America Always Changing

One of the questions I always love to ask furloughing missionaries is, “How have things changed in America since your last visit?” I was able to ask that question again yesterday as we had the joy of spending the day with my cousin Sean and his family. Missionaries in the Philippines for several years now, they visit the U. S. every 3-4 years. This last gap had been four years. So what had changed?

– GPS. They are doing a lot of traveling to visit friends and family, as well as to speak in churches. Four years ago, he said, people would send him directions via email. Now, he says, everyone just sends an address and assumes he has a GPS, or will use Google maps, to find it. He didn’t know what a Garmin was.

– Texting. He sees people typing on their phones all the time. Didn’t see that much four years ago, he says.

– More Tattoos. He said this one was a real shocker. He came home to find far more people tatted up.

– Less Modesty. This is one that also surprised him. He says there has been a big difference in the amount of skin exposed compared to four years ago.

– Antibacterial hand wash – Sean said that he sees it everywhere now. When did America become so germa-phobic?

– More protection of personal information. On three separate occasions he was surprised to be told by friends that they would not pass along another mutual friend’s contact information without first securing permission from that mutual friend. This one not only surprised him, but me as well. I told him I had not noticed that very much yet, but perhaps it was a growing trend of which I am ignorant.

As I thought about these changes, I thought of some more:

– Increase in the price of gas.

– Increase in the number of empty commercial property units.

What do you notice has changed since four years ago?

Fact: Cohabitation Does Not Make for Better Marriages

One of the great lies that the latest generation is embracing is that it is a good idea to live together before getting married. Glenn Stanton has written a book titled The Ring Makes All the Difference:The Hidden Consequences of Cohabitation and the Strong Benefits of Marriage. Considering the reality that over 60% of marriages today are preceded by cohabitation, the subject is very relevant. Stanton also recently blogged about the subject:

Well, the good news is we don’t have to wonder about strong, reliable answers to those questions. An absolute wealth of social science research by leading sociologists and demographers of the family are telling us much about the consequences of living together before marriage. Here are some of the most startling findings:

  • If couples want to dramatically boost their likelihood of divorcing once married, few things so widely practiced will ensure that than cohabiting. This is just the opposite of what most believe.
  • If women want to significantly increase their chances of being a victim of physical, sexual and verbal violence from their mate, cohabitation is what they are looking for. Men with rings on their fingers are dramatically less likely to be abusers of any sort.”
Read the rest HERE.

Last Living Witness to Lincoln’s Assassination

This is an amazing clip from a 50s television show called “I’ve Got a Secret.” The special guest is Samuel J. Seymour, who was the last living witness to the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Seymour died just two months later. Also on the program was Jayne Meadows (widow of Steve Allen and sister of Audrey Meadows of The Honeymooners), who is still living.

ht: Chris Brauns

Week of Prayer and Fasting

Meditation

I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord,

the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel

that he has granted them according to his compassion,

according to the abundance of his steadfast love.      

– Isaiah 63.7

List out many of the ways God’s steadfast love has been evidenced in your life.

 

Prayer

Oh that You would rend the heavens and come down,

that the mountains might quake at Your presence…

– Isaiah 64.1

Take time to thank the Lord for what you listed above, then ask Him to show Himself strong in your life, in the lives of your family members and friends (pray for them by name) and in Harvest Jacksonville.

 

—> Sunday…Come worship at the Regal Avenues 20 Cinemas on Philips Highway and then come to the Concert of Prayer on Sunday evening at 7:14 p.m. at Crossview Church, located at 10679 Old St. Augustine Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32257.

Week of Prayer and Fasting – Friday

Meditation

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. – Matthew 9.9

Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ. 

– 1 Corinthians 11.1 (NIV)

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account.

– Hebrews 13.17

Make a list of the characteristics of a great follower, then pray that the members of Harvest Jacksonville would follow the elders in a godly way.

 

Prayer 

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

– 2 Timothy 4.1-2

Friday is one of the days of the week Pastor Brett devotes to study, and the day when most of his Sunday message is written. Pray that he would have wisdom and clarity. Pray also for God’s hand upon him.

 

—> If you have a chance to pray with someone today (spouse, children, or friend), make sure to pray for Pastor Brett and the message on Sunday. Try to make this a habit on Fridays.

Week of Prayer and Fasting – Thursday

Meditation

 He is also the head of the body, the church;

    He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,

    so that He might come to have first place in everything.

– Colossians 1.18 (HCSB)

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. – Luke 19.10

What are some of the things that get in the way of Jesus having first place in our lives?

 

Prayer

Create in me a clean heart, O God,

and renew a right spirit within me. – Psalm 51.10

Pray for God to have first place in your life, in your home, and in Harvest Jacksonville. Ask the Spirit to expose anything that you are allowing to have prominence in your life rather than Him and then ask God to give you a true heart of repentance, granting wisdom for you to know how to ruthlessly crush your idols.

 

—> On a blank sheet of paper, write out a prayer of repentance, confessing your idolatry to God. Destroy the paper, rejoicing that God forgives and forgets your sin.

Week of Prayer and Fasting – Wednesday

Meditation

Behold, how good and pleasant it is

when brothers dwell in unity! – Psalm 133.1

Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.    – John 17.11

What are some of the things that separates God’s people? List out the potential things you think Satan might use to divide the people of Harvest Jacksonville.

 

Prayer

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.         – Philippians 2.1-4

Pray for the unity of Harvest Jacksonville. Pray that the body would be of one mind, united in the partnership of the Gospel and in following the elders as Harvest moves forward by faith.

 

–> Think of a way you can encourage another Harvest member this week…then follow through with it.