A Call to Pray

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Prayer Crew Leader Gina Walker invites you to join her at A Call to Pray:

Wednesday, October 19, 8-930am                          and Friday, October 21, 430-7pm
At Light-Lamb Christian Bookstore
544 Cedar Point Blvd., Swansboro

Join with other from the community to pray. Email prayer@watermarkchurch c.org for more information.

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Unwavering resolve

by: Jonathan Day, Lead Pastor

Over the past five weeks, our church has been in a sermon series called Re-Build: A detailed look at the Old Testament book of Nehemiah.

Nehemiah was a common man in a unique position. He was secure and successful as cupbearer to the Persian King Artaxerexes. Nehemiah had little power, but he had a great influence. He was trusted by the king. He was also a man of God concerned about the fate of Jerusalem.

As Nehemiah’s conviction grew over Jerusalem, his ability to look beyond himself began to surface in an incredible way.

Nehemiah realized what God had called him to do at this specific time in his life must become his highest priority. I wonder how many times the creator of the universe calls you and I to a specific purpose and we choose to categorize that purpose as something other than priority. The danger in choosing this position often results in regret.

Regret is to feel sad or sorry about something that you did or did not do. When we look back over our lives, it will be the inaction not the action that we will regret.

Six years ago when God called me to plant Watermark Church, I was not sure that I would be able to handle the task. I knew it would be hard. I knew there would be opposition. I knew there would be many mountains and valleys. Though there were many uncertainties, the thought of standing before the creator of the universe one day and him saying, “Jonathan, you played it safe, but I want to show you what I had planned for you,” honestly shook me to the core. I didn’t want to be in the “What If” category.

What I love about Nehemiah was his unrelenting ability to look beyond himself and not allow the obstacles, needs, challenges or the enemy to weaken his resolve. He was not a “What If” man.  Now the reason that he was able to take this position was due to his belief in a mighty God and this is also what he allowed to shape his perspective. From beginning to end, Nehemiah prayed for God’s help. He prayed as he was beginning his task, he prayed throughout the task and he prayed when the task was complete.

Do you believe that God has called you to something much bigger than yourself? If so, you can find hope in the life of Nehemiah. He was a man that would not settle for the ordinary.

You may not have Nehemiah’s unique abilities or feel that you are in a position where you can do anything great for God, but there are two ways you can become useful to God. First, be a person who talks to God. Welcome him into your thoughts and share yourself, your concerns, feelings and dreams with him. Second, be a person who walks with God. Put what you learn from his Word into action. God may have an “impossible” mission that he wants to do through you.

 

Becoming an Acts 2 Church

By: Heather Abenti, Communications and Immersion Groups

Acts 2_42Acts 2 was an exciting time. The church was growing. The Holy Spirit came down to be the Helper Jesus had promised (John 14:26, 16:7). The people were quite literally on fire for God (Acts 2:3-4)! People were repenting and being baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38-39).

You might think that with all this excitement, all this repenting and baptizing, that the leaders would sit back and be satisfied in the exponential growth of their church. That the leaders could take a break or kick it into auto-pilot since clearly just preaching to the people was enough to grow the numbers of the church.

But you would be wrong.

The leaders of the church in Acts 2 didn’t sit back and congratulate themselves on their big numbers. They didn’t tell everyone that as long as they came to a Sunday service, it was enough. They didn’t boast about making a list of the fastest growing or largest churches. They understood that the conversion and baptism experience was only the BEGINNING of the faith journey and not the end.

Before we go any further, we need to define a few words that are important to understanding the Acts 2 journey.

Salvation: the process of repenting, believing in Jesus, and becoming more like Him until we are perfected in Heaven. This happens in three distinct stages. 

Justification: the moment of salvation where we have repented of our sins and been forgiven and justified before God.

Sanctification:  the process of becoming more like Christ while we are here on Earth.

Glorification: the moment that we are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus in Heaven and stand before Him in our glorified heavenly bodies.

A pastor friend once told me that if justification and baptism were the only goal, we would all die and be taken straight to Heaven in glorification  at that moment. But we don’t. We are left here even after our justification. Why? Because salvation is not just a one-time justification. And it isn’t just glorification in Heaven. It is also sanctification.

Let me say that word again – sanctification. This is the work of salvation about which Paul wrote to the Philippians (Philippians 2:12).  And the leaders of the church in Acts 2 had a plan for how people would work out their salvation – regularly meeting in small groups!

Acts 2:42-47 tells us that believers met together in two places: the temple courts (church) and homes (small groups). And in these small groups it wasn’t just a mini version of church. They ate together, they prayed, and they did life together (called “fellowship” in the Bible).

At Watermark, we call these small groups “Immersion Groups.” And beginning Sunday 8/28 you will have the opportunity to sign up to be part of an Immersion Group. Options include groups for men, groups for women, open groups, groups that go deeper into the sermon topics, groups that focus on accountability, groups that study a specific curriculum, groups that are open for families, groups that are just for adults, and even a group for students (A shout-out to all the Tsunami students!).

After service on Sunday, we will have Immersion Group Leaders and Volunteer Crew Leaders available so that you can sign up to be part of a small group or volunteer team. Take the plunge and dive deeper!

Ministry Spotlight: H2O Kids

h20 kids logo dark colorsH2O is the children’s ministry of Watermark Church. Lauren Cooper guides the H2O Crew of youth and adult volunteers as they love on and present the Bible to Watermark kids birth-5th grade.  Lauren believes strongly that children’s ministry is not just a babysitting service and her team brings the Bible alive at an age-appropriate level to Watermark kids every week, starting with Genesis, through games, songs, and crafts. Lauren says, “H2O kids are journeying through the Bible. With school starting shortly we have taken a detour into Ephesians 6 to talk about how the children can use the armor of God during their time at school. I want the children to know that learning God’s word is fun!”

Each week,  one youth and at least one adult volunteer miss the sermon to teach our kids about Jesus. The good news is that we are now filming the teaching each week, so volunteers can go back and watch it. There really is no excuse not to get involved with H2O Kids anymore!

If you would like to volunteer with H2O, email H2O@watermarkchurchnc.org or fill out the form below.

(Youth volunteers must be 6th grade and older. All volunteers may be subjected to an application process and background check, to ensure our kids safety.)

Meet Shawna Houle

avatar.2Meet Shawna Houle. You will see Shawna’s smiling face all around Watermark and most Sundays she can be found greeting people as we all come in for service. Shawna is married to Russ, the Set-Up/Tear-Down Crew Leader, and they have three daughters. Next time you see Shawna, introduce yourself and thank her for all she does for Watermark! #WeAreWatermarkChurchNC

Whatever…

By: Heather Abenti, Communications Crew Leader

imageWhatever. It’s a word we use to blow people off. To communicate that we don’t care about something that we probably really do care about. To show indifference. But the Bible gives us a whole different context for whatever.

Philippians 4:8 is the whatever passage.

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8, HCSB)

In our world, the whatevers are often negative. We think about the person that offended us. We focus on all the things on our to-do list and how little time we have to get them all done. We dwell on our insecurities. We are consumed with debts, jobs, illnesses, drama.

What if we did what Philippians 4:8 says? What if our thoughts dwelled – not just passed over but camped out – on the good, pure, lovely, commendable, and excellent things? How would our day, marriage, family, job, church be different if we worked to have our thoughts live on these whatevers?

Today I challenge you to focus on these whatevers. To allow your thoughts to dwell not on the negatives but on that which is truly worthy of praise.