An Easter Message for Real Life Today (Episode #15)

In this episode, I'm sharing how the message of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection literally changes EVERY DAY of my life. We are talking about how the implications of what happened that day on the cross over 2000 years ago affect our families, our marriages, our work and every other area of our life today--IF we really believe it.

The Gospel Collecting Podcast: When We Step Down and God Steps In (Interview With Heidi Hickman Episode #10)

The Gospel Collecting Podcast: When We Step Down and God Steps In (Interview With Heidi Hickman Episode #10)

Our guest today, Heidi Hickman, is founder of The Oaks Christian Academy and Jesus follower for 29 years (!). She is sharing her heart on how she is experiencing God in powerful ways from years of saying yes to hard steps of obedience. She also talks about what experiencing God looks like in her daily life, the rhythm of stepping down and allowing God to step in, moving in ways she could have never expected.

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The Gospel Collective Podcast: Where God is Calling Me in 2019 (Season Three Launch!)

Rachel Sweatt Podcast

Hi friends!

I can’t believe we are in our THIRD season of the podcast! It has been one of the greatest joys in my ministry, and I am SO looking forward to all that God has in store for us this year!

On today’s episode, I am talking about where God is calling me in 2019, and it might surprise you! I am sharing my heart about what God has been teaching me— that how God calls us to live is strikingly very different than the culture around us, and our responsibility and privilege to operative in joyful obedience amidst the tension between it all.

I hope you enjoy this episode from my heart to yours! I’d LOVE to hear what God has called you to in 2019! It is so encouraging to hear what He is stirring up in other believers, and pray each other on in this journey!

Grace and peace,

Rachel Sweatt

How to Pray for Anyone: Patience (Part Three)

Welcome back for week three! I am so hopeful that you are enjoying diving into these scriptures, and that you are feeling God breathe some fresh life into your life in every way. This week we are going to be studying what the Bible has to say about PATIENCE, so we can better know how to cultivate this characteristic in our own life AND be better equipped to pray specific things regarding patience anyone in a season of waiting or trying--whether that is someone else in our life or ourselves. 

When I think of patience, I think of all those older women that warned me (jokingly) growing up: Whatever you do, DON'T PRAY FOR PATIENCE! He'll give you plenty of opportunities to practice! And nothing could prepare me for just how true that was! 😆

But, on a serious level, patience may be one of the most revealing traits about us. About our relationship with the Lord. In our reading this week, I was a little bit sucker punched by the connection between idol worship and patience. It seems like a stretch, but when you dig in you'll soon see that when our trust of God to answer our prayers and keep us begins to fail, our lack of patience leaves from for us to put stock in something else. Someone else. Something else to put on the throne that belongs to God. Our impatience reveals our belief (or lack thereof) that God really is who He says He is. Our impatience dethrones our Maker. 

Over and over in the Bible, we see that patience is cultivated, each time we choose to die to our selves at a time. Our timing. Our plans. The only thing that can change our ability to patient in seasons and with our friends, families, and coworkers is digging our feet down deep in the conviction that God's wisdom is what is best for everyone involved. And friends, that is HARD. 

But it is worth it. Why? Because patience is an essential component to our calling (Eph. 4:1-3). We can't do the things of God with the mind of God on a self-absorbed, intrinsicly motivated time table. Things of God are on eternity's calendar. Oh, the things we don't see right now. The hurts and frustrations that block our view of what is just beyond. We have to remember that just as God is working things out for us, He is working things out for the rest of those that love Him. He's transforming them. We cannot expect people and people's plans to be more perfect than we are. We ALL fall short and our patience (or lack thereof) kindly reminds of that OFTEN. Patience partners with gentleness and humility (which we'll study later) to give us the endurance we need to dig down deep and bear with one another. Patience is pivotal for grace.
 

Think about God's grace for YOU in your life, how many times He has given YOU grace. Undeserved. Think about His patience towards you. Long-suffering compassion. This is the model we have for the peace that we are expected to bear when we invite the Spirit to come in and do His thing in our lives. His patience towards us is an example, a blueprint, so we can be patient and pray patience for others. 

We often get caught up in things we are waiting for and it seems like a thousand years. 1 Peter and 2 Peter both describe God's patience as our deliverance. Can you imagine where we would be if God had thrown in the towel on us? Because we literally CANNOT GET IT TOGETHER, 2000 YEARS LATER? Thank God He said we were worth the wait that day in the garden when humanity chose idolatry in the garden over intimacy with God.

Patience is more than just keeping your cool or waiting until something changes. Patience is gratitude for God not giving up on us revealed in the way we treat our circumstances, our relationships, and our prayers for others. 
 

Take a moment and pray before you dive into these verses. Ask God to make the reality of His love for you real. Ask God to put someone on your heart that needs to be encouraged to be patient because God said they too were worth waiting for. 

PATIENCE
Luke 8:15
Hosea 14:8
Ephesians 4:1-3
1 Timothy 1:16
1 Peter 3:20
2 Peter 3:15

What does patience look like in your life right now? How could you pray patience for someone in your life? Leave us an example of one of your prayers using any of the scripture above in the comments lifting up an (unnamed) person in your life so we can learn from real life examples as well as seek the Lord on your behalf as well for each person. Every willing person here makes an eternal difference! 

How to pray for patience

The Gospel Collective Podcast: Trusting God When You Don't Understand with Bethany Douglas (Episode 02)

Our guest on the podcast today is author, speaker, mother, and retired flight nurse, Bethany Douglas. She is sharing how her experiences with God led her answer the question: do you REALLY believe Jesus is good? Her story of is one of God leading her to own her faith and say yes to trusting God even when it didn't make sense in pursuit of peace. 

Listen to our conversation below or find us in iTunes and subscribe to get the latest episodes straight to your phone! 

Bethany Douglas

Mentioned Links: 
Camp Barnabas
Bethany Douglas
Get Bethany's book here: Helicopter Mom

How To Pray for Anyone: Peace (Part Two)

Welcome to week TWO of our study! I am so prayerful and expectant that God will continue to shed light on the things we are seeking, and will use His Word in our lives in powerful ways. Like last week, I will share the Scriptures for you to seek out on your own. Take notes of what verses stand out to you, who and what comes to mind as you read them. Journal your insights. Finally, pray those specific Scriptures over those people that God stirred your heart about. Think about your family, friends, co-workers, and community. Be intentional about praying peace through the lens of scripture. Write down your prayers with the Holy anticipation you will be back to record the date and ways they were answered. Praying these specific things regarding peace for people could CHANGE LIVES. Legacies. (Don't forget you don't have to get through this all in one day! Take your time. Steep in the scriptures. You have the WHOLE week to meditate on what God has to say about this.) 

Take a few moments before you begin your study today (or each day!) and still your heart and steady you mind. Ask God to make you sensitive to the stirrings of His Spirit and free of distraction. I am praying that as we dive into PEACE today, we all experience HIM in a new way in our lives. I am praying that as week study what God has to say about this ONE thing that we all seem to be chasing, our pursuit of peace leads us to a renewed perspective of who He is and what He longs for us to experience while we each run our race for His glory. 

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." 
Galatians 5:22-23

Just as pain and suffering unites people across the world, similarly we are all in pursuit of peace. We long for peace in our world, our workplaces. and our homes. The drivenness of our culture pushes out the margin we could have had for stillness, and the consequence of sin continually wreaks havoc on the steadiness our souls long for. Peace has been an exile since Eden. Forced out of our lives by the choices we often make, and some that are seemingly made for us. What does the Bible have to say about peace? What would it look like if we began powerfully petitioning that God BRINGS IT BACK into our lives and the lives of those we love. The Bible is clear that God does not withhold peace, sin prevents it from having its rightful place in our lives. 

PEACE
Numbers 6:24-26
Psalm 85:8
Isaiah 26:3
John 14: 27
Romans 5:1
1 Corinthians 7:15
1 Corinthians 14:33
Philippians 4:7
Colossians 1:19-20
Colossians 3:15
Hebrews 12:14
Hebrews 12:11
James 3:18
1 Peter 3:11

Number 6:24-26 says that peace is a blessing from God Himself. He longs to give it to us. Peace is an effect of experiencing God in our lives. Peace is a result of seeing God in our lives, seeing who He really is--a friend. A steady, loyal friend who never changes, is never surprised or swayed. Just like Moses experienced Him face to face, when we pray for someone to have peace in their lives, we are praying for them to experience God in their lives, face to face. 

One thing I noticed over and over in these scriptures is that His peace is always a benefit of being in HIS will. The peace of God is motivation to stay in His will and His wisdom. Just like a parent, He knows what is best for us because He wants the best for us. I don't know about you, but just to have some peace in my life is well worth committing to doing my very best to following His advice on how to live to an abundance of it. If I don't have peace--it is not because God hasn't given it. His word promises that He keeps us in PERFECT peace. If we follow it. If I don't have peace in my life, it is because I am not TRUSTING Him, I am not trusting that He really knows what it best for me.

At the end of the day, as believers, peace should be our nature--NOT chaos. However, it does not happen in our lives naturally. Peace is sown. A life of peace is intentional, made choice by choice.  It does not matter if we don't feel like making peace at the moment or pursuing it -- we are CALLED to it. When we resist peace, we are potentially hindering others from experiencing God. We cannot be who we are made to be and do what we are made to do if we are resisting the pursuit of peace, because that means we are resistant to His will for us. If we are not doing everything to cultivate peace in our lives and our relationships, we are choosing a life that is not made for us. It's not enough to just look for peace here and there when troubles come our way. 

A pursuit of peace means we've got to run after it like our lives depend on it. Because at the end of the day, they do. There is far too much at stake to live this life without a steady anchor to keep us from going off the deep end. The water around us may be unsettled but we cannot afford to be. 

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION:
Do you find that it is easy or difficult to pursue peace in your own life? What verses stood out to you? What did God reveal to you about peace in your own life? How can you pray one (or more) of these verses over people in your life? Share you thoughts in the comment section, we are all in this together! It is SO important that we talk about what we are seeing God do and hearing God say. I can't wait to hear from you! 

Grace and Peace, 
Rachel

how to pray for peace

The Gospel Collective Podcast: Episode One with Shawn Freeby

Podcast guest Shawn Freeby shares his perspective on joy and why that is important continually cultivate a lifestyle of gratitude in our families, our workplaces, and in our faith. 

Listen below or check it out on iTunes and subscribe to get weekly podcast episodes straight to your podcast library. 

Finding Joy

Questions for reflection:

How you cultivate joy in your life? What are some ways you personally create a lifestyle of gratitude in your family, workplace, or hard circumstances? Have you ever prayed for God to cultivate joy in someone's life? What was the result? Let us know your answers in the comment section, we read every comment and can't wait to hear from you!