Wednesday, December 30, 2009

When God's People Seriously Read God's Word

Nehemiah 9:3 (NIV)
3 They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day, and spent another quarter in confession and in worshiping the Lord their God.

The last ten days I have been reading in the book of Nehemiah. I was really struck by this verse in Nehemiah especially as the New Year opens and this Sunday I will be talking about spending time in the Word to connect with Jesus.

In preparation for this New Year, think about these questions reflecting on last year with me.
· How regularly did I stop, open my Bible and seek to hear from Jesus?
· What things did the Holy Spirit teach me last year as I read the Bible?
· When I read the Bible or heard it preached, how willing was I to do whatever it said?
· How did reading the Bible impact my spiritual leadership opportunities?
· How did reading the Bible impact my marriage and/or closest relationships?
· How did reading, listening and responding to the Word of God shape me last year?

To get a sneak preview into Sunday’s message and about how we are going to read the New Testament together this year go to .

Father, thank You that You have given us Your very words in the Bible. Thank You that You have chosen to communicate with us in this way. Father, I pray that You would motivate me and Your Church to daily read Your Word, to listen to the Spirit and to respond with our lives. Open our eyes that we may see wonderful things from Your Word.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas. Longing for Jesus to show up again.

Christmas. Longings ignored awaken. Hope dashed arise. Expectations for better reluctantly return. Unexpectedly, disappointment deepens.

It’s 5:45a.m. Christmas morning. I woke up at 4 and couldn’t get back to sleep so I got up an hour ago and worked on finishing a book I received for Christmas. I will be plenty tired later as the Tomba’s stayed up past midnight watching “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

I wrote this poem. It doesn’t sound like it goes with “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I think it is the only poem I have ever written and actually talked about publicly. I think I have written one other poem. I suggested putting this poem on our Christmas card. Vela just couldn’t go with it. I laugh thinking about people opening our card and saying, “’that’s really weird.” I read this poem three out four Sundays during advent as I preached. I like it. Honestly, it sounds like something I have heard before.

I still like it. It’s the story of many of my Christmases and the story of many Christmases of friends over the years. It helped me explain how at Christmas everybody convinces everybody else to get their hopes up. It helps me get in touch with how our longings rise to the surface. Its like we are all little kids working ourselves into a frenzy that not even the latest piece of technology can sustain even if we plugged it into our ear.

Side note: At our Christmas eve service, we had the children come to the front. I am talking 3-6 year olds. Maybe some were older. I asked the question, “What do you want for Christmas?” They all wanted iPhones. Wow, I am getting old. It kind of bummed me out. My poem was about to happen to me, when finally some kid said he wanted an AirSoft gun (kind of a modern day Red Rider BB gun). Hurray!

Anyway…I have had a really great Advent season. I have experienced some serious joy. It has been far from perfect. It has not been without disappointment. It has not been without pain. But, by the grace of God, I didn’t expect it to be perfect. My poem, the Spirit of Jesus, and some words from Solomon in Ecclesiastes kept me clear on this: Jesus made His first appearance because there is all kinds of garbage on this planet. Jesus died because things were horrible. Jesus rose and is coming again. I am longing for the second Advent where… Longings ignored will awaken. Hope dashed will arise. Expectations for better will gladly return…And I can’t think of a cool way to end this and turn this poem on its head so that I could put it in a book and make millions of dollars. So I will just give you one of my favorite verses (1John 3:2-3),

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Jesus appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

Merry Christmas. Longing for Jesus to show up again.

P.S. It is still early. No one is awake around here which means no one edited this for me. I hope it makes sense.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Reflections on Years Past

Ecclesiastes 7:10 Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” for it is not wise to ask such questions.

The third Sunday of Advent we talked about “Reflections on Years Past.” Think about how often we reflect on the past during the Christmas Season. I can hear my kids asking, “Dad, do you remember that time you brought home the giant tree that fell over after it was all decorated?”

In the verse above, Solomon addresses our tendency to look back on the past and improve upon it. I know this happens to me when my present isn’t going very well. I have also seen the opposite extreme. I can look back on past events and people and make them out to be worse than they really were. Solomon reminds us that wisdom is needed in reflecting on the past.

Here is a link to this week’s handout:
This has both a consideration of the wisdom Solomon offers in reflecting on the past as well as some thoughts about Jesus in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Imagine this: in Jesus we get to see wisdom from God in even a greater way than Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived. I encouraged everyone to find somebody and look them in the eye and talk about these things. I especially asked fathers and grandfathers to do this with their children and grandchildren. Take some time to do some wise reflecting with someone this week.

Let’s Pray Together
Father, give us the courage to take time during these days to speak words of grace and truth to the people you have placed in our lives. Help us to not only speak about sports, weather, and the hottest gifts this Christmas. May we consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

So that the Scripture might be fulfilled

“so that the Scripture might be fulfilled”

I found myself especially encouraged by these words in the last several days as I have been making my way through the book of John. This statement occurs in chapter 18 and three times in chapter 19 in reference to the details of Jesus’ death.

All the cruelty, all the gory details from start to finish were under the sovereign hand of the Father who loved His Son and who loves us. It was all predicted and promised beforehand. Do you see His love for you? And not only His love for you, but do you see His faithfulness towards you? What God says will come to pass. What God promises, He will perform. “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change His mind; has He said it, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good (Numbers 23:19)? Even in the death of His Son, God was busy and faithful in keeping His promises. It is not a stretch to believe that even in the things that feel like death for us, God is keeping His promise to conform us to the image of His Son.

Let’s Pray Together
Father, by faith I consider it all joy as I face the things that feel like death in my life. You are a sovereign, faithful, all-powerful, and loving Father. I trust in You. I will endure. I believe You are making me like Jesus—mature, complete, lacking nothing. Help my unbelief. In Jesus Name.

Monday, December 07, 2009

The Treadmill

Ecclesiastes 4:4,8
4 And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from man’s envy of his neighbor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. 8 There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. “For whom am I toiling,” he asked, “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?” This too is meaningless— a miserable business!

The second Sunday of Advent we talked about “The Treadmill.” The treadmill is a metaphor for our tendency to make a job out of anything and everything. We are especially good at getting on the treadmill during Christmas season. However, that’s not the only time. We make a job out of parties for our kids, vacations (Have you said like me, “I need a vacation from my vacation?”), reading the Bible, sports…you name it! If you want to read some ways others have seen this, check out my facebook page (

One of the Hebrew words Solomon uses over and over again in Ecclesiastes is the word “amal.” It is usually translated as work, toil, labor. It is what we are doing when we are on the treadmill. In Ecclesiastes 4:4-8, Solomon observes two things that fuel the treadmill. One is competition or envy. The other is greed. Solomon tells us that this toil for the pleasure of being on top and to possess inordinate amounts of stuff and status steals both rest and relationship.

If you are on the treadmill, the safe way to get off and rest is to hit the stop button. Easier said than done. We will only hit the stop button if we hear Jesus saying at the cross, “It is finished!” There is nothing left to prove!

How do you need to hit the stop button this week?

Let's Pray Together

Father, I confess my propensity to make a job out of good things in life. I confess the need to prove myself to You, others, and even myself. I need to hear Jesus say, “there is nothing left to prove,” this season in order that I may enter into rest. Holy Spirit, show me specifically where I am on the treadmill and what it means for me to hit the stop button.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Search for Satisfaction

Ecclesiastes 2:1 I thought in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.”

Sunday, we began our Advent series, Eternity in our Hearts—Longing for More. Christmas is one of those times that raises our expectations for more even when we don’t want our expectations raised.

Solomon decided that he was going to seek out as much pleasure in his life as possible. The word “pleasure” is most often translated as “joy” or “gladness” in the Old Testament. Solomon sought pleasure through parties, projects, presents and prestige (see Eccl 2:1-11). The Bible talks about many “under-the-sun” people, things and events that give joy. They are gifts of God. Knowing our tendency to make under-the-sun pleasures our ultimate pleasure, satisfaction and joy, Solomon reminds us that under-the-sun pleasures are very, very temporary and very, very fragile.

At the end of the service, I gave everyone a Christmas present—a Ghiradelli chocolate. Bad Sunday to miss church! We had a moment of joy as we ate our chocolate and took note of how temporary and fragile it was. I asked everyone to put the wrapper in their Bible as a reminder of the temporary and fragile nature of under-the-sun pleasures.

The interesting thing about this word pleasure (or joy) is that it is most often used of God and His salvation. Isaiah 9:2-3 says “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their JOY; they REJOICE before you as people REJOICE at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder.” In verse 6, he tells who will make this possible, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” During Advent we are reminded that Jesus brings joy. The angel said in Luke 2, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.

Let’s Pray Together
Father, thank you for the many under-the-sun pleasures I enjoy. Knowing that my heart is an idol factory, show me where I am attempting to make your good earthly gifts my ultimate joy and satisfaction. Teach me to find lasting, unbreakable joy in Jesus.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving is not a holiday.

Luke 17:15–18
15 One of them (lepers), when he saw he was healed, came back, glorifying God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give glory to God except this foreigner?”

Did you notice that giving thanks for the grace of God we have received is akin to giving glory to God? By the way, the word for thanks in the Greek means “to have grace.” Paul brings these two ideas of thanks and glorifying God together in Romans 1:21, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

One of the practical ways we glorify God is by giving Him thanks. It’s why David says in Psalm 69:30-31 “I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. 31 This will please the Lord more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hoofs.”

Thanksgiving is not a holiday; it is a practical way for us to glorify God for the grace we have received. Thanksgiving is not a holiday; it is a spiritual discipline critical for our mental, emotional and spiritual health. Thanksgiving is not a holiday; it is a critical step in the rehabilitation of those suffering from the epidemic of entitlement in which all the sick think they should be treated as a god. Thanksgiving is not a holiday; it is an outlet to express our gladness of heart. Thanksgiving is not a holiday; it is something God immensely enjoys.

What benefits have you seen from giving thanks?

P. S. Don’t forget to give thanks.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Prayer for People Pleasers

John 12:42–43
Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.

I read this in my time with the Lord this morning. Knowing that I am a believer in Jesus who struggles with people pleasing, it caused me to ask, “Jesus, is there anything I am saying or not saying because I love the praise of people?” I don't like the thought that this sin can keep me from faithfully serving Him. I do like the thought that His love at the cross covers a multitude of sins.

Let’s Pray Together
Jesus, free me from the fear of people. I confess this is both a sin and a major hindrance to living according to Your will. I want to know Your perfect love to cast out fear in my life. May my life be a constant confession of belief and dependence on You. In my life be glorified today.

How have you seen "the fear of people" keep you from speaking of Jesus, keep you from obeying Jesus, or creating problems for you?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Do I know His voice?

John 10:4-5 (NIV)
…and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”

A defining characteristic of the people of God—they hear His voice. It is striking how many times God calls His people to hear. From Old to New Testament they are commanded to hear His voice specifically through the Word coming from the prophets and the Holy Scriptures. Take some time to read His word for the specific purpose of hearing His voice. Here is the prayer I wrote in my notebook today and prayed for myself, family, elders, staff and friends.

Let’s Pray Together
Lord, I want to know Your voice. I want to put myself in a position to hear from You. I want to know Your voice when it comes to the truth about You, others, and me. I want to not even respond or react to the lies of the world, the flesh and the devil. Speak to me through Your Word.

Monday, November 16, 2009

What is the Father’s heart toward me?

John 8:19 If you knew Me, you would know my Father also.
John 14:7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.

I have felt some sadness lately as I have talked with many Bible believing, long time church going, good people. Over and over I hear things like, “I rarely if ever pray, read my Bible, or sit quietly with God.”

I think one huge reason for this is that we are busy entertaining ourselves to death and gorging ourselves at the table of the world. However, as I have talked with people I realize that many struggle with something I have struggled with. The struggle goes something like this, “I know Jesus loves me and want to be my friend. I know He has compassion on me. I’m just not sure God, the Father wants anything to do with me. And if He does, He probably just wants to correct me or make life harder than it already is.” Who wants to spend time with someone you think of in that way?

We all have lots of reasons for thinking these kinds of thoughts. No earthly father is perfect. I know I haven’t been perfect. I desperately want my own children to look beyond my faults and frailty to a Father in heaven who is completely holy. Some earthly fathers have done some awfully evil things. Yet God puts us in this position to deal with Him as Father. When Jesus says, If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also,” I am reminded of the Oneness of the Triune God. I am reminded that all the wonderful pictures of Jesus’ heart for people are a reflection of the Father’s heart. If you are wondering about the Father’s heart toward you, know this—the heart of Jesus is the heart of the Father.

Let’s Pray Together.
Holy Spirit, show me the Father’s heart. Help me to believe the abundance of direct statements in the scriptures about His loyal love. Father in heaven, holy is Your name, compassionate are Your ways. By faith, I will take time to spend with You and allow You to reshape my picture of You, me and our relationship. I want to know the fullness of joy that comes in Your presence.

Friday, November 13, 2009

It doesn't all depend on me.

John 5:6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

When I was in college, a friend of mine was paraplegic. When someone prayed for his healing, he was not healed. He was accused of not having enough faith. I disagreed with that assessment of the situation. However, I find in my own life I tend to think that if I prayed more consistently, believed a little more, and worked a lot harder then my emotional, physical, my work and ministry problems would go away. In other words, I think I tend to think it is all on me.

Yesterday I was reading about the sick man by the well in John 5. He was sick for 38 years. It seems like he was hoping for a magical cure if someone would just help him into the pool. Jesus asks, “Do you want to get well?” The man’s answer seems more like an excuse. At best he just doesn’t have the awareness in the moment to say exactly what he wants. It definitely wasn’t one of those demonstrations of faith that Jesus affirms in other places in the gospels. And yet, Jesus heals him.

What a great reminder that life with Jesus doesn’t start with me. Life with Jesus is not totally dependent on me. Emotional, spiritual, and physical healing isn’t about me figuring out the right words to say, sins to confess, or principles to apply. Life with Jesus is first and foremost dependent on Him. He is the great healer and transformer of lives. He knows all our needs before we even ask Him.

Let’s pray together.
Jesus, thank You for holding me together by the word of Your power. My life is in You. I acknowledge that You are the prime mover in our relationship. I come to You for rest for my soul. Bring healing into life in those places that I am not even aware of. Heal my hurts I refuse to acknowledge. Bring transformation to those things I have asked for many times. Help my unbelief. In Jesus Name.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pray for teens

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

Read this headline in the Dallas Morning News metro section yesterday morning, “Five teens charged in fatal beating.”

A 28 year old man was beaten to death by his 16 year old neighbors in Wylie, TX. Sometimes I want to just quit getting the paper and listening to the news. I know this is just a drop in the ocean of the heatbreaking stories of people made in the image of God killing others made in the image of God every day. These stories of teens abusing and killing others just seem to get me.

Let’s Pray Together
Father, it is hard to know how to pray when the needs seem so overwhelming and the situation seems so out of control. We believe You are on Your throne. We believe that Jesus died for every hateful action we commit against each other. We long for peace. We ask that Your kingdom of righteousness and love would come. Your good will be done today on our earth as it is heaven. Bring comfort to families who are the victims of violent crimes. May the transforming power and love demonstrated at the cross renew those who hate enough to kill another person. Raise up a generation of young people who are captured by Your love, who carry the love of Jesus to the world. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Focus Part 2 Learning from John the Baptist

John 1:29 (NIV)The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

The characteristic that draws me to John the Baptist was his laser-like focus on calling others to look to Jesus. (I also like that he enjoyed camping out.) John did not give a rip about the size of his following, what the people with money and power thought about him, or maintaining anything (even his own following of disciples). The first time he says, “Look, the lamb of God,” two of His disciples peel off and start following Jesus. One of those guys was Andrew, a good recruiter, the kind of person you need to help your ministry grow.

As a pastor, I am painfully aware of the distractions that grow in the soil of ministry maintenance. The nagging questions of the trade: Who’s leaving the church? Why aren’t more people coming? How was the offering? How was my sermon? Who’s mad? Who’s glad? What’s falling through the cracks? How are we improving our leadership? Why is their church doing better than ours? I know that some of these real life questions can’t and should not be ignored for the health of the church. I also know that these questions don’t get ignored. In fact, they often become an irresistible magnetic field in my own mind sucking energy, time and hope.

I long to operate in the real world focused on constantly calling those who God brings my way, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away this sin of the world." I know that doesn’t happen unless my own heart, soul, mind, and strength are captivated by looking at the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of Neil.

Pray for me and our church to embrace a laser-like focus on the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


John 1:8 John himself was not the light; he came ONLY as a witness to the Light.

What do think about John the Baptist? Surely some thought he was crazy camping out in the wilderness all the time. I wouldn’t want to live on his diet-locust and honey. I like more solid food. He sure wasn’t setting any fashion trends. However, it is clear some thought he was a prophet. The more he spoke, the more they believed.

Whatever you think about John, you can’t deny the guy was focused and had a clear sense of call. When asked about who he was, he said without hesitation, “I am not the Christ, I am not Elijah. I am the voice of one calling out in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord. I am not worthy to untie His sandals.”

It seems to me we talk a lot about focus and calling. We are always in process of trying to get it, clarify it, hold on to it, or get back to it. We tell ourselves and each other to refocus and to recalibrate. As churches, we are regularly trying to get back to the basics, find our core, and live out our values. It doesn’t seem like John needed much of that those days in the wilderness.

In John 1, John’s ministry is set in the context of the glory and excellency of the Word who became flesh, was the light of the world, and the glory of God. John was clear, he was ONLY a witness to the ONE who was so excellent and glorious, he wasn’t he even worthy to serve Him by doing the job of the lowest of slaves—untie His sandals. For John, clarity of focus and calling didn’t come from any handbook on managing or leading. It came from knowing, seeing and experiencing the excellency and glory of Jesus. Do you think that could be true for you?

Let’s pray today for ourselves individually and our church.
Father, we confess that we are people distracted, confused, torn here and there by a multitude of voices screaming at us from all sides. We confess that we have indulged ourselves in the pleasures of this world. Holy Spirit, move us to daily read the revelation we have of Jesus. As we read, open our eyes to see the glory, beauty, and excellency of Jesus. Show us who we really are in light of who He really is. Give us one glorious ambition for our life, to know and follow hard after Jesus.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Bible Verse:
People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Mark 10:13-15 (NIV)

In this story children are not blessed for their virtues but for what they lack: they come only as they are — small, powerless, without sophistication, as the overlooked and dispossessed of society. To receive the kingdom of God as a child is to receive it as one who has no credits, no clout, and no claims. A little child has absolutely nothing to bring, and whatever a child receives, he or she receives by grace on the basis of sheer neediness rather than by any merit inherent in him- or herself. Little children are paradigmatic disciples, for only empty hands can be filled. (Explanation from the Pillar New Testament Commentary)

I like the prayer and reminder for us from the hymn “Rock of Ages:” Jesus, I humble myself before You. Today as a child with “nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling, naked come to Thee for dress, helpless, look to Thee for grace.” May the reality of these truths allow me to rest in You today.
Pray for the children of our church — Jesus, add to our number daily children who are being saved at Northwest Bible Church. Help us to be people who bring children to You. Help us bring them faithfully as we serve our own families. Help us bring them patiently as we care for the children of our church.

Written by Neil Tomba, our senior pastor. Neil and Vela have attended Northwest for 13 years. They have three children: Sheree (22), Natalie (20) and Stephanie (18).

Friday, October 30, 2009


Bible Verse:
…to train Christians in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.
Ephesians 4:12,13 (TM)

As I watched the video of the proposed new buildings at Northwest, I was struck by how streamlined and organically functional the new building will be. How effective and smooth-running all the children’s arrangements will be; how they will work together, in harmony, to build up the next generation in Christ.

As I ponder the relationship of this huge undertaking to our body here at Northwest, the parallels strike me. As we pray “Jesus, we want what You want” throughout this year, we are asking to be made into a new and streamlined, efficiently functioning, united body of believers for the sake of bringing in God’s Kingdom here on earth, here and now. The Message describes what we hope to become: “fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.”

So then I ask myself, “How can I co-operate with Jesus as He seeks, by His Spirit, to make me more like Him today?” He tells me to come to Him and take His yoke upon me, for He is humble and gentle in heart and He will give me rest. He tells me that if I love Him, I will obey His commands. His commands are to abide in Him; to love God with all of me; to love others as He loves me, and to go out and tell others around me of His love for them and His power to save them and give them eternal life.

I realize that I cannot hope to obey His commands without abiding in Him and coming to Him to take His yoke and follow the way with Him. I need to put my hand in His each day and check frequently to see if my hand is still in His. I realize also that as each of His children does this, each keeping his/her eyes on Jesus, we will be built into a great unity and we will become the streamlined, functional body of Christ that He seeks in us.

As we undertake to build the outward buildings into an efficiently functioning unit, will we also take our own part in uniting ourselves to Jesus Christ and to each other to become the efficient and grace-full body of Christ of which Paul speaks in this verse?

Thank our Father for making you a part of His family forever and ever, for uniting you with His Son, Jesus. Ask Him to work powerfully in you by His Spirit to make you more like Jesus every day. Ask Him to help you to put 100% of your trust in Him, for He is worthy of all of your trust, so that you will allow Him to do the work He needs to do in you to make you more like Jesus, no matter what it takes. Ask Him to forgive you for your self-centeredness in seeking daily to please yourself and go your own way and do your own thing because it is pleasing to you. It is not pleasing to Him.
“Jesus, I want what You want!” Pray that God will make this to be true in you. Write this prayer out on a Post-it® note and fix it to your mirror. Every time you see it, lift it up to God and pray it again.

Written by Rosemary Graidage. Rosemary and Colin have attended Northwest for 16 years.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Bible Verse:
Benaiah son of Jehoiada was a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, who performed great exploits…He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion.
2 Samuel 23:20 (NIV)

Wow! I love this nested story of Benaiah and his courage. It reminds me to take risks for the kingdom of God.

This great warrior must have seen this ferocious beast with his peripheral vision on that cold, winter morning. And despite the freezing temperature, the snow, the slick surface, the dark cave, and all odds collaborating against him, Benaiah went in to fight the lion!

Oftentimes as a Christian, I’m tempted to gauge my walk based on all the things I’m not doing wrong (Didn’t lie today — check. Didn’t kill anyone — check. Didn’t rob a bank — check). However, the Christian walk is more than just a checklist of “what not to do.” Benaiah challenges me to “want to do” something for the kingdom.

I don’t know about you, but if I were in Benaiah’s shoes and I saw a big scary lion, I would run away as fast as I could! And I wonder in my life, how many lions am I hiding from? I wonder how many times I see God at work, inviting me to join Him, and I ignore His call. Maybe it’s His call to serve at Hidalgo and read with under-privileged Hispanic children, or take my dog to the retirement home with Paws for Care and visit the elderly, or witness to my co-worker, or go on a foreign mission trip. We all have lions that we can take by the mane and defeat, knowing that it’s not by our might and not by our power, but by God’s sweet Spirit that we will have victory.

I’m so proud to be a member of a church that is fighting a lion and constructing a new building despite all the odds! And I look forward to the prize of following God’s calling! Benaiah was appointed head of King David’s bodyguard for his bravery, and I know that there is a sweet blessing and great reward that awaits us individually and corporately as we chase and conquer the lions God calls us to destroy!

Take a moment and reflect on where you have seen God working. Ask Him what lions He wants you to defeat in your life. Pray for the grace and courage and victory as He works miracles in your life for His glory! Ask Him how you can join with our church body as we work to reach a lost and dying world through this building project.

Written by Suzanne McDuffie. Suzanne has attended Northwest for one year.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Bible Verse:
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.
Isaiah 40:28-31 (NASB)

A well-known and well-loved verse like this can become too familiar and the meaning ceases to soak in. But because God’s living and active Word is timeless, He can use the same verse at different times to minister in His intended ways. Several years ago, one morning, the word ‘wait’ LEAPED off the page at me. It was about waiting for something specific — a desired outcome.

This is the New American Standard version of the verse. In other versions, the word ‘wait’ is replaced with ‘hope’ or ‘trust.’ His promise was that I needed to wait on Him to do the work that was to be done — to trust Him for the outcome however long it took and whatever form it would take.

However, through the years the hope for desired outcomes has turned into something different. It is now like a ‘waiting with the Lord.’ In waiting with Him, He sustains us — our strength is renewed, we are able to spiritually soar, we run and do not become weary, we can keep walking without fainting — because He is with us.

E. M. Bounds, in his classic book “On Prayer,” says “But there is a point at which faith is relieved of its burden, so to speak, and trust comes along and says, ‘You have done your part. The rest is mine!’” Pressing in and waiting/hoping/trusting the Lord gives the assurance that He is there, our times are in His hands. And on the days when I don’t feel like soaring, running, or even continuing to walk, I can only rest in the rock-solid truth of His word that says to wait on Him.

Ask the Lord to reveal to you if you are waiting for something to happen, or if you are in the process of waiting with Him and trusting Him for the outcome. What impact does this have in your life and your relationship with the Lord? Pray for His strength to spiritually soar with Him, run to Him, and keep walking on the path where He has you. Praise Him for His faithfulness to His word.

Written by Janie Hoy. Janie and Mark have attended Northwest for 20 years. They have two children: Evan (12) and Libby (10).

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Bible Verse:
From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. Acts 17:26-27 (NIV)

I often argue with God. Yes, I’ll admit it. I don’t always like His plans and His ways are certainly not my ways. To this day, I still argue with God about why I was born into “my family.” When I look at the possible families He could’ve given to me, I wonder what life would’ve been like if my family was less perfectionistic, or had more wealth — or even if we just had a dog. What if I had been born to the family next door and life was different? Could I have been the first female, ethnically Indian president?

On the other hand, I have to also consider the reality of being born to the family next door. Since I was born in India, that could’ve meant never learning to read or write, suffering from malnutrition or, as a girl, being sold for adoption.

When I look at God’s placement of my life, that He set this time and this place for me to live — that He gave me to a family that moved to America, I am educated and have food to eat every day — I have to humbly admit that I don’t always know what would’ve been best for my life then, or even what’s best for my life tomorrow. God’s sovereignty remains a complete mystery to me. I try to explain it with analogies or little diagrams, but I’m not sure I will ever understand just how He works such things out. What little I am sure of includes knowing He had a plan to do what was necessary so that I would seek Him and come to know Him. Today, He is still busy doing just that — arranging everything in my life so that I will seek and know Him more.

I may argue with the methods from time to time, but I must admit that He does a have wonderful purpose in His plans.

Recall a time or event in your life where you have seen God’s plan at work, and give thanks. Consider where you are today - do you question God’s timing and placement? Consider why you are unwilling to accept God’s plans in this area and what needs are revealed by your questioning of His plan. For example, why do you seek a different job with a bigger salary? Does it reveal disbelief in knowing you will always be provided for? Or why do you seek a spouse? Does it reveal the need to believe you are loved and accepted unconditionally by someone?
Take some time to reflect on the differences or similarities between where you have seen God work before you in your life and with this area you question today. What is He saying to your heart? Is there something He’s asking of you today?

Written by Dipa H. Hart. Dipa and Nathan have attended Northwest for four years.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Bible Verse:
O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1 (NIV)

Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.
Psalm 63:7 (NIV)

As usual, life in Dallas runs at a drop-dead pace, constantly looking to squeeze more into each day in a land filled with eye candy that tells us what more we need to have, to do, or to be. I’m certainly not immune. It is easy for me to identify my dry and weary land that is filled with obligations, a job with more “to do’s” than can actually fit on my schedule. Everything is ‘priority’, taking care of all of that and myself too. It is the “I have to take care of it all” that makes me weary. What do I long for? Respite with my Lord where He is my refuge and my refreshment, so I start my day with Him. During the day I close my eyes, take a breath, and realize He is already there, filling my mind with a praise song, reminding me that as He promised, He is already there.

As a child I attended a thriving church that believed in training up its children. I am grateful for that. My longing for Him began there. As an adult I want to attend a church whose people earnestly seek Him. Children see that and can experience that for themselves. So in my time with Him I ask, “What is it You would have me do?”

Ask God to show you what it means to seek Him earnestly. Be grateful for those church fathers and saints that have brought us this far. Ask God what it is He would have you do. Pray that He will put those words in your heart and mind. Take time to sit in silence to listen for His answer.

Written by Deborah Herring. Deborah has attended Northwest for 21 years.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Bible Verse:
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. ”
John 17: 20-23 (NIV)

A man couldn’t wait to get to church every week. The pastor’s teaching inspired him, while the friendliness of the people drew him into the life of the church. Although he was just a new believer, he understood the importance of gleaning everything possible from his pastor and other spiritually mature people around him. Less than a year later, this man’s spiritual world fell apart. One Sunday the pastor announced his resignation, explaining that he and the church leadership couldn’t agree on the direction in which they wanted the church to go. Disillusioned that the men he trusted and admired as spiritual mentors couldn’t get along, the man never again entered a church.

Isn’t it interesting that Jesus spent some of His final hours on earth praying that His remaining followers would be known for their love for each other and their relationships would resemble the kind of unity He shared with His heavenly Father?

God the Father glorified Jesus because He loved the Son. In return, Jesus made the love of the Father known to everyone. Together they enjoyed a mutually loving and self-sacrificing relationship.

Of course, only God can answer prayer. But when it comes to unity in the church, we can take some practical steps toward being a part of the answer to Jesus’ prayer. We can start by praying for unity for Northwest Bible Church and the leadership. We can also encourage and promote understanding when we see Christians getting caught up in unhealthy disagreements. Further, we can pursue love and practice self-sacrifice in our own relationships.

When the body of Christ doesn’t work to build unity, the world sees a sick and weakly church. But when we join together in unity, the world sees the power and glory of Jesus shining through us.

Spend time in solitude (silence) listening for the still voice of God speaking to you about His love. Spend time praising Him for the freedom you have in knowing you are a child of the King. Confess any sin that may hinder you from listening and responding to Jesus. Thank Him for forgiving your sin and delivering you from guilt. Ask God to infuse in you the desire to pursue unity in the body of Christ. Pray for believers to love one another, and seek forgiveness for the sake of the kingdom. Pray that Dallas and the world will see the power and glory of Jesus shining through us. Amen.

Written by Brian Radabaugh, our men’s minister. Brian and Jennifer have attended Northwest for two years. They have three children: Nicole (12), Kylie (10) and Connor (5).

Friday, October 23, 2009


Bible Verse:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing, it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV)

The world is broken. Dallas-Fort Worth is broken. You are broken. I am broken. Everything is broken. And there is nothing we can do to fix it. Nothing. In our essence as men and women we are fractured, and no amount of self-help or education or money is going to fix that.

The greatest problem in the universe is sin. It is our sin that makes us broken. And no matter how many Max Lucado or Beth Moore books you read, no matter much you volunteer at Northwest, no matter how many R-rated movies you avoid, you can’t save yourself from your sin. You can’t do it. Jesus Christ is the only one who can fix that brokenness. In order to be agents of the gospel we have to know the gospel. God saved us in His sovereign grace. Paul says, “This is not of your own doing, this is not a result of works so that nobody can boast.” Because if it was our works that saved us, then we would just boast in ourselves and how we accomplished this or that goal.

As we build a new building or do anything as a body, it is vital to never forget the radical beauty of the gospel and its implications. I pray we would never become indifferent or apathetic to the gospel because we “get it” or because we have heard it so many times. We must praise God for His grace, for the cross, for Jesus every single day. We must not simply be hearers of the gospel, but must do the hard work of the gospel. Paul says we were created in Jesus ‘FOR good works’, not saved by them but created to walk in them, to do them after we have been saved. So we are saved FROM but also saved FOR! This is how we push back what is dark in this world, by serving our city and our world with the love and grace by which we were saved — tearing down all the walls that humanity puts up to divide.

Everyone is broken. So let’s not just be passionate at memorizing Scripture and doctrine, but let’s be passionate about serving the least of these — the oppressed, the forgotten, the poor — that those far from God would come near.

May we be people who constantly come before the cross of Jesus Christ and cry out, “God, be merciful to me a sinner.” The Gospel calls us to humility, to an understanding that God has saved us out of the overflow of His mercy and love to mission. May we be people who both receive the Gospel and live out the Gospel in a broken world. Let’s pray for the beautiful depth of the Gospel to constantly challenge, confront, and expose our arrogance, our idols, and our works-righteousness. Let us also pray to be agents of the Gospel, to have Christ show us ways to be His hands and feet in the city of Dallas and the world.
John Newton said, “I am a great sinner, but Christ is a great Saviour.” May this truth be written in our hearts and lived out with our lives for the glory of God.

Written by R.D. McClenagan. R.D. has attended Northwest for one year.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Bible Verse:
“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From whence shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD who made heaven and earth.”
Psalm 121:1-2 (NASV)

We left the Texas heat recently and traveled up to the Canadian Rockies, where we viewed the majestic creation of our God. I found myself asking, “Who but God could form these mountains, each so individual in design, or create glaciers that color the lakes so brilliantly blue?” Only a great and mighty God!

Yet, in reality, my mind was having trouble grasping how God will lead our church body in raising the funds for our projected building project, especially in the midst of a recession. God had an answer for me during our travels!

Our trip began with rain and thick clouds which covered the mountaintops and dulled the color of the lakes. Even with these obstacles, we saw God’s handprint in His awesome creation. The third morning we had plans to visit the famous Lake Louise, and in prayer the evening before, we asked that God would grant us a little sunshine to behold His creation at its best.

Though we arrived to cloud cover and no sun, again we were awestruck at the beautiful setting of the two mountains coming together over the lake. A man in alpine costume was playing “Amazing Grace” on a very long-necked horn (used to call in mountain goats and sheep), and we were amazed at his selection in a mixed crowd of tourists, but listened as it carried over the lake beautifully. We happily joined his invitation to sing along when he replayed it, but it was quickly apparent we were the only ones singing. We continued to the end and clapped a deserved applause to musician and to our Creator. We then walked over to the next viewing area, and looking back toward the mountains, we were silenced!

There was a perfect oval opening in the clouds and the sun was beaming down through them, causing a perfect reflection of the scene on the lake. How personal is our God, to answer such a simple prayer with magnificence! Now I look forward to a mighty work of God as He supplies through His body, the church, the new campus to serve future generations.

I am one step closer to my decision because of my special moment with God; but each of us can receive our own personal answer if we seek Him in prayer to know what He wants us to do. One day in the future we will all stand to dedicate this proposed structure to the One who built it, our great God Almighty. Praise His name today, for He is able!

Holy God, You have cast the vision before our elders. Help me to know my part in this endeavor, great or small, and to walk with You in obedience to Your instruction.

Written by Val Cox. Val and Jack have attended Northwest for six years.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Bible Verse:
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought aromatic spices so that they might go and anoint Him. And very early on the first day of the week, at sunrise, they went to the tomb. They had been asking each other, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?”
Mark 16:1-3 (NET Bible)

The one true God acts in a faithful manner; the Lord’s promise is reliable; He is a shield to all who take shelter in Him.
Psalm 18:30 (NET Bible)

So much of life is problem-solving. We look at the world around us — we examine the workload, then we carefully plot a course to get the job done. The women who came to the tomb to attend to Jesus’ body after His death were no different, asking themselves what could be done about the huge stone covering the entrance. Could they move the rock on their own? Should they have enlisted the help of friends? Would they be risking injury by trying to move this big thing? And what about unforeseen problems? What about the Roman guards keeping watch? Was this too dangerous after all? Come to think of it, why did these friends of Jesus go to the tomb amid such uncertainty? Could it be that God had a special purpose in mind for them? Could it be that He had brought them there?

Certainly it was the women’s love for Jesus that compelled them to embark on their journey from the start. We know that by the time the women reached the tomb, all of their difficulties had strangely vanished — the stone and the Roman guards. And their complete access to the tomb once they arrived is a hopeful picture of how God works through His people and for His church.

In looking to the future of family ministry here at Northwest, I want to trust the work that God is doing in our midst, both seen and unseen. I want to come to Him confidently and ask Him to help me trust Him for the vision He is casting in His church. I want to know that He is superintending this new building project because He, Himself, has brought us to this place, a place that is well established and fully grounded in Him. Psalm 18:30 says, “What a God! His road stretches straight and smooth. Every God-direction is road-tested. Everyone who runs toward Him makes it.” May it be that the friends of Jesus at Northwest Bible Church trust His vision as well. May we own this journey together as set apart for us by no less than God Himself.

Ask the Holy Spirit to release you to trust Him gladly through this fund-raising and construction endeavor. Commit yourself daily to a view of God the Father as Sovereign. Imagine what life in this church would be like if Jesus Himself was our expectation. Rehearse this truth on a regular basis in a community of people you trust. And pray: “Good Father, show us Your glory! Would You teach our hearts to know Your presence?”

Written by Jonathan Habashy. Jonathan and Kris have attended Northwest for 13 years. They have three children: Jeb (6), Gareth (3) and Ruthie (2).

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Bible Verse:
The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:15-16 (ESV)

Read 1 Corinthians 2:14-3:3. Paul mentions three types of people in this passage.

In 2:14, he describes the “Natural” man who does not accept the things of God. In other words, this person is not a believer in Christ.

In 2:15-16, we find the description of the “Spiritual” man who has the mind of Christ. This is a person who is in good fellowship with the Father through a close walk with Jesus.

The third person Paul addresses is of great interest. The “Carnal”, or “Fleshly” man is described as an infant in Christ. This person is a believer in Christ, his eternal security is set as a result, but he is obviously not experiencing the benefit of being closely connected to the Father.

Which of these three most resemble each other?
Which of these three best describes me?

I believe that the vast majority of Christians are struggling as “Carnal” men and women. This happens over time from not meeting daily with the Lord, an absence of prayer, lack of fellowship, and rare times of confession. This is not how we were designed to live. God has given us His Spirit to live in us and to guide us through our lives as we seek to reflect the image of Christ. We have access to the Spirit of the Almighty Creator, who with a word set the universe into motion and breathed life into the nostrils of man. Why do we not take advantage of this incredible gift, but instead often choose to trudge through life on our own very limited power?

Take a few minutes to sit in silence before the Lord and then confess your sins to Him. The prayer below is an example of what you can pray in order to again more resemble who you truly are… a Spirit-filled believer in Christ.

Lord, by faith I ask You to fill me with Your Holy Spirit so that I may live my life in close fellowship with You like the spiritual man, rather than in frustration and confusion like the carnal man of this passage.

Written by Ken Fifer, our outreach minister. Ken and Amy have attended Northwest for 6 months. They have two children: Megan (7) and Samuel (5).

Monday, October 19, 2009


Bible Verse:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Acts 2:42-47 (NIV)

Life in community can be powerful and life-changing. As I meditate on this passage, I am humbled. These verses can seem overwhelming and even idealistic to live out in today’s culture. I often ask what it would look like if we lived this way — devoted to prayer, giving constantly, putting other’s needs first, sharing life together, praising God, and seeing the “Lord add to our number daily those who were being saved.” Amazing and awesome are words that come to mind.

Luke describes in this passage the impact God had made in the lives of those in the early church, as the Holy Spirit gave them unity of heart and mind as they assembled each day. This unity was obviously attractive to others, as this early church grew rapidly.

So how does this apply to us today? How do we achieve this unity that was such a powerful witness to others? I wonder if the formula of this early church might provide some clues: prayer, selfless giving, living life together, praising God…sound good? Are you currently living this out?

A place to start might be determining the needs of our body of believers at Northwest. Among other things, there are some tangible realities that we are looking to address through our facilities initiative. These needs are significant and can seem overwhelming. Of all the priorities we encounter, however, I wonder why God has us on this trajectory. Besides the obvious issues of space and the need to be good stewards of our property, could it be that we are being asked to help meet the needs of the believers and unbelievers in our community? Could it be to help us be devoted to Him through prayer? To live life more intentionally with others? Might it have something to do with our church unity, as we trust in the Lord for something greater than what we can do in our own strength? My answer is a resounding “yes”! But how about you? Can this “fellowship” become a reality at Northwest? Will the Lord add to our number daily those who are being saved? I’m banking on it.

Lord, I pray that we may be a people devoted to You and to prayer. I pray that Northwest can be a community of believers that serves one another as well as those around us. I pray that as we share life together in the unity You desire, that You would bless us with the opportunity to invest in future generations and reach the lost. I pray, Father, that You would add to our number daily those who are being saved. Thank You, Lord, for what You are going to do through the body of believers at Northwest Bible Church.

Written by Jeff Holck, our community minister. Jeff and Amy have attended Northwest for two years. They have two children: Evan (3) and Abigail (3 months).

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Bible Verse:
But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
Luke 18:16 (NIV)

It should be no surprise to any of us that the ministry to children is the most important and fruitful ministry in the church. Eighty-five percent of believers trust Christ before they’re 14. Why? What makes it easier for a child to believe than an adult? The reason is that children have qualities that make believing in Jesus easier than it is for an adult.

First, children are humble. One of the big hindrances to faith for adults is pride and an unwillingness to admit they are sinners. Children are dependent on their parents. They trust their parents to care for them, so it’s not difficult to transfer that dependence to a heavenly Father. Children have more faith naturally than adults. They can believe in what is invisible without difficulty. Children respond to authority, so obeying God is often easier for them. Children are able to memorize without always understanding what they learn, so the Word of God can be planted in their minds and when their understanding catches up, it will be there as a firm foundation.

How can we love and welcome children as Jesus did? We plan our children’s programs as more than entertainment or baby-sitting. We recognize these important characteristics and use them to teach children God’s Word and lead them to a personal decision to trust their Savior.

We don’t simply teach children how to behave like good “Christians” when they are not believers at all, imposing a set of rules that can lead to a joyless legalism. We tell them that when they trust Him, Jesus comes to live within them by His Spirit and He will give them a new “want-to,” a “want-to” that desires to please their loving Savior instead of themselves.

This is a ministry where we all can have a part. Some of us can be right there with them teaching, helping, and loving them. All of us can pray for them. I’m very glad that our church plans to make the children’s ministry a priority and will support whatever is necessary to make it effective and fruitful.

Lord, please help me to value children as You do. May I take the opportunity to work with them, showing them Christ’s love and acceptance and their need to trust Him. Keep me faithful in prayer for them and for those who serve them in our church. Amen.

Written by Vickie Kraft. Vicki has attended Northwest for 24 years.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Bible Verse:
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
1Peter 4:10 (NIV)

It’s 5th grade. Recess. Time for another epic game of kickball! The two loudest and usually oldest kids play a quick game of “rock, paper, scissors” to see who gets to pick first. The first few picks are exhilarating. High fives are flying. Not so with the last few picks … who gets stuck with Petey? Who has to deal with Alice?

Have you ever been picked last? Or have you ever felt like you had nothing to offer? Ultimately we all tend to gravitate toward things we do well, and, fortunately for most of us, kickball skills don’t mean much in the grand scheme of life.

But how do you feel about the way you fit in the church? Are you tempted to slip into the role of spectator? Or do you believe that God has created you with unique gifts and a special place in the body of Christ?

Think about some of the simple phrases in Peter’s encouragement: “Each one” — we all have a role, “should use” — we need to participate, “whatever gift he has received” — we contribute in unique ways, “to serve others” — it’s not about me, it’s about others.

By God’s grace we can all play a part in connecting with future generations. Of course we can all give financially, but let that be the starting point, not the end. How has God gifted you? What are you going to do about it?

Take a moment to quiet your mind and become aware of God’s presence. Ask Him to reveal to you how you can use your gifts to participate in connecting with future generations. Ask Him to show you a “next step” and commit in your heart to take it. Begin to pray for others in the church and ask God to reveal to them how He wants to use their gifts. Ask Him to show you how you might encourage others in their gifting.

Written by Travis Jones, our worship minister. Travis and Danielle have attended Northwest for six years. They have four children: Annabelle (13), Caleb (11), Madeleine (9) and Sabrina (7).

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Bible Verse:
Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Matthew 6:10 (NASB

In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught his followers to pray for God’s kingdom to come. What does that mean practically? For me it involves praying for the day when Jesus returns and ushers in a new kind of world — full of peace, justice, unselfishness, and forgiveness, rather than hatred, injustice, and broken relationships. However, this prayer is more than simply about the future; it means that I also pray that the kingdom comes in me today as a Christ-follower.

That can be a tough prayer because it calls for me to actually do something about it! I have to spend time listening to God to know what He wants from me; I have to act on what He shows me to do; and I have to live out the life of Jesus through the power He gives me. Only then can I touch others in my own little world and give them a taste of His kingdom.

This month is a good time to evaluate my own life to see how well God’s kingdom has come in me. Do I love my neighbor or am I living to please myself? Do I seek peace and reconciliation even when I don’t feel like doing so? Is there someone I need to forgive? Do I need to apologize to anyone? Do I see my time, gifts, and material goods as wholly God’s or somewhat as my own? Do I seek God and his kingdom more than anything else in life — influence, success, money, fun, security, popularity, recognition, etc.?

I must admit that I prefer to avoid loving others sacrificially as Jesus did. I don’t really want to be involved when life is messy and problem-filled. Let me have my space filled with happy people who require little of me! I want to give to God’s kingdom, but mostly when it touches me personally. With great sorrow, I have to admit that far too often God’s kingdom is absent from my attitudes and my actions.

This time of introspection at Northwest is not really about a building; it is about expanding the kingdom of God first and foremost in our hearts and lives and then in the world around us. May Thy kingdom come in me!

Submit to God’s rule in your own heart. Sit quietly before Him, asking Him to show you what steps you need to take to bring His kingdom into your life in a practical way. Ask Him for the grace and power to do that. Talk to Him about what He would have you give to His kingdom work in the world around you, with both time and money. Silently listen for His answer today and every day.

Written by Kay Daigle, our women’s minister. Kay and Gary have attended Northwest for six years.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Bible Verse:
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)

As a mother of two preschool children, I find myself actively encouraging my little ones to try new things, to explore the world around them, and even to get back up when they fall down. Just being by their side is likely the greatest source of their comfort and confidence at this point in their lives. When you are two, I imagine there are not many constants, so I can easily see the importance of reassuring them that I’m here for them, and I’ll always be cheering them on. This perspective encourages me to remember God’s active presence in my life. In all that I do, in all that I am, God goes before me and is present with me.

When I read the words first spoken to Joshua by Moses, I wonder how his perspective was being shaped in knowing the Lord would go before him. Joshua was stepping into a rather significant role and faced a daunting leadership task. “Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged. The Lord himself will go before you and He won’t leave you.” Joshua would hear this same message again, directly from the Lord, and leave for us an example of how the Lord was indeed going before him and remained faithfully with Joshua as he led the nation of Israel across the Jordan into the Promised Land.

As we step into unknown territory, whether in a campaign to expand our physical church or taking a step of faith to trust the Lord with an intimate area of our life, we must trust that God goes before us. As we face the struggles of this world, God goes before us. As we stumble and fall, perhaps for a second or third time, God quietly says, “Do not be discouraged, for I am with you.”

Lord, thank You for Your presence in my life. As I face today, I pray I would face it with the confidence that only You provide. Lord, let my confidence in You be an encouragement to others and embolden me to be faithful to You. Oh, how fortunate I am to be Your child. Would You steer me to lean on You as I depend on Your presence. Show me the things that I fear so that I might turn them over to You. Show me how to follow the way You provide. Knowing that You go before me, I want to faithfully follow.

Written by Misty Persefield. Misty and John have attended Northwest for 11 years. They have two children: Holden (3) and Madeleine (2).

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Bible Verse:
“I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Mark 10:15 (NIV)

“Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” Ephesians 5:15-17 (NIV)

Many of you have read a Chuck Swindoll book called “Killing Giants, Pulling Thorns” and I think that this is a good description of how we go about spiritual formation.

Giants are the beasts that come to us — so big, so terrorizing that they block out our reason and leave us shaking and despondent. Thorns are the smaller obstacles that must be overcome regularly in our everyday living. There have been questions raised as to why we would consider undertaking a $12 million construction program, with the world and economic conditions being what they are today. A real “Giant” to overcome!

In my opinion the main issue in our facilities expansion is the construction of the children’s ministry areas. Children are not peripheral to His kingdom, but vital to it. Christ told us of the importance of children to His kingdom in Mark 10:14-15.

How do we overcome our “Giants”?

When I first became aware of the urgency of the needs of the facilities that we have for our children’s ministry, I was greatly burdened. I was burdened about the lack of space for them, the inadequacy of it, and the state of the economy. Each issue was a “Giant.”

Ephesians 5:15-17 reveals to us God’s message as to how to deal with these things. God has given the elders the courage to take the first step of following His will by proceeding with the master plan for our facilities, as well as incorporating schematic plans for the immediate improvement of our children ministry facilities. As we take the next steps, I believe He will reveal His on-going will related to His providing the funds and other means to undertake the construction program. God has the answer to overcome. He will guide us if we but listen to Him and seek His will. What a joy it will be to see Him lead us to accomplish the work set before us!

Lord, sometimes I face challenges that leave me feeling inadequate and afraid. When I am fearful, let me see Your strength. When I am anxious, give me faith. Keep me mindful, Lord, that You are my God. With You by my side, I have nothing to fear. With You, I can overcome the giants that come into my life. Without You, I can do nothing. Lead me in the paths of good stewardship of those things You have entrusted to me. Show me Your will for my life and for the plans You have for me and Your church. Help me to be Your courageous servant this day and every day. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Written by Doug Williams. Doug and Nancy have attended Northwest for 27 years.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Bible Verse:
Listen, O my people, to my instruction; incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done. For He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers that they should teach them to their children, that the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children, that they should put their confidence in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.
Psalm 78.1-7 (NASV)

In Psalm 78, Asaph encourages folks from his generation to continue the tradition of passing on the story of God’s marvelous works of old to the next generation. What better encouragement for us today, as we seek God as we embark on a project impacting not only the current generation of believers, but many generations to come!

I want to highlight a couple of things from this passage. First, in order to have something to pass on to future generations, you yourself have to know “the praises of the LORD, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done.” In ancient Israel, this often referred to His deliverance of the Israelites from the land of Egypt and through 40 years of wilderness wandering, to His bringing them into the land and rescuing them from their enemies.

As a New Testament believer, we can look to His great love for us demonstrated through the sacrifice of His one and only son Jesus, so that we could have a relationship with Him. Those are the broader, faith-community things. But along the way, God did wondrous things for individuals like Ruth and Hannah and Samuel and David and a host of others throughout salvation history. What are the wondrous things that God has done for you? For your family? For our church? It starts with sharing the amazing story of how God rescued you from the kingdom of darkness and transferred you to the kingdom of light. Who have you told?

Second, Asaph’s encouragement applies not only to the faith community at large, but it also applies to us as individuals within that faith community. How will I as a father tell my sons about the wondrous things that God has done? How will you as a grandparent pass the faith on to your grandchildren? How will you as a single person praise God to your friends? Your co-workers?

Spend some time today meditating on what wonderful things God has done in your life. If you are one who likes to journal, write them down. Tell a friend. Consider how you will be a part of proclaiming the praises of the Lord to the next generation.

Written by Matt Dumas, our equipping minister. Matt and Wendy have attended Northwest for seven years. They have three children: Life (11), Jack (8) and Luke (4).

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Bible Verse:
…From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. (NIV)
Luke 12:48

Jesus challenges us throughout Scripture to be careful stewards of those things God has entrusted to us. That includes our time, our talents, and our money. What better opportunity could we have than serving the next generation by constructing a facility that will house children from birth through fifth grade.

As I have journeyed this year to India and Guatemala, I have been struck once again by how “rich” we are. In addition to the material “stuff” that we have, we have also been given the gift of time. How we use our “stuff “ and how we use our time is something upon which Christ challenges us. Rebeccah and I are convinced that Northwest Bible Church and, in particular, the construction of this children’s building, is a wonderful stewardship opportunity. We pray that our response to that opportunity would be pleasing to Him.

Ask God what He would have you do to support this new children’s building. Thank Him for how richly He has blessed you. Ask for His clear direction for you, and ask Him for ears to hear His voice in the “quiet whisper.”

Written by Douglas Sullivan. Doug and Rebeccah have attended Northwest for 22 years.

Friday, October 09, 2009


This is one of my regular blog posts, not a Connect with Future Generations journal entry. I have been home sick the last couple days. With a huge library of bibles and commentaries on my computer and internet access, sick days have become a real blessing and extended time with the Lord of study, prayer, and meditation. I feel like the past two days were like one long quiet time with a lot of coughing and blowing my nose in between. So here are some thoughts from this morning.

Romans 9:6-8; 14-16
6For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7Nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 8In other words, it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. 14What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”16It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.

How does your spiritual pride raise its ugly head? One of the most obvious ways for me is the metaphorical shaking of my head at others when it appears to me that they are refusing the gift of Jesus and creating damage in their own life and the world around them.

Romans 9:1-21 sent a chill down my spine as well as created questions. It creates in me the very questions that Paul knew it would create. Is God unjust? How can God blame anyone for not running to Jesus? What about people I love that seem to be rejecting Christ? I’ll throw up the white flag on this one and go with Paul and say that the clay doesn’t talk back to the hands that shape it.

But about this chill down my spine that I am sure is not related to my illness…as I read this I began to think about direct descendents of Abraham (those Paul himself was distraught over) not being “children of promise.” We are talking about people uniquely valued, blessed, prized by God. Yet, we are told He has mercy on whom He will have mercy. The Potter has the right to make what He wants with the clay. The bigger question this spiked in me was, “Who am I?” Think about of all the people that have ever lived. According to the International Programs Center, U.S. Census Bureau, the total population of the World, projected to 10/09/09 at 15:29 GMT (EST+5) is 6,789,393,995. Who am I? God has mercy on whom He chooses. The chill down my spine is a Holy fear that pulls my arrogant head down in humility rather than letting me raise it up to shake it at someone. It is a holy fear that swallows my self-righteous pride and anger, at least for a moment.

So here is my question for all of us who claim to have been beneficiaries of the mercy of God in Christ today, “Are we a people characterized by holy fear or spiritual pride?”

Let’s pray together:
Father, thank You that salvation does not depend on man’s desire or effort but on Your mercy. I have seen the pain and disconnections my own woeful desires and efforts have brought apart from Christ. Forgive me for approaching the lost outwardly or inwardly as an arrogant punk. Help me to violently and regularly throw my spiritual pride on the ground and stomp it until I can stomp no more. May I exhibit Your great patience and forgiveness toward the lost of this world.


Bible Verse:
For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
Romans 12:4-5 (NASB)

Romans 12 launches us into Paul’s explanation of how the gospel transforms a person’s life. A Jesus follower sacrifices himself to God (vv1-2), an offering that places him in a new community (vv3-21). This community, enthralled with Jesus, is one unified body, composed of many diverse members (vv4-5).

We have no choice in the matter. That’s right — we as American, rebellious, diplomatic, individuals have no choice in the matter. When we trust in Jesus, we are placed into a unified body that demands we each serve the whole. We are His body. Paul’s words emphasize this unity: “one body… one body in Christ… members one of another.” Where does individualism rule in your life? When our self-interest or pride overrules the unified movement of Jesus’ body, we act as though the gospel has not radically changed our lives, adopting us into His body. Do your thoughts, words, and actions reflect unity in the movement of our body to connect with future generations?

Though we are His body, we are each a diverse part grafted together to form Jesus’ presence here on earth. Notice Paul’s emphasis on diversity: “we have many members… all the members do not have the same function… individually members of one another.” We all have differing amounts of time, treasure, and talents. God, thank God, has made us differently and purposefully. Our task is to come before Him to ask, “How have You built me to serve You in this body?” As God answers, which He often does through others, we must act. What time has He gifted you with? Might you arrange it to serve His body in this movement? What treasure has He given you? Might you expend it for His work in this mission? What talents has He given you? Might you use them uniquely to advance this project?

Jesus has placed a grand purpose before our body, that each member would fully invest their unique gifts for the advancement of His gospel in this city. What part will you play?

Confess any individualism or pride that might be keeping you from living as a member of His one body. Praise Him for the opportunity to live as a part of a greater movement which is carried out by His body here on earth. Reflect on your time, treasure, and talents; how has He made you? Ask God what part you are to play in His body as He reaches future generations through us.

Written by Matt Klingler, our singles minister. Matt and Courtney have attended Northwest for six years. They have three children: Jacob (3), Eden (2) and Camryn (6 months).

Thursday, October 08, 2009


Bible Verse:
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ — to the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 1:9-11 (NIV)

Paul prayed that the Philippians would be a community of believers who were increasingly characterized by love. Paul knew that the Philippians possessed love because he had been a recipient of their love, but he also recognized that there was still room for their love to grow. An ever-increasing love, which was guided by knowledge and insight, would enable them to recognize and act upon the most important issues in life. They would become spiritually mature people who were morally pure, not causing others to stumble, and allowing Christ to produce good fruit in their lives. As a result, God would be glorified and praised among them.

What was true for the Philippians is also true for us today, both as individuals and as a body of believers. As we read through the New Testament, we cannot help but see that love is a characteristic which is near and dear to the heart of Christ. As I examine my own life, I ask myself several questions: Is my life characterized by an ever-increasing love that has no limit to its growth? Does my love look like a drippy faucet or Niagara Falls? When making decisions, am I motivated by my own self-interests or do I consider the interests of others? Do I promote reconciliation and unity? Is my attitude one of humility or pride? Are my choices hindering the spiritual growth of others and myself? Are my words and actions beneficial to others?

During this time of prayer at Northwest Bible Church, let us look beyond a building program and ask the Lord to use this period of time in our lives to increase our love. Of course, we have love — but like the Philippians, there is still room for our love to grow! May Northwest Bible Church be known as a community of believers characterized by love.

As you meditate on Paul’s prayer, ask the Lord to reveal to you areas where He wants your love to increase toward family, friends, strangers, and even your enemies. Ask the Lord to teach you to love. To God be all praise and glory.

Written by Laurie Ledbetter. Laurie and Terry have attended Northwest for 19 years.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

What do I know about the Holy Spirit?

This is one of my regular blog posts, not a Connect with Future Generations journal entry.

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike, “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! Romans 8:15-17 (The Message)

In my time with God today, I was reading Romans 8:1-17. Three hours later I am still praying, thinking, meditating, and reading what others have said. It seems like every time I come across verses that reference the Holy Spirit I have more questions than answers. Do you ever feel like that?

I think there are several reasons. One, I assume that I can figure out God but I can’t. His ways are not my ways, His thoughts are not my thoughts. You think I would have learned that in four years of seminary. Two, I don’t want to be disappointed. When I first came to Christ, my theology of the Holy Spirit could be summarized in these words, “A Supernatural Zap.” Too often, I didn’t get a zap to keep me from sinning or give me great boldness in telling the world about Jesus. Three, there is clearly a subjective nature to the role and working of the Spirit of Jesus that people who like control (i.e. me) are not always comfortable with. Yet, I know I have experienced this at times. I still cannot explain it. Four, I have read too many differing opinions about the nature and role of the Spirit of Jesus today. The people pleasing part of me takes over here so that I want to find a comfortable middle ground that is more about pleasing others than pursuing the living, holy God. Bummer.

Today while praying, I was impressed to just make a list of what is true from Romans 8:1-17. Don’t try to figure it out. Don’t ask, “How do I do it?” Just rest in what is true. So here it is straight from my journal:
The Spirit of Jesus lives in me!
The Spirit of Jesus guarantees I will not be condemned to death!
The Spirit of Jesus fulfills the requirements of the law for me!
The Spirit of Jesus sets my mind on the things of the Spirit!
The Spirit of Jesus is working in me to produce life and peace!
The Spirit of Jesus gives me a direct connection with the resurrection life of Christ!
The Spirit of Jesus enables me to put to death the deeds of the body!
The Spirit of Jesus leads me!
The Spirit of Jesus declares me a child of God!
The Spirit of Jesus in me is diametrically opposed to feeling of enslavement and fear!
The Spirit of Jesus is the spirit of adoption encouraging me to call God—Father!
The Spirit of Jesus declares to me that I am a child of God!
The Spirit of Jesus guarantees that I am an heir of God and a fellow heir with Christ!

I am not sure how all this works out in my life as a believer, husband, father, and pastor. However, I am thankful and believing that the Spirit of Jesus is moving, blowing, and working in my life, your life and the world right now. For now I think I will keep it simple and follow Jesus. (And I only do that because the Spirit enables me!)

PRAYER: Father, fill us with the knowledge of Your will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding so that we might more fully understand You and Your ways, that we might produce the fruit for which you called us, and that we might please You in all that we think, say and do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I would sure like to hear your thoughts on this one.


Bible Verse:
Caleb interrupted, called for silence before Moses and said, “Let’s go up and take the land — now. We can do it.” Numbers 13:30 (TM)

I watched as my three-year-old and two-year-old granddaughters ran around the playground. Predictably, the older attacked the slide, the swings and the monkey bars, as the younger stood and watched. After much coaxing, Morgan joined her sister reluctantly on the slide. Frozen at the top, she turned to come down but couldn’t; another child was right behind her. Crying, she slid down and found the ride was fun! With new courage she climbed back up and did it again, experiencing the rush of the slide. Morgan is fortunate to have an “in house” encourager, someone to stretch her comfort zone, to push her beyond her fears, to help her experience more of life.

In the middle of the night, the children of Israel hurriedly left their Egyptian captors for freedom in the Promised Land. However, like Morgan, they “froze” in fear at the entrance because of the challenges ahead. Their focus was on the obstacles, not the power of the God they worshipped. The minority voice that called them to stretch to their future was vehemently refused, resulting in a 40-year detour. I wonder what they missed during those wasted years?

We have an opportunity now to be stretched to our future. How will we respond? I found it interesting to discover, while talking to those who have been here longer than I, that over 20 years ago, in the midst of a financial downturn, our church stretched to build the current Christian Life Center. There were moments along that journey that proved impossible unless God showed up. Isn’t that just where God shows us our faith — it is not in ourselves or the surrounding circumstances, but in Him and His power to do exceeding beyond what we ask or think? In fact, if you look at the history of this church from the beginning, faithful men and women have been stretched to the future we now enjoy. It is now our turn. How will you respond?

As you answer that question you might pray: Lord, stretch us. Give us the measure of faith and confidence we need to trust You to provide for our future as Your church on this corner. Lord, show me where I need to stop looking at the circumstances and instead allow You to stretch me. For Your Glory. Amen.

Written by Dianne Miller. Dianna and Brad have attended Northwest for 10 years.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


Bible Verse:
Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming — indeed it’s here now — when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
John 4:21-24 (NLT)

When I think about the new building project, I think about spiders. No, it’s not because of all the creepy, crawly inhabitants of our current buildings. It’s because of the example of my friend John. About six years ago John’s life was changed forever by a venomous spider bite. It took John two years to discover that the spider caused his symptoms — debilitating, chronic pain and muscle spasms — and several more years of experimental treatments to learn that there would be no cure for him in this lifetime. Yet, if you were to talk to John or read his letters, you would clearly hear, “It’s not about the spider!” And he would go on and on about God’s abundant love, and how the Lord has used this very painful and difficult circumstance to draw John and his family into a deeper love relationship with Him than they ever would have imagined. As I read John’s letters, I see a family worshipping God in spirit and in truth despite their circumstances.
So, when I think about the new building project, I realize that it’s going to be a long, difficult, inconvenient and even painful process. I know it will require sacrifice on my part. But as a parent of three children who are scattered throughout various places all over campus on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights, I’m very excited about the vision for a more welcoming, efficient and secure building plan. I also know that our circumstances could change, my husband’s job could transfer him, and we may not be here to see the final results of our investment.
But the thing is, it’s really not about the building. It’s about worshiping God in spirit and in truth wherever and with whomever I am. By nature, I’m a goal-oriented, rather than a process-oriented, person. But I’m learning that God cares more about my heart towards Him and my attitude and actions towards others throughout the process than He does about the end product. Recently I have found that sincerely praying, “Jesus, I want what You want,” helps my attitude a lot in this respect.

Reflect on your worship of God. Is God truly preeminent in your heart, or is there something or someone else that holds that place instead? Have you invested the time to get to know the one you worship, or are you like the Samaritans who “know very little about the one you worship”? Ask the Father to help you know Him better so you can worship Him fully in spirit and in truth. Ask Him to use the circumstances in your life today to draw you into a deeper relationship with Him.

Written by Kay Halligan. Kay and Kevin have attended Northwest for 20 years. They have three children: Emily (11), Erin (8) and Elissa (5).

Monday, October 05, 2009


Bible Verse:
For through Jesus we (Jews and Gentiles) both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Ephesians 2:18-21 (NIV)

What a great passage about building! It gives wise instructions — to build on a strong foundation. To measure it against the perfect cornerstone. To join each part together as the building rises to become a dwelling place. If you’re like me, you envision bulldozers and cranes, with construction workers laying steel beams and surrounding it with concrete. I can’t help but look ahead to the excitement as the dirt flies and our new children’s building is constructed.
But that’s not what this passage is about. Paul writes to non-Jewish believers and reminds them that everyone has access to God because of Christ’s death on our behalf. God’s household is made up of people. That is us — you and me. We are the dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
As we pray about a physical building project for our church, let’s remember first that the church is not made up of bricks and mortar. The building materials are God’s people. We must align our lives and our plans against Jesus Christ as the cornerstone. Otherwise, whatever we do will be crooked. And that’s no way to build.
Finally, we need to seek unity in this decision, so that we are joined together as the building rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.

Father, thank you for the gift of Jesus — through Him we have access to You. Help us remember this building project is about much more than square footage. It is about creating a place where Your people can grow. Help us to align our desires with Your plan. We pray for unity as we move forward. God, if we move forward with this project, may it always be about You and Your glory — the building up of Your people into a holy temple where You live by Your Spirit. Amen.

Written by Paul DeHaven, our children’s minister. Paul and Jill have attended Northwest for two months. They have two children: Johanna (18) and Kari (16).