Martha, Martha, Martha!

There is a book called Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World written by Joanna Waver. I own it but have never read it. I think I have pulled it out a couple of times. I usually decide on something else instead. What made me think about this book was this past Easter Weekend. This year we had a fundraiser to send out kids to youth this summer. We took orders for eggs, filled with candy, to be delivered the night before Easter. We ended up with an order of two thousand eggs and twenty nine houses to go to. Awesome! With only a few hiccups…a shortage of plastic eggs in the city and having to find four hundred eggs on Friday, my son being directional challenged and took him way longer than it should to do the houses on his route, and that one of my youth thought it would be funny to do some prank eggs (teenage boys). It went great and we did not have to wash cars!!

On top of this fundraiser I am also helping to plan a Girls Night In and Guys Night Out event. The ladies are coming to my house to watch Joyce Meyer’s Girls Night In and the guys are going to go axe throwing and dinner together. Sounds fun right! Remember my last post that I usually like to know the answers to questions that people are going to ask me. So I became a little overwhelmed.

Then there is Easter Service. We had a regular church service with communion. I just could not bring myself to plan an after fellowship event. I did not plan anything special for the kids. We had a new song prepared and that was just all I could bring myself to do. You see, this Martha World is exhausting. Not because I want to be Martha, but sometimes it seems that is all people see me as. I do not want to plan everything! I do not want to do the order of service, but I do it because people have come to depend on me to do it. I do it because I have been told, you are the only one who can. Why is that?

I long to have people come up beside me and train them up to do the things that I do. I long to mentor those that are in awe of how much I am able to accomplish. Jesus sent His disciples out two by two (Luke 10:1-23). They went out and reported, He did not micromanage. He sent them out and was able to trust that they were doing what He sent them out to do. I long to be able to lead like that!

Do not get me wrong, I love serving! If I did not have anything to do I would probably go nuts. Sometimes I ask myself, “Amanda, are you doing too much?” “If you did not do it, is it really necessary?”

Before service Sunday I prepared a large meal for my family for when we got home. It was their favorite…schnitzel and spaetzle with peas and deviled eggs. All made from scratch. The only thing I had to do when we got home was make the jager gravy, because you know gravy will get congealed if it gets cold. We ate our Easter dinner together. I washed the dishes, cleaned up the kitchen and then go rest on the couch. Rest means I fell asleep. I slept hard! Finally allowing myself to relax, I slept nearly twelve hours that night (getting myself up and going to my own bed a few hours in).

On top of Easter functions that weekend we also had small group and a family gathering on the same day. I volunteered to buy and bring one of the main parts of the family dinner. That took some planning. Plans for Saturday was orchestrated to fit everything in (pick up crawfish, help in the garden at small group, get to my mother’s, drive back home and finish plans for egg deliveries, execute plan when time came). I had to take a forty five minute power nap Saturday too.

Sunday morning I wake up from a nightmare. I had been ridiculed in front of the church for orchestrating too much, planning too much. I just felt a heaviness in my heart, I did not ask for this. Have you ever felt that way? God, I did not ask for this? I thought I was doing this because you wanted me to. I felt like Martha when she went to Jesus to tell Mary to help her (Luke 10:38-42). I had to think on this. God created Martha will a love language that was different than Mary’s. Martha’s was acts of service and it frustrated her to see her sister not having the same love language as her. I realized the way I show love is also acts of service. I was probably running on empty and not receiving mine because I was pouring out so much (check out Gary Chapman’s books on the Five Love Languages).

Then I am reminded of a special moment that Jesus and Martha had after Lazarus had died. She ran out of the house to meet Him on the road and they had this exchange in John 11:21-26 (AMP), Then Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.  Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give to You.Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise [from the dead].”  Martha replied, “I know that he will rise [from the dead] in the resurrection on the last day.”  Jesus said to her, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in (adheres to, trusts in, relies on) Me [as Savior] will live even if he dies; and everyone who lives and believes in Me [as Savior] will never die. Do you believe this?”

I have conversations like Martha did right here with Jesus. I am usually in the midst of doing something and talking to Him. This is when I receive deep revelation from the Word that I had been mediating on, or a question that has been on my mind. One of Jesus’ “I AM” statements was revealed to Martha!

I am continuing to pray that I let things go. I am praying for God to send the helpers and if the helpers are there to allow my eyes to be opened to not limit their abilities. I get too caught up in not wanting people to think I am taking advantage of them. I need to give them the ability to be blessed by putting their hands to the work of the ministry. It is okay that I am a Martha, because He still talks to us Martha’s even in the midst of us serving. The qualities we see in Martha we also see in Rebekah, Ruth and the Proverbs 31 woman, so I am in good company.

Who do you relate to more, Martha or Mary? I am comforted to know that God created me with a special way I show Him love. There is nothing wrong with it and not everyone will understand it. My love tank was just running a little on empty. I had to get close to the source again (John 15).

One Year Later

It has been a year since the Stay at Home Order in Alabama. We were told that we should only go out of our homes to get the essentials (i.e. groceries, toiletries, home repair, etc.). Masks were not mandated yet, but you saw people wearing them in public, as well as, gloves of all sorts. There was toilet paper, disinfectant wipes and spray shortages.

Our kids were on spring break at the time. Since my kids are athletes, and how else are we suppose to get teenagers away from electronics these days, I made them run every morning. We lifted weights together, at the house, every day. I tried to keep them as active as possible. It brought me back to the days when I was growing up and my grandmother would keep us outside during the summer so we would not just watch television all day. We would ride our bikes to a friends house or they would all come over to my grandmother’s and swim. It was too cool for the pool to be open, so one rode his bike all over the neighborhood and the other learned to climb ladders and hang out on the roof.

What made me want to write about this was because as pastors my husband and I had to adjust, but we did not want this to change the core of what we believed the church should be. There was a quote being posted around Facebook, it said, “Your Pastor has never pastored a church through a Pandemic before. When he opens people are going to say he should have closed. When he closes people are going to say he should have opened. When he shakes hands people are going to say he has faith. When he shakes hands people are going to say he’s foolish. He’s going to make some difficult decisions to protect the flock considering everything from your spiritual growth to legal liabilities that you aren’t even thinking about. He has the incredible responsibility of looking over the well being of his flock. Remember this:No one wants things to go well at church as much as your pastor. Your pastor needs your prayers and support right now. And although you can’t touch him, give him an air high 5. 😄 support your pastor in prayer.”

Ephesians 4:11-13 (AMP) And [His gifts to the church were varied and] He Himself appointed some as apostles [special messengers, representatives], some as prophets [who speak a new message from God to the people], some as evangelists [who spread the good news of salvation], and some as pastors and teachers [to shepherd and guide and instruct], [and He did this] to fully equip and perfect the saints (God’s people) for works of service, to build up the body of Christ [the church]; until we all reach oneness in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, [growing spiritually] to become a mature believer, reaching to the measure of the fullness of Christ [manifesting His spiritual completeness and exercising our spiritual gifts in unity].

This is our calling and our role. It breaks my heart that the body was separated during that time physically, but we should not have been separated spiritually. There have been many things that have happened in the past year. A real shaking occurred. The shaking could have gone two ways: 1) it could have shaken us awake and brought us closer together to unify, or 2) it could have shaken us to divide us. Whatever you are going through in your life right now, I pray that things were shaken to draw you closer to Him. That is what I chose to do this past year.

It breaks my heart that the body was separated during that time physically, but we should not have been separated spiritually.

Yes, my family did get hit with COVID-19. It effected me different than everyone else in my home. Both of my grandparents passed away this past year. Both of my husband’s and my parents have had long term effects of the virus. They are coming out of it, it has taken a few months. We know of those that have been put on a respirator and recovered. It has been a year that changed our world. So please continue to pray for us (your pastors and leaders) as it has been a year of not knowing what to do and still doing it. We did not give up on you. We are here wanting to see you grow in His spiritual completeness and exercise your gifts in unity.

A new thing

Isaiah 43:18-19 (AMP) Do not remember the former things, or ponder the things of the past. Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even put a road in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.

As I was ministering Sunday I said something over my church that I regret. I told them I could not share the complete vision of the next steps because of some of their doubt and unbelief. I regret these words. I repent for these words. Those words are no longer true. Those words came out of a hurt that I still have not worked all of the unforgiveness out of.

Those words came out of a hurt that I still have not worked all of the unforgiveness out of.

My husband and I took over as the lead pastors in 2013. The very last service, that marked the transition, a couple walked up to us and let us know that it would be their last service. They said, “we do not want to attend church with the type of people you will attract.” My husband and I thought, great they stirred up strife anyways.

The next blow came from a couple that left that were big supporters. We did not know how much input this couple had in the goings on in the church before our leadership. When my husband corrected them on coming up to him every service to critique his message, they left. We were in shock.

Then there was our core team. We did our best to listen, and communicate, how the transition was going. We did our best to give them tools to succeed. We were told, “This is your baby, do not expect us to love your baby the way you do.” Most of that “core” is gone now.

Then there were the ones who submitted to the former pastor, not you. They tried it, he was their pastor. If we were really going to change our church, why not use the model of the successful church in town. If you are going to succeed as a pastor, you need to be full time. Eventually, we pulled back. We took a different approach, with very little expectations. If you do not have big expectations, then you cannot get disappointed, right?

Before our property sold in March of 2019, I had gotten a phone call December 31, 2018 about an offer of one third our asking price. I laughed at our realtor and told him, you know my answer is no. That evening we had a worship service to ring in the new year. We had a guest speaker who also operates in the prophetic. It was an amazing night of worship. His message was on point for the vision that my husband had given at the beginning of that year. It was the year of “suddenly.” Then he looked at me and said that the property would sell, not to worry. Then he made a statement that I did not understand, until I spoke my words on Sunday. In two years time, this church will not be in the same place it will look completely different.

Sometimes when we think of a church, we think of a building, a physical structure. Actually, it is a people. When God reminded me of those words, I was reminded that this church does look completely different. God has placed a big dream inside of us for the church in our community. It can be pretty scary and overwhelming from looking at our natural resources. He would not have given us this vision if it could not be done though…”We exist to touch the world through our community.” I have to stand on these words:

Father we do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you. Show us what to do and guide us with your hand upon us. Fill us with the knowledge of your will so that we can walk in a way that pleases you. (Paraphrased from 2 Chr. 20, Col.1:9-10)     

Isaiah 43:18-19 (AMP) Do not remember the former things, or ponder the things of the past. Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even put a road in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.     

Amos 9 (MSG) Things are going to happen so fast your head will swim, one thing fast on the heels of the other. You won’t be able to keep up. Everything will be happening all at once – and everywhere you look, blessings! 

Father, I want to believe, help me with my unbelief. Help me with my words. Help me with my thoughts. Help me see your people the way you see them. Help me with my unforgiveness. You are the only one who can heal my wounds. You are the only one who can do the work within me, so that your purpose can be fulfilled through me. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Focus

Matthew 6:33 (NKJV) But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

To me this has been a year to readjust our focus. My focus has not only read my Word more so that I can grow deeper in my relationship with God, but also so that I can be more impactful in what God has called me to do.

As I was reading Acts this week I was hoping that it would bring me excitement in the fact that the Holy Spirit was in the forefront. All the demonstrations that happened. The unbelievable peace of Stephen. The call of Paul.  It was the focus of Paul that drew my attention.

Paul was a man that rubbed people the wrong way. I have even heard people refer to him as their least favorite because of how he held himself. In my battle of rejection and insecurities I often empathize with Paul. Paul claimed to be a Pharisee in his previous self. There were some character traits that were like no one else, and God could use that, just like He uses me.

Pharisee: a member of a Jewish sect that flourished during the 1st century b.c. and 1st century a.d. and that differed from the Sadducees chiefly in its strict observance of religious ceremonies and practices, adherence to oral laws and traditions, and belief in an afterlife and the coming of a Messiah.

He was all in when it came to the Jewish law…he was going to be all in when it came to spreading the word about Jesus.

I can imagine Paul as he was reading the text or hearing of how Jesus told this Parable of Talents we find in Matthew 25:14-30. I used that perspective in talking to my church yesterday.

In Acts 17 we see that Paul is starting on a journey. He is waiting on two others to join him (Silas and Timothy). Just because he was waiting on them did not mean he stopped ministering. What got my attention was that he traveled places like Athens and then Corinth (we see that he is tent making with fellow believers in Corinth, he was only going to teach on the Sabbath) but I want you to see this:

Acts 18: 5 (MSG) When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was able to give all his time to preaching and teaching, doing everything he could to persuade the Jews that Jesus was in fact God’s Messiah.

Paul was willing to do so much to spread the message. My husband and I are the pastors of our church. We are a small church, but it is often hard for us to turn off the doing everything button. We were not always the pastors. We were the ones that were there every time the door was open saying, “give me something to do!” If they were building something, “let me go get you more nails…let me go get more paint.” We say a need, we immediately went to fill that need without even asking if we could. It is hard to turn that off.

Reading the rest of Acts we see that Paul is a prisoner for the rest of the book. He was perfectly fine in this state. Why? He saw a way for him to get an audience with Caesar (and any governing official that would be on that path). Did you know Paul in prison was probably more relaxed than we are when we binge watch something on Netflix?

What if he got to a place where he said I have been to this many countries…I have completed my bucket list of things to do and now I am just going to relax.

1 Corinthians 9:16-17 (NKJV) For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship.

Woe is me if I do not use my gift to establish His Kingdom. Woe is me if I think my portion is unimportant. Woe is me that I think that my presence would not make a difference.

Luke 16:10 (NLT) If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.

The vision that we have for Connect Church is “We exist to touch the world through our community.” This is not a little vision God has put before us. Right now we help in service projects with different organizations in our city and surrounding cities. We join other organizations to help them succeed. We do not try to reinvent something that they are already doing.

“We exist to touch the world through our community.”

Vision Statement of Connect Church

At this moment Connect Church does not have its own building. We did the large overhead and enormous debt thing and found that we were not effectual in carrying out the vision that God gave us. We are in a building program. We are saving little by little, but sowing more and more. Our vision is to make Connect Church a place for the community, not a place for them to just have “church.” It is a place that if they need to get a hot meal, they can. If they need to wash their laundry at 2 in the morning, they can. If they need a place to connect on the basket ball court, they can.

It is by us being faithful in the small things. I think that when Paul read or heard the Parable of the Talents he got a key insight on Matthew 6:33 (NKJV) But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

I do not know if I am the person given five thousand, two thousand or one thousand. That should not be my focus. My focus is that I seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Could it be that I am given more talents, more resources, more responsibilities? All I want is more of Jesus!

What did 2020 bring?

Haggai 2:6-9  (KJV) For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land;  And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.

Hebrews 12:26-28 (KJV) Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.

Prophetic word my husband heard from the Lord when seeking what 2020 would bring this year: “There is a release happening, a release from things of the flesh and world that have attached itself to us.  It has grown alongside the truth, it has dwelt in the same field for too long and the God of harvest is separating the things of the flesh from the things of the spirit. This is a year of release from our past into a release of God’s glory.  The things in our life that don’t belong will be shaken and it is a time to release any and all things that don’t belong. As we release the release of God will manifest. It is time for the unseen promise to be seen and the seen circumstances to no longer distract our focus. There is a shaking happening…this shaking will release the attachments of the curse that have been attached to our lives for so long.  This release will in turn allow to freedom for the Holy Spirit to be released in our lives. Don’t be afraid of the shaking!  But with reverential fear of God, glorify Him who IS the power that shakes the mountains, the earth and the heavens, but has also provided for His children an unshakable refuge they can abide in.  For He is shaking all things loose that don’t belong, that aren’t established in Christ.”

Matthew 16:18 “…and on this rock (the unshakable foundation of Jesus Christ, The WORD) I will build My church, and the gates of Hell shall not overpower it [or be strong to its detriment or hold out against it].”

He said: “I am declaring that this year is a year of RELEASE!  Letting go of the past and embracing the promise of God.”

He is shaking all things loose that don’t belong, that aren’t established in Christ.

I was sitting in prayer and reading the other day. My husband is not a prophetic preacher, he was anointed to bring that word to us though. While reading I came across Matthew 13:24-30 in the Message Translation. As I read this I was reminded of what was prophesied in January, “It has grown alongside the truth, it has dwelt in the same field for too long and the God of harvest is separating the things of the flesh from the things of the spirit.”

He told another story. “God’s kingdom is like a farmer who planted good seed in the field. That night, while his hired men were asleep, his enemy sowed thistles all through the wheat and slipped away before dawn. When the first green shoots appeared and the grain began to form, the thistles showed up, too. The farmhands came to the farmer ans said, ‘Master, that was clean seed you planted, wasn’t it? Where did these thistles come from?’ He answered, ‘Some enemy did this.” The farmhands asked, ‘Should we week out the thistles?’ He said, ‘No, if you weed the thistles, you’ll pull up the wheat, too. Let them grow together until harvest time. Then I’ll instruct the harvesters to pull up the thistles and tie them in the bundles for fire, then gather the wheat and put it in the barn.”

When will the church wake up? When will it be harvest time? Jesus spent all day telling various stories. At the end of the day His disciples went back and asked Him to explain the story of the thistle. This intrigued me as well:

Matthew 13:37-43 (MSG) So he explained. “The farmer sows the pure seed in the Son of Man. The field is the world, the pure seeds are subjects of the kingdom, the thistles are subjects of the Devil, and the enemy who sows them is the Devil. The harvest is the end of the age, the curtain of history. The harvest hands are angels.The picture of thistles pulled up and burned is a scene from the final act. The Son of Man will send his angels, weeds out the thistles from his kingdom, pitch them in the trash, and be done with them. They are going to complain to high heavens, but nobody is going to listen. At the same time, ripe, holy lives will mature and adorn the kingdom of their Father. Are you listening to this? Really listening?

My husband and I are not prophetic preachers, like I said, but I believe the Word of God is real, alive and is prophetic. This just gave me something to ponder and I hope it does you as well. More than ever I need to watch my words and my character. I needs to draw closer to the Father. I need to allow Jesus to do the work in me so I can reflect Him more.

“There is a shaking happening…this shaking will release the attachments of the curse that have been attached to our lives for so long.  This release will in turn allow to freedom for the Holy Spirit to be released in our lives.” The Holy Spirit is about to break free! As a church we have told Him that He would scare the seeker. In the Word, it says that the gifts of the spirit were to bring evidence to the unbeliever (1 Corinthians 14:22). As a church we need to repent for silencing the Holy Spirit. What did 2020 bring? It brought freedom in the shaking! It brought an awakening!! So let us shake off that slumbering spirit that keeps trying to afflict us. Let us rise to become all that He called us to be. We have two choices in this season…we can complain or we can mature. I have chosen to draw closer to my Jesus, to draw closer to the vine, to desire more of Him in my every day life and to be where He wants me to be.

See a Victory

My husband I pastor a church in Opelika, Alabama. If you are not from the area, you probably mispronounced that city. It’s pretty funny that God brought us here, because my husband was born here, but never lived in this city until he turned thirty. When we took over the church from his parents we set out and wrote down what God was telling us the vision for the church would be.

The vision statement He gave us was, “We exist to touch the world through our community.” Habakkuk 2:2-3 in the Message translation says, “And then God answered: ‘Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run. The vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming. It aches for the coming – it can hardly wait! And it doesn’t lie. If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time.'”

“We exist to touch the world through our community.”

Connect Church Vision Statement

We were so excited for what God was going to do in our church. This was not a starting from scratch church plant. That did not mean were were not faced with challenges. Our heart was to empower the church for ministry. This is how we were going to reach our world. Empower them to see the importance of their community, so that we could reach this world.

First book we read as a church was Greater by Steven Furtick. Our desire was to see the church get excited for the greater. One of my favorite quotes from this book was, “Most believers are not in imminent danger of ruining their lives. They’re facing a danger that’s greater: wasting them.” We envisioned a church that saw the importance of reaching the lost. We may have been a bit too pushy. Not six months into this leadership shift did we get push back. We were told that we could not expect them to love “our baby” the way that we do. The vision had not been received and it stung. It took my husband and I a few years, and the church too, to overcome such a blow. Did that mean that the vision God gave us was not for our church. No…it just meant we did not lay the foundation properly.

We have to watch our hearts in this season of vision casting. Do you know that you have the power to extinguish someone else’s dreams? It is not your job to judge if that persons dream will succeed; it is not your dream. You are however, not suppose to speak against it.

Ephesians 4:9 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

God put a vision for our church, but we knew that things had to change in order for us to see that promise. We decided to put our property up for sale. We were sitting on twenty acres, with almost fifty thousand square feet of building and that meant our overhead was between twelve to fourteen thousand dollars a month. We were not a church that could sustain that much overhead and sow into our community.

We walked away from the sale with no profit. Nothing to start fresh with. Did that mean God did not give us that vision still? No…it meant we had to trust Him more. For the past one and a half years, God had been healing our hearts from the words that stung us those five years ago. He has been building upon a foundation in His Word. Our church, and I believe churches around the world, are waking up! There is a fire and a hunger in the church like we have not seen in the past two decades.

Ecclesiastes 11:4 “He who watches the wind (waiting for all conditions to be perfect) will not sow (seed), and he who looks at the clouds will not reap (a harvest).” (AMP)

That vision for Connect Church is still there. God has given us a BIG DREAM! However, in order to see that come to pass we need to sow into other’s dreams. We are sowing into the construction of a church in Uganda. Right now we are not meeting in our own building. We are renting from another church and have a one thirty service. We could get comfortable here. Our church members are growing so much spiritually that we are loving this call of being their pastors. That discouragement is now a distant memory. There is life again! We are seeing victory in their lives. God is not done with us yet…there is still that vision.

We are also giving like never before into local organizations and ministries. Deep down there is still a desire to do and reach more. You may not be leading a church but you are called to ministry.

I have a vision for loved ones lifting up their hands in worship, completely surrendered to our Father. I envision our children worshiping whole-heartedly. A fire is burning in our young people (Jeremiah 20:9)! When people walk in the doors of our church I envision the chains of bondage breaking off of them, that they fall so in love with God they cannot walk out the doors the same.

Can you know see the victory? Can you envision the promise? I can. God gives you the dreams and He is intentional of what He puts in your heart to accomplish. Trust God. Remember He is an amazing architect. He created this world that you exist in. He is the “Everlasting to Everlasting.”

“I pray with great faith for you, because I’m fully convinced that the One who began this glorious work in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you and will put his finishing touches to it until the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 TPT

Do not stop expecting

Our church meets on Sunday’s at one thirty in the afternoon. Right now we do not have our own building (we are renting a space from another church and they have Sunday morning services). It was a step of faith for us to do this. The property we owned before had a huge overhead with twenty acres and almost fifty thousand square feet of building. On our last service there we prayed it would bless the next church that bought it. We stepped out in faith and was met open arms with another church in our city. I love it when another church wants to see you succeed, even if it is not building their numbers, they genuinely want the Body of Christ to be stronger and in unity.

How has one thirty worked? It is amazing! It has brought us back, that are wanting to press in more, to a place that we no longer take our relationship with God for granted. How did we get to a placed that we started limiting the time we spend in worship?

“Let joy be your continual feast. Make your life a prayer. And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus. Never restrain or put out the fire of the Holy Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 TPT)

This life in Christ wants us to keep our minds on Him. When it says to make your life a prayer, it is not meaning that we need to speak prayers twenty four hours a day. It is saying we should be mindful of Him all day. The Holy Spirit is alive and in you. We should expect demonstrations of the Holy Spirit everyday because of that. There are so many opportunities presented us throughout the day if we would just expect to be met by them.

I am not talking about the kookie stuff. I am talking about the unbelievable peace and joy that you rest in as you go throughout the day. The fact that when people look at you they notice that there is something different, and they want that. When they ask you about it you are bold enough to tell them where that comes from. You tell them Jesus is real, a relationship with Him is attainable, and that He is my more than enough.

John 4:23-24 says, “From here on, worshiping the Father will not be a matter of the right place but with the right heart. For God is a Spirit, and he longs to have sincere worshipers who worship and adore him in the realm of the Spirit and truth.” Wherever you go, bring your best self. I am not saying you have to present perfection, but compassion is the best place we are to be. Jesus was full of compassion and we should be too.

You might look at that the reason I say church attendance is so important because of the position I have. I agree, the church is not limited to a building. I do not limit my worship to just doing it in that building, during the hours of one thirty to three thirty on Sundays. I have decided to start my worship at home, in my car, at the gym and wherever I go throughout the day. However, we are still called to be a part of a group of fellow believer’s. We are to make disciples and to make those disciples leaders, to disciple more.

Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “Let us consider (thoughtfully) how we may encourage one another to love and to do good deeds, not forsaking the meeting together (as believers for worship and instruction), as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more (faithfully) as ou see the day (of Christ’s return) approaching.” (AMP)

Do not take your relationship with God for granted and just go through your day to day. My husband is going through a series right now titled “Arise.” It is a challenge to the church to stop sleepwalking through life and start expecting the power of God to manifest every day. He closed last service with this verse: “Then the man brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple. I looked and saw the glory of the Lord filling the temple of the Lord, and I fell facedown” (Ezekiel 44:4).

Do not take your relationship with God for granted

and just go through your day to day.

We have already agreed that worship does not only take place in a building. What if we take that and prepare before we get into service (worship at home) and we go into corporate worship expecting to see the glory revealed in others? What if when we get there we have already gotten in the Word? That we are prayed up and our spirit man is so on fire. That the Holy Spirit is so alive in us! Demonstrations are not just expected, but happen on a regular basis!! I know that sounds radical. So my question to you is, since you are now a Christ follower, what do you expect is suppose to happen?

Jeremiah 20:9 from the Message Translation, “The words are fire in my belly, a burning in my bones. I’m worn out trying to hold it in. I can’t do it any longer!”