The Celebration is written by a team of writers from Gateway Believers Fellowship in Carnesville, GA. We are an eclectic group, coming to this assignment from various backgrounds and interests, but drawn together with the common purpose of sharing the message God is speaking to the Body of Christ today.
In keeping with our own individual style, we’d each like to introduce ourselves to you in our own way…
I used to define myself as musician/singer/songwriter, but the longer I live and the better acquainted I become with myself, the more I realize that music is simply my preferred medium of expression. Who I truly am, is one who instinctively desires to find the celebratory or commendable quality of everything and everyone; then somehow express that merit, that praise-worthiness. So now I define myself as a psalmist because this expression comes most typically through song.
I often feel misunderstood because I celebrate the hurts, failures and distresses of life with as much (and quite possibly more) enthusiasm as the comforts, successes and joys. I believe that it’s through our willingness to explore and share our weaknesses and our vulnerabilities with each other that we become stronger and more like Christ – which is really the point of it all – to be more and more like the one who loved so much He gave even Himself.
Check out my blog: Put on a Happy Face
I have been a member of the Gateway family ever since I was 12 years old, and the bus riders persuaded me to come with some “Bubble Yum”. Hey! It worked, and I thank God everyday that it did! I live in the FANTABULOUS city of Lavonia, GA with my two sisters, Vickie & Cat ( FYI, no, we don’t fist-fight, date one another’s boyfriends, or share toothbrushes!). I stand firmly on what I believe. I go to church & give my supply because I WANT to not because it will get me a crown in heaven! I GO HARD OR I GO HOME! Despite my opinions & sarcasm, I’m a really laid-back person, who you’ll usually find drawing or painting, dancing to the music in my head, hiking in the mountains, chillin’ around kids & teaching them every Chaka Khan song I know, or sangin’ a song on Johnny Mae or Delicious (the names of my acoustic guitar & electric bass…Yes! They have names!) All in all, I am crazy about my family (church family included), the kids I minister to & my friends. I graduated from the University of Georgia in 2007 with a BS in Biology & Anthropology, but my life-long goal is to be one of Shania Twain’s back-up singers. Until that happens, I am in the process of going back to college so that I can get my teacher’s certification & my Masters in Education. YEAH!
Check out my blog: Ann’s Space
Some may say I’m the unfortunate bastard of a single-parent home, abuse, government cheese and ghetto-fabulous living. If asked, I’d say that I’ve always been a woman of justice. I stepped on a bus of Gateway Believers Fellowship at the age of 11 to “lay down the law” amongst church folks and have found myself captivated by the love of God since that very day 15 years ago. I enjoy the simple things in life: rockin’ 70′s music, competitive Uno games, wearing dress shoes with athletic socks and fried bologna sandwiches. Furthermore, I am always amazed at God’s supernatural ability to speak to me via Rocky IV, The Color Purple and Remember the Titans. A proud alumni of UGA (’05), I live in LAGA (Lavonia, GA) with my sisters, Cat and Ann, and enjoy spending time with my many-membered family.
Chek out my blog: Sister to SustahBehold what manner of love is this, that one should lay down his life for his friend.
David Coker, Apostle and Founder of Gateway
I went in circles for years. I was hungry to experience more of God but couldn’t get past my old habits, hang-ups, and mindsets. I saw myself as a failure, so I was a failure. Every time I got close to breaking through to a new level in my relationship with God, something happened and I’d end up right back on the bottom.
Finally, I allowed the Holy Spirit to teach me how to break out of this cycle with the power of prayer. What He did for me, He’ll do for you. The things you read on The Celebration Blog will help you experience breakthrough for yourself. You really can breakthrough to all God has for you!
My wife, Geraldine, and I planted Gateway Believers Fellowship in 1987. Through the miracle working power of prayer, Geraldine was healed from a life-threatening illness in 1994. We are striving to disciple a generation of Kingdom Leaders committed to establishing a prototype church where God can manifest His power and anointing in the Believers.
I am many things to many different people; wife, mama, sister, daughter, granddaughter, coworker, employee, and friend. My desire is to be the best of the best in all categories. God has placed wonderful people in my life’s path. In my spare time I love to scrapbook, write and travel (creating memories with my family).
My husband and I became members of Gateway in 2010. I started writing for the Celebration in early 2012 and have loved every minute of it. Being a writer for the Celebration has been more uncomfortable than comfortable for me. I have absolutely had to endure many things that are not the norm for me. However, along the way, I have made wonderful friends and met some awesome people. If any of my articles touch only one person, all the challenges have been worth it. I wouldn’t trade my Celebration experience and people for nothing in the world!!
I was born in Tacoma, Washington and landed in Northeast Georgia through a series of bizarre life events that could only have been orchestrated by God. One day, I’ll write a book about it! I’m married to the love of my life, have two great sons, and enjoy the many assignments God has given me to fulfill in this life as a public school teacher, a graduate student, a community leadership coordinator, and a minister of the Gospel. We’ve been at Gateway for 16 years now, where I presently serve as Chief Editor, Senior Writer, and Blog Hoster for The Celebration. I’ve always loved to write, and have been so thankful God has used my talent and interest to serve Him. In addition to writing/editing, I enjoy reading, watching movies, birdwatching, traveling, and drinking really GOOD coffee!
Dr. Matthew Randolph
I was born in Michigan, but grew up in rural middle Georgia with two younger sisters, my dad and stepmother (my mother passed away when I was 7). Growing up, I always wanted to be a veterinarian and have always had a love for animals. I went to the University of Georgia for my undergraduate degree, but entered UGA’s College of Veterinary Medicine prior to obtaining my Bachelor’s degree. I graduated with my Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 2000 and began working as a private practitioner. I worked clinically in veterinary medicine for 5 years before going back to school to pursue a career in research. I am currently a graduate student at Emory University pursuing a PhD studying biochemistry and cell biology. I enjoy camping, reading, playing card and video games, and spending time with my friends and church family. I work in Children’s Ministry at Gateway and wrote a Biblically-based science fiction series for kids. I have been writing for The Celebration for almost 5 years now.
I have been married to my high school sweetheart for forty-two years.
We have two children, and eight grandchildren who make my heart smile.
My husband and I moved to North East Georgia the summer of 2011.
I knew I was home the first time I visited Gateway Believers Fellowship.
I try and find something to celebrate every day.
I love to laugh. I enjoy making others laugh as well. I read that laughter causes less wrinkles than frowning. It is also an added must for every wardrobe.
I have worn a lot of hats in my life. Hairdresser, preschool teacher, and teaching parent at a boys and girls home to name a few.
I enjoy expressing myself with writing. It is a blessing to be part of The Celebration writing team.
I have decided to never fully grow up. It sounds like it would be boring.
I was relieved to find that God loves me just the way I am. Age is just a number. Mine is unlisted.
I admire my father. I followed in his footsteps by joining the marines. I am proud to have served my country while stationed in Vietnam. After I got out of service, I found a career with the railroad. There I worked as a trackman, track inspector, and foreman.
I have been married for forty-two years. I have two children I am very proud of. My eight grandchildren are the apple of my eye.
I like to garden. I enjoy planting both vegetables and flowers. I also like reading, golfing, and woodworking. I enjoy being retired. My wife and I also enjoy taking vacations.
Since moving to Georgia and becoming a part of the body at Gateway, I find it has brought an even greater fulfillment to my life. I am thankful to have the opportunity to share my heart in The Celebration.
I am many different things to different people. That is a simple yet profound statement. In college, people often label me as an intellectual. Sometimes I question that term, because what does that really mean? Does it mean that I’m smarter than my peers? I don’t think so. I would say that I’ve learned how to study, though! Others would label me as a writer. In my writing, I long to find the deeper meanings in things, places, and people. As a result of having cerebral palsy, I would say that I’ve learned to study people quite well. I guess you could say my inquisitive (but some may say nosy) nature is good for something after all! I’m majoring in Communication and learning more about myself and others with each passing day. The Celebration is wonderful outlet for me to let those words loose that float around in my head. I’m continually humbled that God uses me to impact others.
Visit my blog: Making my Mark
I am a single parent of two boys, well young men now. I was born in Dayton, Ohio at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. I have lived in several different countries thanks to the USAF. I REALLY enjoy all my jobs that I do. I enjoy being outside fishing, gardening, playing with my dogs, and just about anything outside. I have always loved to read and write. I still have the newspaper, 3rd grade journal, and play that I wrote in elementary school and junior high. I enjoy old classics – Andy Griffith, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, just about any old western, Disney classics, and who-done-it shows. When I get the chance, I love to read mysteries and science fiction. My profession is a special education teacher where I love to work! The students are awesome! My oldest son, who is a special needs adult, just got married to another special needs adult.
We have been at Gateway for nearly 20 years. Currently, I am the Bishop over our preschool department. These joyful, energetic children are such a wonderful gift from God! They can see through the facade that you carry in and they are very to the point about their thoughts. I love our work with these children, laying that foundation necessary to shaping them into effective disciples and leaders for the Kingdom of God. I learn so much about myself each time I am with them, and much of what they teach me is what I write about here in The Celebration… out of the mouths of babes!!