Miracle of Mercy Small Group Study

As we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus tomorrow it is still clear in my mind of his struggle and shear torture during the process of his ultimate sacrifice. I remind myself by watching the movie “The Passion of the Christ.” If that doesn’t put things into perspective, I do not know what will. I love my church and I love my Pastor Rick Warren. Easter time is personally tough on Pastor Rick, for as you know a few days after Easter three years ago his son Matthew committed suicide. Having lost my brother fourteen years ago, to a tragic car accident I understand the mental anguish that he is facing with each passing year. Pastor Rick wrote this study I am assuming on the role that God’s mercy has played in his own life. If I do not understand much of anything else, I understand how God’s Grace and Mercy has sustained me in my own life. It is only because of God that I am still here. Pastor Rick has stated, that this study is probably the most personal study he has ever written. I have a small group study that is beginning on Monday April 11, 2016 at 8 pm eastern time. If you are interested in joining me for a life changing study, email me at pollardtl@cox.net.

Blessings and Love,

Traci

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

understand the need and appreciation for God’s Grace and Mercy. I know that I am only here on this Earth due to His love for me, and Grace

 

 

 

 

Great Bible Studies Attract Spiritual Warfare

We are getting ready to launch a new campaign at Saddleback Church for Easter. It is a message that Pastor Rick Warren will touch thousands of people with a word that is so desperately needed. I am both excited and anxious as we launch our study “Miracle of Mercy”, the week of April 9, 2016.

This article is for those that are both participating and leading any Bible Study. I remember when I was leading studies at the Woman’s Bible Café online with Christine Abraham. We have numerous conversations and prayers over leaders who were preparing  to start a new study. It was a common occurrence among all of the leaders right before a study and during the entire study. It never failed, cars would break down, plumbing pipes would burst, kids would act crazy, marital strife would occur, if you could name it, it probably happened!

Some of it is humorous now to think of, notice I said “some of it”, but one thing we could count on, it was coming! God is amazing though, He always worked it out for us! One thing we could always count on, we grew as people, most importantly closer to God and His Word!  Christine and her leaders still lead amazing studies, and she has an amazing network of women who love God and are disciples for Christ! For a great study for women I encourage you to check it out!  http://www.womensbiblecafe.com.

One of the things that we must realize, that spiritual warfare increases and can seem very intense. To a new leader, this can be not only frightening, but unexpected! Even participants in the Bible Study can expect some increased warfare in their lives. It is nothing to be afraid of, because God is always in control but something just to be cognizant about. It is coming!

What I love about God is that He always prepares us and gives us a solution to every problem that could arise. I love Ephesians 6:11-18, because it gives us a breakdown on how to surround ourselves in God’s Word.

The Scripture states:

11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,

15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6:11-18, NIV, Biblegateway.com).

I love this! He gives us step by step instructions on how to protect ourselves.

John 10:10 says, ” The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (NIV).

So if you have warfare around you , get excited! Get excited because God is getting ready to pour into you something amazing! You are going to lead ones to Christ that either do not know Him, or in a place of staleness in their relationship with God. Get excited, and pray hard for your groups, your leaders, your Pastor. We all need  one another, and lives are getting changed one soul at a time.!

Easter time is a very busy time for churches, at Saddleback we prepare our leaders months in advance to ensure that not one person is lost in the process, and definitely not one soul is forgotten.

Be encouraged!

Traci

 

Will You Recognize His Voice?

Have you ever had a friend who only called you when they wanted something? It didn’t just happen to you once in a while, but several times. How did that make you feel? I am sure if you are like most of us, you got to the point that you did not want much to do with that person. It would be for me a combination of hurt, anger, confusion and maybe other feelings that you did not even realize you had, but not a good feeling!

Imagine how God must feel sometimes? Knowing that God loves us more than anything and even sent his own Son to die for our sins, I couldn’t even imagine. We do that too Him quite often! Our relationship with Him is often based on the circumstances in our own lives. God created us for relationship with Him!

We know that Jesus experienced every emotion that we have experienced!  Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and asked for His friends to be there for Him during a time that he needed friends the most, before He would go on the cross to die for our sins!  Its says in Matthew 26:36-42

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

In His most vulnerable time, his friends let Him down. Jesus was very honest in admitting His feelings about going to the cross, but still He was obedient to His Father and died for us. Imagine how hard that would be to do especially when your closest friends rejected you during your weakest moment? God knew what He was doing and sent His son to die, despite the ugliness of the people.

I know that there have been times when I was not a good friend. There were times when I let people down, and was very unloving. I still have occasions where I do that, for we are not perfect and sin daily!

The last person I want to hurt is Jesus! I know that even though I forget to talk to him on a regular basis, and ignore him when He wants to have relationship with me; He still loves me!

My question has always been, “If Jesus called me on the telephone today would I recognize His voice?” If a close friend calls me, I automatically know her voice right away almost before she even speaks.  Would you?

We know people close to us not only by their voice, but often recognize them from a distance by their walk, the way they stand, or the things they say. Would I recognize Jesus? That’s my question, and my quest. I want to know Jesus when He calls me, or even better when He comes to visit!

 

Saddleback Community Leaders

As we gear up to start another campaign at Saddleback, the “Miracle of Mercy” remember that this will be a time that we will be adding many more groups. It is anticipated to have several hundred added onto our small groups. One week prior to the start of Miracle of Mercy it is recommended that our hosts do the Passover study, that will lead right into the Miracle of Mercy study. Now is the time to go through all of your groups, and make a list of your inactive groups. If you haven’t already, this might be a good time to send an email to your hosts, mentioning the important details of the study, that you are available to them, and that due to the fact that we are anticipating a lot of group inquiries, if they are not interested in adding people to their groups, make sure that they have closed or made their groups “private.” This will prevent  additional people being added to their small group.

Pray for all your hosts, and if there is anything that I can do for you, please let me know. I am available on Facebook or via email pollardtl@cox.net

I am excited for our new study and all the wonderful things that God will do!

 

Traci

 

 

What’s New

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It has been awhile since I have written any articles in my blog. So much has been going on in my world. Saddleback Church is getting ready to start their new Easter study, “Miracle of Mercy.” I will post weekly once the study starts April 9, 2016 on http://www.mysaddleback.com. If you would like to join me in a small group, please let me know!

Spring is officially here, I think…. Virginia has the strangest weather ever! Now that I have said that, it will snow next week!

I have been busy teaching school and trying to finish my classes in Graduate School at Liberty University.

I look forward to chatting with you all very soon!

Traci