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Showing posts with label Witness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Witness. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Proverbs Day 19

Read Proverbs 19
Fools tell lies. Whether it's an evil scheme to get what they want or just the easy way out of a difficult situation, dishonesty is never the wise course. Truly wise people are honest and have integrity.

Pastor Chris' Paraphrase of Proverbs 19:1, 5, 9, 22, and 28

1 It is better to be a poor person with integrity than a fool who twists words.

5 A witness who lies will be convicted. Someone who tells lies will not get away.

9 A witness who lies will be convicted. Someone who tells lies will be destroyed.

22 We long for people to be faithful; a poor man is better than a liar.

28 An evil witness mocks justice and takes a gulp of terrible trouble with every lie they tell.

Notice how verses 5 and 9 say almost the same exact thing. Why would there two nearly identical proverbs in the same chapter? Because telling the truth is essential to healthy relationships, civil society, and God demands it. Be honest. Strive for integrity. Be a loyal friend. Practice telling the truth in love. Even if it's harder in the short-term, it's always better in the long run and God will honor you.

"Father, help me to be honest and faithful in the way I live and the things I do. Amen."

Friday, October 28, 2016

Allie McClain's Testimony

Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.   Matthew 11:28

I love to hear people tell how Jesus changed their life.  Jesus takes our troubles and turns them into blessings.  Allie McClain struggled with depression as she hurt others with her selfish choices. Then, a crisis pregnancy turned Allie back to God. Jesus welcomed Allie home through her family and the people of Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church.  Allie shared her story with the world on Youtube with a video testimony (view her video here).  Allie went the extra mile and wrote out her story, which I would like to share with you in this blog:

I'd say a few years back, I was very, very far from where I should've been.  I was living in Nashville trying to finish school.  I was in and out of therapy.  Taylor (who is now my husband) and I were on and off.  I barely graduated...

I was far away from my family, my church, my God.  And I didn't have a lot of friends.

I became depressed, continually hurt others just because I was hurting so badly, and I didn't know how to get through it any other way.

One day, I was watching the light fountains that were synchronized with the nativity story at the Opry Land Hotel when my dad called and said, "I think God is tired of you putting all your faith in a man instead of Him."  I decided he was right, but I didn't listen.

I finished school and came home.  I hadn't changed much.  I still only thought of myself.  Then, Taylor came home too.  We were so troublesome together.  We had so many problems.  Finally, I really started praying and a few months later, I was pregnant.

Taylor was scared, so he decided it wasn't for him.  For 2 weeks before I told my parents, I was scared too.  I contemplated adoption, because I didn't think I was worthy.  I had plenty of excuses too.  I was mean, selfish, I always hurt others, and I wasn't married.

I asked God to change mine and Taylor's life no matter what the outcome.  I expected punishment, but I received grace.  I received a miracle.

The whole week after I told Mom and Dad, Taylor still wasn't in the picture and I remembered what my dad told me about my faith in God.  No matter the pain I felt, I decided to really trust God.  When I did, I found peace.

I began doing things expecting moms would do--looking for names, researching, not thinking of myself for once.

I think throughout a small amount of time Taylor saw the changes I had made in my life and I think he wanted that too.  Taylor told me the other day that he fell in love with me all over again.

Before I came back to church, I was so nervous.  Before all of PGUMC knew, I was hoping they'd just think I was putting on weight.  But when word got out, they hugged me, congratulated me, and acted as if I'd done nothing wrong.  To me, I believed God was changing my life with this special child, and I had several people from this church tell me they also thought it was true.

My son is now almost 2 years old and Taylor and I have been married for almost 2 years.

My favorite saying now is, "Don't tell God you have a big problem.  Tell your problem you have a big God."

Why be part of PGUMC?  No church is perfect, nor can you put all your faith in one.  But this church will accept you, your mistakes, and will extend the grace and love that many of us experience here.  And PGUMC will continue to support you in your growth.  They will hear your honesty and let you know how proud of you they are.  I'm still being told that.  The members here speak so highly of me to my mom and dad.  And not only does it touch me, but being a parent myself, I can only imagine how good it makes my parents feel.  Thanks PGUMC for showing me a little bit of what that feels like.

-Allie McClain

Allie, Taylor, and their son, Boone
boon (noun) - a blessing; a thing that is helpful or beneficial.

Watch Allie's testimony here

Monday, April 18, 2016

On A Mission From God

Acts 1:6-8
So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”

He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

            I am on a mission from God!  Now you say it:  “I am on a mission from God!”
            Do you believe that?
Jesus empowers his followers to successfully complete the mission of the Church and he gives us a plan for how to accomplish it.  The mission of the Church is to go and make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.  Acts 1:8 gives us a plan to accomplish the mission.  Jesus said, “You will receive power… And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere…”
            I want you to notice something about this passage.  Jesus is trying to re-focus his followers on their mission.  They were so caught up in worrying about all their problems.  Notice in verse 6 it says, the apostles “…kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”
            Israel was only about the size of New Jersey and they had almost always been subject to domination by foreign empires like Babylonia, Persia, Greece, and Rome.  As God’s chosen people, they yearned for God to intervene with supernatural power on behalf of Israel.
            Jesus tried to help his people see that the Kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom where love of God and love for your neighbor is what really matters.  In the Lord’s Prayer, he taught them to pray, “Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…”  So the Kingdom Jesus seeks to usher in is a kingdom where the will of God is done on earth the same way it is done in heaven. 
The religious leaders of Israel rejected Jesus’ Kingdom and crucified him.  Now Jesus was asking his disciples to carry on his mission—even if it meant a similar fate.  They were afraid and overwhelmed with the mission at hand.  How could they carry on Jesus’ mission?  The disciples yearned for Jesus to personally fix all the problems in their world.
            People today are also yearning for something.  In our community and even in our nation, people are yearning for something.  Some yearn for our nation to turn their hearts back to God.  Some yearn for our community to be more prosperous.  Some yearn for a government that is more responsive to the wants of the people.  Some yearn for a church that is energized and growing.  Sometimes, we look around at the mess around us and we think, “The only way for things to turn around is for Jesus to come back and intervene with supernatural power.”  We are a lot like the disciples in verse 6 who kept asking, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” 
            We might ask the question like this:  "Lord, has the time come for you to free the United States and restore our kingdom?" Or we may ask  Lord, has the time come for you to free Whitefield County and restore our kingdom?"  Or we may ask  Lord, has the time come for you to free Pleasant Grove and restore our kingdom?"

Tell People About Jesus
            Jesus understands our anxiety, but he wants his followers to shift their focus.  He answered his disciples question by saying, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times [i.e. when Jesus will return and set up his Kingdom]...” 
One Day, Jesus is going to come back, but Jesus doesn’t want us to wait around and do nothing in the meantime.  Jesus wants his followers to stop focusing on the obstacles between us and the Kingdom of God and focus on the mission.  And so he states a plan of action to start working on, “Be my witnesses…  Tell people about me everywhere…”  And he even goes on to give them steps to follow—start in Jerusalem, then spread out to Judea, then go on to Samaria, and then expand to the ends of the earth.
            In the midst of the struggles of daily life with the problems of the world looming around us, it’s easy to feel like we can’t make a difference.  Jesus gives us a clear mission to focus on and a plan of action so we don’t get bogged down in worrying about all the tertiary problems around us.  It’s not complicated.  The mission is:  Make disciples of Jesus Christ.  How do we do it?  “Be my witnesses…  Tell people about me everywhere…”
            I am on a mission from God to tell people about Jesus!  Now you say it:  “I am on a mission from God to tell people about Jesus.” 

Empowered by the Spirit
            I used to think, “How can I make a difference, Lord?  I’m just one person.”  Perhaps you ask that question sometimes too.  “How can I make a difference?”  Do you realize, you are a powerful tool for Jesus Christ!  Jesus said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.”  The Bible tells us that every person who believes in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior has the power of God living in them.  That power is the Holy Spirit.  It is the actual Spirit of God living inside you.  It enables you to understand what Jesus wants you to do.  It enables you to be a faithful witness who wins people to Jesus because of the things you say and do.  It enables you to do amazing things!
            I am on a mission from God to tell people about Jesus and the Holy Spirit gives me the power to do it!  Now you say it:  “I am on a mission from God to tell people about Jesus and the Holy Spirit gives me the power to do it!”
            Jesus’ wisdom just amazes me sometimes.  He doesn’t let his Disciples off the hook and he doesn’t let us off the hook either.  When we say, “Lord, when are you gonna come down here and fix this mess for us?”  His response is, “Don’t you worry about that.  You just get out there and be a witness!”  For some reason, he doesn’t want to fix everything by himself (though he definitely could).  Jesus wants us to work at it.  There must be a lesson for us to learn in our participation.  Maybe our participation is part of the healing process—for us and for the world—kind of like spiritual therapy.  We have to do our part. 

            Be a witness.  You don’t have to beat people over the head with a Bible.  A witness is someone who tells people what they've seen.  Have you seen Jesus do something in your life or at your church?  Then tell someone.  You don’t have to go to Africa.  Start right where you are.  Tell your spouse.  Tell your children or grandchildren.  Tell your neighbor.  Tell your co-worker.  Simply tell them what you know.  Have you experienced Jesus’ love?  Tell someone. 
            Now say it again:  “I am on a mission from God to tell people about Jesus and the Holy Spirit gives me the power to do it!” 

Now get out there and do it!!!

If you haven’t experienced Jesus in your life, then maybe you need help opening your eyes to see him.  I’d like to talk with you about that.  Seriously.  Send me an email or call my church office.  I want to talk with you—in private and confidentially.  I bet together we can discover some amazing things Jesus has done, is doing, or is going to do in your life.