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TRANSFORMATION

On Sunday Rev. Jim shared the message of engaging the Holy Spirit in our lives. The question was asked are you willing to let the Holy Spirit reside or reign in your life? When we invite the Holy Spirit to begin a work in transforming our lives; we surrender to that still small voice, we allow the gentle nudging of prevenient grace (grace that goes before us) to begin guiding our heart, mind, soul and strength. When we open our lives to the work of the Father, through the power and presence of His indwelling Spirit we begin the process of becoming a “new creation”. As the caterpillar transforms from a creature that crawls to a free flying creation that soars there is first a struggle that must take place. The struggle strengthens the wings of the butterfly giving the wings the capability to fly. When we allow the Holy Spirit to reign in our lives, in all areas, there is a remodeling process and breaking so that a rebuilding can take place. What areas of your life need to be surrendered to the work of the Holy Spirit? What will need to be torn down in order to be rebuilt stronger than before? Transformation is a process, continual in our lives. Let’s allow the work to begin surrendering our lives to the Master Potter, shaping, crafting and making all things new. 

“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26

“Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8

THE LIGHT

As I left the gym this morning I was reminded of the power in each morning sunrise. As the rays of sun rise above the horizon the light overcomes the darkness and a new day is born. We don’t know what the day will bring (physical, spiritual, emotional storms), but what we do know is the light ushers in a new day, and in that we have complete and total confidence, trust and faith. Jesus tells us, “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it.” Just turn on a light in a dark room and see the darkness flee. But sometimes we have closed doors in our room; our heart, our mind, our lives, our spirit, and they need to be opened so the light can break in. When we break open those doors in our life, that have remained closed, the light can and will OVERCOME…

Love will OVERCOME Hate.
Joy will OVERCOME Sadness.
Hope will OVERCOME Anxiety.
Faith will OVERCOME
Fear.
Peace will OVERCOME Chaos.
Freedom will OVERCOME bondage.
Forgiveness will OVERCOME resentfulness.

Light breaks through and…
The grieving find hope in their loss.
The caregiver finds strength for the day.
The widow/widower find a way to move forward.
The divorced find healing and care to love again.
The addict finds freedom in releasing what controls them.
The victim becomes the warrior.
The lost are found
The broken is restored
The sinner is redeemed.

So if you think you’re a broken mess, unable to be used by the Lord, remember the light breaks through the darkness and OVERCOMES it every time. Our broken pieces allow the light to shine even brighter!

Where do you need the light to break through and OVERCOME the darkness? Maybe today is the day to open the door and let the light break through!

From one OVERCOMER to another,
Pastor Sherri

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

HARDWIRED

We are hardwired for story. From the time we are born we begin to hear stories read over us, to us and with us. When we are able to read we then begin picking genres that peak our interest and engage our mind; stories that prompt us to turn the page eagerly awaiting the next sentence, the next paragraph, the next chapter. And if we are really engaged in the story, intrigued by the characters, and inspired by the plot – we anticipate a sequel, the next book in the series, something that continues the joy of a story that has been so creatively crafted and woven.

But when it comes to our own story, the chapters in our lives – when the conflict comes, when we are tested, when the struggle of our story overwhelms us, we want to put the book down, leaving an untold story on the table. Every brilliant story encounters conflict, every inspiring character has experienced and overcome adversity, every Act II is followed by an Act III. In the turning of a page, the life of a character, and resolve of Act III, we are reminded in the middle of any epic story there is conflict, tragedy, pain, suffering, struggle. But it is in the conflict, tragedy, pain, suffering, and struggle that the character is being refined in order to shine.

If we put the story of our life down, if we fail to turn the page or allow a sequel to our suffering be written, then we often silence our purpose and surrender our passion. Where is your story? Are you in a season of struggle? Is your story your own or are you living someone else’s because of responsibilities or comparison?

As you pursue your purpose and define your passion, remember the most beautiful silver has been forged in the hottest of fires, the most useful pottery has been pressed and shaped, the most epic stories are written out of great conflict and adversity.

We are given one story, filled with many chapters. May we have the strength and courage to continue turning the page with the Master storyteller fueling our faith and trusting that “He uses all things together for the good of those who love Him.” 

Blessings on your day!
Pastor Sherri
#weareovercome

“For You have tried us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; You laid an oppressive burden upon our loins. You made men ride over our heads; We went through fire and through water, Yet You brought us out into a place of abundance.” Psalm 66:10-12

“And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ And they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.'” Zechariah 13:9

IDENTITY

This morning I was listening to all of creation rejoice the dawning of a new day and I was reminded of the rhythm of creation. The sun rises, the birds begin to sing welcoming the morning light, the slumber of night breaks forth to the beginning of a new opportunity to walk out our PURPOSE as we are given breath for yet another day. And I am reminded of the challenge each and every day to remember who we are and whose we are. We hit the ground running into our responsibilities and chores and we often neglect cherishing the presence of a living and loving God that gives us the identity as His sons and daughters. We exist as flesh and bone, but we THRIVE as spiritual beings that are designed in the image of the Creator; sustained by His very breath, set free and forgiven by the blood of His son, loved into eternity, and given the name of a “royal priesthood” as His very own. When we begin to cherish that legacy, the gift of grace, the power of hope, the treasure of love, the peace of provision, the joy of truly living in our identity and PURPOSE welcomes us into abundant living and the Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven. Let’s push the RESET on our PURPOSE, set aside time to be “still and know”, rest in our identity and watch our spiritual lives begin to flourish and grow!

Blessings as you go,
Pastor Sherri Juliani

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9

PURPOSE

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” That question was a wrestling match for me, most of my life. I’ll never forget the pediatrician asking my children that very same question during their ten year old well-check and beyond. I could see the pressure in my children’s eyes to respond to the doctor’s question and each year I would find it interesting how their response would change. From a very early age we begin equating who we are, our identity, with what we do. What happens when the layoff comes? What happens if we are unable to perform in that area of work due to health or medical restrictions?What happens when our profession defines our identity?

Only when we encounter the Lord do we find peace in the process of walking in our PURPOSE not just a profession. Only when we encounter the Lord are we able to see the process of the Master Potter working, crafting, creating and designing our purpose. Only when we RESET our direction, our focus, our faith, are we able to see that we are a work in progress, and that alone is our PURPOSE. There’s peace in the process and our hearts are finally at rest when our passion and PURPOSE collide and we realize the Master Potter, the Lord’s mighty hand, is constantly and carefully at work in our lives as we simply love Him and others.

Blessings as you go!
Pastor Sherri Juliani

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:10-12

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.“ Proverbs 19:21

SEE

My grandmother used to say, “Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees.” She had many expressions that would leave me puzzled, but as I’ve grown and experienced life I’ve begun to understand her words of wisdom. When I reflect on FAITH as we press the RESET this week, my grandmother’s expression comes to mind.

FAITH allows us to see beyond the trees, beyond the situation or circumstance that blocks our view deeper into the forest. FAITH gives us the strength to push through the dense covering of the trees and press toward the clearing where the light breaks through the darkness. FAITH equips us to pull back the branches that block our path so we can walk forward in the blessed assurance and confidence of the one that “goes before, comes behind and hems us in in all directions.”

FAITH allows us to see the unseen and cultivates compassion in our heart, trust in our mind, strength for the journey, and peace for our souls. FAITH is the muscle that strengthens our spiritual walk and clears the clutter of life to see the glorious “Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven.”

FAITH! Reflect on your faith journey today and if the opportunity presents itself, share it. “Sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees”, maybe the person who needs to hear your faith story is already in your path. FAITH is a powerful gift, may you have the courage to share it as you go.

We Are Overcome!
Blessings on your day,
Pastor Sherri

“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Psalm 32:7-8

NO FEAR

Have you ever been in the woods without a flashlight? I’ll never forget my first year at camp with students on a summer retreat. I had just finished giving the lecture about never walking around camp alone, never leaving the cabin without rain gear, and always have your flashlight. This one night after worship I was busy cleaning up and preparing for the next day and found myself last leaving the worship space. And yes, I left my cabin without a flashlight. It was dark! I mean really dark!!! It didn’t matter how hard I tried to focus my eyes or get them to adjust…nothing…just darkness lay before me. One of the worship leaders came back and saw me struggling and offered me an extra flashlight to get back to my cabin. The minute that light broke through the darkness I could see just enough to put one foot in front of the other.

That’s FAITH! The light cuts through the darkness, giving us just enough light so we can see, to keep moving forward, in one DIRECTION giving us the FOCUS to put one foot in front of the other in FAITH one day at a time! FAITH > Fear

Fear paralyzes us, leaving us stranded in the dark. FAITH gives us the strength and courage to fight, pressing forward, one step at a time following the light and trusting the ONE that guides our journey and will light our path as we go. 

Pressing the RESET on FAITH!
Love and Blessings as you go,
Pastor Sherri
#weareovercome

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

“for we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

IMPERFECTIONS

“The secret of change is to FOCUS all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” Socrates

This week at OVERCOME we have had some incredible conversations in our community group gatherings as we have unpacked RESET FOCUS. This morning I woke up with the visual of the prophet Jeremiah observing the work of the potter with the clay. As the potter worked he pressed, molded, and formed the clay into something new. Where there were cracks in the clay, bumps in the mold, uneven places and imperfections he touched them with his hands to create a masterpiece. That’s what Jesus does when we allow the Fruits of His Spirit to transform us. We welcome Him into our marvelous messes, our shattered pieces and our perfect imperfections. We shift our FOCUS towards forgiveness and love. We FOCUS our efforts on wholeness and healing. We FOCUS on freedom in Christ and a future directed by faith. Sometimes we must allow the breaking, welcome the pressing, and surrender to the process of the Master Potter at work in our lives, trusting He makes all things new.

Where do we need to allow Jesus to restore, redeem, reconcile and renew our lives so we can surrender our perfect imperfections to be touched by the healing hands of Christ and shaped into a new creation? #

We Are Overcome!
Pastor Sherri Juliani

“This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.” Jeremiah 18:1-4

BEAUTY

“In its wondrous biology, the grapevine offers a beautiful and perfect analogy to our own life cycle. Every single component of the plant has a specific function that contributes to the overall development of a perfect and complex entity.” Anatomy of a Grapevine

What a beautiful reminder of the Body of Christ. Jesus tells us to remain in Him, apart from Him we can do nothing. In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul reminds us of the unity and diversity of the Body of Christ. The grapevine is complex, as there are many parts and each part is essential to the overall health and quality of the fruit it produces. The FOCUS on bearing fruit is to make disciples. Pure and simple.

What does being a disciple look like in your life? Are you headed in the DIRECTION of abundant living and freedom in Christ? How will you put into practice the call to GO and make disciples? Where do you need a RESET on FOCUS so that the “Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven” bears fruit in your life?

Study 1 Corinthians 12 this week.

FOCUS

Reflecting on the message this week about the focus that Jesus leaves his disciples through the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20). We have been deceived and distracted by striving to do, when discipleship is simply to BE. To BE focused on Christ. To BE in constant communion with Jesus. To BE so centered on our relationship with Christ that that is the lens we live in, the lens we love through, the lens we reset our direction and focus. When we begin to BE that focused on Jesus we begin to truly BE the overflow of His mighty and Holy Spirit out into the world! #

“The life of discipleship can only be maintained so long as nothing is allowed to come between Christ and ourselves – neither the law, nor personal piety, nor even the world. The disciple always looks only to his master, never to Christ and the law, Christ and religion, Christ and the world. He avoids all such notions like the plague. Only by following Christ alone can he preserve a single eye. His eye rests wholly on the light that comes from Christ, and has no darkness or ambiguity in it. As the eye must be single, clear and pure in order to keep light in the body, as hand and foot can receive light from no other source save the eye, as the foot stumbles and the hand misses its mark when the eye is dim, as the whole body is in darkness when the eye is blind; so the follower of Christ is in the light only so long as he looks simply to Christ and at nothing else in the world. Thus the heart of the disciple must be set upon Christ alone. If the eye sees an object which is not there, the whole body is deceived. If the heart is devoted to the mirage of the world, to the creature instead of the Creator, the disciple is lost.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship, 192-193

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