TOP TEN BLOGS

Over the past three months, we have posted 45 new blogs. It’s a bit overwhelming to know that those posts have received 14,225 views and 12,238 audio downloads. We have also enjoyed hearing encouraging feedback from many of you in person and through messages on social media. We’ve already started creating new content for next month that we look forward to sharing with you. 

Here are the TOP 10 POSTS from the last three months based on your views.

  1. The Church Is Not Walmart
  2. 5 Lies I Hear as a Pastor
  3. God Told Me To Get Divorced
  4. Broken | The Example of Ruth
  5. Blessing and Cursing 
  6. Are You a Fraud Like Me?
  7. The 7 Deadly Sins 
  8. You Can Choose Joy
  9. Losing My Dad
  10. Dealing with Conflict

Looking back over the past three months, we see that your decision to share a post drastically improves the reach of the message. Would you consider being intentional about sharing the blogs as we continue in 2020? You could get started by clicking on any of the titles above and reposting one of the Top Ten now.

Thanks again for reading, listening, and sharing! We appreciate your support, and we look forward to sharing more with you in March. And don’t forget to subscribe now to never miss a post.

Afterthoughts | February 23, 2020

February 23, 2020

Listen now…

Morning Message: “SUPERNATURAL | What Jesus Can Do”

On Sunday afternoons at the Cutchins’ home, we usually have some early afternoon coffee, and find ourselves discussing the morning message. “AFTERTHOUGHTS is our way of sharing the conversation and discussion with you. In each post, we will ask five questions to spark discussion over a cup of coffee. 

DISCUSSION STARTER QUESTIONS

  • What stood out to you?
  • What did you think needs more discussion?
  • What were your biggest takeaways?
  • What did you find most challenging?
  • Why did you think this message was important?

Missing God? Try Missing a Meal!



Have you ever missed a meal for spiritual reasons?

“Fasting is the deliberate abstinence from some form of physical gratification, for a period of time, in order to achieve a greater spiritual goal.” – Dr. Tony Evans

Screen Shot 2020-02-19 at 11.02.10 PMIf you are like me, I don’t like missing meals for any reason! However, some of us are living with spiritual handcuffs on; trying to serve and follow God when we can’t even raise our hands because we are handcuffed. Each time we walk out of church, we walk right back into the bondage and the sin that has us in handcuffs.

Satan knows that when we wake up in the morning, all he has to do is bring that one immoral thought into our minds, and he has us. But when we fast, God says He will break the chains of addictions and problems. Chains that we can’t break ourselves and that no one else can break for us begin to fall away because of God’s supernatural power. God says if we haven’t fasted yet, we haven’t been to the right program.

God is the program.

Whatever you are dealing with today, God is the solution, not the problem.

How do you feel when you think about not eating? According to Isaiah 58:4, the purpose of fasting is “to make your voice heard on high.” When we fast with the proper motivation, our voice is heard in heaven. We enter God’s presence, uniquely and powerfully.

Fasting is always “when” not “if” in the Bible. Jesus did not say, “If you fast.” He stated to His disciples, “When you fast.” He left no doubt that His disciples would miss a meal from time to time for spiritual reasons. Fasting is a tangible way of demonstrating to God that we are setting aside our own desires and physical needs to focus on spiritual matters.


THREE TYPES OF FASTING

1. ABSOLUTE FAST | Abstaining from all food as well as water

intermittent-fastingAn absolute fast usually is no longer than three days. For example, Luke records that Saul “neither ate nor drank” (Acts 9:9) for three days. The body cannot naturally survive much longer than three days without water. However, there are also supernatural absolute fasts with very long durations. For two separate periods of forty days and forty nights, Moses neither ate nor drank. Moses experienced a supernatural absolute fast without food or water that lasted eighty days.

2. NORMAL FAST | Abstaining from all food but not from water

Jesus fasted for forty days before facing the devil (Matthew 4:1-11). This was a normal fast where Jesus abstained from all food but not from water. It says that Jesus “after fasting … was hungry” (Matt. 4:2) but not thirsty. The Bible records that “He ate nothing” but not that He drank nothing (Luke 4:2).

3. PARTIAL FAST | Abstaining from a specific food or item

During his early days in Georgia, John Wesley adopted a “bread diet,” that is, he lived exclusively on dry bread. Others have partially fasted by omitting a particular meal each day, which strictly limits the quantity of food consumed.

In two separate seasons of my life, I completed a 40-day partial fast. During those times, I removed all solid food  from my diet, focused on prayer, and was able to hear more clearly from God. A partial fast has real value, especially when circumstances make it impossible or inconvenient to undertake a normal fast. A partial fast may serve as a step toward a normal fast.

“In those days, I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks” (Daniel 10:2-3).


WHY SHOULD WE FAST?

Screen Shot 2020-02-19 at 11.03.40 PMSince about 1937, airplanes have been pressurized so they can fly above the clouds. Before then, planes had to fly low so they could stay in the atmosphere. As soon as you start fasting and praying, Satan and his demons are going to line up at the cloud level. And they are going to try to keep you below the clouds, so you don’t fly high and reach the heights God has for you. Fasting and praying give you the power to break through the clouds. So don’t let Satan  keep you on the ground. It is time to fly.

Some issues can only be resolved by prayer and fasting. For example, Jesus’ disciples attempted to heal a boy, and they failed. After his disciples tried and failed, Jesus himself healed the boy. The disciples later asked Jesus privately why they had failed. His answer was that it could not happen “except by prayer and fasting” (Matt. 17:21).

Fasting channels power.

Where in your life are you trying and failing because you don’t have the power of God? If every Christian fasted, the results would change our lives for the better and shake our culture. If you are missing the power of God in your life, try missing a meal.


FOOD CONNECTS

Would you like a simple way to improve your life?

Take a break!

There once was a young lumberjack who had become quite proud of his speed at cutting down trees. He got to the point that he felt he was ready to challenge an older lumberjack, who was also known for his ability, to a tree-cutting contest. 

Screen Shot 2020-02-09 at 2.40.49 PMSo they began chopping. The younger man went at it with all his vigor. He chopped down one tree after another without stopping the whole day. He thought things looked pretty good for him because he noticed that the older lumberjack took about a fifteen-minute break every hour. He would sit down, eat a snack, and talk with his friends. 

But at the end of the day, the older lumberjack had chopped down one-third more trees than the younger man. Somewhat miffed and puzzled, the younger man went to the old master of forestry and asked, “How in the world could you cut down more trees than me taking a fifteen-minute break every hour?” The wise older lumberjack looked at him and said, “Because when I stopped cutting, I took time to sharpen my ax.”

A lot of us chop away all the time, and then wonder why the trees aren’t falling. We look at other people who don’t seem to be working half as hard as we are, yet they seem to be making a lot more progress. Maybe the difference is they have taken time to sharpen their ax. We all need to take a break. We all need to take time to sit down, have a meal, and connect with people.


Food connects. 

bigstock-141658667-800x526Did you know that the word “companion” comes from the Latin “cum” (“together”) and “panis” (“bread”)? Companionship literally means coming together for bread. Companionship is a big part of sharing a meal. Someone we share food with is more likely to be our friend, or at least on the way to becoming one. Food connects us with family, turns strangers into friends, and connects us with people around the world. 

Robert Putman reveals that there’s been a 33 percent decrease in families eating together over the last three decades. And more than half of those families are watching television as they eat. Over the same period of time, there’s been a 45 percent decline in people entertaining friends in their homes. You are what you eat, people say. Tim Chester says that we express who we want to be through food. When things go wrong, food becomes a place of comfort. Food is so much more than fuel. 

Food connects. 

Our life at the table can help us encounter the mystery of God and His desire to know us. Jesus was serious about eating and drinking. His enemies even accused him of being a glutton. “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at Him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!'” (Luke 7:34).

Screen Shot 2020-02-09 at 2.49.25 PMThe problem here is not that heaven will be a party. The Pharisees knew God’s kingdom was going to be a party. Their objection is with the guest list. Tax collectors were social outcasts who commonly used their position to cheat people. Robert Karris notes, “In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus is either going to a meal, at a meal or coming from a meal.” The meals of Jesus represent a new outlook on grace, community, and missions. 

Food connects. 

Even when Jesus is not eating, references to food abound throughout the Gospel. In Luke 14, Jesus tells a parable of a great banquet. In Luke 15, Jesus tells the parable of the prodigal son, which ends with a party. In Luke 16, he contrasts a rich man “who feasted sumptuously every day” with a beggar “who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table.” 

In chapter 8 of his Gospel, Luke tells about a woman who provided food for Jesus. In Luke 22, Jesus tells His disciples: “I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom.” Meals are used to describe salvation and judgment. Even people are described in terms of good food and bad food.


06052018-GraceGodsUnmeritedFavor-DrAdrianNaidooThe meals of Jesus represent a new outlook of grace. The meals of Jesus show us His message of grace and the way it defines His community and its mission. After being questioned about who He spent time eating with, this is how Jesus explains Himself: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31–32). 

Would you like a simple way to improve your life?

Take a break!

Take time to sit down, have a meal, and connect with someone. 

 

Talk Less! Pray More!

What happens when you pray?

GettyImages-170636630-5a076b6de258f80037f48d72Dr. Tony Evans gives a powerful illustration of prayer. He talks about all the things in your house that will only work because of electricity. Electricity is an invisible power that gives you visible privileges. It turns the lights on, turns the TV on, turns the toaster on, and turns the oven on. All that stuff is working in your house because you’ve got one invisible power shooting through there called electricity.

But none of those things work even though they have access to electricity until you flip on a switch. It is not enough just to plug something in; you have to flip the switch. You’ve got to make a connection and flip the switch before the stuff that’s there works. Every believer in Jesus Christ has stuff that works. But that stuff won’t work without flipping the switch of prayer. 

Talk less and pray more.

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In his book, Why Revival TarriesLeonard Ravenhill said, “A sinning man will stop praying, and a praying man will stop sinning.” Here are two more powerful thoughts from Ravenhill.

“No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying. The pulpit can be a shop window to display one’s talents; the prayer closet allows no showing off.”

“The two prerequisites to successful Christian living are vision and passion, both of which are born in and maintained by prayer. The ministry of preaching is open to few; the ministry of prayer—the highest ministry of all human offices—is open to all.” 

Talk less and pray more.

Now, this is not meant to say that we should not talk at all, just that we should talk less and pray more. He who kneels before God will stand in any situation. There is a big difference between information and inspiration. Talking leads to being informed. Prayer, real prayer, leads to being inspired. Leonard Ravenhill suggested that “Prayer is to the believer what capital is to the businessman.”

E. M. BOUNDS — “Our praying, however, needs to be pressed and pursued with an energy that never tires, a persistency which will not be denied, and a courage which never fails.”

imagesWe should talk less and pray more because prayer cleans you up when you are dirty. Now you may be reading this, and you think you are squeaky clean. YOU ARE NOT. “There is none righteous, not even one” (Rom. 3:10). “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves” (1 John 1:8). “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (James 5:16). You don’t have to be Catholic to confess. Confession is a part of everyday Christian life and a part of prayer! I remember growing up in the Baptist church and thinking that confession was just for Catholics. The Bible does not command us to confess to a priest, but we are to confess.

We should talk less and pray more because prayer provides power when there is weakness. God is the ultimate source of comfort. Paul describes Him as the “Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction” (2 Cor. 1:3–4). Peter wrote about, “casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:7). From the stomach of a great fish, the disobedient prophet, Jonah prayed, “While I was fainting away, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to You, into Your holy temple” (Jonah 2:7).

depresionWe should talk less and pray more because prayer gives life when things are dying. Jesus did not die on the cross for people to go to church for one hour a week. We need to get saved from that kind of thinking. Unfortunately, the younger generations may never have seen the powerful move of the Holy Spirit. I want my kids to pray. I want to leave a legacy of the Holy Spirit. You don’t have to know where you are going, just who you are going with. The way God works, you have to stay slightly disorganized at all times. Some hard problems are only solved by hard prayer. When people pray, things happen. Don’t give up. Do you hear me? Don’t give up. God does not leave you high and dry when you pray.

Talk less and pray more.


Would you like a simple way to pray? Think of the acronym BLESS to remember five healthy ways to pray. I have attached a guide to encourage you to and pray five blessings for five people for five minutes a day for five days a week for five weeks.

Talk less and pray more.

Screen Shot 2020-02-04 at 5.17.46 AM

Pick Up Your Bible

WRITTEN BY: Wendy Cutchins

bible-1850859_1280Just as you need air to breathe and food to eat, you need the Word of God to sustain you. In 2 Timothy, we are assured that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God,” so as you study the scriptures, God gives you all the information you need to follow His plan for your life. It is our instruction manual, our road map, our survival guide, so pick up your Bible!

All over the world, children who are dealing with life and death situations are sent to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This can be a scary experience for those little ones, but one of the special programs there is the mailroom.

For many of the children, this is a bright moment in a dark time. In all the chaos and pain that comes with fighting for their lives, they visit the mailroom each day to receive letters and cards that people send. 

letters-565554_1280Letters of encouragement to keep going even when times get tough. Letters of hope that stress not to give up. Letters of rejoicing in the victories, big or small. Letters of love, so the children know they haven’t been forgotten by the ones who love them. I love that St. Jude has this program because I believe it has a significant impact on those dealing with more than many of us will deal with in our entire lifetimes.

You have a mailroom, too! The Bible is your mailroom. It is filled with letters of encouragement to let you know that you’re not alone when dealing with tough times. It contains letters of hope encouraging you not to give up. It includes powerful letters with messages of the strength and wisdom you can gain from a strong relationship with God.

Most importantly, it contains letters of endless love, grace, and mercy. It’s designed to lead you through the tough times and rejoice with you in the victories, big and small. Without it, we as Christians would be missing a significant tool in the mission of accomplishing God’s will for our lives, so pick up your Bible!

pexels-photo-810036Just like those precious kids at St. Jude in need of life-saving treatments, we are all in need of life-saving assistance from our Heavenly Father. Immersing ourselves in His Word is essential to our survival and how we thrive through all that we experience. In Ephesians 6:17, it says for us to “take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God.” In Hebrews 4:12, Paul tells us that “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword.”

If you were going into battle, would you want to go in empty-handed? No! Of course not! You would want protection and a way to fight back. Salvation saves us from eternal death, and the sword of the spirit is our defense, so pick up your Bible! 

This is as much a call to action for me as it is for you. Reading and studying your Bible should be a regular habit. Pray that God reveals Himself and His plan for your life as you pick up your Bible and spend time with Him. We are as close to Him as we want to be. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” James 4:8

Afterthoughts | February 2, 2020

February 2, 2020

Listen now…

Morning Message: “SUPERNATURAL | The Resurrection of Lazarus”

On Sunday afternoons at the Cutchins’ home, we usually have some early afternoon coffee, and find ourselves discussing the morning message. “AFTERTHOUGHTS is our way of sharing the conversation and discussion with you. In each post, we will ask five questions to spark discussion over a cup of coffee. 

DISCUSSION STARTER QUESTIONS

  • What stood out to you?
  • What did you think needs more discussion?
  • What were your biggest takeaways?
  • What did you find most challenging?
  • Why did you think this message was important?

Goodbye January – Top 3 List

THANK YOU!

In January, we posted 18 new blogs, and the response surprised us for several reasons. First, January’s views increased by 42% over December. Second, the #1 post for January had 162% more views than the #1 post from the previous month. Last, our number of followers increased by 87%.  

Here are the TOP 3 POSTS of January based on your views.

top-3

  1. The Church Is Not Walmart
  2. God Told Me To Get Divorced
  3. Are You a Fraud Like Me?

Wendy and I are committed to continuing blogging throughout 2020 and would like to ask for your help. Looking back over the past month, we see that your decision to share a post drastically improves the reach of the message. Would you consider being intentional about sharing the blogs as we continue in 2020? You could get started by clicking on any of the titles above and reposting one of the top 3 now.

Thanks again for reading, listening, and sharing! We appreciate your support, and we look forward to sharing more with you in the month of February. And don’t forget to subscribe now to never miss a post.

The 7 Deadly Sins

Have you have heard this phrase? “The Seven Deadly Sins.” Let me share with you that there is nowhere in the Bible that specifically lists Seven Deadly Sins.

Screen Shot 2020-02-01 at 6.23.14 AM 2This list was developed by the early church. All of these seven deadly sins are described in the Bible as sins in both the New Testament and Old Testaments.

So, we go into this knowing that these “Deadly Sins” are simple sins that are getting in the way of our relationship with God and our growth as Christians. The most common sins are not new. 

Let me ask you a question. If there is something in your life that is not pleasing to God, do you want to know? Let’s not be too comfortable with these seven sins. God is gracious toward sinners, but He is always angry towards sin. And we should be the same way.   


1. The sin of PRIDE

Screen Shot 2020-02-01 at 6.00.28 AMPride is improper and excessive self-esteem shown as conceit or arrogance. It is thinking you are really good and taking pleasure in thinking about how good you are.

Pride is sin, and God hates it. It is a hindrance to knowing God because it makes you hard-headed.

Nowhere in the Bible is pride spoken well of or endorsed. Confidence is good, but pride is bad. Pride and God do not mix! They are like oil and water!

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18

How are you doing in this area? Are you proud? Are you prideful? You may want to invite a trusted friend to give you an honest answer to these questions. Sometimes others see us better than we see ourselves.


2. The sin of GLUTTONY

Screen Shot 2020-02-01 at 6.01.04 AMNow this one rings my bell. Gluttony is defined as excessive eating or drinking. I love to eat, and I am not the only one. Most of us eat much more than we need. And some of us are addicted to food.

“Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat.” Proverbs 23:20

The idea is eating or drinking too much is not healthy. A triple cheeseburger is a good picture of gluttony.

Our society celebrates gluttony, and if we are not careful, we will too. So, how are you doing in this area?


3. The sin of GREED

Screen Shot 2020-02-01 at 6.01.23 AMFrank Buchman said this: “There is enough in the world for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.” Greed is a selfish and excessive desire for more than is needed. We all want more stuff.

“Whoever is greedy for unjust gain troubles his own household.” Proverbs 15:27

Ecclesiastes also says; “He who loves money will never be satisfied with money.”  Jesus taught the disciples not to worry about “stuff.” Instead, we are to seek first the kingdom of God and to store up treasures in heaven. How much time do we spend thinking about stuff we want to get rather than stuff God wants us to give?


4. The sin of SLOTH

Screen Shot 2020-02-01 at 6.01.36 AMWhen I hear the word sloth, I think of laziness. But sloth is apathy. It is not caring. It is laziness, joylessness, and mediocrity.

Sloth is wasting what you have been given due to unwillingness to engage in what is going on around you. Somebody needs to hear this today. Being lazy does not honor God.

“The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor.” Proverbs 21:25

Having a bad attitude does not honor God. Doing just enough to get by at work or school does not honor God. Are you lazy? Are you slothful?


5. The sin of LUST

Screen Shot 2020-02-01 at 6.01.49 AMLust is a sin that is celebrated in our society. What I want to emphasize today is: BE FAITHFUL. Let me repeat it. BE FAITHFUL.

And not just physically.

I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28

This warning is for men and women both married and unmarried. The way we see other people is important. We should see them from God’s perspective and be careful with our eyes. BE FAITHFUL. How are you doing in this area?


6. The sin of WRATH

Screen Shot 2020-02-01 at 6.01.59 AMAre you a hot-head? Do you ever lose it? Wrath is a fit of strong vengeful anger. There is nothing like the wrath you see in kids. I guess we all look a little ridiculous when we get angry.

“A man of quick temper acts foolishly, and a man of evil devices is hated.” Proverbs 14:17

Nobody likes a hothead. How are you doing in this area?


7. The sin of ENVY

Screen Shot 2020-02-01 at 6.43.07 AMEnvy is another nasty one. There is an important difference between jealousy and envy. Jealousy says, “I want what you have.” Envy says, “If I can’t have it, I don’t want you to have it either!”

“Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?” Proverbs 27:4

The Bible has a lot to say about our struggles with these seven sins. Know that God wants to work these things out of your life because He loves you. He knows that these things are not healthy for you, even if they seem right.