21 Days of Prayer - Day 8
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Pause now to pray to God for your physical neighbors.

  • Who are the people you live next to?

  • Who works next to you?

  • Who are the people next to you where you recreate?

  • Who are the people next to you where you learn?

  • Who are the people in your church you intentionally develop community with?

Pray specifically about what actions you can take to show the love of Jesus to your neighbors.

All of us would be wiser if we would resolve never to put people down, except on our prayer lists. - D A Carson

Ray Brandon
21 Days of Prayer - Day 7
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Pause to express your praise to Jesus:

Praise You, Jesus, You are my life, my love. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the name above all names. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are Emmanuel, God with us. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the King of Kings. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the King of creation. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are King of the universe. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Lord of lords. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Almighty. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Christ. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are Christ the King. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Lamb of God. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are Lion of Judah. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Bright Morning Star. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are our Champion and shield. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are our Strength and our Song. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the way of our life. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the only truth. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the real life. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Wonderful Counselor. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Prince of Peace. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Light of the World. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Living Word. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Redeemer. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Anointed One. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Holy one of Israel. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Good Sheperd. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Sheepgate. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Lord of hosts. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Rock of all ages. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are my hiding place. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Savior of the world. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the strong tower. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Mountain Refuge. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Bread of Life. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Font of all holiness. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Living Water. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the True Vine. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are my Spouse. my Maker. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are our Fortress. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Deliverer. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are our Victory. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are our Salvation. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are our Righteousness. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are our Wisdom. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are our Sanctification. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are our Justification. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Door. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the great I AM. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the great High Priest. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Cornerstone. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Sure Foundation. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are our Joy. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are our Portion and Cup. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are my Healing and Wholeness. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are our Covenant. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Promise of the Father. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Everlasting One. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Most High God. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Lamb that was slain. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Just Judge. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Balm of Gilead. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Mighty Warrior. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are my Defense. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Bridegroom. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are my Patience. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Solid Reality 
Praise You, Jesus, You are my Provider. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Resurrection and the Life. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Alpha and the Omega. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Beginning and the End. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are all that I need. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are all that I want. 
Praise You, Jesus, You are worthy of all praise. 
Amen

Faith in a prayer-hearing God will make a prayer-loving Christian

-Andrew Murray

Ray Brandon
21 Days of Prayer - Day 6
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We are thankful for God’s good generosity through his people.

More than 3,500 meals were delivered on Thanksgiving, foster and adoptive children have needed clothing through Braden’s Closet and needs are met in Allegan County through God’s people and the ministry of Christian Neighbors.

Ashley Sheffer’s lost luggage made it to Germany.

We are thankful to see Northbridge Church growing in love for one another, building relationships and loving people in our community and faithfully, joyfully sharing Jesus.

Pause to express your thanksgiving to God

A consecrated life is both a prayer life and a thanksgiving life. - E M Bounds

Ray Brandon
21 Days of Prayer - Day 5
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We learned on Sunday from the Bible that the human heart is dynamic having the ability to think, to emote and to act. Today’s Scripture prayer focuses on repenting of actions.

As you pray and repent of sinful behaviors, ask God to search your heart and reveal to you the dynamics of your heart. Do you sin out of a wrongly held belief or belief system? What do you desire? What are you afraid of? Are you acting out of a conviction that could expose wrong thinking?

Consider at a later time, after prayer, reviewing some of the X-ray questions by David Powlison

God proved his love on the cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died it was God saying to the world — I love you. - Billy Graham

Ray Brandon
Resources: Unit 4, Session 3

The quote is from Spurgeon. He is saying that Scripture is the very words of God, and who doesn’t love to hear the sound of God’s voice? ¹ The problem is that most of us want to hear God’s voice, but we don’t crack our Bibles, and we don’t even buy our own excuses for not doing so. We can all use some fresh motivation.

Here are ways Scripture motivates us to start reading.

Scripture is the words of God to you. Open the Bible anywhere and the words there could be introduced with “the Spirit says” (Heb 3:7). These words are bread for our soul (Deut 8:3). They bring life.

Over the past year, I have watched how they bring this miracle of life. I have seen it in friends whose bodies were dying, and I have seen it in friends who have lost loved ones. Their stories are each uniquely hard and beautiful, but there is a way they are the same. They all fed on Scripture. They asked for Scripture from others. They prayed Scripture. As a result, though they were facing death, they were profoundly alive.

Israel’s kings were directed by God to handwrite a personal copy of his words and keep it with them (Deut 17:18-20). They didn’t, of course. Hezekiah may have been the exception because he knew the Law of Moses and did not depart from it (2 Kings 18:6). Life and power were evident during his reign. Take note of Josiah, too. During his reign, an extensive rehab project of the temple was undertaken and a copy of the Law was unearthed. When it was read, the Spirit used it to revive an entire nation (2 Kings 22-23).

Scripture was the words of the Father to Jesus. King Jesus was the one who had the words of the Father close at hand. When he took on flesh, he lived with the same resources we have—Scripture—and it was food for his soul. Watch him in the wilderness. He did battle and stood firm against Satan, not because he had singular connections to the Father and the Spirit, but because he remembered Scripture—“it is written” (Matt 4:1-7).

Scripture is about Jesus. Moses wrote of Jesus. (John 5:46). The bread that came from the mouth of God (Deut 8:3) was Jesus, who said, “I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). This means that as we feed on Scripture we are feeding on Jesus himself. The person is more prominent than the commands. Task number one in Scripture is to discover the suffering servant and risen Lord. And though we might think that an audible voice or a spectacular visitation from God would be a great boost to our confidence in what God says to us, Scripture anticipates us here. “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets,” Jesus said, “neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead” (Luke 16:31).

I have been in accountability groups in which we would ask about our times in Scripture from the week before. The reminder was helpful and the fellowship was sweet, but the reminders didn’t always get us into the Word. Perhaps a simple question would have been more effective. “Anyone want to hear words that come from the very mouth of God?” Then we could simply have read Scripture together.

¹I paraphrased Spurgeon for the title of my lecture at our 2018 Annual Conference: “Loving Your Bible: A Personal Invitation.”

Kindle Deal for $2.99

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Help for asking questions.

A great resource for group leaders and personal study of the Bible

Jen Tabor
21 Days of Prayer - Day 4
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Pause to express your thoughts of praise and worship to God.

It is remarkable that in all of his writings Paul’s prayers for his friends contain no appeals for changes in their circumstances. - Timothy Keller

PrayerRay Brandon
21 Days of Prayer - Day 3
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As you give thanks, let us remember to thank God for the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission and the generosity of Christians that care for the needs in our community. We are thankful for those who gave to the Above and Beyond at Northbridge to bless the expansion project of the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission.

To pray is to enter the treasure-house of God and to gather riches out of an inexhaustible storehouse. - C H Spurgeon

PrayerRay Brandon
21 Days of Prayer - Day 2

Today is Ashley Sheffer’s first day in Germany. As you take 5 minutes to pray the following Scripture. let us pray for Ashley Sheffer, Rich and Julia Rudolph and Michael Landoll.

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Pause to pray that God will fill you, our church and our missionaries with his love so that it brings the lost to Jesus.

Prayer is the way we work our way out of the comfortable but cramped world of self and into the spacious world of God. - Eugene Peterson

PrayerRay Brandon
21 Days of Prayer

Welcome to the 21 Days of Prayer!

Each day we will pray the Scripture together for ONE thing. The prayer categories are Praise, Repent or Request and Thanksgiving.

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Pause to express your thoughts of praise and worship.

God’s acquaintance is not made hurriedly.

- E M Bounds

Resources: Unit 4, Session 2
Jen Tabor
Resources: Unit 4, Session 1

Hello Northbridgers!

We start our winter small groups on Sunday, January 6. We are in a new book so if you haven’t gotten your book be sure to stop by the information table.

These resources are for Unit 4, Session 1 in the winter (“Out of Egypt”) book.

Sermons:

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/podcasts/help-me-teach-the-bible/colin-smith-on-how-to-teach-christ-in-the-joseph-story/

http://resources.thegospelcoalition.org/library/sent-sold-sad-safe

https://albertmohler.com/2015/06/21/genesis-375-28/

https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/the-sale-of-joseph-and-the-son-of-god

Articles:

https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/brother-ambushed/

https://www.rzim.org/read/a-slice-of-infinity/wrestled-perspectives

Fill in:

pg 12: models, teach, lead, honor, obey

pg 14: resisted, followed

Jen Tabor
2018 Book Lists

I love to read books and know that many of you do as well. So as you make your reading lists for 2019, I’ve compiled a few of the best book of 2018 lists. One of the books, we want to give to you free in 2019!

A few of the books that I have enjoyed or have impacted my ministry in 2018:

  1. Gay Girl, Good God: The Story of Who I Was, and Who God Has Always Been by Jackie Hill Perry

  2. All That’s Good: Recovering the Lost Art of Discernment by Hannah Anderson

  3. The Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt

  4. Christian Hospitality and Muslim Immigration in an Age of Fear by Matthew Kaemingk

  5. Barracoon – The Story of the Last Black Cargo by Zora Neale Hurston

  6. How the Nations Rage: Rethinking Faith and Politics in a Divided Age by Jonathan Leeman

  7. The Gospel Comes with a House Key byRosaria Butterfield

  8. The Rule of Love by Jonathan Leeman

  9. The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd


A book Northbridge will give to you in 2019 when you sign up for “Getting to Know the Heart of Your Neighbor”


2018 Gospel Coalition Book Awards

Top 10 Church Planting Related Books

Trevin Wax’s Top Books of 2018

Counseling Books of 2018 by Bob Kellerman

Darrel Dash’s Favorite Books of 2018

Jared C Wilson’s Top Books of 2018

  • Jared spoke to our men at the Build Conference in 2018






grace brandon
Ashley Sheffer - Germany Church Plant

Dear Northbridge Family,

I am very excited to share the news that I have now purchased a ticket to fly out to Germany on January 11th!  It has been quite a journey from the night in small group I felt the Lord leading me back to Germany until today, but He has been gracious through it all! I want to thank you as a church for the support I have received through prayers, encouragement, monthly support and special gifts.  I have been beyond blessed by my church family and will miss you all so much.

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While the day to day life on the mission field can change as needs arise, my ministries will be focused on the children’s programs we have in three of the churches we work with, running the kid’s clubs and helping each church to have the ability to run these programs on their own.  I will also be involved in women’s ministries, especially with the refugee women, building relationships and doing discipleship. As a third ministry I will be working with our young teens, potentially starting a second teen group in one of the other churches we work with.

I’m anxious to see what the Lord has in store, but trust He has fully equipped me for the work He has laid out for me.  I am so grateful for you, my sending church!


“…and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador…that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”

Ephesians 6:19-20


In Him,

Ashley Sheffer


Sandy Patmore
Kalamazoo Gospel Mission - Above and Beyond
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The Kalamazoo Gospel Mission is more than a homeless shelter. Did you know that the Mission provides:

  • three meals a day

  • recovery programs

  • childcare

  • job training

  • counseling

  • and a learning center?

The Kalamazoo Gospel Mission has been serving Kalamazoo for over 85 years and each night in the family shelter, women's shelter and men's shelter the Mission houses 350 men, women and children.

The men's shelter ministry is divided into two parts. The dormitory is for men who are substance-free and can house up to 88 men. The Good Samaritan men's shelter will take anyone for any reason and provides 90 beds per night.

The Mission kitchen feeds 500-600 meals per day from donated food. Anyone can come in and receive a meal. While feeding people in need is important the mission of the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission is much deeper. The Mission strives to feed people body, mind, and soul.

Between the Creation Station and Sonshine Kids children's ministry, the Mission serves about 50 children every day. While in the Learning Center adults receive GED certification, job search assistance, resume writing, job, and college application assistance. Bible teaching is available for adults along with parenting classes and household budgeting seminars.

Many people do not know that the Mission has a health clinic. The clinic provides vision referral and glasses, urgent dental referral, mediation assistance, and help with DHS food stamps, Medicaid and cash assistance.

Rescued Treasures and Rescued Wheels both provide the Mission with funding and individuals with job training and job skills. Come on out and shop!

This year at Northbridge a portion of our Above and Beyond Offering will go to support the Mission's Capital Campaign. This 8 million dollar expansion will double the capacity of the women's shelter, improve facilities open to children and create a single secure entry point. The expansion is on the footprint the Mission occupies currently.

Would you consider giving to the Above and Beyond at Northbridge? Together let's be part of the gospel going forward and people receiving the help they need to know Jesus and flourish.

Ray Brandon
Praying the Scriptures for someone who is ill

Prayer is a universal thing.  Nearly everyone prays because we are created in God’s image as worshippers and thereby programed to speak to God.  However, not all prayer is true pray as instructed by God in the Scriptures.  James says, that we can ask and miss the target because we are not praying properly with the right motive (James 4).  Jesus says, don’t pray like this, pray like this in Matthew 6.  We need to learn how to pray.

When we pray we ought to pray according to the prescribed pattern and teaching in Scripture.  It is fine to recite the pattern we call the LORD’s prayer but we are not to pray the words over and over as if it is a magic charm or rabbits foot.  Vain repetition accomplishes nothing.  We are instructed to meditate on Scripture but that is a related but different topic that we will not address here.

So it is important that we get prayer right but don’t become anxious over getting it right.  It is important that we are obedient in the pattern, encouragement and command to pray.  Prayer is not intended to be a burden we carry but a blessing and encouragement to make our journey light.

In prayer, God gives us three helps.  First is the Scripture and that will be our main focus here.  The next is that Jesus himself is our mediator and the final is the Spirit of God.   The Scripture guides us, Christ’s work covers us in grace and presents our prayers to the Father and when we do not know how to pray, the Spirit of God prays on our behalf when we are at a loss for words.  How much divine power does it take to get a believer from grace to glory?  It involves the continual, unending, relentless intercession of the Son and the Spirit. Prayer is something we are to be obediently and joyously involved but the power in prayer is all God’s and not our own.

So how do we pray for someone who is ill or going through a medical procedure or fighting cancer.  We pray the Scriptures for them. 1 Corinthians 2:10-16 say that the Word of God is the mind of God in written form.  We have the mind of Christ in the Scriptures!

Let’s use the pattern of the LORD’s prayer in Matthew 6.  Jesus taught us to pray in this way.  Jesus’ pattern is a broad pattern in which other patterns fit.  So it would be appropriate to pray through Psalm 23 or James 1, Hebrews 11, Romans 8 as they fit within the pattern of the LORD’s prayer.  We are limited by the LORD’s prayer in that it shows us what prayer is not.  And through the LORD’s prayer we have a pattern that it would take a million life-times to explore in which all other biblical prayers fit.  Just remember that all Scripture is profitable in this way as it focuses our mind on Jesus our Savior.

Matthew 6:9-13

9 Pray then like this:

 “Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name. 

10  Your kingdom come,

your will be done, 

on earth as it is in heaven.

11  Give us this day our daily bread, 

12  and forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13  And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

 

Let’s say for the sake of example we are praying for Janice who is fighting cancer.

Father, we are thankful that by your mercy and grace we can come to you in prayer.  You love us and you call us to commune with you as we do with a friend.  God we know that while you call us into this relationship and into this place of praise and petition that you are not like us. 

You are the One who created all things and by you all things exist and without you nothing that is could be.  Your power is ever present.  You know all the mysteries of the universe and today you know our hearts.  May our hearts in this moment and in the hours and days to come magnify you, make much of who you are so that we might rejoice in you and that others might see your glory.  

We believe that you have never made a mistake, you are without error unending.  In this hour of uncertainty and suffering we pray that Janice will see, that I will see that others will see and believe that even in suffering nothing that you have set out to accomplish, no purpose or plan or promise will ever fail.  Because of Jesus, we know that suffering and illness can never be an indictment on the efficacy of your power, purpose, will or plan.  Press upon us an imprint the cross of Jesus upon our lives today that we might be reminded that is was through the death of the Son of God on the cross that gives us hope.  It was through your power in resurrection of the righteous Savior that brings to us grace upon grace.  You passed through the ultimate valley of death so that in our suffering we would only feel it’s shadow and never its full weight. May the message of the cross and hope of Jesus be unhindered in our suffering rather expose through our suffering it’s power.

Father, we know that what we have our life, our family, our church, our possessions our daily provision is from you.  Thank you.  Thank you for this therapy that fights this disease.  The knowledge, the doctors, this building and its staff they all come from you. If I have anything, it is from your hand.  I pray now for Janice and those others that are here today. Give them patience and staff an understanding of their total and utter dependence on you for everything and a gratitude for life, each moment that is by your sheer grace. 

Father, I pray now for Janice.  I want her to get well and in her life and in mine I want to understand more of the depth of you care.  May we trust you to do what is best and be obedient until the day we meet Jesus our Savior.  Forgive her where she falls short.  Let her experience your great grace in her weakness and sin and make her even more gracious more merciful for your glory.

Janice is experiencing weakness of her body.  Protect her, Father, in her mind and soul.  May she not give in to sin.  Keep her mind on you.  Calm her anxiety by giving her a firm trust in your care and deliver her body, from illness and mind and spirit from sin.

We pray these things in Jesus name, Amen.

We want to hear God from God when we pray.  The way that we hear from God is through the Word of God alone, so pray the Scripture and pray as the Scriptures instruct.  Remember, that prayer is something Jesus taught with great patience to his disciples.  Even so, he will be patient and gracious with you.

 

You are loved,

Pastor Ray Brandon

What to Read When Anxious

Anxiety attacks the mind and soul and body.  Battle back with the following resources:

  1. Richard Baxter, “The Right Method for a Settled Peace of Conscience and Spiritual Comfort,” in The Practical Works of the Rev. Richard Baxter (23 vols.; London: Duncan, 1830), 9:1–287.

  2. Andy Farmer, “Peace and Anxiety,” ch. 5 in Real Peace: What We Long for and Where to Find It (Wheaton: Crossway, 2013), 79–93.

  3. Robert W. Kellemen, Anxiety: Anatomy and Cure (The Gospel for Real Life; Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2012). 42 pp.

  4. John MacArthur, Anxiety Attacked (Wheaton: Victor, 1993).

  5. Wayne A. Mack and Joshua Mack, Courage: Fighting Fear with Fear (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2002).

  6. J. P. Moreland and Klaus Issler, “Defeating Two Hardships of Life: Anxiety and Depression,” ch. 7 in The Lost Virtue of Happiness: Discovering the Disciplines of the Good Life (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2006), 155–77.

  7. John Piper, “Anxiety: Sin, Disorder, or Both?,” Ask Pastor John, February 19, 2014.

  8. John Piper, “Battling the Unbelief of Anxiety,” sermon preached on September 25, 1988.

  9. John Piper, “Faith in Future Grace vs. Anxiety,” ch. 3 in Future Grace (2nd ed.; Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 2012).

  10. John Piper, “Let Jesus Argue with Your Soul about Being Anxious,” Desiring God Blog, July 30, 2011.

  11. Edward T. Welch, Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest (Greensboro, NC: New Growth, 2007).

AnxietyPastor Ray Brandon
How inspiring worship wins over anxiety

Exodus 6:6-27 is confusing at first read.  What does a family tree have to do with anything?  Why is the passage bookended by the same statement by Moses about his anxiety over his inadequacy to lead the people of Israel.  At first glance, the text itself can make one anxious!

This Sunday, we will see how Moses’ anxiety is resolved in Aaron’s leadership over the worship of God in Isreal.  In the same way, God has created and commanded worship to assure us, to remind us of His good grace and sovergn power.

Learn this Sunday how regular inspiring worship wins over life’s anxieties.

Service times are 8:30, 10 & 11:30 AM.  Childcare is provided at the 8:30 & 10.  The 11:30 service is a family worship service.  Children of all ages are invited to worship with their parents.

3 Questions about you and the kingdom of God

Matthew 16:13-19

13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Is it possible to love Jesus and not love his church?  Can one love God and not his neighbor?  Can one fear God and not do what he says?  These are the choices some, maybe many, make.  Jesus ask in this passage – Who do you believe I am? – Some peole believe Jesus is one thing and they follow their own idea of Jesus.  This week we learn to be like Peter and follow the Jesus who is the Promised One.

Cameron Woolford is our speaker.  Cam provides strategic and tactical leadership and direction for Servant Leaders International. He has been in ministry now for over 20 years as a missionary in Latin America. He has served in the United States, Mexico, Ecuador, and in Costa Rica, doing church planting, discipleship, and leadership training. He has his bachelor’s degree in Bible/Missions from Clarks Summit University in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, and his Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Cairn University. You can email Cam cwoolford@servantleaderstraining.com   or visit http://www.servantleaderstraining.com/

Setbacks can get you to the goal
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Everyday we live with certain kinds of setbacks.  As God creates the journey for us we often feel like its two steps back and one more step back.  Progress is slow and not often enough.

This week we will explore how God, the master designer of our journey, uses setbacks to get us to the goal in Exodus 4:18-31