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“Be still, and know that I am JUNE - SEPTEMBER 2020

God . Psalm 46:10


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Message From The EDITOR

Local

CHURCH CONNECTION

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Volume 10 No. 1

o you ever read the news or get on social media and see a post and wonder to yourself how the world has come to such an awful place. If you are old enough to ponder just how much change has occurred in the last 20 to 25 years, it is mind boggling to think what the world will look like in 25 years from now if we maintain the same rapid pace. Unfortunately, it seems that evil is winning the battle of which side gets the most press coverage. It is easy to become down right depressed at the notion of where we are as a culture if you let it. For many, there does not seem to be any hope for the future with all that is going on. It seems no one knows what to believe any more from our news media. There are conflicting views on every topic out there. The lines between what is right and wrong are so blurred based on what opinion you allow to influence you, and the typical reaction when you don’t know what or who to believe is to just pick a side and act like you KNOW you are right beyond a shadow of a doubt because that is what the world teaches us. The adamant and domineering must be right, right? The stronger and more forcible you are with our opinion, the more believable it is that your opinion is correct, right? Should we trust our politicians as leaders? How do we decide who and what to trust? With the advancement in technology, and everything being recorded and videoed in today’s world, it is easy to see that man’s determination when left up to him alone, changes with time. For many of our leaders, it is recorded for us all to see that they have claimed to be right with one opinion only to later claim that the opposite opinion in now right because it is what pop culture wants to hear. The reason for this is because the motivation for their opinion is based on their desire to please the culture (or man). When left up to man, what is considered truth is subjective and changes. How do we decide who and what to trust? The answer to the question is that there has been one source of truth in this world since the beginning of time and that is the truth ordained and written by the one true God in his book the Holy Bible. When the world sends confusing messages of truth, we need to turn to the original source of truth. If we and social media platforms, we would be more influenced by real truth rather than ever changing truth that the world offers. It is difficult at times to trust that God is in control with all that we witness in the world, but when we do God can make things possible that the world would say is impossible. When people lose hope, they turn to desperation because they don’t know they can trust that God is still in control. Their desperation causes them to try and control situations on their own and that is where the trouble starts. Mathew 17:27 says “But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for tax and yours.” (NIV) Jesus said this to Peter. Can you imagine Peter trusting something like this if you were in a situation where you did not have money for your taxes. Most people would not do what seemed worldly impossible, but would rather go about trying to come up with a solution on their own, but Peter did trust, and his needs were met. During these crazy times in our world, we must put our trust in God that he is still on the throne and that if we seek his truth, we will find real truth. Philippians 4:4-7 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, be prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Trust God and his teachings, and don’t let the ways of this world cause you to question where you should put your trust. God Bless, LCC

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


Cliff (Cag) Gradwell, II President

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He makes our MESS His MESSAGE!

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By Shirley Duncan

here’s an old Gospel song that says, “Everybody pull together! Let the church roll on!” And, here we are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic and supposedly the church has been put on hold. But, actually, I think that the Church has been released! The “church” is not a building but the people of God! The work of God continues every day despite outward circumstances and we at Covenant Care Christian Adoptions must remain faithful regardless, because the work of saving lives and facilitating Christian adoptions goes on!

May I give you a private, personal wake up call to action? Just because Covid-19 is running rampant and has us all on the edge, that doesn’t mean that people stop hurting and situations stop happening that cripple, paralyze, and wound the broken ones all around us. There are crisis pregnancies that still occur and circumstances that require someone to step in when others step out. This is a normal occurrence at Covenant Care Christian Adoptions every day! The phone rings and someone is crying out for help and someone to listen and care. We can’t put them on hold until the virus clears up or until it is more convenient for staff to reach out. The work of binding the wounds and offering practical solutions for LIFE continue to be needed and provided through our ministry with wonderful partners like you! David and I recently took a young mother out to dinner at Olive Garden. She told us of her bad choices in life and how she messed up. We encouraged her that God forgives and restores. He goes a step further and makes our MESS His MESSAGE of hope and redemption and purpose for our future! “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

He goes a step further and makes our MESS His MESSAGE of hope and redemption and purpose for our future!

THIS is what we do at Covenant Care! God orders the steps of the one in a crisis situation and we are honored to serve them just as the Good Samaritan. Whatever the need, and no matter the cost, we represent Jesus to that one beat up and robbed and wounded, left for dead on life’s road. The process is complex. It demands much more than a patch job! There are tears, tough questions, medical professionals involved, extreme personal involvement, and too much to go into here. Many times, the individual will choose to make a adoption plan and that requires another dimension of loving, caring, provision, and mountains of paperwork! It is exhausting but rewarding and the result is a mother making a conscious decision to place her child into the loving arms of Christian adoptive parents and a baby who is given the gift of a family! It’s a miracle every time it happens and may we never lose the wonder of God at work in our midst!

I am asking you to pray for the work that we do as well to help us financially during this time. While the work goes on, some of our donations have stopped due to the present economy that we all are experiencing. Please check us out at www.covenantcareadoptions.com and donate today! If you have questions or would like more information, call us at 478.475.4990. Shirley L. Duncan Ministry Assistant Covenant Care Christian Adoptions

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Adapt And Adjust With A Christ-like Spirit. By David Duncan

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appy Corona-19 virus!!! We have been held up inside our house for what seems like THREE months but I know, in all actuality, it has only been a few weeks!!! After all this togetherness, we are BOTH rethinking retirement! :) Do we really want to spend THAT much time together in our old age??? With all this surplus toilet tissue that we have hoarded we will never be able to manipulate our wheelchairs and walkers around the assortment of cans of pork and beans, bottled water, prune juice, and Tums---just in case this is the end of the world and we run out of our Y2K leftovers in the basement!!! :)

I really like our Governor but after a few days of my own cooking, I found myself chanting the words like I was Moses or some ancient OT prophet: “Let MY people go!!!” :) Trust me, one day when the grocery supply was getting low, I looked in the pantry and all we had left (2 weeks of food all consumed in about 72 hours!) was 3 cans of beanie weenies and a large box of lime Jell-O. So, I did what any good Church going Christian would do, I made a Jell-O mold! When Shirley came to the dinner table for supper that night and spied the green circle mold filled with cut up beanie weenies, I had to pull out my BE GRATEFUL sermon that I used when our kids were growing up! “Sit down, take a look. First one complains is next week’s cook!” :) The virus has changed things a bit too much for us! Every time I put on a mask to go out in public, all I can think of is the ole westerns that I watched as a child and how bad I want to rob a stagecoach or a bank!!! :) And when I do go to Walmart, I can’t even recognize my friends! We all look like x-cons who are trying to disguise our faces from the law! :) Another strange occurrence has been having to go to church online. Now, I am not used to worshipping in my flannel pajamas!!! We used the mop bucket as our offering plate one Sunday and got next to nothing in it! With the shutdown of jobs, one family member tossed in a scribbled I. O. U. as their tithe! It’s not been pretty! So, trying to keep our chins up and encouraging ourselves in the Lord, as the Holy Book advises, we open every home church service with this new worship chorus that we invented impromptu: (sung to the tune of “Give Me That Old-time Religion”!)

The wonderful news is that He goes THROUGH the troubles with us!

“Give me that ONLINE religion, Give me that ONLINE religion, Give me that ONLINE religion, It’ll have to do for now!!! Makes me hate hand sanitizer, Makes me hate hand sanitizer, Makes me hate hand sanitizer, The devil invented germs!!! It will take us all to heaven, It will take us all to heaven, It will take us all to heaven, If we do not stay at home!!!” ON A SERIOUS NOTE: I haven’t ever seen anything like what we have experienced during this pandemic! However, Jesus forewarned us that there would be times of tribulation and trouble in this life. The wonderful news is that He goes THROUGH the troubles with us! I like to remind myself of the three Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace! Jesus walked with them and they were delivered. On top of all that, they came out without the smell of smoke on them! May God help us even after this virus has passed to come out VICTORIOUSLY and to be without the smell of bitterness and complaints! God has enabled us the GRACE for this difficult PLACE and we are OVERCOMERS by His mighty power and strength working THROUGH us!!! (continued on next page)

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I do want to challenge you to be patient and kind as the days of transitioning to the new normal is introduced in the future. Do your best to adapt and adjust with a Christ-like spirit. I don’t like many of the changes myself but we are Christians and therefore called to be Light. If you’ll look around, there are a lot of others who are struggling and need to get back to work and may simply need a few supplies that you have to get them through the next couple of days until things open up. I have been giving away toilet paper to The Hotdog Club every week and they thank me as if it is cash money! We do not realize what many are going through. I ask God every morning to use me to lighten the load of someone that I meet along life’s way. He will use you, too, and in the process of helping another, it lifts your own burdens and makes for a happy heart! James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Follow me on Facebook or contact me at dedsld13@juno.com David E. Duncan (Reverend Monkey)

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All Exposed - Walking It Out By Kelly Grant Marrero

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ue to its content, the Facebook post below, by Sarah Bourns, recently caught my attention regarding the coronavirus. Her evaluation addressed an internal exposure of my heart as a direct result of this pandemic.

My heart was challenged as I identified with buried sins that rarely come to the surface unless squeezed out by adversity. Sarah’s words left me squirming. My initial reaction was, “I would be so embarrassed if anyone else knew I could relate to several of her statements.” Busted! The depths of my soul resonated with her insights. Pride was lurking behind my curtain of self-righteousness. Sarah eloquently expresses the condition of many hearts:

We’ve all been exposed. Not necessarily to the virus (maybe...who even knows). We’ve all been exposed BY the virus. Corona is exposing us. Exposing our weak sides. Exposing our dark sides. Exposing what normally lays far beneath the surface of our souls, hidden by the invisible masks we wear. Now exposed by the paper masks we can’t hide far enough behind. Corona is exposing our addiction to comfort. Our obsession with control. Our compulsion to hoard. Our protection of self. Corona is peeling back our layers. Tearing down our walls. Revealing our illusions. Leveling our best-laid plans.

Come Lord Jesus. Have mercy on us.

Corona is exposing the gods we worship: Our health Our hurry Our sense of security. Our favorite lies Our secret lusts Our misplaced trust. Corona is calling everything into question: What is the church without a building? What is my worth without an income? How do we plan without certainty? How do we love despite risk? Corona is exposing me. My mindless numbing My endless scrolling My careless words My fragile nerves. We’ve all been exposed. Our junk laid bare. Our fears made known. The band-aid torn. The masquerade done. So what now? What’s left? Clean hands Clear eyes Tender hearts.

(continued on next page)

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What Corona reveals, God can heal. Come Lord Jesus. Have mercy on us. Used by the author’s permission. You can read more from Sarah on Instagram or Facebook @ Sarah Bourns. Can you relate to these observations? Sarah got the ball rolling to unmask our imperfections. We all have them to some degree. What comfort to know we are not alone, and others deal with the same struggles. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has outlined how to handle ourselves if exposed to the invisible corona virus. Likewise, the Bible presents the answer to dealing with sin, fear, and all of life’s challenges. We are not left clueless as to how to walk out our faith. 1-“Social distancing” is recommended to aid in diminishing the spread of the destructive COVID- 19 virus. No “spiritual distancing” should be allowed in dealing with sin. Run to Jesus. Get up close and personal expressing your fears to the lover of your soul. Close the gap by resting in His arms. Pour out your heart to Him. Relish His embrace. Catch a contagious zeal for the Lord, and then you will infect others with His love. He soothes. He forgives. He restores. 2-It is advised if you feel sick, stay home. Do not go to work. If your sin has been exposed, and you feel down, stay in God’s Word. Do not go elsewhere for relief. 3-Wear a face mask if possible. Cover coughs and sneezes. When the Holy Spirit has brought to light your sin, confess it and repent. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 NKJV) 4-Monitor your symptoms. Stay in touch with your doctor. Converse with Jesus, the Great Physician, about your imperfections and shortcomings. 5-Practice good hygiene by washing your hands often. Disinfect high-touch surfaces often. Wash your clothes. Ask the Lord to wash you thoroughly from your wickedness and guilt and to cleanse you from all your sin. (Psalm 51:2) God will create in you a clean heart and renew a steadfast [immovable] spirit in you. (Psalm 51:10) 6-Avoid sharing personal items. Tell your personal story of how Jesus has changed your life. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; (1 Peter 3:15 NKJV) 7-A vaccination will soon be recommended as a treatment to make the body stronger against this infection. Let’s inoculate ourselves by spending time in God’s presence, prayer, and time in the Word in order to ward of being infected by the cares off this world and consumed by fear. Like Sarah mentioned, what Corona reveals, God can heal. We can have clean hearts, better vision, and supple hearts reaching out to a world in desperate need of God’s love. While this worldwide divine interruption is unfolding, be exposed to everything the Lord wants to show you, and then walk it out in your daily life. Consider asking the Holy Spirit what this looks like for you personally. "No faith is so precious as that which lives and triumphs through adversity. Tested faith brings experience. You would never have believed your own weakness had you not needed to pass through trials. And you would never have known God’s strength had His strength not been needed to carry you through.” Charles Spurgeon 22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. 23 Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. Lam. 3:22-23 NLT Written by: Kelly Grant Marrero

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The Shadow Of Shaddai By TREY DICKERSON

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ne of the major roles of a parent is to protect their children. From the time our children were brought into this world, we put so much focus on protecting them from ever being harmed. First time parents are great examples of this. Beginning parents spend much time baby proofing everything! They put corner guards on all the sharp corners of their furniture, outlet covers on all the electrical outlets, and baby gates between all the rooms of the house. They do this because they know this world is a dangerous place and they want their children kept from harm. Well, I am here to tell you that we have a Heavenly Father who wants to protect His children more than we even want to protect our children. Where do you think this protective nature in parents comes from anyway? Yes, friends, God wants to keep you and yours nestled under the shadow of His wings! Second Timothy 3:1 says that in the last days “perilous” times will come. This word “perilous” can also be translated “dangerous.” Saints, we live in a dangerous world, and things are waxing worse and worse every day! Around every corner and in the air we breathe, there are people and things that could harm, injure, or even kill us. It does not matter how much we try and protect ourselves, our children, our possessions, we can never guarantee that we will not suffer harm, hurt, or loss. But, praise God, there is a way to guarantee that we and our family will be protected in this dangerous world and that is through the dwelling in secret place of the Most High and abiding under the shadow of Shaddai. We see this promise made to God’s children in the 91st Psalm—which is widely considered to be a Psalm of God’s promise to protect and deliver His people from the dangers and harmful things found in this world. Now I know that people try to spiritualize all of the statements found in this psalm but I guarantee you its author was not just talking about “spiritual” threats. No, he was talking about actual physical things that can harm people. So in light of this, I encourage you that if you do not do so already, begin to meditate on the 91st Psalm and then begin to pray these promises back to the Father in faith. I have heard countless testimonies of how when God’s people began to mix faith with the promises found in this Psalm, they received supernatural protection and deliverance. It is true!

... be of good cheer for He has overcome the world!

Saints, the Bible says that while we are in the world, we are not of the world! Sure, in the world we will have tribulation, but Jesus also said to be of good cheer for He has overcome the world! Hallelujah! We have His promise to care for and keep us in the midst of this dangerous world and in these perilous times. Therefore, we do not need fear the dangers of this world. Amen? But we have to trust God. It doesn’t just happen because God says it is ours. We must believe what He said and mix faith with His Word by declaring the truth with our mouths. Just as many of us parents have had to learn concerning our children—we are not going to be able to totally protect them. There is a point where we have to come to the conclusion that we need God’s help in protecting not only our children but everything concerning us. So I encourage you to come to that place today. Begin to put all of your confidence, not in the arm of the flesh, but in the mighty arm of God to keep you and your family. And you can do this by adding Psalm 91 to your prayer life and begin to cover you and yours in God’s promise that under the shelter of His wings is all the protection you need. Amen? If you would like more on this subject, I taught a series on this subject at the church I pastor—High Point Church located on 2963 Hollis Rd, Macon, GA 31206—entitled “The Shadow of Shaddai.” You can listen to this series based on Psalm 91 by visiting our website @ www.highpointmacon.com and clicking on the media tab. 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 treydickerson@yahoo.com. Victoriously, Pastor Trey Dickerson P.O. BOX 28283 • Macon, GA 31221 • 706-207-4337 www.treydickerson.com • www.highpointmacon.com

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There Is Power In Prayer By Stephanie Intorcia

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hen Chuck originally asked me about writing this, I hesitated. I am not a professional by any means, so bear with me as I try to share with you a little bit about what life looks like these days. I’ve been an ICU nurse for over eight years now. I have always loved it, the challenge, the critical thinking, the “busyness.” I knew from the time I graduated it was where I was meant to be. And in these last eight years, I have seen a lot. I have witnessed miracles unexplained by medicine, I have witnessed heartache so heavy I wasn’t sure how I would put back on my scrubs and return. And somehow, God grants us the grace, the strength, and the courage to do it…again and again; because this is my mission field. In all of my years of nursing, I have never witnessed anything like what we are seeing now. I feel there is plenty of “the negative,” written all over social media, all over the news, and pretty much anywhere you turn these days. And while I’m not at all negating the fact that life in the hospital right now is challenging in ways we have never faced before, I want to share with you a little bit of the good. Because God is still up to SO much good. This pandemic has driven me to my knees, as I look around at all that is happening, it is going to take a God-sized miracle to get us through this. There are just so many unknowns. There’s a very strange atmosphere in the hospital right now, anxiety is high, the fear is nearly tangible, and there is so much uncertainty, but there’s also an overwhelming sense of unity because we know that we are all in this together. We are all stepping into an unfamiliar battlefield, but with our best people at our sides (I truly have THE BEST work family). I have also found so much peace, because I know that when I place something in the hands of the Father, it is no longer all up to me. Prayer is our saving grace, it’s keeping us sane, it’s settling our fears, it’s trusting a very uncertain time to a very certain God. And He is WITH us. We are praying for each other, praying for our patients, praying with their families, praying for healing, praying for protection, and truly having to trust in Jesus to be all that we need. I had the privilege of being able to set-up a video chat with a patient’s family a couple of weeks ago (This is what we have done since no visitors are allowed in the COVID unit). The patient was not doing well and we were incredibly concerned about where things were headed. As I walked in the room, all gowned up (in what I like to now call my space suit), I just knew that Jesus was there. There are just certain moments that you know your job is about a lot more than hanging drips, scanning medications, and assessing patients. This was a job for the Father. As the family spent time talking to the patient, saying their goodbyes (because her future was very uncertain), reminiscing on sweet memories, reminding her of how much they loved her; I was overcome with emotion. I couldn’t stop the tears and I couldn’t wipe them away. I asked the family if I could pray with them. We spent several minutes in prayer, over the patient, for them, for their community, for the days, weeks, and months ahead. And when I finished, without hesitation, they began praying for me. They prayed for me, for our hospital staff, for my family, for our safety. In the midst of an incredibly heartbreaking time for them, they did not miss the opportunity to be a blessing to me. It was a moment I will treasure forever.

Prayer is our saving grace, it’s keeping us sane, it’s settling our fears, ...

There is so much in these days that is unknown, but if nothing else, I know that God is drawing us near to Him. He is driving us to our knees, because this is beyond even what we can comprehend. No amount of training, skill, school, or experience could have prepared us for what we are seeing…but God, who is capable of immeasurably more, He is still in control. There is no doubt the days are long, the days are hard, this is a battle we never anticipated we’d have to fight, but when you are putting on the armor of God, it changes how you fight your battle. So I go into work knowing that I have been called there for such a time as this, and I know that He is with me and He is for me…and that makes all the difference. I also just have to say that people have gone above and beyond within the community, doing whatever they can to help provide support and encouragement—from sewing masks, providing meals, so many prayers, words of encouragement, snail mail, supplying N95 masks to help ensure we don’t run out, there are SO many ways that people are being His hands and His feet…and from all of us, we cannot thank you enough! We have been humbled and incredibly blessed by your generosity and kindness. I won’t lie and say that we aren’t scared, we are human, but I am thankful that our confidence and strength is found in He who is RISEN. I fully believe that Easter was specifically timed in the middle of a pandemic to remind us that regardless of what is happening within the world right now, the tomb is still empty and our God is alive!

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The Mission of YoungLife

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n 1941 in Gainesville, Texas, a man named Jim Rayburn had a mission to reach every type of kid, including the unchurched kids, and share with them a story of one who knows them the best and loves them the most: Jesus! This mission has developed into an organization called YoungLife and after almost 80 years has held true and grown into over 100 countries and in over 320 cities, including our very own. The mission of YoungLife was established in Macon, GA in 2003 by people that are within this community who have a desire for high school kids to have the opportunity to know their creator. And for the past 17 years, the amount of kids that have been reached is nothing short of a true blessing. We are now thriving in five high schools that include Stratford Academy, Westside, Howard, ACE, and FPD. There are many qualities of our ministry that make it very unique. We recruit different men and women from Mercer University, MGA, or just adults within our community and train them to become leaders. Our volunteer leaders are one of our greatest resources as they are the ones that do direct ministry with kids. These amazing people give up whatever free time they may or may not have and chose to devote it to building relationships with high school kids. After they finish our semester long training curriculum, we commission them to go and make disciples. But it does not stop there.

... at tables with sinners, at pools with invalids, Jesus was there.

It can be easy to assume that we set up big events and hope that kids show up, but that is not how Jesus led in His ministry. He went to where the broken and the lost are, and we do the same. Our volunteers go to wherever kids may be. If you find yourself at a high school sporting event, a school play or recital, or even school lunches, then you can bet to find a YoungLife leader. In other words, we can find ourselves being in places that don’t necessarily make sense, but that was what Jesus was about. He ended up in places where it didn’t make sense: at tables with sinners, at pools with invalids, Jesus was there. The reason we go about reaching high school kids this way is because we believe that there will always be things in a kid’s life that is in their face and the last thing we want to do it shove this truth that we hold so near and dear in their faces. This is why we build relationships with our high school friends. By doing this, we earn the right to be heard to share with them the greatest love story ever told. And we love and accept them regardless of their response to it. When we meet kids where they are we invite them to our weekly meetings that we call club. There we show kids that it is possible to be a follower of Jesus and have the best night full of wholesome and clean fun. We play ridiculous games, sing songs to the top of our lungs, raffle off some of the best prizes, and, while all of that is fun, it fails in comparison to what it all leads to. After all the excitement and energy, things slow down and all the kids sit, and a YoungLife leader, these high school kids’ friend, gets up and shares the Gospel with them and it is the most sobering time of the whole night. Every kid leans in in anticipation for what his or her leader is going to say. For most kids it is truly the best night of their week. Because our leaders truly care about their high school friends and their relationship with the Lord, they offer them an avenue to go deeper in their faith, and that is our small group bible study, or as we call it, campaigners. Jesus ministered to thousands, but he had twelve close friends, and within those twelve, three (Peter, John and James) were always at His side. Our YoungLife leaders, individually, know a ton of kids, but there are a few of them who are always by their side. They lead those kids into scripture and help them develop their own thoughts and feelings about who their creator is. Teenagers these days have good people in their lives telling them what to do and how to do those things, but in a campaigner’s group, we ask kids the age-old question, “what do you think?”. They are provided a safe space of processing scripture and going deeper into knowing who they are and whose they are. (continued on next page)

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We could go on talking about YoungLife forever. We could talk about our 23 owned camps that kids get to go away to with their leaders for a week and experience a small piece of heaven. We could tell you about the ways our college and adult leader’s lives have been changed as a result of giving their lives away knowing that’s how they would find it. We could tell you about one of our friends Donnell and how in one of our campaigner groups his face lit up with joy and peace when he found out that the God we serve is forgiving and loving by reading through the book of 1st John. Donnell’s story is evidence that this mission works and there are countless other stories like his. But talking about it would not do it justice. However, we could show you and you can be a part of this great mission by supporting our non-prophet financially, or by being involved as a leader or on our adult community.

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This New Season Of Life By April Cassell

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pringtime-a time to get outside and enjoy cooler weather, a time to celebrate March Madness and the Masters, and a time to celebrate that our Savior left the tomb to give us hope in eternal life. Spring sports have begun by the beginning of March, and all the athletes and coaches involved in this sports season are moving ahead at full speed with 2-3 contests a week in each sport. But this year, COVID-19 has rocked our world with a crazy turn of events. The remainder of the sports’ seasons have been cancelled, schools have been conducting virtual learning experiences, and churches have gone to online services. We have spent more time at home than we have ever done before! We have learned what “social distancing” is, and we have been washing our hands twenty times more than normal each day. This virus has had a tremendous impact on all areas of life all over the world. Being on staff for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has become a “virtual” role rather than a physical role. We are staying in contact with athletes and coaches, and we wanted to find out how our coaches and athletes are dealing with this “new season of life” both mentally and spiritually. Many of our coaches and athletes felt disappointed when they first heard that some of their season would be postponed, then devastation when they realized the rest of their school year and spring season was ended. Mary Wilson Avant, a senior softball player from Macon who competes for UGA, had a really emotional response when she thought she would not be able to step on the field again. Thankfully, the NCAA granted seniors one more year of eligibility in their spring sport, so she will return to UGA for graduate school and compete on the softball team for one more season. Abby Mitchell, a senior golf player at Howard High School, was heartbroken to hear the news that her spring season and the remainder of her school year had been cancelled. She wishes she had one more day to tell all her classmates and teammates goodbye. Coach Clae Mathis, the head baseball coach at Mary Persons High School, knew before the season this year he had a special group of players, and he really hurt for his senior class that would be unable to finish what he feels like would have been one of their best seasons. Coach Joaquin Sample, head football and track coach at Central High School, also felt disappointed for his seniors who are missing out on prom, senior trips, senior sports season, and possibly even graduation. He is also concerned for the class of ‘21 since this is an important evaluation year for them to prove themselves scholarship worthy to colleges. Through the quarantine, one thing is certain-our coaches and athletes who would normally be away from home most of the time have been enjoying time at home with their families. Adam Gillhouse, football and wrestling coach at Jones County High School, said it has been a struggle at first because he and wife Megan have three kids five years of age and under, so teaching at home and trying to have a “schedule” is difficult. They realize it is now more about being “flexible” rather than “organized.” The coaches have also found ways to stay in touch with their athletes and their parents and their students. From using Zoom calls to texts and Twitter, to a virtual classroom experience-they are trying to find ways to connect, encourage, and motivate. And the students have as well. Devin Bateman, a sophomore football player at Lamar County High School, has been sending workout videos to his teammates. Abby Mitchell started a senior spotlight for Instagram and has made some videos for her church as well as FCA. Coach Sample’s theme for this year is, “You can’t always control events, but you can control your response to those events”, so he has been letting his players know how to “find the right responses to what is going on, making sure they are adding value to their households, and using this time for self-improvement spiritually, academically, and physically”. Overall, this experience has allowed many people to grow in their faith. Mary Elaine Mitchell, a student athlete who was competing in golf and soccer for Stratford Academy this spring, feels like she is “diving deeper into the Word on a daily basis and focusing on praying for individuals and their needs as well as the needs of our nation.” Coach Mathis discussed how he had been focusing on “identity” this season, and he had told his team that they must “find their identity in Christ, not in things that can be taken from us.” Oh, how true this rings for us over the past month! Who would have ever thought we would be “social distancing” ourselves from our families, friends, and things we love to do? Chandler Wood, senior FCA huddle leader at Rutland and student athlete feels like this experience has made him see how important it is “that each and every chance I get to witness to others is crucial, and I should never take it for granted.” Cassie Sutton, a senior student-athlete at First Presbyterian Day School who competes on the track team, feels like this situation “exposed where I put my foundation in life.” She tried to find comfort in reading, running, or music, but she realizes that true fulfillment only comes from relying on God for comfort. Titus Moore, a sophomore from Macon who is competing in track at Samford University, was very frustrated when knew his spring season had been cancelled and he had been working hard to make this his best season yet. He now feels this has allowed his trust in God to increase, and He knows that “God has a bigger and better plan for us all.” (continued on next page)

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We believe this virus and the quarantine have definitely shown us that we are not in control. They have also shown us that we serve a God who is in control! Coach Sample talked about how his pastors at Harvest Church expressed that “events like this can push you closer to God and your faith, or they can take you farther away from Him.” Our hope is that your faith in Christ is strengthened at this time, and if you do not know Him, our prayer is that you will find out who He is and realize He loves you very much! Clae Mathis said it best when he said, “this season was taken from all of us in a matter of days, but our relationship with Jesus is forever.” “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 Follow Us on Social Media! @midgafca

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Ron C. Douthit

CPA rdouthit@mmmcpa.com Direct Line: 478-330-5211 Main Office: 478-746-6277

M C N AIR M C L EMORE MIDDLEBROOKS & CO CERTIFIED PU BL IC A CCOUN TA N TS

CALL TODAY

478-781-6557 THRIFT STORE

3378 Gray Hwy • Gray, GA 31032

Facebook: Jones County Outreach Center/Thrift Store

OFFICE - 478-305-7702 Ronnie - 478-972-3500 Jimmy - 478-235-1480 Pastor Rick - 813-377-9181

www.jcoutreach.com 27


Two locations serving Middle Georgia Macon Location: 4410 Interstate Drive • Macon, Georgia 31210

478-474-0626 Warner Robins Location: 1360 Radio Loop • Warner Robins, Georgia 31088

478-328-0370 28


ST. JOHN CME CHURCH The Ministry of St. John (2nd & 3rd Quarter of 2020) Christian Education:

A. Sunday Church School each Sunday at 09:30 B. Noonday Bible Study on 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month. (**To be held by conference call.) C. Midweek Bible Study each Wednesday (**To be held by conference call.) **Call the Church and leave a message in regards to your area of interest. Someone will get back to you more information.

Pastor: William Horne, Jr.

The Friday Feeding Ministry in partnership with Holsey Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church in Macon, Georgia. (Currently on hold due to Coronavirus pandemic. Support of the Homeless Veterans Transition Project: Macon, Georgia. Worshiping outside of the building. Look for notification on Church sign. Listen for advertisements on local radio station(s).

• 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.

**We will continue to worship God in Spirit and in truth even if we cannot congregate as we did in the past. The use of phone conferences and video conferences along with Drive-in church services as other mean of worship. Listen to local radio and read local news papers for information on specific dates and times services will be held.

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

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Faith Over Fear By Benny Tate

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recently heard the story of a gentleman who placed a large sign in his yard that read, “Beware of Dog!” A close friend of his stopped by to visit and a five pound Yorkie ran out of the house. The friend stated, “That little dog won’t scare anyone!” The home owner responded, “You’re correct, but the sign will!”

I realize we are living in unprecedented times. We are battling the Covid-19 pandemic and many people have experienced sickness and, sadly, thousands have lost their lives. But I truly believe fear and the signs of fear are spreading much faster than the virus. The Bible is very clear that God does not want us to be controlled and dominated by the spirit of fear. II Timothy 1:7 tells us, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of sound mind.” There are three things we must realize to defeat fear’s control in our lives. God has endued us with power. Christians have the Holy Spirit inside them. Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. (I John 4:4). Unless there is within us that which is above us, we will soon yield to that which is around us! God has enriched us with love. I John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” God loves you perfectly and He will do what is best for you! You can rest in that promise. God has enlightened us with a sound mind. Romans 12:2 teaches us, “Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” If the world controls our thinking, we are conformers. If God controls our thinking, we are transformers! You can control your thinking and the Bible tells us what to think on. (Philippians 4:8) The antidote for fear is faith! Fear gives us worry, anxiety, stress and uncertainty. But the Bible says, “Faith is the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” in Hebrews 11:1. With faith, comes confidence and assurance! Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best, “Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. No one was there.”

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Connor Suttles, Agent 101 Allen Way Bonaire, GA 31005 Bus: 478-449-8022 Connor@connorsuttlessagent.com

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Local Church Connection  

June - September 2020

Local Church Connection  

June - September 2020