november 2020

BEYOND NEWS

Here in our corner of the world, our little body of believers has been able to continue meeting in person while adhering to masks and careful distancing. Our church building was recently renovated, and has become more spacious. Visitors come every week, most recently including a group of college students who are “stranded” here in their hometown because their campuses have gone digital. Another visitor, “Albert”, is a man in his late 30s whose wife recently left him, taking their son with her. The void and devastation of this has caused Albert to seek after a greater meaning to his life. Mehmet Ali was able to meet with Albert over coffee last week, and we’re praying that as he continues hearing the gospel at church and through individual believers, the Lord will draw him to Himself.

In late October, the Beyond Department delivered gift baskets to the Howard County Police Departments as well as the Baltimore Police Department located in Catonsville. Each basket was overflowing with hand warmers, candy, nuts, coffee mugs, drinks, and granola bars…. 

Last time we delivered food to Park Heights, I walked into a pleasant surprise. I didn’t realize the impact we were having on the community until I walked into Kimeil’s house. Coach Garrick wanted me to see what Kimeil was doing. I walked in and saw that she was reading the Bible and journaling her thoughts. I was so encouraged to see her reading the Bible, and my heart rejoiced with her. 

Book Recommendation

This short book can have an impact on our prayer life and how we view prayer. We often talk to God and make our requests known to Him. However, we don’t often sit still to hear from Him. We do all the talking and don’t allow God to speak to us. The author stated, “The one who knows the most about the subject being discussed should do most of the talking in any conversation.” I totally agree with the author.  I seek to hear from God but don’t set time aside to intentionally hear from Him.

The book challenges us to set aside 15 to 30 minutes a day to seek to hear from God. In reality, we don’t sit still before God even when God commands us to “Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10. The author also suggests to spin off one thought after another thought until you can clear your mind. 

For a week now, I have attempted to sit still before God for 30 minutes a day.  I realized that I can’t seem to slow my thoughts and quiet my soul. My mind kept running 100 mph filled with worries, sadness, and discouragements. I came to understand that I have not trained my mind to make every thought obedient to Christ.

The immediate impact this book made on me was the fact that I allow the worries of the world jam my signals from hearing God. My mind and my heart are too easily distracted. I realize now I do not have the discipline to focus. I can speak to God and pray for an hour, but I can’t seem to sit still before Him. The author noted that we as Christians are known to moan about life: I am tired, I am just exhausted, I am stressed out, I am burned out, I am worn out, I am worried, I am depressed, life is hard, and on and on. However, the author said, “The issue is not that we are stressed out, burned out or worn out. The issue is that we are not getting enough chair time.”

The author points out that the idea of chair time comes from Paul who said, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” Ephesians 2:6. There are chairs in heaven with our names on them, so we must learn to sit and hear from God; otherwise, how could we live out God’s will in our lives if we don’t hear from Him? This quote really challenged me and encouraged me – “It is not hearing from God that changes our lives. It is applying what we hear from God that changes our lives.”

I highly recommend this book and pray that many of us can practice sitting still before God to listen for His voice. Let us hear the marching orders from the Lord and together advance the kingdom of God. 

Pastor Tae   

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