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South Fellowship Church

About Yvonne Biel

I’m here to journey with others to the feet of Jesus through creative soul care and mind/body healing work. I am the Formation Pastor at South Fellowship Church

Worship as Warfare

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.”
‭‭Joshua‬ ‭6:2-5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Worship is more than singing. And, worshipful singing is more than a beautiful sound.

When we minimize worship to a few pre-planned songs on Sunday mornings, we strip corporate singing of all its power and authority.

Take the walls of Jericho for example. God specifically instructed the band to lead the battle against Jericho – not as just a mysterious miracle but as a teachable moment. That day the people of Israel had to surrender their best laid strategies, their independent longings for control, and their national reputation in God’s story.

In one day, they marched together seven times around the city walls as a symbol of unity and completion.

Worship became their weapon – not because it held power in and of itself but because of the process of surrendering their lives corporately and completely to the one in whom they worship.

Our corporate worship holds the same potential.

We can mark off territory for God through worship as we surrender more of ourselves to him. It’s the most powerful display of giving God full authority over our hearts and lives!

Singing together is not just an act of bringing a multitude of voices together to make a melodic sound. Singing together marks off greater territory for God’s kingdom in our hearts, our families, and our communities. Today, sing throughout your house to mark off territory for greater Kingdom influence.

Worship as Warfare2022-08-13T14:43:34-06:00

Entering the Presence of God

“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.” – Psalm 4:8

God loves to offer his children rest and peaceful sleep. It’s a repeated theme throughout the scriptures (Psalm 95:7-11, Matthew 11:28, Hebrews 4:1). This kind of peaceful rest comes by entering the presence of God, because God’s rest is an extension of himself.

It is in God’s presence where we feel and deeply know God’s unconditional love. When we enter God’s rest, he eases our anxieties, he illuminates what’s true, and he welcomes us with belonging and identity. In God’s presence, we can hear God more clearly and we can sleep more peacefully. This is wonderfully good news!

Here’s the bad news. The writer of Hebrews discusses the theme of rest in the negative sense. Based on the resistance and rebellion in the Israelites, the author concludes, “we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief” (Hebrews 3:19). Interestingly enough, this author is suggesting we can know who is not walking by faith because they have failed to enter a state of rest.

Many who call themselves Christians have heard the good news of salvation. Many have accepted the truth that they are sinners in need of extravagant grace and believed in their heart that God’s grace is sufficient to redeem their wrongdoings. Unfortunately, many still fail to enter God’s rest. They fail to enter God’s presence to receive the fullness of his loving kindness.

If you make your faith a transactional gift of eternal life, but fail to enter God’s presence of unconditional love, you may need to heed Hebrews warning and return to God’s presence today. Use this liturgy for resting to begin your return journey today.

Lead me to your rest, dear Lord. Lead me to your rest.
Lead me into being and becoming, laying down my urgent tasks.
For even you rested on the Sabbath.
Lead me away to quiet places, leaving the company of friends and family.
For even you withdrew to solitary places.
Lead me to be still and know you are God, loving you more than created things.
For with you, I lie down in safety, my weary soul can breathe.
Lead me to your rest, dear Lord. Lead me to your rest.

Entering the Presence of God2022-08-06T10:02:41-06:00

Camping Out with God

The Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the Lord’s Festival of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days. The first day is a sacred assembly; do no regular work. For seven days present food offerings to the Lord, and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present a food offering to the Lord. It is the closing special assembly; do no regular work.

(These are the Lord’s appointed festivals, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies for bringing food offerings to the Lord—the burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings required for each day. These offerings are in addition to those for the Lord’s Sabbaths and[a] in addition to your gifts and whatever you have vowed and all the freewill offerings you give to the Lord.)

So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to the Lord for seven days; the first day is a day of sabbath rest, and the eighth day also is a day of sabbath rest. On the first day you are to take branches from luxuriant trees—from palms, willows and other leafy trees—and rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. Celebrate this as a festival to the Lord for seven days each year. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come; celebrate it in the seventh month. Live in temporary shelters for seven days: All native-born Israelites are to live in such shelters so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in temporary shelters when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.’”

So Moses announced to the Israelites the appointed festivals of the Lord.
Leviticus 23:33-44

God-appointed festivals were designed to remind God’s people of past events and foretell of future events. The entire Festival of Tabernacles, celebrated during autumn harvest, commemorates God’s presence with his people during the wilderness wanderings and also looks to the coming return of Christ when God’s presence returns to be with his people in a particular way once again.

It is prophesied when Christ returns, we will gather at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb celebrating the triumph of the Savior over all things, much like a final harvest festival (Revelation 19:7-10).

This festival begins with the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah) which ushers in ten days of penitence for the people to prepare for the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). This holy day commemorates the annual moment when the high priest would enter the presence of God in the Holy of Holies (Leviticus 23). The Feast of Tabernacles is considered the holiest of days in the festival and begins five days later to celebrate the final harvest day and foreshadow the final harvest of souls.

Just as God instructed them, Jews continue to set up shelters on the Feast of Tabernacles and dwell in them for seven days. Notice how God specifically instructed them to pull from luxuriant trees and build beautiful booths. As they look forward to feasting in the fullness of God’s presence, God wanted his people to long for his presence in a playful and beautiful way. God purposely invited his people to camp out every year to remind them of how he too, longs to dwell with them.

In what way can you enjoy God’s presence in a playful and beautiful way? Could you go camping or create an event with beautiful hospitality? Use your creativity to enjoy God’s presence today and remember how much he longs to dwell with you.

Camping Out with God2022-07-24T15:45:08-06:00

Dinner in the Desert

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
He refreshes my soul.
Psalm 23:1-3a

Psalm 23 drops us into a desert scene. The desert is not a place of abundance. It’s a place of great need and a place of just enough. In this desert, we meet a shepherd and a poet. The shepherd leads his sheep with compassionate care through the difficult terrain. The poet likens himself to a helpless sheep yielding to the shepherd’s guidance during a season of great need.

When we enter poetry like Psalm 23, we find ourselves caught up in this imagery as well. We, like this poet, long to have our needs met, especially in seasons when provision is scarce. We yearn for our deep hunger to be cared for by someone who dearly loves us, who can see beyond our immediate needs, and who can lead us to a healthy future.

During desert times, we learn to trust the one who leads us. We learn to trust in the provision of the good shepherd. The one who guides us to places where we can graze, even if they are only tufts of grass. The one who guides us to a place of refreshment, even if they are only muddy pools of water from last month’s rain.

Jesus wants to eat with us in times of abundance and in times of scarcity. He wants to provide for our needs no matter which season we find ourselves in. Today, spend time in gratitude looking back at when God has provided for you in abundance and in scarcity.

Dinner in the Desert2022-07-20T15:21:34-06:00

Redeeming Travel

Transportation in the scriptures may have included animals, chariots, and boats, but the most common form of travel was by foot. Today, we can get from point A to point B in so many other creative ways like trains, planes, and automobiles. The modern list goes on. We have Segways, scooters, smart wheels, etc.

Humanity continues to master the art of getting places quickly and efficiently. But, Jesus chose to come during a time in history when the main form of travel was slow. What, then, can we learn from Jesus by the way he traveled from place to place?

Matthew 9:35-38 says, “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ’The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’”

  1. Jesus had a lifestyle of travel. “He went through all the towns and villages…” Matthew 9:35a
  2. Jesus lived out his identity and purpose wherever he went. “… teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.” Matthew 9:35b
  3. Jesus paid attention to what his Father was revealing. “When He saw the crowds, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few’.” Matthew 9:36-37
  4. Jesus modeled talking with his Father as he went about his travels. “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:38

We don’t have to embrace a lifestyle of geological travel like Jesus, but as we go from point A to point B in our day, we can travel as Jesus did by embracing our God-given identity and looking for God’s revelations.

Imagine yourself in the following experiences: How might you connect with God while driving? While on an airplane? While biking or on another form of transportation?

No matter where we need to travel to and from today, you can connect with the Lord. Just as Ruth pleaded with Naomi to be close to her wherever they would travel next, use her words as a prayer for your travels today. Lord Jesus, “don’t urge me to leave you … Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.” (‭‭Ruth‬ ‭1:16a).

Redeeming Travel2022-07-16T15:45:20-06:00

The God Who Walks

Walking is a strong, repetitive theme through the scriptures, and the first moment we witness walking is in the context of God slowly making his way through his garden.

God walks. We catch a glimpse of him walking in Genesis 3.

“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” (Genesis 3:8)

Perhaps this verse is too familiar to really note how unusual this sounds. How does God walk? Does God have legs? How would God’s walk sound? What was his experience like that day enjoying the garden during the coolness of the day?

Although we might not be able to answer every question that arises from the various descriptions of God in the scriptures, we can get curious about the importance of God walking.

When we walk…

  1. we have to get up and get moving
  2. we notice more of the world around us
  3. we can process thoughts using both sides of our brain

Walking often slows us down, keeps us healthy, and draws us into the present moment. And, this is what God does too. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He’s not in a hurry and he’s always present with us moment by moment. In God’s walking, God offers us himself.

“I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God. And you will be my people.” (Leviticus 26:11-12)

Today, ask God to go for a walk with you and notice what walking does for your body and your brain.

The God Who Walks2022-07-08T20:18:05-06:00

A Counter Story

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. Genesis 1:2

Stop and imagine this scene. Let your mind’s eye develop a picture of what this would have looked like. Place yourself in the scene to feel what it might have felt like for the earth to be formless and empty, dark and deep, with only a sense of a divine spirit existing over it all.

Yesterday, Ethan described the common thought of creation in early Mesopotamia. These creation stories in mythology pictured chaos, violence, and gods waging war to prove their strength and divinity. However, Hebrew thought introduced a new creation story where the divine spirit brought forth life, order, beauty, and goodness.

Where the world believed humans were created out of chaos, the Hebrews believed God ordered human existence. Where the world believed the divine spirit caused violence and death, inciting fear in mankind, the Hebrews believed God’s spirit animated life and offered tender loving care.

The simple invitation today is to remember the magnificent creation story. Look around as you go throughout your day and note any evidence of chaos as well as evidence of the Biblical creation story.

A Counter Story2022-07-01T20:25:27-06:00

Who’s King?

But Samuel replied:
“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”
1 Samuel 15:22

Saul’s disobedience was massive. 1 Samuel 15 marks the rejection of Saul as Israel’s King. Samuel said to [Saul], “You have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you as king over Israel!” (1 Samuel 15:26)

What made this such a big deal?

1. Saul heard the voice of God. “Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the Lord sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the Lord.This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’” (1 Samuel 15:1-3)
2. Saul disregarded the voice of God. “Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, near the eastern border of Egypt. He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs—everything that was good. They were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed.” (1 Samuel 15:7-9)
3. Saul manipulated disobedience to look like obedience. “But I did obey the Lord,” Saul said. “I went on the mission the Lord assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the Lord your God at Gilgal.” (1 Samuel 15:20-21)
4. Saul abdicated, which required someone else’s obedience. “Then Samuel said, “Bring me Agag king of the Amalekites… And Samuel put Agag to death before the Lord at Gilgal.” (1 Samuel 15:32-33)

Like Saul, we answer to a higher king. We may not hear God speak to us through prophets or priests in the same manner Saul did, but when we claim to follow King Jesus and make him the Lord of our life, we agree to listen and obey him. He is the King. We are not.

Ask King Jesus, “What’s the most important thing you want to know today?” Write down what he says to you. Whether you are making big decisions like where to move or what job to take or small decisions like what food to eat or what person to invite over, talk with your King and let him take the lead.

Who’s King?2022-06-26T18:10:42-06:00

The Battle Between

Paul says, “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.” (Ephesians 6:12)

If the battle is not against human beings, why is there so much conflict between us? Why is it so difficult to connect – especially here in Denver?

We have an enemy who dwells in between.

From the beginning, the enemy has caused enmity between God’s beautiful creations (Genesis 4). His questions prompted suspicion. His lies provoked fear. His accusations produced shame. Peter warns faith communities,

“Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

We have the same enemy in Littleton today.

Specifically in the Denver Metro area, the enemy maximizes on the independent pioneering spirit of the air. We live in the Wild West and just like those pioneers sought after personal riches through challenging adventure and thrill of the unknown, so many flock to this city to independently find their best life now.

This causes major divisions between people. Subconsciously, we constantly evaluate and feel evaluated based on whether others are going to help us on this journey or if they’ll just weigh us down.

The enemy has put so much fear between us that overcoming the battle between us and flourishing community requires dying to pieces of ourselves we 100% believe are helpful and protective.

If we want to join together to overcome the enemy between us, we must kill every voice within that says:

  • “I am my own and responsible to no one”
  • “I got this. I don’t need people”
  • “Everything in my life depends on me, but I don’t have what it takes to do it all”

Friends, these are lies from the pit of hell. If you’re living as if this is true, you are siding with your enemy. Take a few minutes now to get honest about what you’re truly believing about your independence.

If we want to join together to overcome the enemy between us, we must fuel the voice of truth:

  • “I am responsible for the common good of all those around me”
  • “ I need people who are different from me to make me a better human”
  • “Others love me and want the best for my life so I don’t have to do it on my own”

Take a few minutes to imagine your life depending on a beautiful array of friends for community, support, and joy for living.

The Battle Between2022-06-17T12:28:01-06:00

Inclusive Gift

“We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”” – Acts 2:11b-12

Imagine yourself amidst the crowd of Galileans staying in Jerusalem that day. Jerusalem is swarming with God-fearing Jews from across the known world and you are feeling the energy in the city. The Jews are gathering for their traditional fe”stival of Firstfruits. Perhaps you don’t understand the meaning of this festival but are mesmerized by how this one day has gathered people from every nation.

As you’re enjoying the sights and taking in the wonders of this festival, all of a sudden, something unusual starts to happen. The crowd bursts into laughter and tears start flowing. The sound of this massive crowd causes an uproar. You can see them. People of differing colors and ethnicities are connecting in ways you didn’t think were possible. All because they were speaking in each other’s native language. You were among a crowd of diverse people, but that day you truly felt “with” them.

No wonder the Scripture notes how the crowd was amazed and perplexed – wondering what all this means. All separation that once existed from language barriers was gone, in the blink of an eye.

This is precisely what the Spirit of God does. He breaks down barriers so he can be “with” his people and his people can be “with” one another. God is sometimes called Immanuel, “God with us”. Yet, there are three Greek words for “with” in the New Testament – meta, para, and en. Over the next few days, we will explore the nuances of all three.

Today’s word for “with” is meta, meaning together or among. Think about how many barriers we create between people – divisions of race, gender, political positions, socio-economic status, etc.. Truth is: humans create division but God’s presence includes. God’s Spirit brings humans together. Separations among us cease to exist when God’s presence enters the room. Find at least one person today with whom you can break down barriers because you walk with the Spirit. Ask God what creative actions you might take which would allow for the Spirit to be “with” or among your relationships today.

Inclusive Gift2022-06-08T14:14:20-06:00
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