Real Church. Real Life. Real Celebration.

Leadership

With some of the things going on in the world today, there’s a trending thing I’ve noticed as of late. I’m talking about the belittling of leadership. The interesting thing is that this action is coming primarily from the leaders themselves belittling the gift of leadership that is placed in them. What I mean by this is a leader saying we’re going to the right, but someone else wants to go to the left. So the leader decides to go to the left because Susie wants to go left. The leader has now put down his leadership role and became a follower. Now let me say there is a difference between taking advice and processing an opinion versus just giving into the wants of those who are supposed to be following you.

God has set you as a leader to lead, which means He trusts you in the decisions you make over those he has placed under you. (Not saying you will always make the right decisions).

The flip side to this is the lack of appreciation followers have towards their leaders. As a follower, the ground you gain is directly associated with the ground your leader has gained. There are things you will never have to face because your leader has already broken through them or broken through that level of warfare as some would phrase it.

It is for this reason leaders MUST recognize the importance of their role. It’s just like the “V-formation” a flock of birds use. The leader goes first bearing a lot of the responsibility, but he doesn’t create a situation in which the rest of the flock will have to do nothing. Rather, the rest of the flock must also endure to make it to the destination, but because of the lead bird, they had to bear much less weight.

To not appreciate a leader is to say you’d rather go through what they went through than the little that you went through. For a leader to let someone or something else (outside of those who are over you) lead you and decide which direction you go is to try to make them the leader. To lay down your leadership role and let someone else take over is to deny God and His power because if He wanted you to be the follower someone else the leader, that’s what He would have done. Leaders, don’t be afraid to step out in faith. Trust God to direct your steps. Followers, appreciate your leaders! An encouraging word is a blessing those who hear it.

~ Jevallye’ Beverly

Leadership © Craig Parylo via freeimages.com

Be Encouraged

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort. Who comforteth us is all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted.” ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Some people act as if they have an answer or solution to any situation others are going through. I call that presumption. How can someone assume they have an answer for everything? Usually it’s rooted in pride or arrogance. If you have never driven to California, how can you tell me how to get there? We have all faced situations needing an answer. Just be careful who you ask for help or advice.

I have dealt with depression for a number of years. Reflecting back, before I was faced with it, I use to tell people, ” Get over it, Shake it off. It’s not that bad”. If you have never suffered with depression, you just don’t know. We should pray and ask for the Lord’s help before speaking.

The scripture I wrote at the beginning of this article means a lot to me. God is my Father. He is the God of all comfort. He is able to comfort your mind when turmoil and anxiety are raging. He is the Peace Speaker when the storms of life are blowing. He is that small, still voice when anxious thoughts are bombarding your mind. He is a friend who will never leave or forsake you. He is that abundant, available help in the time of our need.

I find strength, hope, and comfort in reading and meditating in His word. “Heaviness or anxiety in the heart of man causes depression; but a good word maketh it glad.” ~ Proverb 12:25

God’s Word will get you through it.

~Ricky Robinson

Image Credit: Fire in the Sky © Brett Theriault via freeimages.com

It’s Time to Move!

I’ve been thinking about change since Anessa told the teens at CHOSEN that she hasn’t seen a whole lot of change. To her, it seems like they always come back to the CHOSEN Youth Camp in the same place they were the year before. Even though I didn’t go to CHOSEN, I watched the services online. Immediately I asked myself, “Am I in the same place spiritually that I was last year? Has my change and growth been evident to others?” I hope it is! I hope others can see my growth.

Ever since that question, things have been coming to the surface. Reminders that change isn’t a one-time thing. Surrendering to God is something that happens continually. Every few days I tell God, “I surrender to you. I surrender my need to be right. Whatever you need from me, I am Yours.”

Each one of us needs to do that. And then, to bring everything full circle, Apostle David preached an excellent, timely, heart-piercing word recently about strengthening our joints. He said, “We have strong members (at Gateway), but weak joints.”

While thinking about how God wanted me to write everything that has been bouncing around inside of me, I thought about our physical joints. They become weak when we don’t use them. We lose function when we stop changing positions. If we stop getting up, over time, we won’t be able to get up at all.

I know there are areas of my life that I haven’t let God stretch because it’s painful. But I don’t want to be comfortable while God’s Kingdom becomes ineffective. I don’t want the weeds in my life to choke out the Word of God that is trying desperately to take root in me. I want God’s love to be fully manifested in me. I want His peace to be fully manifested in me.

While reading in Ephesians 4 today, I came across these verses, “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts” (NIV).

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my thinking to be useless. I don’t want my understanding to be darkened. I don’t want to be ignorant because I have hardened my heart.

Thinking about what those verses are saying. Useless thinking, no understanding, ignorant, and a hardened heart. All of those things cause a spiritual joint to be weak because the person won’t even realize they need to change. They won’t even recognize the need for growth!

We as believers of Christ don’t have to stay ignorant. Thank goodness our hearts can be softened. We can choose to not move our joints and we will get weaker and weaker. We will become more ineffective as the seasons go by. The only remedy is to say, “Continue breaking me, Lord. Continue shaping me. I know I’ve let You shape some areas of my life, but I need more of You. I want to be an effective joint in the Body of Christ, so show me the areas of weakness in me.” If I can’t see the problem, I can’t deal with it.

I know that two areas in me that are weak are my love walk and patience. Way before Apostle David even preached his message, I’d been asking God to increase my love walk and increase my patience. He has given me opportunities to walk in love, but I haven’t done that enough.

Guess what? There will be more opportunities for me to strengthen those weak areas. By His grace, I will become a strong joint, which means I will be able to minister to those in need.

It’s all about His Kingdom. There are so many people who need God’s love in their life, but we have to be mature, strong joints before we can help them. We know what to do. Now we have to do it!

~ Madison Sanders

Image Credit © tatlin via freeimages.com

Where Is Your Faith?

Do you want to know where your faith is? I can tell you. What are the words coming out of your mouth on any day?

The woman with an issue of blood said, “If I only touch His garment I will be made whole” (Matthew 9:21). She continued to speak until she saw the manifestation of her hope.

She kept saying, “I shall be made whole, I shall be made whole.” When she touched His clothes her touch of faith made a demand on the anointing that rested on Jesus.

What are you hoping for? Jesus has done everything and given us the tools to bring about the manifestation of the promises of God. All we have to do is take the medicine, which is the word of God.

Doctors are not bad. Medicine is not a bad thing. Continue to take the medicine and take the word of God. We will see the benefits of what Jesus died for on the cross if we keep the faith.

The woman had spent all her money. She had nothing to lose by confessing and pressing into what belonged to her. We must press into what belongs to us just like she did. It’s not just going to pop out of thin air.

We can’t wait until we need a miracle. If we need love, joy, prosperity, peace, healing, or restoration, then sow that into someone else’s life. The Bible says that we will reap what we sow if we faint not (Galatians 6:9).

The harvest is now. Don’t wait another day. Sow what you want. Say what you want according to the scriptures in the Bible.

~ Tammy Sanders

Image Credit: Thermometer © Aman Anderson via freeimages.com

The Love of No

A toddler had on a shirt that read, ” My name is no no.”  I laughed, understanding the meaning of the phrase.  No is a word children hear many times. It is not used to deprive them. It is to teach them and sometimes to protect them as well.

We recently celebrated a grandson’s birthday. He was specific about the gift he wanted. Two states and seven stores later, the requested toy was found. We were excited when the time came to present it to him. However, if he had asked for another toy a week later, the answer would be different because we just bought him a toy. We have to love him enough to say no. Because of the relationship we have built with him, he would accept this. He trusts that we know best.

A friend came to visit me from out of town. I told her the type of work I would like to find.  She called a few days later to tell me there was an opening for this kind of job in her area. She knew the person hiring for the position. We were sure this was the will of God for me. The interview went well. I was even shown the living quarters my husband and I would be using once I started.

Days passed with no word. I later learned that someone else had been chosen. I felt the pain of rejection. I was hurt that God didn’t consider how important this was to me.  Later, I was able to look back and realize that I wasn’t as prepared for the change this job would have brought as I had thought.

Trust is a big part of any relationship. As we grow in our faith walk, trust in our Heavenly Father is expanded. That experience was almost twenty years ago. I have grown since then. I have learned to wait when God answers me with the love of no. I realize that He knows what is best for me. I know He will answer accordingly.  My husband and I now live in a different town. The Lord gave us both an area and a home that we enjoy. We are part of Gateway Believers Fellowship. We love our church and our church family. I am thankful that God loves me enough to sometimes answer no. It is the path that led me here today.

~ Connie Robinson

 

Image Credit: All Smiles © Crissy Pauley via freeimages.com

Being Prepared

“A prudent man forseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.” ~ Proverbs 22:3

We are living in a time of real challenges and rapid changes. There is a lot of uncertainty. I remember simpler times. We use to only get about an hour and a half of news broadcasts. Now we are faced with the latest news 24/7. Terrorist attacks, government corruption, failing economies, civil unrest, strange diseases, and a number of other crises.

It just confirms that God’s word is true. Jesus said, “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” ~ Luke 21:26

I’ve never experienced being in an earthquake. People say that nothing is stable and everything is moving and falling during an earthquake. Sometimes it seems our world is in a constant shaking. It may be to late to prepare after something happens. Jesus told the parable of the wise man and the foolish man. “The rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon the house.” ~ Matthew 7:25

It happened to the wise man and the foolish man alike. The wise man was able to survive. He trusted in God’s grace, provision, protection, and His word.

Let’s be prudent and seek the rock of our salvation, Jesus Christ. He will always be a faithful savior, no matter what the storm. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” ~ Psalm 46:1

~ Ricky Robinson

Image Credit: Old Bible © abcd2000 via freeimages.com

New Drawers??

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is Joshua 1. It’s about the transition from the wilderness into the Promised Land. For years upon years, they were promised this land, but because of a generation’s lack of gratitude, their failure to acknowledge & appreciate divine intervention and their own murmuring & complaining, they turned an 11-day trip into 40-years of the longest “donut” ever. As a matter of fact, God was pretty clear that they couldn’t enter the promised land until a whole generation died. So, that’s what happened and Joshua 1 picks up with Moses, the previous leader, dying & Joshua, the new leader, taking over.

Now, in my family, “growing up” has always been coupled with the metaphor of getting new undies (AKA “a new set of drawers”). It’s true- “new drawers” has taught this SUSTAH a number of life-lessons.

A) I remember around the age of 3 that the transition into undies meant I was “big girl” and had responsibilities. I had to help feed my baby brother & baby cousins, be a big sister to Cat, making sure that she was protected & watched, and build “important” things in Grandpa’s tool shed. Whenever I acted contrary to being a big girl, one of my relatives would quickly remind me that I was NOT wearing a diaper anymore. My drawers had changed and I needed to also!

B) In elementary school, my Mia Ma, Pop, grandparents, older brothers, cousins, aunts & uncles used undies to teach me that “change” was a good & necessary thing. “If you don’t freak out about changing your drawers everyday, Little Vickie, then don’t freak out about other changes.” That typically led to a monologue about how some changes resulted in death, despair, chaos . . . and more death. They often responded quickly and explained how change could result in something that could really be good for you, referencing a sport, a “Rocky” movie or a “back in the day” tale that ended in victory. “Wait it out . . . and if it doesn’t end up being a good situation, then change your “drawers” again, baby. You know how to do it!”

C) My all-time favorite “drawers” lesson was in my early teens when I would get into trouble. In those days, it was something new everyday. I was a leader, a scientist, a teacher, a rebel with a cause . . . and that often meant that I was gonna do exactly the OPPOSITE of what Mia Ma told me NOT to do. Despite being recognized for the creativity & innovation that went into the the escapades, I was always grounded. The explanation for my punishment was the same simple reason each time: I was trying to wear “grown folk” drawers when it suited me to keep the “teenager” drawers that I had. And, if that didn’t sink in, it was Mia Ma’s infamous declaration that she was the ONLY ONE who was gonna wear the “grown up” drawers in HER house and we the kiddos had better take note.

I could keep going on and on because I’ve been recalling these life-lessons lately. I’ve recognized that, like Joshua 1, I’ve been in the process of a transition in my life. In other words, I’m coming into a new set of drawers. Like Joshua teaches me, in order to lay hold of the things ahead, some things must “die” and be left in the wilderness. I have to leave the soiled things that I’ve overused – excuses about why I’m not doing what I know I need to, complaining about the things that I’ve been unwilling to change, lack of trust, lack of forgiveness, pride & fear – and put on a fresh pair! The truth is that I cannot transition into the new phase with the waste & crap of the old phase.

Maya Angelou once said, “Nothing changes unless we do.” That’s true! What is TRUTH is that God wants to do a NEW thing in our hearts, in our lives and in our generation, not another “played out” version of the old thing. He gets the NEW thing when we, through the blood of Jesus & with the help of the Holy Spirit, willing transition into the NEW!

So, listen to a Sustah & do yourself a favor as you’re transitioning into a better you- CHANGE YOUR DRAWERS, HONEY! Bigger & better things are to come!

~ Vickie Bowman

Image Credit: Married Life1 © aToy via freeimages.com

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