Purity Matters: Refreshing

“…offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.” Romans 12:1 NIV

I saw a video called “Purity Matters” on a youth ministry website a couple of years ago.  It sounded interesting, so I downloaded it and watched it.  The premise of the video was this: a group of young adults went around the city handing out bottles of water. They would ask the intrigued passersby, out of two bottles, which they’d want to have.  Before the person could answer another group of young adults would jump out of a nearby van and grab one of the bottles of water and start chugging it and passing it around.  The guy who had initially asked these clueless people which water they wanted, again would ask “Do you want to drink from that one?”, indicating the now “contaminated” bottle.  The people would look at him with disgust and say things like “No way, I don’t know where their mouths have been!”  They would even be offered $5 or $20 to drink from the back-washed bottle of water; and still they refused.  The guy would then say, “So you want the ‘pure’ water?”  And of course everyone chose the untouched, clean, pure bottle of water.

The video ended with a tag of “purity matters: sex is for marriage”.

That is where the inspiration for PurityMatters.com came from.  The videos depiction of purity is right on.  Who really wants to drink after five, six, or even more people from the same bottle?  No one.  Everyone wants the first, fresh off the assembly line bottle of water.

The same goes for people.  How would you feel if someone came up to you, with the love of your life by the hand and say “Here you go” and hand them to you.  But then you got an instant flashback of all the people they had slept with before meeting you.  And then you were asked “Do you still want this person?”

Do you really want to get to your wedding night and find out that your new groom or bride has “been around the block” several times? Probably not.

Not to say that mistakes can’t be forgiven, because they can.  The Lord is gracious when we mess up and come to Him with a repentant heart.

Those of you who are reading this, this is just to show you how to prevent the heartache of impurity.  It’s an insight to see the right path to take, and how to sidestep temptation before it has a chance to take you down.

(Originally written August 15, 2006)

Prayer Encounter

Before I forget all the minor (and major details), and so this is archived in a safe place: Prayer Encounter 2011 (#Reach417)

  

  

Prayer Encounter is an interactive prayer and worship experience, aimed at connecting people (students) with God on a deeper and creative level.

Prayer Stations:

1. Worship Station – an ipod is attached to a 5-way splitter allowing up to 5 people to experience the same preselected worship songs. This made for a great journaling time.

2. Communion – Do this in remembrance of Me ~ Jesus. (Don’t worry, only grape juice was used). 😉

3. Dear Mom & Dad – Students were encouraged to write letters to their parents sharing with them how much the serving opportunities meant to them this week at Reach417, as well as how their hearts have changed.

4. ImpACT – This station let the students see that they didn’t have to only serve one week out of the year, that they could do this the entire year.  Sign up sheets were provided encouraging the students (and leaders) to sign up for the next ImpACT event in August 2011.  ImpACT is North Point’s Church mission initiative to attack the 4 Global Giants: disease, poverty, illiteracy and spiritual emptiness.

5. Pray For 1 Another: Students were asked to write down a prayer request as well as pray for another student’s request.  A great way to link students together in faith and prayer.

6. At the Cross: Strips of tattered cloth were provided so each person could write down a sin or temptation they are dealing with that is keeping them in bondage and from having a deeper relationship with Christ. Each cloth was thrown at the foot of the cross. Where Jesus took up our sins.

7. Reflect: An illustration of reflection for the students to think back on the last week and how they have impacted lives through their serving, as well as how their own lives have been changed.  Another good journaling opportunity.

8. Baggage:  Past hurts, mistakes, grudges, issues, etc, are all baggage that we carry that prevent us from having a fulfilling life in Christ and genuine relationships with other people. Each student was asked to write down the baggage they are dealing with and throw it into  a suitcase so it could be shipped off to Jesus, because He has said that he wants to take all of our burdens away.

9. Praise Wall: This was a time for students and leaders to offer praise reports or encouragement for others or merely just thanking God for His goodness, by writing them on a huge wipe-off board.

10. Expression: Worship through art.  Sometimes words aren’t enough to express how we feel, how much we love God and everything He’s done for us and through us.  Tablets of art paper, crayons, colored pencils, markers, etc were provided so each student could express their own creative worship.

11. Memorial for Shelby Estep: Beloved student and friend that many of our students and leaders grew to love during Reach417 of 2010.  Shortly after Reach last year Shelby passed away tragically leaving a void in many peoples’ lives and hearts.  We wanted to honor her memory this evening, as well as write encouraging messages to her parents in greeting cards.

Worship Station Playlist:

1. Salt in the Snow by The Classic Crime

2. How He Loves Us by David Crowder Band

3. City On Our Knees by TobyMac

4. All I Need by Shawn McDonald

5. I Will Waste My Life by Misty Edwards

6. Opposite Way by Leeland

7. In Me by Casting Crowns

8. Hosanna by Hillsong United

9. Follow You by Leeland & Brandon Heath

10. Should I Tell Them by Shaun Groves

11. Take My Life by Third Day

12. Majesty by Delirious

13. I Can Only Imagine (Acoustic) by Mercy Me

14. The Anthem by Planetshakers

Prayer Scriptures:

“…for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”  Isaiah 56:7

“Continue praying, keeping alert, and always thanking God. Also pray for us that God will give us an opportunity to tell people his message. Pray that we can preach the secret that God has made known about Christ.” Colossians 4:2-3

“When I was desperate, I called out, and God got me out of a tight spot. God’s angel sets up a circle of protection around us while we pray.” Psalm 34:6-7

“I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” Mark 11:24-25

“So when you pray, you should pray like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, may your name always be kept holy. May your kingdom come and what you want be done, here on earth as it is in heaven. Give us the food we need for each day. Forgive us for our sins, just as we have forgiven those who sinned against us. And do not cause us to be tempted, but save us from the Evil One. The kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours forever. Amen.’” Matthew 6:9-13 NCV

“What other great nation has gods that are intimate with them the way God, our God, is with us, always ready to listen to us?” Deuteronomy 4:7

“When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.” Jeremiah 29:12

“I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer.” Matthew 5:44

“…the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.” Romans 8:26

“ I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.” Ephesians 1:18

“ In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.” Ephesians 6:18

“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1Thessalonians 5:16

“Anyone who is having troubles should pray. Anyone who is happy should sing praises.” James 5:13

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so God can heal you. When a believing person prays, great things happen.  James 5:13

But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.  Jude 1:20

So the administrators and high officers went to the king and said, “Long live King Darius… Give orders that for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human—except to you, Your Majesty—will be thrown into the den of lions…” So King Darius signed the law… But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.    Daniel 6:6,7b, 9,10

Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.   Psalm 4:1

I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God.  Bend down and listen as I pray.  Psalm 17:6

The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him.  Proverbs 15:8

The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.  Proverbs 15:29

Be joyful because you have hope. Be patient when trouble comes, and pray at all times.  Romans 12:12

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  Philippians 4:6

The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right,  and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.  1Peter 3:12

And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety. 2Corinthians 1:10

So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.    2 Thessalonians 1:11

I will pray to the Lord, and he will answer me from his holy mountain.    Psalm 3:4

Because of this, since the day we heard about you, we have continued praying for you, asking God that you will know fully what he wants. We pray that you will also have great wisdom and understanding in spiritual things so that you will live the kind of life that honors and pleases the Lord in every way. You will produce fruit in every good work and grow in the knowledge of God.   Colossians 1:9-10

Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. Romans 8:34