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and his Word provide the only stability in our unstable world. Mark Mark 13:31 13:31 OCTOBER - NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2020


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Local

CHURCH CONNECTION

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Volume 10 No. 3

he other day, we were outside and a flock of geese flew over just before dark as the world was starting to quiet down for the night. They were making a huge racket. I could not help myself. I asked my son if he noticed how the geese were flying and that one side of the V shape was longer than the other. I asked him if he understood why that we so, and then let him know it was because there were more geese on one side than there was on the other. LOL.

Although it was a joke, there is something we can learn from the nature of geese and there flying practices. They fly in a V shaped pattern nose to tail because together they can accomplish more than they could individually. They are constantly honking from the back to the front to motivate the ones in front to keep going. Once the lead goose wears down, another goose from further back will step up and take the lead with all the others encouraging. I remember another example from children’s church. The youth minister had a hand full of pop cycle sticks and asked me to break one of them and I snapped that thing in half quickly and easily. He then handed me 10 pop cycle sticks and said break them. Different story. He said the pop cycle sticks represented us as Christians. When we come together and assist each other in all the different parts of life, we are all encouraged. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” When you offer encouragement to someone, it can totally change their attitude and their approach on life. Let us all encourage one another so that we can accomplish more together for the benefit of God’s Kingdom. Find someone each day to offer and encouraging word to. If you are looking for a place to gather with others to encourage and be encouraged, please reach out to a local church and get involved this week. Just like the geese, the more encouragers we have working together, the more we all accomplish. God Bless,

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


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“Lord, Make Me A Servant!”

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By Shirley Duncan

eople often say to me "I wish I knew what God wanted me to do with my life.” “That’s easy,” I reply. “Ministry.”

Their eyes open wide. “You mean give up my job and go away to a seminary or something?” “No,” I reply, “probably not. Just get going. Look around you. The mission field is around your own two feet at any one time.” Ministry is NOT something for the professional Christian only—someone who has been to seminary or Bible school or on the mission field. It is for all who have become new persons in Christ Jesus and have experienced “the old things passing away, and all things becoming new” (see 2 Cor. 5:17). It is for those who have had a radical change in their lives because of their conversion and who want—more than that feel—a responsibility to make sure everyone has the same opportunity. Basically, many years ago, the Lord brought me to a place of full surrender. I prayed, “Lord, make me a servant!” Ministry is being a blessing. It’s serving and giving and not counting the cost. It’s what we who love Jesus are supposed to be doing all day, every day. Ministry is talking about Jesus, serving Jesus, being Jesus where people are in need of Jesus. Ministry is the most exciting, stretching thing in the world. It’s an art—a spiritual art. It's the Christian life! Ministry—helping people—happens all day every day and all night every night. Ministry goes on all over the world and on all seven continents. Old people and young people minister. Black people and white people. Wealthy people and poor people. Sick people and healthy people. Ministry is a full-time twenty-four hour thing. An “I can’t wait to get going in the morning” thing. An “I don’t have time to sleep” thing. An “I can’t believe I have the privilege of doing this” thing. It’s a hard thing, a glorious thing, a stretch, a reach, a “pulling you in every direction” thing. It is exhausting and exhilarating, an emptying of yourself and a “filling up to overflowing” thing. Ministry is in the end an art of the Spirit—a spiritual awareness that is for all of us—those of us who have grown up in the church and those who somehow stumble upon the wonderful Grace of God and want to share that incredible joy unspeakable with others! So don’t say, “But I don’t have any opportunity to minister. I have no training.” Ask God to show you the hundreds of opportunities to live the Christian life that are right under your nose every day.

So don't say, "But I don't have any opportunity to minister. I have no training." Ask God to show you . . .

For example, many of you already know about The Hotdog Club. This was a total “accident” except that God must have planned this all along. My position at Hephzibah Children’s Home ended when the children’s home closed permanently. We wondered what in the world God wanted us to do next! After 30 years, we were more than a little anxious for our future. Then something miraculous happened. A little boy knocked on our front door and asked for a drink of water. As unbelievable as it sounds, God sent the neighborhood to our doorstep to love! We give the children a snack and cold drink every day. Every Friday they get a takeout meal due to Covid 19 and soon we hope to open back up so we can continue the Bible studies, music, and prayer time! We are serving anywhere from 60 to 100 kids every day! People donate the snacks and drinks and God has us on a zero budget. In addition, we pass out clothes, toiletries, school supplies, first aid supplies, and whatever God sends our way! We are open to adjust and be aware of what God is doing and just desire to follow Him! We love the children and are building lifelong relationships with them! I can tell you story after story of how God is reaching out and changing lives in our neighborhood. In being the hands and feet of Jesus, we are watching God work and seeing lives being touched with the love of God! I want to challenge you to look around you with the eyes of Jesus. Don’t pray about God doing something when YOU can do something. God may be waiting for YOU to wake up to His heart of love for the people within your reach. Let Him work through you. Allow Him to love through you and make a tangible difference. I encourage you to pray the prayer that changed my life: “Lord, make me a servant!” Shirley L. Duncan The Hotdog Club Follow me on Facebook!

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FCA: Still Serving Middle georgia!

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By April Cassell

CA ministry is still happening in Middle Georgia! We have hired some new area representatives and brought on some character coaches to serve our athletes, coaches, and coaches’ wives’ in our area. Even though our ministry efforts look a little different because of COVID, our mission is still the same-to lead every coach and athlete into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. One of our new Area Representatives is Ms. Courtney Beaver. Courtney was raised in Gray, Georgia, graduating from Jones County High School in 2014. Throughout her time in high school, she played varsity soccer, ran cross country, and participated in competition cheerleading. She then attended Georgia College & State University and joined the coaching staff at JCHS as a community coach for competition cheerleading. In 2018, Courtney graduated with a Bachelor of Science in special education and accepted a teaching and coaching position at her Alma Mater. She taught mathematics and special education while continuing to coach competition cheerleading as well as basketball cheerleading. In 2020, Courtney felt God’s calling to leave the classroom and pursue full-time ministry with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes as the area representative for Jones County. Through this ministry, she is able to continue to serve the students as well as the rest of her community. Her daily mission with FCA is to share God’s love and word with coaches and athletes so that they share Jesus with everyone they come in contact with. She is working to have small groups (huddles)with each sports team, give bibles to every student-athlete and coach, have huddles open to any student at the middle schools and high school, as well as host God-focused and family friendly events in her community. Courtney is very excited to watch God work in her community and considers herself blessed to be a part of it and we are excited to have her on our staff!!!

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God Knows What We Need And Will Provide!

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By David Duncan

f you’ve followed me here or on Facebook, then you already know about The Hotdog Club. Recently something happened that astounded me but it just goes to show that God is bigger than any of us even can imagine and He has a wonderful way of taking care of us despite the conventional routes that we think.

One night my cell phone rang and a lady whom I do not know was on the other end. She basically told me that something unusual yet marvelous occurred that day in court. In another jurisdiction, a man stood before a Judge and awaited his sentencing for the death of another man. It was as silent as a graveyard while the man’s surviving widow stood up to address the Judge and give her victim’s statement. All eyes were on her. The guilty listened intently realizing his life hung in the balance. Those in attendance fidgeted nervously and sat up straight as the proceedings went forward. With trembling posture and audibly crying out loud, the grief stricken woman in her late sixties raised her hand toward heaven and exclaimed for all to hear, “God forgives him and so do I!” She continued explaining to the Judge how she loved her husband dearly and missed him every moment of every day BUT after ... God is considering what the Lord had done for her that she could only forgive him with the same mercy that she had been given! “…and Judge, I have only one request, and I mean this with bigger than all of my heart. I beg you, please, Your Honor, set this man free and do not hold this against than any of him. Purge his record and let this be done according to the mercy and grace of Almighty us even can God!” imagine and With that, she ran to the defendant and placed her arms around him and prayed a blessing over him, as the onlookers watched in astonishment and wonder. Everyone in the room was crying.

He has a wonderful way of taking care of us ...

So, by this time, I am sure that you are asking the very question that I posed to the caller that night. “Why are you telling me this? Why are you calling?” The response was one that I never expected or fathomed! “The Judge did indeed set him free just as the victim requested. Because of his supreme gratefulness, he asked if somehow he could do something for the widow in the loss of her husband. This is why I am calling you, Rev. Duncan. The widow has requested a donation be made to The Hotdog Club In Memory of Kenneth Roper who passed away in a horrible automobile accident. The lawyers will be forwarding you the check as soon as possible.” I was as overwhelmed as, no doubt, you are at this very moment. As promised the gift arrived in a few days and has been of terrific use to reach the kids and youth in the neighborhood. The truth was that after the Splash event that funds were low and the daily feeding requirements go on despite what the bank account says. What am I saying? I am testifying to you today that God knows what we need and is more than able to provide it, especially using ways and means that afore have never been utilized! You can trust Him, too! “Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen” Ephesians 3: 20-21 Follow me on Facebook or contact me at dedsld13@juno.com David E. Duncan (Reverend Monkey)

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Recalibrating Our Hearts By Kelly Grant Marrero

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ver felt “out of sorts”? Unsettled? Had thoughts scattered like pieces of candy exploding out of a piñata? Or an inkling that something was awry in your life, but you could not put your finger on it? This is where I found myself recently…and sadly it has taken awhile to realize my heart was out of sync spiritually. My thinking patterns were out of alignment with truth from the Word of God because of how I was spending my time.

What initiated this chaotic process of thinking? How did I get off track? At first, I could not detect the problem, but as I inquired of the Lord for answers, He opened my eyes to the culprit…social media! Very gradually, I had become entangled in a habit of reading and listening to media posts about the corona virus. What information was true? Do masks really work? What kind is best if they do work? Is there a conspiracy issue behind the scenes? How do I sort through all the conflicting data? Tack on the latest debates on the election bedlam, social and racial unrest, vaccine debates, world turmoil, and natural disasters…and there is enough anxiety for skyrocketing fear. In my researching, I found myself often confused. On my own accord, I had succumbed to this deadly trap, captured by the allurement of wanting to “be in the know”. The pandemonium of the world was now residing in my soul. I had no peace. Maybe you can relate? The good news is we do not have to be immersed in the news. It is not by “what” we know, but by “WHO” we know to be the gamechanger for this quagmire. The “WHO” is Jesus Christ. With Him there is hope! Without Him there is no hope. In order to “get back on track”, it is crucial to know the standard. For us as believers, the standard is the Word of God. The Bible is our spiritual compass, reference point, and plumb line. The standard never changes, but we do; therefore, the recalibration needs to happen within us.

The good news is we do not have to be immersed in the news.

Just like our hearts, certain types of machinery need to be calibrated. This frequent service keeps them functioning efficiently. For example, a digital scale, if not calibrated properly, will show an inaccurate weight. Depending on which direction the scale is off, one could either be ecstatic or dismayed. Either way we are lulled into a false sense of reality. What does the imprecision of a scope on a gun cause? The sight is “off” so the target is missed. Rocket scientists can be “off” one degree in launching a rocket to the moon… resulting in missing the moon by 11,000 miles! If a GPS system is not updated, it will give us directions, but not directions that will help us reach our destination. Bottom line- when a machine’s instruments are out of alignment, trouble ensues. The same dilemma applies to our hearts. It is vital to regularly execute a heart check and undertake a reset if necessary. What does a “heart” reset involve? 1. Evaluating our hearts. Do we recognize any shifts away from truth? “Let us test and examine our ways and return to the Lord!” (Lamentations 3:20) 2. Repenting. Sin causes our inner compass to malfunction. “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.” (Revelation 2:5) (continued on next page)

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3. Keeping an eternal perspective. What have we been thinking about? “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:1-3) 4. Remembering our purpose. “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13) 5. Making these adjustments. Are you willing? None of these suggestions can be made a reality without the help of the Holy Spirit. Allow Him to highlight sin for repentance and challenge your thought life. Be willing to lay aside anything the Holy Spirit shows you is more important than Jesus. Ask Him for the strength to change. “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” (I Thessalonians 5:24) When I got alone with God, a divine reset followed. The Great Physician’s prescription to remain calibrated is to “keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) Will you follow the doctor’s orders? I did and my heart problems dissipated as our hearts were once again beating together in unison! Yours can too! “Resolved, to inquire every night, as I am going to bed, wherein I have been negligent, what sin I have committed, and wherein I have denied myself – also at the end of every week, month and year.” Jonathan Edwards “O Holy Spirit descend plentifully into my heart. Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there Thy cheerful beams.” Augustine “You must keep all earthy treasures out of your heart, and let Christ be your treasure, and let Him have your heart.” Charles Spurgeon By Kelly Marrero Copyright 2020 All scripture is taken from the ESV

Love God, Love People, Serve Others Rev. Philip Blinson, Pastor

5430 Hwy 341 North Musella, GA 31066 (478) 836-2936 www.musellabaptist.org

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The Church Assembly By TREY DICKERSON

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hat a strange year we’ve experienced. 2020 has certainly contained many unprecedented challenges, and the church certainly has not been exempt from navigating these uncharted waters. We have had to deal with the challenge of faith versus fear. We have had to balance trusting God and walking in wisdom. The decisions we have had to make as the Church have certainly not been easy ones, and they have not made everyone happy either. But as a pastor of a local church, allow me to share my heart with you about how we as the Body of Christ should respond to these things … First of all, we need to know in our hearts that no matter what happens, God is still on the throne! None of these things caught Him by surprise. I know that most Christians will amen statements like that, but if you listen to how they talk and watch how they react to situations and circumstances we’ve been presented with, one would think there is a large group of believers who actually do not “believe” this. The fact is, before there ever was a problem, the Lord provided the solution. Before there was a pandemic, there was a promise. And all of His promises are most certainly “Yes and amen” in Christ Jesus. So, I begin by saying, no matter what happens, our faith & trust must always remain in God. It doesn’t matter if the world around us seems to be falling apart, the kingdom of God that you and I are citizens of will never fail. Yes, everyone who is a born-again child of God is a part of the spiritual world that is eternal, unchanging, and always victorious! What this means is that for us, as Christians, to think like the world and to react the way the world does is actually a perverted thing in the eyes of God. We are to know the truth and allow that truth to dominate the way we think, act, and react to everything. Amen? Now concerning the effects of this pandemic and the various social and political issues, let me give you an exhortation from the Scriptures that I believe is a Word from God for this hour: The Bible teaches us that we are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together as is the manner of some, but to exhort one another, and so much more as we see the Day approaching (See Hebrews 10:25). Now, first of all, I want to say that I personally do not believe that what we have been experiencing through this pandemic is what the writer(s) of Hebrews had in mind when this was written. I had no conviction that honoring the time of quarantine that was mandated was transgressing the Holy Spirit’s instructions here. However, I do believe that we must be on guard against the devil’s schemes to divide and disunify us through even something like a pandemic. That is why we quickly implemented a phone list to keep in touch with people. That is why we began online services and other gatherings via social media.

... we need to know in our hearts that no matter what happens, God is still on the throne!

So, while every decision our church has made during this pandemic has been in an attempt to honor our president’s, governor’s, and mayor’s instructions, we also began systematically gathering together again because we know the importance of the corporate assembly. Yes, online church is not enough. There is power in assembling in one another’s presence that cannot be substituted any other way. In fact, I have personally seen more negative effects on people’s lives from the quarantine than from COVID-19. I understand there are those out there who have been impacted by the virus itself and have lost loved ones due to it, I am simply saying that I have also seen that isolation and disconnection have robbed from people as well. And while we are not tracking those effects on people, it is far more deadly than what most realize. With that said, I have also seen how things like this pandemic and the social issues that have come to the surface in 2020 have been a systematic and strategic plan of the enemy to divide and conquer. Have you noticed how there has been so much we have been confronted with this year that fosters disunity? The racial tension, the extreme political positions, and even the polar-opposite positions concerning this virus in how we are to do things in light of it. All of these things have been an attempt to promote strife and division in the world around us and in the church itself. That is why what Hebrews 10:25 exhorts us with is so important. Again, this verse says, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” I see this verse speaking to us several things: One is that this not assembling together will be “the manner of some” in the Body of Christ. In other words, we will have people in the church who will not see church gatherings as important and will allow things to keep them from assembling together. Of course, this is not just gathering together in church buildings, but also gathering together in homes and other places. But this verse also teaches us that we are to place a priority on the church assembly “so much more as we see the Day approaching.” So, in this hour we are living in, we ought to see gathering together as even more essential than they did 2,000 years ago—and we know it was certainly important then, right? But what we see in this verse is not an encouragement to merely “attend” or “gather” for church; we see the exhortation here to “assemble.” How many of you know that there is a big difference between simply gathering together and assembling together? Let me use the following analogy—generally when we purchase a model airplane, it does not come “assembled.” We buy it in a box, and it comes with “some assembly required.” So, all of the pieces have been gathered together in its box, but they are yet “assembled.” Church, I believe (continued on next page)

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this analogy shows us that we can be gathering together, and never truly be “assembled.” In other words, we can be attending church and just be like all those pieces in the box that have not truly been put together like God designed for us. The truth is church, just like some things we purchase come with “some assembly required,” we have been bought with price by the precious blood of Jesus and this assembling together is “required” in order for us to be as effective as God has designed for us to be. Amen. Yes, church, while we need to gather together, we also need to get “out of the box” and become truly assembled together! That is where the power of the church is found: It is in us being one—having the same heart, mind, and focus. This is when that model plane called the church becomes assembled and we can “take off.” So, while there is certainly a place for using wisdom and honoring the wisdom of the authority figures that surround us, let’s also discern between what the Spirit of God is saying and what the spirit of this world is saying. If we are led astray by carnal mindedness, I can guarantee you that while we might stay in the box together, we will never be assembled. Church, as I said, we have countless things in the world around us today that are promoting division. Naturally, we have things like political factions and racism. Spiritually, we have our denominations and our doctrines. On the other hand, the devil has had his army working together like a well-oiled machine and thus the reason for his success and our failures. We have far greater power in us than he has, and if we could learn to assemble together and operate in our proper rank and file, we would be unstoppable by the enemy. Amen? So it is no wonder why Satan fights unity so much! It is because He fears the body of believers who might join together with one common goal. This is why you see church splits. This is why you see division in the community. And this is why you see such an escalation of divorce. It is because his number one goal is to divide and conquer—for a house divided against itself cannot stand. Let’s be a house that is built up and joined together, so we can house the glory of God for a dark & perverse generation that desperately needs it. Amen and amen. 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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Engage! By Marti Sullivan Tidwell

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he year 2020, infamous for all wrong reasons, is coming to a close. I doubt many of us will miss it. Looking around, if I’m honest, I see so much struggle. People struggling, families struggling, communities struggling, cultures struggling…nations struggling. And it seems we need more than a vaccine to make it all better, doesn’t it? In a season that is filled with difficulty… With crazy… With so many unknowns. In this season filled with angst… With frustration… With anger. In a season that is filled with so much hard, so much fear, so much hurt for so many of us…what does it mean to find my security, my peace…dare I say, my joy…in Christ? It sounds good, but how exactly does that work? I lived much of my early Christian years in that place…believing with my whole self that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, knowing I was a sinner, wanting him to be Savior over my heart, my life...but not exactly sure how to call that into action. When life took a hard turn, my desperation showed me the way. It was then that I dug into His word, I prayed real and honest prayers, and I opened my eyes and asked Him to show Himself to me, to go before me, to grant me His wisdom, His graciousness, His kindness…His strength. And He did. The faith I was raised on suddenly became my own as I made the effort and sacrifice to engage in a relationship with God, and I was changed forever. He didn’t just give me what I prayed for. He gave me abundantly more. “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us…” – Ephesians 3:20 ENGAGE. Any relationship we have is really only as good as what we put into it. But, “putting into it” means putting something else out, right? If we are engaging and investing in our relationships, something else gives. I read something on social media the other day that has stayed with me: “If we consistently prioritize only what is urgent, we will neglect what is truly important.” So, in any relationship…spouse, children, friends…if we do not make a point to set aside what seems urgent but is actually quite fleeting and of little or no eternal significance, then those relationships suffer. Taking that a bit further…in any relationship, if we do not from time to time intentionally set aside what we want, what we need, what we like, or what we would rather be doing and choose for the sake of our loved ones, then those relationships that are in theory the most important to us wither away as we focus and prioritize what is actually important to us… Ourselves. And that’s really the issue, isn’t it? I’m the issue. I am. ME. Every single time. The cost is high. Scripture is clear…focusing on self has no place in gospel-centered thinking. In God’s economy, others come first. After all, it was our Savior who literally gave up His life for us. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for his friends.” – John 15:13 It doesn’t mean the complete denial of self…it is the state of mind that understands there is so much more at stake than what I want. So much more to gain than a fleeting earthly pleasure. Our sinful nature tells us our way, our desires, our selfish ambitions are best. In reality, those will lead us away from those we love and what is truly important and of eternal importance…and towards a life of empty pleasure and never-ending seeking for the next best thing, the next false sense of security or power that changes no lives for good. It will never be enough…but He, He is always more than enough. His plans for us cannot be imagined or surpassed, and they will always produce fruit not only in our own lives, but the lives of those around us. IF. If we will engage. Engage in an honest and authentic relationship with Jesus. “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. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:11-13 Engaging. Seeking Him with all our heart. Filling our cup through spiritual disciplines like the study of Scripture, authentic prayer, participating and serving within the Body of Christ. All of these disciplines will cost you…they will cost you time, money, and many extraneous things that just don’t matter with an eternal perspective. But real relationship, authentic love, always involves a sacrifice…just as Christ loved us, and gave Himself up for us. And therein it lies. The sacrifice of ourselves and our desires and ambitions actually gives us what we have needed all along. In Him and His ways we finally find the security, the peace, the joy we have been searching for and so much more…wisdom we desperately need, protection we can’t possibly provide, provision we could never hope to earn or find on our own…deep and abiding hope and assurance that, no matter the circumstances, keeps spilling over. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” – James 1:17 He is our good, good Father, and He is reaching out to you. The road is not always easy, the seasons are sometimes long and hard. But, God… “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28 Enagage.

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KC’s Christmas Discovery By Estelle (Essie) H. Herndon

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hen people commit their lives to Our Lord Jesus, something amazing happens to them, and that’s exactly what happened to me.

I am forever His. I have been purchased; His Spirit is my receipt. I am a child of the King. Sharing Jesus with children is one of my greatest desires. My prayer is that when children read “KC’s Christmas Discovery”, they will want to know Jesus and will come to know Him like I know him. I have had the greatest honor to be called His child, and my prayer is that each child will accept Jesus as their own personal Lord and Savior.

The story of KC honors a dear friend, Karen Clifton, who now resides in her new home with our Lord. My mind visualizes Karen playing the piano or organ, enjoying every moment of each melody. Cancer did not win her life. The Lord called her home to be with Him. She is His spokesperson, using her gift of music. I see her as an angel on the keyboard. Here are some of my Favorite Bible Verses for Children Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. Ephesians 6:1-3 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Ephesians 5:12 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. 1 John 3:18 Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Who is the man who desires life And loves length of days that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil And your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:11-14

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Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me. Mark 9:37a Command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you - they are your life. Deuteronomy 32:46b-47 (NIV) For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. Luke 19:10 His (Jesus’) name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them from coming to Me because the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19;14 (NIV) In His Love, Estelle (Essie) H. Herndon

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The War On Marriage By Shannon Dickerson

M

y husband and I watched a movie years ago in which two of the characters were having a dialogue. One character says, “I will not risk open war,” to which the other character replies, “Open war is upon you whether you would risk it or not.”

Church, open war is upon us in our marriages. Marriage is under attack like it has never been before. And Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” The enemy knows if he can get you to believe the lie that your spouse is your enemy or that you are each other’s enemies, you’ll stay defeated, but the devil is a liar. The Word of God says “there is no truth in him,” and that “he is a liar and the father of lies and all that is false.” (John 8:44) John 10:10 says, “The thief (the devil) comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy,” but Jesus went on to say, “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows”). How many of us, from a natural standpoint, would let a thief come into our homes and steal from us, try to kill us or utterly destroy us? Nobody that has any sense would allow that to happen! We would stand our ground and do whatever we could to prevent that from happening. So why do we, from a spiritual standpoint, allow him to do this in our marriages? 2 Corinthians 2:11 says, “…lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.” This sounds like he can take advantage of us if we are ignorant of his devices. Believers can obviously be ignorant of Satan’s devices, evidenced by the fact that the divorce rate in the church is comparable to the divorce rate in the world. The name Satan literally means adversary. The Greek word for devil is diabolos, which means slanderer and accuser. In Revelation 12: 9-10, Satan is called not only the deceiver of the whole world but also “the accuser of the brethren.” We see that Satan is a liar, thief, adversary, slanderer, deceiver, and accuser. Does anyone have friends like that? Neither do I! If we did, I bet we would not allow them to stick around for any length of time. Satan’s goal is to destroy everything that is good and holy and just. His goal is to destroy your marriage as well as your identity as a believer. He has never created anything. He only tries to destroy everything good God has created. God created life, marriage, and family. The devil has come and instituted everything from homosexuality to the total devaluing of human life, also known as abortion. And he has done all of this through those “devices” that people are ignorant of.

Marrage is under attack like it never has been before.

Friends, the enemy does not want you, as a believer, to know your true identity. He wants you to remain ignorant of it. He will work overtime to keep your identity disguised and to keep you from knowing that you are truly alive and free and empowered by God’s own Spirit to fight victoriously against him. John 8:36 says, “So if the Son liberates you [makes you free men], then you are really and unquestionably free.” This means you are free indeed! Glory be to God! A case of mistaken identity is exactly what happened in the early years of our marriage. I saw myself as my husband’s wife and my son’s mom, but not as God’s beloved daughter. Oh, I was saved but not experiencing the abundant life that Jesus had already provided for me. I was still living by my feelings instead of walking by faith. The Lord tells us in Hebrews 13:5 that “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” It doesn’t matter if we feel God with us or not. We have His Word to assure us that He is always with us no matter how we feel. Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Walking by faith is essential for every believer. “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7) I am so thankful Jesus didn’t live by a feeling. I feel pretty certain that if He had, He would have never gone to the Cross. He willingly laid down His life, and “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28) Servanthood is at the heart of Christianity, and it is also at the heart of marriage. These are just some of the truths that the devil wants you to remain ignorant of so he can destroy you. In your marriage, have you ever had thoughts like these? ‘What did he mean by that?’ or ‘Did you see the way she looked at you?’ or how about ‘I wouldn’t put up with that if I were you?’ Do you think God is putting that junk in your head? NO!! That is straight from the enemy of your soul, and he is trying to get you and your spouse to take offense with each other. You must know where these lies come from and replace them with the truth of God’s Word. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us that we are to be “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” This is what we must do on a daily basis. I want to be very transparent with you. By the second year of our marriage, we were talking divorce. I was convinced that my husband (continued on next page)

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was the problem. I was ignorant of the enemy’s devices. If we can keep a mirror pointed at someone else, we never feel the need to look in it ourselves and truly allow the Lord to heal our hearts. If we allow Him to, the Lord will perform spiritual open heart surgery and heal our deepest hurts so that we don’t have to keep putting a band aid on a wound that we can never treat without His help. I am so thankful that the Lord led and guided me every step of the way, and I have joy overflowing when I tell you that today, my husband and I are happily married and just recently celebrated fourteen years of marriage. Church, we can’t keep doing the same things and expect different results. We must make different choices. You might be wondering how our marriage survived. First, I got sick and tired of being sick and tired. I realized if there was going to be a change, there was going to have to be a choice that I was going to have to make. Second, I made a choice to surrender and do whatever God’s Word said, no matter what I felt about it. Deuteronomy 30:19 says, “…I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore, choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.” I wish I could tell you that this was effortless, but when you’ve been walking a certain way in marriage, or any area of life, old habits die slowly. We have to choose to stay in the familiar or move forward in our walk with the Lord. Psalm 100:4-5 says, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.” Being thankful is a huge key in marriage. We should be giving thanks always for who the Lord is, who He is for us, and for the gift of the spouse that He has blessed us with. I would encourage you to make time with your spouse a priority. They are a gift from God to you. Reminisce about your dating days and your wedding day. Stir up the love of God that is already in your heart. The Lord has been so faithful to us. He has restored our marriage, and He will do the same for yours. Give him all the broken pieces and watch Him do what no one else can. He alone is the Great Restorer! Fight the good fight of faith for your marriage. It is worth it. Victoriously, Shannon Dickerson Shannon Dickerson is the wife of Trey Dickerson, the Senior Pastor of High Point Church, which is located at 2963 Hollis Rd, Macon, GA 31206. She also works alongside of Trey with their personal ministry, Living Logos Ministries. If you would like more information or materials from their ministry, you can visit the following websites: www.treydickerson.com & www.highpointmacon.com.

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Local Church Connection  

October, November, and December 2020

Local Church Connection  

October, November, and December 2020