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EDITOR LETTER SWEATER WEATHER
n this season of life I'm reminded to appreciate the little things. I hope you're inspired for what God has for you in this season. Fall is here. I hope you're filled with hope. A new season is a chance for new beginnings. What exciting things will we write in our stories? I hope as the leaves cascade so to does your faith. Faith shouldn't be kept in one place but free and everywhere. Spread your faith, your hope and your love everywhere this season. This is the best time of our life.
OH DARLIN' WORDS WRITTEN TO THE WOMAN I'LL ONEDAY MARRY B Y J E S S E A N A Y A
Oh darlin', my hearts calling to you I've waited and prayed, and I've saved my heart for you Oh darlin', I'm tryin' to tell you I'll forever love you You're the one The only one I see in my dreams You're the one The only one I dance with in my dreams I pray for you all the time I thank my God that He's made you mine Oh darlin' I am forever yours
P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y S A M I S T R O N G M O D E L S : J O S I A H + C I E R R A B I L E S L O C A T I O N : F O R E S T P A R K , O K
C R O
LY FOR THE
O S S
ANGELICMUSIC RED RIVER GORGE
g n i x e L e t i Un O
n September 8th, 2017 a night of worship was held in the countryside of Kentucky. A setting that was serene with a heart of the night to come together as one in the name of Jesus. A collection of 6 worship teams, churches and bands from the region shared the same stage to sing music and cry out to our God. More than a concert, a worship night an excuse to put on a Christian event, there was a mission behind this night. To forget about brands or followings, church politics and what side of the story your ministry resides. The mission of the night was to unite not just for 1 night but to keep the spirit of unity going forever. To have strangers become friends and these friends continue to work together. To be a family that doesn't give up on each other. To unite a city, a region a bluegrass state in His name. These photos and captures on these pages retell mere glimpses of the night because the real story is not seen and won't be written about. The true story is in what will happen after this night. A crowd of hundreds gathered to unite and they experienced unity hand in hand. Will they continue to unite or will they go back to the yesterdays and what was? Unite Lexington. Keep the Spirit going. Stand together. Be that family that rises in His name.
KY IN THE NAME OF JESUS
Y K Â , n o gt P A C E R
IMAGES PHOTOGRAPHED BY CLARE TUCKER
AND ADAM PRATHER
S T A
FOR WHAT YO
A N D
OU BELIEVE IN
KEEP THE FAITH
2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” The Apostle Paul wrote 13 of the 26 books that are in the New Testament of the Bible. In 2 Timothy 4:7 he writes that he fought the good fight of faith, he finished his race (the calling Jesus gave him) and he kept the faith. The Apostle Paul was imprisoned, whipped, flogged, beaten and constantly having to defend himself to kings and governors; the people who had authority to take his life. But even in his trials, he fought the good fight, he finished his race and he kept his faith. Had it not been for the Apostle Paul, the very Bible we read today would be incomplete. It was through the Apostle Paul that Jesus worked through Him so that the entire Roman Empire and western world came to know the Messiah that is Jesus Christ. In the same way that Jesus worked through the Apostle Paul, Jesus is working through you. He’s given you a calling, a purpose, a task so that He may be glorified through you. In your discouragement, your days of wanting to give up, keep the faith. Because when we are faithless, He is faithful, and will strengthen you. Be with you. Walk with you. Lead you, and love you. Keep the faith.
UNITY & THE WORD NO GOD DOESN’T WORK IN A SERIES OF YES, UPON YES, UPON EASY AND EASIER STREETS. YOU MUST CHASE AFTER HIS PATH, WORK HARD TO STAY ON IT, AND NOT ALLOW THE DARKNESS TO SWALLOW YOUR VISION AND CAUSE YOU TO LOSE SIGHT. B Y L A U R E N P R A T H E R
No. Two simple letters when combined put a halt to your dreams, a cease in your progress, and a screeching stop in your tracks. As a follower of Christ, I have learned to trust His plan, and know that a no can mean not yet, or something even better. Yet hearing it from a fellow brother or sister in Christ brings forth an alternate avenue of trusting God. Bringing His children together combines a vast amount of unique human creation. To gather His children not only exposes His glory, but also exposes where the devil is at play. Fears emerge, mistrust is rampant, and following your own path is prevalent. Taking hands and walking together seems highly unlikely when so much uniqueness is combined. Having a difference of opinion with a brother or sister in Christ is yet another avenue to let His glory shine. To not see Jesus in someone if they have a different vision than you, or they’re telling you something you don’t want to hear, is only letting the devil win. God doesn’t work in a series of yes, upon yes, upon easy and easier streets. You must chase after His path, work hard to stay on it, and not allow the darkness to swallow your vision and cause you to lose sight. The bible doesn’t promise us our own path. It promises one path. We will intersect on this journey. To love despite disagreement is to see God in a new way. Love is what we were created from. Scripture consistently reminds us that we are all one body, with many parts. “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one bodywhether Jew or Gentiles, slave or freeand we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” 1 Corinthians 12:1213 We were not made to be working against each other. Our Spirit is shared through the love that God had when creating us. We can feed in to that love in one another by walking together in harmony. Disagreements will most certainly happen, but how we nurture that disagreement depends on what Spirit you will feed. When I see the Sun and the Moon dance around each other, creating one new day on to the next, I cannot help but think that the same God that created them to work in perfect harmony, also created His children. Us. We were made to feed each other’s spirits, to unify His love in one another.
REDEEMED P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y R O C K I N B A R M P H O T O G R A P H Y M O D E L : S A R A D I C K E N S L O C A T I O N : L O V E L A N D , C O
"I DON’T KNOW IF I’VE EVER MET ANYONE LIKE HER. HER PAST DOESN’T WEIGH HER DOWN. WHO SHE USED TO BE IS SO FAR REMOVED FROM WHO SHE IS"
B Y A N G I E L A N G
need to tell you about her. She’s got long wavy hair, sometimes up and sometimes down. Her eyes sparkle and her drawl wraps around you like a warm, heavy quilt. I’ve never met anyone quite like her before, but our meeting is Godordained in a way I never quite imagined. Because there’s this part of me deep down – if you go past the layers, past the smile and the degrees and the cross I wear around my neck – that really struggles to believe that real change is possible. That we don’t all just go back to the dark corners we emerged from. That we don’t willingly put on those burdens we carry, the ones heavily draped in shame. And I can tell you what I’m supposed to believe. As a Christian, as a someday therapist – but if we’re being honest, there are days when it’s just hard. But this girl – I don’t know if I’ve ever met anyone like her. Her past doesn’t weigh her down. Who she used to be is so far removed from who she is now and she talks as if it has no part of her anymore. Because it doesn’t. This woman – she met Jesus at the well. She’s the Samaritan woman, just like we all are, standing before Him and He knows it all. He knows where we’ve been and the things we hold onto. He knows the secret thoughts that are buried so deep we often forget they are there. He knows it all. And yet, He still tells us that those things don’t make us who we are. He does. He reaches out to us, in our brokenness and whispers, “That’s not who you are anymore. I’m going to show you who you are in Me.” And because He reached down to her, it’s as if I can see the hand reaching down to me. Outstretched, waiting for me to grab onto it, with eyes only for Jesus. And because she’s a living testimony to a life only Jesus can change – I reach out for the hand, too.
J E S
S U S
TOGETHER P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y R A C H E L B A K E R M O D E L S : M A T T + K A Y L E I G H C L A R K L O C A T I O N : C A R L S B A D , C A
A Collaboration B Y J O N N Y G O R A S H People have literally sacrificed blood, sweat, and tears to grant you life. Your breath came at a price. You didn't make it out of the womb alone; You weren't preparing your own meals; You didn't rock yourself to sleep each night; You didn't take your first steps by your own volition; Your first words didn't come by your own studiousness; You didn't walk yourself to the bus on your first day of school—someone was there all along, their heart pumping for yours. Regardless of what society tells you with its false, cheap wisdom, no one has ever made it on their own—so quit trying. This world doesn't owe you anything—so quit demanding. You've been indebted to God and others the moment you were born. This life isn't a competition, but a collaboration. There are seven billion people who share your home, each of whom are just as wonderfully and fearfully made as you. You aren't more important than a single one of them, regardless of your job, age, intellect, or beauty. Imagine if we all considered ourselves the least of these. There wouldn't be a hungry mouth or heart in the universe. Stagnant water isolates itself in selfishness, and grows uninhabitable, but rivers and oceans flow freely into one another and never grow thirsty. Love others; Serve others. It's not about you. You can try and collect as many possessions and promotions as your decaying hands can carry, but those cease as the casket closes. We’ve been branded by society to do what makes us happy. Get yours and get out, right? Identify, accept, and indulge your every desire, that you may be full and satisfied. Careful, for when the night comes—and come it will—you will find that you are tired and alone, longing for a place to call home, where demons are conquered and truth stands firm. Do this one thing: give all your mind, body, and spirit to Jesus and you will burn like a torch against the despair.
What if Noah didn’t build the ark? What if Moses didn’t lead the people towards the promise land? What if the Apostle Paul didn’t proclaim the gospel across the Roman Empire? For every Noah, Moses and Apostle Paul who responded to their call, how many people haven’t? How many people didn’t do what God has asked of them? Will you respond to the call? What’s God asked you to do for Him? If He’s called you to it, know that He will be with you through it. After Noah built the ark and the earth was flooded, scripture tells us God “remembered Noah ”and in Genesis 9:1 “God blessed Noah and his sons” for their obedience. When Moses felt illequipped to lead the people, God told Moses, “I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.” Numbers 11:17 The Apostle Paul was stripped, beaten and thrown into jail, but the Holy Spirit was with Paul. Scripture tells us the Apostle Paul was praying and singing hymns to The Lord from his cell when the jailer in charge fell before him asking “what must I do to be saved?” Acts 16:30 In every calling, God has a purpose and is always there. Respond to your call, God is with you.
In Luke 17 Jesus told a parable of a servant and his master. After the servant had completed the tasks given for the day, does the master then invite the servant to sit down and eat, or does the master say, “Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink.” Luke 17:8 Jesus asks, “Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do?” Luke 17:9 And Jesus says no. “When you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.” Luke 17:10 When you respond to the call God has given you, He’s not going to congratulate you for it. It is your duty. It is your calling. You are His servant. Are you okay with being a servant? Are you okay with giving Him the spotlight? Mark 10:45 “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” In John 13:12 Jesus washed His disciples feet as an act of service to them. Jesus led people by serving them. In your service for God, you are called to serve people. In your service for God, the glory is not yours. Jesus said, “The greatest among you will be your servant.” Matthew 23:11 Society’s idea of being great is to be the one in the spotlight who receives all the praise and glory. Jesus’ idea of being great is to be a servant for God.
LOVE P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y B R I A N A L E E M O D E L : K E L S E Y + C O L B Y L O C A T I O N : G I L B E R T , A Z
WORN B Y S H E L I A H A I L
I’m worn out. I have nothing left to muster. Swollen, achey, and dizzy, are my physical and mental state. I have no time to sit, no time for my mind to rest.I’m worn out; NOT like the beautifully aged leather bag I carry around, but more like the dried out carcass from which the hide came from. Destruction, bills, floods, depression, anxiety, change, sickness, deadlines, distance, waiting… all of these way heavy. In the “wear out” I feel the weight of each moment and it’s impact, deeper and oppressing then normal. It’s hard to be in this place.. isn’t it? You’re in it and so am I. You want to go on a vacation and forget all the strenuous repetition of challenge; I know, me too. You want everything to shift and go back to normal. But theres now a new normal, and its a mountain climbing sort of normal. I don’t like either. But why? Why am I in this place of constant banging of the gongs that shake my being? I don’t have that answer… however I know I will be ok. I know YOU will be ok. In time your steps will begin to leisurely walk through the garden, but for now you’re running a marathon. BUT, You will make it, YOU will be OK. In this place of life beating, when I can barely hear, I cling to the core of this truth… Jesus is with me, He’s gone before me, and He is in the worn out and wearing with me. I’m still thinned and gasping for breath, yet I trust I WILL make it to the next day, to the new morning because He says so. “even though I suffer, I trust He will protect me until that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12 Worn out. He is with you.
L I G
G H T
SURRENDER P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y V I C T O R I A L E M O S M O D E L : A L E X A H A L L L O C A T I O N : S E A T T L E , W A
The Surrendered Road I
believe these words have the power to change your life. 11 life giving and altering words. 11 words that were all Jesus could cry out in His most dire time of need. 11 words that Jesus told His Disciples to pray 11 chapters before He uttered them. A time in His life when the immediate road unfurling before Him was lined, paved and sealed with mockery, betrayal, bullying, torture and suffering. A road that would lead to His death. This dark road; an wanted approaching journey. Jesus pulls away from His dearest friends and utters these words. The words He told them to pray. Not my will but yours be done. “Father if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” Luke 22:42 ( See Luke 39 46, Mathew 26: 3646, Mk 14: 3242) He cries for change. He cries surrender. His is a prayer of ultimate trust. One that places control in the hands of His Father and relinquishes ownership of His desire. A free fall into the unknown outcome but known death that awaits. I read this passage again and I am transported to His side. Jesus falling to His knees and beseeching an altered path. Three times His heart made known. Emotion seeping through his pores as His sinless blood makes paths down His anxious flesh. Each time His cry reaches new depths of desperation and each time His cry is ended by a yielding to the choice of His Father. A restructuring of the will, one that places the will of His Father above His own. When we pray this prayer we join Jesus in His surrender. In His hope. In His trust. Uncurling the fingers that cage our desires and relinquishing them to One who is going to work it all
B Y M I C H E L L E C O P P I N I
….YOUR WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN…. together far better than our minds think or imagine. We join Jesus in His ultimate desire. That the Fathers will be done here as it is done in Heaven. We may feel the distress, the pain in the depths of our being. We may see the road before us, a relentless enemy to our very life, and still concede to the Father. Declare that we desire His way, the best way, and are willing to let go of what we don’t understand in exchange for it. This is a prayer of surrender. This is a prayer of trust and of hope. This prayer is an invitation into the heart of our Father. Our good good Father who loves us. An invitation to see just how good He is and ultimately to trust that He loves us with a furious love and He is as good as He says He is. (He is better than we can imagine) It is one that calls to heaven and invites the Father to fabricate our earth in reflection of His kingdom. It is a prayer we pray and know that though a cross be before us, resurrection is there as well. He does hear us and sometimes the cup will not be taken from us but He is with us. He will strengthen us (Luke 22:43) and as we tread the surrendered road it may just become threaded with Heavenly blueprints. Blueprints that will not perish. Blueprints of kingdom where the need for tears has past. Then, one day, it might just become the King’s heaven we have been praying for. Father, May your will be done in my world today and always. And today may my earth look a little more like Heaven. Amen.