Sunday, October 4, 2009 My Testimony
I told you that I was going to tell my testimony that changed my life, and I hope and pray that this won’t be misunderstood, but rather that it may be used by the Holy Ghost for your benefit. I do not want to make anything out of myself by pride out of this. That said, I don’t know anyone with a similar experience and for me to come to terms with these events has been anything but easy. My true intent is for more to come to salvation in the name of Jesus Christ (Yeshua Meshiach), and that the true church, those who truly believe and obey, to be stronger and stronger, built up even to the head which is Jesus Christ.
Here goes. I remember when I was young—maybe four—my mother told me the gospel—that Jesus was perfect and took my sins and died for me, and that if I believed, that I would have eternal life. I don’t remember things well, but this event I remember. I believed at that moment, and just knew that this word was true, and I believed in Jesus. I remember my reverend teaching me so that I could take communion. I started reading the Bible as early in life as I could read. As I recall, I listened to the minister preach beside my parents and was expected to learn from the message, just as they were.
I believed, but it seems to me now looking back, I did not have a living faith like I thank God I know I have now. To me, there seems that I saw a lot of scripture as rules to be obeyed—which they do contain—but now God’s Spirit is stronger than ever in me and I hear—spiritually—His voice. The best way I know how to say it is that I don’t have a heart of stone but of flesh, and I have a whole spiritual rebirth that I know started, since I was born, when I believed the gospel, but has grown especially after the events I’m going to tell you. I believe I started on this path young, but in my teenage days I lost joy, and I think I became legalistic, and I would say my heart was not yearning for the Lord like now, but maybe religion to me was mental. I do want to say, we are to love God with our minds and hearts, but I had lost the heart.
When I left home for the Navy, I lost more than heart; I became a vile man. Not initially. I attended church for a while, but that faded. Then I started drinking heavily, and this led to many other sins. Some, I wish to carry the knowledge of those events with me to the grave. I would debate things of God and Scripture in conversations on watch, but then would make the vilest comments to others soon after. I would curse using God’s name, and worse things–in my mind, beyond that. You may be asking yourself why even disclose this? It is because I do love as commanded—but the reason is not to follow some rule, but to tell you of the grace I have found, the peace, the reconciliation with the God of the Universe; I love because He loved me. And I want to tell you, it is real. Change is real. God, though invisible, nevertheless is real. I want you to know, I am certain of this, God and His movement in my life, is real, and I have felt God turn His face from me, and then I realized what was within me—that is, Him. These things you can’t touch, true, but every man knows he has a soul, and whether he lies to himself or seeks truth, the spiritual, the intangible, is just as real as the emotions we have, even though we can’t touch them.
I felt that I was mistreated in the Navy. Now, hopefully a little wiser, I know that I brought so much on myself. I was wrong and my attitude was wrong. I got out of the Navy and had a chip on my shoulder. I hated people. I hated corruption in people with authority. I wanted to be left alone, and I always was a loner in many ways, but now I was a true misanthrope. I attended college for a semester, and didn’t know what was happening, but I was losing my mind. I will say this ahead of time, I strongly believe that this whole episode was spiritual, yet I realize too, now, that I have manic-depressive illness, and at the core of this problem is that I can’t sleep without medicine.
I started having my reality change—my perception. I began to read things into what normally is just minutia, and commonplace. I was very lonely, and started self-medicating—drinking, just to sleep. I did well in school, except English, and was working part time, but my world was falling apart. All this was to change (transform) my character—my being. I have always hidden much of what I truly feel, and this trait became more and more difficult and amplified, because I couldn’t relate anymore to others. This forced me to confide in God later, but first God pushed me to Himself, by perception and events. I understand now that Jesus knew what was in man, and was lonely and had to confide and have His most deep fellowship with the Father. He being without sin had only One who understood His mettle and whom He could understand fully—to relate. I had to turn upwards about these things, not being able to relate to others.
One day in my dorm room, I felt the weight of God’s hand on me, and I was forced to my knees. There was no option but to kneel. I asked, “What do you want?” I had started reading my Bible, and had read in The Revelation, about letters to seven angels of seven churches, and Christ said something like, “He who has ears, let him hear.” I felt like I heard—that is, spiritually. I also read of two witnesses, and was moved, I believe spiritually, to do just that—witness. I was ‘in the spirit’, but also confused about many things, because as these things took place, I was under attack by the devil. Not to mention, to act on things that are not concrete, but by faith, is extremely difficult at first. Faith takes practice, and is strengthened by using it. Let me mention this, one can have faith in things not true, which I have in the past, but knowledge of God’s Word, discernment, true doctrine, and deep fellowship with the Holy Spirit—The Spirit of Truth, leads one to truth.
Anyway, I took off, left school, and believing people could somehow hear me, I began witnessing to the world, or so I thought, in my truck. I went driving, by faith, and had no destination in mind but went, I believe by the Spirit. One thing I know now, that I was trying to force things by faith, and God I believe did not grant me all of my requests, to teach me that faith in faith, however strong does not do anything for a Christian, it is faith in the source of all power—God. We can do nothing apart from Christ.
I drove around, and that night tried to sleep outside of Kingstree, SC. What happened this night has to be one of the moments of time that made an impression. I was praying, and felt haughty, that I was going to do spiritual battle with satan. One thing that is ridiculous is how I was a patsy to the devil, in how I lived an unrighteous life, and here, after reading a few passages in the Bible I felt I was going to take him on. I screamed into the night air, “Bring it on, bring it on…” Then as I lay upside down in the truck, looking out the window, I saw a demon or the devil gliding toward me. I felt his evilness, and screamed in sheer terror, “Jesus help me, Jesus help me…” I think the Lord did not rescue me immediately to teach me many things, but one obvious thing was to not be haughty. By the way, I want to urge you to fight the devil, but don’t play-act or come half-hearted or ill prepared. You must fight with all you have, and even then only by the power of Jesus and God can you succeed. Please listen to this. I felt my soul and his fighting within me, and dealt with his temptations for a period after this. I can’t describe the feeling that you want to crawl out of your skin when you fight a spirit within. This was to make me grounded in God, in His Word. Another point I want to make is that every Word from God is precious; you must believe in it and live by it as if it was water in the desert, or food in a survival situation. I can’t underscore this too much; it is your life. I fought with this demon or the devil—I am led to believe it was satan himself, and I used the armour of God described in Ephesians. Let me make a similar point, the armour there described comes by prayer and the Word. Cherish and live by His Word.
From there I went to the mountains in North Carolina, and ended up calling my parents I think the next night. I was in a state of mind where I was in deep concentration and in a spiritual state. That’s the best way I know how to describe it. After a while at my parents I was driven to leave—I believe by the Spirit. I say this because the only voice in my head has always been my own, but the origin of voices may be from God or another–maybe some tempter. So I do know the net outcome of this journey was for the strengthening of faith, hope, and love, and this is not from the devil; so I have to reckon by discernment and the witness of the Spirit confirming, that this driving force and purpose was from God. Again, hide the Word in your heart and live by it; we walk by faith not by sight. The just will live by faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ. His Words are Spirit and Life. Listen to me!!!
I went traveling around the countryside praying and speaking out loud with no one in the truck with me. I realize now that at the very least God was witnessing to me. Also, I was sensitized to the end of time—at least things prophesized in The Revelation and throughout the Bible. I was shown many things during this time, and was to wrestle with God on the things shown me—that is, spiritually. I have seen one vision I know, and other than that dreams, and also the Spirit communicated to me through observation of things around me, or daydreams, or experiences due to perception, but mostly through wrestling with God on things, and without scripture these things would not hold the same validity. I say wrestle—I was not fighting, but I have felt a piece of the power of God that fully drained my whole being, and due to this, afterward, I grew stronger. I wrecked my truck in Illinois, and got a bus to Chicago, then to Montana. I rented a car to El Paso, walked to Juarez. I went to Chihuahua, then to Mexico City—all the time with the purpose of witnessing. I used to talk to people in parks, on the bus, on the street. By the way, I learned broken Spanish on the fly. Then I went to Chiapas, near Guatemala. I was baptized by two men in San Raphael, near San Lucas. Through men and God and His Word, I believe that baptism, is an act of obedience by faith, an answer of a new conscience to God, and it should be by water, and representing dying to ones sins and rising like Christ from the dead, the action should be immersion. It does not save, nor does it supersede the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire, but some did not receive the Holy Spirit until this baptism, and by obedience, when some did, they underwent this Holy rite. Jesus being perfect, not needing any cleansing, was baptized in the Jordon, to fulfill all righteousness, and the Holy Spirit descended on Him, for an example to us. I learned this in Mexico.
I began to wonder at what I was doing, and hadn’t called my parents since leaving. I regret what I did to them, and my reason that I didn’t want them to interfere because they didn’t understand what was going on, did hurt to them. I went back to Mexico City and called home at the Embassy. I reached an uncle and they got a flight for me back to the States.
Back home I went through a very difficult time, even under medication, and remember one night where I saw much revealed—things from God, and, the devil knowing this, and being the pervert he is, I underwent great temptation and I believed many false lies and false ways. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by Him. God’s Word is true. Salvation is of the Lord. Listen to me!!! I was led as by a nose hook, to even believing I was God, and then later the devil. Don’t be misled; learn the Way from God’s Word. There is no other Way, none, there is no other Way, all other ways lead to destruction, outside darkness, gnashing of teeth, weeping, torment, and one’s part of the lake of fire. Be grounded in God’s Word. Please listen!
After this God allowed me to resume some normalcy, and be able to work. I was medicated, and could sleep. I worked as a carpenter some years, and went back to school, studying physics. I remained focused on the Bible. I had some times when I was moved by the Spirit during this time. One time was right after 9/11. I fought with the devil this time also, and fell again. Not eternally, but I don’t know how to describe how one can fall into such starkly wrong doctrine, but I did, and I know that I had studied the Bible and believed all my life, but was found lacking. You do not know the wiles of the devil, until you have fought like this. Live by God’s Word! Since these things, I believe if you ask people about me, I think all will have to say I am a spiritual man, but also I have love—true love. I write these bogs out of love. My glory is God. My everything is God. My concern for you is Godly. I saw these things and went through these things for a reason. The times ahead—even now—are not good. The tempter is after your soul. You may want to ignore the Holy Spirit, and be lost. I have seen enough of Hell, not having even really been there to know that I don’t want any part of it. And the Hell I went through was temporary, so it is no Hell at all. But more than the negative of Hell is the abundant life in Christ Jesus. To learn of the Father, marvel at His Way, swim in His love, feel and be in his indescribable peace, know true joy, be free of sins gripping and binding shackles, to have hope, to relish in the joy of all that He is and that He makes His home in you. I am a witness to the change God has made in my soul and heart. I felt the pangs of evil seep into my heart when I believed in anything but God’s truth, but I feel the burning of the Holy Spirit, full of love and truth and freedom and joy, now, a spring of water coming from within, welling up to everlasting life. The satan would like you to think that what I am saying to you is nonsense, and smoke and mirrors, a jumble of words to make oneself feel good and positive. But listen, the Good Shepherd calls His sheep, and knows them by name, and His sheep know His voice. Spiritually, do you feel a yearning to love God? When you hear truth, that Jesus—being the only one who could take your sins, and pay the price for you, because He was perfect, and that, not to hold sin in your face but to love you forever, do you hear it. Man, hear it!!! Live by God’s Word!!! Love God!!!
I only hope that what I have gone through you can learn from, and that Jesus longs for you to come to Him, and find Him. I love you Lord Jesus.
Main Purposes and Roles of the Church
Greyson M Gambrell
Theology Ministry 504
June 11, 2011
The church has many directives and commands concerning its operation and reasons for existence. Just like there are many commands and instructions for believers in the Scripture, there are many commands and instructions for the church, the believing body of Christ which consists of gathering together of believers in Christ. The Greek ekklesia comes from ek kaleo, which means to call out, and has come to mean assembly. The corresponding Hebrew has the meaning of assembly, congregation, gathered and called out also. Thomas Oden makes a great point that “there is nothing more fundamental to the definition of the ekklesia than that they are loved by the son with a love willing to risk all for the beloved.” (see Eph 5:25). As one looks for the root and underlying theme of the Bible and God’s main point, one see’s that salvation has a common thread throughout. More underlying and giving reason to God’s plan of salvation is the fundamental principle of love. God is love. The law and the prophets hang on loving God with all one’s heart, mind, strength, and soul and loving one’s neighbor as one’s self (see Matt 22:40). In the New Testament, Jesus directs us to love one another, just as He has loved the disciples at that time and loves all of them now (see John 15:12). Christ’s followers are to not only love themselves but love others outside of the church (see Matt 5:46). We are even commanded to love our enemy (Matt 5:44).
In analyzing the main purposes of the church, certainly loving up, in, and out seem to be fundamental to its purposes and roles. In Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology, he understands “the purposes of the church in terms of ministry to God, ministry to believers, and ministry to the world.” Certainly the action carrying out the love up, in, and out is through ministry. He names the ministry to God as worship, ministry to believers as nurture, and ministry to the world as evangelism and mercy.
These seem logical as the main points of the purposes of the church, but there are some functions of the church that also apply as functions of the church. For instance, the administering of the sacraments is fundamental to the church. Perhaps this could fit under love of God, but it does not fit nicely to the three ministries of love up, in, and out. Luther even defined the church as “the congregation of saints in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the sacraments rightly administrated.” Also seen in this quote of Luther preaching, seems to be a fundamental purpose for the church. This may fall under nurturing or edification, but is so clear as a role it deserves special notice. In loving one another the church must have fellowship koinonia and have sincere and real brotherly love for the bretheren. Church discipline falls under edification, but is more than reproof by peers and deserves inspection individually. Collective prayer and intercession are important in the various roles of the church. One purpose that rises from the relationship of God with man is the fact that the Holy Spirit indwells the church. This is a role that rises from the loving intimacy of God with His church. Finally, the church has an enemy and is in a fight with satan and his host, and without a choice must be engaged in spiritual warfare.
So essentially there are three main purposes of the church: worship, edification, outreach; but also sacraments, preaching, fellowship, church discipline, prayer, housing the Holy Spirit, and spiritual warfare are also functions of the universal and local church. The next to last mention of the Holy Spirit is not due to its importance. It is the Spirit that really enables the church to fulfill the other purposes. Millard Erickson in Christian Theology writes, “Dwelling within the church, the Holy Spirit imparts his life to it. Those qualities which are his nature and which are spoken of as the fruit of the Spirit, will be found in the church: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal 5:22-23). The presence of such qualities is indicative of the activity of the Holy Spirit and thus, in a sense, of the genuiness of the church.” The church has unity and identification and purpose because of the Holy Spirit. Without God’s Spirit the church is another social gathering. It is a function and definition of the church that God dwells in man by the Holy Spirit.
Stanley Grenz comments on worship, “We are to be a worshipping community, offering to God the glory due His name. For this reason we may appropriately speak of the church as being gathered to worship.” Worship is important in its own rite. Grudem puts it this way, “Worship in the church is not merely a preparation for something else: it is in itself fulfilling the major purpose of the church with reference to its Lord.” Worship in the Old Testament was for the praise and exaltation of God. In the Psalms and The Revelation and elsewhere worshippers are represented as recognizing and declaring His greatness.
Edification and nurturing are the aspects of loving one another in Christ. This is done by preaching but as Erickson phrases it, “Note that edification is mutual up building by all members of the body, not merely the minister or pastor.” There are many vehicles for edification. Obviously preaching and teaching in the church are some. This is the primary means for instilling and maintaining the common commitment to shared values and mission of the church community. Luther says, “The surest mark of the true church is that in it one hears the pure gospel proclaimed.” Most assuredly if the truth is being preached, then people should be in the process of being transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ. This is done by preaching against sin and for change brought about by instruction on how to live and what to believe. This is by exposition of the Word of God and is a necessary function of the church. This was also modeled by Jesus as He taught in the synagogue.
Edification should also be done by members as they help each other in their walk with Christ. Part of edification is when the churches members minister to the needs—both material and spiritual—of each other, while sharing burdens, encouraging and admonishing, and nurturing. Education and teaching are also means of edifying by instruction other the pastor (see 2 Tim 2:2). The Koinonia calls for Christians to work together, have fellowship, and edify one another in this fellowship, up to the head which is Christ. Christians are to love each other and build each other up so they are more Christ like. We are to share each other’s burdens and help each other when one is struggling.
Something that is obvious to edification but often neglected or ignored is the importance to have church discipline. The point of discipline should be edification and especially redemption. Brad Harper and Paul Metzer explain in Exploring Ecclesiology:
While Christ’s grace is a fierce grace demanding repentance and life change, it is grace nevertheless. As the gospel of God’s grace in Christ is no shallow system of behavior modification, neither is church discipline. Grounded in the gospel, it is always a call to respond to the unconditional holy love of God. Only when church discipline arises out of this foundation can it be redemptive.
Church discipline is Scriptural and was described by the Lord as recorded in Matthew 18:15-17. Jesus describes rescuing a brother from sin by personally accosting that person by a lay member, not the pastor. Then the protocol is to get more to confront the sinner. Finally the church must excommunicate the person for a season. This function is part of the church and is like a person cutting off a cancer it is necessary to continue on in health. Calvin believed that “love for one another required just and nurturing discipline of the church body.” This is a role that some churches seem not to show outwardly. So much apostasy is tolerated today that the true recourse for sin is not taken when really church discipline is necessary for the bride to keep herself. This is a purpose of the church as much as worship, even though neglected, because the redemptive work of Christ is expected to be practiced by the church as His body.
Evangelism is clearly directed by Jesus to the apostles and disciples of Christ by the Great Commission and in the period of the forty years after the resurrection. This, according to Grudem, is the primary ministry that the church has toward the world. Certainly, the truth of this statement lies on the everlasting importance of the nature of spreading the Gospel. Evangelicals simply equate “evangelism with the verbalization of the good news, asserting that the outreach mandate of the church lies squarely on the task of declaring the gospel message throughout the world,” according to Grenz. If the Church does not evangelize, Erickson goes on to say, “it will become spiritually ill. For it will be attempting to function in a way its Lord never intended.” The final goal of evangelism should not just be saving people, but making disciples that are taught to obey all Christ commands. The church is always within one generation of being extinct. The attitude of Christians in America is evident how within one generation the climate toward Christianity can claim. China is an example how powerful a simple message of Jesus Christ’s Gospel is hard to keep down even in a climate of repression and persecution. These purposes of the church do not necessarily have a priority but should we neglect the evangelization command we are sick and that local church is set up for death if there is no influx of new believers.
Part of outreach to the world is also simply ministering to the outside world with service. Grenz writes: “our task, however, is not limited to the expansion of the church’s boundaries. Rather, it includes sacrificial ministry to people in need. Outreach, therefore, entails service.” George Boardman mentions, “It is the mission of the church to serve God by serving man. The church is a workshop, a teacher, a reformer, a peace maker, an up builder; in brief the church is God’s agent in administering His kingdom on earth.” This falls under Paul’s eagerness to help the poor, and James’ description of the church taking care of orphans and widows. This is hands on ministry, and as a witness to the world waiting to criticize the church, it is hard for someone to speak ill of acts of mercy and righteousness in love.
The sacraments of God are given by God for the church to administer. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are two essential sacraments that God has given for members of the church. Baptism is for a confession to God and pledge of a new conscience to God that the individual believes in the Gospel and that that Christian identifies with Christ in the death and resurrection of Christ by the act of Baptism. It is an initiation in to the church. The Lord’s Supper is the remembrance of the sin sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the fact that one has eternal life and forgiveness of sins by the body and blood of Jesus. Communion is the central sacrament because of its center being on the Gospel of Jesus.It may be arguable that there are other sacraments, but at least there are these. Thomas Oden writes, “the right and proper use of the sacraments is a sign of authenticity in the church.” Oden relates how Luther argued “(against medieval scholasticists) that only word and sacraments are necessary to the existence of the church, and (against left-winged spiritualists) that without word and sacrament there can be no church.” The number of rites given to the church to follow are not many, but the ones given where given by the instruction and example of Christ and therefore must be reverently and obediently observed. It is left to the church as a function for it to administer. This is an extremely important function of the church to obediently carried out.
Finally, the act of spiritual warfare seems to be left out of the purposes of the church by many of the writers of systematic theologies. Perhaps it is included under some other section of their writings. It is a de facto situation that the church is in spiritual warfare with satan and his hosts. Part of the function is to fight not against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities. Jesus, immediately after being baptized and in many ways beginning his ministry, was led to the wilderness to fight the temptations with satan. This fight was not just defending ones faith by resisting temptation, but was offence by use of the sword of the Spirit by use of the word of God. Christ as our example shows that we must fight against the wiles of satan by spiritually fighting. The gates of hell will not prevail against the church but that does not mean it will not wage a great war against Christ’s church. If satan fought against the King, what about His kingdom. I think that this purpose is ignored to our harm. It is our command to overcome evil with good, that does not change the fact that it is an all out war with satan and his forces. The victory is by Christ and is attained by the church by faith. If the church ignores that it is in war with satan, then it is deluded and obviously cannot fight effectively.
These purposes are not all inclusive, but through research it seems that it covers many of the purposes of the church of Christ. The church is the body of Christ and is the beloved bride of Christ. The body, as the wife, should look to the husband as a faithful wife seeking to be obedient to her husband. We are to be about fulfilling the role of becoming a chastened bride and we should fulfill all the functions and purposes of the church. The better the church understands the purposes why it exists and what functions is entrusted with, the better it can please God and function well as Christ’s believers and body inhabited by the Holy Spirit. With God’s help the church can fulfill its purposes and functions and please God who is the head of all things. Many churches focus on just worship. There are many purposes of the church and the church would do well to see to all facets of the responsibilities are seen to and addressed. Studying this subject is very informative about the nature of the church and sheds light on what the church is to be about daily and when gathered. Faithful application of effort to these purposes can make the church more effective and will definitely make the church more healthy and powerful.
Boardman, George. The Church. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons,1901.
Erickson, Millard. Christian Theology. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1998.
Grenz, Stanley. Theology for the Community of God. Grand Rapids: Eardmans, 1994.
Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000.
Harper, Brad, and Paul Metzer, Exploring Ecclesiology. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2009.
Oden, Thomas. Systematic Theology. Peabody, Ma: Hendrickson, 2006.
Thorsen, Don. An Exploration of Christ Theology. Peabody: Hendrickson, 2008.
 Millard Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1998), 265.
 Thomas Oden, Systematic Theology (Peabody, Ma: Hendrickson, 2006), 273.
 Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000), 867.
 Grudem, 865.
 Erickson, 1049.
 Stanley Grenz. Theology for the Community of God (Grand Rapids: Eardmans, 1994), 490-91.
 Grudem, 867.
 Erickson, 1066.
 Erickson, 1064.
 Grenz, 472.
 Oden, 299.
 Grenz, 496.
 Brad Harper and Paul Metzer, Exploring Ecclesiology (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2009), 176-77.
 Don Thorsen, An Exploration of Christ Theology (Peabody: Hendrickson, 2008), 323.
 Grudem, 868.
 Grenz, 502.
 Erickson, 1063.
 Grenz, 504.
 Ibid, 505-06.
 George Boardman, The Church (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons,1901), 45.
 Harper and Metzer, 358.
 Ibid, 362.
 Oden, 300.
 Oden, 272.
How to Remain Connected to the Vine: A Plan to Sustain Spiritual Health
First, I think one key is to accomplish the work that God sets in front of oneself as this sustains one spiritually. Jesus said He had food to eat that the disciples didn’t know about, this was to do the will of the Father. This does not mean that a pastor has to fill all the roles that everyone has in their mind for them, but His job is described in scripture and involves caring after the Lord’s flock. I have a busy schedule now, but the work I do involves training in this Masters of Ministry program. I try to learn with all my ability the useful things in each course so I may be a better witness. The things on my plate I try to do in the name of the Lord and I think that means to the best of my abilities and in His strength. I think the Lord sustains a person to do the chores set before one and actually it spurs one on to do more because it is the will of the Father. The key I think is that the will of the Father may be to delegate and let disciples step up to do certain tasks, to enable a pastor to be in the Word and have a lot of devotion time to pray.
Prayer and time in the Word are essential to everyday life for a Christian. I can tell when I feel dry spiritually. I need His Word to nourish me and I need communication to commune with God and draw close to the Lord. Praying sets a person up for God’s guidance and presence in one’s life. A man or woman of God must be men and women of prayer by definition. I think that scheduling a set time on the calendar to pray safeguards that time and ensures time for this foundational activity of a man of God. I think that it is important that the instruction of praying without ceasing, which takes discipline and the Holy Spirit, be something always something to be pursued. I fall short in this command, but when on a walk or in the car or even while at work or recreation one should be in constant prayer. There should be time set apart for prayer but on the other hand prayer should be a constant in all times. I think that Jesus modeled needing time that He withdrew and that this was a special time of prayer. My plan is to set apart a chunk of time to pray each day, and not only this, but if I feel dry or emotions telling me I need a special time of withdrawing then I know that I need to do just that withdraw and pray. Even fast if need be. An Olympic athlete goes all out in his training and doesn’t apologize for doing what is necessary to assist in him winning. As men of God we sometimes still want to leave one foot as regular people and one foot attempt to be spiritual when proper. I think that living like Jesus and walking like He did is by nature radical and we need to do radical things like seek God through fasting and prayer by withdrawing and other ways to seek God in a deep way. The Spirit intercedes with groans and so often we want to damper our yearning for God because it may be misunderstood and it is not normal. Right now I want to chisel out a half hour devoted to prayer and shoot for more than that each day. This is very important for me now as I am very busy, but also take advantage of times when I can pray all during the day also.
I think time to read the Word and let God speak to one’s soul is vital. Blocking out time for this is important because a preacher who is not being shown precepts and truths from God is not in tune with what the Spirit is desiring that the preacher share with God’s flock. I am not a preacher now but I am dry spiritually without God pouring out His Word into my heart. I need time daily to be searching and seeking in God’s Word. I want to try to be more disciplined and schedule time in the morning to read and in the evening also. I am more alert in the evening but I think that starting the day with the word is very important and is a way I fall short. I read how Billy Graham read five Psalms each day I think in the morning. I have always looked up to Billy Graham as a true man of God.
I think devotion to education about the Bible and subjects that can assist one in their witness are important also. For instance, learning Hebrew and Greek, and maybe another language to speak to others about the word is a goal of mine.
All this also requires time to decompress and rejuvenate and right now I am trying to walk about a half hour each day to help keep my body in shape, which is not the case now. I think that entertainment is important to a limited degree. I find TV useless and actually temptation in many ways. I think that it is important to have interests that one can do to enjoy life, but it is also important to prioritize these under God’s work.
I work at a cabinet shop and am keeping myself busy reading and painting and many other pursuits. I believe God has me where He wants me. I’m just glad I’m His.
Hey. Making cabinets and active in church. I am a deacon and teach Sunday school. Helping my uncle Bruce. Learning piano (key board). I thank God for good days. Love all my friends. Jesus is the Way. Don’t go through life and miss the only way to eternal life. Love y’all. Greyson
Still teaching. About to finish school and be on summer break. Going to try to do some wood work with Uncle Wade. Been busy lately and even went camping with 7th and 8th graders. Great kids. Saw my buddy Proctor and we had a great time and remembered a challenging Nuclear Power School. Good to see him and his family. I love all of y’all and if you read this shoot a prayer for me, I sure need it. Love, Greyson
Hey y’all. Still teaching and preaching some and keeping the faith. Looking forward to Spring break. Love you, Greyson
Starting a new year and getting back to work. Hope you have a happy new year, and find fulfillment in Jesus Christ the Lord.
Hey. Hope y’all are fine. I am still teaching and preaching at a local nursing home. I would like everyone to pray for the persecuted church. Times are bad and we shouldn’t have an attitude that problems are just “over there.” We are all one in Christ. Please pray for the church and those in harms way. Thank God we have a loving Father. He’s going to take us home.