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565 E William & Mary Dr. (765) 327-7157
Centerton, IN 46151 info@rest-ministries.org

Due to overwhelming response, the Personal Retreat Tool Kit is now available at a 40% discount. Tool Kit owners see such a tremendous value in the Tool Kit, we want to make it available to even more people. Now for only $12 you can receive your own personal copy of this priceless retreat tool.

This Tool Kit includes: Sabbath Rest History and Teachings, What to Expect, Journal Tips, Names of God, Suggested Readings, Defined Psalms, Personal Spiritual Assessment, Fasting Teaching, Testimonies and many other useful tools to assist you in your spiritual walk.

Whether you retreat with REST Ministries at Shepherd’s Gate Inn or at another secluded location, you will be sure to want to include your own personal copy of REST Ministries’ Personal Retreat Tool Kit!

This E-book is available for easy, secure download by simply pasting the following link in your browser:http://rest-ministries.org/products/tool-kit and following the simple instructions.

In addition, if you have scheduled a personal retreat at Shepherd’s Gate Inn, you can receive an additional amazing discount just for the asking! Just email info@REST-Ministries.org with “Tool Kit Discount Code” in the subject line for a huge additional discount (70% total)!

Please check back often at the resources site as we will soon have several excerpts from the Tool Kit for you to peruse. We will also be soon adding some selective teachings and some of the Shepherd’s Gate Inn’s recipes as free downloads!

In addition we will be soon offering a membership option.that gives you premium specific teaching materials, podcasts, the most requested and sought after recipes and other discounted specials (such as reduced stays at the Inn, special group retreat offers, premium teaching materials, pastor appreciation certificates, gift certificates and other special offers).

Check back often!

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With ever-increasing guests comes escalating work! God didn’t bring such an amazing increase to overwhelm REST Ministries’ staff; God had a plan. As God provided astounding abundance in the harvest of retreat guests, he has also supplied many willing workers. God has brought forth nearly 175 individuals to assist with the workload by volunteering their time, resources and talents at various times over the past year! Where God moves, faithful people follow.

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God has supernaturally blessed the ministry of REST Ministries here at Shepherd’s Gate Inn. We are on track to end 2001 with a 760% increase in the number of individuals God has blessed and encouraged over the previous year. What an amazing God! Where God moves, we must obediently follow!

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Did you know the deadline for some non-cash donations is as early as December 12th? Did you know you can donate business interest, real estate, mutual funds and stocks to REST Ministries through National Christian Foundation Indiana and receive an immediate tax deduction? Please copy and paste the following link into the address line of your search engine for deadlines and more information: http://indiana.nationalchristian.com/1016

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Don’t know what to give your pastor for Pastor Appreciation Month? Express your gratitude to him / her with a gift certificate to Shepherd’s Gate Inn! Email info@rest-ministries.org for more details.

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Looking for someplace new for your group to have a very special Christmas lunch or dinner? Well look no further because Shepherd’s Gate Inn is hosting such events for the month of December! Learn more by clicking on the newsletter tab.

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It is as simple as clicking your mouse and you can assist REST Ministries to receive a $50,000 grant! Follow the following link to the Giving of Life Grant site and vote for REST Ministries. The more votes the better our chances. Register and receive 3 extra votes. Here is the link: http://givingoflife.com/browse/rest_ministries_inc/ . If it doesn’t connect you just copy the link to your browser. Thanks for voting

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Did you know you can donate non-cash gifts (real estate, business assets, stocks, even a portion pf your business and many other non-liquid assets) to REST Ministries today? You can donate such items, maintain current ownership, receive an immediate tax benefit, and avoid capital gains taxes! You can give more to God right now and less to the government!

Did you also know through establishing a Charitable Gift Annuity, you can not only fund the ministry work of REST Ministries and receive the afore mentioned benefits, but receive regular annuity payments for the rest of your life? There are some very interesting ways to be generous! For more information on these amazing ways to partner with REST Ministries please contact The National Christian Foundation of Indiana at http://indiana.nationalchristian.com/home. Or call Jim Cotterill @ 877.623.4639.

God loves a cheerful giver…what are you waiting for?

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Prayer is the most important part of the Christian life, it is the way we communicate with God, and the way God communicates with us. In prayer we participate in the work of God, and we lift up to God the praise and Glory that he has entrusted and given to us.

However, I’ve found that there are times in my life where I don’t know what to pray, or how to pray, or if what I pray is appropriate. I often need a guide to prayer, or someone to tell me what to pray. Several years ago, I was taught that one of the best place to go to learn to pray is the Psalms, I haven’t turned back since.

The Psalms are a treasure trove of prayers. I would say the Psalms are the pinnacle of written prayer. Not only are they inspired by the Holy Spirit, but they have been used by the Church as prayer since the Ascension of Christ.

Often, however, the Psalms are studied and not prayed. Though studying in and of itself is not a bad thing, we limit ourselves to very small perimeters by only trying to glean knowledge from the Psalms rather than praying the Psalms to God. They were originally written as song and prayers, they should be used as such.

However, some might object to this with the classic objection to all “written prayer”: that a preformed and pre-written prayer is not “from the heart” you aren’t “really praying.” This is a very narrow view of what prayer is – is worship music therefore not prayer?

The Psalms are not only prayers, but they are prayers given to us by God to pray to Him. Therefore, they are our tutors in prayer through the Holy Spirit. We can learn what kind of things we can say to God, and what he wants to hear from us. When considered in light of this, the Psalms open up a whole world of prayers that we might not imagine that God would want to hear from his creation.

For a few surprising examples consider a few lines from these Psalms:

Psalms 44:22-26
Rouse yourself! Why do you sleep, O Lord?
Awake, do not cast us off for ever!
Why do you hide your face?
Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?
For we sink down to the dust;
our bodies cling to the ground.
Rise up, come to our help.
Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love.

Psalms 22.1-2 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer;
and by night, but find no rest.

Psalms 103:1-5
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and do not forget all his benefits-
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the Pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good as long as you live
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Psalms are full of prayers for every situation in life. There have been times in my life where all I could do was pray the psalms because of the pain and confusion I felt in myself. I couldn’t think of words to express my emotions, but God gave them to me in his Word.

One more thing about how amazing the Psalms are, Christ is through out all of them. Christ is the center of all of reality, As Christians he is the Person we live in, find our meaning in, and live out to others. Christ is veiled in the words of the Psalms. It is a joy to be praying a Psalm and gain an insight into the work of Christ in my life. The section of Psalms 103 above is a perfect example of this; it is in Christ that God does all these things for us.

One final insight that I’ve found helpful in praying the Psalms.There are several Psalms that might make people uncomfortable, ones that ask for vengeance or the destruction of the wicked. I’ve taken these Psalms in two basic ways in the way I pray them to God.

Sometimes I use a Psalm that talks about God fighting my enemies and destroying them as a prayer against the evil one’s schemes to destroy or stop me from doing God’s will. A good example of this is the beginning of Psalms 35

Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me;
fight against those who fight against me!
Take hold of shield and buckler
and rise for my help!
Draw the spear and javelin
against my pursuers!
Say to my soul,
“I am your salvation!”

Another way of taking Psalms of this violent nature is by imagining the battle ground as your soul and the evil as that which God is cleaning out and making holy. Psalms 101 is a very good example of this:

1I will sing of steadfast love and justice;
to you, O LORD, I will make music.
2I will ponder the way that is blameless.
Oh when will you come to me?
I will walk with integrity of heart
within my house;
3I will not set before my eyes
anything that is worthless.
I hate the work of those who fall away;
it shall not cling to me.
4 A perverse heart shall be far from me;
I will know nothing of evil.
5Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly
I will destroy.
Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart
I will not endure.
6I will look with favor on the faithful in the land,
that they may dwell with me;
he who walks in the way that is blameless
shall minister to me.
7No one who practices deceit
shall dwell in my house;
no one who utters lies
shall continue before my eyes.
8 Morning by morning I will destroy
all the wicked in the land,
cutting off all the evildoers
from the city of the LORD.

If you imagine the land as your inner life, then you can see that there is both good and evil raging there and God is with you destroying the evil and replacing it with the good. This way of reading these types of psalms might seem strange to some, but I’ve found it most helpful in my times of praying the psalms.

So there it is, my plug on why you should pray the Psalms, I hope you found it helpful and encouraging. If personal experience is what convinces you, praying the Psalms probably saved my relationship with God and helped me come to a place where I was praying to a real Person, not just a concept or idea.

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My internship will be ending in a few weeks, and the last few weeks have been really chaotic for me (thus the sporadic of blog updates). I’ve had some health issues that have forced me to go to Indianapolis several times for doctor’s appointments etc. I’m hoping that this is over for the most part and I can get back to working around here. Though I’m finding that my energy levels are pretty low so it is hard to find the strength to work long days.

It is in these times that we can really learn a lot from God, it is often in weakness, difficulty, and hardship, that we can learn a lot about ourselves and God. One thing that continues to be a theme in my life right now is the importance of practicing God’s presence. I am also astounded by how difficult it is.

Some people might thinking that practicing God’s presence is not for them, that it is only for an elite class of Christians who have a special in with God. This however is not true at all.

“To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1.27).

“His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants in the divine nature” (2 Peter 1.3-4).

“I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph 3.16-19).

Every Christian has the Holy Spirit in them (“and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit”(1 Cor. 12.3)) and through the Spirit of Christ, Christ lives in us and makes us participants in His divine nature through His love and grace.

That is what the Bible and Christian tradition testifies to, but why does experience seem to testify the opposite? Perhaps it is just me, but I find it very difficult to keep this reality (that Christ is with me/within me at all times) present in my daily life. To put it another way, it is very difficult to believe that an unseen reality really does exist and is more real then that which I see.

There are probably a lot of reasons, but one is that we live in a society that believes that only what is seen and sensed is real. Matter is most real, and anything non-material is less-than-real. This however is diametrically opposed to the reality of the life of Christians. Reality is made up of the seen and unseen world, and it is in fact the unseen that is most real. It is only in our egocentric view of reality that we imagine that what we see and experience is most real.

If the above is true, and the unseen is very much real, and Christ dwells in us and his presence is always with us, guiding, loving teaching and protecting. How do we get to the point where we know and experience the presence of Christ with us?

I don’t know. I have to take it in faith that what Christ has done and is doing is reality and that he does dwell in me through his Holy Spirit. Right now, I simply have to discipline myself to remember that Jesus is with me and I am with Him. This is much harder then I imagined, but it is the life of the Christian. Christ in us, and I want nothing else.

But when we do come to the realization of the presence of Christ, there is nothing quite like it. It isn’t necessarily an experience (if we seek the experience of Christ and not himself, we seek an idol), but it is more an assurance, a peace. It is coming into line with the reality of the World: That Christ is in you and that this is our hope of Glory.

Tradition jeden: This week I recommend the book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. It is a daily devotional focused on the reality of The presence of Christ in our lives. It is a source of encouragement and comfort to me on this journey of coming in to the realization of the presence of Christ in my life.

Tradition dwa: As I said earlier I have a few weeks left here at the Inn, pray that I end strong and with a lot of energy. After all the sickness (and with the possibility of it not being over) I’m feeling quite drained. Please pray that I will find strength in God’s presence as I finish my time here. Pray for Chuck and Becka, they are facing a very busy fall schedule with out any help (so far) pray that God will provide help (part or even better, full time!).

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