1 John 1: 5 APRIL - JUNE 2019
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Message From The EDITOR
CHURCH CONNECTION Volume 9 No. 2
hat will the future look like?
What is your vision for your future? Do you have one? Most successful people and organizations have a vision for what they want their future to look like. When you visualize what you want your future to look like, it helps with decision making and motivation. It helps guide your day to day path in pursuit of the future vision. Makes good sense right?
The real question is, what future are you concerned with? The next year, the next job, the next decade, the next phase of life, or even the last phase of life. While planning, preparing, and having a vision for your earthly future is smart and prudent, we should never get so caught up in our earthly future that we miss out on planning, preparing, and having a vision for our forever futures. In Luke chapter 12, Jesus spoke a parable of a rich farmer after having a year of bumper crops. Verse 17-21 reads, 17) “He thought to himself, “what shall I do? Have no place to store my crops. 18) The he said “This is what I will do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19) And I will say to myself, “you have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink, and be merry.” 20) “But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you prepared for yourself?” 21) This is how it will be for whoever store up things for themselves but is not rich towards God.” While there is nothing wrong with being prudent and saving and planning for your future, this scripture makes it clear that only a fool has a vision for their future that is self-centered and self-focused that does not include being focused on what God has planned for their future. The reason for this is because God’s future is eternal and not confined to the time we have on earth. God’s vision for our future goes well beyond all the stages of life here on earth, and he wants to see us training ourselves on earth for the real future which lasts forever with him. When creating a vision for your earthly future, please make sure you consider whether or not that vision is a selfish one or one that includes being rich towards what God wants for your eternal future. After all, the eternal future is the one that will really matter! If you would like to come along side of others that want to align their vision for their earthly future with their eternal future, please attend one of our many local Christian churches in the middle Georgia area. You will be glad you did!
For more information, please contact Chuck Thompson firstname.lastname@example.org • www.localchurchconnection.com
Cliff (Cag) Gradwell, II President
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The Message of the CROSS ... By Shirley Duncan
grew up in Lumberton, NC born to a single Lumbee Indian woman who had no idea how to be a mother much less take care of herself. Because of a series of wrong choices and disobeying her parent’s Christian raising, I experienced severe abuse and dysfunction at the hands of an alcoholic stepfather. Trust me, there was no FUN in that dysFUNction!!! God did send me a lifeline through a local Baptist Church and a loving Sunday School teacher. I was the only one who would go to church and, for me, that was my weekly affection allotment…a warm hug and tender kiss on the cheek from my “Jesus in the flesh”. God bless her and I hope to see her again one day in heaven! The church was rural and nothing fancy but the love was real to me. While much of my childhood is a painful blur, the one thing that I remember most vividly was the annual special programs that the children participated in. It’s at this Easter time of the year, that I think about it the most. There was always excitement and anticipation to receive your “part” from the Director. The church was full of loving people and always included me even though my family was poor and could have never afforded a costume or etc. It was always provided for and I was treated so considerately and never made to feel as a burden or ‘project’. I laugh when I think of this but my special part was to wear a white robe and do motions to a Gospel song! “Kneel at the cross, Christ will meet you there Come while He waits for you Listen to His voice, leave with Him your cares And begin life anew Kneel at the cross, kneel at the cross Leave every care, leave every care Kneel at the cross, kneel at the cross Jesus will meet you there Kneel at the cross, there's room for all Who will his glory share Bliss there awaits, harm can nary fall Those who are anchored there Kneel at the cross, give your idols up Look unto realms above Turn not away, to life's sparkling cup Trust only in His love.”
Easter is a wonderful time of celebration and renewal as we think of THE CROSS and the Resurrection!
I still marvel at God’s great providence and protection in cementing that Truth in my heart at such a young age. It was and always will be about THE CROSS. When I was older and received Christ as my Savior and Lord, I began to comprehend just how life transforming the message of THE CROSS was. Frankly, it saved my life! 'Twas a life filled with aimless desperation Without hope walked the shell of a man; Then a hand with a nailprint stretched downward Just one touch then a new life began Chorus: And the old rugged cross made the difference In a life bound for heartache and defeat; I will praise Him forever and ever For the cross made the difference for me (Bill Gaither) Easter is a wonderful time of celebration and renewal as we think of THE CROSS and the Resurrection! I pray that this is your personal time of spiritual “Spring” and you sense the presence of the Lord in a new, fresh way! In Christ, Shirley L. Duncan • firstname.lastname@example.org!
The Lord Is My Shepherd By TREY DICKERSON
believe King David’s 23rd Psalm is the perfect description of the life that the Lord intends for all of His children to live. Now, unfortunately, most of us have only heard this Psalm read and expounded upon at funerals. But how many of you know that this is not just a Psalm to comfort us in death? This is a Psalm also meant to encourage us in this life! You see, as one looks at this Psalm honestly and objectively, he or she must conclude that it not only contains promises for the next life, but also contains God’s will for us in this life. For example, when David says in verse 4 — “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil” —that is not talking about after one dies—for there will be no evil to fear then. No, it is talking about now in this life when the prospect of death does indeed face us and when the temptation to fear would be present. Another example is when David writes in verse 5 that God prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies. Well, our enemies will not be present with us in heaven, will they? So that must not be talking about in the “sweet by and by,” but about our life on this earth as well. Amen? No, saints, this psalm is not just a good passage of Scripture to be read at someone’s graveside; it is a Psalm with many wonderful promises for us to embrace while we are still above ground! Glory to God! Now I spent months talking about the various truths in this power-packed Psalm at High Point Church last year, but there is one truth that I want to convey to you in this article because I feel it can change your life for the better. Notice that King David begins this Psalm with the profound promise and declaration that “The Lord is my Shepherd.” I want you to see here how David didn’t say that He is the Lord our Shepherd; rather, he said that He is the Lord my shepherd! You see, there is a big difference between believing what God is to all of us, and who He is to each one of us on an individual level.
He sent Jesus to die for you and for me individually!
In fact, notice all the personal pronouns David used in the 23rd Psalm: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Now that is a lot of “me’s, my’s and I’s,” isn’t it? But I believe it is indeed significant that he didn’t once say, “us, we, our, etc.” Why? It is because He is our own personal God. He didn’t just send Jesus to die for us. He sent Jesus to die for you and for me individually! Amen. Praise God! You see, David apparently possessed a confidence that few in the church today have. Yes, he personalized God’s promises, making them his own! And he was not “wishy-washy” about it either. He apparently really knew and believed what His God was going to do. You know, if this Psalm were not a part of the Holy Scriptures and say, I wrote these words, you might be tempted to think I was being a little high-minded, arrogant or over-confident, right? But we know that these confident statements by David were inspired by God. Therefore, they are apparently right on! In fact, David even made other statements throughout his life that people misunderstood and was even accused by his brother Eliab in 1 Samuel 17:28 as being arrogant. But in that situation, David turned from him and kept saying the same things. Yes, he said things that many would consider presumptuous and arrogant—saying things to Goliath like, “This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand…” (1 Samuel 17:46). Where did David get this confidence from? We don’t have any reason to believe that God told him any of these things. Where did his obvious persuasion come from? His confidence came from knowing his God. (continued on next page)
You see, David knew his God, and this is what produced all this boldness and confidence that we see. And I can guarantee you, church, that I know exactly how he knew his God so well: It was because he was a “praiser”—for the Bible says that in Judah (The Hebrew word for “praise”), God is known (Psalm 76:1). And we know that David was well versed in praise by all the psalms he wrote. Therefore, we can see that God is known in the arena of praise. Amen. You see, David did not just know what he believed; he knew whom he believed. We see in Second Timothy 1:12 the Apostle Paul made a similar, profound statement: He said, “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” Notice that Paul did not say here, “I know what I have believed.” And this is a big problem with many Christians—they are trying to adhere to a principle or a promise and not to a person. They are trying to follow a formula and the problem with that is that we can get the results of the seven sons of Sceva to where the devil turns on us and eats our lunch and pops the bag. But if we know HIM like David and Paul did, it will produce faith. No, Paul knew God as a person and this produced, what? Him being persuaded that His God would be able to keep him. Amen. Church, truly knowing God produces persuasion. This word “know” here means to perceive or to see. And this is the problem with so many Christians—they have not really “seen” God. Their vision is blurry. They see an abstract version of Him but have never clearly seen His true nature. But the fact is, Paul knew His God personally. And this even produced the confidence that made him say in Philippians 4:19— “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Why would he say, “And my God?” Wasn’t the Lord also the God of the Church of Philippi? Sure, He was, but what Paul was saying was, “And I am confident that my God—the One who has proven Himself to be faithful to me in my life—He will supply all your need too.” You see, this is a statement that reveals that He knew his God! Amen. Church, it is critical that we also learn to believe in our hearts and declare with our mouths who our God is to us personally just like David and Paul did. In fact, this is what you see throughout the Bible—that the ones who came to know Him as their own personal God, made professions that to some might seem a little arrogant. For example, the Apostle John declared time and time again in his gospel that he was the disciple whom Jesus loved. But for someone to say that this is not being humble would have to say that the Apostle John was in pride—and I can assure you the apostle of love was not a high-minded person. But here is the truth we must understand: As Daniel 11:32 says, the people who know their God will be strong and do great exploits, not the people who just know about their God. Saints, we must see His face and become intimately acquainted with Him through spending time with Him in His Word, in prayer and in worship. Then, and only then, will our confidence level be where it needs to be. Then, and only then, will we become persuaded in Him backing us up and being our shepherd. Yes, it is the one who knows their God that will be strong, bold and courageous! Therefore, when we see here in Psalm 23:1— “The Lord is My Shepherd”—what should be our response? We should likewise boldly say, “I will say of the Lord: The Lord is My Shepherd. I shall not lack! He will provide for me! He will take care of me! My enemies are His enemies, and He will deliver me! Amen!” Saints, as we become persuaded in who He is, faith will come—and then as we release our faith out of our mouth, mountains start moving! Negative things that have been rooted in our hearts start getting removed! The course of our life takes a turn! And we are ushered into the good life—the life of Psalm 23! 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.
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Share the Joy By David Duncan
omeone recently gave us a FREE cruise and we have just returned from the west Caribbean with stops in Labadel Beach in Haiti and Falmouth, Jamaica! I recommend cruising to anyone who desires a restful vacation with plenty of options to experience adventure and FOOD!!! :)
As soon as we got to our stateroom, I went on a hunt to locate a very special item. Shirley kept quizzing me as to what was wrong? And what did you forget? when---all of a sudden---I found it!!! MY LIFEJACKET!!! :) The next thing Shirley asked was very selfish: “And where is mine???” I responded with a quick: “Baby, I sure am gonna miss you!!!” LOL. (There was only one per cabin!!!) As soon as we began floating adrift from the Florida shore, something amazing happened. It was like an INSTANT hunger pain of mammoth order! So, we went about searching for all the food venues on board the ship. I will simply say that it was way beyond our wildest expectations and I have refused to weigh since getting home! :) I did find one Bible verse that gave me a lot of comfort: “all the fat is the Lord’s!!!” Leviticus 3:16 :) Yes…I am giving it all to Him!!! :) Following the food fiesta, I found that I needed a snooze siesta and we returned to our stateroom. We were rudely greeted by 2 armed Security guards who inquired as to why we tripped the alarms. I pointed to Shirley and she pointed to me! It was not pleasant. Finally, they surmised that the blind man in the room was trying to turn on the lights and “accidentally” mashed every alarm button in the room. Oops!!! By that time, I was so tired of the bright lights in my face and the constant interrogations of their trick questions that I confessed to crimes that I had not even committed!!! :) Oddly enough, they ended up coming THREE times to our room just to “ask” if we were doing ok, with a long stare all across the room! They did abscond my steamer claiming that I did not need it to heat the waffles as I told them. Oh, well!
She confessed her sin and all of my sin!
Please pray for our nice room attendant, Mikhail. I called him and asked him to come quickly to help me. I pointed to my clothes closet and told him that someone was in there hiding. She opened the door slowly and then jumped like a scared kitty cat! You see, I had placed a pair of fake legs in the back with the clothes covering the top of the prosthetics. He then calmly asked me, “Do you have any other detachable parts?” LOL. He cried when we left. Shirley said it was tears of joy. :)
We made friends with our Dining Room Head Waiter but we could not understand one single word that he said. It was like he had marbles in his mouth when he would talk! He was extremely nice so we tried to accommodate his speech defect. He was from India. His name was Yogi. I always asked him where BooBoo was. He started calling me BooBoo! :) One night, he went on and on about a special dish. He begged me to try it so I said ok. I ate it and it was delicious. Afterwards, I asked an American waiter what that dish was. It was Escargot or snails. I have been moving really slow ever since!!! LOL. The best part of the cruise was the FREE bed roller-coaster ride on the last night coming back to Florida. We both woke up in the middle of the night and the bed was rocking back and forth. We were going through a terrible storm. The water was splashing up to the second floor of the state rooms. We called Mikhail and he blocked our number. I started humming “Nearer My God To Thee”. Shirley got up and went to the potty and even the potty was rocking and reeling. I yelled for her to fasten her seatbelt! I could hear Shirley praying out loud like it was camp meeting! She confessed her sin and all of my sin! God must have heard her because we made it through the storm!!! :) The trip was a once in a lifetime experience! Haiti was incredibly beautiful and Jamaica with the friendly people was fantastic! I learned Creole and have been talking to Shirley in my native Jamaican tongue. Neigh Neigh means no and Shirley has been getting that a lot!!! :) Neigh Eee means yes. I am saving that for a special occasion!!! :) Happy Easter and don’t forget to travel back to the Cross and thank God for dying for you and forgiving all your sins! Share the joy of the Resurrection and new life with all of those around you! Jesus lives and He’s got a job for you!!! “Go Tell”!!! David E. Duncan Find me on Facebook
LIBERTY UNITED METHODIST CHURCH Join us at Liberty United Methodist Church on June 17th through June 21st from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m. To register or to find out more about To Mars and Beyond VBS, call Pam Creech our Children's Director at 478 788-5941 or our church office at 478 7885343 or visit the church website at http://www.libertyumc.org.
6511 Houston Road • Macon, GA 31216
Liberty Fellowship Hall Sponsored by
Liberty United Methodist Women Guest Speaker
Macon Volunteer Clinic Please contact one of Liberty’s UMW Ladies
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Reflections By Kelly Grant Marrero
HAT big container sat in the middle of the floor as I stared at IT day after day knowing the possessions inside. Another move, more unpacking, and unfiltered memories seeped into my soul as this box sat with sentimental contents ready to be emptied. Dare I go there and reminisce? Lurking was the possibility for a fierce volcanic eruption of emotions to emerge from my relatively fragile heart. Finally, one day I take the plunge, holding my breath for fear of an unpredictable response. Can you relate?
For what seemed liked hours, I poured over old photographs and childhood scrapbooks with brown tattered pages. To my surprise, there were occasional giggles from letters with actual stamps written from friends during summer camp when we were young. Boys seemed to be the main topic of discussion! My expedition sparked several poignant triggers which induced hot, fat tears brimming on the surface of my eyes ready to pour down like a heavy afternoon rain shower. They ran like a river with its’ ebbs and flows. A stark reality we all have to face is that life is not fair. Enjoyable and distressful times are woven throughout people’s lives building a tapestry of memories. Reflecting on the past highlighted a fragmented life slashed apart by abuse with the ramifications of my own and other’s sins. Avoiding my history was no longer an option for me because it was hindering healthy spiritual growth. It was time to be aggressive and face these prior events like a bulldozer blazing a new trail. Without moving forward with tenacity, accompanied by the Holy Spirit, I would have drowned in a pool of self- pity. That day I let go and resolved to “press on”. This entailed putting into practice a familiar passage of Scripture, Philippians 3:12-14. It reads, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (NKJV)
It is imperative to recognize the Lord as the source of our strength, then humility can be present.
What did this look like practically to press on? To forget those things behind? To reach forward to those things ahead? To press toward the goal for the prize? It involved steadily pursuing my course with one great purpose of soul, the prize. With no delay, it necessitated looking forward, not allowing my thoughts to be diverted in disarray causing pandemonium. Mulling over the past became an instant past-time event. I only allowed myself to reference my prior years for the benefit of learning from past mistakes and remembering the Lord’s faithfulness. Furthermore, I had to purposefully stop thinking of difficulties I had overcome, but instead think of what was yet to be accomplished. All these adjustments assisted me in having triumph over my disruptive thinking. Runners advance more rapidly when they look ahead rather than behind. A disadvantage to looking forward is we see the difficulties we have surmounted and the haste to which we have run the race, tempting us to become puffed up with self-complacency and self-satisfaction. It is imperative to recognize the Lord as the source of our strength, then humility can be present. In our marathon, looking backwards may cause us internalize hardships that dishearten, scrutinize past sins, and examine failures which can discourage and cripple us on our journey. However, when we keep heaven in view, melancholy dissipates and cheerfulness appears like a lion released from its cage, ready to roar! Upon reflection of “the good and not so good” past memories, I saw God’s handiwork throughout my life. Consistently I can exclaim with confidence, BUT GOD… Kathy Madonna Hart in her book, no pink crosses, captures in an exquisite word picture what happens when we press through and address issues that need healing by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Great Physician. She explains, “I saw my life as a broken piece of safety (continued on next page)
glass-shattered into thousands of small pieces. But my great God was color coating each one of those pieces and placing them back as if to form a beautiful stained glass picture. The new thing would be beautiful beyond imagination, but the brokenness of the individual pieces would remain forever within the new work.” The scars will remain. They are necessary. They are part of the new work, as Kathy so eloquently illustrates. There will still be times of sadness, but we no longer have to linger there. It is only a pause, a moment to grab a glass of refreshing water from a well that runs deep filled with “The Living Water”, Jesus Christ, that truly satisfies the soul. May the reflections of the past only be in the rear-view mirror, a simple reminder of who God is and what He has done. Let us concentrate on running onward, focusing our eyes unwaveringly on the prize. It is there where we will find everlasting life. but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:14 (NKJV) “Look back only with gratitude. The happy moments created memories, and the sad moments created character.” Unknown “God never said that the journey would be easy, but He did say that the arrival would be worthwhile.” – Max Lucado Copyright 2019: Kelly Grant Marrero
National Day of Prayer
riends of the National Day of Prayer,
Now is the time to really engage in praying more for our nation than we most probably ever have before! We all are aware of how much we need God in America, how far so many are from even acknowledging God in these days, and how it is just truly hard to believe the extremes of what is being accepted and/or proposed! We may think there is not much we can really do ourselves, but that is totally untrue! We can really pray!! We can cry out to God passionately, wholeheartedly, totally trusting Him, and believing in His miracle-working power to bring a great spiritual awakening throughout this land that God has blessed to be the greatest nation in the world because our founding fathers sought, and honored, Him! Have you been to our Macon Observance of the National Day of Prayer before? Since 1975, because of the approximately four or five godly gentlemen who started Here’s Life, Macon, we have had continually the annual NDP public events, a local monthly 2nd Wed. Prayer for Elected and Appointed Government Officials, and a local 4th Thursday Pastors Lunch. This May 2nd there will again be the two public events sponsored by Here’s Life for quite a few years! There is a NDP Prayer Breakfast, hosted by First Presbyterian Church, with tickets for $8 being sold at four public locations on the Events Flier in this issue of Church Connections. Your church may have a NDP Church Coordinator who has some tickets in hand for convenient buying. Tickets can be purchased until April 25th but should be bought early before space is sold out. Please buy a ticket if attending; but, if wanting to help meet expenses, rather than buy a ticket to throw off a more accurate caterer count, please mail a donation to National Day of Prayer or Here’s Life, Macon, P.O. Box 6275, Macon, GA 31208. A tax-deductible receipt will be mailed back to you. The second event of NDP is on the lunch hour, when many could make the effort to attend the free Midday Gathering in Rosa Parks Square noon-12:30. Try to be there by about 11:50-11:55 to not miss the only 30-minute program, with one special part being the Mayor presenting his NDP Proclamation. The free parking option at Mulberry United Methodist Church (any numbered spaces) can help accommodate a very large crowd in this spacious venue. Carpools are greatly encouraged to drop off passengers at Rosa Parks; driver go park at Mulberry; ride one of two Macedonia Church vans shuttles back to join their group; and then, after the program, board these shuttles for Mulberry parking to return for their group at Rosa Parks. Our goal is to fill Rosa Parks Square so reporters and the public in general see the demonstration of belief in prayer and realize that God IS our best hope, our only hope! Since 1988, when Congress unanimously passed the 1952 law of the land for a National Day of Prayer to be the first Thursday of May, we can mark our calendars and commit to powerfully demonstrate, with our presence at public events (all across America) the power of praying corporately together! On May 2nd we can fully implement this major national prayer initiative across America of the 2019 NDP Theme “Love One Another”! This Theme is a much-needed change of heart and mindset that can stop the bigotry; resentment; disunity; uncooperative spirits; selfish, sinful attitudes; and animosities we see abundantly on display! We must move forward with an accelerating commitment that will propel us to have the greatest National Day of Prayer in our history! Thursday, May 2, is now the ever-important day before us! It is the day we join together to talk with God about our country, doing so from every corner of our nation. Yes, it is our sincere goal to pray from every town, every city, every county in America! Get engaged now! Participate in a NDP gathering! Pray throughout the day with different loved ones, friends, co-workers, church members, on social media! Make NDP opportunities throughout the day May 2nd to pray yourself and with others. Then, at 7:30 p.m. watch on several outlets worldwide, steamed live online, and on Facebook the National Observance in Washington, D.C. Our local, Christian television station, WGNM, will air “Macon’s NDP Special” for viewing and recording. For time check cable listings, WGNM.com or Facebook WGNM-TV; and it will come soon to FB and YouTube. In recent months we have an even more clear reminder of how our nation is in dire need of a new, fresh touch of God. Sin is abounding in a glaring and chilling manner. We need to pray, and we need to pray now! Join us and share these priorities with people in your state, city, and town. Pastors and churches, share these priorities with your people! We must pray! Go to the national website for finding events for family and friends to attend across America, or tell them about this posting events option at www.NationalDayofPrayer.org We invite you to come to 2ND WED. PRAYER AT MACON-BIBB GOVERNMENT CENTER NOON TO 1 PM, ROOM 205! If you can’t stay for the whole time, come for whatever time you can! NOW is the Time to Pray for America, and pray for the THEME “LOVE ONE ANOTHER”! #Love1another Dr. Ronnie W. Floyd, President of the NDP Task Force and Margaret McCook, Chairman of Macon NDP Committee www.NationalDayofPrayerMaconGA.org Like us on FB National Day of Prayer – Macon GA
Perfect Peace By Marti Sullivan Tidwell
he Enneagram is all the rage these days. Everywhere you look, you’ll find podcasts and books and even social media groups dedicated the topic. I’m a total personality assessment nerd (INFP here), so I’m all in on the crazy. I don’t have much time to research it, though, so I know only enough to be dangerous. I do know, however, that without one doubt I fall under the Enneagram 9 category: The Peacemaker.
It’s a blessing and a curse, really, to be a peacemaker. I will go to great lengths to find and keep the peace. I want to help others do the same thing. Any unrest is like a burn to my spirit, and I’ll do most anything to find relief and restore peace. At first glance, it’s an admirable and enviable trait, right? Peace is a good thing…let’s hear it for the peacemakers! It’s in the Bible…”Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.” (Matthew 5:19) Not so fast. Let’s make sure we aren’t confused about peace. Let’s not confuse peace with quiet. Let’s not confuse peace with a lack of conflict. Let’s not confuse peace with…complacency. To be honest, I love all of those things. I love quiet. I love the absence of conflict. And if I am real, I love a season of good old-fashioned complacency, a time-out from caring. But these things…they have nothing to do with the peace of God. Scripture aligns the peace of God over and over with righteousness and holiness, teaching that by pursuing righteousness we will enjoy peace. Not necessarily quiet and ease, but the rest and assurance that we have consistently, if not perfectly, striven to honor God in our lives…and satisfaction and contentment are gifts of this pursuit.
Inside the shelter of His powerful wings, nothing can destroy me.
“Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” (Psalm 119:165) Time and again in my life, I have spoken words or made decisions that perhaps diffused a situation, but did nothing to pursue healing and righteousness, nothing to encourage growth and character. As I grow older, I have no interest in that poor man’s peace any longer. I want the soul-abiding peace and maturity that only comes from a life lived with faithfulness, integrity and humility, and a heart turned fully towards God. I want to speak and receive hard words with great love, and encourage myself and others to trust God enough to make difficult decisions and sometimes scary journeys that will make us all more whole. Ultimately, perhaps it’s not peace that I love so much, but the absence of fear, and the desire for a soft place to rest. However, inside of all the chaos, the conflict, and the pressure this world can bring…nothing and no one can rob me of the abiding peace and rest that dwelling in my faithful God and His perfect ways will bring. Inside the shelter of His powerful wings, nothing can destroy me. There is no fear there. You will keep in perfect peace those whose mind are steadfast, because they trust you. (Psalm 26:3) I am not there yet, but God has put a vision and a dream inside of me to strive for His perfect peace every day, and not to settle for a counterfeit peace that may be easily acquired…but is fleeting at best. The work is hard and sometimes scary, but the abiding peace of God in the often frightening world in which we live is what I want for me and my family...and for you and yours. Ephraim.
Ron C. Douthit
CPA firstname.lastname@example.org Direct Line: 478-330-5211 Main Office: 478-746-6277
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The Fellowship Of The Cross By Pam Jenkins
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
*This article first appeared in the 2014 Jan/Feb LCC Edition.
ST. JOHN CME CHURCH Please join us in fulfilling St. John’s Mission and Ministry in 2019 New Ministry:
• Fabulous Fridays for Youth and Young Adults. • Renewed commitments: reclaiming relationships, restoring fellowship and reconnecting through stewardship. • Community Evangelism: (“Go and Grow”) Saturday before the 3rd Sunday at 4:00 PM..
Pastor: William Horne, Jr. • First Sunday Worship Service @ 8 am, Sunday School follows • Second, Third and Fourth Sundays Worship Service 11 am • Fifth Sundays, Women Missionary Service @ 11 am.
• Noonday Bible Study: 1st and 2nd Tuesday of each month starting at 12:00 PM. (Current study: The Acts of the Apostles) • Midweek Bible Study: Each Wednesday at 6:30 PM. (Current Study: The Revelation of Jesus Christ) • Ministry-To-Men (MTM): Saturday before the 3rd Sunday at 08:00 AM. (Addressing “real issues” that each man is confronted with.) • Youth and Young Adult participation in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) monthly workshops at The Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins, GA.
• St. John’s 120th Church Anniversary Celebration: Saturday, April 13th at 12:30 PM. A commemorative book is being produced. Contact the Church to have a personal ad (note) included in the commemorative book. • Holy Week Celebration Services: 1) Maundy Thursday Service on 4/18/2019 beginning at 7:30 PM. 2) Good Friday Service on 4/19/2019 beginning at 7:30 PM. 3) Easter Morning Sunday School Lesson on 4/21/19 beginning at 09:30 AM. 4) Easter Morning Worship Service at 11:00 AM.
Come join the Mission of St. John; “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
Love God, Love People, Serve Others 5430 Hwy 341 North Musella, GA 31066 (478) 836-2936 Rev. Philip Blinson, Pastor
Musella Baptist Church IMAGE IS EVERYTHING!!!!!
Contact Michael Knapp For All Of Your Ad Specialty & T-Shirt Printing Needs! (478) 750-0537 Cell (478) 972-1378 email@example.com
Superior Church Furnishings • Church Pew Cushions & Pew Upholstery • Church Steeples • Refurbishing existing pews • Portable Baptistries • Baptismal Pools • Church Chairs • Stained Glass Windows • Steeple Cleaning 1-833-337-3303 • Cell: 478-998-4214 www.superiorchurch.com 30
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Bear’s Den - (478) 745-9909
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Dental / Medical Navicent Health Wellness Center - Page 14 Navicent Health Pine Pointe at Home - Page 17 Navicent Health BKO Children’s Hospital - Page 23 Navicent Health Pediatric Emer. Center - Page 24 Smaha Orthodontics - Page 28 Macon Volunteer Clinic - Page 29
Twin Cedar - Page 23 Sheridan Construction - Page 25 Bland Roofing - Page 26 Chem Dri - Page 26 Son Rise Ministries Thrift Store - Page 26 Rescue Mission of Middle GA - Page 30 Superior Church Furnishings - Page 30
Churches Northway Church - Page 6 Lizella Baptist Church - Page 10 Lizella United Methodist Church - Page 20 Piedmont Church - Page 20 Mikado Baptist Church - Page 22 Turning Point at Mabel White - Page 22 Macon Full Gospel Holy Temple - Page 25
St. John CME Church - Page 28
Sutton Acura - Page 2
Musella Baptist Church - Page 29
Raffield Tire Master - Page 13
Rock Springs Church - page 30
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