Journal Entries
Every weekday you will find a journal entry here from someone different in our church family. 
 
Click the scripture title and scroll down to see a comments section where you can ask questions, share insights and post your own SOUL Journal entry for the day!
 

Genesis_9

Scripture
 
Genesis 9:16-17-
 
16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”
17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”

Observation- What does it say?

This chapter speaks on God’s promise to Noah to never destroy life and the earth again through a flood.

Understanding-What does it mean?

God keeps His promises.

Covenant is a fancy word for promise. God is a covenant making and keeping God. He always keeps His promises. In Kids church last week, we talked about the covenant God made with David, that his family line would last forever. That would happen because of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ parents, Mary and Joseph came through the family line of David. God orchestrated all of that because He is a Sovereign God! Another example was God’s promise to Abraham about how his descendants would outnumber the stars in the sky. He kept that promise through Abraham’s son Isaac.
 
God makes covenants with His people and He never breaks them. The rainbow was a reminder to Noah and is a reminder to us today that God would never flood the earth and that He continues to keep His promises. Because God gave Jesus authority over all heaven and earth since they are one, we can trust that what He says is true, even today.

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭28:18‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Life Application

How different would our lives look if we truly believed that He kept His promises?

The Bible is filled with promises from God. These are promises that we can trust that He will keep.

God (Jesus) promised that He will never leave us or forsake us. He promised that He would give us His Holy Spirit as a deposit when He left the earth. He also promised that one day, He would return at an unknown time/hour to judge the living and the dead.

Thank You Lord that you not only make promises to Your children, but You keep them. Thank You that we can trust that what Your Word says is true. Thank You that we can trust that You will return for us one day. Your Word is full of promises. I pray that we would not only fill our hearts and minds with these truths, but truly live like we believe them. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit in us who enables us to live for You, have faith in You, and believe what You say is true. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Michelle Gaddi


Matthew_8



Matthew_7

Scripture

Matthew 7:24

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

Observation – What does it say?

This analogy Jesus shares, comes right on the heels of a teaching about the fate of those who don’t do God’s will. He informs the crowd gathered during what we now refer to as “The Sermon on the Mount,” that he will reject those who didn’t do his Father’s will; even those who did miracles in his name. He emphasizes his point in this teaching about the wise and foolish builders, making a clear distinction between those who listen and obey and those who listen and do nothing. One will stand firm while the other collapses; one received by God while the other is rejected.

Understanding – What does it mean?

In reading this I am reminded of Jesus’ younger brother, James. As pastor of the church in Jerusalem, he wrote to them urging, “Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says!”

There is serious consequence for disobedience. For those of us who read God’s word frequently, who hear sermons often, God is going to hold us to a higher standard! We can’t claim that we didn’t know better. With every command of God we read, every challenge toward obedience we hear, we mustn’t take it lightly or allow it to stop with good intentions. Jesus is clear that the only one who is blessed, who is received by God, who is going to stand firm, is the one who does God’s will.

Life Application

God, where have I been failing to do your will? Show me the areas I’ve been failing to put your word into practice. I know I am saved by your grace, through my faith and not my works. But I also know that the genuineness of my faith will be reflected by the way I live. Please help us to be a people who have a genuine faith, expressed through passionately seeking to do your will. Amen.

– Levi Thompson

To check out the discussion or to join in click here.



Matthew_6

Scripture

Matthew 6:21

21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Observation

In Chapter 5, Jesus called out the Pharisees for the legalistic religion.  In this chapter, he warns His disciples against their hypocrisy and worldly-mindedness.  Verse 21 is preceded by vs. 19 and 20 that specifically warn not to store up treasures on earth but in heaven. 

Understanding

Writing from New York today.  Always grateful to get away from my normal day to day; and having the “space” often gives me a sense of refreshing, new perspective and reminds me of what’s important in life – what my treasure is.  [If you ever wonder where your treasure truly lies, look at where you are spending the most time and money. :)] 

When I travel I always miss my home church – all your beautiful faces!  But I had the opportunity to attend a Hillsong church in Manhattan.  My experience in New York before has been that maybe people were too distracted to pursue God.  I had attended churches before and always felt that His Spirit was missing.  But not so this time.  It was beautiful to see the venue fill up, to hear the voices of so many crying out to God, to hear of the vision that they have for New York and around the world…and it was a reconnection and continued confirmation of where God has called me to.

You see, I don’t think “our treasure” is necessarily coincidental or by our choice.  Of course, more relevant to the passage, we have the ability to choose our treasure – things that we prioritize before God; but when it comes to the treasure we are to store up in heaven, the ways that we pursue that and “store it up” comes in different avenues.  I know part of my heavenly treasure comes from the heart that God’s placed in me to give back, to help others, to travel…not for my gain (because those trips are never quite as fulfilling) but for the kingdom.  And I’m grateful that God continues to redirect and reaffirm that. 

Life Application

God, may we take time today to think of where our treasure is…not where we think it is but to take time to really evaluate what we are pursuing and where we are storing up our “treasure.”  May it be in and of you…that our heart would rest in the calling you’ve placed on our lives.  Guide us, direct us, affirm and reaffirm….give us boldness to live it out and grace when we fall short.  May we see your kingdom come – in ways big and small as we seek to live for You.

In your name, I pray…Amen.

– Rei

To check out the discussion or to join in click here.



Genesis_5

Scripture
Genesis 5:24
Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.
 
Observation – What does it say?
Enoch is mentioned in the bible only a handful of times. We know he is in the line of Jesus (Luke 3:37). We also know that he was a prophet (Jude 14). Most importantly we know that Enoch was a man of great faith (Hebrews 11:5). We learn here in Genesis that he walked with God and was taken up by God, that he never died. In the bible, when someone walks with God, it denotes an intimate relationship with God. Other characters that we know “walked with God” include Noah, Abraham, and Isaac.
 
Understanding – What does it mean?
Last year, I went on a backpacking trip with my friend Josh. We went to a place called the Golden Trout Wilderness outside of Lone Pine. This trip included a lot of walking, something like ten miles a day with lots of elevation gain. It was fairly grueling for me. But it was a good chance for me to grow my relationship with my friend, specially since I was dependent on him for directions and we had to depend on each other for safety.
Britt Merrick, an author and pastor, says that walking with someone requires three things: An agreed upon place, an agreed upon path, and an agreed upon pace. When we walk with God, we are surrendering ourselves to His place, His path, and His pace. Merrick writes further, in his book Big God, “So to walk with God, the Christian needs to be concerned with things that are consistent with the character of God and the plan of God.” Walking with God in this way requires intimacy.
One thing I have learned through backpacking is how much “fluff” I have in my life. When you are backpacking, there is a need to take the essentials for survival and not much more. You carry your food, water, and shelter in a bag that is attached to your back; it doesn’t really give you any room for fluff. God has asked of us something similar in our spiritual lives. After talking about Enoch’s faith, the author of Hebrews continues by giving us an example of this. Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…”
 
Life Application
Jesus, I know that I get so easily distracted by so many other things in my life. I let my pride get in the way of what you are doing, and want to do through me. Help me to strip away the things that you don’t want, in exchange for the goodness you have in store for me.
 
– Tyler Galloway
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Matthew_4

Scripture
 
Matthew‬ ‭4:1-4‬ ‭NIV
 
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”” “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ””
‭‭
‬‬Observation-What does it say?
 
Immediately after being baptized by John, and receiving the Spirit, with a Voice from Heaven saying, this is my Son whom I am well pleased, (see Matt. 3), Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to fast and be tempted by Satan. Following that wilderness experience, He was attended by angels and began His ministry.

Understanding-What does it mean?

The ultimate test of complete surrender to God occurs when we are in the wilderness.

Jesus was put to the ultimate test of complete surrender to God during His experience in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights. God had to break Jesus down, make Him dependent on Him alone, and test Him before He was able to start His ministry. 
Although Jesus was and is God, He was still in a human form and all the needs of a human being (like food) had to be stripped from Him as well as His desires as a human being too (such as being given all the kingdoms of the world-success in life!). Physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally (heart, soul, mind and strength) had to be dependent on God before He could fulfill His calling. The calling God had for His life was to be betrayed, beaten, mocked, regarded with low esteem and to die a criminal’s death as an innocent man. 

“He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭53:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Life Application

In order to find ourselves, we must lose ourselves (Matthew 10:39) and fix our eyes on Jesus.

We just went through 28 days of prayer and fasting last month, and those who participated understand the feeling of being dependent on the Spirit alone, not on social media, TV, video games, or food. On a personal level, going down to 3 days of water only was the most difficult for me, not so much because of my desire to eat, but because of the physiological effects on my body without food. The worse day was Sunday morning, with 4 hours left to go before the fast officially ended. I felt weak and dizzy, my heart was beating fast and I would start gagging with nothing coming out. I was calling out to the Lord because I was so tempted to break the fast, but had my husband pray for me. I started sweating and felt better, but then it happened again on our way to church and I still had to be able serve on stage for worship! I called out to the Lord in my physical weakness and at that point, the Holy Spirit told me to take my eyes off of what’s happening around me. Take my eyes off of what my body is feeling and put it on Him. Suddenly, I felt better.

 
It taught me a lesson about how whenever I feel like breaking or giving up in marriage, life, my calling in ministry, etc. and do it the world’s way, to take my eyes off of myself and put it back on Him because He is all I need. The calling of a servant requires Him to break us of ourselves first. Are we willing to be broken by and for Him in order to be filled by Him alone?

Dear Jesus, I pray that the struggles of the flesh would disappear as we continue to keep our focus on You. I pray that we wouldn’t be overcome by the temptations of the enemy and what the world has to offer as we cleanse our minds with Your Word daily. In Your Name we pray, Amen.


To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.

 
Michelle Gaddi
 


Genesis 3

Scripture
 
Genesis‬ ‭3:4-5‬ ‭NLT
 
““You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.””
 
ObservationWhat does it say?
 
The serpent (Satan), was up to his old tricks again. Here he was, in the Garden of Eden, deceiving Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The tree that God specifically told both Adam and herself not to eat from. But the serpent was crafty. He twisted God’s Words to trick her into disobeying God.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
The world is the devil’s playground, and he will use anything in it to bring mankind down with him.
 
In this passage, Eve was tricked into disobeying God. She let someone/something else influence her into making a very bad decision. Instead of trusting God, and trusting in His commands, she let an outside influence pressure her into disobedience towards her Creator. 
I wonder how many of us get caught up doing the same thing? We let the world influence us into making bad decisions, decisions that aren’t very pleasing to God. Instead of trusting the ways of the only One in this world that is holy and righteous, we let the world determine things that are good and bad. And as Christ Followers, it’s time we need to take a stand in this world for God’s ways over the world’s ways. Because if we don’t, well, just look at the world we are living in now. A world that pushed God out of its schools and government. It is a world doomed for destruction.
 
Life Application
 
Take a stand for what you believe in!
 
Isn’t about time we stand up and fight for what we believe in?! Sure it can be an unpopular choice, but it’s a choice we have to make. We are called to a higher standard as God’s children. Instead of letting the world conform us, it is us as His disciples that should be transforming the world through teaching His ways and His truth.
 
Father God, I pray that You give me courage today to stand up for what I believe in…to stand up for You! May You help all Your children stand united in bringing back your values and ways into our schools and governments once again. Help us to put You back on the throne where You belong. It is the only way we can make America and this world great again! In Your Holy name Jesus I pray these things, Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi 
 


Matthew_2

Scripture

Mathew 2:13

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

Observation – What does it say?

The life of Jesus and his family wasn’t quite the life you’d expect for the King of Creation, when you consider it began with birth in a stable and then having some who wanted kill him before he could walk, leading to two instances where the entire family had to pick up everything and flea their home for a distant land.

Understanding – What does it mean?

I wondered when I read this, “Why didn’t an angel appear in a dream to the inn keeper instead asking him to make room for Jesus?” “Why didn’t God appear to Herod in a dream, instead of Joseph, commanding him to leave his son alone or die?” But the truth is, Jesus’ experience was similar to all of ours.

God doesn’t calm all our storms, but two things are for certain: his plan wont fail and he wont ever leave us! He is always present to guide and protect.

Jesus encountered his disciples in two different storms. One time he spoke to the storm, “Peace be still.” But the other he spoke to his disciples, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” In other words, sometimes he is present to calm the storms and others to calm us.

Life Application

Trust God!

I will continue to invite God into my storms, and to be honest will continue to plead that he calm them. But, even if he doesn’t, I won’t for a second believe that my storm means God has left me or is punishing me. Regardless of how I feel, I choose to stand on the scriptures that God is with me, he will never leave me nor forsake me, his Spirit dwells within me and he is my ever present help in time of need.

– Levi Thompson
 
 
To check out the discussion or join in, click here.


Psalm 1

Scripture

Psalm 1:1-3

Blessed is the one…
…whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.

Observation

Psalm were initially written as songs by David and typically give us insight to the life of David and/or provide instruction.  “Most individual psalms involve the praise of God—for his power and beneficence, for his creation of the world, and for his past acts of deliverance for Israel.” [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psalms]

Understanding

Coming out of the fast – a time when we specifically and corporately spend time meditating on God day and night – these verses struck my heart. 

We are a blessed people…and not just in this 28 days of prayer and fasting. We are to meditate on God day and night YEAR ROUND.  I love that verse 3 calls out part of our name – that a person who does this is “like a tree planted by streams of water.”  But I most love what comes next…”which yields its fruit in season.”  I believe it is our season!  As Pastor Gary mentioned yesterday, it’s a time for harvest. 

Life Application

God, may we continue to meditate on you day and night, that we may be like a flourishing and healthy tree of life in our families, our community, our work places…everywhere we have a chance to interact and encounter others.  May we be on mission, open to hear your call, ready to obey in everything we do.  May this season be one in which we walk in boldness and in faith.  Ready and expecting to be used.  Thank you for being faithful to draw near to us as we draw near to you.

 In your name, I pray…Amen.

– Rei

To check out the discussion or to join in click here.

PS Something else I found to be of interest from today’s reading…

Matthew 1:17 talks about there being 14 generations between 2 significant events and another 14 generations between 2 significant events. 

17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.

Seemed to me that the number 14 may have some significance and I can’t recall ever hearing that before.  So, that led me to this…

https://ificouldteachthebible.com/2013/07/21/the-number-fourteen-in-the-bible/

Which if you read about midway down, you see that the number 14 represents “the new thing actually starting” which reminded me of the symbolism in PGs sermon yesterday.  Interesting to me that our first day back to SOUL Journaling brings me to what feels like further confirmation that we are in a new time.  A time of harvest?  May we be bold and expectant in this season that’s upon us! <3



28 Days: Day 26

Join us this evening @ 7 for a time of intercessory worship at the church.

SCRIPTURE

  • Matthew 4:23 (NIV) 23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.
  • Mark 6:34 (NIV) 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
  • Mark 9:30-31 (NIV) 30 They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, 31  because he was teaching his disciples.
  • Luke 11:1 (NIV) 1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
  • Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV) 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

OBSERVATION

Jesus came to earth and everywhere He went He taught people.  He taught them how to act like God followers, He taught them about the kingdom of heaven, He taught them about the nature and character of the Father.  When He ascended into heaven He told us what we needed to do with all that knowledge…it must be allowed to transform the way we live and it was to be passed on to new believers who could then pass it on to other new believers.   

UNDERSTANDING

  • 2 Timothy 2:2 (NIV) 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.

The New Testament clearly teaches that the gospel is to be taught from generation to generation. Jesus, of course, was the Master Teacher. He taught the apostles, who then taught others, who taught others, who are still teaching others, and so on throughout the church age. In every generation, God has raised up new links in this living chain of faithful men to pass on the good news of Jesus Christ to the people of their day.

The apostles, some for only a brief time before they were martyred, proclaimed the gospel they had received from Christ to other faithful men—prophets, elders, deacons, and many others—among whom was Timothy. It was now Timothy’s turn to entrust the gospel, and all other divinely revealed truths, to others.

In a state invitational track meet during my college years, I represented my team as the second man in the mile relay. The first man ran a fast first leg, and I did well on the second. But soon after I passed off the baton to the third man, one of our best runners, he stopped, walked onto the infield, and sat down. Our first horrified thought was that he had pulled a hamstring or twisted an ankle. I ran across the field and asked, “What happened?” “I don’t know,” he replied, “I just didn’t feel like running anymore.” Understandably, his teammates, the coach, and everyone else from our college were sickened and disgusted. “How could you do that?” we asked. “Don’t you know you’re not just representing yourself, but your team and your school? Have you forgotten all the time the coach has invested in you and that your teammates have invested to get where we are? How could you, in one brief, selfish second, destroy all of that?”

On an infinitely more important level, countless leaders in the church have simply dropped out of the Lord’s service, some with no better reason than the apathy of that collegiate runner.

MacArthur New Testament Commentary, The – MacArthur New Testament Commentary – 2 Timothy.

LIFE APPLICATION

Have you been faithful with the knowledge you have been given?  How are you teaching others the truths you have learned?  What are you going to do about it?