Confidence in Christ Gives Us the Strength to be Calm in Our Storms.

By Grant Kaul, Senior Pastor

Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. Acts 4:13

Confidence in Christ gives us the strength to be calm in our storms.

Storms can be very unsettling.  If you have ever been caught in a hurricane, torrential thunderstorm, tornado, or snowstorm, you have come face to face with your own limitations.  Case in point:  Jesus sending the disciples to cross the lake of Galilee in the face of an approaching storm while He went on the mountain to pray (Mark 6:45-52).  Jesus prayed.  The disciples panicked.  Sound familiar?

You likely will recall what Jesus taught His terrified men when He walked on the water and approached them in the midst of their wind driven trial, “Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.”  We even know that He astonished them by completely calming the storm.  The storm was necessary to continue to soften their hardened hearts (Mark 6:52) and teach them of His deity, His power, and the peace that comes from His presence.   Jesus knows the outcomes of the storm before it even occurs. 

As slow to learn as the first disciples seemed to be, they did eventually learn the secret to standing strong in the midst of mayhem.  Several years later, some of these same disciples faced a storm of a different nature, one that involved hostility from the Jewish leaders and imprisonment for proclaiming that Jesus is the resurrected Christ (Acts 4:1-22). 

This time things were different, because Peter and John were different.  They had learned how to find strength in the face of a storm by: 

  1. Being “filled with the Holy Spirit”. (v.8)
  2. Trusting fully in the sovereign Lordship of Christ. (vv. 10-12)
  3. “Having been with Jesus”. (v.13)

We, too, face a wide variety of unsettling circumstances and must learn the same lesson.  Confidence in Christ gives us the strength to be calm in our storms.

As we journey together through this pandemic, let us continue to grow in our dependence and delight in Christ who is our salvation, security, and hope.  Let us look not only at our circumstances; but more importantly, let us learn to just be with Jesus, who is the sovereign Lord overall and over all of us.  I invite you to explore our website at www.fellowshipwaco.org and discover how to connect with the ministries, messages, and resources we have to encourage our hearts and build our confidence in Christ.    

Dependence Upon God Assures Us of His Guidance in Life.

By Grant Kaul, Senior Pastor

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Dependence upon God assures us of His guidance in life.

If we are following Jesus, we truly want His leadership in our life.  However, the question we face is, “How does the unseen God direct the lives of His people?”  How can believers in Christ truly have confidence in His divine guidance?

Proverbs 3:5-6 presents to us this timeless principle:  Dependence upon God assures us of His guidance in life.

I have found the following practices to be of great value in seeking to be actively dependent upon God, and I pass it on to you so that you may do the same with others: 

Dependence upon God is

  • Learning to have my way of life daily shaped by the Word of God.  (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
  • Letting go of my will by yielding to God’s will.  (Luke 22:42)
  • Looking to God as I pray during the day.  (Colossians 4:2) 
  • Listening to wise counsel before making big decisions.  (Proverbs 13:10)
  • Living by faith in Christ, as one being filled with His Spirit.  (Ephesians 5:18-21)
  • Leaving the results to God as I move forward by faith.  (1 Cor. 3:6-7)

Though we cannot see God, we can experience His leading as we follow His precepts and are filled with His presence.  He will lead. The question is, are we willing to follow by faith?     

There is Power in the Name of Jesus

By Grant Kaul, Senior Pastor

“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

Ok.  I will admit it.  When we made our appearances at the hospital for the delivery of each of our children, we didn’t have any of the babies’ names picked out.  We just showed up with a list of possibilities.  In fact, when our fourth child was born, it was hours before we settled on a name.  I am not sure what we were thinking; or even if we were thinking. After all, names are pretty important – like they usually last for a long time!

But with the apex of history arriving with the promised coming of Christ, the unveiling of His human name came before the Eternal Son of God entered into humanity.  Even before He was supernaturally conceived in His mother Mary’s womb, God the Father revealed the name by which He was and is to be called.  His name would be above all other names (Phil. 2:9-10).  This would be a name that would speak to His eternal mission even prior to His earthly incarnation.  God precisely named His Son Jesus, which is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua (Yeshua), which means “Yahweh saves” or “God is salvation.” 

Jesus’ human name spoke of His divine mission of rescuing people from the penalty of their sin and securing salvation for those who will believe in Him.  One of the ways God demonstrated to Joseph, and all of the rest of humanity, that Mary’s pregnancy was a divine act, was that He had an angel independently tell both Joseph and his future wife, Mary, that the child’s name was to be Jesus (see Matt. 1:21 and Luke 1:31)

Jesus is not to be just a familiar name, but the continual focus of our faith.  Our relationship with God begins and matures as we grow in knowing the depth of who Jesus is and the life that we have in His name.  There is something about the Messiah’s name that calms our troubled hearts, gives us courage in the face of our fears, and warms our hearts to the greatness of His salvation.  This Christmas let the name of Jesus be on your tongue and rejoice in His presence in your life.  After all, there is power in the name of Jesus for, “There is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).       

Gratitude is the Gift That Keeps on Giving

By Grant Kaul, Senior Pastor

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Gratitude is the gift that keeps on giving.

Have you considered just how great a difference gratitude makes in a person’s life?  The evidence is impressive.  A growing body of research has tied an attitude of gratitude with a number of positive emotional and physical health benefits.  A November 23, 2010 article in The Wall Street Journal summarized the research:

“Adults who frequently feel grateful have more energy, more optimism, more social connections and more happiness than those who do not, according to studies conducted over the past decade. They’re also less likely to be depressed, envious, greedy, or alcoholics. They earn more money, sleep more soundly, exercise more regularly, and have greater resistance to viral infections.”

“Now, researchers are finding that gratitude brings similar benefits in children and adolescents. Studies also show that kids who feel and act grateful tend to be less materialistic, get better grades, set higher goals, complain of fewer headaches and stomach aches, and feel more satisfied with their friends, families, and schools than those who don’t.”

The researchers concluded, “A lot of these findings are things we learned in kindergarten or our grandmothers told us, but now we have scientific evidence to prove them …. The key is not to leave it on the Thanksgiving table.”

Gratitude is the gift that keeps on giving.  As we learn to give thanks in everything, God’s will is accomplished, people are appreciated, God is glorified, and we are blessed in far greater ways than we may have imagined.  Christ is the Author and Perfecter of our faith and gratitude helps us savor His grace in the story of our lives.  His work in us and through us continues as we grow to express gratitude.  The best way to prepare for Thanksgiving is to practice it each day along the way.