#Encore: Bedtime Story

 

Welcome to the Rhapsody #Encore. On Fridays we will be reposting some of our readers most favorite posts. Todays repost is Bedtime Story from March 2011

stick_figure_girlThere once was a little girl named little Lonnie. Little Lonnie worked with a group of little Larry’s, little Suzies and tiny Betsy’s. The little tiny’s all worked together in a competitive atmosphere trying to bring in and/or produce all the jelly wellies they could with what time frame they were given. In charge of the little tiny’s were the Hungry’s and Large Marge. Times got tough from time to time trying to produce all the needed wellies, and when times got tough, Lonnie got down on herself and her worth as a good worker…during those bad times she noticed that the MORE concerned and stressed she appeared, the MORE the Hungy’s thought she cared about the work she was doing. If little Lonnie appeared calm and confident even during a day of no wellies, they questioned how much she actually cared!!! “Lonnie just walks around here ALL DAY like nothing is wrong!! If I were her I’d be a little more concerned or have a better sence of urgency!!” Maybe it was because Lonnie remembered the instruction of her Heavenly Father…”Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” Luke 25:25-26…or maybe it was “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7…or my favorite “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7.

Sometimes we don’t realize that we conform to our surroundings and what is expected of us that we forget what and who we are called to be as Christians. For the longest time Lonnie had let what others expected of her determine the way she perceived things…she eventually realized that no amount of worry would progress her. She did the best she could day in and day out…and when she hit that wall of “impossibility”, she laid the rest at the feet of the one who had already carried every load she would ever encounter. Are you following me kiddo’s???

Goodnight♥

~Leesa

Hey! Guess Who’s Really Steering?

IMGA00571This was originally posted from my personal blog (That Girl) earlier this summer.  I’m happy to say that, he not only loves to ride his bike now, he rides it like a champ.

Today I just bought my seven year old a shiny, brand new bike! And I’m the only one excited about it. He’s not typically an ungrateful boy. Right now, he’s just  scared. Now, we’ve taught him how to ride, but he isn’t confident doing it. His knees are up in his elbows as he’s wobbly and trying to steer. The bike he learned to ride on is, in reality, for a 4 year old. My son feels safer with it because he feels like he has more control. The new one is harder to place his feet on the ground and that’s all he sees. He’s already worked out in his mind how he’s going to fall and how it’s going to hurt. He’s already convinced himself that this couldn’t possibly be a good thing even though his little behind hasn’t even warmed the seat.

Now, I know better. I see the bigger picture. He needs more space to not only steer better and a better range of motion decreases the amount of pedaling. I know that he will not only be able to ride the bike better, but even enjoy it more. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to make it happen. He will tear up and he will not have a good few days as I make him get on it time and time again until he’s mastered riding.

I wasn’t upset or hurt because his lack of (or should I say no) excitement. I’m in the car on the drive back thinking about all the times God was doing something good for me….beneficial for me….but, instead of thanking Him, I cry, get scared, moan, groan,….falter. He, just like I’m going to do with Isaac as soon as the rain subsides, makes me go through it anyway. Why? Because just like my son will be for me, He knows I will be obedient in spite of it all. He knows that I will not only come out of the experience stronger, but also more trusting as my son will be with me….some day.

I thank God, using my 20/20 hind site, because now I can see how all the things I cried over and feared over has taken me where I am today. My son will do the same as he coasting on his new bike. He will look back and see me waving behind him yelling “see, I told you so!”

I don’t know where you’re at right now and what you’re going through. But I do know that if God is in control of your life, He’s just that….. in control.

 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. Romans 8:28

Whatever may have you in tears now, you will be able to look back and say “That may have been painful, but look where I am today.” Trust that your God is good and He doesn’t steer you wrong.

~Janean

Missions Blog September 2014

Whole_world_-_land_and_oceans Starting now, we will be incorporating a monthly missions blog detailing some of the missions projects that Canvas Church is involved with.  Our hope is to keep you all up to date and in the know concerning our local and foreign mission endeavors. Currently, Canvas Church supports a missionary family in Southeast Asia.  They have been serving full time in Southeast Asia for over ten years and have seen God work in mighty ways in their time there.  Canvas is also involved in many different local mission and outreach projects.

One of the things that we are currently working on is preparing care packages to hand out to those in need.  The goal is to get a backpack that includes food, toiletries, blankets, and other items in the hands of each person that attends Canvas Church.  This provides us with an opportunity to show love to someone in need while also allowing us to help meet their physical needs.  There is truly no better way to share the Gospel and God’s love than when we are able to marry meeting someone’s physical needs with meeting their spiritual needs.  Chris Watson is heading up our local missions department, and he is always coming up with new and awesome ways to reach out to those in need here locally. As crazy and energetic as Chris is, I am sure that he would love to have some help doing all of the things that he does.  If you have a heart for this community and those around you, let us know.  We would love to get you involved in what we are doing locally to spread God’s love to those in need of hope.

Our missionary family in Southeast Asia has been focusing on discipling and equipping leaders in house churches.  The church in Southeast Asia is growing rapidly, but many of the leaders don’t have the experience that our local church leaders have.  There are not many resources available to them to help them further their ministry and help them grow spiritually.  This is one of the many places that the missionaries have been able to get involved.  They have spent years building relationships with leaders in these churches, and have made themselves available to help in any way necessary to further the kingdom in Southeast Asia.  We are excited about what God is doing there, and we are glad to be a part of it.  In the spring of next year, we will be sending a team from the church to Southeast Asia to encourage our missionaries and experience the culture and day to day life in the place that they call home.  If you are interested in getting involved in what we are doing in Southeast Asia, let me know.  I would love to find ways to get others involved in what we are doing across the world.  Due to the sensitive nature of where our missionaries are serving, I have to be a bit vague when discussing how and where they are serving.  If you have questions or would like to know more about how they are serving, feel free to talk to me personally.

I also want to use this monthly blog as a way of sharing prayer needs and praise reports.  The following are some ways that you can be praying:

  1. One of the four daughters of our missionary family in Southeast Asia, Laura, recently had surgery to repair the muscles behind her eyes that allow the eyes to work together.  Be praying that her brain begins to tell her eyes how to work together and that her vision is restored and that she will be able to see even without glasses.
  2. As I mentioned earlier, we are sending a team to Southeast Asia in the spring of next year.  Be praying that they are able to raise the funds that they need to in order make this trip a reality. Also be praying that the Lord would prepare their hearts and minds for what they Lord has for them in Southeast Asia.  I know that they are so excited to be a part of what God is doing there.

-James King

For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!

Romans 10:13-15

#Encore: God Can

Welcome to the Rhapsody #Encore. On Fridays we will be reposting some of our readers most favorite posts. Todays repost is God Can from September 2013.

 

flower-through-concreteMy life two and half years ago was a mess!  I did not have a relationship with God at all!  I believed in God but didn’t go to church, nor did my husband, Scott.  Our marriage was a mess!  We were just steps away from a divorce.  I remember Scott and I were sitting at a picnic table at a park waiting for others to arrive for our grandson’s third birthday.  My husband was saying “I’ll pack up my things and move out tonight.”    This was what I was waiting for and when he said those words…it hit me…I didn’t really want him to go, I just wanted things to change, for the better, so I pleaded, “Please don’t go.”

Later, that evening, we talked and I said to Scott “What we need is God in our marriage.”  So I asked my sister to ask her pastor what churches in Loudon, Knoxville and Lenoir City would be good churches to attend.  Each one we went to, Scott would say, “No, I don’t like that one or I don’t like the music.” Then I would say “This was okay, but I don’t like the preacher screaming and jumping up on the tables.”  Finally, I did a Google search for non-denominational churches in Lenoir City and found Canvas Church.  The first Sunday we went, we felt like we were reconnecting with old long lost friends and family, because we felt so loved.

Then God started to work on our hearts and souls. We started going every Sunday and on Wednesday night.  Scott and I started doing devotion each night and praying together, and our lives grew closer together as we grew closer to God.

Then Satan started to attack me with guilt for the things I had done in the past and things done to me even though I had confessed my sin to God and been forgiven, Satan tried to tell me that if Scott knew he wouldn’t love me anymore or if anyone at the church knew they wouldn’t love me either.  Then at a prayer and worship service I spoke and prayed with someone on the prayer team.  When I got home, Scott asked me what I had gone up to pray about and I decided to tell him.  He said without hesitation, “I love you even more now because you could tell me.”    At the last women’s retreat I confessed in my small group and there was no condemnation, only love.  Satan is the one who tells lies to us so we cannot be free in God’s love.

Now, God can use me, because I am listening to Him and not Satan.  What freedom there is in this, to let God be at the helm?   In Philippians 4:13 we read, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”  God has allowed both me and Scott to lead small group studies this Fall and it is a blessing to us to be able to be used by God.  We are being blessed by opening up our home, opening up our hearts to others and they in turn are blessing us with their love for God.

I can’t wait to see where God will take us next, because the last two and half years have been amazing!

~Suzanne

I Need You

Helping Hands

Overwhelmed?

Exhausted?

Discouraged?

Waging a battle that will never be won?

Feel alone?

I get there, to those places, more times than I care to admit. Life can make us feel like we have taken more punches than we deserve. It is hard to pick ourselves up, again and again.

You’re Not Alone!!

That’s it, the secret to being an overcomer. Seriously. I’m not joking. If we can hold on to that one promise, we can wield the greatest weapon ever forged. Community.

First, God himself promises us that He will Never, EVER, leave us or forsake us. (Emphasis mine.)

Second, we are created for community.

There is a portion of scripture that is one of my favorites to draw on when I need reminding of the importance of other people in my life. I am going to paraphrase, but you can check the whole thing out in Exodus 17.

Moses had sent Joshua and an army of ill-equipped, unprepared, outnumbered Israelites to fight a battle against Amalek. Moses went to the top of the hill and held his rod high above his head. The rod was the symbol and pledge of God’s presence and power and working. When Moses held his rod, banner, high the Israelites were winning, when he dropped his arms the Amalekites would start to win.

Exodus 17:12 Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset.

This mighty man of God, needed help? Needed people?

We may find ourselves in the middle of the war, fighting, ill-equipped, and exhausted. While our faith is strong and we believe in the impossible things of God, we are overwhelmed. Sometimes, we are unable to hold the banner of God high over our situations.

God never leaves us, never gives up on us, and even fights the battles for us. Sometimes, we need the strength and encouragement of others to continue to fight.

Do you find yourself on the mountaintop alone? Are your arms too tired to hold your banner high overhead? Have you invited a few friends to come along and stand beside you?

Do you ever find yourself looking around and wondering where are all the people? Often times we climb our mountaintops independently. We trust our own strength and power as we journey along. Never once, do we invite anyone to join us for the journey.

Moses took Aaron and Hur with him from the beginning.

Who is on your journey with you? Who have you invited to share in your struggles, joys and adventures?

Who are you walking beside in their journey? Do you know someone who could use a friend?

~Angela

Love Mercy

What is mercy? Going out of our way to see that justice is done.

I want you to read the story of the good Samaritan right now. Luke 10:25-37

Did you read it? If not….then go back to the last line….and read that scripture…

Did you read it? Huh?……

Ok, what I love about this is that he didn’t just help the guy off the road. He didn’t just get the guy a room and put him in a bed. He told the inn keeper that any expenses accrued he would reimburse. He spent his time, money, resources and energy to make sure this guy was ok and on his way. Isn’t this was God does for us?

Psalm 40:2, 3 – “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to God….”

God doesn’t just pull us out of the junk…he puts a new song in our hearts and makes sure we are standing on solid ground. He doesn’t stop at us being ok. He makes sure we are alive and singing and dancing. This Samaritan could have helped the guy up and got him to an inn and it would have been a nice thing he did. No…he went out of his way to make sure justice was done with this guy. He made sure this guy was taken care of. He even looked past the cultural differences. See, Jews and Samaritans did not like each other. But he was able to see past that and pour himself into this guy.

This is the same mercy we are called to. Put yourself in this guys shoes. I believe that there are many people that would have helped the guy. But far too less that would have gone that extra mile…..would I? hhmmm

Don’t stop at good….don’t stop at “that was nice”. Go beyond that and pour that same mercy that poured out of Jesus on the cross into those around you. Mercy is loving someone even when no one else will. It’s picking up the “reject” and making sure they feel loved. It’s loving someone that tares you down because that’s what God would do. Mercy….loves.

Mercy finds and carries out Justice in everyone it can.

Don’t settle for being nice to people. Don’t settle for being a good person.

Love Mercy!!!

My challenge to you…don’t just be nice to people. Go out of your way to show the love of God to people. Go out of your way to make sure people know about how awesome God is. It’s easy sometimes to ask God for opportunities in our work place and families. Maybe its time we get proactive and make opportunities as we chase after God to show mercy to people. Maybe you could make a list of ways you could show mercy and then work those things on that list.

LOVE MERCY!!!!

~Jerod

This post was original posted at Jerod’s Mind Unraveled.

#Encore: The One

Welcome to the Rhapsody #Encore. On Fridays we will be reposting some of our readers most favorite posts. Todays repost is The One from October 2010.

 

wedding ringsWhat has happened with the covenant of marriage in the church today?  Many statistics show that the divorce rate among the church is up near or above 50% which is slightly higher than that of the divorce rate in the secular world.  Now, I believe that the main reason that the divorce rate is higher in the church than it is in the secular world is due to the fact that many in the secular world are choosing to live together without getting married.  When they split, it is considered a breakup and not a divorce, but this by no means justifies the fact that about 1 out of every 2 marriages in the church today ends in divorce.

Now, I am not here to bash anyone who has gotten a divorce or made a mistake in their marriage.  We have all made mistakes in our lives and all of us that are married have certainly made mistakes in our marriage.  In fact, I make mistakes daily.  What I am interested in knowing is why such a sacred covenant made before God has been taken so nonchalantly as of late.  At times I feel like we, as Christians, have lost sight of what a Biblical marriage looks like.   God’s word lays out very clearly what both the man and woman’s roles and responsibilities are in marriage.  I think too often, we feel like those principles don’t apply any more.  I am here to tell you that in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 it says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  The Word of God is still relevant today, and it should be treated as such.

It is my opinion that one of the main problems plaguing marriage in the church today is that we are too busy searching for “the one” that we lose sight of “The One.”  That sentence may be a little confusing on the surface, but let me explain.  Growing up, whether it be from media, friends or family we have been taught that there is that special someone out there for each of us.  That special someone is often referred to as “the one.”  Over time, I think that we begin to grow impatient waiting on that special someone and we begin to give our heart to anyone in hopes that they may turn into “the one.”  What we don’t realize is that we have this entire process backwards.  As strange as it may sound (in today’s world, I think strange is good because I firmly believe that “normal” is broken), we need to stop searching for “the one” and start focusing our attention on the one and only Creator God.  In Matthew 6:33 the Bible says, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  I think that when we take our eyes off of ourselves and put our focus on Christ, things will begin to fall in place.  In fact, I don’t just think this, I know it.

Now, I am not saying that marriage is easy even when it is done right.  It is never easy to take two, mostly selfish humans and mold them into one unit. With God’s help, though, and the promise to always keep Him first in our marriages and families, those once “marriage ending” issues normally end up being bumps in the road in what should turn out to be a pretty incredible journey.

~James

A Response to Grace in Words

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