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6 Benefits of Serving

Last week 484 volunteers reached beyond the shore to serve our community. Here are a few highlights. We prepared 5,500 meals for the Texas food bank. We worked at the donation center for Habitat for Humanity. We cleaned up six area parks. We played bingo with senior citizens. We prepared 1000 hygiene kits and wrote 500 encouraging notes for sex trafficking victims.

Our community was blessed. But guess what!? So were the volunteers.  They experienced firsthand the benefits of serving.

Serving helps us discover and develop our spiritual gifts – God places gifts inside each one of us, seeds of serving others. You’ll never discover your unique contribution until you start serving! A seed will never become what it was designed to become unless it’s planted in the right environment.

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us Romans 12:6 NIV

Serving allows us to experience miracles – The first miracle Jesus did was at a wedding when he turned jars of water into fine wine. (John 2:1-11) The wedding guests got to enjoy the miracle. The wedding coordinator celebrated the miracle but the only ones who experienced the miracle first hand were the servants who carried the jars.  Serving places you right, smack dab in the middle of the miracle!

Serving produces joy – Everyone is looking for joy.  We think we’ll find it in possessions and pleasures.  Maybe you’ve heard the statement – happiness doesn’t’ come from getting what you want, but being grateful for what you have. Here’s another thought – happiness doesn’t come from getting what you want, but from helping others get what they need! There is no joy like being used by God to make a difference in someone else’s life.

Serving connects you with great friendship – Making the decision to serve God by serving others will connect you with some of the finest people on the planet.  Friendships flourish when we roll up our sleeves, link arms and partner with other people to invest in the lives of others.

 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another  Hebrews 10:24-25

Serving increases our faith – Faith grows when we open our heart to be used by God. When we do things we’ve never done before and we are forced out of our comfort zone to a place of radical dependence on God’s power our faith with grow.

Serving is good for the soul – Studies have shown that volunteering is good for the mind and body. It reduces symptoms of stress and depression. Three acts of kindness are better mediation than any drug when it comes to reducing stress.  When you start serving it builds confidence, increases energy and you tap into strength you never knew you had.

People who serve drink deeply from life. The live life significantly.

We will continue to reach beyond the shore and hope you’ll partner with us in future outreach opportunities. Click here to learn more about serving opportunities at Shoreline and Beyond the Shore.

How to Reach Beyond the Shore

Discovering your purpose is critical. Understanding why you are here puts everything in your life in focus. Yes, there is a unique purpose for you as an individual. But we all have a general purpose in common, and that is to serve God by serving others.

Jesus paved the way, and said of himself:

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Mark 10:45

Over and over the Bible speaks to this purpose:

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people Ephesians 6:7

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. Galatians 5:13

Our goal this week is to reach beyond the shore and serve our community. It doesn’t always come naturally to lay down your life and serve, so today we want to talk about how to become more servant-hearted.

Be Available – If you want to be used by God, you have to be willing to stop. As Jesus walked the earth, he consistently allowed interruptions. He stopped. He paused. He was available. We want to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, but that also means following in his stops.

Follow Gratitude – Serving becomes super easy when you recognize that everything you have is more than you deserve. The greatest gifts in life are gifts of God’s grace. When your heart is filled with gratitude, you are naturally, passionately and spontaneously motivated to serve.

Cultivate Awareness – So many missed opportunities come from being unaware. It’s great to be aware of how you are gifted and step into serving positions that allow you to use your talents. That’s what Shoreline Life class is all about! We can help you discover your unique personality and gifts; and guide to you an opportunity. But as important as it is to serve where you are gifted, sometimes we just need to identify a need, roll up our sleeves and get to work.

Take Action – When God wants something done, he has to inspire his kids to do it.  He wants us to have a bias toward action. It takes energy and effort to respond with a servant’s heart. This is where we find true significance – when God is working through us to change a life, to alleviate suffering, to bring joy to the discouraged and just make the world a little bit better.

Will you take action with us this week as we serve the Austin area through the Beyond the Shore initiative? There are five ways to Pay It Forward. And we still have some space open on our outreach teams in the Austin Community. Sign up today and let’s live out the words of John Wesley:

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”

We can make a difference together!

Summer at Shoreline 2017

Have you heard about everything happening this summer at Shoreline?  We’ve got some fun stuff to tell you about that we know you won’t want to miss.

We are taking our mission statement outside the walls of our church, beyond the shore, and into the community we love so much. Helping people know God, find life, and make a difference is a big vision, but with your help we can leave a lasting impact in the Austin area.

For the first time ever, the Caleb Foundation is hosting a golf tournament on Monday, July 10th, to raise resources for five handpicked local charities who are championing the next generation.  To find out more click here.

July 9th through July 16th we are going to serve our community together as a wave of love. Go to our brand new website BeyondTheShore.net and check out the all the opportunities for you, your friends, your family, your small group, to get involved in. You have three options:

  1. There are 5 simple ways to pay it forward. Acts of kindness are a great way to express the love of God. Be sure to click  “I’m doing this” so we can all watch the numbers grow!
  2. There are 4 Caleb Foundation initiatives for you to join in. Just click and register and we’ll see you there.
  3. There are 27 events in the Austin community where you can link arms with others to serve our city. From nursing homes, to non-profit organizations, to parks all over the city we have the opportunity to unveil God’s love, but we can’t do it without you. Check it out soon because events are filling up fast.  Join us on the north campus for a Beyond the Shore volunteer rally Saturday morning July 15th  We’ll come together to celebrate before we spread out across the city.

We are so excited about the response we’ve already gotten for our first ever KIDCON. If you haven’t heard, it’s our version of “VBS” for ages 4-12. This is a week your kids are gonna love! Click here to register your children. If you love working with kids and talking to them about Jesus, we need you! You can sign up here to volunteer.

And finally, what junior high or high school student doesn’t want to spend a week at summer camp with their friends learning about Jesus, playing games, and having the best summer ever? Register your student ASAP! If you’ve got a free week this summer, come with us as a volunteer and be a part of changing our student’s lives for eternity. For more information about youth summer camp email samantha.hargis@shoreline.net

Whew! It’s going to be a life-changing, earth-shaking summer at Shoreline. Let’s do this thing!

How to Live for the Glory of God

Even Christians get offended. Even Christians can be selfish. It’s easy to make life all about us. Into this self-focused world, the apostle Paul lays down this challenge, “whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (I Corinthians 10:31) But how do you actually do that?

How do you live in such a way that you increase the good opinion people have of God? It doesn’t come by trying harder or doing more. It comes from orienting your life around a certain way of thinking and believing. If you focus on the right truth then giving glory to God will happen naturally and magnificently. Start with this:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 NIV

I have been crucified with Christ – It can be hard to grasp, but the mysterious truth of the Christian faith is that we identify with Jesus’ death on the cross. His death is our death. The old way of living is behind us. We are made brand new through Christ. How you identify yourself is critical. See yourself as a new creation in Christ.

I no longer live, but Christ lives in me – All the good that you do comes from Christ living through you. You are just allowing him the freedom to do his thing. The only hope you have of truly bringing glory to God is yielding to the power of Christ in you..

The life I now live…I live by faith  – Will power will only get you so far. You can’t live this Christian life on your own. Live by faith. Live by trust. Live by dependence.  Every single day you have the option to self-navigate or to live your life in trusting dependence on God. That’s what faith is.

In the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me – Don’t you love how Paul makes this personal? Jesus loved ME! He gave himself for ME! You might need to say that out-loud. Jesus loved me. He gave himself for me. Love is the most powerful force on the planet. When you make it personal, it changes you at your core.

This really is the bottom line. In light of God’s sacrificial love and Jesus’ obedience to walk out the Father’s plan, we have all the motivation we need to live a life that brings him glory!

 

The Magnificent Love of the Father

Pastor Rob brought three Shoreline pastors together to help him teach about the God, The Father this Father’s Day. We learned that God is tuned in, he is active in loving us and he is our guide.

Pastor Luke shared  how his father was tuned into his victories and his defeats. Whether he was holding the record for the most 3’s shot in a basketball game or feeling like everything was wrong because his girlfriend broke up with him, his father was there. He shared how in the bible we read about the prodigal son who takes his inheritance, leaves his father’s house and spends all his money on temporary things. When he is left with nothing and doesn’t know what to do, he decides to go back to his father’s house as a servant. Much to his surprise, when he was still a long way off his father saw him, ran to him, hugged him and threw a party for him.

That is how God sees us. When we are still a long way off He says… “is that my son, is that my daughter. We have to throw a party because they have returned.” He runs to us with arms wide open ready to receive us and love us just like we had never left. God is tuned into our lives, watching and not just waiting for us to come home, but seeking us out, pursing us, taking steps towards us, anticipating the moment when we return to Him. The Father is tuned in.

Pastor Tyson shared about trying to teach his 2 year old to play hide and seek. He would say, “Symphony, I am going to close my eyes and count. You go hide and then daddy is going to try to find you.” She would be so excited to play the game, but time after time she wouldn’t run and hide. After several attempts to teach her the rules of this game he finally said “Sym, you don’t understand. You are supposed to hide from daddy and be quiet while I try to find you.”  She responded, “But daddy, I want you to find me.” In this moment, it clicked what innocent pure faith this little girl had. She longed to be found by her father. We are the same way. Our spirit longs to be found by the father and maybe we try to hide it, but deep down we just want to be found. The Father is active in loving us.

Pastor Sam shared how the father is our guide. He gave the example of using a GPS and how we  find so much comfort in hearing the instructions, “in 500 feet, turn left.” We desire the security of that guide. But one time he was using his GPS for directions to a friends house and the GPS brought him to a field and then said, “Stop the car and walk the next 5 miles.” The Father is our guide, but he will never look at us and say “Okay, I have brought you this far, now you are on your own.” No! He will never leave you and He will never forsake you. You can rest in the security of knowing he e is your guide and he will be with you always. That is just who he is. The Father is our guide.

The Father chooses relationship with us. He knows what we need even before we ask. Jesus said when we pray we should address God as “Our Father.”  Paul went even further referring to God as “Abba, Father” which is translated to Daddy. Our God chooses relationship with us.

If you are a father, we encourage you to make these same choices, imitate our Father in heaven. Tune in. Be active in loving your children. Be a guide your children can follow. Happy Father’s Day!

3 Ways Grace Transforms Our Lives

We want to grow and change but we get frustrated. It’s not something we can do to ourselves by ourselves. Certainly we have a part to play, but it is freeing to understand the dynamic of God’s grace working in us and through us to create transformation.

When we are willing and choose surrender, we are doing our small part. God does the really significant part.

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:5 NIV

The emphasis in this verse is on what God does. He began the work, and he completes it. God knows what he is doing. He is a master craftsman. Today we’ll look at three ways God’s transforming grace works in our lives.

Grace transforms by identity – We tend to behave out of what we believe, so it is critical that we understand who we are. We are fully accepted by God. We are made righteous and holy through Jesus. We are saints. Paul addresses the church in Corinth as saints. Honestly, in his letter he confronts behavior that was not very saintly, but through his teaching he tells them how to live like the saints they are.

Grace transforms by relationship – True life change flows out of relationship.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 NIV

Transformation comes through abiding in Christ. Fruit is produced in our lives as a result of being connected to the vine in vital relationship.

Grace transforms by love – The joy of Christianity is the celebration of God’s relentless love for us. This love compels us. It motivates us. It inspires and empowers us. It is because of God’s great love that we can confidently choose to trust him with our lives and fully surrender to his will

Being transformed by the hand of God is beautifully illustrated in the book of Jeremiah.

 “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. Jeremiah 18:6 NIV

God interacts with us like a potter making something beautiful and useful out of a lump of clay.  By faith we step up onto the potter’s wheel. We surrender to his loving hands and God does the rest. He molds and fashions us according to his will, a vessel for his glory.

6 Thoughts That Produce Peace

Worry is a paralyzing force that robs us of peace.  And it’s a complete waste of time. A recent survey found that 40% of the things we worry about never happen, 30% are in the past and can’t be changed, 12% are the concern of others and none of our business, 10% are about imagined sickness and only 8% have some legitimate substance. The 8% that are legitimate concerns are only exacerbated by worry.

Transformation comes when we recognize the fear that controls our lives, reject the tendency to worry and replace worry with a promise:

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3 NLT

You have the ability to focus your mind and fix your thoughts. And your thoughts are directly related to your peace. Here are 6 thoughts about God that will produce perfect peace in your heart and mind.

God will always love you – The deepest need of the human heart is to be completely and unconditionally loved.  God’s love for you is unconditional. When you know his love, fear loses its hold on your mind.

Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love drives out fear. It is punishment that makes a person fear, so love is not made perfect in the person who fears.  1 John 4:18 NCV

God will always lead you – Worry comes from the uncertainty of having no one to turn to or no one to get direction from. The good news is God knows the future and he will lead you.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

God will always be with you – Fear comes when we think we are alone, but God promises he is always with us.

I will never leave you;  I will never abandon you. Hebrews 13:5 NCV

God will always meet your needs  – One of our biggest fears is running out. Running out of energy, ideas, time, mercy or resources. One of God’s names is Jehovah Jireh, which literally means he sees in advance and is already making provision. God never runs out!

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 NIV

God will always see you through – We have all felt the overwhelming concern of how am I going to get through the challenge I’m facing right now. The Bible never promises us a pass from the challenges of life, but it does promise a way through.

When you pass through the waters,  I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2 NIV

God will always work things out for good – The most incredible thing to know about God is that he can take all of the challenges we face, even those caused by our own mistakes and make something good.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

No matter what you are facing right now, God can turn it around for good. Keep your mind stayed, focused and fixed on him.

How to Have a Great Summer

I love to have fun with my friends and meet new people, because you never know who may just end up being your friend.

We love doing life with others at Shoreline and Hangouts are one of the ways we make that happen. Hangouts are doing what you love and inviting others. Wouldn’t that make for a great summer? This isn’t a new thing. In fact, it was modeled for us in the early days of the Church.

The believers shared a common purpose, and every day they spent much of their time together in the Temple area. They also ate together in their homes. They were happy to share their food and ate with joyful hearts. Acts 2:46 ERV

Last summer I hosted a Hangout at a pizza place. We ate, laughed, and got to know each other. I met some great people. Some of them were already my friends, others I met at church and extended a personal invitation to join us. I met Renee at my Hangout and we’ve been friends ever since. We laugh together, pray together, and we share the same love for Jesus, trail walking, and food!

Maybe you already have a great group of friends. I encourage you to host a Hangout, invite your friends, and extend the invitation to others. You may make a new friend like I did with Renee.

Maybe you are new to Shoreline or new to Austin and you are ready to meet some people. That’s what Hangouts are all about. Whether it’s eating a meal together, playing games, or taking a walk; we all share a common purpose – loving Jesus and the people he puts in our lives. Life is truly better together!

Be sure to join us this coming Sunday, June 4th for our Hangouts Kickoff. We’ll be outside between services with fun for the whole family. We’ll have yard games for everyone and a water slide bounce house for the kids. We’ll have ice cream too!  Can you say Yummmmy? It’s the perfect way to kickoff a great summer!

Click here for information on joining or hosting a Hangout. 

 

Written by Stacy McVane
 

Are You Suffering from Stinkin’ Thinkin’?

So many things in life are either expanded or contracted by the way we think.  When you came into a relationship with Jesus, there were spiritual changes, but not everything was mystically and magically changed.  If you were thinking a certain way the day you got saved, you were likely thinking the same way afterward, even if it was stinkin’ thinkin’.  But God doesn’t want you to be dragged down by negative, self-defeating, discouraging thoughts.  God wants us to change the way we think in many different areas

Romans 12:2 describes a way for you to change your thinking:

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.

Renewing your mind is the key.  When you are facing a Goliath-sized problem in your life, do you shrink back and worry that you cannot face it or assume it will defeat you?  Or do you renew your mind like David did in the Old Testament?  David’s thought process affected how he approach Goliath, who was terrorizing everyone else.  While others backed off and lived in fear because of how big Goliath was, David’s approach was essentially “The giant is so big, there is no way I can miss.”

Things change when we change our thinking.  Take the recognize-reject-replace approach, as described below:

  • Recognize negative mindsets
  • Reject the negative mindset
  • Replace with the way that God thinks

When you replace your negative thoughts with God’s thoughts about you and your future, you are renewing your mind in a productive and uplifting way.  You can do it!

Here are five Don’ts that will help you change your stinkin’ thinkin’:

  1. Don’t dwell on past failures. Renew your mind to live in today’s victories.

Don’t let past failures determine your future. Renew your mind. There is favor from God available for you today.

  1. Don’t be discouraged by your weaknesses. Renew your mind to God’s power.

Will power is not enough.  Human effort is never enough.  Thank God that we don’t have to rely on ourselves.  We have the power of the Holy Spirit to strengthen us beyond our natural abilities.

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. — Phil 4:13 (NLT)

  1. Don’t focus on the negative. Renew your mind to the positive.

If you focus on the negative, it will spread to other areas of life.  Lift it up to the Lord.  You don’t have to deny it.  Don’t be anxious about it.  Pray about it.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. — Phil. 4:8 (NLT)

  1. Don’t be a victim. Renew your mind to take action.

Feelings follow thoughts.  It’s a lot easier to act your way into a feeling than to feel your way into an action.  You may not feel like changing, but if you take action, your feelings will follow.

  1. Don’t take your queues from culture.

Don’t do what’s going on around you.  Renew your mind based on love, peace, joy, success and victory.

When try to change in your own power, it’s like going against the wind.  But when you tap into God’s power, you go with the flow with the wind at your back.  You can do so much more than what stinkin’ thinkin’ would allow you to do.

Do You Need a Second Chance?

Our problem is seldom that we don’t love God enough; it is almost always that we are unaware of how much God loves us.  The true essence of Christianity is a celebration of what God has done for us out of His abundant love.

God wants you to know that He is the author of good things for you – healings, redemption, reconciliation, debt cancellation and more – and as an overflow of His love, He is the author of the second chance – more specifically, your second chance.

We all long for second chances.  We all want resets and do-overs. We all have made choices that we regret and we feel the impact of those past choices.  (You aren’t the only one.) But the Bible delivers good news: God is the God of second chances.  If the Bible is about anything, it is full of stories about second chances.  You could say that every story in the Bible is the story of a second chance.  Here are just a few:

Story of Joseph
As told in the book of Genesis, Joseph was unfairly sold into slavery by his jealous brothers and then thrown in a prison for no good reason, but God gave him a second chance, raising Joseph up to be the second most powerful person in Egypt in his day.  Furthermore, God gave him a second chance at his relationship with his brothers. Joseph forgave and declared, “You may have meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.”

Story of Samson
God called Samson to deliver His people, but Samson messed up by messing around with a deceptive woman, Delilah, who enticed him to give up the secret of his strength.  He was captured, blinded and put in chains.  But God gave Samson a second chance.  Being filled once again by supernatural power, Samson gave more glory to God and more victory to the children of Israel than ever in his life.  And it came after his second chance.

Story of Jonah
God told Jonah to go to Nineveh, but Jonah did not want to go, so he went in the opposite direction.  Consequently, Jonah was swallowed up in the belly of a whale.  But God gave Jonah a second chance.  After three days, the whale spit out Jonah, and he went on to bring glory to God.  (By the way, Jonah’s three days in the whale parallels Jesus’ three days in the earth after His death on the cross, providing insight into how God works.  He seems to revel in being the God of second chances.)

Story of Saul of Tarsus
Saul was persecuting Christians until the Lord Jesus Himself stopped Saul on the road and blinded him with a great light.  Jesus said, “Why are you persecuting Me?”  Indeed, Jesus identifies so much with His followers that He feels our pain.  Saul basically asked, “What should I do?”  God gave Saul a second chance, choosing him to spread the gospel across the world. Saul was so transformed that he changed his name to Paul.  He ended up writing most of the New Testament – yes, a persecutor of Christians, a man who got a second chance.

The stories of people receiving second chances abound in the Bible, but it all boils down to this: good news, bad news, really good news.  The good news was that God created the world and He saw that it was good.  The bad news was that man messed it up through choosing to sin.  However, the really good news is that the God of the second chance sent His Son to restore it all back by what He did for us.

God’s love brings second chances.  Accept the grace God has for you.  No matter what, there is a second chance for you.