A WORD FROM THE EDITOR
New and Unexpected Surprises
It’s been said that God can use anyone and anything to get a message through. That means if we ask Jesus to give us an answer, He most likely will answer it in a way that seems unfathomable, illogical or incredibly contrary to what we wanted. The Lord Himself is proof of that. He, the Savior, appeared unto the church but because they didn’t like the way He came they rejected Him.
Christ will always send gifts to your doorstep with love notes attached. The casing it comes in may be neatly wrapped in expensive paper and have a bow on top. Then again, there are those time when the package shows up on your doorstep and it’s not what you hoped for. The box is beat up and worn. It looks dirty, and it looks like it’s been handled and tossed around thousands of times. There are also instances when it shows up as everything you’ve ever wanted, but the contents within it aren’t. It still doesn’t change the fact that there’s a beautiful gift with an answer you’ve been waiting for within it.
“God I didn’t want this! This isn’t what I asked You for!”
And yet, it is…it is precisely what you asked for.
I’m glad I chose to accept it because it ended up being exactly what I needed. Once again, He had me saying, “I see what You did there, Jesus.” Our God uses unconventional methods to reach His people, but on the other hand, nothing about the Lord is ordinary.
Learn to enjoy those pleasant surprises. Accept the gift no matter what it looks like and receive the message Christ has for you.
Happenings with the church and abroad
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Sunday sermons, Wednesday messages
Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, “The Radical Faith (John 11:42-43)”
Before setting off to a place we’ve never been some of us may take a map. Those who are more technically savvy simply need an address, plug it into the computer, and print off the directions. If they have a smartphone with GPS capability then they’ll use that. Regardless of the method, they always make sure to have a way to make it to their destination because they don’t want to be the person who plans to ‘figure it out’ and gets lost every time. Having the directions are very important.
The ironic thing about walking in faith however is that God tells us where to go, He guides us along the way, but we don’t get specifics, “God is not in the business to give specific details…” If we had all the details, and knew about everything coming up ahead, then that’s not faith. Everything we go through is part of the journey and sometimes Christ allows certain things to come along in order to build up our faith.
In order to get anywhere in the Lord it first begins with a relationship. This passage begins with Lazarus, brother of Mary and Martha, dying. There is so much unbelief that when Jesus arrives He is troubled by it. It’s not enough to claim Christ; we must have a relationship with Him, “God started with Lazarus’s sickness.” When Jesus asked Martha if she believed her brother would live again, she spoke of the resurrection but He was talking about right now. It doesn’t matter what the situation looks like; do you believe that God can restore it TODAY?
The next thing we must do is let go of whatever it is that’s troubling us, “Release is important because as long as you keep holding on to the problem God can’t fix it.” Once that is done, we cannot roll the stone. Don’t ignore the problem or become a hypocrite by telling people to have faith but lack faith yourself. We can no longer worry ourselves over what was troubling us; walk with confidence knowing it’s been taken care of. Even though they had sent word for Jesus, and He came, those who were there had already given up on Lazarus. He was dead so what need was there for Jesus now?
That’s when revelation comes, “Mary was angry because her brother was dead.” When under a lot of stress and duress, people can become so immersed in the situation that they forget there’s still hope. God is still God and Jesus showed them that by calling forth Lazarus from the grave.
Finally is restoration. “The same stone you rolled in front of your problems is the same one you have to roll back away. Unless you’re willing to remove it, you cannot be restore.” The things we ignore or try to bury away cannot be resolved until we allow God to truly heal us from them. It may hurt, but it is necessary if we seek to be restored. There will be those who are coming to the church, spiritually bound, but they’re coming, “Leave people alone. It’s not for us to dictate anything to them but…the Word of God.” You allow the Word to convict and to evoke change. You don’t start attacking and beating people up for where you think they’d ought to be.
Stop focusing on other people’s stumbling blocks. Focus on you and let the Lord work on you and the things binding you.
This sermon was not recorded, but you can go to Sunday Morning Live to listen to previous ones.
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Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, “Mastering Your Gift(s), [Romans 11:29]”
MEMORY VERSE: “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Rom. 11:29, KJV)
God has given all of us gifts and talents to help build the kingdom. No matter who you are, you have at least one gift that has been given to you. It’s up to us all to master that one gift… The gifts we’ve been given are not just for personal gain but for ministry enhancement.” Some are ashamed of their gifts, and hide them, because they don’t want to be viewed differently. Others feel like they don’t have enough to give, “It might not be much, but it doesn’t matter as long as you are giving from your heart… Your gift is not for you to explain, but to proclaim.”
Until we first form a relationship with Christ we cannot go anywhere. Once that happens He begins to build us up through His Word, and then finally, Jesus calls us to assignment. Although too often we ask God how can we serve Him only to back away from the table. “Don’t ask God what He needs you to do if you’re not willing to go do it.”
There is a responsibility that comes with the gift, “The gift God has given us is our weapon.” We must be careful that we do not abuse it. We must also stop demanding people do things our way when each of us was made to be different. We are all unique, and just something isn’t done the way you would, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
Dealing with adversity is part of having a gift, “Every instance that looks like a calamity is an opportunity for God to come through and show up.” Understand that the devil is always on the move, always looking for any chance to strike. Therefore you have to be willing to fight, “We all have to shake the devil off because that’s his job to jump on you.” There is purpose for our gift and we must take the time to understand it. We must be receptive to constructive criticism and correction, “You can’t be right all the time and it’s always be them… We have to be able to be pruned back.”
Always protect your gift and your anointing, “Don’t carelessly wander around parading your gift. There are always thieves lurking.” Know that you don’t have to abuse the authority and power God has given you when you know He will take care of you, “We must learn to operate within our own means… God provides for us all.”
THE ART GALLERY
Using artistry to empower the Kingdom
HIDDEN TREASURES, GREAT FINDS: KADIR NELSON
by Jacqueline S. Sadberry
Editor in Chief
With so many accomplishments to his name, I’m ashamed that I’ve never heard of this man until now. Kadir Nelson is an extraordinary artist, and write as well, and he has the resume to back it up. Including having his artwork featured in the New Yorker and going on to illustrate many New York Times Best Sellers. When I saw one of the works he posted on his Instagram, I was completely amazed.
I chose to feature this picture because of how divided our country is right now. We should never shun nor reject the colors and various uniquely made people that make America what is and has been. It’s what makes us great and we should embrace it. Let’s embrace each other as God made us and be empowered by that.
To see more of Nelson’s work or learn more about him, go here: www.kadirnelson.com.
That’s all for today. If you would like to be considered for a feature in The Art Gallery or if you know someone who’s work could be a top contender, please email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Events, announcements for the month of January
Dates will occasionally be added to the calendar
- Jan. 8: Sister Sheneka’s Birthday
- Jan. 22: “The Remedy” Open Mic Night, 5 p.m.