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We had a lot of fun last night gathering for worship. Mark your calendar, August 6th will be our next worship-palooza. Try this one... Shortly after tying the knot, a young married couple started arguing over who should make the coffee. Being a good Christian woman, the wife went to the scriptures for her answer. She said that the Bible specifically stated that men should be the ones to make the coffee. Puzzled, the husband asked her where in the Bible it said that. Very confidently, the wife opened up her Bible and said: “It’s right here, HEBREWS.”

-pastor mike

LET'S PRAY TOGETHER Lord, let our souls rise up to meet you as the day rises to meet the sun.  Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Today, Lord we specifically lift up the people of Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, and Angola. Each of these countries are made up of different people groups, religions and languages teach us to be passionate about Your world and about your people where ever they may be. Here in the Shenango Valley be with all the care givers, health care workers and public servants. May the peace of the Lord Christ go with us: wherever He may send us; may You guide us through the wilderness: protect us through the storm; may You bring us home rejoicing: at the wonders You have shown us; may You bring us home rejoicing once again into our doors. Amen

MEDITATION “…(God) has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. (2 Corinthians 5:19-20 NIV) Oswald Chambers lived and served in the late 1800’s and passed away in his early forties while serving troops in Egypt in 1917. He was the son of a Scotch Baptist minister and struggled to find exactly how to serve God, starting as an artist and then abruptly switching to ministry training. His journey brought him in conflict with mentors and his family and as a result reconciliation was a deeply personal concept to him. He saw with clarity the key role that we as the church play as living examples of reconciliation.

-nicole “Reconciliation means the restoring of the relationship between the entire human race and God, putting it back to what God designed it to be. This is what Jesus Christ did in redemption. The church ceases to be spiritual when it becomes self-seeking, only interested in the development of its own organization. The reconciliation of the human race according to His plan means realizing Him not only in our lives individually, but also in our lives collectively. Jesus Christ sent apostles and teachers for this very purpose— that the corporate Person of Christ and His church, made up of many members, might be brought into being and made known. We are not here to develop a spiritual life of our own, or to enjoy a quiet spiritual retreat. We are here to have the full realization of Jesus Christ, for the purpose of building His body. Am I building up the body of Christ, or am I only concerned about my own personal development? The essential thing is my personal relationship with Jesus Christ— “…that I may know Him…” (Philippians 3:10). To fulfill God’s perfect design for me requires my total surrender— complete abandonment of myself to Him. Whenever I only want things for myself, the relationship is distorted. And I will suffer great humiliation once I come to acknowledge and understand that I have not really been concerned about realizing Jesus Christ Himself, but only concerned with knowing what He has done for me. My goal is God Himself, not joy nor peace,nor even blessing, but Himself, my God. Am I measuring my life by this standard or by something less?”* *Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest July 12th meditation

DAILY SCRIPTURE READING Our daily scripture reading comes from the following link… If you have any insights into our daily readings, please feel free to share them with me. I would encourage you to visit for an overview of Hosea and for an overview of the book of Romans. These videos will help with the “big picture” and the main themes. Hosea 10:1-11:11 In verse 1 we see that Israel is becoming prosperous. What was the result? Then in verse 2, what is the Lord’s response?  In verse 4 we see that the leaders of Israel “make many promises” and “take false oaths” and “make agreements.” Again, what is the result we see in verse 4?  In verse 5, the name Bethel which means house of God is being replaced with Beth Aven which means house of wickedness. What will happen with the calf-idol, in Beth Aven? What is the problem with the calf-idol, that was intended to represent God? (look up Deut 5:8) As we wrap up chapter 10, God promises that Israel will be destroyed. And yet, as we move into chapter 11, we see a change. What is the image we find in chapter 11?  Romans 8:18-39 I love verse 18. What do you think Paul has in mind when he talks about “present sufferings” verses a future “glory?” The punctuation in verses 19-21 make it difficult to understand. What if we change that… (because punctuation isn’t in the original Greek) Try this. “For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed (for the creation was subjected to frustration not by its own choice but by the will of the one who subjected it) in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.” Does that make more sense? Paul is speaking about hope in this section. Think about this idea of “hope” in light of “present sufferings.” What do you think he has in mind? This passage is so rich. There is the idea that the Spirit intercedes in prayer on our behalf when we have no idea what to pray, and then there is 8:28.  These are beautiful images. Do you find any comfort in them?  Paul wraps up chapter 8 with the image of being “more than conquerors.” If God is for us, which we know to be the truth, then what is Paul’s conclusion?  Psalm 89:1-8 Psalm 89 asks some great questions. “Who is like you, Lord God Almighty?”  When we look at the creation around us… when we consider God’s love… “Who is like you, Lord God Almighty?”

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