My Life…The Short Version


I had a bad week, y’all.  No new news.  Everybody’s going through something.  But I felt like I was losing it and I could not find any hope.  So, while I was trying to pull something together for this blog, I happened upon an old ‘biography’ I created for a class.  I felt compelled to post an updated version of it.  If for no other reason but to remind myself, that God is still with me and He’s still good.  I hope it encourages you as well.

 

My relationship with Christ is as living and breathing and changing as I am in this earth suit I have carried these 43 years.  I am so grateful to declare that, not only do I love Jesus Christ more every day, but I am comforted to know that Jesus loves me just as much as He did when He hung, bled, died and rose JUST FOR ME.  I grow in my relationship with Him because I have really come to know that there is not enough for me to do right that will make Him love me more and not one mistake or blunder or flat out failure that would ever make Him love me less.  I have done so many things wrong in the course of my existence that I marvel each morning at the Grace I receive.  There were days when I struggled to understand why I am still here and what else ‘life,’ ‘Satan’ and the forces of ‘nature’ can throw at me.  In the days of each whirlwind I receive the gift of a still small voice saying, “I’ve got you.  Be still.  You see what it looks like, but remember what I told you.”

 

My whole life has been strange and painful, but I could never call it ‘dysfunctional.’ That would imply that my history did not produce in my life what GOD intended for it to produce.  I was born into a family full of sexual sin and abuse in the south suburbs of Chicago.  I came into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ at the Morgan Park Assembly Church when I was 12 years old.  At that church, a year later, I met and dated the young man I would eventually marry after I turned 18, graduated high school and joined the Navy. Having both come from very troubled backgrounds, it has not been easy.  We’ve been separated now for about a year after 24 years of marriage (but I know what God told me…how it ends will be God’s business, not mine). I live presently with our two sons, ages 20 and 23.  To this complicated existence, I credit my many counseling certifications and my Pastoral Ordination.  Had I not needed to know why things happened to me, I would never have sought out the solutions I have found and I share with so many today.

I was a stay at home mother for sixteen years.  I was also incredibly ill with an undiagnosed illness the entire time which took all the energy I had for caring for two boys, my husband and our home.  All I had to sustain myself was watch TBN, read the Bible and talk to God.  I go through life believing that ‘He walks with me and talks with me and tells me I am His own,” to the point that it impacts my behavior and informs my decisions.  I talk to God as if He were always physically beside me.   It is that kind of ‘prayer without ceasing,’ that has literally made the difference between life and death for me and for my family.

 After leaving the Navy, we lived in Jacksonville, Florida until we moved back to Chicago in 1994. I joined the Lighthouse Apostolic Church in 1995.  Both my husband and I became active members, but again, our childhood struggles tested our faith more than anything else.  We became bitter and eventually left church altogether for a season. I was a member of Valley Kingdom Ministries, International until around March of 2005.  When I knew that it was time to leave ‘The Valley’ I sent a letter to Apostle and Pastor Wilson, explaining that everything I learned there was healing and preparing me for whatever God had next for me, they released me with their blessing.  Not long after, God brought me back to what is now known as Lighthouse Church of All Nations, where I repented of my poor behavior, was graciously received and restored.  Only weeks later did they find the final source of my sickness.  My surgery was scheduled on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) and the first face I saw after the operation was Pastor Dan Willis. I value having and honoring a church and pastoral covering for reasons like this.

I began volunteering as a counselor for PASS, a Christian based pregnancy crisis care center in May of 2005.  I counseled as many as three days a week until I was hired part-time to serve as Church Relations Assistant in November of 2006 and continued to be happily employed there until December of 2009, due to budget cuts. They are still my family there and I support their tireless efforts to speak Life to the South Suburbs.

 

I was ordained as an Associate Pastor at Lighthouse on my 40th birthday.  I serve in whatever Pastoral capacity is required of me on any given day.  Whether it is put upon me to make phone calls, shake hands, pray, sing, read a scripture or just stand by…it is a privilege to serve God’s purpose in serving others. God truly is my friend, so I don’t mind doing anything He asks of me. Not even waiting.  He is in on everything.  My gains as well as my losses (and I don’t mind telling you, I’ve lost everything…more than once). My joy, my pain, my anger, my angst…He knows about all of it first-hand because I’m telling Him about it as it happens.  I can’t imagine a life without Him…actually, I can.  It’s just a life I wouldn’t want.  That wouldn’t be living at all.

The Gamble, by Victoria Evans


Victoria Evans works with the Children’s Ministry of Lighthouse Church.  She sings (like an angel) in the All Nations Choir and the Praise and Worship Team. It is an enormous privilege to worship and serve alongside her every week.

 Image

      Every day we walk into our journey. Whether it seems like the same old one we started the day before, or a fresh, clean, new one; it’s just something we do. Never considering the undertones to our actions or why we do them. We press on, and when trials come (and every so often they will) we have to decide which way to react. Do we unfold our natural emotions, releasing what should come inherently? Do we give ourselves permission to be enraged at the thought of someone” trying to do us wrong?” Or do we just take a second to breathe, then try to figure out the next step? The latter is much harder. The battle comes with trying to fight ourselves long enough to seek out a “correct” solution.

They say that with time self control becomes easier, but that can’t be true for all of us. Even the “nice” ones, who seem sweet, have a button. And once that button’s been pushed, and the flood is unleashed, it’s beyond hard to shut the floodgate. So now, weariness comes. You get broken, upset, and the boundaries to do whatever you desire are worn down. You start to think on “old” things. Speak to “old” people…you know the people; the ones who DON’T have your best interest at heart; the ones who loved you best, when you were at your worst. Then before you know it, your old life is luring you back…so eloquently.

Other things creep in with change; No hope, Gossip, Sex, Excessive Drinking, Smoking, Hate. All fuel to keep the old you alive and well. You’ve picked back up all the things God caused to fall to the ground when you said you were His. Your talks with him become fewer, and your light begins to fade.

Behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat”* Luke 22:31. That did not just apply to Simon Peter. Delusional, you begin to believe you are unworthy. Not fit for God or His beautiful presence, you begin to gamble. Try your odds at the old lifestyle you were so accustomed to… Only you find that you’ve lost. Twice now. Make that four times…Six. Ten. You just can’t seem to make it, until…you are broken, in every way imaginable. Then you remember why you left this path…It leads through a dark tunnel with an abrupt ending at a brick wall. You feel like you failed God, yourself, and everyone who’s ever loved you.

But wait. I dare you to open your heart, and close your eyes. Let God weave His way back in.  He’s dying to do it-No. He died to do it.

However, He will never do this without your permission- He loved you enough to give you a choice with everything… “Come back beloved….Gamble on me”. But with Him, a sure thing isn’t gambling. You can’t beat real love, REAL love, or people who believe in you…not with a full house, a jackpot or the funds that come with it. After you spend that, it’s gone. No feeling or object in the world can produce the redemption or intense affection God gives when you feel His love. It’s so warm. Overwhelming. Consuming. It’s the most beautiful passionate, colorful thing anyone could ever experience. So open your heart to it again, it’s all free. And He wants you back so desperately…

Place your bet on God…you’ll always have the winning hand.

Make a Difference…CHOOSE Life


DISCLAIMER

Yesterday was a strange and difficult day.  I woke to the very tragic news about another ridiculously random shooting in a movie theater.  12 killed, 58 injured, including one 3 month old baby (at least, as of the time I stopped turning on the news). My heart was broken, as was much of the nation. Some of us are simply numb from over exposure to this type of violence. (Those of us from the Chicagoland area are completely oversaturated by this madness.) I am having trouble understanding what the problem could have been.  What is it about life that can make someone so sadistic, so selfish…so ungrateful for life, however challenging it may be?

I have been sitting and stewing on this subject for months…literally, MONTHS! And then this happens!  I am almost at a loss for words.  On the other hand (Like I said, I’ve been sitting and stewing for a while)…

I have watched, in my own generation, the family unit become completely unraveled and the frustration about it all has been brewing.  I have had many discussions about it with my own sons and yesterday was no exception.  What could make someone behave ‘that way’?

We bandied about many issues that could have precipitated the acts of violence we have seen in recent years: Acts of violence on video games as opposed to the local news; parenting without boundaries and unbalanced consequences to bad behavior (sometimes rewarding it, sometimes ignoring it and sometimes over-punishing); Angry or moody music (how many people got up and shot somebody with the blues playing?); the impact of abortion on the value of life; the impact of imposing religion on people as opposed to introducing them to a relationship with God…we covered a lot of ground.

THIS WEEK’S BLOG IS NOT A DIRECT RESPONSE TO THE EVENTS IN AURORA, COLORADO

However, after talking and listening to God, my sons, and my heart, I believe this is what God wanted me to post today.  I have several articles in mind that would have served as a response to this occasion. Pieces of them were written years ago. Some of them have a decidedly more ‘soapbox’ tone to them.  And, rest assured, I will be posting them at a later date. Like I said, I’ve had this subject on my mind for quite some time. Please hear my heart on this and try not to take offense.

***************************************************************************************************************************************

Every now and again, our lives need an internal evaluation.  Am I happy, or do I have joy?  Am I content or complacent? Is my drive to do things in order to get what I want, or to get that I really need? And, if I am getting what I need, is it at the expense of someone else’s need? Am I making a positive difference in the lives around me or am I becoming a source of irritation? When people see me coming, do they smile or wince?

Sometimes we get in a rut with the choices we make, and we don’t even see it happening!  It’s so easy to get caught up in the distracting, panicky pace of life and you find yourself thinking about things in a way that only brings you (and everyone around you) down.

Many times we look at our homes and communities, and we look only at the things that need to be corrected.  The roof needs to be repaired.  The kids’ rooms need cleaning.  The schools need more teachers. There are so many things that need to be done, corrected and provided for.

We all look at Philippians 4:8 like it’s rhetoric to be memorized…and it is.  But it is also a habit to be practiced.  Thinking on the positive in a world full of negative takes WORK.  And, just like any kind of exercise, it starts with the CHOICES to do it. Yes, I said CHOICES.  Every moment of every day we make that choice. The more consistent you are about being aware of the choices, the easier it becomes to choose well.

Is an angry observation about the obvious going to make the difference?  Probably not, in and of itself.  But, if that complaint is redressed as a critique for what isn’t working, coupled with a compliment for what is working and a suggestion of how YOU can help make it better, change for the better is a foregone conclusion.  How the deposits of today produce the returns of tomorrow is determined by one’s perspective.

What do we see?  How do we see it?  Every moment of everyday, the choice to see the world through the lenses of life or death is set before us.  To speak life and to see life is to communicate gratitude for the good and a hope-filled expectation for the best in everything.  To focus on death only breeds despair and apathy.

Yes, the roof needs repair. But, isn’t it good that it has held on through this rainy season?  The kids are studying so diligently this week maybe a cleaned room can be worked on this weekend.  If we could get some of the parents together from honors English to take turns as visiting helpers in class once a week, that wonderful, hard-working educator might not appear to be so overwhelmed.

It’s amazing how seeing something through the grateful eyes of life can reveal the endless positive possibilities before us.  More amazing still is how communicating gratitude and life includes us in the effort and the process for positive change.  And really… isn’t it better to build up than to tear down?

Make today the day you choose to speak life.  See life, and LIVE.

As One, by Joyce Robinson


Vida Joyce Medley-Robinson.  Around Lighthouse, she is known as Sister Joyce Robinson.  I call her Joyce.  Both Joyce and her sister, Judy, along with their families are some of the founding members of our church.  As of this posting, that’s almost 35 years of devoted service to one church and one pastor.  Pastor Dan always talks about how many horrible sermons they have had to endure! They have seen every change of season with grace and dignity. Parents, children and grandchildren alike, these are some of the kindest and most generous people you would ever want to know.

Joyce is a published poet (among her many other gifts and talents…one of which is organist). She is quiet and observant. Her eyes twinkle when she smiles, almost as if to imply that she knows so much more than she’s letting on!  I am tickled that she agreed to share this poem with us!

Image

The many pieces of a puzzle can make one confused,

With so many shapes and sizes containing so many hues.

But in time and meticulous persistence, the puzzle is done

The artist’s work, his masterpiece then become visible – as one

The carpenter gathers his tools – wood, wallboard and nails

Adding to his list, hammer, a drill and ruler for the details

He works according to his blueprint while there is sun.

The architect’s work of art comes together – as one.

Orchestras perform suitably with all instruments: flutes, drums and the oboe.

All are reading the score and practicing, each are on the same flow.

When precise in its purpose for rhythm and tone, then harmony is begun

The conductor hears a beautiful symphony together – as one.

In John chapter 17, Jesus asks His father to set His children apart,

From the world: they would live and believe from their heart.

Just as the Father thought, breathed and worked through His Son

Jesus was in His Father’s will, working – as One

The world doesn’t know God; it’s Him in us that they see.

So when we are divided about God and His degree,

They received mixed signals about God and His Son.

It’s so important to pray and live in His love – as One.

I am not exactly like you, and you’re not exactly like me

Each of us is following the plan that God’s want us to be.

Each of our differences is fitting in our preparation

For the Master’s calling, worship and service – as one.

Copyright March 12, 2009, Joyce Robinson All Rights Reserved

The Little Things


I’m a pretty simple girl.  I guess, I’m what you’d call a cheap date.  I don’t need to be impressed by ‘stuff.’ I like the priceless things that cost nothing, like…humor and laughter, sincerity, intelligence, genuine interest and concern.  I would rather be entertained by a good game of ‘words with friends’ and (with another person in the same room, we call it ‘scrabble’?), a bowl of rocky road ice cream in front of a good dvd  SO MUCH MORE than a night on the town.  Call me a ‘barefoot bumpkin’…I’m okay with that…no apologies given.  I like my life that way.  It makes it easy to gauge the real from the fake.  Let me see who you really are…I’ll take you as I find you. And I’ll love you anyway. Even if it means I have to love you from afar.

I wasn’t always like this.  My name is Janeé and I’m a recovered drama junkie.  I was born into drama. It was all I knew for the better part of my life. When I tried to escape it, I began to miss it, so I created it wherever I was.  It wasn’t until a divine revelation from Creflo Dollar that I began my pursuit of the simple life.

Many years ago, when I lived in Jacksonville, Florida, I did not have a church home, so I watched the likes of Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar and Joyce Meyer to sustain me.  I could not get enough of the strong meat that they provided and God honored that. 

At that time, Pastor Dollar was teaching on the tabernacle and relationships.  He taught that if your body is the Temple of the Most High God, we should manage our relationships as if we were, in fact, a temple.  We have an outer-court, an inner-court and a Most Holy Place, to which temple rules applied.  It structured my social circles with clear, definitive boundaries.  The outer-court was for general acquaintances. The inner-court was for people that required more stringent scrutiny.  There could be no one there that was in it exclusively for their own purpose. They had to want more from me and for me than their own personal satisfaction. 

Entry into the Most Holy Place, much like in the Bible days, was a life or death prospect. If I let someone in who’s intentions did not honor God, not only would it contaminate the gift on my life, it could cost them theirs. And to have more than a handful of people with access to this place was fatally dangerous.  I came to understand that I had entirely too many people in my Most Holy Place and that my criteria for entering needed to be adjusted.  And it needed to be adjusted by teeny, tiny increments.  This is how I learned the blessing and curse of the little things.

The Bible talks about the little foxes spoiling the vines (Song of Solomon 2:15).  I think about the little things that bring down whole companies, ministries, relationships and even lives.  Things like pride, a lack of discipline, a hasty word or a clingy spirit (we would call this person co-dependent).   But I also think of the little things that can prevent this wholesale destruction.  I call them gifts and anointings…but they’re just simple little words/phrases: Thank-you, No, Good-bye and I’m Sorry.

How many relationships could be better maintained by a properly placed Thank-you or I’m Sorry?  How much trouble could we avoid by a timely No or Good-bye?

 I say it often because I know it’s true…good fences make good neighbors. But, in order to build good fences you have to be truly aware of the schematics of your own ‘temple space.’  The Greek aphorism, “Know thyself” comes to mind (How it got there? Blame ‘The Matrix’).  I think the most important thing any person can do is to know who YOU are.  I think far more important than that, for Christians, is to know who you are IN CHRIST.  It allows you to dispel your own fears in employing these simple, precious, divine little gifts in your obedience to God, your conscience and your heart.  You realize that you can peacefully let go of the people whose season is over in your life; that you can lay your pride aside long enough to restore and repair a relationship worth keeping; that people have more respect for you when they can’t walk all over you; and that being grateful is being grace-full.

A puzzle is only as valuable as each little perfectly placed piece.  You can totally destroy the big picture when you don’t take care in the little things.

The Angel and The Ticket, by Tom Salagaj


Pastor Tom Salagaj is one cool customer.  To me, he is one of the many eccentric characters that make up the core of our church full of misfit toys.

But, beyond the scope our congregation, he is a musician who has played amongst the “Who’s Who” in entertainment.  We’re talking the likes of Debbie Reynolds, Sinatra, Joey Bishop and many others in the Rat Pack Scene. He’s done time with the Memphis Mafia (you know…Elvis’s People). And he is still a humble servant of God, devoted husband, adoring father (and soon to be 1st time grand-dad).  And he’s my friend. Here is one of his real life adventures

.Image

In 1984, Sheila, our 1 yr old son, Troy, and I were to fly from Montgomery, Alabama to Los Angeles for a 2 week vacation.  We had earned the tickets on Delta Airlines for giving up our seats earlier that past year. The tickets had to be used or lost. The night before our flight my brother in Texas called to say my dad had passed away and would I be able to come for the funeral. Calls to the airlines for a flight to Houston resulted in a very high ticket price that would have taken all of our vacation money. I was prompted by the Lord to check on flights from L.A. to Houston and did find a red eye special midnight flight for $100 roundtrip. We all flew to L.A. as planned, I left Sheila and Troy with friends; and then I flew to Houston that night for the funeral. After the 3 days of funeral/family, I was taken back to the Houston airport by a relative who lived there. During the 2 hr drive to Houston, I was busy and excitedly showing the people in the car all the photos of our young son who they had never seen. I was dropped off at the airport and went in to check on my flight. My return flight back to L.A. had been cancelled and the only option was to be transferred to another airline. When I reached for my wallet to show my I.D., my wallet was missing! All of my I.D’s, credit cards, and cash were gone! After several frantic phone calls to my brother and his calls to my aunt in Houston, it was discovered that I had dropped my wallet in the floorboard of her car. By this time, only 45 minutes remained before I had to transfer my ticket, get a boarding pass and get on the flight. My aunt was delayed by traffic and she arrived at the airport with less than 5 minutes before my flight was to depart. I grabbed the wallet, got my exchange ticket and raced down to the new airline counter. With two minutes remaining, I was in a line to get a boarding pass and knew I would miss that flight and would have to wait until the next day to depart.  Suddenly, a well-dressed man tapped me on my shoulder. As I turned to see who it was, he asked,

“Sir, I sense your frustration and perceive that you need to get on this flight that is about to depart. If so, I have two round trip tickets to Los Angeles on this very flight. There are two boarding passes attached. You may have both if you desire. My wife and I were to fly to L. A. for dinner tonight but she came down with a migraine headache this afternoon. She said I should come to the airport to see if anyone would be interested in having these tickets. I think you need at least one of them and I am so glad to give it to you free of charge.”

I said very quickly, “Sir, I do not have time to even discuss this matter; but with your permission, I’ll take a ticket and be on my way.”

He gave the ticket to me and I turned and ran down the gateway to the plane. The flight attendant was closing the door but I yelled for her to wait. She motioned for me to hurry on the plane. She ushered me to a seat after closing and securing the door. I collapsed into my seat and began to wonder what had just happened. Was it an angel who visited me or just a God ordained co-incidence? I will leave the answer up to the reader. For me, it was God helping a desperate husband get back to his wife and young son.

I kept that ticket stub for many years intending to try to contact the man who gave it to me. However, something always made me hesitate. Eventually, I gave up the idea and continually thanked God for taking care of me. With Him, nothing is impossible. I am convinced that God will provide for His people even if he has to create the blessing and the circumstance.

Now, the rest of the story…

On our flight home from L.A., we had planned a stopover in Las Vegas to visit friends. The man worked for Delta Airlines on which we had originally planned our vacation flights. He was amazed with us at the events of the Houston experience. But he also was able to get a refund for me for my original ticket I had not used. Then he was able to put us in first class for our trip back to Alabama. When we arrived home, there was a $50.00 check in the mail from a distant relative who had heard about my father’s passing. Therefore, my trip to Houston for my Dad’s funeral had been a free trip with a bit of help from God of divine intervention. It always pays to serve God.

The Problem With Pain


WHEW! What a week! So much of what I had intended to write to you has been forced to the absolute back of my mind.  I was grateful to have other things to share with you, as this was not a week for me to have an original thought of my own. Such is the problem with pain. It can be a most destructive, distractive, emotionally displacing experience.  By the same token, experiencing pain can be a learning experience and bring things into a corrective order, if we let it.

Enduring pain may cause you to lose your objectivity and sense of perspective. It can make you overly sensitive to pain in other areas. Where, in any other case, you would have been able to bear a minor injury, when you have prolonged pain in one place, it can make all pain anywhere else unbearable.

I suppose it is important to have a healthy respect for pain and a balanced tolerance for it. When pain is initially felt, it can tell you where something is wrong and needs to be looked into.  When the pain is felt severely, it can be completely debilitating. When you can endure what some consider to be more than your share, you are considered strong.  When you fold quickly under the pressure of pain, people call you names like, ‘pansy,’ or ‘wuss’.

I have been told that I have an abnormally high tolerance for pain. It was a compliment of sorts. Doctors have marveled at my ability to function in the face of several medical anomalies…a triumph of my will to live, so to speak. By the same token, that tolerance for pain has forced me to endure things that could have been corrected much sooner had I acknowledged that pain earlier and sought the help of others far more knowledgeable in the sources of my pain.

I said all of that to explain to you that this past week I had a rupture. It was very painful, totally inconvenient and a little messy.  I was very grateful that there weren’t an awful lot of people around (I HATE to make a scene, even in injury). My fantastic sons were present the entire time. They were patient and calm. They didn’t waste words attending to me as they kept me from collapsing, helping into a seat. One, held me close as I cried in agony. The other, went to look for help and did his best to stay calm.

It was fortunate that an experienced professional who knew me well, happened by and I had the presence of mind to speak out. She listened carefully, assessed the situation and determined that it was the result of enduring a pain longer than I should have without seeking out help sooner.  She prescribed a treatment and told my sons to take me home to rest.

After taking my treatment and sleeping soundly for a while, I awoke, taking some time to think about what had really happened.  The event that caused the rupture was not really the problem. If I had treated the underlying problem as soon as I began to feel the pain (instead of ‘toughing it out’), the incident could have been completely avoided. The straw that broke the camel’s back would have been a mere pin prick in comparison.

Now, I bet you’re not even wondering whether or not this rupture was physical.

I can honestly tell you it’s usually easier to deal with physical pain.  It’s easier to identify physical injuries (for the most part). With a bruise, a gash or a broken bone¸ you can immediately do things to reduce the swelling, prevent infection and set the bone to restore itself. But, even in those physical instances, many people who have just learned to endure pain would wait until the absolute last minute to inconvenience themselves or others with restorative measures. In the long run, it makes you more of an inconvenience than if you had dealt with the pain when it was small enough to treat easily.

Let’s learn to take better care of ourselves, shall we?  Whether it’s a splinter imbedded in our skin or a word spoken out of season imbedded in our soul…let’s take the time to acknowledge the pain. Take the pain to someone who can help identify the source of the pain and take measures to remove it.  Sometimes that’s a doctor. Sometimes that’s a pastor, a mentor or a trusted friend. Do whatever it takes to get to the healing and relief. Your world and the world of those around you is better when you’re whole and sound.

Wednesday Pop-Calling


When I was a very small kid, anytime my family went into Chicago, there were places that we were obliged to visit.  Both sets of grandparents, certain cousins…you know.  But after the doctor visit or trip to the store, they would always say, “Okay, time to go ‘pop-calling.’” The term is taken from the old school turn of phrase, to call upon someone, meaning to pay them a visit.

Well, today, being the first Wednesday of the month (which JUST so happens to be our Nation’s Birthday) I thought it would be a great day to start having my dearest friends drop in for a pop-call!

I love my pastor very much (as you may have heard me mention before) and I am very careful not to embark on any big adventure in my life without running it by him and asking for his prayers and his blessing (as well as any other advise I may glean). So when I started this blog and gave him my vision for a magazine and a publishing company, he was the first person I shared it with.  And when it came time to start presenting guest bloggers, I asked if he would kick it off for me.

Reverend Daniel Willis (we all call him Pastor Dan) has credits too expansive to mention, but I will refer you to his web page.( http://www.danwillis.org/) , and our church page (http://www.thelighthousechurch.org/ ), and his television show page (http://vidego.multicastmedia.com/player.php?p=nnjfri68).

I asked Pastor Dan if he would just say a few words to get the ball rolling.  I was tickled pink by his response. Here is his reply…

GIFTINGS are one of the TREASURES in the Body of Christ! It would be the ONLY word I know to describe the Editor in Chief of this publication. Pastor Janeé Smith is one of the most prolific wordsmiths in the Body today. Few Preachers, Authors, or Lyricists could so eloquently translate the Heart of God, with the pen of man. Pastor Janeé, like a skilled surgeon, cuts straight to the heart of all of us, with precision, and oh so much compassion. She is a true modern day John the Baptist, crying in our urban wilderness, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord!”

I recognized this gift many years ago, when with the articulation of a Professor in front of a University class, she kept me in rapt attention through her Christian perspective in a journalistic format. You, the reader will never forget the points and insights she brings you into, in the Theater of her Spirit!

May you be Blessed by this Treasure in Earthen Vessels, the very gifted Teacher, my friend and daughter in Christ Jesus, Pastor Janeé Smith. LIFE AND FAVOR TO EACH READER……Pastor Dan Willis

And with those words of blessing, I invite you to check in on Wednesdays to see who will pop-call with a word or two to share.

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!

Declaration of Interdependence


Tomorrow is called America’s birthday. And, all the talk is of our nation’s independence.  I don’t know if that was exactly what God had in mind.  While I understand the significance of divesting ourselves from the British Monarchy for all the reasons deemed necessary, I think that God’s heart on days like this is to encourage our state of interdependence. We cannot live in this life, or the next, without living together. As my pastor says (quite often as of late), “We are much stronger together than we are unique alone.” God made us to be unique individuals that work well together for a common cause.

WE NEED EACH OTHER.

How in the world are we, as Christians…Believers in God, to become a unified body, without a spot or wrinkle if we do not know how to come together…to bring together these beautifully unique, independent features that make up the Kaleidoscope Kingdom that God is waiting to return for?

Rather than take this time to pontificate on what I believe the Lord is saying to the church right now, I would rather let Him speak for Himself. In my declaration of interdependence as delivered to you by the Message Bible, I present to you the WORD OF GOD.

Philippians 2:1-16…If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.

Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.

 What I’m getting at, friends, is that you should simply keep on doing what you’ve done from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I’m separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.

Do everything readily and cheerfullyno bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You’ll be living proof that I didn’t go to all this work for nothing.

I Thessalonians 5:8-18Since we’re creatures of Day, let’s act like it. Walk out into the daylight sober, dressed up in faith, love, and the hope of salvation.

God didn’t set us up for an angry rejection but for salvation by our Master, Jesus Christ. He died for us, a death that triggered life. Whether we’re awake with the living or asleep with the dead, we’re alive with him! So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.

And now, friends, we ask you to honor those leaders who work so hard for you, who have been given the responsibility of urging and guiding you along in your obedience. Overwhelm them with appreciation and love!

Get along among yourselves, each of you doing your part. Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on. Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs. And be careful that when you get on each other’s nerves you don’t snap at each other. Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out.

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.

 

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Support Kaleidoscope Kingdom

Community

jdeneen24

A fine WordPress.com site

Raising Mama

Loving and Learning through Laughter

accord1

"Building the Bridge Together" over the ethnic divide

riquespeaks

Well reasoned, super hip analysis to prevent paralysis

silkroadcollector.me

An International company that offers private antique art sales to clients around the globe.

crazykaykay's Blog

Makeup reviews, tutorials and DIYs!

~Cruising through my Life~

journey since 1989...

TurtleAndRobot.com

Children's Book Reviews

h. jacques james

...to depict the glory of God

Morning Story and Dilbert

inspiring, encouraging, and best read with a cup of coffee or tea and an occasional kleenex

Bucket List Publications

Indulge- Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences

Nitty Gritty Dirt Man

The incredibly true misadventures of a home gardener

Crash Landing

Life Is One On-going Punch Line

To Be Aware

It's all about disbelieving your thoughts

jackque's Blog

The greatest WordPress.com site in all the land!

prophet isaac watson

Revelation and Insight for this Generation...

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 734 other followers

%d bloggers like this: