Thursday, December 26, 2013

"wow" moments of this year


All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.

“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”

There are many times in life where you just have to say “wow” and acknowledge the presence and goodness of God.  I have called this “in awe moments” in the past when God was working and changing lives.  Those are times that I long for and each leaves me changed and strengthened to move forward.

The past twelve months have offered many of those times, and I would like to take you back through several of them.  Realize that not all of them were positive.  In fact some brought huge amounts of stress, tears and struggle, yet in those times there was great God given growth in my life.  I must remember, and I remind you, that God will punish and correct the people He loves and as well prunes us so we can grow even more.

There was a time in 2013 that I was really questioned what God was going as my heart was so heavy because of relationships that were strained.  It took lots of prayer, seeking wisdom and confessing where I messed up to get through.  But I learned much, pressed forward and saw God do amazing things.

2013 began with many of our church leaders being convinced that God was going to let us have the property at 700 Commerce Court in Martinsville, Virginia.  It wasn’t until the middle part of May that this was a reality.  We were rejected several times, but I on believed.  My family was out of town when the call came asking if we still interested in purchasing the property.  The answer was yes.  We had lost an online auction and had our offers turned down, but then it turned around.  We bought it for 22% of the owner’s original asking price.  That remains a miracle and an answer to pray.  We have a long way to go to get in the property, but we continue to believe.

When our oldest daughter went into surgery in June, Julie and I waited and waited for what we knew would be more than four hours of surgery.  It was over 7 hours till we were able to see Rebecca.  The months leading up to the surgery were tough for Julie and our family.  The months of recovered were difficult too.  But God always sent us people to encourage us and bless us.  In other words, God showed up to remind us that He is in control.

I had to fly a few times this past year, and that is one of my favorite places.  That might sound strange.  But I enjoy the conversations with the people that sit around you on plans.  I’ve been able to share my faith, to bless someone in need, to sit and listen to a very successful Christian businessman and much more.  It was on one of those flights that God began to speak to my heart about the goals of 2014.  I cannot wait to see what God is going to do.  Great leaders see further, see before and see more than the people who are following them, and great leaders have people following them because they see.  People, I see some awesome, God filled days ahead.  There will be lots of time of “wow” ahead.

Visiting the LA Dream Center this last fall was another high time of the year.  I had the honor of visiting with some great people making a difference in the lives of thousands of people.  I am always challenged when I visit.  Yet one morning was greater.  I sat on the second row of church and listened to my friend Keith share his testimony.  18 months before we weren’t able to find Keith when his brother died because Keith was dealing with life long addiction.  I listened to this man talk about dealing with addiction by the grace and with the help of God.  In the months since I have seen God do awesome things through this friend.  There are many people we are able to be with at The Community Fellowship, and many of them are dealing with addictions of various kinds.  Here is a big statement:  there is hope, and God is our hope!  We were able to start a Christian Recovery group that meets each Wednesday at church.  I’ve seen God work through some of these people in so many wonderful ways.  There is more to come.

At the end of 2012 I was able to go on the Emmaus Walk in our area.  Julie went on one in early 2013.  This spiritual retreat has brought several new relationships and new reality into our lives as God open our hearts to accept from Him more wisdom and understanding.  Some of the relationships have gone very deep to help our faith grow.  Some of these have been new friendship and people who have blessed us.  If you are invited to go on an Emmaus walk, please go.  Your life will be changed.

This list is not all encompassing of the times I’ve heard from and worshipped God this past year.  I’ve heard from God as I listened to some great people preach the Word of God.  I’ve heard from God as I was alone, sitting and meditating on what I’ve read and heard.  I’ve heard from God when I have been on prayers walks.  I’ve heard from God early in the morning and late at night.  I’ve heard from God in the middle of meetings with people and when reading a book of some sorts.  In every one of those places God showed up.  They were “wow” moments.

If you claim to be a Christ follower and/or a leader, I challenge you to seek “wow” moments.  We will lead stronger after having those times.  We will be better equipped to share with others when we have spent time with God.

How is God preparing you for greater days ahead?  He is speaking.  This week my family is out of town with my wife’s family in Georgia.  I’m enjoying quiet, unplugged time, but last evening after Christmas eve worship and dinner I was getting tired and went to take a nap.  I turned on the TV in the room we are staying in and began to flip channels.  I came across a show where Robert Morris from Gateway Church in Fort Worth, TX was preaching.  God began to speak to some of the questions that have been in my heart and on my mind the last few months.  It really was a “wow” moment.  I cannot wait to allow some of those moments to sink in and then to share with you.

God has much in store in the days ahead for you and for me.  Seek “wow” moments with God.  You will not be disappointed.

Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.

But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.


NOTE:

Would you consider giving an end-of-the year gift to The Community Fellowship.  Your gift will go a long way to helping those in our community who are hungry, hurting and homeless.  Give online at THIS LINK.

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