Find Your Center

Dear NLS Family and Friends,
I find it easy to be “dog tired” with four dogs surrounding me. Our two (Gretchen and Chloe), and Rachael’s two (Danny and Darla), become very vocal when it comes to wanting to go outside. Any little thing can set them off: a neighbor’s dog barks, a car passes, a kid rides his bike, or a bug crawls twenty-five feet from the front door. Their reaction is always the same: four highly energized pups quickly spring into action: peering out the windows, running to the front door, jumping up and down, and barking uncontrollably. (Of the four, Chloe has the most obnoxious bark!)
I try to ignore them, but it doesn’t work. I try to be louder than they are, but that doesn’t work. So I get up, go through the garage to the side door and let them out. Blessed quietness – for about five minutes. Then they bark one at a time to get back inside the house. I call for them all to come in at one time, but that doesn’t work, so I get up four times to let four dogs inside. They settle down until the next distraction, and then the scene repeats itself.
This morning got to be a little much as I wore a path back and forth from the couch to the door. I asked myself, “Who’s in charge here – me or them?” And, with great fanfare, I closed every window blind. “Center!” I demanded as I closed the outside out. “There is more in this world than you four dogs!” My hope was that these dogs would finally calm down and give me peace of mind, and eventually they did. But I had to shut the world out for them to even hear me.
The thought came to me that at times I am as distracted as they are. I move from window to window, intently looking out, watching for whatever catches my eye. I run to and fro, in and out, going from one distraction to another.  Sometimes I am not even finished with one distraction until I move on to the next. I can almost hear the Lord say, “Center! There is more in this world than just you!” 
Could it be that the Lord is trying to distract you and me from the distractions that keep distracting us?  Could it be that he wants to give us “time out” from the frantic pace of the world by leading us to our personal prayer closets?  Could it be that he wants us to be more Mary than Martha, leaving the hustle and bustle of what we think is important to where we can sit at his feet and become centered with the One that should be Center of our universe?
“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  (Isaiah 55:8-9)
“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Do you need a miracle?

Dear NLS Family and Friends,

Do you need a miracle in your life today? Let’s look to the Bible to learn what the early Believers did when they needed a miracle.

1.  Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service.
2.  As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple.
3.  When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money.
4.  Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!”
5.  The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting a gift.
6.  But Peter said, “I don’t have any money for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!”
7.  Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and anklebones were healed and strengthened.
8.  He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them.
9.  All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God.
10.  When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded!
11. They all rushed out to Solomon’s Colonnade, where he was holding tightly to Peter and John. Everyone stood there in awe of the wonderful thing that had happened.  Acts 3:1-11 NLT
Here we have the Holy Spirit in action! This man who everyone knew was lame was now miraculously healed. Everybody is standing around, mouths gaping and staring at Old (formerly) Cripple Bob as he bounces around like a kangaroo in basketball shoes.
They are also gazing in amazement at Peter and John who must no doubt be some great and powerful prophets or some such to have affected this great miracle.
Let’s see what Peter thinks about this:
“Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd. ‘People of Israel,’ he said, ‘what is so astounding about this? And why look at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power and godliness?  For it is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the God of all our ancestors who has brought glory to his servant Jesus by doing this…’” Acts 3:12-13a NLT
Peter wanted the people to understand exactly who was responsible for what had just taken place. He wanted them to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it wasn’t human greatness or power that had made a difference but rather it was the Lord.
He continues in verse 16:
“The name of Jesus has healed this man–and you know how lame he was before. Faith in Jesus’ name has caused this healing before your very eyes.”  Acts 3:16 NLT

When faced with an impossible problem, a man – lame all of his life, Peter and John knew who to look to. But do we always do the same?

Where do we place our faith?

Do we look at how terrible our problem is or how great our God is?
Do we look for ultimate deliverance or joy or peace or insert whatever you like in other people around us? Eventually, everyone will disappoint you.
Or maybe we look to ourselves, to our own strength, charisma, ability, or as Peter put it, our own power and godliness. No, we like everyone else are but sinners saved by grace. We can do nothing in ourselves.
There is only One we can look to and that is Jesus.
“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 KJV
Now, I pray that you will find that miracle that you need today in the only place miracles can ever be found, by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Yours in Christ,

Bradley Sloan

Tax-Time is Over! Or So We Think.

Tax-time is over!  Or so we think.
But it really goes on and on and on. Buy a $1.00 candy bar and you’ll pay $1.07 (7% Georgia State Tax).  That doesn’t seem so bad.  But if you wanted to purchase a new truck, say a 2016  Ford F-150 Platinum (the top of the line), with a starting price of $59,340, your new Title Ad Valorem Tax (TAVT), also 7%, would come to $4,154 – to be paid up front.  Now that quite a chunk of change!
Then there’s the Federal Return. Just saying “Federal Return” can make one hyperventilate!  Ben Franklin wrote, “In this world nothing can be said that is certain, except death and taxes.” 
Tax-Time[2]_fullIRS is just not “user-friendly”. Rules are constantly changing, The burden of proof is on you. Rest assured, they will get as much as possible out of you (and your spouse, if you file jointly).    
Luke’s Gospel is not exempt regarding taxes.  (Thought you’d like that line)
Augustus, the founder of the Roman Empire and its first Emperor, ruled from 27 BC until his death in AD 14.  Luke chapter 2 tells about his decree to tax the whole world.
The new tax law required Joseph (with a very pregnant Mary in tow) to return to Bethlehem, his home of origin, to be taxed. Not only would he be taxed, but he had to make the trip back home to get tax bill!  God used this tax situation to bring Mary to the town where it was prophesied that Jesus would be born!
t600-4-8-11-TAX-CARTOON.jpgJesus was 30 years old when he began his earthly ministry.  We read in Luke chapter 5 that when Jesus saw Levi, a tax collector at work, he said, “Follow me”.  Levi left everything behind to follow the Lord.  We would have difficulty seeing anything good about an IRS employee today.  But Jesus knew and loved Levi and had a purpose in mind for his life!
Oh, how the Jews hated tax collectors.  Luke chapter 19 speaks of a curious little tax collector who climbed up in a tree to get a glimpse of the Lord. Looking up, Jesus called for Zacchaeus  to come down as he planned to spend time with him at his home.  Zach climbed down and joyfully received the Lord. The crowd wasn’t happy about the situation.  How could Jesus be a guest and eat at this horrible sinner’s home?  The Lord used this instance to reveal the depth of his love and his desire to bring salvation to the world!
  • The Lord has a purpose for everything, even taxes!
  • The Lord’s death was for all, even for IRS employees!
  • The Lord desires for everyone to be saved, even people named Zacchaeus!
No, tax time isn’t over yet – And yes, He does want us to pay our taxes!
Pastor JS Hartman,
New Life Sanctuary
Bloomingdale, GA

Forgiveness Bible Study

power-of-forgiveness_t A four-part Bible Study on Forgiveness. This is a great study on forgiveness that is simple, yet profound. The series was written by Raymond Woodward and covers the following topics:

Why I Can’t Forgive – Friday, June 12, 2 p.m.
Why I Shouldn’t Forgive – Thursday, June 25, 2 p.m.
Why I Won’t I Forgive – TBA
My Choice to Forgive – TBA

Please RSVP to Rachael Hartman at 318-319-6893, to ensure there are enough handouts.