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    Immediate and Exact


    Imagine living in a desert where it never rains, then being told to build a boat big enough for your entire family and two of every animal to fit on.

    One word: insane.

    At least that’s what Noah’s neighbors thought as they watched him construct the ark.

    Noah thought of a different word: obey.

    “So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.”

    Genesis 6:22 NLT

    There are no questions, doubts, or excuses from Noah recorded in Genesis, just immediate and exact obedience.

    What can God do through that level of faith and obedience? Oh you know, judge sinful mankind while simultaneously saving the human race. No big deal.

    If God can use our faith and obedience in such massive ways, what prevents us from obeying immediately and exactly?

    • It costs a lot.
    • It’s scary.
    • We don’t understand.
    • It may hurt.
    • We doubt our ability.

    The list could go on and on. What we need to understand is that God is honored by our obedience and will use it for bigger purposes than we can currently comprehend. All of those excuses may be true: building the ark cost Noah a lot, it had to be scary, he didn’t fully understand the scope of the project, it hurt at times, and I’m sure insecurities and doubts arose. But Noah pushed through all of them.

    Just because we have excuses doesn’t mean we have to use them.

    Choose today to trust God enough to follow through immediately and exactly. The risk is worth the reward.

     

    K E V I N • M I L L E R


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    Dot Dot Dot


    “Ellipsis”  is the technical grammatical term for what we call “dot dot dot” (you’re welcome for the unsolicited grammar lesson). Although I’ve been known to regularly misuse the ellipsis, the proper way to use it is when omitting words or phrases from a quotation. The point of the ellipsis is to highlight that although the words you’re reading communicate the main idea, they’re not the full story.

    We live in the dot dot dot of the New Testament world. In Matthew 16, Jesus said He’d build His church and in Revelation 21, we see He built the church. But what about life in the middle?

    What keeps the church moving forward in the middle is how we relate to each other. The secret is not buildings or budgets or events. Those are impactful and important, but they are not the answer by themselves. I believe the answer lies in a few small verses in a letter Paul wrote from a Roman prison:

    “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

    Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV

    If we can’t be humble, gentle, and patient with each other, we are not a community, we are a crowd. Anyone can gather a crowd and keep them happy for a little while. Wherever you live, whichever church you’re part of, and whoever you are in relationship with, always choose community over crowd!

     

    K E V I N • M I L L E R


    There’s more where that came from! Click below to watch the entire message called “Dot Dot Dot” from our series, Prevail.

    Make sure forward this to a friend who could use some encouragement!

    Access the whole series as well as hundreds of other messages from Awaken Church at awaken.church/teachings.

     

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    Spare Me the Details


    “What they don’t know won’t hurt them.” That’s a tempting excuse to use when you don’t want to tell someone the truth. However, from God’s perspective on us, it’s a healthy thing. There’s a lot we don’t know that would hurt us if we did. God, in His grace, is withholding the information from us. Here’s a reminder from Moses:

    “The Lord our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions.”

    Deuteronomy 29:29 NLT

    We often think we want God to tell us the details of the future, but if He did, they would paralyze us. The weight would be too much. That’s why He is God and we are not. He holds the secrets, the future, and all the details, and dishes them out to us at the appropriate time and in the appropriate quantity.

    Maybe your prayers are regularly filled with questions about the future or things God hasn’t told you yet. Today, thank God for the lack of information! Thank God that He is eternal and sovereign, and ask Him to help you listen when He speaks. Then trust Him with the details.

    Like Moses reminded Israel in the verse above, we are accountable for what has been revealed. Be faithful with those details and thankful for the details God has spared us.

     

    K E V I N • M I L L E R


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    You Are What You… Worship


    “You are what you eat.” You’ve heard it, and I’m sure you understand the sentiment. Similarly, like what we eat impacts our physical health, who or what we worship impacts our spiritual health.

    Israel is proof of this truth:

    “…They worshiped worthless idols, so they became worthless themselves. They followed the example of the nations around them, disobeying the Lord’s command not to imitate them.”
    ‭‭2 Kings‬ ‭17:15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

    Did you catch that? Since what they worshiped was worthless, they became worthless. Wow. That’s heavy. We could spend a long time talking through the attributes we take on when we worship people, leaders, money, status, etc., but I think our time is better spent on the positive.

    Since we become like who we worship, if we are worshiping God, we should be consistently becoming more like Him. We are not God, but our lives should continue to look more and more like Him.

    Since God is love, we should be loving.

    Since Jesus was a friend of sinners, we should be friendly, especially to those in the world.

    Since God is gracious and quick to forgive, bitterness and anger have no place in our hearts.

    Since Jesus is the truth, we should be filled with truth and speaking truth into others’ lives.

    If our worship of God isn’t making us more like God, we’re missing it entirely.

     

    K E V I N • M I L L E R


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    You do you.


    Lois ___________.

    Memory ___________.

    The fast ___________.

    Lovers’ ___________.

    Stay in your ___________.

    If you filled in each blank with “lane,” you win. Good work.

    Now let’s talk about the last one: Stay in your lane.

    If you ever wanted to know what happens at a pastors conference, Acts 20 is the podcast from Ephesian Pastors Conference. Here’s a sound bite from Pastor Paul for you to enjoy…

    “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

    Acts 20:24 ESV

    At the end of my ministry, I want to be able to say what Paul said, “I ran my race. I finished my ministry.” I will not be held accountable for running your race or completing your ministry and you won’t be held accountable for mine. God has wired you to fulfill a specific ministry in a specific way. Be faithful with it.

    Stay in your lane.

    Run your race.

    Fulfill your ministry.

    At the end of life, if you can say you did those things, no matter how big or small “your ministry” may have seemed, you will know you were successful.

     

    K E V I N • M I L L E R


    There’s more where that came from! Click below to watch the entire message called “Full Sail Ahead” from our series, Prevail.

    Make sure forward this to a friend who could use some encouragement!

    Access the whole series as well as hundreds of other messages from Awaken Church at awaken.church/teachings.

    Sign up HERE to receive these blog posts right in your inbox!





    Better Than Gold


    Ocean’s 8 came out this weekend, another movie in the line of Oceans heist films. In it, a team of eight women attempt the biggest heist of their lives, a necklace worth $150 million! That’s impressive and all, but the Bible claims to have something of even greater value…

    “for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.”

    Proverbs 8:11 ESV

    “How much better to get wisdom than gold!…”

    Proverbs 16:16 ESV

    If wisdom is better than jewels and gold, and the Bible is the source of wisdom, what does that say about the Bible?

    During the month of July, Awaken Church will begin a daily journey through the book of Proverbs, and you’re invited! We will be reading one Proverb each day, which will be accompanied by a short, daily email devotional that I’ve written. Each Sunday during the month, we will be studying the Proverb of the day as a church as we hear from some very special guests!

    You will not want to miss this journey through Proverbs that we are calling Better Than Gold.

    You can sign up for the Better Than Gold email list here to receive daily emails about Proverbs throughout the month of July. These Awakened emails will resume August 1.

    This will be a powerful month of journeying through God’s Word together and I really hope you’ll join us!

     

    K E V I N • M I L L E R


    Feel free to  to pass this on to someone who could use some encouragement!

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    “But What About…?”


    Life is full of unanswerable questions and things we don’t understand. Questions about relationships, parenting, finances, temptation, tragedy and so many other things can fill our minds and consume our thoughts. The good news about this is that the Bible reminds us that we are not alone and that there is an answer.

    In Psalm 73, David wrote about his own struggle with consuming thoughts and questions:

    “So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper. But what a difficult task it is!”

    Psalm 73:16 NLT

    If you read the earlier verses in Psalm 73, you’ll catch an even bigger glimpse at David’s struggle. It’s a common issue for many of us as we try to follow God by faith. “Why is the life of faith so challenging, while life without faith often appears so carefree and fun?”

    Questions like that and many others may flood your mind, but thousands of years later, the answer is still found in the same place David found it:

    “Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.”

    Psalms 73:17 NLT

    The best answer for any question is always found by talking to God. Plain and simple. Sometimes there will be clear, direct answers, and other times there will be no answers, but plenty of comfort. Either way, if you will prioritize time with God and time with God’s people, God will give you abundant hope, even in the darkest seasons.

     

    K E V I N • M I L L E R


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    Red Light! Green Light!


    If you’ve ever played Red Light / Green Light, you know the stop and go suspense of the game. If you’re a follower of Jesus, you also know that following Jesus can feel the same way: stop, go, stop, go. It can be frustrating – unless you have the right perspective.

    The faith that Paul and his ministry team exhibit in Acts 16 is so inspiring to me. Paul got the green light from God in Acts 13 when the Holy Spirit selected and sent him to preach. However, he got the red light in Acts 16 when God stopped him from doing the thing He sent him out to do!

    Twice in Acts 16, God forbids Paul and his team to continue doing ministry in Asia Minor (see Acts 16:6-7). As they pray and seek God’s direction, Paul has a dream which leads them to launch out across the Aegean Sea to the region of Macedonia.

    Here’s where I’m going with this…

    While Paul was focused on reaching new cities, God was thinking much bigger. God wanted to reach a new continent! A no from God is always a yes to something better. He doesn’t tell us “no” to distract us or discourage us, but to direct us.

    When following Jesus feels like red light / green light, learn to trust that God sees the big picture, and His “no” is aimed at directing us to where we will make the greatest impact!

    If you’re in a “no season,” that’s great news! Something better is ahead!

     

    K E V I N • M I L L E R


    There’s more where that came from! Click below to watch the entire message called “Red Light/Green Light” from our series, Prevail.

    Make sure forward this to a friend who could use some encouragement!

    Access the whole series as well as hundreds of other messages from Awaken Church at awaken.church/teachings.

    Sign up HERE to receive these blog posts right in your inbox!

     





    King For A Day


    Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be king? Even if you only wore the royal crown for a day, imagine the power your words and wishes would hold!

    Kings in the Bible days were in absolute power. Unwavering loyalty and obedience were expected. Sometimes the kings were brutal too. In fact, when a new king took the throne, it was expected that he would have all the remaining family members of the previous king executed. Anyone who could threaten his power or undermine his authority would often be annihilated immediately.

    In a day where execution was expected, a new king took the throne, King David. It was probably no surprise one day when David asked, “Is anyone in Saul’s family still alive…?” (2 Samuel 9:1) Surely David would swiftly do away with anyone from Saul’s family, especially since Saul had spent the last decade of his reign trying to kill David. It would only make sense. But David was introducing a new, merciful way of ruling. He would wield his power in an all new way.

    “One day David asked, ‘Is anyone in Saul’s family still alive—anyone to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?’”

    2 Samuel 9:1 NLT

    In a day when swift, severe action was assumed and even expected, David did the opposite. He used his power and influence to be a blessing, not a bully. In fact, just a few verses later, we read:

    “And Mephibosheth, who was crippled in both feet, lived in Jerusalem and ate regularly at the king’s table.”

    2 Samuel 9:13 NLT

    What would you do if you were king for a day? Even more applicable, what will you do with the influence and authority you already have?

    Power is given in order to influence others’ lives for the better. Use it wisely.

    Who in your life can you be kind to, who, like Mephibosheth, was no ability to pay you back? Be a blessing, not a bully. Leadership and influence are given so we can serve others.

     

    K E V I N • M I L L E R


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    Busyness is not Holiness


    We live in a non-stop, always on the go, hectic culture – in our homes, workplaces, and social lives. Sometimes it feels endless. Unfortunately, it’s easy for us to begin equating holiness to busyness, but I want to help correct that.

    We need to make time to pause, listen to God’s voice, and respond. It’s not an option. Listen to David’s words from Psalm 27…

    “My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me.’

    And my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming.’”

    Psalms 27:8 NLT

    If we’re not careful, it’s easy to miss the voice of the Lord because we are too caught up in the busyness of life. However, when we do actually slow down enough to hear Him, sometimes our response is not what it should be.

    I want to always respond how David responded, “Lord, I am coming.” However, when we allow the busyness of life to drive us, our response begins to be much different. Maybe it sounds more like…

    “Lord, I need to send a couple more emails.”

    “Lord, I need to see if anyone has liked my Instagram post from earlier.”

    “Lord, I really need to get going with my day.”

    “Lord, I hope to get to it later when things settle down.”

    “Lord, honestly right now, this other thing is more important.”

    Get into a rhythm of making time daily to speak to God and allow Him to speak to you. Carve out time to regularly listen to His voice and respond when He speaks. Your schedule isn’t your boss – you are the boss of your schedule. Prove it.

     

    K E V I N • M I L L E R


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