New Song: “Longing”

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Hey there, Vineyard family!  It’s time to introduce our June worship tune!

“Longing”, written by Vineyard worship leader Tim Brown, is filled with prayer after prayer for the presence of God.  The song leads us through some fantastic reminders of our crucial need to want God more and more.  We are transformed by the changing of our deepest longings, as the King becomes the desire of our hearts.  And so we pray these words from a verse and chorus of this beautiful song:

“You are worthy of my focus
You are worthy of my offering
You remain my one devotion
For You are good and faithful to redeem
As I stand in awe and reverence
You reveal to me Your true and perfect heart
So I draw into Your presence
For there’s nothing else that I could want
Lord I’m calling

All I want is more of You
All that I need is in Your presence
I’m longing, longing to be with You”

Both in corporate worship time together and in your private times of praise and prayer, we hope that “Longing” will become a helpful and life-giving part of your adoration vocabulary.

As God’s church, let us pray these words over and over:

“I’m after Your heart, seeking Your refuge
Take me where You are
All of my hope, all of my being
Belongs to You”

Listen to the song below:

Charts available on Planning Center

Truth Springs Up From The Earth

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READ:

“Unfailing love and truth have met together. Righteousness and peace have kissed! Truth springs up from the earth, and righteousness smiles down from heaven. Yes, the LORD pours down his blessings. Our land will yield its bountiful harvest. Righteousness goes as a herald before him, preparing the way for his steps.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭85:10-13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

What a beautiful Psalm for the week of Easter. This weekend we celebrate the death of Death. The Great Deceiver assumed he had won as our Savior lay in his tomb, but little did he know that Christ would undo his greatest trick and rise from the dead. Death was not the end—not even close. All things are being made new!

The Psalmist looks to the future, to the coming of Christ, in this Psalm of praise about the Lord’s goodness. Our hearts declare the same praises as we look back to Christ’s coming and ahead to his return. Christ ushered in his Kingdom during his time on Earth, beginning God’s good mission of renewing all things. And wonder of wonders, he not only makes us new, but invites and empowers us by his spirit to join in this holy work. What joy!

So our devotion will have a simple, but important conclusion. This week—especially this week—take time to rejoice! “Truth springs up from the earth, and righteousness smiles down from heaven.” Oh, what goodness and love God has for us! Let Easter be a reminder and the beginning of a daily celebration of God’s love, shown to us through his Son. Let us not be solemn and contemplative when it comes to his resurrection. He has defeated Sin & Death, and he has rescued us from their grip. So again I say, “Rejoice!”

PRAY:

Father,
We thank you and give you praise. Your heart towards us is goodness and kindness and love. You have rescued us, saved us, renewed us, and gifted us. Thank you. We are blessed by your love, and honored by the invitation to join you in what you are doing. Lord, we celebrate you. We celebrate your Son. We celebrate the Holy Spirit. We give you praise and gratitude for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. We give you praise and gratitude for our life, death, and resurrection through Christ. We love you! This Easter we give you our gratitude, thanksgiving, and appreciation. We love you Father and rejoice in you, your Son, and your Spirit! [Offer a prayer of rejoice in your own words.]
In the name of the one who has risen, Amen.

Every Opportunity

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It’s Wednesday and it’s devo time!  This week’s meditation is from our friend and worship leader, Brooks Coker.  Let’s jump in:

READ:

“Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭4:5-6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Through the groaning of the earth and the disorder of the world around us, it is evident that every interaction we have is crucial. What if our actions not only affect us, but affect how other people may perceive Christ? What if the words we say have the potential to affect the decisions other people make? Well, they do.

This verse specifically talks about how we are to live around those who are not believers. I believe that it is absolutely crucial that we set a good example through our speech and actions. Recently the urgency of the heavenly charge to make disciples has become very real to me. The truth is that we don’t know what could happen to us today, tomorrow, or next week. In light of this, I pray that the things I do and say will make a positive impact on the people around me, in every opportunity.

A friend of mine was talking to me about his passion for people. Most of the people he surrounds himself with are unbelievers. He believes that his mission is to live in as much Christ-likeness as possible so that he may be a witness to the people around him. He told me that when he is gone, or when Christ returns, he wants people to know the truth because of the way that he lived.

A neat illustration is the image of the cross and how there are two beams: there is a vertical beam and a horizontal beam (†). I thank God for the fact that we can have intimacy with him through a vertical relationship; similarly, we are able to have intimacy in our personal relationships.

REFLECT:

What are some speech habits or behaviors that I might need to change in order to best represent the Body of Christ?

Think of some relationships that you can be intentional about growing positively, whether they are with believers or non-believers.

PRAY:

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Remind us daily that we are set apart. I pray that we remain humble in that fact. God, would you place positive conversations in our lives. Help us to see the good in the people and situations around us. We hunger and thirst for you. Thank you for your provision, thank you for every opportunity. Amen.

Rooted In Christ

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READ:

“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭2:6-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

REFLECT:

How do we let our roots grow down into Christ, as Paul instructs us to do in this passage? What can we do to let God nourish our hearts, ministries, relationships, bodies, and souls? Are we overflowing with thankfulness and joy?

Is this difficult for you right now? Have you gotten distracted and planted yourself in shaky foundations, or are you wrestling at all with the soil of your old life?

Since we have accepted Jesus as our Lord, we have the challenge and gift of continually following our Savior, of seeking intimacy with Christ. Ask yourself the first reflection question again, and then ask God to talk with you about what this season of life could look like with your roots burrowed in his love.

PRAY:

Gentle Jesus, our strong foundation, thank you for the abundant life that only you can give. I ask, even with trembling faith, that you would plant my heart, mind, body, and soul deeply in your goodness. Please show me what it means to be overflowing from a strong and growing trust in who you are. When I am weak, when I am tempted, remind me that following you fulfills my every need. Make me like you, I ask in your name, Jesus. Amen.

A Deep Sense of Awe

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READ:

“All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper ), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders… all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.”
‭‭Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭2:43, 45, 47‬ ‭NLT‬‬

REFLECT:

This passage from the New Testament gives us a picture of the early Church’s ministry, after the Spirit’s outpouring at Pentecost. What was it about God’s Spirit that caused the believers to dive deeply into such devoted life as a community?

What is the relationship between the “deep sense of awe” that overwhelmed Christ’s followers and their devotion to acting as the Church? How do the two, the awe of expectation and the committed devotion to Jesus’ new way of life, build upon each other?

How do you think Jesus was adding to the church each day? What was it about the way the Body of Christ lived that drew people and let the Church enjoy the “goodwill of all the people”?

Are there parts of the life of a disciple that you need to devote yourself to anew? What would look different about your praise, your service, and the other ways you worship if you asked God to continually fill you with this transformative awe and wonder?

PRAY:

Father, will you fill me afresh with your Spirit? I want to be overcome by the majesty of your love, let me not be numb or stagnant. Help me, Jesus, to devote myself to your teachings, to your compassion, and to your calling. Please build up kingdom expectation in my heart each morning, I want miraculous faith and love to overflow from what you’re doing in my heart. I ask that people would come to know you, to join your family because of the way my whole community lives in resurrection life together. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

There Is A Rescue

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Peace be with you guys on this Christmas week!  Today’s devotional comes to us from one of the church’s fantastic worship leaders, Kelsi Walker.  Take some time to dig into the scripture, reflection, questions, and prayer.  May your week be full of God’s presence and have a Merry Christmas!

READ:

“Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days. The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses. Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy! The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon, as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon. There the LORD will display his glory, the splendor of our God. With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees. Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.” And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland. “The parched ground will become a pool, and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land. Marsh grass and reeds and rushes will flourish where desert jackals once lived.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭35:1-7 ‭NLT‬‬

This year has been tough. I feel like humanity hasn’t caught a break and I feel weighed down and tired. Maybe you feel that same. As I have been reading through my advent devotionals the last several weeks I feel like what I have seen in the world has been highlighted. We desperately need a rescue. It seems as though the constant cry of the world has gotten louder and louder over the last months of the year and we can’t ignore it. We desperately need a rescue.

I read this passage and I feel lighter. I feel the peace of a promise that God has not forgotten us and that He is on His way, that He will save us! Be strong and do not fear, for God is coming. Eyes will be opened, ears will hear, the deserts will become green. Everything will change and nothing will stay the same… all things will be redeemed.

We as the Church believe this. It is our strongest and most daring hope, that the world can be and will be restored. And it has already begun! Christ has come, no longer must we live separated from God. We have a savior. There is a rescue! We can now live in communion with our Father and see how He works mightily in our lives and the world around us! Restoration is real and it is happening. Like He makes the deserts flourish and become green with life, God is bringing our world and the people in it back to life.

REFLECT:

In what ways has this year been challenging? Take some time to lay these trials at the feet of Jesus.

In what ways have you seen restoration in your life, in the world?

The passage says that God is coming to make things right and when this happens that “the voiceless break into song.” What does this mean to you as a member of the worship team? What songs are you singing? Take some time to think about the significance of being able to sing to our God because He came to rescue us.

PRAY:

Lord, You know our hearts. You know how they ache. You know how they race with excitement and hope for something more, something only You can give. Lord help us to not be fearful, but to believe that You will come and make things new, that You will come to rescue us. God, we pray that we find peace in your promise, that our hope guides the way we see the world. We pray that we trust you as we watch the world turn, from the desert wasteland, into green pasture, abundant with life! Thank you for Your love and rescue through Your Son.
Amen.

The Wholeness of Christ’s Reign

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READ:

“A green Shoot will sprout from Jesse’s stump, from his roots a budding Branch. The life-giving Spirit of GOD will hover over him, the Spirit that brings wisdom and understanding, The Spirit that gives direction and builds strength, the Spirit that instills knowledge and Fear-of-GOD. Fear-of-GOD will be all his joy and delight. He won’t judge by appearances, won’t decide on the basis of hearsay. He’ll judge the needy by what is right, render decisions on earth’s poor with justice. His words will bring everyone to awed attention. A mere breath from his lips will topple the wicked. Each morning he’ll pull on sturdy work clothes and boots, and build righteousness and faithfulness in the land. The wolf will romp with the lamb, the leopard sleep with the baby goat. Calf and lion will eat from the same trough, and a little child will tend them. Cow and bear will graze the same pasture, their calves and cubs grow up together, and the lion eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will crawl over rattlesnake dens, the toddler stick his hand down the hole of a serpent. Neither animal nor human will hurt or kill on my holy mountain. The whole earth will be brimming with knowing God-Alive, a living knowledge of God ocean-deep, ocean-wide.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭11:1-9‬ ‭MSG‬‬

REFLECT:

This passage from Isaiah’s prophecy fills me with so much fantastical hope, Advent hope. What a beautiful picture of Christ’s eternal reign, I would think it difficult to read these words without feeling a hum of warmth. It’s the kind of expectant hum one experiences when they first read Lewis’ “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe”, in which an evil winter’s grasp is melted away by the very presence of the Lion, the true King.

I was listening to a sermon just recently by Campbellsville Vineyard’s Senior Pastor, Adam Russell. In the sermon, Adam made a striking observation about the peaceful, almost paradoxical relationships presented in Isaiah’s 11th chapter.

Wolves and lambs, lions and calves, these are not animals that live together, they do not sleep peacefully near one another in the current state of things. The lamb is afraid and the wolf is hungry. And we, humans, are both of these creatures. We have been preyed upon and we have been starved. Some of us have even identified as extremes of these natures, feeling as if the whole world is out to destroy us, or living with insatiable, ravenous appetites that are never satisfied. And it is to the heart of both of these natures that the Christ comes with His remedy: the remedy of peace, the remedy of wholeness.

In Jesus’ Kingdom, there is no need to be afraid, no need to consume one another. The deepest needs of calf and cub are met in the Lord’s very presence. The overflow of Christ’s wholeness is all-sustaining and never-ending.

With that promise, we come to this season of waiting. Waiting in the tension of Advent, the tangible electricity of the “already and the not yet”. We repeat the Master’s prayer saying, “on earth as it is in heaven,” looking for the magic glimpses of Spring: the tastes and smells of the coming, eternal Summer. As wolves and sheep, we long for the wholeness of Emmanuel.

PRAY:
In the love of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
We pray this mystery:
Christ has died
Christ is Risen
Christ will come again
Come, O Come, Emmanuel, God With Us
On earth as it is in heaven
Amen, Amen, and Amen

God With Us

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Advent greetings to you all!

For this week’s devotion, take some time to read this breathtaking passage about Emmanuel from the prophet Isaiah. Then, even if you know the song well (maybe you’ve played it 100 times), listen to the worship tune “God With Us” by All Sons & Daughters. Finally, read Isaiah 9:2-7 one more time from “The Message” and end your time of reflection in some (probably much needed) quiet prayer. Listen for the Lord to speak to you as you reflect on this beautiful mystery: God is with us, He is Emmanuel.

READ, WORSHIP, READ, PRAY:

“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. You will enlarge the nation of Israel, and its people will rejoice. They will rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest and like warriors dividing the plunder. For you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders. You will break the oppressor’s rod, just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian. The boots of the warrior and the uniforms bloodstained by war will all be burned. They will be fuel for the fire. For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭9:2-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

 

 

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. For those who lived in a land of deep shadows— light! Sunbursts of light! You repopulated the nation, you expanded its joy. Oh, they’re so glad in your presence! Festival joy! The joy of a great celebration, sharing rich gifts and warm greetings. The abuse of oppressors and cruelty of tyrants— all their whips and cudgels and curses— Is gone, done away with, a deliverance as surprising and sudden as Gideon’s old victory over Midian. The boots of all those invading troops, along with their shirts soaked with innocent blood, Will be piled in a heap and burned, a fire that will burn for days! For a child has been born—for us! The gift of a son—for us! He’ll take over the running of the world. His names will be: Amazing Counselor, Strong God, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness. His ruling authority will grow, and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings. He’ll rule from the historic David throne over that promised kingdom. He’ll put that kingdom on a firm footing and keep it going With fair dealing and right living, beginning now and lasting always. The zeal of GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies will do all this.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭9:2-7‬ ‭MSG‬‬

TAKE TIME TO PRAY, LISTENING FOR THE LORD AND HOW HE MIGHT QUIETLY SPEAK THROUGH THESE SCRIPTURES, IMAGES FROM THE STORY, OR IN THE PEACE OF HIS QUIET VOICE.

New Song: “Abba”

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Happy October, Vineyard Church family!

We’re really stoked about this month’s new worship song, “Abba”

Written by Jonathan David & Melissa Helser, this tune helps us to speak one of the great wonders of our faith:  that God himself calls us his children!  We belong to him!  And not only do we belong, but we are surrounded by his presence in a way that is more real than the air in our lungs or the rocks we stand on.  God is near to his children.

Whether it’s for the first time or the 10,000th, we the church need to be reminded and to praise the Lord for the incredible gift of adoption into his family.  Who we used to be, all the names we labeled ourselves, they are all washed away and replaced by “Son” and “Daughter”.

So as we lift up worship to our Abba, our Father, let him speak to you about the transformation he has made in you and the new  robe and ring that he offers to all who come to him.

Chord charts available on Planning Center

 

“…God is really among you.”

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READ:

But if all of you are prophesying, and unbelievers or people who don’t understand these things come into your meeting, they will be convicted of sin and judged by what you say. As they listen, their secret thoughts will be exposed, and they will fall to their knees and worship God, declaring, “God is truly here among you.”
‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭14:24-25‬ ‭NLT‬‬

But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭14:24-25‬ ‭ESV‬‬

REFLECT:

Do we know and believe that the Father has direct words and truths to speak to the people in our church, our workplaces, and our families?

How do we cultivate a secret life that yields prophetic fruit for those we minister to? How do disciplined study and listening prayer affect our ability to hear what God is saying to people and to us?

In a worship service or prayer group, what percentage of our hearts and minds do we direct toward listening for the Lord’s voice? Are we preparing enough before a service, so that we can focus less on songs and notes and more on how the Spirit is moving?

Are we ready and willing to change our plan or share a word from God with someone, if that Father leads us to do so? Does the thought fill you with excitement or fear and hesitation? Why?

PRAY:

Father, help me to trust that you have good things, good words for your people. I want to trust your leadership.

Christ, you know the secrets of my hearts. You know my sin. And your love overflows on me unhindered. Sanctify me, Jesus.

Spirit, please make me more aware of your presence. Your life and power are in me, help me to hear clearly and speak boldly.

I ask these things in the name of Jesus.

Amen, Amen, and Amen.