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September, 2014 - Issue #119
Courtesy of Shutterstock
Courtesy of Shutterstock
The Link Between Purpose, Motivation & Growth
by Marlon Saunders

Growing in God's Word becomes an impossible and often frustrating task when there is no motivation attached. Motivation becomes impossible and frustrating when there is no purpose attached. Purpose feeds motivation and motivation feeds growth.

So, before I can experience growth I must first discover purpose. I have grown tremendously in the area of eating healthy foods because I discovered the purpose that healthy foods play in my life on a daily basis. When I discovered that eating healthy foods played a significant role in my physical energy and strength, as well as my emotional and psychological stability, I quickly discovered purpose that transitioned me into a motivation that produced incredible growth.

The same is true with the Word of God. I must first discover the purpose of God's Word in my daily life. What purpose does God's Word serve in the health of my physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual wellbeing? Are any of these areas enhanced when
I connect them to God's Word? Here's the quick answer - yes! If
I strive to be the best me that I can be and I understand that one of the main purposes of God's Word is to help me do that, there is a motivation that begins to arise in me. Ultimately this motivation produces growth because it forces me to consistently dive into God's Word in search of the application connected to the purpose.

I invite you to join us every Wednesday at 7pm and every Sunday at 9am or 11am as we connect purpose, motivation and growth in all of us.

Marlon Saunders is the senior pastor of Valencia Christian Center.
www.valenciachristiancenter.org


Dealing with Doubt by Josh Komo
Back to school can be a stressful time for students of all ages. Elementary children are wondering how God could put them in a class where they have no friends. Junior high kids are wondering how God could have made them so big or skinny, or why God would allow them to have acne. High school students might be wondering why God did not bless them with the gift of being smarter than some of their peers, or why God didn't gift them athletically like other girls or boys, or why God is not allowing them to get accepted into a certain college or university.

The doubts just never end! Although we may be uncomfortable with it, doubt can be a powerful tool for believers and especially for parents who have kids that are wrestling with doubt.

Just ask Job and his buddies.

Job had lost his family, health and wealth but through the process displays a life that is worthy of observing and mimicking. Job had his doubts, but God could handle them. In fact, he commends Job for expressing them and condemns Job's friends for not: "After the Lord had spoken these words to Job, he said to Eliphaz from Teman, 'I'm angry at you and your two friends because you haven't spoken about me correctly as did my servant Job.'"
(Job 42:7).

Let's face it, there is a lot that we don't know, but this doesn't have to be a bad thing. Your kids may doubt God, but the important thing is

that it is God who they doubt, because there is a lot that we don't know about God, too. Doubt, in and of itself, is not a bad thing; it is when that doubt builds up and isn't expressed that it begins to become destructive. This is why God commends Job's admission in the midst of his doubt: "I know you can do anything; no plan of yours can be opposed successfully" (Job 42:2).

As your kids are struggling with these sorts of tough questions and doubts in their life, they may not be looking for an answer to them, but they may be looking for someone who can handle them. You can be that person in their life who points to a God that can handle these questions, too.

Josh Komo is the research and resource pastor for Real Life Church.
Log on for service times and locations. www.reallifechurch.org


Meet VUMC Pastor
Debbie Sperry

When I tell people I'm a United Methodist, they often ask, "What's special about Methodists? How are they different?"

We trust the Bible as the Word of God and that Jesus is the Son of God, our Lord and Savior. We believe we are saved by grace through faith, not works. We share a common history of faith with thousands of other Christians. Nevertheless, there are things that do distinguish us. I love being a Methodist because of those particulars.

First, Methodists have a strong and deep commitment to justice. We believe we must act as God's hands and feet to make the world more of what God wants it to be.

Second, we approach Scripture by exploring the culture and circumstances of when those events happened. We ask the hard questions and often wrestle with the mystery of God.

Finally, our view of the faith journey is understood in terms of grace (God's free gift to us.). God has a hold on each person before they even recognize or seek after God. God wants a relationship with each person and so God calls us away from sin and apathy and into relationships with Him and others. Once we choose a relationship with God, we aren't done. God wants to shape and refine us to become more like Christ. In other words, we are never "done" growing as Christians.

I'm grateful to be sharing in ministry at Valencia UMC, as they are committed to these Methodist values. We are #hereforgood, seeking to make a positive difference in our community and around the world. We are committed to providing opportunities to grow in faith and relationship with God.

I'm excited to work and worship at a place where everyone is welcome. We would love to welcome you. We are here for you and #hereforgood.

Debbie Sperry is the lead pastor at
Valencia United Methodist Church. www.umcv.org
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