Celebration Church ~ 20th anniversary

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The main entrance to Celebration Church’s Arena Location

 

Sunday I drove to my church, Celebration Church in Jacksonville. It has four locations in Jacksonville, one in Zimbabwe, and one in Paris. I attend at the arena in the Baymeadows area of Jacksonville. I was in a state of anticipation, as we will be celebrating the church’s  20th anniversary the entire month of November.

On the way to church, I prayed there would be not one pretzel stuffed with spinach and cheese left in the cafe. I got on line, with resolve to purchase only a large coffee. When I got up to the counter there was one spinach and cheese pretzel left. This is absolute proof that the old adage is true, the devil does indeed go to church. [LOL] I took a deep breath, prayed through and got the coffee. Whew!

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What profoundly hit me in Senior Pastor Stovall Weems preaching Sunday was that the church was holy ground, but not just church property (which certainly is sacred space), but, the body of Christ, we are also holy ground. The Kingdom of God on earth is holy ground. I had a revelation in a new and profound way what “kingdom” meant in Biblical terminology, history, culture. I came away with a new understanding of how I am a citizen of the that holy kingdom right here on earth.

I had a deeply insightful revelation of myself as a child of the King. Now, even in the earthly realm, a king can have many children. Solomon did. Many kings of old did. My heavenly Father has billions of children and I am one of them. I’m a daughter of the King. I’m in His family. I am family to the King and this just tickles me and I’ve never felt that before. I have the right to sit at His table…and He’s got a big table. This became more real to me than it ever has before, and it was such an enriching, uplifting, and fun experience.

Pastor Stovall went through a list of things that are holy ground, that perhaps we don’t have enough reverence for. I can’t give you his exact list, but here is my list: communion, water baptism, Christian schools and colleges, Christian radio and TV stations, and yes, yes Christian homes.  My home and the homes of all saints are holy ground and to be treated as such. At the end of the service, Pastor Stovall blessed everyone’s home. This was particularly meaningful to me as I just moved into a new condo. When Pastor Stovall gave the blessing, I felt as if the King was in the sanctuary…His Holy Spirit was…and that my home was indeed blessed, thoroughly blessed.

Celebration Church

 

 

Lenten Season ~ clean it up

House Cleaning

Traditionally, people in the Main Line, Catholic, and Orthodox churches thoroughly clean their houses during Lent. Deep Cleaning. Spring Cleaning. They’re preparing for Holy Week, the remembrance of the scourging and crucifixion of Jesus. The celebration of His resurrection.

My Christian spiritual practice isn’t traditional or Orthodox, yet, I find comfort in tying my spring cleaning to the church Lenten season. There’s something renewing about cleaning the house in preparation for remembrance of the passion and resurrection of Jesus. I can’t help but think about cleaning my mind and my soul as well.

As I’m cleaning, I’m thinking of what I don’t need anymore that’s in good to excellent condition that I can take to Goodwill. My church is collecting food for Easter dinners for families in need and Easter baskets for their children. The church has provided a list of food items to contribute. I already brought to the church canned corn and green beans for a family of six, as well as collard greens (this is the south), boxed instant potatoes and boxed mac ‘n cheese. As far as food stuff, I still have to bring…a boxed pie crust mix, canned pie filling, canned yams, and a $20 supermarket gift certificate for a ham. Then I’ll hit the dollar store and pick up an Easter basket, plastic eggs and individually wrapped candy to go inside the eggs for the kiddies.

I’m glad my church is doing this. This effort on my part makes my Easter a bit brighter. God has blessed me and it feels good passing it along during the Lenten Season. And my house will be a bit cleaner. Which reminds me, I have to get out my vacuum.

 

Talking With Jesus ~ a two way communication

Lion and baby
The Lion of Judah

Talking with Jesus requires an intimate relationship with Him. Most Christians have a first-hand knowledge of this. Obviously Joy Behar and Omarosa do not.

Most Christians, at least to some extent, function in a spiritual arena whereby we talk to God and hear back from Him. That’s billions of us worldwide.

Over the years God had taken me on a journey to greater intimacy with Him. I have grown spiritually to a point where I hear His voice more clearly. As I speak with fellow Christians, they tell me of a similar walk. This is an exciting way to live. I love watching what God is doing in my life. I can’t wait to see what He will do next.

I can’t give any formula for hearing the voice of Jesus. But I would suggest simply asking Him, with sincerity, to speak to you. Another suggestion would be to read the Bible, especially the words in red. A red-letter Bible puts what Jesus has said in red ink. If you read what He’s said, when He speaks to you, you’ll more readily know if it’s Him. He will not speak in a way that is against the Bible. For example, Jesus will never tell you to steal. That is against the instruction of the Bible and Jesus will never speak to a believer in a way that is against what the Bible teaches.

Who is it who actually speaks to us when Jesus speaks? That’s an interesting question and so is the answer. Right now Jesus is in heaven sitting at the right-hand of the Father. Jesus is our High Priest in heaven and He’s making intercession for us. So, if Jesus is doing that, who is speaking to us?

It’s the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Jesus in the earth today. Jesus was a man (and also deity) but in His physical body He could only be in one place at one time. The Spirit of God, the Counselor is a spirit and can be everywhere at once. Jesus told us in John 16 that it is to our advantage that He goes away for the Comforter will then come to us. The Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Jesus) is the teacher of the church. He is the one who speaks to us with an inner witness, with a whisper in our hearts, or by bringing intense peace in a difficult and painful situation. There are times, perhaps in a dangerous situation, where the “voice” is so loud it’s almost as if it’s audible. Many Christians have sworn it might’ve been audible. “Stop” “Don’t move.” “Don’t get on that plane or train or boat.”

It’s happened that I’ve had several unrelated individuals come up to me separately saying almost the exact same words about a distressing situation in my life. I believe this came about through the power of the Holy Spirit. If I experience extreme peace, then I’m sure it was the Holy Spirit speaking through those people. I’ve had situations I’ve not shared with anyone, and then, out of the blue, some person(s) randomly gave me the answer(s). The Holy Spirit. These things not only make me feel better, they solve problems in my life. Some might say this is coincidence. Well, I love these coincidences I keep having. Please, keep bringing them on Holy Spirit.

Trinity Baptist Trunk & Treat ~ such fun

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Deborah’s trunk

 

I went to the Trinity Baptist Trunk & Treat event tonight to support my two gal pals Lyn Wood Rix and Deborah Williams (translation = eat their candy). They both decorated the trunks of their cars and gave out sweets, as other adult members of the church did.

 

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Lynn’s trunk

 

Parents and children from the church and surrounding community vote on the best looking trunk and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners are announced at the end. Trinity Babtist is a church, a private school academy, and a Christian college.

 

 

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Parents with children in costumes (some parents in costume too) lined up and walked from trunk-to-trunk receiving candy
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Parents and kids getting refreshments, on the right kids receiving candy, behind blow-up structures (slides, etc.)

Trintity Baptist Church

Trinity Baptist Academy

Trinity Baptist College

 

 

Pray For Our POTUS, Our Nation ~ in this time of North Korean threat

hand reaching

O Mighty God, we thank you that you have your hand on our president, Donald J. Trump, in this time of crisis with North Korea and the threats of their tyrannical and antagonistic leader. We thank you that you have reached out your hand over our nation to protect America and its territories in this season of crisis.

We know that in prayer, we do not fight flesh and blood, but powers in the spirit realm and principalities that exist there. In this crisis with North Korea, All Mighty God, send your warrior angels to defeat the minions of the evil one making their camp in that isolated and withdrawn land. Let Your divine and perfect will be done in this situation and all glory and honor go to You. In Jesus name, amen.

Psalm 91New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Security of the One Who Trusts in the Lord.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!”
For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper
And from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with His pinions,
And under His wings you may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.

You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day;
Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.
A thousand may fall at your side
And ten thousand at your right hand,
But it shall not approach you.
You will only look on with your eyes
And see the recompense of the wicked.
9 For you have made the Lord, my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
10 No evil will befall you,
Nor will any plague come near your tent.

11 For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.
12 They will bear you up in their hands,
That you do not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread upon the lion and cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you will trample down.

14 “Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.
15 “He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 “With a long life I will satisfy him
And let him see My salvation.”

My Super-Duper Devotional ~ but she got something better from it

Light blub

A while back, I’d written a really good inspirational piece. I thought I’m so blessed to have been able to set these words out with the intention of blessing others. And they did, just not in the way I thought.

So, this incredibly nice woman contacted me through social media to let me know what that inspirational piece had meant to her and what a revelation it had been. I read everything she’d put down and went, huh? How did she get that from what I wrote. What she got was powerful, but it had nothing to do with what I’d written. How on earth did she get that?

Well, it wasn’t on earth. As soon as I’d wondered that, I heard the Holy Spirit whispering inside my spirit. “She got it from Me.”

I wondered some more. Had God been trying for some time to get her to see that, and finally I was the vehicle through which He got through to her. PTL

I wondered how many preachers marvel that after spending hours preparing a fantastic sermon, a person in the pews breathlessly shares what a breakthrough they got, but it had nothing, whatsoever, to do with the sermon?

All this shows me that we on earth do not provide the revelation. That comes from heaven. We can be blessed to be the vehicle through which it flows to someone else, but we do not generate the epiphany. That comes from God.

 

My Church Is Having a ‘Onward’ ~ 2017 New Year 21-Day Fast

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This is a corporate fast with prayer. New Life Christian Fellowship in Jacksonville does this every year 21-days before Superbowl. We break the fast at sundown Superbowl Sunday. And I’m sure everyone has a great time feasting (translate = pigging out) on that Sunday evening.

The focus of this corporate fast isn’t only on cutting out things we could be overindulging in. The emphasis is on fasting and prayer. The pastor gave us a small fasting study guide along biblical lines. For example there is the Daniel Fast which is designed to eliminate meat, sweets, and bread. Water, juice, fruits and veggies are consumed. [Daniel 1: 11-13]

My best friend at church told me she was going to eliminate beef and pork for the 21-days. Anyone who is struggling with something such as quitting smoking might find this a supportive time to stop.

Ushers not only passed out a printed guide with the biblical types of fasts, we were also given a printed “Week One Devotional” with a memory verse, a prayer, suggested scripture for further study, and a place for us to write notes. Of course, week two and week three devotionals will be handed out as we progress through this fast.

We were also given a list of topics to pray and/or meditate upon during the fast.

1. Revival in America

2. Complete Personal Freedom

3. Blessing Over Troubles

4. Wisdom From Above

5. Victory Over Our Enemy

During this 21-day period the church will be open at different specified times, so people can gather and pray together while fasting. There is great spiritual benefit for a church body to enter into this type of fasting and prayer. This is a tremendous opportunity for individual church members to spiritually grow and for the church to spiritually grow as a whole.

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