All Posts By

Michael Voll

Leap of Faith

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Last Sunday Pastor Sean kicked off our message series entitled “Faith That Works,” an in-depth look into Hebrews chapter 11. It was great to see ‘the man behind the guitar,’ and hear his powerful testimony of how Christ had revealed himself to him at the age of 17. When Sean decided to put his faith in Jesus, he did so because he became convinced that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6)-the only solid foundation to build his life on.

In the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Harrison Ford’s character needs to cross a huge, gaping crevice. The problem? There is no bridge to cross the divide. He is told, “only in a leap from the lion’s head will [you] prove [your] worth.”  So, in a moment of surrender, he clutches his chest, closes his eyes and steps off the ledge…safely onto a bridge that is revealed after his leap. Whew!

Indiana Jones had no basis for trusting that his leap of faith would be rewarded. Yet, people who trust in Jesus have the Bible to guide their steps, containing the promises of God such as “I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)” and “I have prepared a place for you (John 14:2).” When you put your faith in Jesus, although you cannot see him, there is ample evidence that he will be there for you. Just check out the faith chapter (Hebrews 11).

Hands Down

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Have you ever used a finger trap? It is a child’s toy that tightens when you put your fingers into it and pull gently, making it almost impossible to remove your fingers. It’s a great idea for parents of overly active children! I also think it perfectly drives home a lesson that Jesus was teaching his followers about acts of service.

In Matthew 6:1 Jesus warns his hearers “Don’t do your good deeds publically, to be admired, because then you will lose the reward from your Father in Heaven.” Everyone wants to be recognized for the good things that they do, but often this desire for recognition skews our motivation. We end up doing our acts of service to be seen and praised by the people around us. Jesus, on the other hand, wants us to let our good deeds shine so that everyone will praise the heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:16).

This week our Day Camp is in full swing with about 150 children and a dedicated team of volunteers involved in leading songs, crafts, games and teaching Bible principles. We are so proud of all of the people that make a camp like this successful. There are many unsung heroes that may never get the full recognition that they may deserve. But we know this: God will reward everyone for the good they have done.

The next time you are tempted to raise your hand so that people will recognize you for your achievements, take a second to consider the finger trap. You may be trading a few moments of praise for an eternity of reward.

Have a blessed week.

Training for Purpose

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Our BTO series is in full swing, and last week we talked about “Training for Purpose.”

Training is a word that conjures up various pictures-on the job training where a new employee is taught the nuances of a particular task or system, or perhaps someone running, lifting weights or playing their sport of choice. For many, it is a word tinged with pain; training often hurts, or at least stretches the trainee to the edge of their limits in order to make them better, stronger and faster.

The Apostle Paul encouraged his protégé Timothy to “train yourself to be godly” (1 Timothy 4:7. In order to become more like Christ we must enter into strict training through reading the Bible, praying and obeying the commands of God. The payoff? Tremendous growth, and a reward that will last forever! (1 Corinthians 9:25).

At North Pointe we recognize that each person in the body of Christ (the church) is uniquely gifted and needs to fulfill a specific task to ultimately bring health to the church. Our role as leaders is to bring train people to fulfill their purpose. One of the ways we can best do this is through our SHAPE class, where each participant explores their Spiritual Gifts, Heart Passion, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences. Once you’ve discovered your unique SHAPE, you can begin to serve with purpose. We want everyone in our church to be able to experience the rush that training for and accomplishing the purpose we were made for can bring.

The picture you see is of the volunteers in our Rainbows program. I am so honored to serve with them. They use their SHAPE to make a difference in the lives of children who have experienced a traumatic death or divorce. They are making a difference.

Train to be godly, train for purpose. We will be here to help you on the journey.

 

More!

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There must be more!

This longing of the heart expresses a deep question of purpose-“Isn’t there more to life than this?” Thankfully, the answer is “yes there is!’ However, this hunger will not be filled by chasing selfish ambition, but by living in relationship with God and service to him.

Seems counterintuitive doesn’t it? We want more, so we give what we have to God. How does that work? St. Augustine is quoted as saying about God “You have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.” The ache of restlessness can only find comfort, peace and fulfillment in Christ.

I am thankful that when God made us that he put right into our DNA a desire to do good things (Ephesians 2:10). These good things are the choices we make, the words we say, and the actions we take in our ordinary, everyday lives. There is more…we were created to make a difference. Don’t wait to do something extraordinary-make the most of the ordinary with Christ at the center and heart of your life.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” Matthew 6:33.

Reach Up and Touch Someone

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If you survived the 80’s you will remember the emotional AT&T phone commercials that encouraged viewers to “Reach out and touch someone.” It was a reminder to pick up the phone and connect with friends and family on a regular basis, the cost and effort required was worth it in the end.

In my relationship with the Lord I have been reminded that I need to take the time and effort to connect with Him, because ultimately it is worth the effort. This has been confirmed time and again as I have drawn strength from my dialogue with God about my fears, hopes, dreams and disappointments. Isaiah 40:31 says “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Thankfully I don’t have to have a long distance plan for these conversations, and the line is always crystal clear, as long as I’m willing to listen to the Spirit guiding me.

The biblical view is that our ability to reach out to others and touch their lives is directly proportionate to the time we spend reaching up. Without a clear connection to God, our connection to others will be diminished in its returns. In John 15:5 Jesus said “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

This week, may your life bear fruit that will positively affect others because you are connected and reaching for God. So reach UP then reach OUT and touch someone.

Pastor Michael