Have you ever taken a step back and looked at how you got to where you are? Everything I have in my life comes from the power of choice. The things I have put the most effort in, the things that I have succeeded in, all because of my choices. First and foremost, the choice I made to follow God. It hasn't always been the most popular and often times met with people saying things like " it just doesn't seem right" or "what about the security you have, are you just gonna throw it all away?" Haha! First, what was sown with God, will never fade away. The things I did out of my own power and will won't last anyway. Oh and security??? Hahaha the security and stability that this world offers went out the window the moment I gave my life to Christ. Sure, this nation offers a great deal of freedom and opportunity to have a secure life, but that can change so quickly. Some of you know what I'm talking about??? The company closes down that you were working for or tragic loss hits your family, broken relationships, you get sick. Everything that you put your hope and future into is radically changed! I'm not saying we shouldn't aspire for success, but if that's what we are sowing into, then it's quite possible when it comes crashing down we will find ourselves lost. Doubt comes rushing in and Faith is all but dissolved. Make Jesus a priority, so when life happens, and it will happen, sow into that relationship and we will reap a harvest of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. If we haven't allowed the King of Kings to have the thrown of our heart, then it might make sense as to why we are reaping the things in our life.
Romans 4:17b God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;
Maybe this is how we live an un-offendable life. We choose to see people in the way they are created rather than how they really are, in hopes that they will see the love of God in us. We can't be surprised or in a state of disbelief anymore when someone does something that is crazy. The human heart is capable of horrific things. The bible is so clear of what can come out of our heart.
We can recognize the brokenness, but don't allow ourselves to be offended by it. Instead, we search for the created value of the person. We won't see that value come out, until a person is born again, but we will see glimpses of it, because God has set eternity in the hearts of people. Ecclesiastes 3:11. In essence, we do the same thing that God did for us. He didn't start loving us after we started a relationship with Him, He always has. John 3:16, Romans 3:23
As Christians we have a great responsibility to show the face of Jesus. This goes hand in hand with a Christian not being offended. I know this is hard, but it is possible. If it weren't possible, then what Jesus did on the cross wasn't good enough. This is tough stuff to take in, but we want to be a people of reconciliation. 2 Cor 5:11-18
This will cause us to take an honest look at our own brokenness. Not just look at it, but do something about it. That doesn't mean we have to wait for our own brokenness to be mended. In fact, it's quite possible that as we minister reconciliation to others we will experience it in own own lives.
Jesus says, know the truth and the truth will set you free...
No one will ever know the truth if isn't shared with them. No one will ever experience true freedom if the truth isn't shared with them! Jesus was never apologetic about the words He said. He was simply speaking what His Father said to Him too. We can speak truth, but if we don't have love, then we are just making noise.
He also says, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life...
Chip Ingram said, that Christians have a tendency of sharing truth without love, and sharing love without truth. Let that sink in...
The Gospel is offensive to the sinner! But God has given the sinner free will. We can choose to be or not to be offended! He didn't stop with free will, He gave us the power of the Holy Spirit!
Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Proverbs 15:31 An ear that listens to life-giving rebukes (constructive criticism) will be at home with the wise.
I have been thinking about this all day! I can't tell you how many times it took me to be humble enough to listen to someone who was much wiser than me on any given situation. My first response was to go on the defensive! I would immediately start building my case against them, because when they got done with me I was gonna give them some "constructive criticism"! Haha
I was too darn stubborn to listen. The Lord started working on me concerning criticism from the moment I started following Him, I just wasn't aware of it haha. Anyway, the more I started to use my ears, both of them, I started to hear genuine, life-giving knowledge. Something that had been shared with me numerous times, all of the sudden seemed new, like I heard it for the first time!
Maybe this is you? Maybe you have someone in your life that is giving some constructive criticism and you haven't humbled yourself enough to really hear what they are saying (life-giving knowledge). There isn't anything wrong with listening, God listens to us all the time, even our complaining! Haha Take a moment to think about the last conversation you had with that "person"! Was there any truth to what they were saying? Don't get distracted by their short-comings, chances are they have someone doing the same for them. Again, I'm just sharing from my heart, we can all be a better us, right?
Proverbs 10:17 The one who follows instruction is on the path to life, but the one who rejects correction goes astray.
Just over a year ago God started speaking to my wife and I. We just kept hearing "exit strategy"? We started asking God for discernment and He began to put things together. I'm gonna do my best to keep this short haha.
It started with an opportunity to sell our house to our best friends. We had 7.4 acres with a 1500 square ft 3 bedroom 2 bathroom house and a 750 square ft 1 bedroom 1 bathroom house. We were able to sell it at a very good price to them which meant that Wanda and I would move into the little house. It happened so fast! 30 days from the time we talked about it, Mike and Erika sold their house and purchased our place and moved in! That put us in the best financial position we had been in since we were married.
Then God told Wanda that it was time for her to step away from her position as the mission director at the church where we were both employed. She had been the missions director for 5+ years with 3 of them being paid on staff. In October of 2015 she stepped away and became a stay at home wife. It was quite an adjustment for us, but it was good!
Then in December of 2015 I was just unsettled in my spirit, I'm not really sure how to explain it. I started fasting and praying, I was getting closer to God than I had ever been. By the time January 2016 rolled around I knew what I needed to do. It was something that my wife knew I was suppose to do from the moment I gave my life to the Lord. I was to leave the church that I was employed by, a church that had raised me from the moment I gave my life to the Lord(14 years). A church that I loved so much! I talked with my Pastor (boss) and told him what I believe the Lord was leading me to do. After talking with the leaders of the church we decided that I would leave my position in April.
I needed a job!!!! When I decided to be obedient to the Lord the first person I thought of talking to was a good friend of mine who had is own small business. One Sunday morning I found him and told him what I was doing and needed a job, before I could say anything else, he said, "you're hired!" For those that know me I can be a little emotional, so I started crying haha. Alright, I have a job! I started with Craig in May 2016. Funny thing is, I didn't even know what I was gonna make until I got my first check haha!!! My first day of work, my boss and friend started chemo. He found out he had cancer 3 days before I started. I know God has me in the right place. Craig and his wife Paula are amazing people who love the Lord and have glorified Him through all that they have gone through.
While all this transition is going on a small group of us were meeting on Saturday nights. I started by sharing the vision that God has given me for a new church (Water's Edge) and began teaching. We are a few weeks away from launching the church. The plant team has grown to 41 adults and children! More on than later...
Exit strategy! In a year our house and our income has been cut by more than half, but God is faithful. Everything that my wife and I own fit in our 750 square ft. home and a 7x7 shed haha! Everything had been was cut in half! What could easily be looked at as a setback has actually been God's strategy for His will to be done! I'm reminded of the words of John the Baptist, "He (Jesus) must increase, I must decrease"!
God will always give you an exit strategy, we just have to be willing to decrease so that He can increase!
I have always believed in God. I was raised in the church and taught about God. But I never understood I could have a relationship with God. I never read the bible on my own and praying wasn't a priority for me. As an adult I quit going to church altogether, so basically I was doing nothing to strengthen my relationship with God. As the years went by my need for perfection kept growing in all areas of my life. This caused my anxiety and need for complete control in my life incredibly worse. Several years later a family member suggested a local church for us to try. I loved it! It was nothing like I had ever experienced growing up. I learned how to pray and began attending church on a regular basis. I began to understand I could have a relationship with God.
However, I still didn't read my bible though. Yet, I did read every type of self help book out there. I also didn't do much else in the church besides attend. I had stalled in my spiritual growth. My need for control and anxiety grew worse and adding two kids to my life did not help ease that stress. If you have kids you know there is NO control in how life goes. 6 years later a life altering event changed the whole world I built for myself and family. It changed everything I had ever known in my adult life. I had no control over it and could do nothing to change the circumstances. I was a complete wreck and in a very dark place. A very good friend told me you need to get into the Word and fall in love with Jesus. So I did, I began studying the bible especially on areas I was struggling in. It is the best self help book I have ever read. I started praying a lot more. Finally, I let go and just surrendered my life to God.
I realized I can not be perfect and life won't be either. I can not control everything. I have a God who wants what's best for me and has a love for me that is immeasurable. Two years later, I am happier than I have ever been, even when things are not "perfect". I continue to grow in my faith and my love of Jesus. I still have things I am working on and struggle with. But, I know I have a God who loves me and He has surrounded me with a church family who helps me and supports me when I need it.
I know God wants to use me and my story to help others find a relationship with him. If you are struggling with anything or were like me and life really wasn't that bad it just wasn't perfect or the way you thought it should be. I urge you to give it to God. His way is better. Seek Him and His guidance and wisdom. If you need a church family, I invite you to Waters Edge to be part of our family. To fall in love with Jesus, let US help and support each other on this journey.
Making a church building welcoming and comfortable is definitely important. However, for a new church plant decorating is not on the top of the list for funding! Fortunately, we have some pretty handy people on our team. We decided to put our heads and resources together to build what we need! Here are a few pictures of our first Build Day. We had some delicious homemade brunch and some worship music playing while we worked. We were able to build the coffee buffet, a bar for the lobby and a few signs. We got started on the stage back drop and the sound booth. I could feel the Lord's presence there with us as we worked. It was an exciting experience to see God's people working together to make a building a house for the Lord. I'm so excited for what He has in store for us at Water's Edge. I can't wait for you all to check it out!
your sister in christ,
My name is Clinton. I've always been a church member. I was raised in the church. However, the church became just an excuse for me to sin. I fell away and finally came back, but when I did, I found too much of my identity in the church. It had become all about THAT church. I needed something real. Something that challenged me. Something that challenged my spirit. Something that forced me to step out and trust in Him. That thing was the Waters Edge. It's exactly what I've prayed for, exactly what I need, and exactly what the world needs. Genuine Love in the form of Genuine Christianity.
On June 18th we had our first Vision Service as Water's Edge. We enjoyed some good food, worship, a message and our first baptism! It was a great turn out! We had a few join our plant team so, we are on our way to growing and developing the launch of Water's Edge.
Our goal is to keep it simple and let everything we do contribute to our vision of "taking people from the edge of life and leading them into a deeper relationship with God." In order to fulfill this vision we believe it starts with us. It starts at home. So, we all have made a commitment to set our priorities straight, get serious with our relationship with God, work on our marriages, lead our families, and invest in others' lives. Stretching many of us beyond our comfort zones we have seen tremendous growth just within our small plant team. These growing pains are teaching us how to have this authentic "deep relationship" first. So, we may go out as disciples of Jesus and lead those at the edge of life not only by Truth, but by our own experience of God.
Many times these changes are exciting, but also it can be challenging. Sometimes it can be easier to want to stay where you are in life because you feel safe, comfortable, or satisfied. But, what happens when God calls you? God called to Samuel four times. When He finally replied with a faithful heart. God gave him a vision that was uncomfortable to share. (1 Samuel 3:1-15) But, God had a work to do and needed someone who had the faith to listen and obey. When Samuel stepped out the Lord blessed him. (1 Samuel 3:6-21) "19 Thus Samuel grew and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fail."
As all of believers are called to be disciples of Christ, we all have been called do something great. But, whenever there is change or growth there is almost always some growing pains. Be encouraged and have faith that trusting and obeying God will always bring you His blessing.
Your sister in Christ,
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. (Proverbs 27:6 KJV)
For the last several years I have been blessed and honored to have a friend, brother in Christ! I'm not just talking about your run of the mill friendship!!!
As I was reading the scriptures tonight this verse jumped off the page "faithful are the wounds of a friend.....".
I can't tell you how many times my brother has been wounded by the truths that I have shared with him.
In the same breath, I can't tell you how many times he has wounded me with the truths that he has shared with me!
Yes, a faithful friend is not going to back down or away when I am straying from God's plan for my life!!! A faithful friend has been given the right or authority to stop me in my tracks and challenge me!!! Yes, it's hard to swallow sometimes but, it is a wound, and wounds heals!!!
I would much rather be wounded by the truth coming from a faithful friend than to be covered in " deceitful kisses from an enemy"! Sure, I have enough sense to know who my enemies are! Sometimes though my enemy may be much closer than I realize!!! Rather than someone speaking the truth, they tell me what I want to hear!!! It's in that moment that I'm deceived! Tell me what "I want to hear" and you will see me on a path of destruction! It is for this reason I'm thankful for my brother in Christ, who is not afraid to judge my actions, speak the truth of the gospel into my life!
Most of all I'm thankful for my Heavenly Father, My LORD and SAVIOR Jesus, and the Holy Spirit!!
Have you sought out a brother or sister in Christ who will hold you to God's standards?
My journey to the cross begins with my heart. I was created by God, for God, and to serve God. Although I was never taught about Jesus or God growing up, I knew there was something more. My childhood was a difficult one filled with emotional, verbal, physical, sexual, and mental abuse. The cycle of abuse as it is called. This is the very reason I knew there was something more. Through all of that turmoil and discontent, I survived. Why? I know and believe what God says in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. God also states in Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart”. When we seek the ONE who holds our everyday, we will endure even the most tragic of circumstances. I know this because I am a SURVIVOR OF LIFE. I have struggled with many things in my life. For the past 13 years, I have struggled with breast cancer, but I know without a doubt, GOD has been and will continue to be with me. Another verse that speaks volumes to me is Isaiah 43:2, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” My name is Brenda Gibson and I am a grateful believer in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!