1. Ask God to redeem this situation by drawing many people to Himself. May Ukrainians and Russians discover that Jesus is the only true source of peace, safety, comfort, truth and freedom.
2. Pray that Ukrainians ultimately would hope not in governments, elections or diplomacy, but in Jesus Christ.
3. Ask God to deliver Ukraine from evil. May He have mercy and heal this land. May He give Ukraine peace and the chance to develop as a nation that values truth, justice and freedom, all rooted in the goodness of God.
4. Pray for a culture in which political disagreements don’t lead to hatred or violence.
5. The conflict between Ukraine and Russia can spill over into personal conflict within families, especially when family members live on opposite sides of the border and are influenced by different sides of the “information war.” Pray for unity and a love for one another that supersedes the problems between the countries.
6. Ask God to bless soldiers’ wives and children with peace and safety while their husbands and fathers are gone.
7. Pray for the various world leaders involved in diplomacy over Ukraine.
8. Pray that the evangelical church will remain united, even as it faces difficult questions, such as how involved believers ought to be in politics or in armed conflict.
9. In the past few years, the Ukrainian evangelical church has become much more passionate about sending its own cross-cultural workers to reach the lost. Pray that this conflict will not dissuade Ukrainians from taking the gospel message to Russia and to other lands.
10. Pray for Christians in the military. This is a challenging time; ask God to guide them as their faith is being tested in new ways.
11. Fears stemming from the conflict come up frequently in conversation. Pray that missionaries and other believers will have many opportunities to explain to their neighbors and friends the reason for the hope within them, even in this time of trial.
Anyone that attends the Oakwood Services this NEW YEAR has the opportunity to pick up the full book of Timothy and Kathy Keller’s Psalms devotional book. If you would like to have a little starter help, jump on to the first fourteen days with us on the Bible App and use the book for the rest of the time.
As we hit the MID-SUMMER mark, we stand with one foot in the laid back, vacation mode, and another foot leaning toward the start-up mode for the new school year. School practices of various kinds begin, sales for school supplies remind us that new times are coming (even if we try REALLY HARD to put that thought off). As I look forward to meeting new faces that enter into the Oakwood Student Ministry for the first time as well as seeing everyone back home after trips and adventures of the Summer, I come back to something that is BASIC, yet easy to look over.
WISDOM IS FROM GOD.
We seem to run to Google or ask Siri what time the game is, how the weather might be, or how to spell that SAT word that we keep forgetting. We tune into the 24 hour news and gain insight on world happenings and wonder how we can live our lives in reaction to the circumstances around us. We choose to find what works best for our kids and ourselves when it comes to education. That might be working on study habits, worrying over getting a certain teacher that seems to be a great match for our kid, or choosing to take a whole new adventure of learning (didn’t we do that during the shut down?). The point I am all too easily revealing is that we have so much information at our disposal, that we may forget the need for the most simple ASK.
ASK GOD FOR WISDOM.
With all the information at our fingertips, we still find ourselves stepping in holes, repeating mistakes or even offenses, and wonder how such an educated mind of a human being that we are can slip down the slippery slope of life as fast as we can. Again, WISDOM is from GOD and the key is, that we must take time in our daily comings and goings to ASK FOR IT. Maybe it takes some time for you and me to realize that WE LACK WISDOM. Quite possibly, those repeated circles you are running in remind you of something. ALL OF US LACK WISDOM. WHY? WISDOM IS FROM GOD.
GOD GIVES WISDOM GENEROUSLY.
God is no device that we must subscribe to. He is not a podcast to listen to. He is not a news anchor on location somewhere, waiting for the next chaotic storm. He is the Maker of Heaven and Earth, and He contains this stuff called WISDOM. Wait a minute? He holds it, but does not desire to keep it! He GENEROUSLY GIVES without the added disapproval for asking. He is ready and willing to pour out WISDOM on YOU if you just ASK.
Of all the things this world has to offer, and you have sought after, HAVE YOU ASKED FOR WISDOM?
No matter how much society changes, the container of WISDOM is still GOD. He helps us know what to do with the overload of information and chaos we consume on a daily basis. The simple fact is IF YOU NEED WISDOM, JUST ASK.
“Listening is a very active awareness of the coming together of at least two lives. Listening, as far as I am concerned, is certainly a prerequisite of love. One of the most essential ways of saying “I love you” is being a good listener.” – FRED ROGERS
Our OSM GAME NIGHT before Spring Break involved a simple game called IMPOSSIBLE SHOT. We went “big time” with the huge logo print out and a board backing to set up the target. The prize?
One full year of all OSM EVENTS paid!
Check out the Video Below
The simple game involves a nerf bow and arrow, a long distance, and the perfect shot… that’s why it’s called IMPOSSIBLE SHOT!
We tied in IMPOSSIBLE SHOT with MISSING THE MARK referenced in Romans 3:23.
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,”
Romans 3:22-24 ESV
We can literally insert the greek word hamartía into the text to pull out the word picture presented and end up with:
“for all have [missed the mark] and fall short of the glory of God,“
Reality is, we have all missed it. The accuracy required to perfectly hit the target of the Godliness expected from the Father is unobtainable or IMPOSSIBLE.
Take the Rich Young Ruler that encountered Jesus and seemed to have a successful life with wealth to back up his claims. He seemed to hit the target with resources and following the guidelines setup by the Ten Commandments. You could say he was a “good guy.” However, Jesus challenges him to give up all his wealth. It seems that the ask to follow Jesus went deeper than outer appearance. Jesus was going for the Rich Young Ruler’s heart.
Even the disciples questioned Jesus about eternal things. It seems that they could not wrap their minds around what Jesus was aiming at. What they saw with their eyes and heard with their ears seemed to make salvation itself… IMPOSSIBE.
Jesus comes back with a key statement that we can all take to heart:
Reality is, it is IMPOSSIBLE for humankind to reconcile with a Holy God.
That is why we need Jesus to take the bow and arrow, line up the shot for us, and nail it right in the target. PERFECT SHOT!
As fully God and fully man, Jesus aimed at the target of the cross. He lived as a perfect example and died in our place on the cross to pay for the overwhelming debt of sin that makes eternal salvation impossible. What seems to be impossible for mankind to pay, Jesus took care of by not only dying, but raising again to give us hope for eternity.
Will You Allow Jesus To Do The IMPOSSIBLE for YOU?
Devotional Thought: When our feelings get us down, God’s truth can pick us back up.
Warm Up: What am I feeling? Write different emotions onto sticky notes for your family members (one for each participant). Without looking at them have each participant place their emotion on their forehead. Ask family members to pair up and guess their “feelings” by acting them out to each other. Rotate around the room and encourage those participating to have fun by overdoing it on the emotional side.
Questions for Follow Up
When have you felt overwhelmed or down by your emotions?
How do your feelings tend to shape your day or week?
How do you think God reacts to our emotions and big feelings?
The Video: Peabod is a hip-hop artist from Seattle, Washington that gets the whole overwhelmed feeling. While most of his music is meant to bring happiness and lightness to life, this song shares a little bit of a different vibe. Play Peabod’s music video for Big Feelings.
List any emotions depicted or experienced in the video while watching. Share your reactions to the video as a family.
In Lamentations, we find someone that can relate to the struggle of being overwhelmed with emotions and feelings that could ruin anyone’s day. Jeremiah shares some raw emotion about his feelings of hopelessness and loss as he reacts to his circumstances around him.
How did Jeremiah change his mindset to give him hope?
What truth about God do you find in these verses?
What action do you need to take when you are feeling down?
How can you find hope to get back up again?
Our emotions and feelings can change our outlook on life and get us down for a day, or even a week. However, God’s steadfast love and mercy can get us back up and give us hope no matter the circumstance. When your feelings get the best of you, change your mindset and begin focusing on who God is to get you back up again.
What is one emotion you’ve felt overwhelmed by recently?
What is one scripture you can find as a family that God can use to help you the next time you feel overwhelmed?