Real Church. Real Life. Real Celebration.

Posts tagged ‘grace’

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

Advertisements

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

No Excuses

Have you ever felt inadequate or unworthy? Have you felt lacking any ability to be used in ministry by the Lord? I’m sure ninety percent of us could answer yes. We all have some insecurity when it comes to feeling worthy to represent Him. Satan uses condemnation as his first weapon against us. He points out our flaws, weaknesses, and sins. He tells us how unworthy we are; and he is right. We are only worthy by the grace of God.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; It is the gift of God.” ~ Ephesians 2:8

One definition of grace is power beyond your ability or divine empowerment. The Greek word used in this text is charisma, meaning gifting. God has placed His giftings in every son and daughter. Giving the ability to be glorified in their lives.

“We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” ~ Ephesians. 2:10

“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope or faith.” ~ Romans 15:4

Apostle David Coker says, “God can bless something, but He can’t bless nothing”. If you read Hebrews chapter 2, there are example after example of men and women He used for His glory.

Almost every person God asked to do something made excuses about their abilities. Moses stuttered, Gideon was insecure, and Jeremiah said he was a child. We all have many excuses as to why we can’t, but God asks us to have faith. If you take the first step to be obedient, God will work through you. Remember it’s Christ, the Anointed One,  living, walking, talking, and ministering through you. Put your faith in His ability. Someone you meet needs what’s in you.

~Ricky Robinson

Image Credit Self portrait 2 © Nihan Aydin via freeimages.com

– See more at: http://www.gatewaybelievers.com/articles/no-excuses#sthash.jGmP5J59.dpuf

Get Ready

Prayer was powerful on Saturday morning. While Mr. Bill Avant was praying, the words, “We haven’t been ready” leapt in my spirit, so I prayed that out.

Immediately, Mr. Bill grabbed the microphone and said, “We’ve got to quit seeing people as visitors.” They are part of the Body of Christ. They are our brothers and sisters. They have gifts that Jesus needs to advance His Kingdom.

We’ve prayed for God to send the hungry ones and He has. The problem is in us. We haven’t valued them. A visitor is someone who comes and stays for a little while. God sees every person as part of the family. You wouldn’t call a family member a visitor would you?

Matthew 22:8-10 says, “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.”

God has been ready to pour out His Spirit. We haven’t been ready to receive those that He has given us. We have been closed off. We still have that lingering religious mindset that says people have to look or act a certain way for God to use them. We can’t expect people to be perfect because we are not. Every one of us has been broken. We are all in need of a Savior. We all need grace. God in His mercy helped us when we were a mess, so we need to do the same for others.

We have been too comfortable with our church the way it is. We have been divided. In order for God to manifest Himself in power and might, we must be ready. To be ready to receive something, we have to see and believe that the thing we are longing for is necessary. Ready is also another word for fit. We have to be ready to be fit with other members of the Body!

Now that our spiritual eyes have been opened, we see that one of the missing pieces has been filled in. He has given us gifts in people who are often labeled misfits in the world.  I am so thankful that God looks on the heart! He said He would take the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. Confound means to confuse, stun, or amaze. God will use the foolish things – the people that others don’t want to be around, the outcasts, and the people who have always been told they have nothing to give.

Despite what these people look like or sound like, they have a heart after God. God can use that! Apostle David said that God has given him a big vision, but we can’t do a lot of things right now because we don’t have the “building material.” Look around you, friend! God is bringing in “building material.”

We don’t have more of God because we haven’t been ready. We haven’t been watchful. We haven’t been full of eagerness.

We get what we expect. We’ve gotten exactly what we’ve said. We are all guilty of calling each new person who comes to our church a visitor. No, they are pieces ready to be fit into God’s plan at Gateway and in the Body of Christ! I challenge each of you – myself included – to expect God to do great and mighty things through His Body!

~ Madison Sanders

Image Credit: Holding Hands © BSK via freeimages.com

– See more at: http://www.gatewaybelievers.com/articles/get-ready#sthash.YoxeAbCc.dpuf

Prove Him

I used to do financial confessions, and I slacked off because I didn’t see any results.

Randy Grier preached about breaking the spirit of poverty on November 15th. I started back doing the financial confessions every day.

I had a talk with God and I said, “Alright God, I’m going to prove you. I’m going to see if you are who You say You are.” In the back of my mind, I knew who He was, but I was going to be like David or Jacob who wrestled with God to get his blessing. I clean houses after my regular job, and I make about fifty dollars. I gave my five dollars like I always do, but this time I gave 15 dollars extra.

While praying on December 7, 2015 God gave me a poem called The Key
The key’s been turned
The time’s been set. You haven’t seen anything yet
My grace is sufficient to see you through
I’ve conquered death and so have you
Death to self is the death to life.

I had to hold on to what God told me.
About a month ago, I had a dream that my boss handed me an envelope. I blew it off because I’ve had dreams before.
Roughly a week later, on a Monday, my boss handed me an envelope. Inside was a check. I thought it said $63. I looked again. It was $600!!!!

I was floored. I got a raise of fifty cents when I first started. I haven’t gotten a raise in 10 years!

My daughter even asked me numerous times over the years, “Why are you still working there? Why don’t you just leave?”
My response was “Because God didn’t tell me to leave.”

I prayed for a raise as I honored God with the first fruits of my increase.
I gave thanks for my job and I blessed my employer. I would declare that my
check was multiplied and increased. I would say that I am richly rewarded for
my work, both creatively and financially.

She also told me that starting the first of the year I will be on salary. I was the only employee who wasn’t on salary. People would get bonuses for their birthday, and I would get nothing. I never said anything, but it hurt.
I had to continually trust that God was my provider, even when my workplace environment got worse. More and more demands were placed on me with no extra money. God sees EVERYTHING! He will reward you!

She also gave me two weeks paid vacation.

What’s worked for finances will work for everything else. I didn’t know when my miracle was going to happen, you just have to trust Him until it does.

~Tammy Sanders

Image Credit © Tammy Sanders

I Know Too Much

You might not understand the title, but bear with me. These past few weeks have been brutal for me. You know, we all say we want God to change us and make us more like Him. It sounds good. Until it actually happens.

For weeks, I have been seeking God by praying more and reading my Bible almost every day. Putting God before my feelings. And for a while, things were good. And then I hit what we call at my church an impasse. An impasse is a place that you come to that you say, “Okay, this is too much. I can’t pray anymore.” I actually took it a step further and told God, “I don’t think I can handle this. It hurts too much.”

Well, I got passed the hump that I thought was a mountain, and kept praying. Lots more praying in tongues.

Around last Saturday, I hit the big Kahuna. A situation came up, and I was frustrated. I said things I shouldn’t have. I gave voice to those negative thoughts bombarding my mind. That was not good. I felt utterly defeated, and promptly declared, “I don’t know how God got the disciples to do it.” To which my mom replied, “That’s why most of them didn’t make it. They quit because it was too hard…too much dying to what they wanted or thought.”

Yeah, I was there. But the thing is, no matter how painful it is, I know God is working this out for my good. You can’t sincerely pray for change and God not answer. So be ready. I have a lot of stuff that needs fixing in my mind and heart. And when I prayed for God to get to the root of the things holding me back, He has. I have been a blubbering, emotional mess for around three weeks. The situation that came up tonight had nothing to do with the people. It had everything to do with ME. That situation shed light on things that need attention in my life. And to be honest, I don’t know what all I need to change. And I don’t have to! That’s where God in His infinite wisdom and mercy comes in to help me change. I just have to be willing.

Recently, I have even thought and said, “But God! There are many other people who don’t pray. They don’t seek You. They don’t want change. They don’t put You first.”

The devil tried to convince me that I didn’t have to either. He’s right. I don’t have to seek God. I can stop right here. But the thing is, I can’t. I know too much. I know how powerful God is. I know that the Bible isn’t just a book of stories. It brings life to all who find it. It is a lamp unto my feet and shines the light on the path. Even if no one else chooses this path, I must continue on.

I know too much to stop praying. I know that prayer changes things. I know the Holy Spirit is my teacher and helper. Because I am assured that if I keep running towards God, I WILL be made more like Him. My thoughts will become His thoughts. My ways will become His ways. I have come too far to quit now. I have made up my mind I won’t turn back. I can’t go back to the way things were before I knew God was real because there is nothing there.

I can’t go back because I know too much.

My prayer I can’t promise that I won’t make mistakes, but I do promise to keep trying. To keep surrendering.

Because even though I look and see people not following God, I know that You have called me to a higher standard. You expect me to keep surrendering, to keep growing, to keep changing.

So even though everything within me is screaming, I give You access once again to my heart. You are the healer of the broken hearted, and I trust You. I know that You not only took my physical pain on the cross, but You also died so that I could be free in my mind and emotions.

~Madison Sanders

Image Credit©Shiny Brain artM via free image.com

– See more at: http://www.gatewaybelievers.com/blog/i-know-too-much-2#sthash.9fG5Q04E.dpuf

My Salvation

I gave my life to the Lord in July 1973. Leading up to my conversion I had been doing drugs for five years. My life was a mess, and my mind pretty burned out. I got introduced to drugs my second day in Vietnam. I was raised in a Christian home. In my teen years I was filled with rebellion. I wanted to live my own life with my own rules. I was an easy target for satan’s control. The devil loves it when we rebel against God’s authority.

In the 1960’s and 1970’s our culture, especially our teenagers were open to rebellion against all authority. It was a time of sex, drugs, and rock n roll. I liked the hippy culture. I let my hair grow down to my shoulders, went to rock concerts and did drugs. I was so crazy.  I would do anything. Uppers, downers, cocaine, herion, acid, pot, or whatever came along.

When we cast off following God’s authority it leads to misery and destruction. I was searching for peace and joy through gratifying my flesh. I would find it, but only for a short time. Then I would be left with guilt, condemnation, and turmoil inside. I was ready for a change. A friend invited me to church. He had gotten saved and was praying for me. In fact, he had been coming to my house at 2 and 3 a.m., praying on my porch.

He really wanted me to get saved. I went to church for a couple of Sundays. My wife got saved the first time we went. She and my friends were always smiling and seemed to have so much peace.The week before I got saved I bought a pound of pot. I had sold most of it by Friday. The devil was trying his best to keep a hold on my life. Sunday morning I gave my heart to the Lord.

I remember the more I cried the better I felt. God lifted all the sin, guilt, and shame off my life. I have never been the same since. Its been forty years walking in His grace. I wish I could say my walk is perfect, but its not. Salvation is an on going process. A lot of people think Christians are perfect without any failures. We are not perfect, but God is perfecting our lives day by day as we yield to him.

~Ricky Robinson

Image Credit © Tammy Sanders

 

%d bloggers like this: