“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”
Jesus, I thank You for sustaining me these past 21 days. I thank You for revealing Yourself to me in new ways, and for helping me grow in my relationship with You. I thank You for causing level up in my faith and fitness, and I pray that you continue to work in me. Help me be like a strong tree, rooted in You, established in You, able to stand firm in the trials and triumphs of life, and sprout leaves of thanksgiving that provide life and support to the people around me. Reveal areas in my life that need leveling up, and give me the strength and wisdom to grow in those areas. Thank you, Lord!
- Come to the 6 Year Anniversary, and bring a friend! Let’s level up together! We believe that freedom is experienced in community, and there’s nothing better than celebrating birthdays with the family and walking through the journey with your loved ones.
- Keep the momentum going! We’ve built new habits in praying, fasting, and fitness, so let’s keep leveling up in those components. Keep praying and fitness a part of your daily rhythm, and consider keeping fasting a part of your monthly schedule.
- Keep praying for the prayer points! Our leaders did an awesome job highlighting different areas that we can be praying for, so let’s keep those in our hearts and minds even as we conclude our 21 Days.
- Run, jog, or walk the twenty-first mile out of the total of 21.
- Do 30 sit-ups and 30 push-ups.
Hebrews 13:3 (NIV)
Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.
As we remember people to pray for we should remember those who are locked up in jails and prisons. If we are honest we can say that those who are imprisoned are “the forgotten” But Jesus has not forgotten them, so neither should we. In fact, he calls us to love, pray, and visit those in prison. We are all created in the image of God and no one is beyond His reach.
Currently, there are about 2.1 million people incarcerated in the United States, and our nation leads all other nations with that statistic. Society has written off those who are imprisoned, They say “do the crime, do the time”. And there’s a lot of truth in that but we still need to love and pray for them. The same God who offers His love and forgiveness to us has offered it to those who are incarcerated as well. Pray that God would change and mold their hearts, and give them a desire to want to live for Him and that they would know and feel His love. Imagine being locked up and feeling hopeless, lonely and that no one cares for you, you might even feel unloved. You’re isolated and away from your family. Those who are locked up need to know that there is a God who loves them, and will forgive them. “The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth” – Psalm 145:18. They may not be able to be physically free, but they can be spiritually free, in and through Christ.
I’m a juvenile probation officer and I work at a lock-up facility called Spring Mountain Youth Camp. I get to work with youth in a lock-up facility and I have the privilege of sharing the love of Christ with them. I get to encourage them and share the good news of Jesus with them. From time to time I will lead a Bible study, and I always have a few youths asking me when the next one will be. That lets me know that there is a hunger for God’s word.
God is near to the broken hearted, and those who are locked up, youth and adults alike are broken hearted. Earlier this week Pastor Josh shared a good devotional about seeing people through the lens that God sees them. What a perfect way to do that here! God’s redemption is for us all. Jesus says “It’s not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners”. -Mark 2:17. We and the prisoners alike are sinners, in need of God’s grace.
Heavenly Father I come before you in Jesus name, lifting up those who are incarcerated in jails and in prisons all over our city, from CCDC to Spring Mountain Youth Camp, High Desert, Indian Springs, and every other institution across the state, and our nation. I pray for those who call you Lord, may you use them to be a light to others around them, and may they feel encouraged and remind them of your love for them. For the many who don’t know you, may you draw them to you. May they experience freedom in you and in your son Jesus. Change their hearts, change their ways. I also pray for protection from the dangers that they face from day to day. As many of them might be missing their families and loved ones, I ask that you help them get through the loneliness that they might be feeling and feel any void they might have with your presence and your peace. Lastly, Lord I pray for Christians all over the world who are incarcerated because of their faith, help them to stand strong in the faith. Amen
- Reach out to someone who is incarcerated.
- If you know someone personally who is incarcerated reach out to them by writing them a letter.
- If you know someone who is locked up and your able to, put commissary on their books
- Run, jog, or walk the twentieth mile out of the total of 21.
- Do 29 sit-ups and 29 push-ups.
PASTOR JOSH CARTER
Matthew 9:35-37 NASB
35 Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness.36 Seeing the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and downcast, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.”
As Jesus would go from town to town, He was moved with compassion to bless others every place he went. In Verse 36, it says, “seeing the crowds, Jesus felt compassion.” This word compassion is a word picture in the original language. It means to be moved in one’s bowels. It means to feel so deeply in your inner being, that it motivates you to act. Here’s a question, when was the last time you were so deeply moved with compassion for someone that you were moved to do something about it?
But what moved Jesus to compassion? When Jesus looked upon the crowds, he noticed their physical challenges. As a matter of fact, the scripture tells us that he was healing disease and sickness. But it wasn’t necessarily just the physical needs that moved Jesus to action, but rather their deep spiritual need to know the God who loves them. Jesus looked beyond the physical and was broken by the deeper spiritual need. He called these people, “sheep without a shepherd.” These people were created for a deep relationship with a Good Shepherd they never knew. They were not created to be orphan sheep. They were created to know the comforts, security, and identity of belonging to the fold of God. You see, sheep without a shepherd are vulnerable. They are lost, confused, easily deceived, and discontented. When Jesus looked at these people, he was deeply bothered by their spiritual condition. In fact, this is what compelled Him to sacrifice his own life on the cross, on our behalf, so that through faith in Him, our relationship with God, our Good Shepherd, could be restored.
As a church planter and pastor in Portland, Oregon, we would host mission teams from across the country to come help us. Often, our mission teams would come highly motivated to share the love of Jesus and the Gospel with others. The week would come and go, and we would face many challenges and wins along the way. But it was what happened on the last night of the trip that was so life-shaping for the team. On that night, we would host a final meeting. We would hear story after story about how God moved throughout the week. But just before we closed the meeting, I often asked this one question. “What is the one thing that you wish you could change about the trip?” It was a strategic question. In fact, it was rare that we didn’t hear at least one person on the team say, “I just wish I could have had more conversations with people.” I loved this response! It seemed the Lord always had this answer given so that we could share a life shaping challenge. When I heard this, I would always respond by saying, “I love that feedback and here is why…think about all we did and all the places we went this week. We went to coffee shops, we rode on public transportation, we ate at restaurants, we worked at a school. In fact, if you really think about it, we were around people all day, every single day.” You see, the reality is, we’re around people all the time, we just don’t “see” them. In fact, God is working all the time around us, but do we see Him?
I love that Jesus challenges his disciples the same way He is challenging us today. He says, “the fields are plentiful, but the workers are few.” I don’t believe Jesus is saying that there aren’t enough Christians in the valley to change our city or that the harvest field is not ready in Las Vegas. Remember, Jesus started the early church planting movement and changed the world with just eleven disciples. I think Jesus is saying, God is working in our city but there are not enough Christians who are “looking” for it. There are not enough Christians “seeing” people.
Father, I come before You in Jesus’ name by the power of Your Holy Spirit. I ask that you help me “see” the people around me. I pray you help me “see” where you are working and join You in your harvest field. I pray you would use me to be your physical presence in the lives of those who have the deep spiritual need to know you. Lord, move me with deep compassion for the lostness around me every single place I go today. May that compassion move me to intentional action as I join you on mission today. Help me to see You and see others that need You.
- Use the acronym “SEE” in your life today and join God at work around you.
S – SLOW DOWN
- Intentionally slow down and look for an opportunity to join God’s activity today.
- Pray before you start your day. Ask God to show you someone to intentionally encourage today.
- At the coffee shop or restaurant, decide not to rush. Go inside and as the Lord brings you to conversations, ask how people are doing.
- Slow Down. Look For God. Listen. Ask questions.
E – ENCOURAGE
- As you are slowing down, expecting God to show you that person to engage, speak a word of encouragement to someone. Show them you care.
- Buy them a meal, coffee, or take a co-worker a small gift as the Lord leads you.
E – EAT
- If you really want to slow down, spend intentional time with someone else and see how God will use you in their life. Invite them to lunch or dinner with the purpose of listening and encouraging them.
- Ask them about their story. Tell them your story. Include what Jesus is doing in your life.
- If you have the opportunity, ask them about their relationship with Jesus, Church, or spiritual matters.
- Ask them if they attend church. Invite them as your guest to Walk Church.
- Run, jog, or walk the nineteenth mile out of the total of 21.
- Do 28 sit-ups and 28 push-ups.
Hebrews 10:24 ESV
“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.”
So far this week we have intentionally prayed for our Nation, followed by praying for our city, and now, today I want you to pray for YOUR community.
As I have studied concepts of memory retention and recall, I’ve learned that people are more likely to remember things, events, or experiences that they shared with the community they share life with as opposed to those experiences that were not shared, celebrated, or endured together. It’s quite possible that we as believers in Christ are living our Christian lives in relative isolation from the community we share life with, and therefore our Christian memories are not as vivid as those we have from the world.
We recently started hosting our sixth semester of Charge Group in our home. I can state unequivocally that our experiences, our relationships, and our memories relating to our walk with Christ are more vivid, enriching and authentic since we started sharing our journey with our Christian community as well as those that are not believers. We’ve grown deeper in our faith, and we’ve grown deeper bonds and relationships with those who are joining us on this journey with Christ.
Proverbs 18:1 states: “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” I want to challenge our Christian brothers and sisters to reflect on how they have lived their journey with Christ. Whether that has been in the context of community or now. Here are some questions to process when thinking about this subject:
- Are you walking alone, isolated from other Christians?
- Are you neglecting to meet together with other Christians?
- Are you celebrating the important events that happen in your life with your Christian family?
- Do you attend a weekly Charge Group?
- Are you walking in Christian community?
Lord, thank you for guiding me on this journey. I praise you for being a loving God who is for us and not against us. Lord, I pray that you draw us nearer to you and nearer to each other. I pray that we have the courage to live our lives as Christians together and not alone. Lord, give us the boldness to praise each other as we walk our journey. Remove the habit of neglecting to meet with each other, for we know where two or more gather in your name you are there. Lord, we want to be where you are. I pray that my Christian brothers and sisters walk in community with their other Christian brothers and sisters. Amen.
- Join a Charge Group if you have not done so. If you already belong to a Charge Group share some news about your life, that you have not shared yet.
- Invite someone not in your Charge Group to coffee or for a bite to eat to get to know them better.
- Sign up to serve at Walk Church. The Dream Team would love to have you.
- Run, jog, or walk the eighteenth mile out of the total of 21.
- Do 27 sit-ups and 27 push-ups.