Continued Prayer Colossians 1:9-14
OCTOBER - DECEMBER 2018
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Message From The EDITOR
Volume 8 No. 4
here has the year gone? It is that time of year again that we get to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas and enjoy the changing of the seasons. It seems that with every changing season, our country and culture seems to change right along with it. Believe me, I am not adverse to change, but I do believe that not all change is for the good. For example, the political discord we have seen in our country lately has taken on a new nastiness in my view. Sure we have always been a country with many different view points and opinions, and that is one of the reasons America is so great, but it seems lately that people with opposing opinions feel the need to be nasty or spew hate towards one another. I could be wrong, but I just don't remember it being this bad in the past. The political climate seems to have changed and not for the good. Everything changes and good change should be embraced and not feared. God created things in away that changes. God created the seasons to change. He created human being s to be born and grow changing as they do, but some things he were not meant to change, and never will. One of those things is his love for us all. God has no different love for any of us regardless of our political opinions, our talents, our looks, etc, he loves us all and wants to have a personal relationship with us all. That will never change. Another thing that will never change regardless of opinions or politics, is that God has made a way for each of us as humans to be able to spend eternity with him, and that is through accepting the gift of salvation that only comes from the death and resurrection of his son Jesus Christ. In John 14:6 Jesus makes a never changing statement that reads, "...I am the way, the truth, and the life: No one comes to the Father but through me." Opinions can change. People can change. Cultures, technology, politicians, laws, rules, etc, etc,etc can all change. Some for the good, and some for the bad depending on your opinion, but the one true God never has and never will change and the fact that we all have access to him through his sone Jesus never will is and should be comforting to us all in these ever changing times. May be it is time for you to make a change to to start pursuing the one true God that never changes. It is our hope and prayer that you will find a local church to attend and get involved with so that the never changing God can help make some changes for the good in your life as you get to no him better. Please support our local businesses that use there resources to help our churches have an avenue to get the word our about their church through Local Church Connection. These businesses are helping our local church community in their efforts to reach our community for Christ. Cover Photo By: Tracy Taylor
For more information, please contact Chuck Thompson email@example.com â€˘ www.localchurchconnection.com
Cliff (Cag) Gradwell, II President
CCN Distributing, Inc. P.O. Box 99 • Bolingbroke, Georgia 31004 Office: (478) 992-5757 • Fax: (478) 992-9092 • Mobile: (478) 954-0249 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.callawayblue.com
The Gift Goes On! By Shirley Duncan
y childhood memories of Christmas are difficult because of the abusive stepfather that we had to endure growing up. My uneducated mother was ‘stuck’ and had no choice but to stay in an abusive situation. My two younger siblings and I suffered horrifically due to his habitual drinking and ongoing violence. Life in general was hard much lest celebrating a holiday.
I have no recollection of a Christmas tree whatsoever. I just remember those large bulky multicolored bulbs that mama would put up around a large picture window on the outside of our small house. That was it. My stepfather would allow his children to open a present on Christmas but would only make me watch since as he put it, “I wasn’t his and illegitimate.” (Except he used a terrible word that I will not refer to here) His cruelty and putrid hatred marked every day with shame and woundedness. He made me feel unwanted and unloved and a burden. The one bright spot was a nearby Baptist Church that I would escape too every week. The Sunday School teacher there was loving and kind. I liked her and she would greet all of us with a special hug and tenderness. She always gave us a little treat and that spoke volumes to a hungry heart. At Christmas, the children had a children’s program and dressed as the Christmas characters and sang special songs. One year, I was an angel and the group sang “Kneel at the Cross”. Afterwards, the deacons stood at the front door and passed out sacks of fruit, nuts, and candy. THAT was my Christmas. There was one special item in the sack that I would share with mama and it as a long thick candy cane, very old-fashioned but something sweet in the middle of all that pain. I would hide the sack from my stepfather lest he would throw it out but I would share the treats with my mama and that was our only Christmas. If anyone ever gave us anything, my stepfather would burn it or destroy it somehow. He was cruel and mean.
“I thank God for healing in Jesus’ Name.
This is just one of the reasons that Christmas at Hephzibah Children’s Home was so important to me. I understood in a very painful way exactly what many of our residents felt about the holidays. I had been where they were. I did my very best to get them at least one thing that they really wanted. As I would read their lists, many of them just wanted to be loved and to be with their mom or dad. The heartbreaking truth was that there was no home to go too. They perhaps had no mother or father (due to drugs, alcohol, or incarceration) but maybe a girlfriend or boyfriend who had abused them. They were just longing for love and someone to care. The miracle was that the donors, the wonderful donors, would give gifts and lavish incredible love on the children. Often, the children would ask me ‘why’ they would give them things when they didn’t even know them. It was truly a glimpse into God’s love and how He loves unconditionally. I was introduced to that beautiful concept when I myself grew up at Hephzibah as a child and, then as a staff person, giving back to the children just like someone had once done for me. I thank God for healing in Jesus’ Name. When I met the Lord, after getting away from the dysfunction and abuse, my life began tor radically change. God sent people who impacted my life and loved me and put their arms around me. They gave me what I had been longing for and were used of God to mold and shape my young life. I am what I am today because of their influence and genuine love. Christmas began with new meaning for me once I became a Christian. I realized that it was the celebration of Jesus’ birth and that we gave gifts because He gave Himself for us. God was remaking my mind and heart to understand why my stepfather was like he was and I was even able to have compassion for him and sorrow for his own abusive upbringing. Today, we celebrate Christmas in a wonderful way with our own family and friends. An added bonus this year will be the members of The Hotdog Club. We are already planning how we will introduce the story of Jesus’ birth and the Nativity story to them. They each will have a gift under the tree with their name on it. We want them to know that God loves them and that He has an incredible plan for their lives. Christmas is all about giving, and it started with God giving His only Son to die for us. The gift goes on! Shirley L. Duncan Hephzibah Children’s Home 478.477.3383
Christmas Eve Services
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The Joy Of The Cross By TREY DICKERSON
ndoubtedly, when many of you saw the title to this article, you thought that this title was somewhat contradictory—for how could there be any joy in that grievous moment when our Savior hung on that Cross? But the truth is that for the one who lays down his or her life for someone else, there is indeed joy found on the Cross. You see, the Bible teaches us that for the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross, and is now sitting at the right hand of God (Hebrews 12:2). This Scripture teaches us that Jesus took up His cross in exchange for the joy that He would experience afterwards. In other words, Jesus traded His life on the Cross for the joy that He would receive as a result of laying down His life. Of course, this does not mean that the joy necessarily came while He was hanging on that Cross. There was indeed pain and suffering involved in His crucifixion. But, praise the Lord, joy indeed came in the morning of that third day! On that great and glorious Day, He tasted the resurrection life of God and His joy was fulfilled! Glory! And this is how joy works, friends: It comes after we have laid down our life. It won’t necessarily come in the “evening”—that is, when we are having to make those tough decisions involved in laying our life down. For example, if we feel led to give our nest egg away, our flesh might start kicking and screaming. Then, even after we decide to die to our ourselves and release that money, our flesh might still be in mourning. But the good news is this—joy always comes in the morning (see Psalm 30:5). Yes, there will be an eventual joy that will flood our hearts because we have operated according to this spiritual principle of how the Kingdom of God works. In fact, it is the opposite with sin. Sin, which is the epitome of self-centeredness, might temporarily make one happy, but that happiness will not remain. The Scriptures teach us of the “passing pleasures of sin” (see Hebrews 11:25). What this means is that sin can have pleasure for a short period of time, but as many of us have experienced, it yields death shortly thereafter. Sure, yielding to selfish behaviors might make us feel good temporarily, but afterwards, those acts of selfishness will leave us feeling empty and even depressed. So, it stands to reason that if it works that way with self-centered behavior, then it must work the opposite way with Christ-centered behavior. So, as we live for Christ now—by-passing our own carnal, selfish desires—the result will not be a passing pleasure, but rather an enduring joy. Glory to God!
... take up our cross in exchange for the joy that is set before us.
Therefore, this wonderful principle found in Hebrews 12:2 is true for us as well. When we take up our “cross” and follow His example of laying down our lives—our desires, needs, and feelings—we too will experience joy unspeakable and full of glory. Again, not necessarily on the Cross, but shortly thereafter. How does this work, you ask? It works according to the Kingdom principle that the last shall be first (see Matthew 19:30 & 20:16), and whoever loses his life for Me will find it (see Matthew 10:39 & 16:25). And this Kingdom principle is absolutely contrary to the way the world thinks. The world believes that if they are going to be happy and possess joy that they must get all they can, can all they get, and then sit on the can. In other words, they think happiness and joy is found in acquiring things—gaining wealth, health, fame, relationships, etc. But the Word of God teaches us differently. It teaches us that the key to acquiring the life that we all seek after is actually by learning to lose it, not trying to add to it. This is why the Kingdom of God has been poetically described as the upside-down Kingdom that is really right-side up. This is proven true by simply looking at those who live completely for themselves. There are many people in the world today who possess all of the things that they feel they need to possess to be happy, yet they are miserable. They have accumulated all of these “things” and they are no better off in their hearts than those who are still seeking them. So, my point is that simply acquiring things will not make you happy. What brings happiness is choosing to die to yourself and living for a higher purpose. Yes, joy comes by seeking first the Kingdom of God and esteeming others better than yourself. We are all called unto this—to take up our cross in exchange for the joy that is set before us. Amen. So, here is the point I want you to get: As it was with the Lord Jesus Christ, when one chooses to lay their life down for the Kingdom of God, the reward is always exaltation. And this exaltation is not just honor and reward; it includes joy and happiness too. As it was said concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, He was anointed with the oil of gladness more than (continued on next page)
His companions (see Hebrews 1:9). And I believe He had this joy enveloping Him more than any other man because no one had laid their life down for the Kingdom of God any more than He did. Therefore, no one was capable of walking in the kind of joy that He did. Glory to the name of Jesus! Church, when we learn to truly lay down our lives to this extent, our joy will never diminish. On the contrary, our joy will stay full. The Lord also said in John 15:9-13 that when we learn to walk in the love of God, our joy will be full. Saints, our joy will never be any fuller than when we learn to empty ourselves. Yes, our joy and contentment will be at its pinnacle when we are completely void of self—all of the selfishness, self-centeredness and self-promotion. Again, this is just how God’s Kingdom operates, which is the opposite of the world’s way of thinking. So, let this mind be in you today and choose the joy that comes by taking up your cross. Amen. If this article has ministered to you and you would like to hear more about this subject of the joy of the Lord, I encourage you to get my new book entitled The Epistle of Joy. Friends, joy is something we all search for and I believe this book holds the keys to unlocking this virtue in our lives. I am making it available to you for a gift of any amount. Simply contact me through the information below. Be blessed! Victoriously, Pastor Trey Dickerson Trey Dickerson serves as the Senior Pastor of High Point Church located at 2963 Hollis Rd, Macon, GA 31206 and is also President of Living Logos Ministries Inc. If you would like more information or materials from Pastor Trey’s ministry, you can visit the following websites: www.treydickerson.com & www.highpointmacon.com. You can also contact Trey via phone @ (706) 207-4337 or via email at email@example.com. Pastor Trey’s new book! Now available for a gift of any amount.
505 Industrial Way East Macon, Georgia 31217 8
The Hotdog Club By David Duncan
was minding my own business, sitting alone quietly in the living room of our house when a knock came at the front door. It wasn’t a normal knock of the mailman or delivery guy, but a child’s knock. I answered it to meet Jaden who was a neighborhood child and he asked me for a drink of water. God soon made me very aware that He had an open door of ministry for me right where I lived!
For those of you who do not know me, I am a double amputee and a double transplant survivor. My eyesight is dimming but I am blessed in many ways beyond physical problems. That one drink of water quickly began to repeat itself daily with many kids coming with Jaden every day. I easily made friends with them and learned their names. Jesus turned the water into soft drinks and some sort of snack. It became a daily ritual of joy for me and I cannot explain here in detail but I started to PRAY BIG. I just asked God to show me what this meant and what He wanted me to do about it. I was again sitting alone quietly when I heard His familiar voice speak to my heart: “Hotdogs”. I chuckled to myself because I love hotdogs! Who doesn’t? L0L So, I went to Facebook and just posted: “Does anyone have an old hotdog cart that you’re not using so I can feed kids in my neighborhood?” Period. The next thing that I knew, a friend had started a GOFUNDME page and had enough to purchase me a brand spanking new one! Kirk even put it together for me and delivered it! I hadn’t even told Shirley yet so when she came home from work and saw it sitting assembled in the living room, the poor girl almost passed out! God started moving things rapidly and I announced to the daily kids visiting that I was throwing a party the next Friday at my house. The clincher And the rest is history, THE HOTDOG CLUB was born!
is that God
Please hear me when I say that no one is more surprised than me! My PRAY BIG has transformed into YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING! The daily thing still continues and we meet has provided every Friday night and serve the kids a hot meal along with a Bible lesson. The only way that every step I can get them to go home is to give them a FREEBIE bag and put them out the door! LOL. WMAZ was gracious enough to come and run a story on the outreach in the hopes that others of the way. will begin their own ministry in their community. The clincher is that God has provided every step of the way. The candy, the soft drinks, the food, donated items for the children have all come in from the four corners of the earth! Just this week, a large box from Alabama arrived and one of the boys who is a regular attender saw it and said, “I bet that is for The Hotdog Club!” I tell them that it is not Shirley and I doing this, it is God and that He loves them! The biggest blessing is when Bike Tech donated a brand new Huffy bike and we gave it to the only guy in the group that didn’t have a bike. THAT was totally awesome!!! It was better than Christmas!!! The kids have taught me a lot: 1. They don’t see color. Maybe they don’t realize that I am old and white and this shouldn’t be working. But, it does and I love them like my grandchildren. 2. Real joy is doing something for someone who can never repay you. 3. They love anything HOT and I mean super spicy. I have learned not to eat something that they say is mild lest I have the Fire Dept. on speed dial! LOL. 4. God told me specifically to love without limits and they have not taken advantage of that. Anyway, how many times as God given to me more than I deserved and I have been ungrateful and wanted something different? 5. God also told me not to hoard what He sends but to give it out as fluidly as He provides. God has been faithful and I desire to be His channel to the children. They are hungry and I feed them. They are thirsty and I give them drink. They always say “Thank you”. God keeps giving and I am constantly amazed! (continued on next page)
6. They are persistent. They knock on the door and keep knocking. They know that if I am home, I will answer. Who does that sound like? When we pray, keep praying and God will answer. 7. The children teach me how to be like God, our good, good Father. Just as God gives good gifts to His children, I listen to their conversations and it absolutely delights me to discover something they really like and to buy it for them. Ex: one day Jaden asked me if I had ever had Hot Fries? I thought he was talking about heated up fries that were fresh and hot. OH NO! He gave me a lesson on Dollar Treeâ€™s HOT FRIES. I want you to know that I looked and looked and shopped and shopped until I found some HOT FRIES I tried them and almost had to go to the Emergency Room!!! LOL. I mean, they were HOT HOT HOT!!! The day that I gave them to Jaden, I told him to grab me something out of the refrigerator! You should have seen his eyes when he saw those HOT FRIES sitting on the shelf in the fridge!!! :) Listen, how many times has God surprised you with something unbelievable? Well, I really get a kick to do that for the children! I must close this up but I want to challenge everyone reading this to pray and ask God to show YOU something that YOU can do for Him in your community! PRAY BIG! Serving Christ by serving children, David Duncan/Rev. Monkey Contact me on Facebook or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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A Heart Towards Him By Marti Sullivan Tidwell
y theme in life lately has been, “It’s ok that it’s not ok.” After over 40 years of waiting for all the stars to align and everything to be just the way I had hoped and imagined…
Well, I’m still waiting.
Even with all the realized dreams and blessings I enjoy…it’s never just right, is it? I’ve begun to realize that the longing I have for perfection, as I have written on before, is a desire for my home, for Heaven. And for now, I need to find peace in the chaos. Rest in the madness. Trust in the scary places. It’s a journey. The Lord has had me in James 1 for months now, just reading it over and over. I must be incredibly remedial in all things James 1, is all I know to tell you. There are so many great nuggets of truth in this chapter of the Bible, but I’m going to camp out on one verse: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” – James 1:5 As I grow older, as more people depend on me, as the burden of being a great wife and mom and Christ-follower weighs on me, this verse has been such a balm to me. I’m not sure why it is not referenced more… Hey! Hey, you! You don’t know what to do??? Just ask God. Don’t doubt. He’ll totally tell you what to do. Just trust Him. If your heart is towards Him, He will give you the answers you need when you need them. Every time. This is a BIG DEAL.
... He will give you the answers you need when you need them.
Because who among us has all the answers? None of us, that’s who. The better question is...who among us keeps getting the same things wrong over and over and could really use some help? Who among us desperately wants to get it right for those we love, those that count on us, but feels ill-equipped to do so? Who among us doesn’t have enough hours in the day to do life well, and needs God’s wisdom and provision to get it all done? I’m raising my hand. High. Are you? I’ve been praying this simple prayer, in general and over specific areas, asking God to give me wisdom, to show me what I don’t know and reveal to me what I can’t see, to make a way before me that I couldn’t make, and to teach me in the process...and I’ve been amazed. He has answered those prayers in spades. With people he’s put in my path, books or articles I’ve come across, time in the Word, and even just revelations in my thought and prayer life. Time and again He has shown me the answers are there for the asking. Often, the key has been just waiting on Him, and letting time and patience and His hand do the work for me. With a heart turned towards God, a heart that wants God, His will, His best…there is just no way He will let us get off course. He will show us the way. Can it really be that simple? I believe it absolutely is. Simple, but life-changing. Ephraim.
FCA Special Dedication: Godly Legacies By April Cassell
efore I came on staff with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, I was a teacher and a coach for 20 years. During that time (and even now), I have been able to get to know many athletes, coaches, families, students and teachers. As I prepared to write this article, I had several different topics come to mind. Once I started to write about one, I would think about something else. My mind kept taking different directions, and my heart was not following in any of those directions. Then, last Thursday, my heart was filled with what I knew I wanted to write about. You see, last Thursday, we lost Garrett Childers, a young man who lived for the Lord, and a young man who had his life end way too soon. As I thought about Garrett and the legacy he was leaving, I immediately thought of two other guys who reminded me of Garrett that also left this earthly life way before we were ready for them to depart. I had the chance to meet Zach Morton when he was a student at First Presbyterian Day School. He is the son of Johnny and Carla Morton. He loved sports and everything about sports! In November of 2003, he spoke to his classmates at a chapel before he was heading to California with his dad to have surgery to repair his heart. He said, “The doctors are going to do surgery and try to repair my heart. I do not know what is going to happen, but I know that God does, and I can trust him. I have learned from all the good and the bad in my life that I can trust Him”. His life verse is Romans 8:28-For God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to his purpose. Zach passed away from complications after the surgery in December of 2003 at the age of 18. I also had the opportunity to know Austin Childers, the brother of Garrett, and the son of Ashley and Chris Childers. Austin and Garrett’s family have been friends of my family for a long time. Austin missed 150 days of his senior year at FPD because of his battle with mitochondrial disease. He was able to graduate because of the extra effort he and his teachers put forth during that senior year. He spoke to his classmates at chapel and had these words for them: “1. Never let life pass you by 2. Never take anything for granted 3. You can make a difference in someone’s life 4. Hang on to your faith.” His life verse is Psalm 139: 15-16-My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be”. Austin passed away in 2014 at the age of 23. Garrett Childers is the younger brother of Austin. He was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease in 2016. Garrett had bracelets for everyone that stated “I Will Overcome” which meant he was ready to face this disease with his fighting spirit and the optimism he always displayed in every situation life handed him. He married Katie Ervin in April of 2016. It was about two months after their wedding that he started showing signs of the disease. His verse is 2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me”. Garrett was 24 when he passed away on September 20, 2018. These three young men had courage in the face of adversity. They never complained or spoke an unkind word about anyone. They had a passion for life and all those around them. They loved life fully, loved their family and friends deeply, and they loved the Lord. They trusted Him in all of their trials and kept the faith in all of their circumstances. What a legacy they all leave. If everyone could just love like these guys did-love like Jesus, what a better place we would have to live in this earthly presence. We are all better people for having known them, and I am truly thankful for the examples they set for all of those around them. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is touching millions of lives… one heart at a time. Since 1954, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has been challenging coaches and athletes on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels to use the powerful medium of athletics to impact the world for Jesus Christ. FCA focuses on serving local communities by equipping, empowering and encouraging people to make a difference for Christ.
Covenant Care Services By Kevin Bridges
ince 1973 and the passage of Roe v Wade, Pro-Life and Pro-Choice advocates have done battle in the streets, in the courts, in the media and in our churches over the rights of women to choose and the rights of children to live. So many times, those battles are stated as a win–lose proposition. Some say that for the child to win and live, the mother must lose. Surveys have shown that, “74% of women that chose abortion do so because having a child would interfere with her education, work or ability to care for dependents and 73% because of the expense involved in raising a child.” (Guttmacher Institute) Those are losses she is simply not willing to absorb. On the other hand, for the woman to win and maintain her freedom, the child must lose by being aborted. At Covenant Care Services, we believe that the argument is not so black and white and that there is a way that both the mother and the child can win. We believe that adoption solves the win-lose dilemma and offers a win-win solution to not just the birthmother and her child but also to an adoptive couple that will bless this child and be blessed by this child for their lifetime. The children win because they get to live rather than be aborted. They win by having a mother and a father that loves them rather than resents them, and at Covenant Care Services the child is placed with a Christian family, so they will have every opportunity to know Jesus as their Savior. The Birthmother wins by not having to suffer the trauma and expense of an abortion. She avoids all the restrictions and limitations she perceives raising a child would present, and she has the satisfaction and security of knowing that her child will be well provided for and loved all their life. The adoptive family wins because “children are a gift of God” no matter if they come into that family by natural means or what we at Covenant Care Services view as super-natural means.
... “children are a gift of God” ...
Covenant Care Services works hard to ensure that all three parts of this adoption triad are served with excellence, compassion and grace so that all three parts “win” and no part has to win at the expense of the other. The reason this is so important to us is that we have seen adoption providers that focus on one part of the triad to the exclusion of the others. When this happens the pain and heartache that it causes the other two parts of the triad is very evident. The most obvious example of this is private adoption attorneys and adoption brokers whose major concern is providing their clients with a child in return for a fee. In many cases such as this, the wellbeing of the birthmother is of secondary or little concern to the broker and as a result her best interests, both short and long term, are not well represented. It is in reaction to this type of adoption work that Covenant Care Services tells its prospective adoptive families that we “don’t find babies for families, but we find families for babies.” This may sound like a cute little tag line, but it represents the overarching commitment Covenant Care Services has to assure that everyone wins. This desire to see all parties of the adoption triad be blessed serves as a guiding principle at Covenant Care Services. Our counselors many times feel it is like walking a tightrope to keep the best interests of birthmother, baby and adoptive family in balance. Yet we know it is worth the difficulties and effort to keep this ideal in balance because we all know that when you are on the high-wire and lose your balance, somebody gets hurt! The adoption triad acts as our gyroscope, so to speak, to guard us and our clients from this danger. We see the perfect example of adoption in the Scriptures where God doesn’t just redeem us from our bondage to sin and death through the death of Christ on the cross, but He then adopts us into the family of God, with Christ as our elder brother where we cry Abba Father. We also see that our redemption and adoption was a win-win transaction for us and God. In fact, Bill Blankschaen said that, “the Gospel is the greatest win-win ever conceived.” A popular misconception is that God had to lose so that we can win. Certainly, Jesus had to die so that we can live, but Jesus’s death cannot in any way be considered a losing proposition for God. In fact, it was His greatest victory, whereby He accomplished our redemption and defeated death once and for all. The death of Christ also is the foundation for the Kingdom of God that He is building through adopting and engrafting believers into His family. God is the author of win-win stories. At Covenant Care Services, we believe that the Biblical model of adoption demands that it be a win for the birthmother, the baby and the adoptive family. Anything less simply does not do justice to the example God set for us. Philippians 2:2-4 “Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Love God, Love People, Serve Others 5430 Hwy 341 North Musella, GA 31066 (478) 836-2936 Rev. Philip Blinson, Pastor
Musella Baptist Church 20
Grace: More Than Enough By Kelly Philbrick
tories, especially true ones, tied to an analogy can demonstrate truths in profound ways. I heard this pastor’s narrative at a retreat. It communicates clearly God’s love for us in all sin (our messes) in a powerful way. His testimony below captures how he realized grace is more than enough. Across my years of ministry I have discovered the fundamental question people honestly struggle with is: “Is God’s grace enough to deal with MY sins?” More often than not people believe that God’s grace is great enough to cover other people, but they often doubt that God’s grace is sufficient for them. However, there is a real life illustration from my own life that helped me to see early on that God’s grace is MORE than enough, even for me! I grew up in a poor rural farming community, the fifth of seven children. We lived in a two-bedroom, one bath house. Nine people packed in like sardines. As you can imagine, with that many people, the bathroom was a “high traffic” zone. Our house had an old septic tank that filled up to the brim more frequently than most other residences. Sometimes living on a farm instilled a sense of independence in folks. When something was required to be repaired, it was usually done “in house”. If a tooth needed pulling, a pair of pliars or a strong string would usually do the trick. Car repairs meant spending time with hand tools under a shady tree. An overflowing septic tank was no different. There was never any thought of calling RotoRooter. It was something we could handle ourselves. Every year or two, my dad would remove the concrete top from the septic tank and us kids would form a “fire brigade type” line. One of us would dip an empty bucket into the tank and hand it back to another sibling, who would pass it along the line where it was eventually emptied out in the pasture. This strategy worked well for the first half of the tank, until the level of sewage was below what one could reach while remaining OUTSIDE of the tank. Eventually it was inevitable that one of us would be lowered into the tank. An empty bucket was transferred to the “enthusiastic” recipient next in line. The dipping and passing the bucket would resume until the tank was empty.
“Is God’s grace enough to deal with MY sins?”
One scorching hot day when I was ten years old, I distinctly remember when it was my turn to be submerged into the tank. My attire comprised of shorts, tennis shoes and an old T-shirt. The smell of the sewage was atrocious and horrific, but the feeling of excrement and grey water enveloping my legs as I descended into the tank made me want to gag and regurgitate breakfast. Nonetheless, this operation had to be completed if we were to have indoor toilets. My brother delivered the bucket to me but it was not done graciously. He thrust it into the tank so that sewage splattered every part of me that was not already immersed in the “fecal pool”. Much to my chagrin, I kept on truckin’. The assembly line procedure continued until the tank was depleted; however, not without my siblings slinging the bucket back into the tank each time it needed to be refilled, so I was doused to the core. When I scraped the bucket along the concrete bottom to get the last bucket full, I thought my misery was over, howbeit that was not the case. After I handed the last bucket up, suddenly everyone disappeared. My brothers and sisters thought it would be a hilarious prank to leave me in the tank with no way to get out, and that’s exactly what they did! There were no steps, no handles, and no way to be evacuated without help. I was abandoned to deal with the nasty stench and drenched in the remains of our family’s “droppings”. For me, that was the last straw. I began to bawl and hollar frantically for assistance in order to be rescued and saved from this dire predicament. Though it seemed like hours, finally I saw my dad leaning over looking at me. He could have gone and fetched a ladder, but he didn’t. Instead, he got on his knees, leaned down and grabbed a hold of me, pulling me up into his strong arms. He held me there as I cried. My thoughts were distressed thinking how there was no way I would ever be clean again. After a few moments, my father put me down and carefully began to remove my filthy, vile clothes. Then, taking a garden hose, he began to bathe me from head to toe. He called my mother to bring me clean garments. He didn’t just hand them to me, my father dressed me. I stood there smelling and feeling clean. That’s when I saw it. My filth was now all over my dad’s clothes. In the act of making me clean, he became filthy and soiled…with MY filth. (continued on next page)
That simple act of love taught me about the grace of God in such a compelling way. If I ever began to feel guilt, shame, or dirty that I wondered if I could ever be clean again, I recalled the lesson my earthly father taught me. I was reminded that God’s grace was more than enough to make the foulest clean, even me. In the story above is the message of the Cross. Jesus took our sin, our filth upon Himself, so we could be made clean. Nothing is so awful that we have done or could do that will eliminate us from His unconditional love. Just like the pastor’s earthly father was ready and willing to make his son clean, so our heavenly Father is ready and willing to make us clean by removing our sins as far as the east is from the west. When Jesus died on the Cross, He paid it all for us. Then He rose again. Now, with His Holy Spirit living inside of us, we are able to live the abundant life He came to give. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. Psalm 51:2 (NKJV) “You will find all true theology summed up in these two short sentences: Salvation is all of the grace of God. Damnation is all of the will of man.” Charles Spurgeon “God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, I love you.” Billy Graham * This true story was contributed by Al Beck, retired pastor from Shepherd of the Mountains Church in Murphy, NC. * If you have not asked Jesus Christ to be you personal Savior or have questions, go to GotQuestions.org and search: What is the Roman Road to Salvation?
Your Life Is About To Change
By TAYLOR CARTER
efore my son Brantley was born, I can’t tell you how many times I heard “your life is about to change”. As I sit here two years later, I would have to say they were on to something.
Come to think of it, I can’t tell you if Amanda and I have slept through the entire night in the past two years or taken a nap after Church on Sunday afternoon. Silence is really a thing of the past and our Netflix time has turned into enjoying a night of Paw Patrol. I used to be able to snuggle with my wife without having another boy’s feet in my back and telling me to move. Sunday lunch is not a time to relax and catch up but can easily turn into a WrestleMania match. There once was a time where I could take a shower without a screaming gremlin wanting to join me. I can’t remember a time where I constantly stared at someone while they were playing and hoping and praying they wouldn’t get hurt. I don’t think I ever laid up at night begging God to protect someone from this crazy world that we live in. To say that things have changed around here would be an understatement. There are rarely any hunting and fishing trips, spontaneous adventures, or lying around the house. However, I can’t imagine or wish my life to be any different. Yes, things may be less convenient or more difficult but that one word, “DADDY” would make me do it all over again.
Then he reminds me, He is a Father.
To come in from work and see Brantley run towards me with arms wide open yelling, “DADDY” makes it all worth it! Dirty diapers, snotty noses, or a lack of sleep is the last thing on my mind. Being a father has taught me more about God’s grace and love than anything else in my life. If I’m completely honest, I often wonder if God thinks: Why did I get myself into this mess? Why do I forgive these people who keep rejecting me? Why I am so patient with those who keep bringing this trouble on themselves? Why should I use these messed up people to be my image-bearers? Why should I come and live amongst these ya-hoo’s and have them mock me, spit on me, and put me to death so they have eternal life? Then he reminds me, He is a Father. To have his children run to him, arms wide open, dirty diaper and all and yell, “DADDY” must be bring joy to Him. Yes, things have changed since God created people, but when he hears “Daddy”, I don’t believe he’d change it for a second. Taylor Carter is the Youth Pastor at First Evangelical Church in Macon, Georgia
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A Christian Response To The Kavebaugh/Ford Debacle
By PETER HECK & THE RESURGENT
watched the testimony of Dr. Ford with an open mind and found nothing objectionable or lacking in sincerity. I certainly didn’t come away thinking that this is someone who has fabricated her story and is a paid political operative.
Likewise, I watched the testimony of Judge Kavanaugh with an open mind and found nothing objectionable about either his demeanor or his responses. I came away thinking that is precisely how you would expect a man falsely accused and unjustly smeared as a rapist in front of the entire country to act. The emotions of both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh were real, genuine, appropriate, and compelling. And that is precisely why courtrooms are predicated around evidence, not emotions. There’s simply no reliable way for even the shrewdest and most perceptive mind to deduce from the tenor of their testimony who is right and who is wrong. And this is where, as Christians, we have a duty to separate ourselves from the world. Worldly people will determine guilt or innocence based on their political tribe – based on who they want to be right. Since there is no transcendent moral justice to the universe apart from God, politics fills the void for them. Everything becomes an effort to accrue political power as a means to impose their moral code on the masses. In that calculation, even if you unjustly malign an innocent and honest person, you can justify the injustice by reasoning that the ends will be worth the means. But Christians do not – or should not – operate by such pitiless pragmatism. We rightly discern that any time an accusation of abuse is made, there is as Tom Ascol explains, “a genuine act of injustice” revealed. Either the accused has indeed committed the injustice of abuse, or the accuser has committed the injustice of a false allegation that will do immense damage to another. That is why going back even to the ancient Mosaic Law of the Old Testament, God required the corroborating testimony of multiple witnesses. God cares about justice because God is Justice. Therefore His followers must exhibit the same care, and any personal allegiance to man-made political tribalism must be secondary. That means despite the posturing of others, Christians are to be persuaded by evidence. In its presence, we do not dismiss; in its absence we do not condemn. Anything less than that standard is worldly virtue-signaling, and dishonors the witness we are to exhibit amidst a pagan culture.
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ST. JOHN CME CHURCH “Join us in Ministry in the 4th quarter of 2018 and beyond.” Existing Ministries: • 1st Sunday worship service "Interactive Sermons" beginning at 08:00 AM. • Ministry To Men (MTM) Saturday before each 3rd Sunday beginning at 08:00 AM. • Mid-week Bible Study each Wednesday at 6:30 PM. • Mid-day Bible Study on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month. A workbook study of the Acts of the Apostles. • Community Evangelism (Gordon, GA) Saturday before each 3rd Sunday at 4:00 PM.
New Ministries: • Women's Ministry (Prayer Brunch - Saturday, 9/29, at 09:30 AM) & (Women's Retreat 2019 - date to be set for early 2019) • Youth and Young Adult Ministry (A series of seminars to enrich our children: 1. Money Sense, 2. Health and Wellness in our youth, 3. Social Activities: Dating) Pastor: William Horne, Jr.
"Make St. John your Church family "where the business of the Church is people"."
159 College Street • P.O. Box 416 • Gordon, GA. 31031 • Phone: 478-628-5276 • Pastor: 404-754-6615
LIBERTY UNITED METHODIST CHURCH Season of Advent
December 2nd 5:30 p.m. Soup, Salad, and Sweets, Children's Christmas Program Lighting of Christmas Tree December 9th 5:30 p.m. Youth Christmas Program December 16th 5:30 p.m. Chancel Choir Cantata December 23th 4:30 p.m. Hayride and Community Wide Christmas Caroling December 24th 5:30 p.m. Christmas Eve Service December 30th 10:30 a.m. Combined Service
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