A WORD FROM THE EDITOR
Earlier this week I had planned to write about an illustration God gave to me about settling, but on Thursday night (at 8:24 p.m. might I add) I decided to discuss something else with you.
It wasn’t until today that I came to see how ‘routine’ I’ve been. I was studying, and I ended up crossing out my notes because it sounded too much like me; it was missing Jesus.
As I sat there pondering over the lessons and things I had been taking in over the week, the words “actively engaged” popped into my head, which was then followed by a series of questions…
“When you go to church are you actively engaged with the message? When you go to Bible study are you actively engaged with the lesson being taught? When you study your Word, are you actively engaged with God? Are you actively engaged when you do the poetry nights at church or are you running through a program?”
Actively engaged…it sounded great, but I couldn’t wrap my head around it. Lord, I thought, what exactly does that mean?
Jesus, with His awesomely marvelous self, gave me an example, “When you play a game, you are actively engaged. You acknowledge when people are speaking to you every now and then, but for the most part you’re focused on that game. As you play, you are working strategy and trying to figure out how to solve the next puzzle. It’s the same with Me. When you write the newsletter, are you engaged and allowing Me to show you where to go with it or are you going through the motions of completing it? When you write someone a poem, are you focused on ministering to that person or are you simply trying to put something together to make them happy?”
Certainly these were some questions I had to give some serious thought.
Truthfully, when it comes to writing or anything I do for Christ, I feel like I’ve been dragging and now I know why: I’ve become robotic in how I serve Him; everything is a checklist. Somewhere along the way I put more priority into getting the job done before the ministry and that’s not okay.
What good are good works with no love behind them? A ministry without ministry is useless.
I need to get back to my First Love. I need to return to the place I was in God where I cared more about pleasing Him and reaching His people more than meeting a deadline.
Because when I was in that place, I did the work the Lord called me to do. I feared what the people thought, I’ll admit, but I was loving every minute of it because it was me and Jesus against the world and I was doing everything I could to glorify Him through all of it.
In that place, I was actively engaged with Christ.
I’m determined to get back there. How about you Are you actively engaged with Jesus? Are you focused on what’s truly important or are you caught up in your own motives and objectives?
Local news around the area
No happenings as of yet, but the church is still currently raising money to finish the installation of our restroom. You can donate here: KTOR Radio
Sunday sermons, Wednesday messages
Sunday, May 1, 2016, “Help Is on the Way (Hebrews 11:6)”
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb. 11:6 KJV)
It is always amazing how just as we are not the brink of giving up and throwing in the towel, God shows up and He is on time as usual. Life can get to be overwhelming (bills, relationships, difficult people, etc.) but we must learn to encourage ourselves through hard times and allow Jesus to fight the battle for us, “When you let the Lord fight your battles, [your enemy] will know they’ve been hit,” but in order to press forward in this race we must have faith; we cannot go on without it. God’s Word is the source of our strength and our power, it is there to give us understanding and to help us navigate through life’s obstacles, however, “…not everyone will receive this Word because…it’s gibberish to them that don’t believe.”
For each hater you encounter God is simply giving you another footstool to raise you up to new heights, “To whom much is given, much is required. If you don’t want anything then don’t expect anything.” We can’t do anything without God; Christ is the only reason why we are able to function and it is our faith in Him that helps us to hold on, “Your faith causes you to be an inspiration to somebody else… You lead somebody to salvation through your faith.” People are watching to see if you will actually stand for what you claim to believe. “Going to church doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t make you; it’s the Word of God that makes you, it’s God who saves you.” God and His Word alone are key components. Going to church is part of that, but it doesn’t make up for it.
Faith is what unites us; within the body no one person is greater than the other, “Just because people say how wonderful you are doesn’t mean it’s you they’re acknowledging…” Recognize that they are praising God, not you and don’t let it all get to your head.
Nothing can change if things continue to remain the same, “If you’ve been doing the same thing every time and nothing’s changed then do something different.” Do what the Lord has charged you to do and let Him guide you, “As long as you let God direct your paths, you’re always going to be standing on solid ground… God has a way of raising you up even when you don’t to be raised.” Regardless of who you are or how old you are, the devil doesn’t care about any of that. He will attack whomever he wishes to, but you do not have to sit there and take it. Fight back.
Wednesday, May 4, 2016, “Saying Thanks (Luke 17:11-19)”
Jesus is preparing His disciples as He begins His journey to the cross. Currently in this chapter He is heading back to Jerusalem when there are ten men, nine Jews and one Samaritan, dealing with leprosy. Leprosy is a skin disease that affects the mucous membranes and nerves. It can cause discoloration and lumps on the skin—in severe cases it can cause disfigurement and deformities. In Biblical times, lepers were to keep their distance from people anywhere from sixteen to five hundred feet) and could not come around anyone until a priest declared them clean.
It is good to note that despite their racial hatred of each other, the Jews and the Samaritan gathered together because they both shared a “common misery…Lepers were societal outcasts because of this contagious skin disease, forbidden to be in their communities or to worship. The disease, forbidden to be in their communities or to worship. The disease was bad enough, but imagine having to loudly cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ anytime you came near someone to warn them of your condition…”
The ten lepers saw Jesus and called out to Him, recognizing His authority by calling Him Master. Jesus approaches them, and He didn’t touch them, but simply told them to go and see their priest. The men went their way, doing as they had been told. As they walked their leprosy was cured. The Samaritan immediately turned back and began to thank Jesus, while the other nine—the Jews, the ones who were supposed to know God—went about their way.
“Sin can be something as simple as being ungrateful…” Are you mindful to give thanks to God, showing Him your gratitude when He comes through for you or do you simply turn away and go about the rest of your day? “The nine Jews demonstrated a level of ungratefulness and selfishness that did not go without notice. This is why Jesus bid the Samaritan to rise and go his way because his faith had made him whole.” When we don’t acknowledge God or thank Him for what all He’s done, that in itself is a sin, “…sin is not always about transgression against others.”
The lesson here: to be obedient and have faith, “…the Samaritan, the one that was not thought to possess the qualities to know better, was the only one to recognize the true power of God as shown by His Son Jesus with just one word. It was a trial of obedience, an exercise of faith, that only one passed.”
THE ART GALLERY
Poems, shorts and other creative pieces
Martha or Mary
by Jacqueline S. Sadberry
I thought it was interesting
When Jesus came to visit Mary
Martha worked and toiled the day away
While Mary stopped everything
And sat and talked with Jesus
And Martha turned to them
Asking Jesus to get Mary to help her
to pitch in and do some work
Jesus informed her that Mary
Was already doing what she was
—supposed to do
The Lord let Martha know
She was missing the point
Sometimes I’m Mary
But come lately
I find that a lot of days
Or missing the point altogether
Too focused on starting on time
Rather than being patient on the message
God is bringing to me
Rushing to push out letter poems to
—assignments I was charged with
Almost a year or two ago
But not taking the time to minister
And be ministered to
In the process
Quite often I find
That I am Martha in the now
But I truly desire to be
Mary now and forever
I want to be a Mary
A woman whose love for Jesus
That she stopped and sat down so she
—could spend some time with Him
I want to be the kind of Mary
Who knows the importance
Of having a relationship with Christ
Outweighs religious protocol
The kind of Mary who doesn’t get
In all the work
That she becomes a Martha
And is completely oblivious
To where her focus, her heart
I want to be a Mary; I want that to be
I’m a Martha
I’m asking You to help me
Help me to be a Mary
Help me to remember
What the true purpose is
For why we do what we do
And live the way we live
Help me to be a Mary
When I’m a Martha
Whose intentions are good
And heart is in the right place
But has forgotten
Not to get
So caught up
Events, announcements for the month of May
- May 5: National Day of Prayer
- May 7: Last day of elections, Prairie View City Hall
- May 8: Mother’s Day
- May 19: Pastor Prince’s Birthday
- May 22: Sister Doria’s Birthday; “The Remedy” Talent Showcase, 5 p.m.
**This issue has been edited**