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Weekly message from Neighborhood Church: Take the initiative and engage God

1 Chronicles 16:11 Seek the LORD and his strength; seek His presence continually!

A while back we were at a park for one of our grandkid’s birthdays. The kids where all enjoying the cool play-structures. It was a joy to observe their imaginations ignite as spontaneous games and fun erupted. Kids from all over were swarming onto the play structures. It was so fun! I love seeing the kindness of kids at play. They are most often friendly, inclusive, helpful, kind, and have this wonderful trait of wanting everyone to join in on the game and have fun. We adults could learn a lot from them. I wonder where, and why, some have lost those wonderful interactive traits. Anyway, as I was witnessing this festival of fun, I noticed some kids right in the thick of it all. They had jumped in with all fours. One kid saw the group gathering to create some great game and launched himself into the middle yelling, “INNNN COOOOOMMMMMING!” However, some kids were not choosing to jump in and did not initiate at all. They were cautious, stepping away from the group. Some even hid behind a parent or a convenient playground pole. One of the kids who seemed to be organizing the game noticed one of the kids being cautious and invited them to come play. The cautious kid seemed to want to but was reluctant. But noticing how much fun everyone was having, he eventually ran off and joined in. I smiled and thought, “That’s how it is with life… and faith.”

See, God in His sovereign plan has created us (See Psalm 139:13-17) and ushered us into life. From the time we were born God has given us the power to take the initiative to engage life and life with Him. This life God created for us was not intended to be some set of unrelated circumstances where we float with the current of the day dealing with whatever comes our way. No, God has a purpose and plan in mind.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Life is like those games we play as kids, or board games, or video games where there is a purpose, guidelines, and instructions along the way. Life, like games, is a whole lot of fun. Sure, there are ups and downs along the way. Life is like that, and so is life with a faith in God. The key is to be like that little kid and jump in, to take the initiative in faith and explore the life God created us to live. It could be just what you are looking for.

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I (Jesus) came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

That abundant life is what we were created to live. Again, not free from difficulty or tough times, but a life full and hopeful even in the rough times, a life with deep love, a great sense of purpose, significance, and a whole lot of fun.

Now, once we have stepped into faith, we still are to take the initiative.

1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

1 John 3:18
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

Colossians 1:10 Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God

I know faith is a bit mysterious, yet it’s not all that complicated. We have an amazing God who created us in love and wants to walk with us through the ups and downs of life. In all this, God wants us to take the initiative to fulfill the purpose He created us for and to have fun along the way.

2 Peter 1:5-7 For this very reason, make every effort (take the risky initiative) to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.

So, taking the initiative in faith, let’s jump in and explore faith in God, or at least continue to move forward in our exploration. Like that little kid who joined in on the fun, there is an amazing life God has for us.

Church is a great place to jump in and engage God and others. If you don’t have a church, you regularly attend we would like to invite you to view or visit Neighborhood Church. Our website has all the information you need for times and locations of all our Sunday gatherings. We would love for you to join in. You can also find us online at neighborhoodchurch.com. As well, if you would like to view any of our past worship gatherings or videos, visit our YouTube channel, or just search Neighborhood Church Cypress or Neighborhood Church Los Alamitos on their YouTube site.

Taking the initiative to engage God along with you,
Mike