Welcome to Peoria Christian Fellowship Church
 
 

2019

2019

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.

John 14:1 NASB

If I could make a wish for everyone in the coming year it would be for each person to have a troubled less heart through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Could you grow in lasting peace this year? I think you can. I would like everyone to have much less anxiety and stress in their lives, but I know if Jesus Christ is not present in them, they have no power for long-term success. Even the best practices of thought control, breathing, and deep meditation turn out to be forms of self-medication. They may be great aids, but we humans need outside help. We need an intervention that can change our heart, our perspective and offer us lasting peace.

In the verse above Jesus is giving encouragement and a strategy to His disciples who are about to go through some of the worst things in their lives. They are going to be heartbroken, face defeat and rejection, encounter the evil in their own hearts, be betrayed by a close friend and experience death of a loved one.
 
In the face of all those fear-inducing events, Jesus prewarns and encourages them to believe. Not just believe, as in having hope, but to believe in Him. To believe, trust and look for how the person of Jesus will come to them, live in them and show them the way of life. That is exactly what Jesus does through the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit, His Spirit.
 
This year you can fight fear and anxiety in your life by increasing your communion with the presence of God through an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ via the Holy Spirit. It’s a trinitarian thing. This fearless living is not something that a person obtains in one moment. But it is something that any one of us can start in a moment. Here is a great starting place.
 
  1. Do not let your heart be troubled. What happens in your heart is up to you. God has given you the power to watch over your own heart. No person, politics, rules, attacks or rejection can rule your heart. You do. The first step is seeing the truth and possibility of being a powerful person and taking responsibility for your own heart.
  2. Believe in God. Believe in a God who made the world, who holds the world in His power. A God who works in ways we can somewhat comprehend and trust. You are free from the burden of being the God of this world. You are free from the pressure to figure it all out. No need to be perfect. Trust God to keep the world going and start to enjoy more freedom in living in the world He has made.
  3. If God reveals to us the creator, Jesus reveals to us a brother and friend. Jesus was such a brother that He gave up his life so that we might live the best lives possible. Believe that Jesus personally cares for you. Believe that Jesus wants you to succeed, to have hope. Believe that Jesus, even when faced with rejection and betrayal, forgives, restores and seeks to heal broken hearts and lives.
  4.  

That’s the starting place for increased fearless living. It starts with you seeking to rule your own heart under the God of creation and the brotherhood of Jesus. You can do this. Not on your own but with the help, wisdom, and direction of the Holy Spirit. Here is a passage of Scripture to ponder.

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. “After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”

John 14:15-21 NASB

Here is a link to some scriptures about the Holy Spirit.

 
 
-Rodney Drury
 
 
 

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Advent, A Fresh Start

Advent – A Fresh Start – Now! For a follower of Christ Jesus a fresh start is only a moment away. And yet we easily forget this truth. God can remove any need we might have to drag along our past. That past is no longer our identity – we have upgraded. We have a new identity, a new calling, a new purpose. New. That is a power-filled word. The very sound of it implies something better. It is a word that gives hope. It is a word that implies forgiveness.   And it is a word that the people of God have used for centuries to restart the cycle of looking for God and living with Him. Before all the busyness of Christmas arrives, we are called to look for Jesus. For two thousand years people have been peering into the darkness in the hope of seeing the light. That light has come. And we return afresh each year to make more room for His light in us – the time of anticipation of His coming.

Now is that time. Start anew as you look into the darkness of your life, but now start with the hope of the coming of Christ Jesus. Start anew waiting for the Lord to appear in your situations and circumstances. Start anew with fresh hope. Let depression and darkness fall away from your soul, and begin to hope again. Find refreshing in love and assurance in the coming of the Lord. It’s time for a fresh start. That is the season we are in.
 
 

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Ending the year well

Ending the year well
 
Things are going to get busy, and then it will be over. 2018 will be in the books, but the fruit of what happened this past year will keep producing. Stuff is going to keep growing and not just the stuff you want to grow.
 
The Bible idea of sowing and reaping is more complicated than sticking a few plants in the garden in May and plowing them under in late October. In the Bible way, everything has an effect. Both what we did and what we didn’t do, along with the stuff done to us, all grows. You don’t need to even try to have impact, you just do. Usually having a positive impact does take some thought and intention. But every one of us has been impacted by these past 365 days.
 
Ending the year is a great time to start fresh in your mind and soul. If you follow the church calendar things are wrapping up.  The coming of the Lord (Christmas) helps us have a mindset that doesn’t focus on us, but on who He is and the hope He provides. As we journey through Thanksgiving and then upon the love of God experienced in the gift of Jesus, we have opportunity to turn all those weeds into compost. We can harvest our crops and share with friends, family and those who are in need.
 
If you want to try to review or evaluate your life from a different perspective this year, try this.
 
Use the Lord’s Prayer as a mirror. Use the components I break the prayer up into and rate yourself. But lean into the Holy Spirit for perspective. The Spirit is the one who leads us all into the truth and nothing helps the year end so poorly as a deceptive evaluation.
 
So, find a comfortable place where you have at least 20 minutes. Relax and enjoy a beverage. Spend a moment thanking God and then prayerfully listen to the Spirit as you ponder each expression.  When you are done reviewing thank God again for His love and ask for direction for the year ahead. Write down your promptings and review them at least monthly. 
 
  “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. ‘Give us this day our daily bread. ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Matthew 6:9-13 NASB
 
Petition Reflection
Father in heaven Do I see God as a Father? How is my relationship with God?
Hallowed be Your name Do I see God as morally trustworthy? Do I depend on God?
Your kingdom come Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven Do I know what Father is doing? Do I understand my part in His plan? Do I enjoy life as an expression of God’s will?
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts… deliver us from evil Do I pray for others while I pray for myself? Do I see the needs of others as important as I see my own needs? Do I pray about evil or just complain?
   
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Easter

 

The Season of Easter

Easter is more than a day. It involves a day. And if all you can do is celebrate that day, that’s OK. But like Christmas, Easter is a whole season of 50 days.

This year (2018) Easter runs from April 1 through May 27. A traditional celebration of this season would follow the plan below. Many churches and families change this order up, and most likely we will too at Peoria Christian Fellowship. But this plan allows you to see some of the options in celebrating Easter.

April 1 Easter – Resurrection, New Life

April 8 – The Church

April 15 – Worship

April 22 – Good Shepherd

April 29 – Ministry to others

May 06 – The Holy Spirit

May 10 – The Ascension of Jesus

May 13 – Prayer of Jesus

May 20 – Day of Pentecost

May 27 – Trinity Sunday

 

These 50 days are all centered on Jesus and the culture of new life He introduces to the world. No longer are we in a culture of death. No longer do we live in fear. We have been raised up with Christ Jesus and the life we now live we live in God, for God, and with God.

During this time, we want to take the fact of Jesus death and resurrection and add to that our faith. When we do that (fact + faith) we have an equation for Easter Spirituality. A way of living with God now that brings hope to the world, light to the lost, hope to the hopeless.

The cycle of life, of church life, celebrates Easter. And we are prepared to take this celebration and lessons and live our way forward. The next season is ordinary time. It is the time we focus on how we live. But for now, we are still focused on Jesus, the Trinity and how he lived. We are in the season of Easter and want to experience the cross and the resurrection. Death and life are a part of all our lives. But Jesus teaches us a new way to live in Him, by Him and with Him.


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Celebrate Lent

Peoria Christian Fellowship Church is starting stage 4 of this church year. It’s time to turn to the Lord. It’s time to repent or turn away from living for ourselves and live for Christ who gave His life for us.
We can celebrate this time of humbling ourselves because it helps us value what Jesus has done and prepares our heart to enjoy Easter even more.
So, what does this mean practically for you?
We are asking people to consider growing in their spiritual formation by….
1. Attending our Sunday Morning meetings and seeking to apply the teachings they receive. Listen to act on. See if God is leading you to do something new or something neglected.
2. Give up something for others. Join with Jesus, who gave all for us in giving to others. We offer you the opportunity to mix giving with the justice and righteousness themes we have been talking about. You might consider….
a. Giving to Teen Challenge for meat. Our church will be collecting money for gift cards for Alwan Meat Market so that throughout the year Teen Challenge can go and get something to eat when in need.
b. Give to help Youth for Christ in Peoria and Dearborn Assembly in Michigan purchase vans for transporting people. Both these ministries are in need to helping others through transporting them.
c. Practice Hospitality. In Isaiah 58 God calls to the people through the prophet Isaiah to fast. But not just go hungry. Instead God is asking the people for righteousness and justice. God is asking that their spiritual lives go from personal to community. Read the passage below and see if a season of hospitality is for you too.
Read more after the Scriptures:
 
Isaiah 58:1-14
1 “Cry loudly, do not hold back; Raise your voice like a trumpet, And declare to My people their transgression And to the house of Jacob their sins.
2 “Yet they seek Me day by day and delight to know My ways, As a nation that has done righteousness And has not forsaken the ordinance of their God. They ask Me for just decisions, They delight in the nearness of God.
3 ‘Why have we fasted and You do not see? Why have we humbled ourselves and You do not notice?’ Behold, on the day of your fast you find your desire, And drive hard all your workers.
4 “Behold, you fast for contention and strife and to strike with a wicked fist. You do not fast like you do today to make your voice heard on high.
5 “Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself? Is it for bowing one’s head like a reed And for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed? Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the LORD?
6 “Is this not the fast which I choose, To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free And break every yoke?
7 “Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8 “Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9 “Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you remove the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness,
10 And if you give yourself to the hungry And satisfy the desire of the afflicted, Then your light will rise in darkness And your gloom will become like midday.
11 “And the LORD will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.
12 “Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; You will raise up the age-old foundations; And you will be called the repairer of the breach, The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.
13 “If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot From doing your own pleasure on My holy day, And call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable, And honor it, desisting from your own ways, From seeking your own pleasure And speaking your own word,
14 Then you will take delight in the LORD, And I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; And I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
 
Here are some ideas for Celebrating Lent with PCFC
 
Start a spare change jar and collect money for one of the projects.
Sell some item you don’t use or don’t need and give the money to help.
Ask a friend or two to join in the cause. Many of our friends and neighbors want to make a difference in the world and this offers them a way to do so. You also get to talk about your faith and how it is a part of your life. Something we just learned in the season of Epiphany.
Give the cost of a day’s groceries to others. Sure, you can use our outlets or just open your heart to anyone God might be laying on your heart.
Invite someone over for a meal or take someone for coffee and pick up the tab. Spend some of your time and money encouraging others. Ask God to point someone out to you. Someone who needs a little boost.
If you have loaned someone money is the past and they are struggling to pay you back, consider forgiving the debt or reducing it. Tell them how this relates to your faith. That you are not trying to just be a good person but a Godly one.
Revalue the Sabbath or the Lord’s day. Just as we can live for ourselves all week long we can also make the weekend all about us. Honor the Lord with your time. Isaiah told the people not to seek their own pleasures and their own words. Doing and saying what we want is a big part of our American life. Maybe this Lent you can lay that down for awhile?

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