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Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

Posts tagged “church

What’s Your Story?

What’s Your Story? Yesterday, as we gathered together for our Sunday service, that was the morning’s topic. The question was not posed in a typical sermon format, but rather our pastor had several different people from our church come forward and share part of their own story. About six months ago, just as we began the new year, we invested together in a series called Into the Wild. The premise of the series was all about how we are called on a journey, and as we journey it is wild, but we have His promises and His presence as we go. Each person who shared their story, spoke of a portion of the adventure God had been taking them on over the past many months. All had the common thread of His promise and His presence that they held onto, even when the path before them seemed to be unmarked, and the ground unstable. Each one, was evidence of His faithfulness, as they had walked in obedience where they had been called.

 

This morning, I caught a glimpse of the bulletin. There in the top row, sits my smiling face, waiting to tell a story. At first, I kind of complained to the Lord, as I do not have as concrete of a path as some of the stories told yesterday. The gentle nudge did not let up, so I shall attempt to speak of the story He has been writing in me, as I have willingly walked into the wild…

 

By nature, I am an introvert. To those who know me, this is no great surprise, especially if observed in a large group. Also, as a result of both environment and of choice, I had become a very closed individual emotionally, and was unwilling to allow others to see past the smile. “The Wild” for me, has been a journey of learning to be vulnerable with trustworthy individuals. Willingness to share my heart, my thoughts, my fears, my hopes – without reservation, has been both a foreign and freeing phenomenon. Though I have in no way “arrived“, there is a visible change in my willingness to be “real” with those whom I trust, and I find myself opening my heart to more people than I ever thought I would. I know that I am still wandering in this portion of wilderness, yet He is with me, leading me, guiding me, and holding my hand as I travel in trust. Greater things are yet to come, and I look forward to all that He has for me – for all of us.

 

You will be His witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. – (Acts 22:15)

 

We are His, and no one can dispute what He has done in our lives, personally. Our story, is ours. He uses what we are willing to offer. May we be His mouthpiece to touch lives and transform communities.

 

What is your story?

What has Jesus done?

The trials you’ve faced,

the battles you’ve won?

Where have you wandered?

Where has your heart been?

Has He brought you through,

time and time again?

Think of the little,

as well as the large;Your Story

He’s ever present,

wherever you are.

Every aspect,

of each of our lives;

matter to Jesus,

that is why He died.

He willingly took,

every stain and scar;

so as we journey,

we’ll know Whose we are.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that each of us has a story. Thank You that our story is not a quick read, but rather one with many chapters. Thank You that our adventure into the wild does not end when You walk us through a challenging season, but rather, You call us to adventure with You our entire lives. Thank You that You are always present, and that You promise to never leave us nor forsake us. Forgive us for our fearfulness as we step out into the unknown. Make us courageous and strong to trust You in all things and at all times. Help us to clearly hear Your voice, so that we know which way we are meant to travel. May many come to know You as their Savior and King, as we live and love as an obedient offering. Be exalted, O God, through the story You are writing on our hearts. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

 

 

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His Love Endures Forever

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. – Psalm 136:1

 

The entire 136th Psalm is a series of thanks and praise for God’s faithfulness, followed by the phrase, His love endures forever. In the midst of the chaos of the coming close of the school year, accompanied by various other challenges, my heart is stirred to simply create my own list of thanks for His faithfulness, acknowledging how His love, does indeed, endure forever. Perhaps you too, might take a moment to reflect upon His faithfulness, and how His love endures forever.

 

To Him who grants me light and life on earth,His Love Endures Forever

His love endures forever.

Protected my babies before their birth,

His love endures forever.

Who provided a house that is our home,

His love endures forever.

Placed us in a loving church of our own,

His love endures forever.

Whom we can fully trust and call upon,

His love endures forever.

Who provides a place to teach and grow strong,

His love endures forever.

Supplies faithful colleagues, whom I call friends,

His love endures forever.

Granted family, Faithful knows no end,

His love endures forever.

To Him who lifts me each time that I fall,

His love endures forever.

And to the Holy, whom hears every call,

His love endures forever.

To the One who sees every tear that’s shed,

His love endures forever.

And to Him who’s leading this life I’ve led,

His love endures forever.

To the One who forgives my every wrong,

His love endures forever.

And to Him who deserves my every song,

His love endures forever.

All praise unto You, Mighty, Righteous One,

Your love endures forever.

To the blessed Savior, Jesus, the Son,

Your love endures forever.

To His Spirit, who shows what need be done,

Your love endures forever.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You thank Your love lasts forever. Thank You that it is a gift that You give to us, not because we are worthy, but because we are Your created, whom You love. Thank You that when we come to You and surrender ourselves unto You, You meet us where we are, and exchange our sinfulness for Your righteousness, making it possible for us to enter into Your Holy presence, always. Forgive us for not thanking You often enough for Your great faithfulness. Teach us to have an attitude of gratitude, always. Thank You that no matter what is going on around us, our hope is secure in You. May we live and love as You so faithfully and lavishly love us, and may many come to know Your eternal love, personally, as they enter into a lifelong relationship with You. Be exalted, Lord God, as our lives express songs of praise unto You. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8


One Body in Christ

The congregation of the church works as separate members but all too often forget that they exist as one body and need each other. The Pastor often is the heart of the church, although sometimes there is another who functions in that place. If the heart is damaged or diseased it affects the whole of the body. If it is healthy it circulates well and the gospel and intent of the church are usually healthy as well. But when there is disease in part of the body and it is not treated, eventually in spreads to the whole and can easily kill it. We know that when we have a diseased limb and it can’t be saved, it must be removed, but do we consider the church the same way? Or do we just accept the diseased portion because it adds to the whole?

1 Corinthians 12

King James Version (KJV)

12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

14 For the body is not one member, but many.

15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?

20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.

21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:

23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked.

25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

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Sharing Ourselves

“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” – (Hebrews 13:16)

Community is critical, and I am so thankful that both my school and church community are heavily invested and committed doing good and sharing with others, as these two arenas are the areas where both my boys and I spend the majority of most of our days. Teaching kids the importance of looking outside of themselves to see that there are needs right here in our own community, and empowering them to rise up and take action, is a common occurrence throughout the year, as my school holds a food drive prior to Thanksgiving, and then sponsors families in need prior to the Christmas break, so that children will have gifts to open and families will have meals to share. Similarly, our church creates Thanksgiving baskets for families in need in the community, and then holds an incredible evening event where many businesses and the police department partner with our church to turn the sanctuary into a space where parents are able to come in and select several gifts for each of their children, and then have them wrapped and tagged, while their kiddos are being cared for in another area, unaware of the surprises that will soon be theirs to open.

The good and sharing that we do with others, goes beyond big events. Our time, our resources, and ourselves – these are what He is asking us to share with others, so that they too, may come to call Him King this Christmas. For the time that you have invested in others, even when it was not convenient, know that He is pleased. As you chose to give, even when it meant you did not get something that you may have wanted, He is pleased. Each time you truly listened and heard the heart of another, He has seen you, and with you, He is well pleased.

This is but a fraction of the parent shop... :)

This is but a fraction of the parent shop… :)


Forget not to do good,

and give yourself away;

as we extend our hearts,

that’s the choice to obey.

Giving that which we have,

of our talent and time;

God sees and He honors,

each kindness to mankind.

May we go forth and give,

as we have been given;

may His Name be made known,

on earth as in heaven.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have done the ultimate good for us, as You shared Your Son so that we might have the hope of eternal life. Thank You that this is a season, more than any other, that people are receptive to receive the good and sharing that others extend. Forgive us for not making the most of the opportunities You provide, and help us to have open hearts, so that we will hear and obey whatever You ask of us. Teach us to trust You completely, knowing that You are good, and that You are pleased each time we choose to do as You ask of us. Just as a parent is proud of their child when they share and are kind to others, help us to remember that You too, see us through the eyes of a loving Father. May we share with others and do good, not only in this sacred season, but throughout the year – as an offering unto You. May many come to know You as their Savior, as we seek to serve You with our lives. Be exalted, O God. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.


The Meaning of Christmas — A. W. Tozer

EVERYWHERE, EVERYWHERE, CHRISTMAS TONIGHT!�
�Phillips Brooks.
That there were in the world multiplied millions who had never heard of Christmas did not matter to our poet for the purpose of his poem. He was expressing an emotional fact, not a statistical one.
Throughout the Western world we tend to follow the poet and approach Christmas emotionally instead of factually. It is the romance of Christmas that gives it its extraordinary appeal to that relatively small number of persons of the earth�s population who regularly celebrate it.

So completely are we carried away by the excitement of this midwinter festival that we are apt to forget that its romantic appeal is the least significant thing about it. The theology of Christmas too easily gets lost under the gay wrappings, yet apart from its theological meaning it really has none at all. A half dozen doctrinally sound carols serve to keep alive the great deep truth of the Incarnation, but aside from these, popular Christmas music is void of any real lasting truth. The English mouse that was not even stirring, the German Tannenbaum so fair and lovely and the American red-nosed reindeer that has nothing to recommend it have pretty well taken over in Christmas poetry and song. These along with merry old St. Nicholas have about displaced Christian theology.

We must not forget that the Church is the custodian of a truth so grave and urgent that its importance can not be overemphasized, and so vast and incomprehensible that even an apostle did not try to explain it; rather it burst forth from him as an astonished exclamation:
Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great:
He appeared in a body,
was vindicated by the Spirit,
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations;
was believed on in the world,
(1 Timothy 3:16)
This is what the Church is trying to say to mankind but her voice these days is thin and weak and scarcely heard amid the commercialized clangor of �Silent Night.�

It does seem strange that so many persons become excited about Christmas and so few stop to inquire into its meaning; but I suppose this odd phenomenon is quite in harmony with our unfortunate human habit of magnifying trivialities and ignoring matters of greatest import. The same man who will check his tires and consult his road map with utmost care before starting on a journey may travel for a lifetime on the way that knows no return and never once pause to ask whether or not he is headed in the right direction.

The Christmas message, when stripped of its pagan overtones, is relatively simple: God is come to earth in the form of man. Around this one dogma the whole question of meaning revolves. God did come or He did not; He is come or He is not, and the vast accumulation of sentimental notions and romantic practices that go to make up our modern Christmas cannot give evidence on one side or the other.

Certain religious teachers in apostolic times refused to believe that Jesus was actually God come in the flesh. They were willing to exhaust the language of unctuous flattery to describe His glorious manhood, but they would have none of His deity. Their basic philosophy forbade them to believe that there could ever be a union of God and human flesh.Matter, they said, is essentially evil. God who is impeccably holy could never allow Himself contact with evil. Human flesh is matter, therefore God is not come in the flesh.

Certainly it would not be difficult to refute this negative teaching. One would only need to demonstrate the error of the major premise, the essential sinfulness of matter, and the whole thing would collapse. But that would be to match reason against reason and take the mystery of godliness out of the realm of faith and make of it merely another religious philosophy. Then we would have rationalism with a thin Christian veneer. How long before the veneer wore off and we had only rationalism?

While faith contains an element of reason, it is essentially moral rather than intellectual. In the New Testament unbelief is a sin, and this could not be so if belief were no more than a verdict based upon evidence. There is nothing unreasonable about the Christian message, but its appeal is not primarily to reason. At a specific time in a certain place God became flesh, but the transcendence of Christ over the human conscience is not historic; it is intimate, direct and personal.

Christ�s coming to Bethlehem�s manger was in harmony with the primary fact of His secret presence in the world in preincarnate times as the Light that lighteth every man. The sum of the New Testament teaching about this is that Christ�s claims are self-validating and will be rejected only by those who love evil. Whenever Christ is preached in the power of the Spirit, a judgment seat is erected and each hearer stands to be judged by his response to the message. His moral responsibility is not to a lesson in religious history but to the divine Person who now confronts him.
�Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight.� But Christmas either means more than is popularly supposed or it means nothing.
We had better decide.

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Alganoor Church

Kerry Mauldin
Thank you all for standing with us and help bless 96 villages with churches this year and 15 water wells and many goats, buffalo or chickens to widows or handicapped, but the greatest joy is the many many villages where the churches are growing, learning to tithe and many are coming to Christ and following in baptism and being filled with Holy Ghost!!
Jaya just sent this note this AM about Alaganoor Village and we see Gods miraculous power at work and fruit coming!!
We go back Feb 10, by Gods grace and have so much anticipation!!
Please pray for Dr. Bill Mast–he travelled 11 years with me to India and we walked a multitude of villages and miles….He could not travel the past 2 years and is just diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig disease, muscular dystrophy–please pray!!
With Thanks and much prayers,
Kerry and Melody
PO BOX 140402
Broken Arrow, Ok 74014    918-346-1656
Dear Brother Kerry
I did not get any message from you after 16th.
The beleivers in Alganoor are very very happy that they will be laying thier church’s  roof  tomarrow the 25th Monday. If you get this message before sunday you can share with beleivers of The Chrch w ho had supported Alganoor village beleivers for the roof,  for their prayers.
These beleivers who are presently 35 in number ( 15 baptised and 20 new ) with Mark as their Pastor are sending their greetings and request for prayers. They are experiencing God’s hand on them. They reported with joy that a person who had severe stomuch pain was healed in response to theor fparyers and petition to God , during their worship service. Yet in another incident a typhoid patient got healed. They are thanking and praising God for these healings.
This is  an independent penticostal church . beleivers offer to God about 250 Rupees every . week.
The church is about 30ft  X 20ft.   The land is owend by the beleivers.
with lots of our love and prayers
Jaya Prabhaker
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Dubai City Church and Abu Dhabi City Church

By Kerry Mauldin
By God’s grace and blessing, we are back from the villages and have made it thru torrential rains, many flooded rivers and thankfully have missed no assignments.
We are wrapping up the balance sheets today.  We gave all the churches and had money for 1 well that we did not give but will see the fruitfulness of Dojjalabai Thanda village and prayerfully be able to give in Feb.  They have water a 5 minute walk from the church and want a well on church land, but only a few believers and it needs to bless the whole village…we must wait.
We gave all the other 7 wells…
Today, many people will come requesting things and many prayers to be given…
Tomorrow we fly to Dubai and speak at Dubai City Church Thursday night, Fujeirah on Friday and Abu Dhabi City Church Sunday night…
Good things ahead and so so thankful for you all holding us in prayer!
We gave right at 40 churches and 7 wells this trip and dedicated more than that!!
With love, thanks and prayers,
Kerry, Melody, Jim and Joshua
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Signs and Wonders

 By Kerry Mauldin
Wonderful day with no rain and many dedications!!
At Uttlapalli Village, we dedicate church given by Vinita AG.  Here last year we baptized in 55 gallon drum behind a tarp because hindus were upset.  We gave to start church and it now runs over 50 adults and 40 children and growing weekly.
One crippled girl from birth, 4 weeks ago can now walk.
We prayed for infilling of Holy Spirit and heaven was so real and a couple got their heavenly language.  Gave matching gift to put stone floor and extend the church–no more room…
Srinivas Nagar–we dedicate well, Melody gave in memory of her late husband who passed 7 years ago.  It has sweet water and 40 church members and all neighbors were so thankful.  One pump of handle and water comes!!
Narsapuram–so truly blessed me!!  This church built by Tula Rosa NM and well by the Haymes family, has grown from 50 to 70 with added 50 children.  This is an alive church.
last year we prayed for a boy Krishnan, 18, who was born deaf-mute.
I had forgotten, but his father Hamu Niak, a stone polisher, brought him up and both were so so excited.  They shared how after the prayer last year—now Krishnan can hear and speak.  He had such a huge smile as he told his name, what village he is from, his fathers name …  PRAISE THE LORD!
Last year, his father pledged to do marble floors stones in the church and it is beautiful job as a stone polisher…
In the churches where God is showing signs and wonders–which are so many churches, they are growing much.
In Keshavapuram, we dedicated a church and plaque given in memory of Judy Henry of Muscogee-a friend who so encouraged and prayed and is now with the Lord!
Nice church that we gave today for flooring etc.
One woman was one of many who stood and told of God’s grace and love.
She was some 55 and a widow since age 26.  She shared she was widowed and both of her daughters husbands also had passed and they were widows…
She shared how now she has no debt and God is taking care in spite of all the challenges…she set down.
I asked:  “sister, is your name Naomi?”  All said, “YES, that is her name.”
I am so thankful for God’s goodness and grace.  He does do miracles and so so many are testified about in everyday here:TB, leprosy, deaf-mute, babies given etc…
He sees us thru daily and keeps us covered in blessing and protection!!
Just crossing many rivers the past week with so many low water “bridges”? has been so challenging with so many bridges washed out and bumper deep waters… having to throw stones in holes on bridges to make it across…  HE PROTECTS and does “Signs and Wonders”!!
Thanks for your prayers!!  2 more days in villages…
Kerry, Melody, Jim and Joshua
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Heart Prepped and Ready…

By Kerry Mauldin
Just 3 days left in the villages and much has been accomplished by Gods grace.
It is truly amazing what all can be done when God gives favor and wisdom and we choose to walk in it.
 
One lesson really jumped out at me today:
 
We went to Lakkavaram Village and people were sitting on a tarp on thefoundation 20×40 of where they want a church.  We are went to houses and streets and compelled people to come and hear the story…
70 adults go to the church and 50 kids.  They have been meeting under the trees and want a nice church.
We sang and Jim shared, I taught on giving and they began to give 224,000 rs and we matched 100,000 to build the church.
These people were just concluding a 40 day fasting prayer for the church and their hearts were ready and we also blessed with what they need to get church built!
Their hearts were so prepared!!
 
Went to dedicate church in Kothagudem.”New Village”–the church was painted a pretty.  Pastor had come last Feb and cried out for help.  We taught him and put rupees in his hand as a test that he would teach his people.  We drove far today and only 3 of his 40 members were there, besides a lot of kids and others we compelled to come.
Pastor shared he had borrowed 60,000rs to complete the church at 24% interest and the people had given nothing… He wanted us to help him.
I had to correct and rebuke him.  He failed the test in that he did not teach the people, but made excuses for them and then borrowed the money.  Also, with us coming, only 3 show up…
We told him we would come again in Feb. if he would get his people there and teach them.
What a difference preparation in a village makes!
 
Last, in Mellacherlu “Many Lakes Village”–35 met in small 12×15 room.
They have land and want a 20×40 Prayer Shed and need 60,000rs.
We ate lunch and taught them.  Meeting here 5 years, they have their goal low.
They want shed with no walls and will add walls later.
We matched 1 rupee for each 2 they gave, but if they raised more and stepped out, I felt impressed to help more.
They raised 41,000 and we added 20,000 so they can build exactly what they expressed.
I hoped their faith would step up, but they did not over extend themselves.  “This is first church we have built and are not sure how to go about it”, they shared!!
 
Lord that we set our vision high enough, prepare our hearts and walk in Your wisdom and guidance!!
 
Your prayers have been so greatly appreciated and have born fruit!!  Thanks so so much!!
 
Melody, Kerry, Jim and Joshua!!
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“He is at the Gate, Don’t Disturb me”…

 By Kerry Mauldin
Today was more torrential rain, roads washed out and challenges, but awesome..
MarriKunta (Big Tree) village, right on banks of canal.  We went first time last Oct. and shared Christ with the many who lived in thatch sheds on canal bank.  Today, several stood in church under construction and shared specifically how one year ago they heard the “bracelet story” about Jesus and accepted and took baptism and now one year have joy and no regrets.
The church has grown by 20 to 50 adults and many miracles are taking place, getting much attention in village!!
Dedicate well in Adivemla, drilled by Webbers Falls AG.  Good sweet water about 5 feet from church and no other wells around.  All others were dry holes!!
Church is now being built by the well…
Arvallapally–Dedicate church by Red Oak AG–last year was thatch church and though not finished, they meet inside and we helped give to finish…
Pastor Joshua and Pramila (sweet savor) had no children in Feb, so we prayed.  Today, he so excited shared that 25 days ago they had twins.  Born after 8 months, the tiny boy passed after 1 week, but little Huldah Grace is now 25 days.
No prenatal in villages for premies…  This couple gives us joy…so thankful!!
Alfa Nagar–dedicate wellby Mountain Home AG.  On banks of lake and church built by Haskell AG… Good humble Pastor…
The village that so touched me today is PillaMari–“Childs Tree” Village–
We walk into small house where 30 people meet for church.  They want a prayer shed outside that 100 can sit under.  We have never been here and go to inspect…
Upon entering, first I see Peter.  He is 21and sitting in wheelchair and instantly I figured he has Muscular Dystrophy which I so understand.  He has a gentle smile, but can no longer lift his arms to shake hands.  You have to reach out and grab his hands…
After all the questions and details to figure building the church and all of us giving to build and having prayer, I turned to Peter.
They said he was a good singer…
He began to sing in his chair, “You are glorious, greatest light, King of Kings…”
beautiful voice in this challenged body…
But we sensed something…
Others spoke up…”Till 5 days ago, 21 year old Peter sang with his 19 year old brother Andrew, and they sang so beautiful together.
Andrew also had MD until 5 days ago.”  They related,
Andrew was on the cot and it was his time and his last words for this 19 year old boy:
” Jesus is coming for me, He is even now at the gate, don’t disturb me…” (they have gate to the house) and Andrew was with the Lord.
This was so fresh in their hearts and even as they shared, all I could do was choke on tears.
Now Peter was singing without Andrew, but still a gentle smile as he faces the same thing.
I can’t wait to come in Feb to dedicate Prayer Shed and walk these village streets with Peter and share Christ when its not raining…
Such a reminder, “HE IS AT THE GATE”
Love and appreciate you all so much and so thankful for encouragements…
Melody, Jim, Joshua and Kerry
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