Devotions

Monthly Archives: September, 2015

Wednesday | September 30th

Reach, Gather, and Grow. Over the past few months, these are terms that have been used constantly as we move forward in our unification process. It is an exciting time for us as a body of believers. We are now joining together across multiple locations and counties to share one message, the Gospel of Christ.

Gather by definition is, “to get or take from different people or places and bring them together.” One thing that I love about The River, is how diverse our family is. Pastor Jim describes it best, bikers to businessmen and everything in between! As funny as that statement is, it’s the truth. Our family is filled with people from all different jobs, backgrounds, and stages of life. Yet, we gather together every weekend because of one truth that ties us all together, our Savior.

In Acts 2, Luke records the events on the day of Pentecost. It was during this gathering that the Holy Spirit entered into the lives of the Disciples. People from various nations had all gathered together in the city of Jerusalem, to celebrate the day of Pentecost. After Peter’s sermon, over 3,000 had heard the Gospel message of Christ and devoted their lives to Him.

I love this passage because it paints such a beautiful picture of what it means to gather together. In Acts 2:5 Luke writes, “Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven.” They were not all businessmen or construction workers, nor were they all teachers or soldiers. It says they were men from every nation.

When we gather together every weekend, to worship and hear from God’s Word, there is no separation. We are all brought together because of one common interest, the Gospel. We were not meant to experience this life alone. That is why, I love the diversity we have here at The River. We are just a bunch of people from all over this crazy state of Michigan, with different stories and backgrounds. Yet, just as believers gathered from every nation over 2,000 years ago on the day of Pentecost, we too are gathering together to worship and grow closer to our Savior.

Noble Baird
Guest Services Director

Tuesday | September 29th

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul writes about the body of Christ. More specifically, he writes about how us, as followers of Christ, are the ones who make up the body. However, every member fulfills a different role within the body. Some, for example, have been called to work in the nursery or teach in our children’s program, others have been called to serve in the bus ministry, while some have been called to make the coffee for everyone on Saturday nights and Sunday mornings. Wherever you may fall, you are an integral part of our congregation, but more importantly the body of Christ.

All too often, coming to church and attending a gathering can become a chore. Sunday’s become the day of the week where we simply sit in a chair, punch our “Christian Membership Card” and then continue on with the new week. However, this mindset is completely missing the mark on why we gather. It is not simply so that we can punch our church card, but to come together as the body to encourage one another.

Hebrews 10:24-25 reads, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Being part of the body of Christ, we are not meant to simply gather every weekend and that is it. No, we are called to stir up one another, to encourage one another, and to gather together. So, how do we do this, how can we stir up one another and be an encouragement? I could give you a list, but rather then ramble on with a long list of suggestions; I want to give you an example that has continually worked in my life.

As some of you may know, I am called the ‘smiley drummer’. Yes, I am the guy who plays the drums on Saturdays or Sundays, and just won’t stop smiling while he’s playing. When I am worshipping, I can’t help but smile. To be worshipping and praising our risen Savior is such a privilege and honor; I just love it! Yet, when I’m playing, I get to look out and watch all of you worshipping and praising, together, as the body of Christ. That is where I find my encouragement. Seeing an amazing group of people gather together every weekend, to worship our risen Savior.

So, this week I want to leave you with a challenge. Do not simply come to church to punch that card and sit in a seat for an hour. Bring a big smile and let someone know how happy you are to see him or her today! You never know how much you will change their world…

Noble Baird
Guest Services Director

Monday | September 28th

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing” (Ecclesiastes 3:5).

If I was to ask you to tell me about a time when you were reunited with someone you loved or cared about after a long period of time, a friend or family member, you would be able to replay that moment again in your mind. Likewise, if I asked you to tell me about a time when you had to say goodbye to someone you loved and cared about, you could do the same.

When Solomon was writing this poem in Ecclesiastes 3, he lists different seasons, which we all experience at some point in our lives. This concept of gathering together and embracing one another, is a common thread no matter the season we are in. Whether the season is in college, a new job, a new state, whatever the season there is always a time to embrace and a time to gather together. However, the flip side, just as Solomon wrote, is that there is a time to refrain from embracing and gathering together. Often times when we read this passage, it can come across with some negative connotations. The word ‘refrain’ means: to stop doing something that you want to do. I love this definition because it fits perfectly with this topic of gathering together. As we gather together with fellow believers in our lives, there comes a time when we may be called to carry out His will somewhere else.

A couple months back, one of my best friends and his wife felt a calling to be missionaries in Liverpool. Selfishly, I didn’t want him to go at all. He had finally moved back to Michigan and I wanted him to stay here, so that we could spend time together. However, they knew that Liverpool was where God was calling them and they could not ignore this call. So, they backed up a ton of suitcases, sold most of what they had, and jumped on a plan to England.

My friend and his wife had to experience a time of refrain, where they would not be gathering together with friends and family here in Michigan. They had to stop doing something they wanted to do, so that they could answer God’s calling in their lives. Now, they are gathering together with new believers and friends on the other side of the world! As we gather together, there will be a time when God calls us to refrain from that gathering. Yet, no matter how long that season may be, we will all be one day gathered together again with our Savior.

Noble Baird
Guest Services Director

Saturday | September 26th

Reaching the world: fall block party

For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth’” (Acts 13:47).

The world is a dark place, and there is no time of year where darkness is displayed more than the Halloween season.  The River Church wants to be a light for our community.  We don’t just “dream” of making a difference; we get about “our Father’s business.”

On Sunday, October 25th, The River Church will be hosting a Fall Block Party at Grand Blanc High School. This Halloween bash will include trunk or treat, inflatables, games, food, giveaways, contests, live music, and tons more! We are hoping to reach thousands of people – entire families and neighborhoods. Our hope is that people will come from all over the area – especially Grand Blanc, but from communities near and far, where we will have the opportunity to show the love of Jesus and share the incredible news of the gospel with them.

Why do this event? And why in Grand Blanc?

Like I have mentioned earlier this week, my goal and job is to help equip you, the Church, to reach the world. My goal is that each location (because we are a church in many locations) will have one major reach-oriented, all-location event throughout the year that we can come together, support one another (because we are one church), and help that location reach the world by reaching their local community.

My desire through this event is that we see a revival take place, much like in Acts 2. In the later part of the chapter, we see Peter, along with the entire church, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with a massive crowd. The results? “That day there were added about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41b NASB). My prayer is that through something seemingly dumb or useless be used by the Holy Spirit to ransom thousands and thousands of souls to himself.

To make this work, we need you. First, donate candy! You can drop off bags of individually wrapped candy to any gathering at any location, starting this weekend until October 25th.

Second, sign up to serve! We want hundreds of cars to be part of the Trunk-or-Treat. We need people to help in other areas (man the inflatables, help with games, registration, food, etc.). We also have street teams – teams of people who will canvas neighborhoods to tell them about the event and get people excited!

Last, invite people! Whether you can join a Street Team, or you can share the event on Facebook, or send the web link to your friends, neighbors, and family, whatever you can do to get the word out, do it! We are praying for thousands of people to be part of this event, and we need the whole church to step up and be a part of it.

Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:15-16).

Bryan Haley, Reach Pastor
810.938.0022
bhaley@theriverchurch.cc

Friday | September 25th

Reaching the world: partners

One way that we reach the world is by partnering with people and organizations that go on our behalf to make disciples of all nations. While I would love to say that we are sending people out of our locations to every nation and people group, that is not currently the case (Lord-willing, some day we will be able to say that is true!) So we partner with organizations that can go on our behalf.

We partner with people and organizations that are going into the world to reach the lost by: 1. Establishing the local church, or 2. Caring for orphans. Why these two things? Because our central purpose is to establish the church (make disciples) of all nations. And there are over 160 million orphans in the world today. According to Scripture, orphans need to be cared for, and are dear to our Savior’s heart, so we want to care for them and to show fatherless children that they have a Father who loves them!

We partner with incredible people and organizations who have answered Christ’s call on their lives to plant churches among a people group that need to hear the Good News, as well as people that care deeply for orphans, and are in the trenches on our behalf day in and day out doing the work that God has called them to for the purpose of making disciples.

Today, go to our global reach webpage: http://theriverchurch.cc/reach/reach_global.php, pray for these people today. Learn more about what they are doing, so you can be an active part of our local body that partners with them. Write them an encouraging note (we will gladly send it to them for you). Spend time at dinner tonight as a family talking about the work that they are doing on our behalf, and why it is so important.

Bryan Haley, Reach Pastor
810.938.0022
bhaley@theriverchurch.cc



Office: 8393 E. Holly Rd. Holly, MI 48442 | 248.328.0490 | info@theriverchurch.cc

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