Real Church. Real Life. Real Celebration.

Posts tagged ‘Celebration’

Why an apostolic church?

One of the things I love about Gateway is that I’m always challenged to actually be the kind of person God has made me to be. Because of God’s grace, I’ve never felt like I was punching the air  in vain or hopelessly spinning my wheels. When He shows me a glimpse of the person I could be, it inspires me to press in to Him, knowing that the promise of truly becoming that person is real.

Part of my Kingdom assignment is to lead our congregation in worship. There is tremendous pressure to be in-tune with God and sensitive to His leadings and promptings, being quick to hear and follow Holy Ghost. It’s easy to let myself become overwhelmed with a sense of inadequacy and incompetence because I’m just a human being. I don’t always know the next step. I don’t always know the next song. I don’t always know what God’s doing. Then I remember that it’s not by my strength or talent or intellect. I can only fulfill this call by the grace of God, and you can only fulfill your call the same way.

The Apostolic ministry is one where the people are released into their callings and giftings by the grace of God. Apostle David first teaches us, equips us, chastens us and matures us. He then positions us, releases us, sends us and empowers us to fully fill our Kingdom assignments. That’s what it means to be submitted to an Apostle and be part of an Apostolic ministry: that you will be challenged, disciplined and strengthened so that when you become a mature son of the house, you can be an effective disciple for the Kingdom ofGod.

God predestined each of us for a particular purpose. There are no clones in the Body of Christ. Each one of us is unique and special. Each one of us has a call and destiny on our lives. And each one of us CAN reach that destiny. All we have to do is trust God, listen to and obey the spiritual authority God has placed in our lives, and rely fully on God’s grace to do all the things that are required of us.

Here at Gateway, you have the opportunity to learn what that unique purpose for your life is, how to develop it and walk into it, and how to actually be that person God has made you to be.

~by Anessa Back

Honorable Mention

We at church have been focusing on preparing for the prodigals to return to the house of God.

You can find the story of such a prodigal in Luke 15:11-32. It is a true picture of the Heavenly Father’s love. We are praying, expecting, and believing for many such people to return to God and fellowship with other believers.

There is a character in the story of the prodigal who gets little more than an honorable mention. He could have played a vital role in this story of redemption and restoration. His focus on self kept him from doing so. The part each individual plays in this process is left up to them.

The one who had stayed home became upset about the the attention given to the lost brother’s return. He had an issue with the fatted calf. I am sure he had enjoyed many such meals while his brother was away. He was welcomed to share in this feast as well.

Did he favor this calf over the others? Maybe he spent time and energy caring for it? His loved one’s safe return should have been more important. What would this calf represent to you today? A project you have worked hard on? Could it be your favorite place to sit in service? How about your convenient parking spot? What part will you play in the return of a prodigal? Will you be content to just be an honorable mention in the story of restoration? We must keep in mind that we are to build the Kingdom of God. We can only be successful in doing this when we realize it is not about us.

The father also placed a robe on his son. To me, this represents a covering. We are to cover others with our prayers. They also need to feel our love and support. Only a mature Christian will be willing to pour themselves into another’s life this way.

There was also a ring placed on his finger upon his return by the father. A ring represents covenant. Covenant is an agreement or promise. Apostle David reminds us that our church body can only be as strong as the relationships within it. God doesn’t take covenants lightly. Neither should we. The prodigals are returning.  Praise God! They will be welcomed and celebrated by us. We as a body are excited. We are preparing. I don’t want to be just an honorable mention in this process.

Maybe you are a prodigal. If so, you can be assured that you are loved. You are missed. You have an important place in the Body of Christ. You matter more than you realize. Come on home. We are waiting. Let the celebration begin.

~Connie Robinson

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Pursue Me

If you need peace, pursue Me.

If you need love, pursue Me.

If you need joy, pursue Me.

 

I’ve got that all you need.

 

If you need faith, pursue Me

If you need healing, pursue Me.

Come unto Me all who are heavy laden.

 

I hear Him whisper, “Pursue Me.”

Pursue Me above the noise.

 

I am worth more than gold.

I am worth more than rubies and all of the precious stones of the world.

I am what you are looking for.

 

You’ve spent so much time

Searching and searching for something that will satisfy,

But nothing fills that void.

 

You are still empty.

You are still alone.

You are still afraid.

You are full of hurt.

 

Pursue Me and you will recover all.

Pursue Me and you will find what your heart longs for.

Pursue Me and you will find your reason for being.

 

All that you are and ever will be is wrapped up in Me.

You and I are meant to be intertwined.

I am the branch and you are the vine.

 

Come unto Me and I will give you strength.

I dare you to leave it all behind and follow Me.

Cast off those worries.

Give Me your anxiety.

Let Me lead you on the path of victory.

 

~Madison Sanders

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Stripped

~Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bride groom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

Funk and Wagnalls dictionary defines stripped as follows: Pull the covering from, lay bare, empty, remove, take away, damage, or break.

I have felt these things in my life. I think most of us have. I am reminded of Adam and Eve. In Genesis 3:11, after they fell for satan’s lie. God asks Adam who told him he was naked. I think his spiritual nakedness was the one in question here. Another example of being stripped is also found in the book of Genesis.

This is the story of Joseph. His brothers were motivated by jealousy and greed. They stripped him of the coat that his father had made for him. It represented his father’s love and provision for his son. His brothers resented this. Did they not know that they too could have gone to the father for themselves and received the same gift?  They replaced its true meaning by covering it with the blood of an animal. This was a symbol of death and loss.

~Matthew 27:27.28 says, “Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus onto the common hall, and gathered into him the whole band of soldiers . And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.”

They hated Jesus and all that He stood for. They made a feeble attempt to strip him of who he was. They did not realize that His identity went far beyond any outward appearance. Then they placed a scarlet robe on him. This represented everything that Jesus was not. It was a sign of fleshly desire to be seen. It was a sign of pride and arrogance. Satan had tried to tempt Jesus earlier with these same things.

Have you been covered with loss or pain? Have you felt the cares of life heavy on your shoulders? Maybe you are bound by situations and hardships of your own making. This is not God’s will for your life. Christians are pressured to conform. The world is trying to cover us with silence, fear, and even shame. This is not what we are called to be. We are to carry the name of Jesus boldly. We will stand on his promise in Isaiah 61:10. The Lord himself will cover us. He will not leave us broken and stripped. Who told you that you are naked?

~Connie Robinson

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Change

In science, there are two types of changes that can take place. These changes are physical and chemical changes. Water goes through a physical change when we boil it, freeze it, and melt it. It never changes what it is. When baking a cake, you put in your flour, butter, sugar, eggs, and cocoa. The ingredients are mixed up and poured in a baking dish. Then it is placed in the oven and comes out a totally different product. God has been dealing with me about the change.

We all have those years that you do not ever want to repeat. Two years ago, my year started with two surgeries in January that were six days apart. Dealing with the side effects of the anesthesia for several weeks was hard. Then mom had brain surgery in May and TI’s in June. There were severe issues at work. All of this on top of college for my doctoral degree. My focus was transferring from where it needed to be to my circumstances. I was like the water, making what I thought were the changes I needed, moving from one form to another.

Only I realized that I was just taking a different form, I was not changing. I was still overwhelmed, fearful, anxious, depressed, oppressed, suicidal, and a conglomerate of other emotions. I realized that I needed to go through a chemical change. When we take the ingredients: Prayer, God’s Word, worship, and stir them all together, you create something from the inside out. The bubbles are taken out. The ingredients mesh together to create something fantastic to see and be a part of. Going through an outward, physical change is not a bad thing but for real, lasting change to occur, you need to take the ingredients for change and work them together to become the masterpiece that God has created you to be.

~Ronda Sullivan

– See more at: http://www.gatewaybelievers.com/blog/change#sthash.QX3jUo7T.dpuf

Keeping it Real

~Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth thee.”

I do not know what this year holds. I don’t think I have seen as much uncertainty in the world since 9-11-2001 until recent years. I saw a lot of it in my own personal life. More than once, loved ones were rushed to the hospital. there were car accidents. We had bad reports concerning our son’s heart. Cancer reared it’s ugly head in my families’ lives. Friends lost jobs. My best friends’ husband came too close to losing his life. One aunt faced terrible health issues. I was heartbroken as another aunt went home to be with The Lord. I am sure by now you have gotten the picture.

These times weren’t all bad. We welcomed new babies. There were weddings to celebrate. Maybe as you read this, you are thinking back over your own year. I hope it was a good one for you. I am not one of those people who go around shouting that everything is great when it is not. God will work all things together for my good.

I have been a Christian for many years now. I knew from times gone by that God is always near to those who call upon His name. It has been true in every circumstance I have faced this year as well. I have felt his presence fill the room as we gathered to pray for a loved one. I have seen unbelievers find Christ. I have witnessed miraculous healings.

Don’t wait until things are bad to spend time in prayer and worship to God. It is the most amazing experience you could ever have. Come to think of it, anytime is the perfect time. I am going into this next year with great expectations. More importantly, I am going in knowing that God is well able to keep me. God bless you in this coming year. If you don’t know Him, He is only a prayer away. Don’t spend another day without Him in it.

~Ricky Robinson

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The Word is my Lifeline

The storms of life have been swirling around me lately. When storms come to most people, they retreat. They quit doing what they know they should. Let the whining and complaining commence. As for me, I have been hanging on to the Word of God.

When you think about it, the Word of God is your lifeline. With the storm I am in, I can’t rely on my intellect. I can’t rely on what other people have said. I have to grab ahold of the Word and not let go.

God’s Word has been a safe haven in the midst of my confusion, questions, exhaustion, and sickness. Even when I haven’t had the strength to do much of anything, I have been clutching a book filled with scriptures on encouragement, faith, and contentment because those are some things I desperately need.

That sounds a little ironic, doesn’t it? It’s confusing to the human mind when you do the opposite of what circumstances want you to. It confuses the enemy when you stand strong in the face of opposition. It confuses him when you release faith-filled words!

The more you feed on God’s Word, the stronger you become. Even though you are still battling the storm, things are changing. I can say that because I have witnessed it in my own life many times before, but especially this week. All last week I had no energy. I couldn’t even put my clothes on. Today, I am starting to feel like myself again. I have a burst of energy that I deeply appreciate.

If you are going through a storm, hang on! Get in the Word and don’t forsake it. Let it be a guiding light in the midst of chaos. God’s Word never changes! I challenge you to humble yourself and admit, “I can’t do this on my own. I need you, God.” His Word is there to rescue you from whatever hell you are facing.

~Madison Sanders

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