Real Church. Real Life. Real Celebration.

Posts tagged ‘growth’

A Spiritual Raking

“In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness for God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.” ~ Matthew 6:14, The Message

I was outside cutting grass after all the rain and had to rake up the grass clippings because it had been a while since I had cut my grass. My goal was to have all my grass cut the same length, because I can’t stand to have a piece not uniform with the rest. Even though I was enjoying raking my little piles up, I started to get irritated at the grass in areas. In some places in the yard, raking produced areas that I thought were cut but actually were not. Well, I went back over these areas with the lawnmower to cut them down, but when I raked again I realized that there was another piece that needed to be cut! I finally put the lawnmower blade down one level and went back over the whole spot. I was frustrated by all the extra time I had spent on it, but I got it taken care of eventually!!

As I worked on my yard, it occurred to me that we have areas in our lives that we think are okay until we examine them closely and find uneven places that need some trimming. I could have left my yard alone, and it would have been a job well done for most people. If I had not raked up the waste left in my yard, I would never have found the areas of grass that escaped the trim. If we never examine ourselves a little closer than usual, we will overlook the little things that escape the first pass of prayer or repentance. Our spiritual landscape may pass for a while, but that one piece that we overlooked will eventually grow and raise its ugly head above all the other areas of our lives if we don’t take the time to properly eliminate it in the first place.

How often have we thought something in our life was taken care of only to find it surfacing later on down the road? It is the little things that we think we have taken care of that will sneak in and cause us not to walk with God the way that you should or experience the fullness of what He has for you.

So rake through, and let your spirit show you that little twig of grass that needs to be dealt with. Whatever it represents, put your spiritual mower on it and get it out of your life so it doesn’t cause you problems on down the road!

~ Ronda Sullivan

Image Credit: The Symmetrical Rake © Jon Watkins via freeimages.com

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

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

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

Growing Forward

~Isaiah 52:13-15

“See, my servant will prosper; he will be highly exalted. Many were amazed when they saw Him — beaten and blooded, so disfigured one would scarcely know He was a person. And He will again startle many nations. Kings will stand speechless in His presence. For they will see what they had not previously been told about; they will understand what they had not heard.”

It’s transition time. Time for us to walk in unity with one another. In the house that God builds, He has provided all that we need. We don’t know the gifts of the person sitting next to us, but He does.

We must learn to trust, love, and respect the people that God has put us together with in His body. Also we must draw on each other’s gifts. If we do not, we are not helping the Body of Christ.

How do you know if you’re walking in the God kind of love?

Think back to the last person that got on your last nerve. Were you able to walk in love, peace, and unity? Did you revert back to your flesh nature and act like you know it all?

I refuse to let my old nature dominate me. I am growing in maturity. You know why? I choose to put off the old man and put on the new. The enemy wants us to revert back to that old nature to hinder our growth.

Are we willing to take a hard look at our self and say, “Oh God, it’s me that needs changing! Forgive me for looking at others’ faults and ignoring the ones in myself.”

I can’t change someone else. I can only change me. We are to be the light to world that we live in. In order to do that our spirit man must rise to the occasion. I’m not saying that we can’t get angry because we will. The Bible says, “Be angry and sin not.” God has a way to help us. As we pray in other tongues things are being birthed in us and through us that we can’t comprehend, but He can. We as the Body of Christ must trust in Him for this transition in time. He said, “If my people would humble themselves and pray, and turn from our wicked ways; He would heal our land.”

How long are we going to prolong the transition? We draw back from relationships because we are fearful of being hurt. Are we going to be like other generations and let this move of God pass us by? I don’t think so!  It’s up to us to make the necessary changes so we can be unified.

~Tammy Sanders

Image Credit: Employee Team © Gabrielle Fabbria via freeimages.com

– See more at: http://www.gatewaybelievers.com/articles/growing-forward#sthash.uypT2GD0.dpuf

What is Your Mindset?

Carol Dweck wrote a book titled, “Mindset”. It was a required reading for us for last school year. I have no idea if the author is a Christian, but she has done the research that shows that there are two different types of mindsets. The first one is the fixed mindset. The second one is the growth mindset. She gives lots of examples of famous people or companies that we all have heard of.

I found it interesting that you could see these mindsets in the church today as well. On one side, people who have a fixed mindset do not want to grow. They do not want any input that will help them to grow. They believe that they are talented superstars with no need for change. They blame others when they do not succeed. People with a fixed mindset do not want to try or work hard at things. Sound like anyone or churches you might know?

On the other hand, those with the growth mindset realize that they are not perfect. When they are corrected, they take the information and use it to work harder to reach their goal. Failure does not cause them to quit trying. They keep setting goals  and work hard to achieve them. Leaders who have the growth mindset help their people grow and be the best they can be. They listen to them for input. They are not afraid that someone will take the limelight away from them.

As I read this book I could see myself at one point in my life. Before Gateway Believers Fellowship, I had a fixed mindset  of failure. My marriage failed, so I must be a failure. Over the years while attending Gateway, I have learned to change my mindset.

Gateway is a place full of the growth mindset. This energy pulsates from the pulpit, classrooms, and parking lot. Looking back at all of the people who have passed through the doors, I realize that they had a fixed mindset about growing in God.

When you hear the truth of God’s Word, it is totally up to you as to whether or not you want to grow and change or stay just the way you are. I want to change to be the best that I can be while I am alive. Do I like correction? HECK NO! Is it painful? Oh, yeah! When you are corrected, how will you respond? Religion will tell you that you are okay the way you are. God’s Word will bring life and cause you to change if you let it.

God wants His church to flow in the fullness of His truth and glory. God’s church is not preaching to please those with the fixed mindset. He wants His church to grow and to fulfill its Kingdom purpose.  Let’s take every opportunity to grow with God!

~Ronda Sullivan

Image Credit: Choice in life 1 Svilen Milev via freeimages.com

– See more at: http://www.gatewaybelievers.com/articles/what-your-mindset#sthash.ZZFRa9Iv.dpuf

%d bloggers like this: