Happy Beginning of the Week, church family!
I have been praying about what do concerning Ministry Time during these weeks at home. God has given me several ideas and applications that can help us grow closer to Him and each other through this time of being quarantined at home. Each week I will send out a verse and a kind of practical applications to go along with it. I pray that each week you will pray over the application and have fun over what God tells you to do with it. I then encourage you to text me and tell me what happened and how it encouraged you this week, I will then write out a couple testimonies at the end of the week to help encourage and remind us of the amazing things God is doing during this time.
Ministry Time Week 1:
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (The Passion Translation)
“Because of this, encourage the hearts of your fellow believers and support one another, just as you have already been doing.”
Ministry Time Activation:
Pray about a person in our church and ask God to give you a word, blessing, declaration, or prayer. Take 30 minutes to call them this week. Give that person your word and encourage them. I do enjoy texting but I felt like God told me this week we need to reach out and call one another to encourage each other and give the word that He is going to place in each of our hearts.
Please text me back after you have given the person God’s word and I will post a few of these testimonies on the church’s blog. I look forward to hearing about the amazing words God is about to pour out.
NOTE: If you need Pastor Dani's phone number, please text 720-663-0764 to request it.
Dani Noe, Sozo & Admin Pastor
Greetings sweet church family, I am praying each of you are doing well. How are you spending your time during this time of quarantine?
This isn’t really going to be a blog at all, because I would like to get some of your input. I wanted to ask you all a question.
What if I open this blog to answer your questions?
You can write in and ask any type of biblical, theological, or historical question. I will try to get to a couple questions each week. If there has ever been a question you have had about God or about theology but have never gotten a clear answer, I want to help you draw closer to God through this time. I want to help equip and inform you of theological truths.
Dani Noe, Sozo & Admin Pastor
Fear. Today has been one of the most challenging and fearful days for me. Yesterday afternoon, I decided to call my boys in from in school for the following day. Their Spring Break starts next week and with the business and all the constant go I thought we should start off with a restful day of being together… let’s just say that did not happen.
I woke up today with this thought to get to the grocery store. Of course, of all weeks and or days to be out of produce and canned goods it had to be today. So at 7:30am I dragged my boys to the store and we spent two hours getting what we needed and waiting in line. We then got home to realize that our heater had decided to stop working and our house was now a balmy 63° and later got to 62°. After putting the groceries away, my boys’ school emailed me to tell me that I had to find a way to pick up all of their coursework because the week after spring break they are going to hold a virtual class for all of the students. I was able to call an HVAC man to come and get our heater working again. However, now the issue was to figure out how to get to school before it closes and make sure I’m home for the HVAC guy (yep my brilliant and fun plan to keep my boys at home has exploded in my face….)
This has been my day thus far, however at one point as I was making lunch and with the heaviness of the day and the atmosphere I broke. Yep I broke down at my island in front of my boys and sobbed. I have lived through some very heavy and hard situations, but something has taken over our country and people. There is a spiritual heaviness right now that is weighing on us. As I was crying, God quietly whispered to me, “Pray!” I looked up from crying and told my boys I was feeling overwhelmed and with this huge fear-based atmosphere, I was going to shift my mind and decide not to partner with it. So we prayed. We prayed over my feelings, over school, and over this huge fear that has gripped this country. Then God gave me a brilliant idea--
Before I share with you the idea God gave me I want to first share Psalm 21:1, 11-13 (The Passion Translation) “Lord, because of your strength the king is strong. Look how he rejoices in you! We will watch them fail, for these are ones who plan their evil schemes against the Lord. They will turn and run at the sight of your judgment-arrowaimed straight at their hearts. Rise up and put your might on display! By your strength we will sing and praise your glorious power!” Let’s praise God right now for victory over this fear, over this “pandemic”, and over this mindset. Let’s praise God for revival coming and for His might and power. Let’s praise God for this triumph even before its here, because we live under a sprit of peace and hope. Peace of mind that God will take care of this and hope because when He does, it’s going to be amazing.
The idea that God gave me was this: Many of us are stranded at home or maybe working from home. Whatever your situation looks like right now let’s shake the spiritual realm. God showed me that these next two weeks are going to be slow and different than we are used to, and instead of panicking and operating in the atmosphere of fear that the enemy has placed over us, let’s pray. As you sit at your home computer to log into work, pray! When you have an extra hour, go walk around your neighborhood and pray! Let’s use this extra time that the enemy thinks will distract us, let’s throw it back in in his face, and let’s fight! Whenever you begin to feel fear take its hold and the feelings of anxiety press in, let’s take that as a sign to pray. Freedom Family let’s pray like we have never prayed before, God is about to do something astonishing!
Dani Noe, Sozo & Admin Pastor
I have spent all week praying about what to write for this week’s blog. I kept hearing just to rest, but that today is not the day to write. Over and over, each day, I would sit down to write something and nothing would come but the word rest. However, today as I started getting ready for the day, God sent a huge download on what it is to fully rest in Him.
He told that during the season of Christmas and New Years, each one of us must take time to rest. Maybe that is sneaking away for a minute or two to have a piece of chocolate, or maybe it is watching your favorite show after the guests have left. Whatever He lays on your heart to help you rest and refresh, take the time to do it and rest in Him.
Exodus 33:14 (NIV) “The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” I love that even when the Israelites were wondering in the desert, God was going to give them rest and show them how to rest. This is so true even today. Sometimes I feel like we get so busy and fill our time with so much. Most of the time it is actually good stuff, but we still need to learn and be aware of when we need to rest.
So my challenge to you this week is to ask Holy Spirit to show you how you can rest in this season, then walk that out. Don’t be afraid you might let someone down, and don’t start thinking about all the things you could be doing in this moment—just rest. Allow your mind to stop focusing on the craziness of the season and fixate it on the presence, the glory, the holiness, and the rest of the LORD!
Merry Christmas Freedom Family, we adore each of you so much!
Dani Noe, Sozo & Admin Pastor
“We love Him, because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 (King James Version)
This week, God has been challenging me to understand the difference between love and lust. In this world the lines between love and lust can at times become so blurred it is hard to distinguish which one is which. The world has twisted the word and understanding of love into something that it is not.
Lust. The Greek words for lust are: “epithymia- desire, longing; epithymeo- to desire long for; hedone- pleasure, enjoyment; orego- to desire; orexis- longing, desire; pathos- passion.” Lust is not always a bad thing, but it should be understood that it is in no means love. Lust is a feeling, a desire, or an impulse. It is that fluttering in your heart. After researching lust I couldn’t help but think that this is how the world defines love. Last week, I was watching a Christmas romance movie and the entire time they kept stressing how it was love at first sight and how they had this amazing chemistry. While these things can be good and healthy, they aren’t love and they are indeed lust and need to be understood and handled as such. Also, lust is only temporary because lust is a feeling and it can go as quickly as it came.
Love. I’m reading a book by Eric Metaxas titled Everything You Always Wanted to Know About God (But Were Afraid to Ask): The Jesus Edition, and one topic is about how love is a choice. You choose to love someone, it’s not a feeling at all. I think what struck me the most from that statement is that you choose to love someone and then you commit to that choice.
The most famous verse on love is 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (The Passion Translation) “Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.” Never once in these verses does it talk about love being a feeling, it’s a choice to love and to express that outwardly. Unlike lust where it’s a fleeting emotion, love is a choice. You must choose to love each moment and each day. When choosing love, you must decide in your heart to love and to commit to something regardless of the feelings that surround it. I know—being married and even in some of my friendships—I have had to choose to love that person despite not feeling like it. We must each day choose and commit to love one another despite our emotions. This is why love is the very center of Christianity. Love is the glue that holds community and Christians together. It’s that bond, that commitment, that determination—that despite whatever happens, you are choosing to love, even when it’s challenging.
1 Walter A. Elwell, ed. Evangelical Dictionary and Theology, Second Ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group, 2001), 717
Dani Noe, Sozo & Admin Pastor
This week I got to spend to some time with friends decorating for Christmas. Between unraveling lights and deciding where everything should go it was crazy, but in those moments God reminded me of winter. Not winter as in the season we are currently in, but winter as a verb, hunkering down for the cold season like our ancestors, and how that relates to relationships and community. These friends and I have endured some the hardest and most intense spiritual winters of our lives together. Through that winter we chose to endure, press through, and be faithful. I’m telling you it was so hard, because in some of those really low moments it would have been so much easier to just throw the towel in and quit, but by wintering together it really strengthened our relationships.
Psalm 74:17 (New International Version) reads, “It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter.” We can look at this verse two ways, but today I want to focus on the spiritual side of seasons. In life and in relationships we will go through seasons. You must understand that not all seasons are easy, life will put you through harsh times, but it is those hard times that will build deep lasting relationships. I love how John Bevere puts it— it is through some the harshest winter that trees bear the best fruit in spring, because the cold forces the roots to dig deeper.
So this week I want to challenge you: Are you enduring a spiritual winter in your life? Are you ready to throw the towel in and quit? DON’T! Endure, stand, and fight for your spring. Know that this season is temporary and God’s promises and the blessings that will come afterwards will be worth it.
1 Peter 1:3-7 (New International Version) - Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
We might not understand why we are going through this trial or this winter, but know that Jesus is so faithful, it will eventually end, and that out of this season will come richness. Don’t get discouraged in this season. Fight for blessing, fight for growth, fight for relationships, fight for what God has placed on your heart. It will be worth it!
So as we were decorating and I was reminded of the past season we had endured together, I saw the spring of our relationships. We could go super deep in our conversations and be vulnerable with one another, and we all knew we were safe. Our relationship had deepened so much, and that was only because we had endured a winter together.
Dani Noe, Sozo & Admin Pastor
Can I just say this is one of my favorite times of the year. I love fall and watching the leaves change. When I was living overseas this was one of the seasons I missed experiencing the most. I missed the change in air, because I feel like fall air is so clear and crisp.
As we roll into the season and holiday of Thanksgiving, I feel like there are few things I want us to remember as we move forward. I Thessalonians 5:16-18 (New International Version) says, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I love this so much. Not only are we to pray constantly, but we are also to be thankful continually. Being thankful is part of God’s will in our lives. It is through this constant act of praying and being thankful that we shift our worldview and mindset to be like Christ. It shows the world that we are content with who we are, what we have, and that we are at peace within our souls. It is through this start in being thankful in every situation that God can start to quiet the world around us and shift our mindset to align with His. It is through this thanksgiving that we start to fully trust God.
So I challenge you today to think of 5 things you are grateful for. I then want you to remember those things throughout the week and even into this New Year. Let’s really pursue the will of God with praying constantly and with continually giving thanks to our heavenly Father.
Dani Noe, Sozo & Admin Pastor
Have you ever had one of those seasons where everything seems to either go wrong or you just can’t manage to stay well? One of those really hard seasons where no matter what you do everything just seems so difficult?
I have to say this has been one of those seasons for me. I have had such a hard year of getting sick and fighting to stay well. I am one of those people who hardly ever gets sick, even when my boys started preschool and everyone got the flu, I still managed to stay well. However, this season of life has been so tough. I have been knocked down, with some type of sickness, for more days than I can count this season. I feel like it is at least once a month that I hit a wall and am down for the count. Yesterday was one of those days. I had the most awful and painful stomach bugs of my entire life. As I was trying to sleep, just so the pain would go away, I kept hearing God say, “just pray.” So as I would drift in and out of consciousness I kept praying.
Then later today I was spending some time with God and I asked Him why this has been such a hard time. I know several of my friends and even family members who have been having a really hard season of sickness. God reminded me of the verse Philippians 4:4-7 (New International Version), “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again; Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Rejoice! We need to rejoice not just when times are good and easy, but all the time.
The Hebrew word for rejoice, לשמוח (lissemokha) means, “be happy, feel joy or great delight.” Why are we to rejoice in all seasons? Because when we rejoice it turns our hearts and focus on the One who delights in us. When we rejoice it reminds us of our good Father and the many blessings He has bestowed on us. When we rejoice it changes our heart condition from looking inward to looking outward towards heaven.
So I put this challenge out to you and even myself. If you are going through any hard seasons, let the first thing out of your mouth be rejoicing. Rejoice in your heavenly Father! Cry out to the heavens, rejoice in your loudest voice and praise JEHOVAH ELOHIM (our protector).
Dani Noe, Sozo & Admin Pastor
After the sermon on Sunday I came home and asked God, "Why is it that we need to pray without ceasing?" He clearly told me it's because it helps keep our minds, focus, and understanding solely on Him. Living in a world that is contaminated by sin, our minds and focus can quickly get consumed and anxious about things we see. It's so easy to see the forces of darkness as all consuming, but when we switch our focus to the Heavenly we quickly see things from God’s view. Yes the world is a dark place, but God is still the only one who is seated on the throne of supremacy (Daniel 7:9). God is and always will be the one in control.
As I was doing my devotion this morning, God told me to turn to Psalm 23. After reading through it God told me, "That is why you pray without ceasing, because even in times of trials and tribulations I am there to comfort and restore you, but you have to be in relationship with Me to be able to receive it." It's so easy to become either isolated or disillusioned in this world, but when we stay in constant prayer and relationship with God we quickly see that He is constantly there to help, comfort, and protect us. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, why? Because my God is bigger and more powerful than anything the enemy can throw at me. It is through prayer that we build our relationship, our understanding, and our security in our Father.
Dani Noe, Sozo & Admin Pastor
Listen to the sermon referenced on the Freedom Fellowship Podcast: Spiritual Discipline for Life: Prayer
I was recently reading about revivals and how there’s been many that have reached adults but also reached children. The Lord has set a fiery passionate love for Himself within the hearts of immeasurable amounts of children. I want that for my kids. I want that for your kids. I want that for ALL kids…to know the Father’s love in extraordinary ways. I want there to be a generation of kids who love the Lord with their intelligence, who experience the Lord with their heart, and who willingly submit their will to the Lord because they humbly trust Him and follow His leading voice. What God has laid on my heart for this blog is directed mainly at the parents of all kids within Freedom. However, if you’re a regular attendee of our church, I’d encourage you to read on, in order to support and champion parents as they call forth the next generation of God’s children! I have a challenge towards the end of this note, don’t miss it!
In Parenting in the Pews, Robbie Castleman gives testimony to how she raised two boys who love the Lord and were brought up in the church. She holds many similar core beliefs as our church does including the belief that children belong within the body, not hidden in the back. They need to feel a sense of belonging and have a secure understanding that even as children, God has something to offer through them and to them. While raising her sons, after the age of four she would not let any toys, coloring book or books of any sort with her children throughout the ENITRE service, not just worship. Simply put, she called them distractions and even at the pre-school age she did not want her children to receive the message that it was suitable for them to be disengaged in the privilege of worship. Although, I think the methodology lies within the hands of each parent, knowing what their children can handle as far as attention span goes. I agree wholeheartedly that I don’t want only the children’s bodies to be in the same room as the adults but I want their hearts engaged worshiping the Lord in joy and excitement.
How do we make that happen? Can we make anyone’s heart engage with God’s heart? We can’t force anything but if we don’t teach well, if we don’t live our lives in example of what we desire, the outcomes will be so much harder to come by. We’re moving into a season of being proactive not reactive. We are pursuing God and gaining territory for His glory. What a better time to actively go deeper in teaching our kids to worship. I have a challenge…it is simple…you and your family can do it… Here it is:
Worship to ONE song with your kids this week. One. Not more. Not less.
It will take five minutes of your week; 5 minutes if you listen to a mainstream version, 30 minutes if you listen to Bethel. If you have preschoolers, cut the time down to three minutes by listening to a Chris Tomlin version. Tell your kids first that you are only worshiping for one song so they can prepare themselves for a short amount of time and engage easier. Now I’ve always found that if my kids have a solid understanding of whatever we are doing, it is so much easier for them to be present. So feed their brains a little bit before you start. Don’t worry, I’ve cooked up a little brain food to chew on first but if you have another meal cooking don’t let that go to waste!
Why do we sing when we worship? Why do we use instruments?
Do we sing and play instruments because we live in a concert culture? Is it because we want to showcase our church’s best musical talents? NO! NO! NO! So many grown adults have this type of mentality, yet it isn’t the reason at all. The reason is this:
Meaning: To make music, to sing praise
Read that word to your kids. Tell them what it means. Have them write it down. Make it beautiful. Make it bold. Say it loudly, softly, in the craziest voice you have. However you do it, remember that word. It means to make music with instruments or voice in praise to God. This word, in this form, appears 46 times throughout the Bible. Examples of this are:
Judges 5:3 - “Hear this, you kings! Listen, you rulers! I, even I, will sing to the LORD; I will praise the LORD, the God of Israel, in song.”
Psalms 9:11 - “Sing the praises of the LORD, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what he has done.”
1 Chronicles 16:9 - “Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.”
It’s a command and let’s not take obedience lightly. Our ZAMAR does not depend on the quality of the sound coming out of your mouth. During your one song, endure the awkwardness of singing out loud in front of your kids. Forge the brave path of singing loudly, out of your heart, offering your own praise with your kids by your side. Make the rule be that they have to sing for that one song too. Before you bring your kids to do this, ask the Holy Spirit to invade your living room. Ask Him to soften your kids’ hearts to the idea of worship. Ask Him to give them the safety to actually respond to Him through this time. Trust the Lord that He will pursue your kids, and also, you!
May you be blessed in the Lord’s favor and love this week!
Christina Noe, Children's Pastor