God’s Warm and Inviting Family
True love has its origin in God. John said, Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love, 1 John 4:7-8. God is the very essence of love, and when we demonstrate our love we reveal to others that we belong to Him. Hatred, envy, wrath, and malice all have their origin in something other than God. God has never commanded such, and does not approve of such. If a person does not love, then a person does not have an acquaintance with God.
It is amazing, when we think of it, that God loves us. In us, He sees beings that He can love and that can love Him in return. John explains why God loves us: By this the love of God was manifested in us, that god has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins, 1 John 4:9-10. Praise God for the great love with which He has loved us!
We have been created in the very image of God, Genesis 1:26-27. It is in our nature to love. One of the greatest needs in humans is the need to love and to be loved in return. John says, Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another, 1 John 4:11. We need to look for ways to share our love with others. It might be a kind word spoken, a deed done, a telephone call, or a visit to the hospital or nursing home. There are so many ways we communicate our love for our brothers and sisters. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us, 1 John 4:12. When we demonstrate our love, the product of God’s love becomes complete. Loving one another enables god to accomplish His love in us.
Look today for ways that you can demonstrate your love for those around you. Have someone in your home, send the sick a card, say a prayer for those who are spiritually struggling. Each of us can help make being part of God’s family warm and inviting!
Colombia 2019 Overview
In Acts 13-14, Barnabas & Paul had been commissioned by the church in the church in Antioch to preach across Asia Minor. By the time we get to the end of chapter 15, we’re several years later … and Paul is ready to go again. Acts 16-19 give us details of almost 4 years of Paul’s work and labor among the Gentile churches. As we’ve been studying in Acts lately, we understand that missionary journeys were very much a part of the work of the first century church.
Since 2011, Kettering has been very involved in the ongoing work in Colombia. Our association began in 1985 with Jaime Restrepo. Beginning in 2011, we stepped up our involvement significantly. Since then, there have been 7 Congregation-sponsored trips over the last 8 years.
What is in store for our 2019 Visit? We have two primary objectives:
- To get firsthand reports/updates from the local preachers Kettering supports.
- To conduct a preacher conference in Cali for our preachers.
Greg, Collin, Jason, and I are thankful for your prayers, kind words, and individual financial support. It is truly an honor to serve in this capacity and to represent the Kettering church. We ask for your prayers while we are away.
Our Upcoming Trip to Colombia
Greg, Collin, Jason, and I are looking forward to our trip to Colombia that begins next Sunday. This visit has been in the works for well over a year — maybe two years. Presently, Kettering assists in the support of nine men and their families who live across Colombia. We have had relationships with most of them for six years, while others we are just getting to know. Our preachers cover a wide range of ages and experience - some in the early years of service, while others have been laboring for a couple of decades or more. Two of them are fluent in English and assist us in translation while we are there. They are all very dedicated to their work.
Beginning in 2011, our shepherds determined that this congregation would become more involved in overseas evangelism. While Kettering sent funds around the world in the years prior to this, we wanted this part of our work to become more than the more typical practice of “receive-a-report-and-get-a-check.” We wanted to know our men, their families, and their work personally. We wanted to experience what they experience … to know it, feel it, and to understand it. We also determined to focus our efforts on one country, easing our travel, lodging, and expense commitments. As we have moved forward over the last eight years, many of you have joined us in assisting our work abroad. A few of you have gone with us to help in the work, including Jason/Sadonna Schofield, Greg Morrison, Collin Schofield, and Emilea Allen. Besides money contributed out of the treasury, literally tens of thousands of dollars have been given individually, countless items of clothing, worship supplies, computers, projectors, and other teaching aids have been donated. Our involvement in Colombia is so concentrated, that our shepherds have even tasked a deacon (Jason Schofield) to have his entire area of focus on the work there. From what we know, there is no other congregation in the United States more involved in the work in Colombia than Kettering. Again, you are to be commended for this.
This year’s trip will mainly focus on two important needs. First, we’ll be visiting local works in Lorica, Villavicencio, Acacias, Cali, Villamaria, and Manizales. Second, we’ll be holding a 4-day conference in Cali with all nine of our men in order to teach and encourage them in their preaching efforts. Jason and I have been working hard to get ready for this part of the work. Over the coming week, we’ll reveal more specifics about what our visit will look like.
While the congregation collectively is covering our travel expenses, lodging, transportation, etc., there is also an opportunity for you to contribute individually as well. Jason and I will be looking for opportunities to meet the needs of our brethren. If you’d like to help, see Jason or me this week. (And thanks to the many of you who have already donated to this effort.) As always, we’ll share with you a full accounting of how your funds were used once we return home.
Even if you can’t afford to contribute monetarily, you can still help. We need your prayers every single day. In fact, we’re very dependent on them. And, finally, prayers for our families while we are away are also appreciated. There is always a special burden placed on Sadonna, Becky, and Doneitta when we travel. Thanks for all you do. And thanks for your encouragement as we assist in taking the gospel to South America.
— Matthew Allen
Preparing Your Mind
The pursuit of God is not a part of our life … it is our life. We need to regularly ask - can it be said of me that my life is the pursuit of God? What is being said about you and who/what you are pursuing? We should all want to be known as disciples of God and our pursuit of HIm. Desire, hunger/thirst, desperation for God is not only the only essential we need. Equally important is the state of our mind. Do we have the type of mind that is ready to receive the Word?
In 2 Corinthians 10.3-5, Paul talks about casting down high-minded things or proud obstacles. These are things that are set up against the knowledge of God. He tells us how to demolish them: by taking every thought captive to obey Christ. Notice: every thought. Now that’s a challenge!
So, how do you deal with your mind? How do you get it ready to receive the word of God?
On Sunday, we’ll talk about four principles to help your mind be ready to receive the word of God:
- We’ll see why its important not to believe everything you think.
- We’ll discover the essentialness of guarding your mind.
- We’ll understand the need to never quit learning.
- We’ll learn why it’s important to move with vision.
As you prepare for worship Sunday, be asking yourself these questions:
- Why is it important to evaluate our thoughts?
- What are some things you can do to engage God more frequently in prayer?
- What are some things you can learn from others?
- When it comes to learning, why is it so important to have a humble heart?
- What happens when you have no vision or plan for the future?
Song Leader: Roy Pyle
Scripture Reading: Bob Zehring: 2 Corinthians 10.3-5
God Ways Will Work for You
Nelson Mandella once said, "There is no passion to be found in playing small - in settling for a life that is less than what is capable of living." Every son or daughter of God is very capable of doing great things. Our potential for good is unlimited. God will equip you with the power to impact others and make your life a living testimony of His amazing grace.
How about your spiritual life? Are you settling for mediocrity? Some seem to always struggle to live up to their potential. That sad reality does not have to be your own. God can stretch and grow you into a larger reflection of Himself. If you’ve been playing small, here are some steps you can take now in order to lead a more vibrant spiritual life:
Understand you are not an exception to the rule. Resist any bad thinking that Satan places in your head. His lies lead to mediocrity...and worse! God’s ways will work for you. This is because he has:
- Transferred you into His kingdom, Colossians 1.13.
- Washed away your sin, Colossians 2.11-14a.
- Made you a new creation, 2 Corinthians 5.17.
These are the facts. Let your trust in Him shape your thinking — not your doubts.
Eliminate distractions. Many Christians find themselves groping with spiritual malaise. Life’s distractions have gotten in the way and they cannot clearly see the goal set before them. What things in your life presently keep you from what is truly important? When you focus on your heavenly citizenship, the hope of what is to come will energize your soul. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself, Philippians 3.20-21.
Embrace opportunities to be with your spiritual family. We need our church family. True friendships can inspire you to higher service. Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another, Proverbs 27.17.
Never settle for less. Put everything into your spiritual life. Demand a higher standard for yourself. Expect to succeed. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going, Ecclesiastes 9.10.