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1 Timothy 2:1-4 JANUARY - MARCH 2018


Message From The EDITOR

Local

CHURCH CONNECTION

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Volume 8 No. 1

018 here we come! I recently was looking back on this past year at the different events that took place and things that happened, and could not help but wonder what this next year might bring. Only God knows and can see from that perspective. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could see things the way God sees them. I am not just talking about the future, but also to be able to have a larger perspective about everything life beings our way. It is my prayer in 2018 that we all could become closer to God so that we could see things more the way he does.

In II Kings 6:15-17 it reads,” When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked. “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (NIV) I recently took a trip on an airplane. It was absolutely amazing at how things appeared so differently from a higher viewpoint. Buildings, lakes, and even mountains that from the ground seemed enormous were tiny from the higher perspective. In life, our everyday obstacles and things that get on our nerves seem like such big issues, until something of real significance happens and makes them seem small. I believe our goal should be to have a higher perspective on the day to day issues that life brings. The issues may be different from person to person, but the principle is the same. The way to do this, is to try and see things the way God sees them from a higher vantage point. The only way to know this, is to be in a growing relationship with him. The more time we spend with him, the more influence he will have on our perspectives. My hope is that in 2018, we will all see things more the way God sees them by spending spend more time with him and learning his ways for our life. Our purpose will become more apparent, and our influence on others for God will be much more fruitful. Our hope is that you will find a local church that promotes a continual, growing relationship with God if you do not already attend one. By allowing yourself to be influenced and by your own influence on other Christ seekers is what spurs spiritual growth, and with spiritual growth comes a better perspective on life. God help us to see things as you see them in 2018! Cover Photo By: Avery Lynn Photography • www.averylynnphotography.com • averykronzphotography@gmail.com

For more information, please contact Chuck Thompson chuck@localchurchconnection.com • www.localchurchconnection.com


Cliff (Cag) Gradwell, II President

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News From The Field By Jason Cobb, Christian Missionary

S

an Rafael, Church Youth Retreat

Hello friends and family, I’m reporting in again from south of the border. As you may recall from my last newsletter I recently did some trekking and camping throughout Patagonia. Among my adventures I had to privilege of participating in some outreaches with some Baptist churches in various cities. One ministry that I really enjoyed was working with a small church in San Rafael Argentina. San Rafael is a “hidden Jem” in the province of Mendoza, a small town of approximately 300k people and a very nice place to visit. The region reminded me a lot of some of the regions in Arizona. Dry with some mountains and canyons. A river runs through it, the source of life for the town and a resource for tourist attractions such as rafting and kayaking. Within this cozy township you can find Familia de Dios, Primer Iglesia Bautista, a small church congregation with a big heart. They are very active within the community and really have some great ministries with the youth. I was extended an invitation by the pastor and his wife, Ariel and Emilce Batalla, and it was a refreshing time of friendship and fellowship. They were very hospitable and provided a room for me on the church property. While visiting I was able to participate on a camping retreat with the youth. Many of the youth in the group have migrated to San Rafael from large inner city regions and the peace and beauty of San Rafael is nice change for them. We went on hikes, had morning and evening Bible studies and devotions and talked about real life matters that challenge all of us. My last day there which happened to be a Sunday the pastor was feeling ill and gave me the privilege of conducting both the morning and evening sermons. That was a huge honor for me as I was able to share my testimony and some of my mission stories with the people there. I hope to visit again sometime soon. Souls in Search of... January and February are a time of vacation for the Argentines. Schools, Universities and many government agencies take a one or two month break. I know the concept sounds foreign to us of Western civilization but it is a very interesting time here. The entire country shuffles around and people escape from the crazy cities. Some go to mountains and lakes, others go to the beaches on the East coast, others go trekking. There is a huge trekking and hitchhiking culture in Argentina. Some simply hike with backpacks, they are often referred to as “mochileros”, some trek on bicycles or motorcycles. Among my encounters with interesting people I met a young man by the name of Gaston. He was traveling on bicycle from Santa Fe to Tierra de Fuego, that’s about 3,370 kilometers on a bicycle. He recently finished his university degree of industrial engineering and decided to go on a life changing journey. He had planned and prepared for this trip for the last year. Like so many of the youth here I had the sense that he was searching for something, a meaning or purpose to life, not knowing where to find it or what lies ahead. I was able to take advantage of that opportunity. That cold windy night as we sat in front of my camp fire and ate chorizo sausages and instant mashed potatoes, I shared a bit about God our creator and our Savior Jesus. I could tell that he was open minded and would definitely meditate on the message as he pedaled through his next 1,000 kilometers. The next morning we fixed a few things on his bicycle with my Leatherman tool, I gave him a Gospel tract and a few pesos to help with his journey. We had a few last laughs and wished each other the best. Often I never know how I’m impacting someone’s life in the brief time that I’m allotted but I hope to meet Gaston again, if not in this life then in the next. (continued on next page)

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Argentina, at the moment. What’s really happening in Argentina at the moment? In my newsletters I often try to focus on the highlights and avoid the negatives but there are some grim realities that I feel the need to share. I want you to have a real sense of what the current situation is and also so you can know what to pray for. Argentina at the moment is going through yet another difficult time economically. With Cristina Kirchner gone, many citizens are hoping that an era of corruption, greed and theft will come to an end. With the new president Mauricio Macri, people are waiting for the government to make some major improvements and hopefully turn the economy around. Argentina is suffering a period of tremendous economic unrest. Because of consumer prices increasing very rapidly and also because of inflation, this has become a very difficult time for many. Since my arrival approximately 8 months ago, consumer prices have risen by at least 200 percent. Rents continue to increase by 25% every year and people’s wages are staying the same. No one seems to have an explanation as to what is causing the increase, whether it’s a result of past legislation or the new. Regardless of the source, people are struggling at the moment and there are protests and strikes weekly. Within the last month, all the teachers and public transportation workers have gone on strike. I fear soon the law enforcement officers will go on strike. Rosario Argentina specifically has the highest percentage of drug trafficking and homicides of any city at the moment so a police strike would be very bad. Another aspect of the current economic situation is Argentina’s pact with Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela in a system known as MERCOSUR. This pact was an attempt to have open trade only among themselves but in essence it has cut them off from the rest of the world. Taxes on imported items have become very expensive. For example, electronics, sporting goods and appliances are 4 times what you would pay in the U.S. Ironically, Chile has decided not to join MERCOSUR and at the moment is much more stable. The country of Chile borders Argentina but the standard of living is noticeably better. The United States-Chile Free Trade Agreement (FTA) entered into affect on January 1, 2004 and as a result consumer prices are incredibly low and the economy is much healthier there. I recently crossed over into Chile during my trek and I was amazed, the difference was like night and day. The infrastructure was much more modern among other things. As I crossed the border there appeared to be a mass exodus of Argentines crossing over into Chile as well to purchase everything they can. The line of cars at the border was at least a kilometer long. At the moment I would say that MERCOSUR is a failed experiment and the only hope for Argentina is to withdraw and open trade with other countries throughout the world. Aside from the political, there is also a lot of social unrest at the moment. There is a huge drug culture in Argentina and the corruption runs deep. Theft and other crimes are a daily occurrence here, a broken record if you will. I stop watching the news because it’s always bad news. I try not to focus on all the problems but instead on each individual that God puts in my path. In these times of trouble God is doing the sifting and He’s calling those with an open mind and heart to Him. Every day it seems as though I have an out of the ordinary encounter with some individual who is looking for hope. Prison Ministry, Rosario A few months ago I started doing prison ministry here in Rosario. I was surprised to learn that it’s an opportunity completely overlooked by the local churches. The local police precincts house on average 20-50 prisoners throughout the week. My friend from church Elio Trivelo is a police officer at the police station, La Comiseria Tercero. He talked to his police chief who is also a Christian and through those connections we were allowed access. We have been conducting bible studies on Thursday and Saturday mornings and it has turned out to be a powerful ministry. I invited some friends from church to assist me and ended up with some awesome companions. Marcelo, pictured above is an administrative worker for government building projects during the week and enjoys doing ministry on Saturdays. Daniel has a family operated clothing business. Ironically, Daniel has never participated in any ministry before but has turned out to be a natural, his Bible knowledge and transparent character have proven to be priceless. The prisoners love conversing with us and are very glad to have visitors. Many prisoners are kids from the street with no direction in life. Please keep this ministry in your prayers as it is just starting and has endless potential! Thank you for your continued prayers and support! Serving together, Jason Cobb • jcobb77@comcast.net • Central Missionary Clearinghouse • www.cmcmissions.org

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“Happy Family” By Miguel Tello, Director of Familia Feliz

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amilia Feliz (“Happy Family”) is a small orphanage and boarding school located in South America near the city of Rurrenabaque in northern Bolivia. We are situated on 220 acres in the jungle where we offer elementary through high school education for our children, as well as teach them basic life skills such as cooking, personal hygiene, washing their clothes (by hand), agriculture, carpentry, construction and maintenance principles. This gives them practical tools that they can use in the future. We currently have kids ranging in age from 6-18 years old.

There are six houses on campus, of which two are for girls and four for boys. Each one houses between 8 and 12 children. Each house has three or four volunteers who become their "parents" and are in charge of them 24 hours a day. Every morning and evening, both personal and family devotion are held in each home, consisting of a singing, prayers and biblical reflection. We also have a chapel on campus and have several weekly services there for the entire campus, as well as for members of the community that would like to join us. Since we are located in a fairly remote, jungle area, there is no television, radio or telephone on campus. This environment is ideal for the development of the children, away from the temptations and addictions that many faced before coming here (pornography, drugs, alcohol, etc.) We are a faith-based institution and rely upon God to meet our needs. No one here receives a salary or stipend. We are all volunteers. We survive solely on private donations made by individuals from around the world. That income varies month to month and many months we don’t receive enough to meet our needs. However, God has proven Himself Faithful every single time and has met each need just in time. We have never lacked a single meal, often having someone show up on campus with bags of food to donate just when we needed it. Bolivia has a very high rate of physical and sexual abuse. In fact, almost 80% of current children at our facility (both in the children’s home and the boarding school) have suffered some type of physical, psychological or sexual abuse in their homes. Since each case is very sensitive, it’s a big task to teach them how they can interact with people without the need of violence or lack of respect, as well as to gain confidence in a friendly way and see their self-worth through God’s Eyes. Many have turned to alcohol, drugs or contemplated/attempted suicide as a means to escape from their reality. Since the trauma they’ve experienced is very deep, one of the greatest challenges we face is teaching them, through the Bible, as well as personal example, that there is a God who loves them, no matter what has happened to them in the past or what they themselves may have done. At the same time, it is a big blessing to see how God transforms and heals lives broken by sin and evil and how these children, by God’s grace, manage to overcome their experiences while advancing academically, personally and, above all, spiritually. Being born and raise in Jones County, Georgia, I was ignorant of most of these issues that now form a part of my daily life as the director of this institution. I have never met a more loving and forgiving group of people than these young victims of abuse and neglect. They truly are my heroes! It is so humbling to see how God works, in so many ways, to minister to each child and volunteer.

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However, we are facing a big dilemma. The demand for a facility to house, educate and protect the children of Bolivia is greater than our physical capacity to meet that demand. Each year, we have to turn away dozens of children because we are at capacity. Knowing that 80% of these children are returning to abusive situations breaks my heart. With the aim of helping and reaching more children, the Lord has placed it on my heart to open another children’s home and boarding school in another jungle village about 3-hours from Familia Feliz. Once again, God has blessed us and has provided 170 acres on which to build the facility. We have cleared the driveway and building site, as well as planted fruit orchards to help meet the future dietary needs of the project. The institution will be able to house up to 80 kids, providing them with a Christian-based education, as well as work skills in various areas (agriculture, bee-keeping, carpentry, mechanics, baking, sewing, etc.) to provide them with better opportunity to sustain themselves as adults. The main goal, however, is to provide a safe-haven while introducing these young minds to the only One who can truly provide the healing and love they need. This is a big task and our goal is to have the facility up and running by February 2019. We have already received calls asking us to take children at this new facility and we haven’t even started building yet! We need to build and furnish 18 buildings and houses within the next year. The only way that is going to happen is if God meets our needs. Please pray for us as we embark on this new adventure. Pray for our current and future kids. Pray for their healing and safety. And pray that God will send the necessary funds to complete this project. We need about $1.5 million. That is mind-boggling to this country boy. But God has promised to “supply all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19) and we are trusting in that promise. If you would like to partner with us to help these precious children, we would love the opportunity to speak more with you. You can contact me at orfanato_familia_feliz@yahoo.com. Thank you for your prayers and support! May the Lord bless each of us as we strive to fulfill the great commission He left us! Miguel Tello Director Familia Feliz www.familia-feliz.org

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Happy Valentine’s Day! By David Duncan

H

appy Valentine’s Day! As 2018 just rolls along, Cupid gets very busy this time of year with his bow and arrow, causing unsuspecting people to take a look at each other and mysteriously fall in love! I will never forget Shirley’s and my first date back in 1977. I had worked up the nerve to finally ask her out, and she said ‘yes’. It was over Thanksgiving break at college, and Shirley stayed over in the dorm rather than traveling home in order for us to be together. Everything was going good EXCEPT that back then, there were absolutely no restaurants open on Thanksgiving night! We rode around and tried every establishment I could think of, still everything was closed. Then, all of a sudden, we came upon a small mom and pop operation that I didn’t even know existed. We were starving by that time and it was getting very late in the evening. It was a walk up to the window joint, and you couldn’t even sit down at a table and ‘dine’. All they had left to offer on the menu was ICE CREAM! So, I turned to Shirley and quizzed, “One scoop or two?” Thank God, Shirley has a good sense of humor and we ate ice cream that night but pretended that it was a juicy old-fashioned hamburger with hot French fries!!! LOL. By the time we got back to the college campus, it was almost curfew time so we paused at the door and I had a brilliant idea to impress her since the meal wasn’t anything to brag about! So…I took her hands in mine and waxed eloquent and said: “Father, Father, up above Should I kiss the one I love?” Unbeknownst to me, there was an off duty policeman/security guard guy watching everything from around the corner of the building. He said with a booming, masculine voice… “Brother, brother, down below Pucker up and let ‘er go!!!” LOL.

Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you should love one another. John 13:34

When I was growing up and in elementary school, we each would decorate a tall paper sack and each class member would bring valentines to place in each bag. All the kids would rush at the end of the day to count the number of valentines that was in their sack. The more you had collected then the more you were loved and admired. I am glad that God’s love is immeasurable! He just loves to infinity and beyond! It is greater than anything we could ever imagine! God’s love is amazing and such that because He loves us in this unfathomable way then we can extend that same love to others! How about spreading some love ‘germs’ this Valentine’s day and becoming an ambassador of God’s love everywhere you go? So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you should love one another. John 13:34 Make an intentional decision to live God’s love every day and LOL…Love Out Loud!!! There is nothing quite as exhilarating as forgetting yourself and doing something for another who can never pay you back. Here's a challenge: Think of three people you know who could really use a gesture of God's love. Then think of creative ways you can express His love to these people, and do it — I guarantee you will feel a wonderful sense of fulfillment and joy afterward. This will develop and s.t.r.e.t.c.h your love walk in three important areas: 1- Loving God. 2- Loving yourself 3- Loving others. Look for me on Facebook! In His Love, David Duncan

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The Butterfly By Kelly Philbrick

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nce I discovered a beautiful butterfly on the side of the road while on a walk. I tried lifting it with a twig to check and see if it was injured. It fluttered a bit then tumbled to the ground unable to lift it wings and resume flying. The butterfly was exquisite looking with ornate colors and intricate designs. I was fascinated by its beauty while at the same time disheartened that this creature would not be able to fly again as it was designed to do. Without this ability, its destiny would eventually end in peril. However odd, this wounded butterfly had won its way into my heart. The hard asphalt was calling my name so I continue on my journey to conquer a good day of refreshing exercise. I make a mental note to stop on the way back to see if the butterfly is still lingering on the side of the road. Before long, I am near where I initially spotted the butterfly. Astonished, I detect it is still there. Immediately I decide to take it home with me. Gently I scoop it up in the palm of my hands trying desperately not to damage its wings any further. Presently, all it can do is crawl around in my hands. Suddenly it occurred to me that as I sought out the wounded butterfly, the Lord seeks me out because He cares for me. I am never left unnoticed or forsaken by Him. The butterfly was held safely in the palm of my hand as long as it did not get restless and look for an opportunity to escape. I thought about how God keeps me in the palm of His hand. What comfort I find there especially when I am hurting. It helps if I cooperate with Him and do not try to desert His embrace. My thoughts drifted to how God took special care to create this butterfly just the way He wanted to and how it was bringing such great pleasure to me as I gawked over its beauty. It fascinated me to think about how the Lord can create such spectacular beauty. Besides its elegance, butterflies are used for pollination and pest control; another attribute God bequeathed them in His infinite wisdom.

Thankfully, I serve a God who will accept me imperfect and sinful to be used instmentally in His kingdom work.

Reflecting on this, I realized how much more of a masterpiece I was to Him. To God I am beautiful and magnificent, perfectly made in His image! I am a delight to Him and He wants to use me in the lives of others for His glory just like the butterfly, even wounded. The butterfly’s full potential was to soar high in the air, but that day its existence was limited to crawling. Upon introspection, I mulled over the amount of times I have wallowed or crawled around in self-pity. Marred by life, I have been reluctant to let the Great Physician (God) heal me so I could fly to new heights with Him. Instead, I unintentionally resigned myself to being hampered in my intimacy with the Lord. So much usefulness left dormant. Thankfully I serve a God who will accept me imperfect and sinful to be used instrumentally in His kingdom work. We have all been bruised by hurts, impaired by sin, harmed by good intentions, and damaged by lacerating tongues. Little ground is covered when we are bruised and broken. The injured butterfly was unable to soar that day, limited by its broken wing unable to fly; however God never wastes anything. The butterfly did die that day and was put on display for a school biology project. Others got to see its beauty, God’s creation. No matter what state we are in, wounded, healed, or in death, God mysteriously has a prolific narrative for each of us, just like the butterfly. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10) “When God is involved, anything can happen. God has a beautiful way of bringing good vibrations out of broken chords.” Chuck Swindoll “We will stand amazed to see the topside of each tapestry and how God beautifully embroidered each circumstance into a pattern for good and for His glory” Joni Eareckson Tada

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The Secret To Contentment By TREY DICKERSON

T

he message you are about to read is what I believe to be one of the most life-changing teachings that you could ever hear. Unfortunately, I learned this lesson the hard way and I believe when you hear it, you will find that you too have occasionally fallen subject to this condition as well.

In this article, I want to talk to you about true biblical contentment. Now this might not seem like the most exciting message to you, but I believe that if you will really hear my heart (and the heart of God), applying these biblical principles to your life, you will experience such a wonderful peace and satisfaction that no one or nothing can ever take away. Let’s begin by looking at the Book of Philippians to see what the Apostle Paul said regarding this topic of contentment: In Philippians chapter four, Paul was taking the time to show his gratitude to the Church of Philippi for their financial and material support. But in verses 11-13, he pauses to make a point that we would do good to take heed to ourselves. He begins by saying in verse eleven, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” By making this statement “not that I speak in regard to need,” Paul was clarifying to them that his contentment was not based on the offering that the Philippians had sent to him. He did not want to give them the impression that their provision was the source of his joy that he repeatedly mentioned throughout this letter. He wanted them to understand that he was truly content before he received their gifts. Then he went on to explain this by saying “for I have learned…” This phrase is extremely important to understand because the supernatural contentment You see, that he possessed was not something that just came upon him by accident. No, consistent and unwavering “contentment” is something that is learned! contentment You see, contentment is not a state of being; it is a state of mind! That means that you have to learn to be content in your situations and circumstances just like a child has to learn that they are not always going to get their way in life. This is what the Apostle Paul had to learn and this is exactly what each of us will have to learn as well: Your circumstances are not to dictate your contentment; you are to learn (i.e. to be trained) to be content despite your circumstances!

is not a state of being; it is a state of mind!

So, what does it mean to be “content”? How do we define “contentment”? The word “content” literally means “to be satisfied and independent of circumstances” or “to be self-sufficient (or in our case, Christ-sufficient).” So, Paul had learned to be satisfied despite his circumstances. He had learned to live a Christ-dependent life where the difficult things that happened to him did not steal his joy because his contentment was in Christ. You could say, Paul was less dependent on his circumstances because he was more dependent on Christ! You see, if we lose our joy over a negative situation that comes into our life, then we are failing to be content. However, this contentment that Paul was referring to is not having any ambition or desiring something better for ourselves. These desires to grow and excel are natural and God-given; but at the same time, we are not to become so dissatisfied with our current state that it is negatively affecting us emotionally. Paul goes on to explain this further in verse twelve: He went on to say in Philippians 4:12- “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things, I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” In this verse, the Apostle Paul explains the extent of his circumstances. In the first part of verse twelve he said, “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound”… The word “abased” means “to make low or to be humble.” You could say that it is living a lower-standard of life. The word “abound” means “to overflow and to live in prosperity.” So, by his own testimony, Paul was saying that he knew what it was like to experience both abundant prosperity and abject poverty. But in the midst of all of this, he never let his circumstances affect his joy because he put his hope in the Lord and not in his financial situation. We would do good to learn this as well. He then said, “everywhere and in all things, I have learned to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need”… Here, Paul was saying that he had experienced both ends of the totem pole of life in general- which included “everywhere and in all things!” That means that wherever he went and whatever he did, he had highs and lows. We too can experience good times and bad times in any situation. It is inevitable. We can count on having the highs and lows in anything we do and everywhere we go because, as Jesus promised us, in the world we will tribulation (John 16:33). There will be times of happiness and bliss and there will be times of sorrow and grief. So, if this is to be expected, then we are going to have to learn to be content no matter what our circumstances are in order to live a life of consistent joy. Allow me now to paraphrase verse twelve: In essence, Paul was saying, “I know how to both live in abundant prosperity and (continued on next page)

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abject poverty. In every place I have been and in every situation, I have learned to live free from my circumstances, having my stomach full and having my stomach empty, having all my needs and desires met and seemingly having none of them met.” Now that, my friends, is the epidemy of having fluctuating circumstances, isn’t it? Yet Paul maintained a life of joy and contentment in the midst of the most extreme of circumstances. But again, Paul had learned something! As a matter of fact, the Greek word used for “learned” in verse twelve is a different word than the one used back in verse eleven. This word means “to be initiated into a secret.” Paul had, through his experiences of poverty and prosperity, learned to live independent of his circumstances because he had been initiated into the secret of contentment. Amen! So, would you also like to be initiated into the secret of contentment? Then we need look no further than verse thirteen where this mystery is revealed! In Philippians 4:13, Paul went on to give us one of those truths that many Christians love to quote and post on their wall. He said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I just love the Amplified Bible’s translation of this verse. It says, “I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me: I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].” Now this is a very popular verse and every one of us probably thinks we know what it means, but the important thing to understand here is that, in order to see what Paul was referring to here, we have to keep this verse in context. As we have already seen, Paul was speaking of the wide range of circumstances he had experienced and how he had learned to be content in them. Therefore, he was attributing all the things he could do through Christ to him learning to be content in all things. In other words, the reason that the great Apostle Paul could be content in his difficult circumstances was because Christ Jesus gave him the strength to be content! Amen! So, we could flip this truth around and see another reason for discontentment in our lives: We will become discontent in all things if we are not drawing the necessary resources from Christ to be content. Amen? You see, if we are not abiding in Himletting the spiritual strength that comes through Him to flow into us- then our natural response will be to attempt to draw those resources from other things. That is such an important truth to understand, my friend. You see, we are all looking for happiness and if we do not put ourselves in the position to receive it directly from God, then we will automatically try and get it from something or someone else. That is just the way we are built. For example, many people simply cannot be alone. They have to be around friends or a significant other at every waking moment. Most of the time, the reason for this discontentment, is because they are not satisfying that part of themselves by having a healthy relationship with the Lord. The same principle can apply to other things as well. A lot of times we can become physically tired because we are not resting spiritually. We can have physical cravings because our spirit is malnourished. Sometimes our natural state is a reflection of our spiritual condition. If we do not let the Lord become our source for everything, then our joy, happiness and contentment will be based on whether or not we have all of these other things. So, my message to you is evident: Learn to draw your strength and satisfaction from pursuing a relationship with Christ. Know that if you ever feel you have to have anything other than His presence and those wanton desires are causing you to lose your joy and peace, you need to check the condition of your fellowship with the Lord. Plug into your power source through spending time with the Lord and watch how abundantly satisfied you become. You will be able to say as Paul did- “I have learned the secret to being content; the secret is found in Christ! He is truly all I need!” For more articles like this from Living Logos Ministries, write us at P.O. Box 28283, Macon, GA 31221 or by email at trey@treydickerson.com. Please feel free to visit our website at www.treydickerson.com for more materials as well. Trey also pastors High Point Church located on 2963 Hollis Rd here in Macon. Please contact him for more info and service times.

3771 Mercer University Drive • Macon 478-471-1200

1001 Russell Parkway • Warner Robins 478-302-5888

Serving the needs of many with integrity & respect for over 22 years.

In Macon on Mercer University Dr. and now a new location in Warner Robins on Russell Parkway.

Come check out our unbelieveable values with inventory changing daily! 22


Bright Star Learning Centers at Hartley Station and Peake Road North is a locally owned and operated day care center in Macon,

4901 Mt. Pleasant Church Road • Macon, GA 31216 (478) 742.8865 7087 Peake Rd N • Macon, Ga 31210 (478) 477-5990 www.brightstarofmacon.com

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WELCOME 2018

PANAPRINT AD 24


The Fellowship Of The Cross By Pam Jenkins

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atthew 27:32 tells us, “and as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross”. There is a communion born out of pain that brings a fellowship of joy far greater than the sorrows of our circumstances. When the rugged beams of Calvary’s cross were laid upon the bleeding back of Jesus Christ, it was more than any one man could have carried in the condition He was in. His back had been scourged over and over again until there was no longer a human form easily detected. Jesus had lost massive amounts of blood and now to have the weight of these beams laid upon the open wounds proved to be too much for our Savior to bear alone. When our Lord could walk no further he gave beneath the weight of the tree before the crowd that had gathered to watch His agony. From the blood stained soil a name is called…a carrier is needed…”you there, carry His cross.” His name was Simon and from this moment forward his life would be eternally remembered. He was a stout Cyrenian and unlike the Lord’s shoulders, his were sturdy, strong and without wound. In this captured moment of time, Simon became what no other man or woman had ever been or would ever become…the substitute of Jesus. When Simon came into Jerusalem in order to celebrate the Passover, he had no idea the tragedy that was taking place. He was innocence standing in the crowd of hate; and engulfing hate for the one who was truly innocent, Jesus. He found himself trapped in the midst of ungodly people intent on killing. In the scene he was forced to be a part of he must have positioned himself in such a way that he could get a glimpse of the One who had been condemned. God gifted Simon this day with a vantage point that none would ever have. He came face to face with living grace, unending mercy and tenacious love. It was no accident that a soldier, one of the Lord’s persecutors saw the Cyrenian in the crowd. Out of all the faces in the mob that day, his was the one marked for a holy act of service; the soul chosen to be drawn into the tragedy. Whatever it was that caught the soldier’s eye, one thing is for certain, Simon was chosen. Before he knew what was happening he was dragged out from the shadows of the spectators and the cross was upon him and he was walking beside Jesus to Calvary. His presence in that hour had won him a place of honor that even earthly kings would never be privy to. There upon the blood stained street they journeyed together, side by side. They were shoulder to shoulder, inseparable of the weight of agony, two men yet one cross to bear making their way up to the place called Golgotha. There would be no greater act of service one could ever offer to Jesus, than to carry His cross. The Lord spoke to Simon privately, as if only the two of them occupied the world. This tragedy brought the privilege of intimacy, a communion of two yet a burden of only one. What words the Lord spoke to this cross bearer we are never told. But one thing we can know without doubt: in the moment of such darkness, great tragedy, Simon met Jesus. They were united in the sadness, going on together under one single cross bearing one common shame. What treasures we gather along the road of suffering when we make that pilgrimage with Jesus. And although it was Jesus who carried the sins of the world, it was Simon who carried His cross. What an honor! Jesus said, “if anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” Will you come out from the crowd and take up the Lord’s cross today? Will you be found carrying your own cross, or the cross of the Lord? The cross of the Lord is the will and purpose of the Father in redeeming the world. Every cross in this life is a gift of suffering meant to bring redemption. What cross are your carrying? What fellowships are you enjoying? He carried the world we are to carry His cross.

IS THE CROSS YOU ARE CARRYING BRINGING REDEMPTION? Pam Jenkins Jabbok Ministries A ministry branch of Rock Springs Church in Milner GA Dr. Benny Tate Sr. Pastor

(originally featured in LCC January 2014)

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IMAGE IS EVERYTHING!!!!!

Contact Michael Knapp For All Of Your T-Shirt Printing Needs! (478) 750-0537 • Cell (478) 972-1378

mike@imageink.mgacoxmail.com

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Comfort and Encouragement

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By Shirley Duncan

rowing up at Hephzibah Children’s Home as a child myself, my heart goes out to the residents that we serve because I have experienced the feelings of being unwanted, unloved, unnoticed, and forgotten. My go to verse in the Bible when I feel the surge of those childhood emotions haunting my present is: When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up. Psalm 27:10 It is a tremendous comfort and encouragement for me! I think that is why I have worked on staff at Hephzibah for over 28 years…I want to be a help and offer hope to the children, like me, who need a temporary place to live while the Lord takes care of them.

I was in my office recently when a knock on the door came. It was a new, teen fella who timidly explained to me that the other kids had told him that I had free candy. That candy jar has opened up more doors of opportunity than anything that I have ever known. I invited him in and asked him to sit down. I let him choose three pieces of his favorite kind. As he relaxed and opened up the candy wrappers, he also opened his heart. “Did you really grow up here too?” “Yes, I came to Hephzibah at age 13 from North Carolina.” “I am 13 too. My grandmother was taking care of me but she died of cancer. Would you like to see her funeral bulletin?” He reached in his back pocket and passed me a folded over funeral home program. I read it carefully, sensing his tremendous loss and grief. He hung his head low as if reliving the final goodbye. “I know she must have loved you with all of her heart.” “She took care of me when mama ran away. She was all that I had. Now, I live here.”

I hang my heart a lot of days on Romans 8:28. It is a soft pillow for weary hearts.

“It’s going to be ok. I have a feeling that she is watching from heaven and wants you to be happy and provided for. My mother couldn’t take care of me either and that is why I came to live at Hephzibah.” “How long did it take you to forgive your mother?” “Well…I couldn’t forgive her until I became an adult and realized that she did the best that she could. She loved me in her own way, but she wasn’t able to love me the way that I needed to be loved and cared for. God helped me give Him the hurt so then, I could forgive her. “I KNEW you were a nice church lady!!!” We both laughed and his houseparent came to take him back to his cottage. He comes to my office regularly now for free candy and a chat. I really believe that what we go through in life is a way of God loving others through our lives. There is a reason and a season for everything that occurs. No, it may be unfair and wrong but God can still use it. I hang my heart a lot of days on Romans 8:28. It’s a soft pillow for weary hearts. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 I am available to speak to your church or group about the ministry of Hephzibah Children’s Home or my life story. Just contact me on Facebook or at 478.477.3383. In His Love, Shirley Duncan Hephzibah Children’s Home • Macon, GA

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ST. JOHN CME CHURCH Come Minister With Us in the 1st Quarter 2018. Please call for details. Existing Ministries:

• 1st Sundays worship service “Interactive Sermons” beginning at 08:15 • Ministry To Men (MTM) Saturday before each 3rd Sunday @ 08:00 • Bible Study each Wednesday @ 6:30 PM • Midday Study on 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month “Journey to the Cross” • Community Evangelism (Gordon, GA) Saturday before 3rd Sunday @ 4 PM

New Ministries:

• Friday Evening Study “Counter Culture” Developed by David Platt • January 15, 2018 “A Bag To Call My Own” providing a personal bag to each of our friends in Wilkinson County foster care. • Christian Education “Your Responsibility To The Local Church” March 24 @ 09:00 – Dr. Carmichael Crutchfield, facilitator • May 2018 walk-a-thon “Making Steps to Change Lives” (All proceeds will go to support an orphanage in Haiti) Pastor: William Horne, Jr.

Make St. John CME Church your church family.

459 College Street • Gordon, GA. 31031 • Phone: 478-628-5762 • After hours: 404-754-6615

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Christian Business Directory Restaurants

Gifts

El Sombrero - Page 13

Southern Grace Creations - Page 4

Fazoli’s - Page 14 Ingleside Village Pizza - Page 26 Bear’s Den - (478) 745-9909 Fresh Air BBQ - (478) 477-7229 Fresh Market - (478) 757-4222

Services MBG Office System - Page 2 Callaway Blue - Page 4 Ken’s Stereo - Page 4 Son Rise Ministires Thrift Store - Page 5

Banking / Accounting

Rescue Mission of Middle GA - Page 5

Persons Banking Company - Page 13

EXCURSION’S UNLIMITED - PAGE 6

McNair, McLemore & Middlebrooks - Page 26

Wilson Bryant Air Conditioning - Page 10

State Bank - Page 26

Advance Water Technology - Page 13

Insurance Reeves, Roland & Abbott - Page 9 Georgia farm Bureau - Page 23 State Farm - Page 32

Dental / Medical Medical Associates of Central Georgia - Page 4 Macon Volunteer Clinic - Page 5 Navicent Health Wellness Center - Page 14 Primary Eyecare - Page 16 Navicent Health Pine Pointe at Home - Page 18 Navicent Health BKO Children’s Hospital - Page 23 Smaha Orthodontics - Page 28 Navicent Health Pediatric Emer. Center - Page 29

Construction / Hardware Bland Roofing Company - Page 26

Fitness / Sports

AARP - Page 14 Raffield Tire Master - Page 16 Macon Tent Rentals - Page 19 Van’s Pawn Mart - Page 22 Bright Star Learning Center - Page 23 Cartridge World - Page 26 ASP Pool & Spa - Page 26

Churches Piedmont Church - Page 5 Northway Church - Page 6 House of Shekinah - Page 10 Mabel White Baptist Church - Page 18 Lizella United Methodist Church - Page 19 All Saint’s Church - Page 19 Musella Baptist Church - Page 20 St. John CME Church - Page 28 Camp Grace - Page 30 Lizella Baptist Church - Page 30

Brighter day Fitness - Page 20

Printing / T-Shirts / Signs Ugly Signs - Page 23 Panaprint - Page 24 Image Ink - Page 26

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Local Church Connection  

Middle Georgia January - March 2018

Local Church Connection  

Middle Georgia January - March 2018