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A Confident Assertion

confident-assertionAs we come to the end of our Spiritual Life Emphasis, I was reflecting on the words of David in Psalms 56:8-9. Speaking to God, David says, “You Yourself have recorded my wanderings. Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your records? Then my enemies will retreat on the day when I call. This I know: God is for me.”

Notice a few things with me—God sees. God knows. He knows our wanderings. He knows the times we have strayed. He is aware of the times we have let Him down; the times we have let ourselves down. He knows. 

But beyond knowing, He cares. I love the image that David uses here of God storing our tears in His bottle. He does not record our times of wandering to use them again us—He records them because we are important to Him. He values us. He takes notice of us. He cares about us. And since we are important to him, what happens to us is important to Him. He knows, He records, He stores because He cares. That gives us hope as we approach God. 

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Where to Go

WhereOften people ask me how I ended up in New England when I grew up in Oregon. The quick answer: God. However, the details of the story go something like this:

“Where would you like to do your internship?” the student ministries secretary asked my junior year of Bible college.

First words out of my mouth with very little thought, “I’ve never been to New England, how about there?”

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Never Alone

Never-AloneWhat if we really lived as if we were the sons and daughters of the God of the universe, the God who created us, who formed us in our mother's womb? Our Heavenly Father who knows us better than we know ourselves and created us for Himself. He has a plan and a purpose for our lives every day. He knows what we need even before we know it.

Recently my father-in-law passed away in South Carolina, where he lived with his wife of sixteen years. While we were waiting for others to arrive at the funeral home, we were in a large room with a few sofas and comfortable wing backed chairs. I was standing there wondering where we were going to stand to receive people coming to pay their respects. I finally asked where were we should be and I was told, "It is a relaxed atmosphere unlike the north." Unfortunately, many people did not come over to my husband. We were just there and felt out of place and alone.

The following day was the funeral. Again, through our grieving, there was no one to support us, or so we thought. At the end of the church service, as we were leaving the church to go to the gravesite, there were two couples from our home church! God, who knew our need even before we knew it, sent these dear friends for us. He knew we needed someone to hug us so we could feel supported and loved. God knew!

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Guest — Donna S.

Evangel Blog

Great Post!! Very inspiring!!
Sunday, 06 March 2016 20:08
Guest — Steve n Sue Devereaux

welcome back. We are glad that...

Welcome back. We are glad that you went as a witness for Christ. Xoxox Steve n Sue
Friday, 11 March 2016 03:39
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Impossible Made Possible

AfricaNelson Mandela once said, "It always seems impossible until it's done." Think about it. Thirty years ago, who could have imagined the possibilities of sending information through cyberspace, printing three-dimensional items, or even a mobile computer you carry in your pocket. Yet it takes someone with great imagination and the ability to set aside what was thought possible and allow the impossible to come to life.

While I was reading this week's chapters, I could not help but think about how people's misconceived ideas keep them from experiencing a full and impactful life. If we tell ourselves that something is impossible, it becomes impossible. Yet, if we are willing to press the envelope and believe for greater things, we may be pleasantly surprised by the outcome. I am not talking about the power of positive thinking; rather the power of theological thinking that adds God to the equation.

As I am reading the stories of Helen Keller and Mark's friend Charles, I am immediately reminded of Pastor Eric Mncina from Siphofaneni, Swaziland. I met Eric in 2012 on our first trip to Swaziland. We were helping build a church for another pastor where Eric was a member of the congregation. Eric's career was running his own construction business, but he lived to give his all to God. Shortly after we returned to the states, Eric lost his left arm from the elbow down while working on the church. Despite being a very successful contractor who employed numerous workers, he lost his business because no one would hire him. Everyone assumed a one-armed man could not do a job. Boy, were they wrong!

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A Real Invitation

a-real-invitation.jpg"Do not worry." Those were three words I was often told as a child. The other four words were, "It will be okay"...with a little bit of exasperation added in.

I was a child given to bouts of worry and anxiety often. In fact, I don't think my parents quite knew what to do with it. As I grew, the worry and anxiety didn't go away - the types of things I worried about simply grew with me into adulthood.

It wasn't until I had kids, lost both of my parents, and experienced a few other major life changes that I realized the amount of worry and anxiety that my little insides tried to manage wasn't really normal. Furthermore, the crisis or major life changes I experienced threatened to send an almost manageable worry problem into something that would control me.

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Guest — Joy Hibsher

"A Real Invitation," by Christ...

I continually try to visualize what it would look like, if I would submit everything to the power and sovereignty of the Holy Spir... Read More
Monday, 22 February 2016 08:39
Guest — Christan Causey

RE:"A Real Invitation," by Chr...

Joy-thank you for reading and responding! I love to hear your thoughts. For someone such as yourself that has experienced as you s... Read More
Wednesday, 24 February 2016 22:01
Guest — Joy Hibsher

RE:"A Real Invitation," by Chr...

I am humbled by your response, Christan, as I have spent "way too much" time pursuing "Whys" rather than "What ifs." However, thr... Read More
Thursday, 25 February 2016 14:46
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Making Room for More of You

Abbie blogWho would I be if I were all God created me to be? What would that person look like?

In Christianity, we are given the glorious high calling of representing Christ... His love, goodness, mercy, and selflessness. I cannot be the only one who finds myself not making the cut of "perfection" every day. In fact, some days, I feel closer to resembling the vindictive antagonist in a horror movie than looking like Christ. You know, the one that makes you yell at the TV screen like, "Dude, what is your problem! Just be nice!" Yeah, scary. The truth is that the task of looking like Christ is an impossible one at best without full empowerment by the Holy Spirit. (And a full night's rest). Likewise, the Spirit at work in us is only possible when we empty ourselves to make room for Him. Author Mark Batterson has what he calls "the theory of everything" since in everything, you need the Holy Spirit and that He is the answer for everything you need. Through my 23 years on earth, I have found that I NEED the Spirit alive in me to be the best me I can be; and that comes through times in His presence.

Every Sunday we hear words like "prayer," "worship," "Bible reading," and "time with God." We know these things are good for us. We know they are incorporated elements of good Christianity. However, how often do we apply these disciplines to our daily routines? Our author explains the spiritual disciplines this way:

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A Reason to Smile

PerceptionThere is no denying our perception of the world affects the way in which we live. Whether it is the prediction of a looming New England winter storm, which of course means a trip to the grocery store to buy milk, eggs, and bread! Or the potential of a job change at work affecting our productivity. Even the possibility of a relationship clash can lead to avoidance or aggression.

These are simple examples; however, the underlying truth points to the way God has wired us. While humans are stuck living one minute to the next, we have the ability to know time is moving forward and the current moment has an impact on the future. When we make decisions in the present moment, we understand there are consequences. You might be one to make quick decisions or prefer to take your time to deliberate; regardless, we are faced with countless decisions in life. The more science studies the brain, the more we realize humans are bad, if not, incapable of predicting the future. Yet, this doesn’t change the fact we know our decisions have a profound influence on our future.

When we look at our relationship with God in light of this limit to human reasoning, it reveals a potential source of our difficulty in accepting God’s direction in our “What If?” moments. We approach our interaction with the Divine as though we have to know the potential outcome ahead of time. This reduces our relationship to God to a transactional relationship focused on a one-for-one way of praying. Instead of embracing God as our good and loving Heavenly Father, we view God as though we have to make a case for our existence. Author Mark Batterson explains it this way:

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What If...

whatifweek1imgAs we begin this Spiritual Life Emphasis, "Trading Your If Only Regrets for God's What if Possibilities," I was thinking about a verse the author of our devotional book shares in chapter one. It is Jeremiah 46:17. I like how the NIV puts it, "There they will exclaim, 'Pharaoh king of Egypt is only a loud noise; he has missed his opportunity." In Isaiah 30:1, Egypt is called "the do- nothing." There is a fascinating story behind these verses that our devotional writer does not tell you. Let me tell you about it!

If I were to say to you, Lexington and Concord or Normandy Beach, or the Twin Towers—your mind might automatically go to the Revolutionary War, WWII, or the terrorist attack on 9/11. Well, in the times that the Old Testament was written, if someone said, "Carchemish," everyone would think of one of the greatest battles in the ancient world. At Carchemish, Babylon smashed Egypt. Egypt was the world's reigning superpower—but this battle changed everything. It was a decisive victory. The balance of power in the Middle East changed forever because of this battle. If you are a New England Patriots fan, maybe you remember when the Pats beat the Titans 59-0 on Oct. 19, 2009. There was no doubt who won! Well, at Carchemish, Babylon won. Hands down.

Recent Comments
Guest — EH

The possibilities are endless.

I'll admit, I think about the "if only" from time to time. The recent record setting jackpot is an example of this that I think ma... Read More
Sunday, 31 January 2016 23:21
Guest — Pastor Brian

RE:The possibilities are endle...

That is a very interesting thought! I'm so glad you shared it! If you think about it, we have already won-big time-in Christ. Let'... Read More
Monday, 01 February 2016 09:26
Guest — Tracey Coleman

Living with regret

In looking back on my life, I can honestly say I have no regrets. I could have done things differently, maybe a decision here or... Read More
Monday, 01 February 2016 10:32
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Why Alpha?

Alpha: The Beginning by Rev. Lori Canaday

event image alpha

People often describe the way they establish their belief system as a journey. A journey, by definition, is a trip from one place to another. In our journey of establishing a belief system, we must begin in one place. Typically, this journey begins in a place of questions. Questions such as, “Why am I here?” “What’s my purpose?” “Is there a higher power?” “If there is a higher power, why do bad things happen?” or “What happens after life?” are usually found in this place. These are natural questions that, as humans, we will eventually find ourselves asking. If we really want to explore and settle the answers within ourselves, we need a safe environment; an environment that will allow us to work through these questions with others in a non-judgmental atmosphere. The Alpha Course provides that safe, non-judgmental environment, and operates as a starting point for many people on this journey.

One participant of The Alpha Course shares this:

“Doing Alpha was a wonderful experience for me. It helped me find answers for many of my questions. Some questions were questions I had never really considered; others were questions to which I thought I had an answer but was still unsure of that answer. At Alpha, I was encouraged to consider and reconsider these questions, to look at them in another way - with Jesus as the focal point. I learned how to better keep Jesus at the front of my mind and how to help maintain relationship with Christ through prayer.

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Kids Hope USA - Making a Difference

2e1ax default frontpage KidsHopeUSAVertical

For six years now, Evangel Assembly has been partnering with Daniel B. Brunton Elementary School in Springfield, pairing at-risk students with caring church members for one-on-one mentoring sessions each week. It's all part of Kids Hope USA, a program that seeks to pass on hope and encouragement to students whose academic success is threatened by things like transience, poverty, family health issues, and domestic violence. Research has shown that 99% of the children who participate in Kids Hope USA benefit in some measurable way – either in improved classroom behavior, better grades, or simply a more positive attitude. Teachers and administrators at Brunton are quick to confirm that the program works. They're seeing these positive changes in their classrooms first hand.

Currently, sixteen members of Evangel Assembly participate in Kids Hope USA. Each has attended a three-hour training session and has passed a background check. Most meet with their student during the lunch hour, or first thing in the morning. All are whole-heartedly committed to these important weekly sessions.

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