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Posts tagged ‘change’

Enjoying Life

I just returned from a four-day trip to Blue Ridge, Georgia. We went to the mountains to see all the fall colors. While there, we enjoyed staying in a log cabin with the latest state-of-art appliances. I grew up in a generation where you had to wait twenty minutes for the coffee to brew. Now you can have a cup in under a minute. It used to take the black and white tv time to warm up, and if you were lucky, you might get three channels. That is if you could adjust the rabbit-ear antenna with tin foil in the right direction. Now its 1,000 channels, all in high-definition color, 24/7. If you can find something worthwhile to watch.

What changes have taken place in my short sixty-six years of living. We had made reservations to ride a scenic railroad through the mountains. The fall colors were so beautiful. The tracks ran along a river on one side and the mountains on the other. I was taken back in time. Growing up, I used to ride the passenger train to visit my grandparents.

I had a deep touching spiritual experience while in the mountains. Saturday morning I walked out onto the back deck, a cup of coffee in hand. As I was enjoying it, things were quiet. Nothing distracted me from fully enjoying the moment. I began looking out onto the mountains. I was thanking God for His beautiful creation. The vibrant leaves were washed in the early morning sun light.

Some scriptures from Psalms came to mind:  “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handy works. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.” ~ Psalms 19:1-3

The Lord was speaking His love to me. Allowing me another day on earth. Blessing me with life, health, eye sight, and a mind to enjoy His creation. We serve a glorious Heavenly Father, who loves us more than we will ever understand. He desires an intimate relationship with each of us. He has sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, for our redemption. Blessed be His Holy Name forever. Who giveth us richly all things to enjoy. ~ 1 Timothy 6:17

~ Ricky Robinson

Image Credit: Mountain in the Autumn © MARIE JEANNE Iliescu via freeimages.com

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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

Grace to Embrace

God, thank you for the grace to embrace this change

We will not stay here

We don’t want to die in this place

 

For too long, we’ve lived in a bubble

Thinking everything is okay

When you have moved on

 

You long to do something new

You long for a people who will go with You

No more excuses

No more placing blame

 

The time is up for that

It is time to embrace all that You’ve said

 

I don’t want to settle for part of the blessing

I want it all

 

You said the Promise Land flows with milk and honey

We’ve been stagnant

Falling into familiar patterns

 

We’ve thought we had the best

We haven’t even scratched the surface

 

Thank you for Your mercy towards us

Thank you for Your grace

I know You will help us make the change

 

Forgive us for hindering You with our man-made plans

Forgive us for frustrating You

 

I am expectant

I am trusting

I don’t know what lies over the horizon, but I will take the steps

I choose to be obedient

 

What say you?

What will you choose?

~ Madison Sanders

Image Credit: Hands Series #2 © Marco Michelini via freeimages.com

The Value of Pain

A nurse told me that pain is my friend. I disagreed. Pain does not fit my definition of a friend.  I do agree that pain has value. If we did not feel pain, we would not know something was wrong.  I, like most, have had a measure of it in my life.

I felt the pain of rejection as a child. My marriage was not Christ centered in the beginning years. Because of that, I experienced pain of a failing marriage. I know the pain of fear when my child is suffering, and a doctor does not know the answer.  I have experienced the heartbreak of losing someone to death.

God is love. He does not schedule bad things to happen to us. He does sometimes allow it to take place.  During these trying times, God doesn’t want to just change our situation. He desires that we also change.

Romans 8:28 tells us that all things work together for our good to them that love God. All there means all.  How can pain work for our good? I have heard many messages, read books, and heard prayers prayed about rejection, fear and failing marriages.

There is much power in the words when the person has come through these situations themselves. They speak with understanding and clarity.  Pain teaches us a depth of compassion. We know better how to comfort and do warfare in prayer for others.  Because of my past, I can relate better to the people I call “Who’s you?” than I can the “who’s who.” Did I enjoy the things I have learned from? Of course I did not.

I do enjoying seeing someone set free from despair. I find pleasure in seeing hope come alive and replace fear in others. The pain they feel is not foreign to me.  Our church is going through a transition time. Transition means change.  I am asking God to transition me. I want to become a more effective part of the body.   Maybe you are suffering in an area right now.  Find comfort in knowing that because God is good, you can trust Him through in this process.  You can be assured that your situation will change. Allow God to strengthen, teach, and change you.  The value in what you learn will be priceless.

~ Connie Robinson

Image Credit: Hospital Room © Jyn Meyer 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

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

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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