The Morning Wakeup
Leanna, Bjorn and Josh 6:00-10:00am

Word For You Today

The hiding place

'You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.' Psalm 32:7 NIV

We've probably all felt like running away from all our problems at some point in our lives. A couple of week's holiday away from everything may help us feel better in the short term, but we still have to come back to reality. Escaping doesn't totally solve anything and it's not always practical to drop everything and get away.

But there's somewhere we can go, a place that can bring true release from our problems: that place is God's presence. The psalmist was aware of this. In Psalm 32:7 he says: 'You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.' And Psalm 119:114 says: 'You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word' (NCV). This doesn't mean that nothing bad will ever happen to us; it does mean we have a place to go and find rest from our situations.

The Bible says: 'Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint' (Isaiah 40:30-31 NIV). We might enter his presence overwhelmed and weak, but we leave renewed and full of God's strength.

So what now? Schedule time today to hide away with God. Present your concerns to him, and allow him speak to you and renew your strength. The great thing is, you can enter his hiding place as often as you like.

Soulfood: Acts 16-17 Matt 10:1-10 Ps 140 Pro 16:3,


Zeal for Jesus

'Be zealous and repent.' Revelation 3:19 ESV

We're called to be 'on fire' for God, and to be intentional in how we live for him. It's not always easy. Our faith can be pushed to the background, we can lose our motivation to seek God or we become weighed down by the pressures of life. The church of Laodicea was told: 'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other' (Revelation 3:15 NIV)!

God doesn't want us to be lukewarm when it comes to our faith. He wants us to have zeal - enthusiasm, dedication, passion - for him. The Laodiceans were told: 'Be zealous and repent' (Revelation 3:19 ESV). And that's exactly what we need to do too. We need to find our passion for God again. We're asked to repent of our lukewarm ways. The Bible says: 'Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord' (Romans 12:11 NIV).

So how do we build our zeal? We need to honestly look at what's priority in our lives. We need to make time for God and spend intimate time with him. And ask him to increase our passion. We need to surround ourselves with people who are 'on fire' for God. Let's take the advice given to the church in Laodicea: 'Be zealous and repent'.

So what now? Listen to the song 'Set a fire' by Jesus Culture and use it as a prayer asking God to reignite your zeal for him.

Soulfood: Acts 14-15 Matt 9:27-38 Ps 133 Pro 16:2,


'The comeback kid'

'But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.' 1 Corinthians 15:57 NIV

When we feel like we're experiencing a setback, we could be being prepared for a comeback. When we feel like we've taken some steps backwards, it could actually mean we're about to move forward. On the Saturday between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, it seemed all was lost. But it's not over until God says it's over. The greatest spiritual victory in history was won after its seemingly greatest defeat. All was lost, but not for long. Three days after his crucifixion, Jesus walked out of his tomb.

And as redeemed children of God, that same truth applies to us. The Bible says: 'Yet God raised Jesus to life! God's Spirit now lives in you, and he will raise you to life by his Spirit' (Romans 8:11 CEV). In God's Kingdom failure is never final. We may not win every spiritual battle, but the war has been ultimately won. The victory was sealed 2000 years ago when Jesus was resurrected.

Paul writes, 'Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us' (Romans 8:37 NKJV). Today we're more than conquerors because of what Christ did for us. We'll experience setbacks, that's just life. But without a crucifixion there can be no resurrection. Sometimes the things that knock us down are the very things that lead us to be built up stronger than ever.

So what now? Read the story of the crucifixion and resurrection (you can find it in all four Gospels). Remind yourself that God always wants you to be 'the comeback kid'.

Soulfood: 1 Sam 21:1-6 Hosea 6:4-6 Matt 12:1-14,


Telling people about Jesus 2

'We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.' Romans 12:6 NIV

Telling people about who Jesus is something we're called to do; it's something Jesus himself asked us to do. We may find it very difficult. We might have a friend who's amazing at sharing the gospel and has a great 'success rate' of bringing people to Christ. And that can feel intimidating if we've tried, but not 'succeeded'.

The first thing to relax about is that it doesn't have to be us who gets others to make that final decision to follow Jesus. We might be just one link in the chain. Another thing that's good to remember is that God's given each of us different skills and gifts (see Romans 12:6-8 for a reminder). We each have our own unique way of 'communicating' about our relationship with Jesus, and we can all attract people to him. All we have to do is be who we authentically are.

Have a think about how you communicate best. Are you a compelling speaker? Or is your strength in writing down or drawing your thoughts and ideas? Do you find it easier to talk to people your own age, or those who are older or younger? Are you more comfortable sharing about Jesus with friends and family, or with the stranger sitting next to you on the bus? Start from there.

So what now? Write down your 'communicating' strengths and how you'd love to share about Jesus. Use this to create your own 'action plan' to express the love of God. Then commit to sharing about Jesus with at least one person this week.

Soulfood: Acts 12-13 Matt 9:14-26 Ps 123 Pro 16:1,


Telling people about Jesus 1

'The large crowd listened to him with delight.' Mark 12:37 NIV

On one of the occasions when Jesus was teaching, the Bible tells us that 'the large crowd listened to him with delight' (Mark 12:37 NIV). And there were many other times when Jesus drew a large crowd. Something about what Jesus did and said resonated with the people, and made them want to hear more. Maybe they were just curious at first, but when they really heard what he had to say, they recognised and responded to the truth - which was Jesus himself.

Even if we're not speaking to a large crowd like Jesus did, just telling one person about him may be hard. We might fear being judged, or worry about being asked a tricky question that we can't answer. There are all kinds of reasons we could come up with. But one of Jesus' last commands was: 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation' (Mark 16:15 NIV).

So if we're nervous about it, and not sure where to start, what can we do? The most important thing is to be your authentic self. Tell people about your story with Jesus and what he means to you. Don't set out to convince people - just tell them about your relationship with Jesus, and trust him to work on their hearts. When you tell the truth of who Jesus is, people are more likely to respond.

So what now? What Jesus encounter or worship song has really spoken to you lately? Tell one person about it today.

Soulfood: Acts 10-11 Matt 9:1-13 Ps 118:19-29 Pro 15:33,



'Be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.' 1 Corinthians 1:10 NLT

People have different ideas, personalities and ways of getting things done. But we're called to work together. Paul wrote to the church, saying: 'Some members of Chloe's household have told me about your quarrels' (1 Corinthians 1:11 NLT). Then he went on to say, 'Live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions...Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose' (1 Corinthians 1:10 NLT). This advice applies to us today. The Bible tells us that we're all a part of the body of Christ, with different roles, and when we all work together we function well (see 1 Corinthians 12).

So, to successfully work alongside others, we need to stop striving for our own individual goals. When a mistake is made, we need to refuse to start the blame game. When someone hurts us, we need to forgive and not allow bitterness to take root. Instead of criticising, we can build others up with our words, and offer praise and help when they're struggling.

By working together, we bring God's Kingdom to earth. We can help each other when we're struggling and use our gifts to work for something bigger than we could on our own. When we work together, we can achieve so much more.

So what now? Think about those you work alongside, either in a job or serving in church. Write down the different gifts and skills you all bring. Then tell them you appreciate what they bring to the team.

Soulfood: Acts 8-9 Matt 8:28-34 Ps 118:10-18 Pro 15:31-32,


The early church 3

'They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.' Acts 2:42 NIV

The first church we read about is in Acts chapter 2. It was set up just after Pentecost, the time when the Holy Spirit came. The church written about in Acts 2 has become a model that many people think churches should follow today.

The early church was described like this: 'They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.' (Acts 2:42-47 NIV).

Wouldn't it be great if our churches were like this? If we all were united, shared what we had, offered our gifts and skills, met together regularly, encouraged each other, overflowed with joy and were all committed to growing and serving? In Hebrews it says: 'Let us think about each other and help each other... meet together and encourage each other' (Hebrews 10:24-25 NCV). Are we ready to make this our way of life?

So what now? Choose one thing you could personally adopt that reflects the life of the early church. Make it your challenge to do that for the rest of the month.

Soulfood: Acts 6-7 Matt 8:18-27 Ps 118:1-9 Pro 15:27-30,

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