Over the weekend I had the amazing opportunity to spend some time with a group of amazing people that are working towards not going back to where they had come from. You see each of the individuals that were sitting in the room had all in the recent days, weeks, and months had been released from prison. These were men, women, young, old, and of ever different ethnic origin. As I sat there among them and heard the organizations leader speak to them about next steps and what they needed to do to stay out of prison and experience a changed life I was deeply moved. It was when I heard many of them share about the voices in their lives that they needed to stop listening too if they were going to stay out of prison that I became emotional. I heard them talk about their own voices, they talked about family voices, and they even talked about voices from being in prison. But each one had a voice that they needed to leave behind so that they could move forward in a life that was to be changed and headed towards healing.
I was then reading the book of the Acts and reading the story of the healing of the beggar at Solomon’s Colonnade in chapter 3 and 4. The story of the beggar took my mind back to the room of people that I was with this weekend. Here is why, the story of the man who spent most of his life lying in front of the colonnade must have heard the voices of the people walking by call him all sorts of names like beggar, cripple, worthless, and many others. But then came two men that would turn things upside down by asking him if he would want to be healed? The hurting and disabled men responded by saying yes. Then the lame beggar that could not walk began to run, dance, and leap because of the healing power of the name of Jesus Christ. His life was changed in a moment.
But what about those voices, what about the names that were still possibly ringing in his head? They were all replaced with one name, Jesus. You see that man had his life changed by Jesus, the names that he be called most of his life were replaced with Jesus, the voices that had called him lame and beggar were replaced with the name Jesus. Even the religious leaders that were trying to stop the name of Jesus couldn’t stop that;
14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing right there among them, there was nothing the council could say. Acts 4:14 (NLT)
Because of what Jesus had done in the life of this man there was really nothing they could say. That is why I was so moved this weekend. I know that for those that were sitting in that room there is a voice that will and can change the lives of those people there, and it is Jesus. So on that day I was able to stand in front of those people and tell them about Jesus and that there is a family of people that love them and care for them even if they don’t know them yet and it is Jesus bride, the church. I pray that the voice of the people that are following Jesus called His church will be so loud that those that are coming out of prison can’t only here the voice of Jesus.
What are the voices in your life that are challenging you from hearing Jesus? How are you being the voice of Jesus to the people around you that are struggling?
3 – Take a Spiritual Next Step:
Each one of us needs to take next steps with Jesus. That may mean getting baptized this Sunday at Utah Pool. When you do this, you will be going public with your relationship with Jesus. You will also be sharing it with everyone at the Baptism Celebration this Sunday at 5:30PM. This may mean, for you, serving somewhere at Elevation. The month of December is a great time to start. We will need more people to serve during our Christmas Eve services because we will see a large group of new people coming and we want them to have a great experience here at Elevation and you can be a part of that by serving. You can serve in the Worship Arts Team by contacting Tim Hanebrink, firstname.lastname@example.org. Tim is looking to have a group of carolers for our Christmas Eve services. You can serve on the Ekidz Team by contacting Nancy Bloyer, email@example.com. Nancy is going to be having shepherds walking through the Ekidz rooms and we would love for you to be a part of this as well. You can serve in the First Impressions Team by contacting Ryan Duncan. Ryan.firstname.lastname@example.org. Ryan will need more volunteers so that our first time guests experience is enjoyable. So, we need you to take a next step!
2 – Give to the IMPACT Offering:
This year all of us at Elevation will be coming together to make an IMPACT offering. This offering will be above and beyond our normal 10% tithe. We have set a goal for twenty thousand dollars and we are on the way there. We want you to sit down with your family and friends and see how you can make this Christmas about others. Make this Christmas special by giving to something that is going to change people’s lives. When you give this year, you will be giving to each area within Elevation. Your gift will help to enhance our EKIDZ experience. It will also improve your experience on Sunday mornings in our worship services. Some of the funds will also be given to first impressions to enhance the experience of our first time guests here are Elevation. Finally, when you give, we will be giving 5,000.00 to the Miracle House in Kenya. Make and IMPACT today, you can go to our ONLINE giving and give there or you can mark on your envelope this Sunday “IMPACT” or any of the other Sundays this month.
1 – Remember that Jesus came for the Hurting:
You have a chance to make December special by inviting people that you know to come hear about Jesus at our Elevation Christmas Eve Gatherings. This year you can use our Elevation Christmas tickets to invite friends and family. My wife Michelle is making cookie plates for the people on our block and taping the tickets to the plate for our Christmas Eve gatherings. You can pick up the tickets and our new building cards, which are available at our Guest Services table. Remember that we have two services. The first starts at 4:30PM and the second starts at 6:00PM. Each service can seat 250 people. Make this December special by allowing the people you know to find out why they call Jesus the “Prince of Peace”.