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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

volunteer of the week BONNY BURNETTE

This week’s volunteer of the week at The Community Fellowship is Danny and Bonny Burnette!!!

 

Bonny Burnett has been a valued member of The Community Fellowship family since the church began.  In fact, she says Pastor Michael has been her pastor for 14 years.

 

During B2S (back2school) each year Bonny volunteers in the Food and Clothes Closet Areas and has also worked as Security making sure the children that come to the event are best served and ministered to as they receive their new shoes, socks, book bags, haircuts, clothes, encouragement and prayer.

 

Bonny retired from Hardee’s then later worked for and retired from being a manager at McDonald’s and is now the House Parent at Acts 4 Ministries transitional home for young mothers where she uses her gift as a care giver to lead the families in that program to make better choices and to a better future.

 

Each May our church does Mother’s Day Car Care Clinic where moms can get a free oil change and general diagnostic of their cars.  Bonny is always on hand to volunteer in the kitchen or the Clothes Closet and minister to as many people as possible.

 

Last year we partnered with Woodmen of the World in an event in Fieldale and Bonny blessed many people by baking pies and other desserts that were sold at that event to benefit our Building Fund for the New Campus.

 

Bonny was the original Leader of the Front Counter Ministry where members and guests receive free coffee, juice and snacks before the service each Sunday morning.  She also was Leader of a Singles Group Ministry here at the church as well as being the Leader of the first Cook Team in REACH Ministry.

 

On Sunday mornings Bonny can be counted on to pass out flyers, give out TCF Tee Shirts to those that ordered them and help out in any way that she can.  Bonny is always looking for ways that she can help others and be a blessing to them.

 

In her spare time Bonny enjoys cooking, reading, walking, going to the YMCA, and spending time with her 2 children, 4 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren Eyan 5, Seth 3, Lily 3 and Jacy who is 7 months old.  She proudly says that there are 4 generations of her family represented at church each Sunday.

 

Bonny’s favorite Bible Verse is John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

 

We are very excited to introduce Bonny Burnett as our Community Fellowship Volunteer of the Week!  Thank you Bonny for all you do to help others and show them the love of our Lord and Savior!  Your church family is proud of you, and we dearly love you!

 

 

[ to learn more about The Community Fellowship or Dream Center give us a call at 276-647-8231 or email us by clicking here. Please give online by clicking this link ]

seeing


What keeps you from having good eyesight?  There are all kinds of things that keep us from being able to see well.  Some times it is sickness that makes our eyes not work properly.  Some times it is our perception that keeps us from seeing.  Yet there are things that won’t even allow what we see to make it through to our brain.  Seeing is important!

A few years ago I visited an eye doctor who told me because I am getting older my sight is getting a bit worse each year.  Last year it got worse, and I talked to my personal doctor.  It was determines that I have some blood sugar problems that might be blurring my vision. 

Reading glasses have helped some, but I continue to notice that I cannot see as I used it.  Often it is frustrating.  At times I have imagined what it must be like to lose your sight, or to be blind.  I have even read some accounts of people who have never been able to see and how their other sense have been heightened.  Can you even imagine what it must be like for a person who has always been blind and how awesome it must be the first time they see.

Can I improve my vision?  There are some things I can do.  The thought can be some cool glasses that made me look cool, but that’s not going to help much.  Turning my thinking and my attention to seeing spiritually brings this even closer to home.  What is it that keeps us from seeing what God wants us to see?

Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.

Satan’s objective is to keep us from seeing God.  He tries to either keep us blind or to distract us.  Yet our gracious God is opening our eyes and giving us the ability to see all the time. 

What we listen to and look at we become like.  Look to God and follow God … you will become more like God.  It is then that we will see more of what God wants us to see.

Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light.

Admit it.  Sometimes our eyes are bad.  Because of physical problems we need to go see a doctor to have our vision fixed, our ability to see restored or corrected.  Sometimes this comes with glasses, other times with medicine, and it may even take surgery.

Much the same is true for us spiritually.  We need God to change how we see and what we see.  Our hearts and our minds will often keep us from seeing life and situations that God desires us to see.  Focusing on God is vital to our Christian growth and our coming closer to God.

I cannot imagine what life is like to be blind, yet when someone who has not seen before sees, it is awesome to hear what they have to say and to experience their emotions.  They have never seen color or the ocean or mountains, and when they see, it is a whole new world.

Helen Keller couldn’t see or hear, yet if you read some of her works, you will be amazed at what she did see.  How is that?  She allowed God to fill her heart and life with what He wanted her to see.  I long for seeing like that!

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

May God help us see as we have never seen before.  May our lives help others see God in all His grace and beauty.  I pray we will literally begin seeing in greatly ways!

NOTE: some of this was shared in November of 2013.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

we need HIS peace


James 3:18  NLT
And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

Have you ever met any one that seems to have an extra amount of peace?  Things don’t seem to rattle them at all.  Their lives exude peace and help others feel more at ease and find real peace.

Today’s post is really an invitation.  I ask you to join me thinking about, reading verses and stopping for a bit to apply peace, God’s real peace, to our lives.  Read on, and may God increase your peace!

But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.”

Lord, you will grant us peace; all we have accomplished is really from you.

And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

John 16:33  NLT
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.

For God is not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the meetings of God’s holy people.

Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.

A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones.

A couple of those verses stick out to me and ring in my mind and heart.  It is incredible how God uses the truth of Scripture to draw us closer to Him.  His peace is one awesome thing!

Micah 5:5  NLT
And he will be the source of peace

Monday, March 2, 2015

God is our strength


For we rejoice when we ourselves are weak but you are strong; this we also pray for, that you be made complete.

Where I am weak, He is strong.  It really is that simply.  God has some exciting news for us.  Our pain will bring Him glory.  Our battles are not to be avoided but learned from and places where He wins.

If God wins, we win.  And God always wins.  It is like this chair???

The things that happen in our lives give us perspective.  That is new perspective and even strength.  What struggles have you been through?  What turns have you been led to take?  What barriers have you come up against?

God is powerful.  When our strength is drawn from something stronger than us, then we have loads of more power!  We have strength to get through the battles. 

The passage we read demonstrates this fact from Paul’s perspective and is applicable to our lives.  We must plug in to the power only God can give!  Jesus is our strength!

Romans 5:3  NLT
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.

The struggles we deal with are real, but God has given us the ability to win.  Winning through those battles and struggles is directly related to who we trust.  Victory is ours, but there are times that victory from God’s point of view may be very different from our point of view

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

One way to see and seize our victory is to realize that heaven and our future is going to be awesome.  Our present situation and our struggles cannot compare to what God has for us.

Take a step back as well.  By looking at our struggles through what God says we will come to a place where we God is stretching, strengthening and even blessing us in the middle of pain.  It is all for His glory and our good.  That is perspective.  How do we look at and judge our struggles presently?

Romans 8:18  NASB
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

God made you and I to win.  Yesterday we began a new series at The Community Fellowship that is called “Built God Tough”, and we will be looking at the various battles that we as humans go through.  We deal with all kinds of difficult things.  Yet when we take as truth what God says, we will begin to win.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

Take it up.  You are a winner.  That fact is all by the grace of God!

Friday, February 27, 2015

real grace


Grace is not an easy word to understand and to live out.  I’ve met some ladies named grace, but that is not what I am talking about.  I’ve met many people who talk about the grace of God and offering people grace, yet their lives seem to miss what grace really is.

Maybe the issue or reality of grace is one that eludes us and is hard to find.  The church talks it up, praises God for His grace and spreads the wonders of it all the time.  But do we really live by grace?  That is, do we receive and give grace freely to others that we encounter each day?  This would include people in our home, the workplace, our school and the people we meet on the street.

It is hard to be full of grace and give grace when we are full of self.  It is hard to give grace to others when we don’t have grace for ourselves or forgive ourselves for our own mistakes.

"Never forget that grace takes guts, risk and a dash of crazy." Mike Foster

Giving 2nd chances is what grace is all about.  When we extend kindness to a person who doesn’t deserve it, we are living out and sharing the grace that God shared with us.  This cannot and must not be based on some code or some rules that we follow and ask others to follow.  Grace is based on the example of what Jesus did for us.  We don’t and never will deserve His grace.

The church as well must step out to share God’s grace with the people we minister to and the people we serve with.  For too long the church has been known as a place of legalism where we kick to the side those who have messed up rather than pick people up who fail and help them get back on track.

“The church is most appealing when the message of grace is most apparent.” Andy Stanley

Those 2 quotes are right on.  It takes risk to give and receive grace.  People know when the church and the grace we offer are not authentic.  I challenge us to take a look at the grace we offer.  Are there strings attached?  Does this grace look the same as the grace Jesus offers?

Indeed, you already show your love for all the believers throughout Macedonia. Even so, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you to love them even more.    

Don’t just love people, really love them.  Leave no question if we mean what we say about grace and what we offer.  Grace living is a lifestyle chosen by people who have been overwhelmed by the grace of God.  I love to see and be part of authentic grace living.

NOTE: this post was first shared in early 2012.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

help people reach their dreams


One of my favorite people in the world is Pastor Matthew Barnett from the Los Angeles Dream Center.  We have learned many things in our visits to LA and continue to plan implementation through our local Dream Center.

The biggest parts that stand out to me in the inspiration I have gotten through following, listening to and learning from Matthew and many of the people he works with.  I believe you would encouraged by his passion to serve hurting people and the messages he shares.

This past fall he published his most recent book Misfits Welcome.  Again, much of what I have consumed (and underlined) from the book hits close to home.  Today I share some of these with you…

“your feelings of inadequacy are actually a qualification of usefulness … we can often identify with people’s failures even more than their success.”  (page 3)

“One of my greatest fears for Christian people is that we will start valuing safety over danger … the prevent lifestyle way too much attention to the possibility of failure.”  (page 13)

“Some of the greatest ways we choose to serve are often the ones that do not make sense … When an idea comes to your mind and it has something to do with the simple acts of service, here’s my advise: do it! … The beginnings of great ideas and transformational concepts usually come in short bursts of inspiration.”  (pages 15-16)

“Most ideas that make a difference are outside of our comfort zones…” (page 18)

“Talking yourself out of compassion usually leads to regret … If the idea doesn’t make sense, there’s a good chance it might make history.” (pages 21-22)

“If it’s spontaneous, full of love, and will make a difference, then move in faith.  And don’t waste time.”  (page 25)

“God doesn’t always ask us to do what we can do, but rather to do more than we can do.  He told this man to do something he was totally incapable of doing, but it turned out well for the man! … Jesus didn’t speak to this man’s need but spoke to his potential.  Meanwhile, the man could have considered Jesus’ request to be some kind of sick joke.  But he moved, and he got his miracle.”  (page 26)

“Jesus had a way of noticing them and then believing they could be so much more.  As a result, people were changed.  Jesus surrounded Himself with some pretty bizarre characters.  He sought them out.  Then they flocked to Him and became the people who would start a revolution.”  (page 33)

“I used to look at people with lifelong drug addictions and think, Maybe I can help them survive.  Now I look at them and say, “One day they are going to thrive.”  I’ve learned that being loved and believed in are the only things most people need to turn a corner.”  (page 34)

“The truth is, the way we treat others in this world is a sermon in itself.”  (page 49)

“Embracing misfits is often risky.  All good things are.  Sure, people will walk over you.  But if you want to be a bridge of hope, you have to be willing to be stepped on.  Yes, people will take advantage of you.  But compassion often throws caution to the wind, and that wind takes us to some pretty exciting places to serve.”  (page 54)

“Generosity is a great way to live.  Generous people don’t think about what they lose when they give; they think about what they’ve multiplied in someone else.  Loving people unconditionally is sometimes difficult because they don’t often get up as fast as we want them to, or even take advantage of the lifeline we give them.  Don’t get frustrated when someone you choose to embrace won’t change.  Just keep showing up in that person’s life as a bridge of hope.”  (page 55-56)

“The church is not a social club of fake perfection.  It’s a place where broken people fall in love with a perfect God.  People who have learned the power of restoration have learned to love people where they are, not where they’re supposed to be.”  (page 59)

“Deciding that we will allow God to be God is absolutely liberating.  Don’t praise Him for what you can see; praise Him that He’s simply God, and that even in the cave He has a plan.  As a matter of fact, the cave is often where He’s preparing us to be stronger for the palace later.”  (page 66)

“I have learned to serve the hardest when I’m feeling the most selfish; that helps me press through to the other side.”  (page 71)

“People really become dangerous to the devil not when they see their dreams come into focus, but when they unlock dreams I their hearts they never knew they had – dreams that can only come about through serving.”  (page 79)

“Influence is pointless if it’s not lifting people up along the journey … we were born to serve, born to make a difference, born to use our influence for good.”  (page 83)

That is just through six chapters, and I have been challenged and encouraged.  But what I most need is to be reminded that the dream in me is to help others reach for their dreams.

May our lives make a big difference and set free our potential and the potential in others!

Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

learning from Bible stories


Proverbs 3:5-6  NASB
Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

God has a plan.  God wants to walk in our lives and give us the best possible path.  We will miss His best and His blessings if we don’t lean on Him and go His way. 

Let’s add in another fact.  We must learn from the stories of the Bible.  God didn’t give us this book to simply add to our lives.  He gave us the Bible to guide and found our lives on.  These stories and facts of faith are intended to shape us.

Daniel 3:17-18  NASB
If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.  But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

What we believe about God determines what we do when trouble comes.  Do we believe that He is able to care for us and does He care about our problems?  The answer to both is yes.

I love the story of the friends of Daniel being thrown in to the fiery furnace.  They were incredibly loyal to God because they knew their faith was real and worth holding on to.  We learn from this story, and many Bible stories, that faith removes fear from our lives.  The reason they would now bow to the king is because God was real.  That came from their experience as well as what they had been taught.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;

Our God is able.  We are not too far from Him.  Watch this story and see some of the points that we might miss at first reading.

God is able to do more than we can do without Him.  That is something that is time to cling to.  God has a plan for our success, and our faith removes the barriers to the more or the abundance that God promises.  It is time to learn from the stories of the Bible and to live by faith!

Hebrews 11:6  NASB
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

fight back with joy


Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

That verse has been part of my Christian walk for as long as I been a Christian.  That is well over 27 years by now.  The first sermon I heard on these verses was powerful and one I listened to many times.  It has stuck with me.

Turn the tables and learn how to apply it in the face of pain and sorrow is another thing.  In my work in the church and community I have seen lots and lots of pain and heartache.  Those things have made these verses come to life.  Joy is so needed.  Trials will come, have come and will keep on coming.  Joy is what will give us some perspective.

I’ve walked with several people in the last couple decades who have taught me what joy looks like in times of pain.  God is real.  God alone gives lasting joy.  I want to thank many of those people who have been living examples of what joy looks like.

It isn’t darkness.  It is punching holes in the darkness.  It isn’t fear.  It is fear being pushed away by faith.  It isn’t depression or despair.  It is a deep understanding of our God being in control that allows fear to thrive.

One of the examples of this truth is author Margaret Feinberg.  She and her husband Leif have been dear friends of mine for several years.  In the past couple years she has battled cancer and recently published a book titled Fight back With Joy.

I’d like to share with you some simple quotes from Margaret’s journey:

Light-seeds are planted in the souls of God’s people, Joy-seeds are planted in good heart-soil. –Psalm 97:11

Life doesn't have to be perfect to be filled with joy.

So true: You will fill me with joy in your presence. –Psalm 16:11

Hope springs when we realize God as the source of life when all seems lost.

Grieving may last for the night, but joy doesn’t only wait for the morning—it comes in the mourning, too.

The journey to joy leads us to greater dependence on Christ.

Sometimes JOY comes through others as a gift of grace, but just as often it requires intentionality.

Circumstances change. Joy endures.

I've never quit loving you, and never will. Expect love, love, and more love! {Jeremiah 31:3}

Sometimes we need to give space for grief in order to make room for joy.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit... Romans 14:7

Make the decision to declare today: Joyful Are We!

You have joy because you are drenched in the grace and mercies of God.

God stands on tiptoes, waiting to whisper in your ear: “You are loved.”

Fear may show up on your doorstep but it doesn’t have to rule your life.

Sometimes you have to poke holes in the darkness until it bleeds light.

One word from God can change everything.

Several of those have rang in my heart and mind for sometime.  My prayer is that we will have huge amounts of real joy, God given joy, in our lives; that is enough joy that we cannot help but share it and give it to others.  Let’s fight back with joy!