar with. It’s the story of the Angel Gabriel visiting Mary. He told Mary she had received special favor from the Lord, and that God was very pleased with her. But that’s not all Gabriel said. He told her “You are going to have a baby, a son. You must name him Jesus. He’ll be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God.” Say what?! That must have been Mary’s response. Actually, that’s almost what it was. Mary responded “HOW can this be?” She went on to tell the Angel that she wasn’t married yet, so how could she have a baby? I believe Gabriel might have smiled as he spoke next; “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you… Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age (remember her)… For nothing is impossible with God.” And Mary, in her amazing faith, said “may it happen to me just as you have said.” She knew and understood that anything was possible with God. And she, even though fearful and probably a little confused, could have Joy in knowing this! (Luke 1:26-38)

So as we head into this season and new year, let us not forget that lesson that Mary so quickly understood, to not look at our problem/situations as impossible. I was 19 when God taught me this lesson. Working a good paying job and….paying rent for a house that was much bigger than one should need at 19. Then one day, I lost my job. And as some of us know all too well, the bills didn’t stop coming. I was out of work for a little over 5 months with no savings and no income. And to this day I don’t understand it, but I never missed a bill or rent payment! It didn’t make sense to my small brain (and it still doesn’t), but it was living proof of Luke 1:37. Let us also heed Gabriel’s words….and Mary’s faith. When we put our complete trust in God, and truly believe he can do anything, we can take "impossible" out of our vocabulary and see that the possibilities are, in fact, endless! :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Joy to the World!!

"Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice!" – Philippians 4:4

YAY!! It's December now, which means, Christmas season if officially ON, and in full swing!! Joy to the world!! Hmm…wait a minute….Joy to the world? Joy? What is that? What is Joy? Is it just a feeling? Is it just an outward expression? Is it just a dish soap? Well, that's the Virtue we are going to be talking about this month in Cove Kids! Together, we are going to learn that Joy isn't just a feeling or expression (or an awesome dish soap). Feelings are circumstantial, but Joy is something much deeper than that. Joy is finding a way to be happy at ALL times, even when things don't go your way, a "Defiant Happiness" if you will. Knowing that no matter what, we have a God and Savior who loves us, protects us, fights for us, and works good in all things for us. So, even if things aren't going the way WE thought they should, or would like them to, we can have Joy in Christ.

This week in Cove Kids we are learning about the Joy that comes with knowing that God always keeps His promises! The Bible says "The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. – Psalms 145:13. The story this week takes place in Luke Chapter 1, and it's about a very godly couple named Zechariah and Elizabeth. One day, Zechariah got a visit from an angel of God, who promised him a son, who he was to name John. The thing was, Zechariah was an old man and his wife well along in her years when this happened, so he momentarily doubted God's promise. The Angel Gabriel assured Zechariah that this good news was straight from God and would surely come true at the proper time. But because of his brief moment of unbelief, he would not be able to speak until that day came. Well, as it turns out, God was faithful in his promise! Elizabeth gave birth to a boy, and they named him John. And he would later prepare the way for the Messiah, another promise God would keep, over 400 years in the making!

It's not always easy to have Joy. Sometimes when difficult circumstances come, it can be hard to have a defiant happiness. Especially when we have to wait, when things don't happen when we wish they would. When everyone else seems to have it together, and it seems like everything in your life is constantly falling apart, it can be tough to find Joy. BUT!!! We CAN have Joy, because we know that God always keeps his promises!!! "For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ." – 2 Corinthians 1:20. And even though the wait for God's promises may seem long at times, "…wait, It's on its way. It will come right on time!" – Habakkuk 2:3.

Joy to the world!!! The Lord HAS come!!! :D

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Celebrate Your Uniqueness!

As we continue our study of uniqueness in Cove Kids this week, we're going to look at one really unique guy, John the Baptist. We don't know much about John except that he was Jesus' cousin. We learn about his birth, but then we pick-up the story when he is a grown man.

When John started his ministry, he did it in a unique way. Some people thought that the Messiah was going to come as a military leader. Since they thought this, they were looking perhaps for someone to come in with a lot of fanfare – with a parade entrance in a big city. But instead, God appointed John to go out into the wilderness and talk about Jesus' coming; a unique foretelling for a unique man, Jesus.

Even though John was a plain and simple kind of person, he must have been pretty interesting, because the Bible says people went out into the wilderness to hear him preach. And he must have been pretty convincing, because a lot of people repented – confessed their sins and promised to stop sinning – and were baptized.

That's how it is when we become the unique person God has made us and called us to be. We begin to exercise those special qualities and talents He has given us to do those special things that He has planned for us. It's a perfect fit when we let God use us in the unique way He planned for the unique task(s) He has for us to do.

Celebrate your uniqueness this week!

Blog by: Steve Hoye

(Small Group Leader)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Have you ever felt un-important or insignificant? Or maybe you think what you bring to the table isn't as good as everyone else. Or maybe…you don't even know WHAT you bring to the table. It's easy to look at other people's gifts, attributes, talents, etc…and feel like you're a nobody compared to them. They're fast, smarter, stronger, better looking, or whatever. However, this idea of "nobody's" is a lie. This week, continuing our Virtue of Uniqueness, we'll be talking about how EVERYBODY is a SOMEBODY. God did not waste His breath on anyone, but rather, He personally formed each of us to be who we are, someone who can and will make a difference in His Kingdom, no matter what our character is.

Our Bible story talks about Gideon, who considered himself un-worthy to do what God called him to do. "But Lord, how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family" (Judges 6:15). See, God had called Gideon to lead the nation of Israel out of oppression from the Midianites. But immediately Gideon tried to point out that he was a nobody, "But Lord…how can I….?" He then tried to explain his view on this, that His tribe was the weakest of the tribes, and the Gideon himself was the weakest of them. The weakest of the weak. In his eyes, the REAL biggest loser. But not in God's eyes. God knew, like always, what He was doing with Gideon. And even though God had sent Gideon an angel, Gideon was still uncertain of this "call from God." He asked the angel to accept his sacrifice, which the angle did. Still unsatisfied, Gideon asked God if He was really sure that "you will save Israel by my hands" to do two things for him. First, Gideon wanted God to make dew appear only on his fleece, and then, only on the ground but not on his fleece. God did so. Gideon was the certain that God WAS calling him to something great. Gideon (remember, the "weakest of the weak") then gathered 32,000 men. God then told Gideon to cut that number down, so after a few tests, the number was decreased to only 300!! He then split them into 3 teams of 100, and told them to lay low. He gave each team trumpets and jars with torches in them. At his signal they were to give a great shout, blow their trumpets, and smash their jars. And that's what they did. The Midianites were frightened, so frightened in fact, that they attacked each other, and fled in fear. Gideon had done it. He and his army had driven out the Midianites and ended their reign of terror. And it was all because of his unique willingness to follow God, even though he THOUGHT he was a nobody.

Don't ever let yourself, or anyone else, think you're a nobody (Don't let ANYONE look down on you….. 1 Tim 4:12). Because, like Gideon (who really was the weakest of the weak), God has a designated purpose for you. And also like Gideon, we should be open to accepting the things God has called us to do, fearing not our short comings, and knowing that "I will be with you" (Judges 6:16), even if that something is "Immeasurably more than you ask or imagine" (Eph 3:20). And because God has a designated purpose for you, that makes you, like the now infamous Gideon, a SOMEBODY!! J

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I’m Unique!!!


"Now there are distinctive varieties and distributions of endowments (gifts, extraordinary powers distinguishing certain Christians, due to the power of divine grace operating in their souls by the Holy Spirit) and they vary, but the [Holy] Spirit remains the same." 1 Corinthians 12:4


Have you ever tried to loosen a screw with one of your car keys? Just the other day I witnessed someone trying to open the back of a video game with her keys, the whole time thinking to myself "I know there is a tool that is designed specifically for this." If you've ever looked in a mechanics tool box, you might notice something strange; numerous types of the same kind of tool. Different kinds of wrenches; metric, standard, open, box, line, all of different sizes. Different screw drivers; Phillips and flat heads with different number sizes. Different sets of pliers…the list goes on…and on….and on. It's enough to make one wonder "Why so many of the same thing? A wrench is a wrench isn't it?" Well the truth is, even though there are many similarities among tools, they are each unique. Each one designed slightly different than the others, each with the ability to do something unique. This idea of Uniqueness is what we are going to be diving into this November month in Cove Kids.

In our first week, we will be focusing on one very unique individual, who God created with an array of attributes, and whom God used to lead his people. This person was a warrior, a judge, a spiritual leader, and the leader of the nation of Israel. This person was pretty tough and had to be really smart, too. And HER name, was Deborah (didn't see that coming did you?). That's right, Deborah was a very unique person, but that's exactly WHY God choose to use her. She had all the qualities needed for this special task (Judges 4). The kids will be learning that we are all unique, there is not one of us that is exactly like another. God has lovingly created us all with different traits, strengths, weaknesses, gifts, talents, and abilities. And that God is going use us in specific ways for the greater purpose of building His kingdom!!

And just as it would be silly for a screw driver to be upset at or look down upon a hammer because of their differences, neither should we for our differences. Because really, it's not about the tools, but the one who is using them, and the greater task he is using them for. As we embrace our uniqueness, we should work together, not as single tools, but as a whole set, as the Church, and let God use us, like Deborah did, to rebuild and repair a broken world.