Happy New Year
THIS NEEDS TO GET
DEALT WITH JOHNNIE DENT
THE MAKING OF A MAN BISHOP CLARENCE POPE
DATING ALIA WORTHY
Pastors DANNY & ANITA GONZALEZ “THE HARVEST”
CONTENTS CITY LIFE CHURCH
4 GOD OPERATES IN CHAOS Donna Renay Patrick 6 FOUNDERS PAGE Pastors Greg & Sharina George 8 WHO CAN I RUN TO? Elder RD Anderson-Bailey 10 HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018! Prophetess Kimberly Fleming 12 LIVING WITHIN YOUR MEANS Leslie Elia, Financial Article 14 ONLINE DATING Alia Worthy, Single & Saved 16 EATING HABITS Angela Mosley, Physical Health 18 THIS NEEDS TO GET DEALT WITH Johnnie Dent, Feet to Your Faith
20 COVER STORY
Minister Donna Renae Patrick
Pastors Danny & Anita Gonzalez “The Harvest”
28 DO YOU NEED SOME R&R? Evang. Carmella Hill, Mental Health
30 THE MAKING OF A MAN Bishop Clarence Pope, Men to Men 32 PRECIOUS OIL Brianna Triplett 36 TEEN CORNER Artrez Alexander & Taylor Hauser 39 WHY AM I HERE Ruth C. Dept, Poetry Corner
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GOD OPERATES IN CHAOS
Donna Renay Patrick
Chaos. Calamity. Confusion. And Christianity. No, not “religion,” but Christianity – receiving Christ as Savior, then making every effort toward living a life that is pleasing to Him. The common denominator among chaos, calamity, and confusion is that all of them surely and eventually find their way into our lives as Christians. The Word of God tells us, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” (Psalm 34:19, KJV.) Job goes on to tell us that, paraphrasing, man born of a woman is of few days and those are full of trouble.” (Job 14:1, NKJV.) Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). So as believers we know chaos is going to invade our lives both on a personal and a ministerial level at some point. But we also know that God has made a way for us to experience victory in every painful situation. The wonderful thing about God is that He is well able to operate amid chaos. It may look dark all around us, but because the light of Christ shines on the inside of us, God will reveal Himself in such beautiful ways. When Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, they thought they were rid of him. But God had other plans. While they allowed their disdain for their younger brother to drive them to do the unthinkable, God was already preparing the way for Joseph. The Bible says that in all this chaos, God was with Joseph. (Genesis 39:2, 21)
His brothers thought that by selling Joseph into slavery and leading their father to believe a wild animal had killed him, life would just continue to roll on. But God was already at work on Joseph’s behalf. He went from family-driven betrayal, to being sold to a band of Ishmaelites, to running Potiphar’s house, to prison, to interpreting dreams for his fellow prisoners, to interpreting Pharaoh’s dream, and finally, to being elevated as the number two man in Pharaoh’s administration. During the seven years of famine in Egypt, Pharaoh instructed all the people to see Joseph to buy food. Joseph found success, mercy and favor while a slave, and then as a prisoner. Even his slave master, Potiphar, knew the Lord was with Joseph. (Genesis 39:3)
Having been given a wife by Pharaoh, two sons were born to Joseph whom he named di-rectly from his life’s personal chaos. The first he named Manasseh, as “God has made me forget all my toil,” and the second he named Ephraim, “For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.” (Genesis 41:45, 50-52) When Herod, king over Judea, heard that wise men had come to worship the newborn King of the Jews, it bothered him so much that he issued an order to kill all the male children un-der the age of two. (Matthew 2:16). He saw the newborn King as a threat to his own kingship. Can you imagine the chaos that ensued while mothers
are being violently robbed of their male children for no reason except this is what the king has ordered? Herod thought killing all the male babies would secure his position. But what Her-od didn’t know is that no one can cancel the plans and purposes of God. He thought nothing of the plan of God to bring a Savior into the world who would heal, deliver and set free from sin all those who would believe on His name. Not only did God instruct the wise men not to return to Herod, but He also warned Joseph in a dream to take Mary and their new baby to Egypt because, had they returned to Judea, Herod would seek to destroy the Child. Near the end of the Gospel of Mark, chapter four, the boat that Jesus and his disciples were in began to fill with water because a great windstorm has arisen. Fearing for their lives, the disciples hurriedly wake up a sleeping Jesus and say in essence, “Teacher, we’re about to die! Don’t you care?” Jesus woke up and spoke to the sea, merely saying, “Peace, be still! And at that point the wind stopped, and the waters were calm again.” (Mark 4:35-41). The disciples saw chaos, but Jesus saw calm. Are you facing what seems to be a chaotic situation? Does God seem distant? Please let me encourage you in that. God sees you and He is more than able to act on your behalf. I invite you to meditate on Ephesians 3:20: “Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” Not long ago my flesh was telling me to give up, but deep in my spirit I knew God was keeping me. I knew He had not left me, and He has not left you either. Now is the time to stand on the Word of God in a way perhaps you have never stood before. Believe that God really has overcome the world, and that He really is your Deliverer. When you believe that, you will begin to think, speak, and act in faith. and act in faith.
Donna Renay Patrick is a transformationalspeaker, award-winning author, musician/choir director, and worship leader. She has authored two award-winning devotionals focused on living a life of praise and worship: At All Times and It’s in Your Praise. She has recently co-authored a devotional for women in the workplace entitled, Be Refreshed. She hosts a weekly internet radio program, The Donna Patrick Show, where the theme is making worship a lifestyle. Her passion is worship ministry, education, and training. Visit her website at www.donnarenaypatrick.com. Follow her on social media: Facebook: Donna Renay Patrick, Author Twitter: @DonnaRPatrick Instagram: Donnarenaypatrick LinkedIn: Donna Renay Patrick, M.A.s
Pastor Greg George Pastor Sharina George
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Happy New Year
Donna R. Patrick RD Anderson-Bailey Kimberly M. Fleming Leslie Elia Alia Worthy Angela Mosley Johnnie Dent Carmella Hill Clarence Pope Brianna Triplett Artrez Alexander Taylor Hauser Ruth C. Dept
Praise the Lord faithful readers,
As we enter into a NEW YEAR we have great expectation for God to heal, set free and deliver as you read the words on these pages. God has blessed some gifted anointed writers to be a part of this great project. They have poured out the best of themselves on these pages and we want you to sit back, download the magazine and enjoy what God has done. From the Founders to you, Happy New Year! God bless you, Pastors Greg & Sharina George All rights are reserved and no part of this publication can be copied or reproduced without permission from Xcellence Publications LLC.
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WHO CAN I RUN TO? Elder RD Anderson-Bailey, MFT
Who can I run to? No, I’m not referring to the popular Xscape song. But rather, one of the most commonly asked questions from wives all over the world. If you have been a wife long enough to come to your first fight, you’ve asked yourself this question. In truth, at times there may not be many people to speak with concerning the deeper issues in our marital journeys. This is especially true in those moments that cut deep or arouse questions of staying or exiting the marriage. The reason goes beyond their ability to handle the matter objectively. It becomes a matter of whether or not you will have to do damage control immediately following dialogue with that person. Let’s discuss a recent conversation I had with a dear First Lady friend of mine. This was a conversation that came about on the heels of marital conflict. We were discussing the people in our shared circle that we could run to in times of fiery fellowship in our respective homes. We began to describe what made a suitable confidant. In this list we stated that it didn’t matter if the person was married or unmarried for some issues. We also agreed that there were some friends that couldn’t handle certain aspects of marital issues due to lack of experience. We surmised that based on the topic plaguing the marriage, we could decide who
was a proper fit for our deepest private struggles. At the end of the conversation, I went home and assessed the “Who can I run to” list. Let’s journey deeper into this thought. As a marriage and family therapist, I have often encountered scenarios where people place family members in this category. There may be times where that is suitable, if they are able to be objective. However, I strongly caution against it in any scenario. Family members can reinforce their own beliefs about your mate with each piece of evidence: i.e., argument, disagreement, conflict you disclose to them. The same is true for close friends. So avoid doing this at all costs! The reality is it is your job to protect your mate and the overall wellbeing of your relationship. God gave you to each other to cover and not to expose. Long after the smoke clears and the relationship hurt has mended, a couple pretty much moves on without a trace of the incident. This occurs because, after all, “Love keeps no record of wrongs, right? (1 Cor. 13:4 NIV.) On the contrary, while your love may not keep that record, those that love you may, in fact, be keeping score. Too often, we vent, cry, “Let loose
and let have” to those outside of our relationship, but we forget to conclude the matter with them once it has been resolved. As a result, now “they” are side-eyeing your mate and potentially reducing your entire relationship to a sham over an incident you have long since outlived. Thus, leaving your mate vulnerable to personal attacks, jabs and maltreatment at the hands of someone you allowed into the conflict, which brings me back to our original question: Who can I run to? There are a few requirements that I was able to set for myself when I attempted to answer such a potent and agonizing question. First, clearly identify the strengths and struggles of the person you choose to confide in. How do you do this? Well, you get to know them. Are they prayerful? Do they uplift you and your mate? Are they always bringing you the latest on who slept with whom? Are they known for giving opinions without solicitation regarding your
relationship? Feel free to add your own questions here. Second, clearly set the expectation of your need before you divulge info about your conflict. For instance, “Listen. I need you to hear me out and tell me where I messed up” is a great way to take the focus off the other person and check yourself and understand the part you played in the conflict. Another way is to start off with, “Listen. I have an issue and I don’t need you to take my side on this, I just need you to listen.” This way allows you to vent and set the expectation that you don’t want them to gang up on your mate. Try to create your own examples here. Lastly, remember to come back to them once it is resolved and tell them how it came to be. In doing so, you soften any harsh lines or harmful conclusions they may have drawn during the prior discussion. If you only tell bits of the story, you leave your mate in a compromised and uncovered state.
Including only one person in your journey from conflict to resolution is your best bet. If you haven’t found this in a person yet, take the conflict to the throne of grace and leave it there! Also, pray and ask God to send someone that can hear objectively and pray with you in times of conflict and hardship. After you pray, remember to follow the three steps: 1.) Get to know (Assess) the confidant before confiding. 2.) Set the expectation of the conversation. 3.) Remember to go back and tell the resolution that came about! Happy 2018, Kingdom Couples! @RelationshipDecoder
Elder RD Anderson-Bailey, MFT
Happy New Year 2018! PROPHETESS
Kimberly M. Fleming Blessings and Happy new year to you all! We are in a brand new year. For some of you 2017 was rough and you’re glad to see it go. For others 2017 was a great year. Many have asked me what is God saying for 2018? I believe this gonna be a awesome year for us! However much fasting and prayer is needed for the church. In my prayer time the only thing that keep coming to me is New Beginnings. The number 8 means new beginning. I heard the Lord day we are at the beginning of a great revival that is about to hit America. There will be exposures that will rock the church but keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. This is also the time to draw closer to Him in prayer like never before. Yes there will be trials and even persecution, but our Victories will be even greater. Prophetic words/promises spoken over many of you long ago will manifest this year. Be encouraged dont give up now the Blessings of God are gonna run you down and overtake you. Jesus is coming back sooner than we think. We must make it our mission to win as many people
to Christ as possible. Everything we do and say should point to Jesus, be more Kingdom minded. It’s a new year one we’ll never see again, let’s make it count. Let’s lift Jesus higher for all the world to see! Pray without ceasing. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord and bless His name. My prayer for you this year, is that you walk in divine health. That the favor of God surrounds you as a shield. I pray salvation for all your loved ones and those you come in contact with. I pray that the joy of the Lord will be your strength. I also pray that though the weapon may form, it will not be able to prosper. I pray that you become debt free this year and that money comes to you now. Finally, I pray above all that you prosper and be in good health even as your soul prospers. Have a very Happy, very Blessed and Prosperous New Year!!! Prophetess Kim
Kimberly M. Fleming Booking information for Prophetess Kim Fleming c/o Christian Fellowship Center 14713 Lakeshore Boulevard Cleveland, Ohio 44110 firstname.lastname@example.org 216-403-9966 Sow A Seed Cash App $Kimberly7 PayPal.email@example.com Connect with Prophetess Kim
Living Within Your Means What does it mean to live within your means? It may mean a strong discussion with the spender in the family. No one wants to nitpick a spouse about spending, but where else do you start? No one wants to start a fight about money, but perhaps a strong discussion is in order. Hopefully you save your bills and can pull them out of your highly organized desk. I know, I hear the laughter, too. Anyway, look at the last six months of your phone, electric, heat, mortgage, homeowner’s insurance, auto insurance, life insurance, health insurance, credit card statement, car payment and any other bill that is paid monthly and average them. Did you also remember that there are weekly groceries, gas for your car, new shoes for little Bobby and Aunt Tillie’s birthday coming up? Figure what you spend each week and see what you should be pulling in each month. Here comes the brutal part. Look at those paycheck stubs and see if they match. If they match exactly and you are at zero each month, you will never get ahead. If you are spending more than you are making, not only will you fail to get ahead, but you will fall so far behind that you will feel enslaved to the credit card companies, bill collectors and maybe even the “repo man.” Proverbs 22:7 says, “The rich rule over the poor and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.” It doesn’t sound like much fun. Begin your new year with the resolution to cut out something that is pulling your finances in the wrong direction. Is it trading a $4.00 specialty coffee at that famous store for a $1.00 McDonald’s coffee? Maybe it is foregoing the $1.00 McDonald’s coffee for a reusable water bottle that you filled at home! It all depends on where your finances are and how much you are willing to be free. While we are talking about resolutions in the New Year, let’s add tithing, ten percent. Before you curse me, under your breath, for suggesting that after already encouraging you to give up your $4.00 coffee, let me remind you that the Bible has between 17 and 20 verses about tithing, with the most famous being from the book of Malachi.
Financial Article January 2018
The Magic Green Box Malachi 3:10, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in it. Test me in this, says the LORD Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” But don’t give just to get. Get yourself in a mindset to give simply to give. Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward say, “Giving puts you in a mindset of abundance and puts any financial worries in their proper perspective.” I could not agree more. When I was early in my marriage, my husband and I were not on the same page with this and I was only able to tithe with my time and gifts or talents. Now, as we have both matured in our faith, giving ten percent is becoming easier and easier. It is a process and growth is not always overnight. So please have open discussions about budgets, income levels and tithing and see what blessings the new year will bring.
To purchase the entire program (book, workbook and audios) or to start a 6 week finance class at your church, club or organization please contact Leslie Elia at firstname.lastname@example.org
Single & o nline dating seems to be a prevalent and controversial subject for Christians. I’m not here to discuss whether or not online dating is right or wrong, but rather give you some pros and cons that may come along with it. I have heard many amazing stories of Christian couples who have met their significant other on social media and have had successful marriages. On the opposing side, I have also heard of some who pursued online dating and it was not successful. Social media and dating websites are another method in meeting and connecting with others. Knowing our motives in engaging in online dating is important. Sometimes our lack of patience in waiting on God’s timing will cause us to join dating websites and even casually date others. Sometimes we can pursue online dating from a place of being discontent and not trusting God. We must make sure we’re in a place of praying and really seeking God on if that person we’re pursing is the one for us.
Saved and sees posts of him claiming to be a Christian yet posting inappropriate images and language. On the other hand, if a Christian male visited a woman’s social media page and she claims to be a Christian, if the content on her page lines up with the typical Christian lifestyle, he may be more susceptible in attempting to pursue a relationship with her. The reality is not everyone is who they say they are on social media. We live in a culture in which people tend to display their accomplishments and “perfect side” rather than who they really are. It’s easy to have a fake facade of who we are on social media rather than who we are in reality. Ladies, it’s important to know that even if you do meet someone on social media, it’s not your responsibility to pursue him or initiate the process.
At times we’re able to learn some prominent details about him or her just from seeing their social media page. Many form judgements on if a person is even considered a potential mate based on what is on their page. For example, a Christian lady may be less prone to seeing a male as a potential mate if she goes on his Facebook page,
Proverbs 18:22 states, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord.” I’m not saying it’s absolutely wrong to look at their page, I actually encourage it; however, be open to not allowing this person to be a major distraction, but rather guard your heart, especially if you have not had any face to face contact with this person. Sometimes we’re so quick to label someone as a potential dating partner instead of getting to know them as a friend first. When getting to know people as friends instead of instantly pursuing them online for a relationship, we’re able to grow in learning about their character and maybe if they are the right one for us. It’s also wise to have discernment in knowing that just because that person is a Christian, it does not mean that they are compatible for you nor does it mean they will compliment your purpose. I believe that online dating can be done the right way when lead with prayer, discernment, wisdom, guidance, and caution. There’s nothing wrong with meeting a person online and learning more about them. The challenge comes in knowing if you are able to truly identify and discern if the person you are engaging with online is a potential mate.
4 Steps in Online Dating 1
GUARD YOUR HEART
HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE
Ask God for discernment on the person you are interested with online and if he or she is the one. Get to know them as a friend first. Don’t jump straight into the relationship.
If you do decide to engage in the relationship, meet up in public places. Drive separately. Double date. Let someone know where you’re going. Get outside perspectives from those you trust and allow them to be involved in your process.
ARE YOUR EATING HABITS
TO THE LORD? By Minister Angela Mosley
Have you ever considered that what you eat concerns God?
We are bought with a price, according to 1 Corinthians 6:20, King James Version. It says, “For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Since we are his property, we must be mindful of what we consume in our bodies. Did you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost and you don’t own it? In 1 Corinthians 6:19, it says, “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” Well, since we do not own our bodies, we must take into consideration that we must examine ourselves in what w e eat. I have a few questions for you to ask yourself. Are you too busy that you don’t have time to prepare home-cooked meals for you and your family? Do you know how much nutrition is in your food? If you or your family are facing diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, et cetera, are you taking the proper steps to avoid or replace harmful foods that affect that disease? I believe when one chooses to eat in or out, one should be aware of
Do not be ignorant of what’s in your bloodline regarding your family genes that are passed down through generations. I must say and have witnessed it personally that God, Jehovah Rapha, is a Healer.
the nutritional food choices that are available. You have to know that the food you eat provides nutrition. Do you know how to read a food label correctly? Do not be ignorant of what’s in your bloodline regarding your family genes that are passed down through generations. I must say and have witnessed it personally that God, Jehovah Rapha, is a Healer. Once you know the diseases that are in your bloodline, you should study to show yourself approved, 2 Timothy 2:14. In other words, get educated by studying and asking your family and doctor questions. In examining your eating habits, you must stay educated on what you are eating. Where does the food come from? How is it prepared? Where is it prepared? In the second part of this article, I want to give you some tips on how to improve your
eating habits this year. First, talk to your doctor, preferably a naturopathic doctor. Make an appointment to discuss if he or she wants you to make any changes in your lifestyle, exercise or dietary intake. If possible, talk to a registered dietician. This is a licensed professional whose main area of study is nutrition. You want someone who would tailor fit a plan of reachable goals for you to improve the way you eat. Start a food journal. This pinpoints your strengths and makes you aware of your weaknesses. Do this for one week. Keep track of all your food and beverage intake. Also, track how many ounces of clear, hydrating fluids you drink. This is so important to healthy eating. Next, after you have kept a journal for a few days, highlight areas where you think you could make changes and then write a plan for yourself.
Using your journal and doctor’s advice, make a plan for your new healthy eating lifestyle. This plan will help you set yourself up for success in the long run. Lastly, find someone, such as a friend, family member or coworker, who would support you. In your new lifestyle changes, you and someone else will be able to collaborate on different healthy eating ideas, recipes or ideas when the going gets tough. If you don’t have anyone to team up with, then I would suggest you try to sign up for an online support group or forum where others are trying to reach the same goals as you are. Remember and memorize Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me,” King James Version.
Minister Angela Mosley
feet to your faith
TO GET DEALT WITH
cannot believe this. Nevertheless, it happens. I go up to a door with an automatic sensor and it does not open. Not only am I surprised, but it seems to happen just as I have planned my day or worse, I am in a hurry. In this age filled with microwaves, high-definition television, Wi-Fi connections, escalators, debit card purchases with a single swipe, Smartphones, and FedEx, with the slogan The World on Time, next-day air deliveries, it has been proven that we do not have to wait too long for anything if we are willing to pay the higher cost for convenience.
When things do not operate on the â€œright now scheduleâ€? that we put down in our cellphones, then it must be broken. I find myself looking for an out-of-order sign on the door or maybe a glance at my watch to confirm that I arrived too early or too late to gain access. Not having immediate answers can end a relationship or foster the insinuation that dependability is lost. Similarly, itâ€™s always amazing when believers struggle with using the very mechanism that God gives us to assure that something is movable.
In Romans 12:3, the Apostle Paul makes it clear that we have been “dealt (KJV) the measure of faith.” Other versions use the word “distributed,” (NIV), “allotted,” (NASB), and “assigned,” (ESV)” to describe faith as God had presented it to us. Jesus expressed, in Mathew 17:20, the potential of faith was that it could “move a mountain,” and in Hebrews 11:1, it is prefixed with two foundational words, “Now faith.” Rest in the awesome reassurance that God completed every task that He set out to do. Nothing moves before God. No inventions, no generation, or no forethought. Time has never moved before God. In fact, when we say that God is moving, it is more to celebrate His presence versus His speed. There is no earthly instrument that we have that could possibly measure His mobility. The things we desire were already placed in position and all we have do is take the horizontal steps to get there. Sometimes along the way, we run into things that attempt to hinder our arrival. The sensor seems to hold us at bay. The word sensor itself is a shortened form of the word “sensory,” which comes from the Latin sensorius, meaning “to perceive or feel.” This year, I admonish you to remember that your now faith is a sensor that activates some certifiable moments which will open doors in the time that you need them to. You should feel privileged instead of entitled as these opportunities are clear indications that God has created possibility just for you. You can feel when things are being shifted on your behalf. While others scramble to make New Years’ resolutions, your edge is that you have had a working solution all along. The things that hindered you in the years of the locust and cankerworm need to hear you utter the words, “It’s time you get dealt with.” If it does not move as we are accustomed that it should, talk to Him. His system hasn’t had a breakdown or a letdown in over 2000 years.
Pastors Danny & Anita Gonzalez
hen you think about the Harvest, what is it that comes to mind? To some, it may be agricultural. To some, reaping what one has sowed. For others, it could be cultivating. For others it could be gleaning, while for others it may be just planting. But in the Gospel of Matthew 9:35-38, Jesus makes this declaration that, “The Harvest is truly plentiful, but the laborers are few.” He compares the harvest to sheep having no shepherd. Matthew 9:35-38: “35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.[a] 36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary[b] and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Ironically enough, even in the 21st century, there are still people out there that have never heard the mention of the name of Jesus. I have even heard the story of how a mission team was witnessing in the busy streets of New York City and came across an
individual and asked them the question: “Do you know who Jesus Christ is?” To the surprise of the missionary team, that individual replied, “I have never heard of this person.” It’s safe to say that there are still sheep without Shepherds. As a third-generation Pentecostal, growing up in the parsonage of a Spanish Holiness Church, I have had the opportunity or let’s say front row seat to what a harvest looked like. Growing up at our mother church, not only have I seen God move mightily
and seen miracles take place, I have also seen men and women of God be commissioned and sent forth to do the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Today I, along with my lovely wife, Anita Dolinga-Gonzalez, are in our 15th year as licensed ministers in the Church of God where we are raising fourth-generation Pentecostals Alijah, Jacob and Noah. In these 15 years, we have had the opportunity to serve as Pastors of benevolence and outreach, as well as traveling Evangelists, and now God has opened an amazing opportunity to serve as Senior Pastors of City Life Church. We have had a first-hand account that the harvest is ready and vast. We have witnessed that the Harvest comes from every different walk of life. It is not restricted to a social, economical, cultural or even denominational status. For Jesus made the declaration that the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. The beautiful revelation in Matthew is that Jesus was moved to compassion towards every person. As sons and daughters of the kingdom of God, we are all required to go and fulfill the Great Commission. Matthew 28:16-20 says, “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshipped Him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go,
therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of
It is not restricted to a social, economical, cultural or even denominational status. the age. Amen.” Wow! What a beautiful promise He has given to go and fulfill the mandate of the Great Commission. We are empowered to go out to share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is this passage of scripture that enables us to fulfill the prayer of Jesus in Matthew 9:38, “Therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” I truly believe that we are living in challenging times in a world where there is so much pain, despair and darkness, in a time where so many need hope, healing, but ultimately salvation.
In 2017, we became Senior Pastors of the City Life Church in Slavic Village/ Downtown Cleveland, Ohio. We felt led to accept the call to take on a church plant and revitalization in a community that is in need of its own revitalization. This is something that not many would take or sign up for. This is a church in an area of town that has faced many challenges economically and structurally. You may ask, Well, Pastor Danny, why did you sign up for this? The truth of the matter is we have had the privilege to minister and to witness to various cultures and many different types of communities throughout our years of ministry. We believe that God prepared us and planted us in a community rich in diversity and multiculturalism, as my wife is Romanian and I am Puerto Rican and we both embrace our heritages, cultures and both of us speak our native languages. Ironically enough, Slavic Village is one of the most diverse communities in the City of Cleveland. The truth is that in our time of prayer before taking this church after numerous offers, we questioned it ourselves. We asked questions like, are we ready to take on this challenge? Are we equipped
City Life Church
Pastors Danny & Anita Gonzalez
He has been my Lord Jehovah Jireh, my Provider. On the Promise of what He told me, to “Go and See What I Will Do,” we stand firm on His word.
to meet the great need of the people in this area? How would we survive economically? After fasting and praying along with countless, sleepless nights, I heard the voice of the Lord speak to me on multiple occasions. This is what He said, “Go and see what I will do!” This may be something insignificant to you, but to me it was confirmation from the God that I know and have witnessed in my own personal times of trials through many storms that he has always provided for me. He has been my Lord Jehovah Jireh, my Provider. On the Promise of what He told me, to “Go and See What I Will Do,” we stand firm on His word. As I believe what many perceive as a dry well, a desolate land or a hopeless situation, I believe it to be an untapped harvest. A place with endless opportunities to be a beacon of hope and hospital to the hurting and a shelter to the lost. A place where the word of God will be shared, where the Love of God will be on display and the Great Commission of God will be fulfilled, which we have seen some of the promise come to pass so far, as the fruit is blooming right before our eyes and ready for the harvesting.
As a Pastor, I believe that we are to cultivate the sheep in our pastures, preparing and equipping them to go and labor outside of the church walls to fulfill the Great Commission and release them to win the harvest. I believe that we are living in our greatest days, in a time where it says in Acts 2:17, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams.” It’s time that we start laying hands on the sick again and see them be healed. It’s time that we feed those that are hungry. It’s time that we pray the prayer of faith for the hopeless and the prayer of salvation for the lost, as well as the prayer of rededication for those that have fallen far from God. It’s time that the Church, the Body of Christ is moved to compassion, like Jesus, as we continue to pray for God to send out the Laborers throughout our cities, nations and world. For then and only then can we fulfill the Great Commission and reap the Harvest.
Pastors Danny and Anita Gonzalez City Life Church 5005 Dolloff Road Cleveland, Ohio 44127 216-441-3761 email@example.com www.citylifechurchcleveland.com
Pastors Danny & Anita Gonzalez
uando piensas en la Cosecha, ¿qué es lo que viene a la mente? Para algunos puede ser agrícola, para algunos cosechar lo que se ha sembrado, para otros se puede ser cultivar, para otros puede ser recoger, mientras que para otros puede ser solo sembrar. Pero en el evangelio de Mateo 9: 35-38, Jesús hace esta declaración de que “la Cosecha es verdaderamente abundante, pero los obreros son pocos”. El compara la cosecha con ovejas que no tienen pastor. Mateo 9: 35-38 “35 Entonces Jesús recorría todas las ciudades y aldeas, enseñando en las sina-gogas de ellos, predicando el evangelio del reino y sanando toda enfermedad y toda dolencia del pueblo. [A] 36 Pero cuando el vio las multitudes, se compadeció de ellos, porque estaban cansados [b] y dispersos, como ovejas que no tienen pastor. 37 Entonces
él dijo a sus discípulos: La cosecha es verdaderamente abundante, pero los obreros son pocos. 38 Por tanto, rueguen al Dios de la cosecha que envíe obreros a su cosecha”. Irónicamente, incluso en el siglo XXI, toda-vía hay personas que nunca han oído mencionar el nombre de Jesús. Incluso he escuchado la historia de cómo un equipo de la misioneros
estaba presenciando en las concurridas calles de la ciudad de Nueva York y encontraron a un individuo y le preguntaron... “¿Sabes quién es Je-sucristo?” Para sorpresa del equipo de misioneros, ese individuo respondió “Nunca he oído ha-blar de esta persona”. Es seguro decir que todavía hay ovejas sin pastores. Como pentecostal de tercera generación, crecí en la casa pastoral de una iglesia de santidad hispana, y he tenido la oportunidad, o digamos presenciar en primera fila, de cómo era la co-secha. Al haber crecido en una iglesia madre, no solo he visto a Dios moverse con fuerza y he visto milagros; también he visto a hombres y mujeres de Dios ser llamados y enviados a hacer el ministerio del Evangelio de Jesucristo. Hoy, junto a mi adorable esposa Anita Dolinga-Gonzalez estamos en nuestro decimoquinto año como ministros con licencia en la Iglesia de Dios, donde estamos criando pentecostales de cuarta
generación, Alijah, Jacob y Noé. En estos 15 años, hemos tenido la oportunidad de servir como pastores de benevolencia y alcance, así como de evangelista viajante. Y ahora Dios ha abierto una oportunidad increíble para servir como pastores principales en el City Life Church. Hemos tomado en cuenta de primera mano de que la cosecha está lista y vasta. Hemos sido testigos que la cosecha proviene de diferentes estilos de vida. No está limitado a un estatus social, económico, cultural o incluso denominación. Porque Jesús hizo la declaración de que la cosecha es abundante, pero los obreros son pocos. La hermosa revelación en Mateo es que Je-sús fue movido a la compasión hacia cada persona. Como hijos e hijas del reino de Dios, todos estamos obligados a ir y cumplir la gran misión. Mateo 28: 16-20 “Entonces los once discípulos se fueron a Galilea, al monte que Jesús les había señalado. 17 Cuando lo vieron, lo adoraron; pero algunos dudaron.18 Y Jesús vino y les habló, diciendo: Toda autoridad me ha sido dada en el cielo y en la tierra. 19 ve entonces, y haced discípulos a todas las naciones, bautizándolos en el nombre del Padre, del Hijo y del Espíritu Santo, 20 enseñándoles que guarden todas las cosas que os he mandado; y he aquí, yo estoy con ustedes siempre, hasta el fin de los tiempos. Amén. “¡Wow! Qué hermosa promesa ha dado para ir y cumplir el mandato de la gran misión. Esta-mos apoderados para salir a compartir las buenas noticias del evangelio de Jesucristo. Es este pasaje de las Escrituras, el que nos permite cumplir la oración de Jesús en Mateo 9:38 “Por
lo tanto, ora al Señor de la cosechas para enviar obreros a su cosechas”. Realmente creo que estamos viviendo en tiempos difíciles en un mundo donde hay tanto dolor, desesperación y oscuridad. En un tiempo donde muchos necesitan esperanza, sanidad, pero fi-nalmente la salvación. En el 2017 nos convertimos en pastores principales de City Life Church en Slavic Village / Downtown Cleveland, Ohio. Nos sentimos impulsados a aceptar el llamado a asumir un plan para revitalizar una iglesia en una comunidad que necesita su propia fortaleza. Esto es algo que no muchos tomarían o registrarían. Esta es una iglesia en un área de la ciudad que ha enfren-tado muchos desafíos económicos y estructurales. Puede preguntar, bueno Pastor Danny, ¿por qué te inscribiste para esto? La verdad del asunto es que hemos tenido el privilegio de minis-trar y ser testigos de diversas culturas y muchos tipos diferentes de comunidades a lo largo de nuestros años de ministerio. Creemos que Dios nos preparó y nos plantó en una comunidad rica en diversidad y multiculturalidad, ya que mi esposa es rumana y yo soy puertorriqueño y ambos abrazamos nuestros patrimonios culturas y ambos
hablamos nuestros idiomas nativos. Irónica-mente, Slavic Village es una de las comunidades más diversas de la ciudad de Cleveland. La verdad es que en nuestro tiempo de oración antes de tomar esta iglesia después de numerosas ofertas, la cuestionamos nosotros mismos. Hicimos preguntas como, ¿estamos listos para en-frentar este desafío? ¿Estábamos preparados para satisfacer la gran necesidad de las personas en esta área? ¿Cómo sobreviviríamos económicamente? Después de ayunar y orar junto con incontables noches de insomnio, escuché la voz del Señor hablarme en múltiples ocasiones. Es-to es lo que dijo: “¡Ve y mira lo que haré!” Esto puede ser algo insignificante para ti, pero para mí fue la confirmación del Dios que conozco y que he presenciado en mis tiempos personales de prueba a través de muchas tormentas que él siempre me ha dado. ¡Él ha sido mi Señor Jehová Jireh, proveedor de Mi Señor y en la promesa de lo que él me dijo que fuera y vea lo que haré! Nos mantenemos firmes en su palabra. Como creo lo que muchos perciben como un pozo seco, una tierra desolada o una situación sin esperanza, creo que es una cosecha sin ex-plotar. Un lugar con infinitas oportunidades para ser un faro de esperanza, un hospital para
los heridos y un refugio para los perdidos. Un lugar donde la palabra de Dios será compartida, donde el Amor de Dios estará en exhibición y la gran misión de Dios se cumplirá. Lo cual hemos visto que algo de la promesa se ha cumplido en la medida en que la fruta está floreciendo ante nuestros ojos y lista para la cosecha. Como pastor, creo que debemos cultivar las ovejas en nuestros pastos, prepararlas y prepararlas para ir y trabajar fuera de los muros de la iglesia para cumplir la gran misión y liberarlas para ganar la cosecha. Creo que estamos viviendo en nuestros mejores días, en un momento en el que dice. Hechos 2:17 Y sucederá en los últimos días, dice Dios, Que derramaré de Mi Espíritu sobre toda carne; Tus hijos y tus hijas profetizarán, Tus jóvenes verán visiones, Tus viejos soñarán sueños. Es hora de que comencemos a poner las manos sobre los enfermos nuevamente y verlos sanar. Es ho-ra de que alimentemos a los que tienen hambre. Es hora de que recemos la oración de fe para los desamparados y la oración de salvación para los perdidos, así como también la oración de dedicación para aquellos que han caído lejos de Dios. Es hora de que la iglesia y su cuerpo sean movidos a la com-pasión como Jesús, mientras continuamos orando para que Dios envíe a los Obreros a través de nuestras ciudades, naciones y mundo. Para entonces y solo entonces podemos cumplir la gran misión y co-sechar la cosecha.
Pastors Danny and Anita Gonzalez City Life Church 5005 Dolloff Road Cleveland, Ohio 44127 216-441-3761 firstname.lastname@example.org www.citylifechurchcleveland.com
Carmella HILL Evangelist
Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with supervising credentials (P.C.C.-S). & Founder of Empower to H.O.P.E. Services, LLC.
Do you need a little “R & R” for 2018? As 2018 commences, why not start out with a little “R & R!” Rest and relaxation is often what we think about when mentioning “R & R,” which is great. However, a little “Reset & Refocus” is needed to help decrease stress and increase rest and relaxation. Ponder this: As you look back on 2017, what goals might you have wanted to achieve but did not quite make the mark? If you had a few more days in 2017, what might you do differently? The answers to
these questions and more could be the springboard to the start of your “Reset & Refocus” for 2018.
becomes the starting point to resetting. What has been pressing on your mind as 2017 ended that seemingly has found its way into 2018? The RESET Bible, specifically the scripture The word “reset” has several in Hebrews 12:1, is helpful in meanings; however, the outlining the need to “lay definition that stands out aside every weight…” and it’s is, “to set, adjust, or fix in further declared in Philippians a new or different way” 4:6-7 to “be anxious for (www.dictionary.com). This nothing…and the peace of meaning speaks volumes God…will guard your hearts to the action that one can and minds through Christ take with their approach Jesus.” This is a powerful way to the new year. With any to “reset” and approach 2018 adjustment or fixing, the mind differently. Why worry? What purpose does it serve? Reset and declare, “I’m resetting my mind” and “whatsoever things are true…pure…lovely…of a good report…think on these things.” When one “resets” his/her mind to think differently, changed behaviors will follow. Why not use the “new year” fever of “goal setting” to “reset” and start afresh? What do you have to lose? There is so much more to gain!
Mental Health CORNER How can I refocus? REFOCUS
What comes to mind when thinking about “refocus?” Hopefully, the word vision comes to mind at some point. The word vision can be referred to in many ways ranging from physical eyesight to mental insight and perception. A common idea when talking about vision is the clarity of that which is being seen or experienced. The degree of clarity could be impacted by people, places, and things whether in the past, present or foreseeable future. However, the biggest impact on the clarity of vision is self! The person we are most around is ourselves and consequently, the only one we are not able to avoid. So what will you do with you? Tell yourself, “I will refocus in 2018!”
Well, glad that you asked. A self assessment is needed to determine what was out of focus that needs clarity again. Consider assessing your current environment and determining who or what has impacted the clarity of your vision. Who or what has impacted the focus of your vision? Who or what has blocked you from seeing clearly? The scripture in Philippians 3:13-14
admonishes us to forget those things which are behind us and press towards what is before us. In essence, looking back is not the answer, and looking forward without a focal point is not helpful either. So, what is needed you may ask? Looking forward with a clear focal point and target will yield greater results. So what are you focusing on in 2018? Hopefully, it will become crystal clear to you!
Mental Health Tips:
● Assess your current environment. Does it support or sabotage your goals for 2018? If so, there is plenty of time to “reset and refocus.” ● Determine who will be in your support circle in 2018. Do not waste time entertaining naysayers this will only cause a setback. ● Commit to improving yourself. Ultimately, you are responsible for your own health and well-being.
THE CONCLUSION OF THE MATTER
It is often stated in the mental health world, “If you want a different result, you have to do something different,” and only you can determine what that looks like. To do the same thing, the same way, but expecting a different result is a sure way to go insane. I admonish you to take a little time for “R & R” - “Reset & Refocus in 2018” – you will thank yourself for it later! SELAH!
Men to Men
Bishop Clarence Pope
The Making of a Man
Grace and peace, brothers. A blessed and prosperous New Year to you all.
We are about to embark on a critical endeavor in our church and community: Helping to build men. There are many men’s outreach ministries.
ven within the church structure there is an abundance of services designed to aid men in their spiritual development. First, we must have accord. We should agree as to what it means to actually be considered a man. What is his role and responsibility in our society? How do we know what to do if and when he strays from the predetermined path?
How do we know if we are right? I know, great questions, but NOT knowing carries too high of a price for our families and our communities and, more importantly, the kingdom of God, as is indicated by the current I RESPONDED, "What does that state of our churches, families, matter?" God, in the creation story, had schools, prisons and communities. a point He desired to make and a focus God started manhood with His within the story. If He thought they were OWN image, Genesis 1:26-27. Someone inquired of me one day, relevant, He knew how to add them to it. Adam was made in God’s' image. "Where did Cain get his wife from This was good to God, Genesis 1:31. and were there OTHER people present during this time in history?” After God had the man He desired, He
gave him authority, Genesis 1:28 and Genesis 2:19-20. Adam was enabled to operate in God’s image, authority and power. We as men can fail God and our community by not taking authority when needed. Everything necessary for our success and victory has been provided, 2 Peter 1:3. It is CRITICAL that men understand that. Otherwise, we will look elsewhere for what we already have to prevail. We then must reproduce, after our own kind, godly men, take authority over our environment according to the instruction given by
God in Genesis 1:16-17. Instruction denotes conditions and boundaries. Many individuals believe the fall of man was associated with a tree or an apple or even a woman. Not so. Man’s fall was directly due to his acting inconsistent with his divinely given mandate WILLFULLY! The solution to all of our community's ills lie within the bosom of every man of God that is completely sold out to His will. Obeying God ensures His accompanying power and presence, John 8:29. After Adam fell, his sons were born in HIS image, fallen. Jesus Christ, the LAST Adam, did what the first Adam failed to do: He OBEYED. This is important to note because our community needs God and He arrives with US - men that are here to do the will of God. Many of our sons are lost because we fathers and elders do not consistently father and/or mentor them. INTENTIONALLY, go and gather them up and teach them, train them and cover them as a father does a son. Christ is the image of God, Colossians 1:15, and WE are the image of Christ, Romans 8:29 and 2 Corinthians 3:18. Jesus Christ was the solution for the doomed world, and WE are the solution for this generation of young men. They need to see praying fathers, husbands and leaders in their community and on the front lines. We should be going INTO the various facilities and BEING agents of change. Iron sharpens iron. We must fellowship and strategize the taking back of our sons from the enemy's hand, working TOGETHER as we SHOW them godly manhood, godly fatherhood and godly brotherhood. Jesus is our example for what the Father is calling for and WE should be their example for what HE is calling for. There is a cliché that has become popular among us: “In order to BE a man, you've got to SEE a man.” While our sisters, mothers and grandmothers are doing a phenomenal job raising our sons, they CANNOT do OUR jobs.
Bishop Clarence Pope Higher Hope Ministries 9114 Miles Park Ave. Cleveland, OH 44105
A New Year’s to Remember Brianna Triplett
lmost six years later, I find myself reflecting back on New Year’s Day 2012. It was one day after my 24th birthday, about one year after God had led me to start attending a nondenominational church that was unlike any church that I had ever attended before. The church was large, tucked away in a quiet suburb 30 minutes outside of Buffalo, New York, where I lived at the time and I was used to attending small Baptist churches in its loud city where the worship always lasted longer than the sermon and the dress code was a bit stricter. There I was after church service on the first day of the year wanting to grow deeper with God. So I was perusing through the books on the shelves of the church’s bookstore looking for a devotional that would increase my faith in God and help me to have a more intimate relationship with my Creator when a young lady tapped me on my shoulder. “Hello, is your name Brianna?” she asked with a nervous smile. “Yes,” I quickly answered. “Was your mother’s name Valarie Ross? Did she pass away when you were young?” “Yes,” I answered, this time a bit more hesitant. “There is someone in the hallway that saw you
walk into the bookstore that would like to meet you. Will you come with me?” I don’t know why I wasn’t more reluctant to follow her, but I did, out of the bookstore and into the hallway until I was standing in front of a man that looked so familiar. “Hello, my name is Mark. It’s so nice to finally meet you. Your mother and I were very close and I recognize you from some pictures that I have seen of you as a child.” He asked me how I was doing and what had led me to start attending this church and had explained how he was not a member, but felt led to visit this church this day, when I finally asked, “How did you know my mother?” He smiled and looked at the young lady who had greeted me in the bookstore for reassurance, and then back at me and answered, “I believe I am your father.” In an instant, everything that I had believed about myself for 24 years, was completely re-evaluated. After my mother passed away, when I was 15 years old, I felt like an orphan and the man I had grown up believing was my father was not in the picture and had given full rights of custody to my grandmother, who stepped up to the plate to finish the task of raising me. After meeting with this
man who claimed to be my father on several separate occasions and a paternity test, it was confirmed that on New Year’s Day, after church service, I had indeed come face to face with my father for the first time at 24 years old. I found out that my father was also a believer, as well as my two sisters and brother who I was meeting for the first time, and his mother, my grandmother who had bright blue eyes and long, fine, blonde hair at one point before it eventually turned brunette, and then silver, which was a complete shock to this dark brown, black woman with brown eyes and thick naturally curly hair. Through the help especially of my older sister, I received discipleship and my relationship with God soared. That New Year’s Day was most memorable not because I met my biological father, but because I had the opportunity to come face to face with my heavenly Father. I was able to see how he so intricately ordered my steps and the steps of my earthly father just so I could see how sovereign He is and how perfect His timing is. That day I learned so many things that I feel the strong urge to share. 1. It’s important to know who and whose we are. Our sense of identity can’t be found inwardly. The Bible says that we are chosen. Ephesians 1:4 states that “He chose us in Him before the creation of the world…” “that we are fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14), that we have been predestined for adoption to be sons and daughters through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:5); we are set apart, “a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9)
2. Before I was ever rejected by the man I originally thought was my biological father for the first 24 years of my life, I was accepted by God. Our lives have purpose in the hands of the One who gave us life and apart from him, we can do nothing. 3. Expect the unexpected with God. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” That year of 2012, I knew that I wanted my faith in God to increase and I wanted to grow in intimacy with him. So I was in the bookstore of my church after service looking for a devotional to help me. Little did I know that a tap on the shoulder from a young lady who turned out to be my older sister, who would disciple me and help my relationship with
God soar, would be a part of the answer I never knew was coming. In Isaiah 55:8-9, God says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” God knows the thoughts that he thinks toward us and they are thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give us an “….expected end,” (Jeremiah 29:11), that may be completely unexpected to us.
4. God sees you. Psalm 139:1-3 says, “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.” This new year God sees you. If you are the one diligently studying your Bible, in worship and prayer, and involved in various ministries, he sees you. If you are the one that is struggling financially, relationally, physically, mentally, spiritually, he sees you and he knows what you are in need of.
And Finally, 5. God is with you. The bible says that He is Immanuel, which means “God is with us,” (Matthew 1:23). No matter where you are in life, God “… will never leave your nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6). Psalm 27:10, “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” There may be people that you can’t bring with you into this New Year for various reasons, but as a believer, you will never be separated from the presence and power of God that lives inside of you.
Everybody’s story will not be like mine and that’s great. God has an individual plan and purpose for everyone’s lives, and this New Year I pray that we would begin to better understand our personal story and how God wants to use it and us for His glory. I pray we would have full confidence, not in ourselves, but the God in us; that we would have faith that all things are possible with Christ this New Year. True repentance, absolute deliverance, transformation is possible and His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses. I pray that we would understand that sometimes He answers our prayers in unconventional ways and that no matter how invisible we feel, like I did walking around that large church bookstore Sunday after service, that we would recognize that God sees us. He sees the goals we are setting for ourselves this new year. He knows our heart’s desires and he wants our desires to continue to line up with his perfect will for our lives, and to help us along this journey. He is with us. We are not alone, nor are we forgotten. We are eternally rescued, adopted, forgiven and unconditionally loved by a Good, Sovereign and Everlasting Father.
PRECIOUS OIL About Brianna Brianna Triplett currently resides in Lockport NY. Brianna has a Master’s degree in Psychology and works as a Children’s Care Manager at Salvation Army. Brianna is a spoken word artist who is a part of Crossover Ministries and is a writer for Kingdom Christian Magazine and an active member of the Chapel at Crosspoint, a nondenominational church in Getzville, NY.
CORNER PRAYING WITH INTENTION Artrez Alexander
What do you do when it seems everything that could go wrong, goes wrong? How do you handle the emotions that boil inside when all your friends turn on you? You pray. As a teen, it may feel like no one is hearing you or is wanting to be bothered with you. They may dismiss you or brush your circumstances away. Should this be the case, pray. With so much going on in our everyday lives, it grows extremely hard to live a “normal” teen life, whether we’re escaping danger or taking care of responsibilities that aren’t our own. How can we manage to maintain peace, happiness and joy? Pray. Prayer can make the difference in your life. Having a conversation with God daily can move so many of the obstacles in your way. Just simply tell
him what you need and want to see happen and believe that he’ll do it. You may feel like you’ve prayed all you could pray and cried all you could cry, and God still hasn’t made a move, but keep doing it. Eventually, you’ll start to see things change. Keep holding on and one day, it will turn around in your favor. Praying with intention indicates that you really want God to do something. It isn’t a shallow request that you want God to fulfill. When you have a purpose to do something, you put your heart into it and you’re passionate about it. When you are in school, you do the assigned work to the best of your ability with an intent to get a good grade. The teacher has given you an essay intending you would follow the criteria provided by the rubric. God has handed you a situation that is troubling
for you with an intent for you to seek him and pray. With intention, comes expectation. Things don’t just happen out of the blue, they happen when something is applied to it. When you want an allowance from your parents, the money just doesn’t show up. But it’s when you apply the work to get the allowance that the money shows up. There is a plan behind every motive. When you pray with intention, you do so with a plan for greatness and improvement. Like the holiday season and the newest pair of shoes that are out, you make it your business to improve your behavior at school and at home. Once you get those shoes, the first thing you want to do is wear them and brag about them. You had an intention or plan behind getting what you wanted. Wouldn’t it be a beautiful thing for God to make it his business to always brag about you and make sure he provides you with the desires of your heart? That’s exactly what he intends to do, after you do what he expects of you. We oftentimes hear “prayer changes things.” True enough, that is an understatement. While you’re praying, don’t just ask God to change the things externally or around you, but ask him to do an internal change. There’s always room for better, especially within yourself. Have an intention to pray for yourself, before you pray for someone else. That way, once you’re prayed up, there’s an assurance that the prayer you rendered on someone else’s behalf is effective. You may ask why things aren’t going the way you’d like them to. The answer to that is God is trying to see if your prayer life will get better. Will you pray when things go wrong or will you sit and wait for people to make things better? Pray with a plan in mind, an expectation for God to do something. Yes, you’re a teen, but it’s what lies in your mouth that can stop that friend from losing their mind. Pray and seek God for what you want and need, but do it with intention.
IT’S A FAITH TEST!
It seems hard at first as a new Christian to give up your previous life, but honestly, it’s a faith test. Your experience reminds me of a story in the bible of a man named Job. In the story, the Lord tries Job’s faith by letting him lose his family, land, animals and letting him get burning boils all over his body. The Lord even allowed Job to lose his friends. The story also says that Job’s friends tried to get him to deny the Lord, so the faith trial would stop, but Job never did. The story ends by the Lord giving Job back everything he lost times two. How awesome is that? I believe the Lord will do the same for you if you stay faithful. I believe that the Lord will give you new people to hang out with that are easy to talk to and be around. He will give you friends who serve the Lord, too. God will give you the boldness to tell people about Him. People our age will see God through you. Stay strong. You’ve got this!
PoetryCORNER WHY AM I HERE
Why am I here? Don’t look at me. The answer is simple. God put me where I was needed. The job at times would be tremendous and fail at times, I would. Each and everyone has a task. Each day as I walk the way, I look to Him and surely ask, “Why am I here?” Dear Lord, if I lead someone astray, “Why am I here?” I know that God wants me to spread love and tell of a place above. Maybe that’s why I am here.
RUTH C. DEPT
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Published on Jan 1, 2018
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