Category Archives: Church Ministry

Only Because You Made a Way

While listening to a sermon at a recent celebration service, I was moved with so much emotion, the Holy Spirit led me to write today’s blog story. Just before the sermon, a beautiful song (You Made a Way) was performed by a woman who has such an angelic, God-gifted voice. The message was so clear to me and brought tears to my eyes every time she sang the words “Only because You made a way.” When the song ended, she left the stage, and her husband delivered a powerful sermon with a similar message based on the Scripture, Romans 12:1-2:

”I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

A few messages stood out to me from the pastor’s sermon, and he made me think long and hard about the scripture verses, particularly the words “By the mercies of God” – or as the pastor kept saying ”In view of God’s mercy:”

  • You have never done anything for God that He owes you something, He has done everything for us that we owe Him everything!
  • What is in your view? There is one thing that should always be in front of you –it’s the mercy that God has already given you. “In view of God’s mercy” – even if He doesn’t do anything else ever again, He has already done it all!
  • He came and found you when you had no ability to find Him.

After hearing the sermon on that day, it became so clear to me and I remember thinking, “I am only here at this moment at such a wonderful celebration alongside many fellow Christians and living this joy filled life my husband and I now live, only because God tirelessly sought after me again and again!

I’ve looked back many times on my life thinking of my teenage years when I struggled with finding a purpose. It was difficult to understand why so many other kids seemed to fit in with the crowd so easily.  I envied their outgoing personalities and thought they were all so much more attractive compared to me. At times I remember being depressed and alone in my room wondering whatever would come of my life.

It touches my heart each time I read or hear of a young teenager who is being bullied at school. I remember those feelings just as if they happened yesterday. I realize when I hear these stories and think back to those times, God was with me then. He was also there in the many days to come, through all of my trials. I never realized it then, but sure can see it plainly now. It’s clear to see the plan God has had for my life unfolding before my eyes.

Why can’t we see that God is with us when we are struggling through the very trials where we need to have faith and trust in Him the most; to know that he will bring us through the dark days; and to trust that he is by our side during these times? It seems now when I look back, God allowed me to go through those trials because he was molding me into the person I am today. We cannot see the path while walking in complete darkness when we do not have our sights set properly. Focusing is so difficult when the light of Jesus is missing from your heart.

It’s difficult to fathom that such a great and magnificent God would want to seek out little ole me, the depressed teenager who sat in her room many nights feeling worthless. But He did so, and he seeks us all tirelessly, finding us wherever he needs to go to meet us and pull us out of our darkness. Each and every one of us is important to God!

The Scripture also says “but, be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind” – we ask God to change us sometimes, but we don’t do our part to actually change. God wants us to walk in deliverance and live freely. Something has to change in the way we think and we need to change our view! We must lift our eyes to where our help has ALREADY come from.  His mercies are new every morning!

God we thank you for your mercies, for leading us to this moment in time and for making a way for us to get here. We’re standing here only because You made a way!

God’s love is amazing and all we need to do is accept His Gift – the Gift of Jesus Christ, his son. Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior? If not, read on to see how you can accept this wonderful Gift.

Jesus has already paid the price for our salvation, and we are saved by God’s grace merely through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. If you believe you are a sinner and Jesus Christ died for your sins and rose again, you only need to ask Him for His forgiveness, repent or turn away from your sins, understand Jesus loves you, and accept Him into your heart, and you too can be saved by God’s grace through your faith.

If you do believe and want to experience the same peace we have come to know, we encourage you to pray the following prayer:

“Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. Please forgive me for my sins and help me to turn away from sin. I believe you died on the cross for my sins and rose again. Please come into my heart. I put my trust and faith in you. Please let your Holy Spirit guide me and change my life.

In your name I pray, Amen.”

If you prayed this prayer, you have been saved by God’s grace! We encourage you to seek out and find a bible-based church, where you can speak with the pastor about your new and wonderful salvation in Jesus Christ! Scripture: John 3:16

God is good, ALL THE TIME!

…feeling blessed!

The Best Words the Heart Can Speak

A quote from William Paul Young, best-selling author of The Shack, reads “Don’t ever discount the wonder of your tears. They can be healing waters and a stream of joy. Sometimes they are the best words the heart can speak.” I love this quote! Reaching back into the depths of dark trials will certainly produce these tears. Being able to share with others how God has pulled you through the darkest days of the storms can spark hope for those who can identify with your trials. Speaking from your tears shows others your heart and can reveal to them a path forward by realizing the journey you have faced and overcome.

The Holy Spirit has been speaking to me these past couple weeks about sharing testimonies. With the recent publishing of our book, many have asked about the origins and seem interested in the story of how we came to make the decision to write the book. The main purpose of our book is to share our testimony with those who may be going through similar trials as those we have endured; to provide comfort and hope for them knowing they are not alone; and to lead them to the solution we have found – the amazing gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ!

God sends us messages all the time and if we tune in to listen carefully, it is amazing to realize just how meticulously He plants these messages around us. My husband and I experienced a series of events over the course of this week sensing a strong message from the Holy Spirit:

  • This past Saturday we attended a Pastoral anniversary celebration and were blessed to meet many people at this event who shared their testimonies freely. They were also very interested in hearing our testimony as well.
  • Sunday was overflowing with discussions throughout the day centered on sharing our personal testimony with the world.
  • On Monday we attended a Bible study where the facilitator told us an interesting story about the previous day’s service at his church. He shared with us a vision or thought that came to him from the Holy Spirit, and began to speak of a new effort in the church to capture testimonies of members of the congregation. His thought was to have them speak and document their stories. The focus of their message on that day was prompted by the scripture Luke 1:1-5 and documenting things for those to come after us.

Scripture: Luke 1:1-5 NIV: “1Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us,  2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”

  • On Tuesday, we had a planned dinner with my cousin and her family. We had not seen them for many years and had not even met some of her family members as of yet. It was truly a blessing to us. My cousin’s son is the creative pastor for a church in Maryland. He shared with us that their church has started capturing member testimonies on video, which they will play for the congregation in order to demonstrate how lives are being changed by and in the ministry. At that moment I thought to myself just how many times we have been Divinely led to all of these conversations this week about the sharing of testimonies! These are the “light bulb moments” as I like to call them. When you realize how much the Holy Spirit has been knocking on the door of your mind and you finally “get it.”

I’ve known for the past few years now that sharing our testimonies was important to God, but I don’t think I have realized the magnitude of this importance. The Holy Spirit is surely teaching me this week that sometimes these are the best words the heart can speak!

Publishing our book, It’s All Good, A Story about Faith, Family and Living With and Surviving Tough Addictions for all the world to read was not an easy thing to do. In this world most of us are hesitant to expose ourselves and our secrets. But as William Paul Young has said in a recent episode of Restoring The Shack, we were meant to be open and weak. Being exposed is a good thing. God did not design us to live a hidden life. William Paul Young also said secrets are huge and powerful when we keep them hidden among the darkness and lies. But when we let them out, they lose their power over us, and we experience a freedom like never before!

We all have testimonies to share, and many of us keep them buried deep inside. I began this story today with a quote from Paul Young, and I would like to end it with another: “You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.” – William Paul Young, The Shack

My husband and I have discovered the sharing our testimony has truly set us free – it is an amazing feeling filled with relief and a peace we have never known. Do you have a testimony to share? Why not tell us about it in the comments below or share it with someone today. Reach for the best words the heart can speak. You, too will feel God’s amazing freedom and peace if you let the Holy Spirit guide you to do so today!

Feeling blessed!

It’s All Good

Click here to go to Amazon to Purchase “It’s All Good!” in print or e-book

Our book, It’s All Good! A Story about Faith, Family and Living With and Surviving Tough Addictions, is now available on Amazon.com in print and e-book versions. Read on to learn how the Holy Spirit moved us to write this book for God’s glory.

In October of 2014 I began jotting down tidbits of stories in a file on my computer destined for a book. I had no real plan for how it would all come together. However, one Sunday morning, the Holy Spirit spoke to me about His plan for the book. I never knew how strongly the Holy Spirit could move an individual.  On Sunday January 25, 2015, Pastor Lawrence Williams delivered a sermon at Changed Lives Church about the Authority of our Words. He spoke of the Power that God has given us to our words. Scripture: Mark 11:24 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Pastor Lawrence shared a personal testimony with the congregation that day. He spoke about his family being forced out of their home for 6 months due to broken water pipes and wiring not being up to code. He shared how difficult it was some days for a family of 4 to live out of a hotel room and continue to meet obligations of work, school, ministry and more. He said through all of this time, he maintained his strong FAITH and continued to show up to church each week with a smile on his face. All throughout this time he prayed and believed all would be well as if it were so already. Of course there was a wonderful blessing for their family after going through this trial. Their home was newly renovated once all was completed, blessing them with much more than they had ever asked for in prayer.

As he closed the story, my husband, Rich asked to speak. He told our Pastors and the congregation about his recollection of our Pastors coming to church throughout their trial. He commented on how they continued to meet the needs of the church. Rich said during that time he would ask Pastor Lawrence how he was doing, knowing it must have been a very difficult time. Pastor Lawrence’s response was often “It’s All Good.” Rich told the congregation, as he heard Pastor speak these words, he knew it couldn’t have been all good for his family throughout their difficult trail. Rich was amazed and impressed by Pastors’ powerful, inspiring and strong faith.

After Rich spoke that morning, Pastor Lawrence continued with a message to the congregation. He said if there are things we are praying for and they are not coming to be, possibly what we are praying for is not in God’s plan for us. Or possibly we are praying for things which are too small. Maybe God has a much greater plan for us. After the sermon, I thought of the words Rich spoke and what Pastor Lawrence had said. It was like a light bulb went off in my head. I had picked the name of our book long before I even put the first word on the page in October of 2014. I picked the name based on a plaque I had purchased for my husband about year prior. I believe that Sunday morning sermon, as well as Rich’s spoken contribution, was the result of the Holy Spirit moving them to bring a strong word direct from God to me. I felt God was pushing me to get busy finishing our book. The book is ironically titled “It’s All Good!” based on a saying written on the plaque which hangs in our kitchen. We so often have quoted it time and again since it was hung there in 2013. We purchased it soon after we first found Changed Lives Church, and accepted Jesus into our hearts.

I have prayed for so many things and people in my life and thankfully many of those prayers have been answered. However, the prayer I pray every day since coming to Changed Lives Church, is for us to be a blessing to someone “on this day.” I pray to be able to help someone in doing God’s work somehow “today.” I have started since Pastor’s sermon to pray now on a bigger scale. Pastor Lawrence helped me realize this book can be a much bigger blessing than I ever could have imagined. It could reach MANY who may not be crossing our paths on a single given day in our lives. It could be a blessing even after we have long gone from this world.

We pray others find our story inspiring and that it may spark hope for readers. We pray it and speak it as though it has already been such a blessing to MANY in Jesus’ name.  Amen!

Note: If you would like to purchase/read our book, follow the link to our Amazon page at the top of this post, and if it does inspire you, we ask you to consider leaving a review on the Amazon page to let others know.

Thanks to all our faithful blog readers!  God bless!

 

 

How a Motorcycle Ride Became a Blessing to a Sunday Service – Learning to Wait for the Lord

We must learn to trust God and wait on Him – for when we do, we learn that His timing is always perfect.  Today’s blog story actually began almost a year ago, but read on to see how the Divine diversions of the Holy Spirit moved us all for God’s glory in His timing to blossom just recently into a beautiful blessing.

Last fall, I was in the office of my place of employment one day assisting with the onboarding of a new team member, and asked him to tell me a little bit about his background. He reviewed his most recent work experience, and also gave me some information about his personal situation. He had been through some very difficult health trials in the past few years. He was praising God for bringing him through these difficult trials, and shared that he has been attending a Christian church in our area.  I found myself being Divinely diverted once again by the Holy Spirit, and I proceeded to tell talk about my Christian faith as well, explaining how my husband and I were first led by God to our home church. I began to sing praises of our Lord and how much He has blessed us through some very difficult trials. I also told him about our pastors, and how genuinely dedicated they are to spreading the word of Jesus Christ. During the course of the conversation, I offered him our church information card, inviting him to stop for a visit if ever in the area. Another one of our team members who was in the room providing training at the time, joined in the conversation and asked me why I had never given him a church card. I was abruptly stopped in my train of thought, finding it difficult for a few seconds to immediately respond. As I reflect back, I remember thinking about the reason why I hadn’t given the card to him, and being pleased to realize just how much my relationship with God has grown over the past 3 years. There was a time not so long ago, when I wouldn’t think to speak of my Christian faith in the work environment. It always seemed to be an expectation of others that the topic was somewhat taboo, or off limits in the corporate environment. The Holy Spirit has helped me grow and strengthen my relationship with God, so much so these past few years, helping me to realize how important it is to put Him at the center EVERY aspect of my life. I am thankful that I purposely share, speaking proudly and freely everywhere and anywhere I go about my Christian faith today.

So, when asked why I had never given a card to my other team member, I apologized and handed him one, inviting him and his wife to join us one day. Simply by sharing my Christian faith, I learned some things that day about my team member which I had never known, even though we worked on the same team for at least 5 years. He is a dedicated man of faith and has a powerful testimony about how he came to be saved in Christ Jesus. He also belongs to an evangelistic street ministry, routinely venturing into dangerous areas of the city streets. The members of his ministry reach out to those who are suffering from the chains of addiction, and they have helped many by sharing what Jesus has done for them. After speaking with him, I felt pretty confident that he would show up one day soon at one of our Sunday services.

Before long, weeks and months went by and there was no visit during that time. However, as I have learned by reading scripture, and my past experiences in life, it’s not our timing that is important, but instead God’s timing, which is always nothing short of perfect!

One Sunday morning not long ago, 3 motorcycles pulled up in the church building parking lot. To my surprise one of the riders was my team member, who had brought along 2 friends, all of them coming to worship with us on that Sunday morning. As my co-worker introduced his friends to me, one of them shared a brief testimony of his battle with addiction, and his desire and very recent efforts to come clean. As the service began, we took our seats, and experienced an awesome praise and worship service that morning. During the service, my co-worker’s friend gave his life to Christ and became a new Christian that day! We all praised God for allowing us to be part of such a powerful moment, and for using all of us for His great purpose!

A couple weeks later, the roar of motorcycles was heard once again outside our church building, as my co-worker and his friends came driving into the parking lot for another visit. This time he brought his wife along as well to join our praise and worship service. It was such a pleasure and a blessing to meet her and have them all share in our service. We enjoyed the fellowship with them and look forward to seeing them again one day soon at a future service.

Isn’t it amazing how God plans things out so far in advance using all of us like chess pieces, making such strategic moves to win the game for His glory every time? Do you have a similar story of how you may have had to wait on the Lord, and felt the diversion of the Holy Spirit for God’s glory? If so, please share it in the comments section. Thanks for visiting our blog, we hope you will be diverted back here again soon! Have a blessed day!

Scripture – King James Bible: Isaiah 40:31“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Put on the Spiritual Armor of God

Learn to put on the whole armor of God in order to fight off the evil attacks of the devil. Read on to hear what we have learned about suiting up with our spiritual tools. Lately it seems there have been attacks coming at us from multiple directions and in several different ways. These are not physical attacks that I write about, but instead, spiritual attacks in which the devil takes on different forms to cause a battle in our minds, or lead us backwards in our spiritual growth and thinking. When we experience these attacks of the mind, it can seem an overwhelming struggle to overcome them. In efforts to take control of our minds, the devil will tempt us with things we often find hard to resist. We seem to be too weak to fight these battles, and many times may not even recognize or realize these attacks are from the devil and his evil forces. Every day we must be reminded that when faced with such attacks, all we need to do is to simply stand in our faith and put on the spiritual armor of God -we should always be prepared (or suited up) to be able to use the tools that our Heavenly Father has provided for us.

My faith in God is strong and I can now feel the Holy Spirit guiding me on most every day. Some days lately, however, there have been attacks from what I refer to as “the evil forces.” I recognize them all as attacks from the devil (Satan), who can take on many various forms. Sometimes the attacks show up in the form of questioning of my actions by friends, co-workers and even family members. At times they will question what I’m doing and want to know why I am doing it. Sometimes the attacks come from my own conscious mind when I lack confidence to complete the path I’ve started on a given day. I begin to get negative thoughts and to doubt my capabilities. These negative thoughts begin to pop up in my mind showing up suddenly and can be very abrupt. As soon as I recognize them, I begin to pray that they will leave, and turn my focus on Jesus and God’s word. Finding some quiet time to read and meditate on Bible scriptures seems to immediately subdue them.

Sometimes I may not immediately recognize these negative thoughts, but then will find myself listening to a Christian Bible teaching show, reading a scripture in the Bible, or attending our home church Bible study, and the light bulb in my head will illuminate to make everything suddenly crystal clear again. I believe these are Divine diversions where God is shining the light for me to see and using the Holy Spirit to pull me closer to Him, even though I may not be consciously thinking about it. He is teaching me to put on the full armor which He has provided for us. I believe He does this with all of us. As I look back, I feel that he always has, but I did not recognize his presence before I became a new creation in Jesus Christ, never realizing He was there fighting with and for me all along.

We have been experiencing attacks against our beliefs, against the plans God has for us, and even against some family and friend relationships in the past several months. The Holy Spirit has Divinely diverted us from our instinctive fleshly reactions to these attacks by reminding us repeatedly about the whole armor of God.  See Ephesians 6:11-18 in the Bible

In response to the attacks, we have noticed the Holy Spirit providing Divine diversions for us to help send God’s message to us about putting on His armor. Some examples of our recent Divine diversions that have amazed us are listed here:

  • We have had a series of Bible study teachings this past month at our home church on Ephesians 6 and putting on the armor of God. If you are unfamiliar with this Chapter, I encourage you to read about this wonderful suit that God provides for us, and just how easily we can use it if we stand with him in faith. His armor consists of:
    • The Girt (or belt) of Truth
    • The Breastplate of Righteousness
    • The Footwear to fit our feet with the readiness of the gospel of peace
    • The Shield of faith
    • The Helmet of Salvation
    • The Sword of the Spirit
    • Prayer
  • While watching a movie a couple weeks ago the characters discussed standing in your faith and letting God’s truth fight the battles for you.
  • We have been flicking the channels on the TV and just at the right moment we stopped to hear a woman saying “You have to put on the whole armor of God” Then she explained the sword is the Word of God.
  • I watched a Joyce Meyer episode this week, in which she stressed the importance of knowing who you are in Christ, warning that the enemy always attacks our identity and we should be ready for his battles.

The devil does not like to see new Christians dedicating their lives to God. When he sees someone new putting Jesus at the center their life, he will begin to use any means to win them back. He wants to keep us from the eternal gift of life that God has for us, and tempt us into following him and all his evil ways. He will attack our righteousness and the things of God in our lives in any way he can.He will manipulate all who succumb to his tactics and lies in order to keep them from God’s truth. God teaches us how to think, and if we pray and ask him, he also will give us discernment so we can recognize the devil’s attempts to take hold of our minds. Using scripture and God’s word helps us ward off the negative thinking the devil tries to plant in our minds.

If you have been feeling similar spiritual attacks, we hope this blog post will help you recognize them simply as tactics of the devil trying to keep you from Jesus. We urge you to learn more about the whole armor of God, pray for God to help you, have faith and stand with Him. You will soon experience the victory in overcoming the enemy! It is amazing how God has positioned us to have this victory and once you have learned how to suit up, you can confidently stand strong with God having authority over the devil through all the days to come.

Put on the armor of God and be blessed on purpose today!

PS: Check it out: Joyce Meyer has a great resource available free online entitled “Knowing Who I Am In Christ” Here is the link for those who would like to check it out or download it. http://www.joycemeyer.org/articles/ea.aspx?article=knowing_who_i_am_in_christ

Blessed to be Chosen

In our weekly travels, we have met and come to know several local homeless friends, whom we routinely try to bless by providing a meal or a few hours of shelter from the weather. Even though it can be tough to find them at times, my husband feels the need to check on them to be sure they are OK during extreme temperatures. We feel God has chosen us to look after them and continue to reach out to others like them wherever we travel. We feel blessed to be chosen by God to be hands and feet on the ground doing these works. Read on to see how God turned the tables to instead bless us on one such outreach adventure.

My husband went looking for one particular friend who sleeps in his van outside of a local church building. When we arrived, he was not in his car. We noticed lights were on inside the church and figured they must be having a service, so we decided to venture inside to see if our friend was there. When we walked into the church sanctuary, we immediately realized the Pastor was speaking Spanish. We apologized for interrupting the service and were not going to stay since it was a Spanish service, but just then young couple rushed over to greet us. They were very friendly and welcomed us to the service. The young man suggested we sit with them, offering to translate for us. We sat down and the Pastor resumed the service. What a blessing it turned out to be for us and the Pastor as well. The message was truly one we felt was meant for us to hear. The Pastor told a story of how he was chosen to become a Pastor, but at first, didn’t really feel confident that he would be an effective Pastor. He told us about his journey and how he eventually came to know that pastoring was what he must do. He went on to point out examples from the Bible illustrating how God chose ordinary people who have a strong faith in Him. He told the story of the woman who only had a small amount of flour and oil – just enough to make one meal for herself and her son, but after being asked and providing bread for Elijah, she found the flour and oil was continually there to make more, as she trusted in God to provide what was needed. He told the story of Noah, and how he was asked by God to build an ark, how he built it in faith, while others did not believe. Instead they thought Noah was crazy, until after 120 years of mercy, the rains came and the others came knocking at the ark, but it was too late – God had closed the door on the ark.

Since the days of the ark, there have again been many, many years of God’s mercy for those who do not believe. Years that will come to an end one day. Those of us who know the truth, must reach out and show love, telling all we can about the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ. We must be prepared when the day comes. Even though this message was coming to us in Spanish, which we do not speak or understand, God provided a translator for us and it was perfectly clear. His message reassured us that being called to do God’s work may seem a bit overwhelming, too challenging or not the right fit for us at first, but we must remember that we were chosen for God’s specific plan due to our strong faith in Him. The Pastor also was clear in stressing if you are so blessed to be chosen by God to do a work, you must not turn your back and walk away. For if you submit yourself to Him and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you, God will certainly provide for you all the days of your life. It is a blessing and an honor to be an ordinary person called to do extraordinary work for His glory.

 

Feeling blessed!

 

Letting Go and Letting God

Who knew that we would be Divinely diverted so far from home to find a special Sunday church service to attend simply by “letting go and letting God?!” God surely uses all His children to bless and be blessed each and every day no matter where we may roam.

In between some activities, while we were traveling this past week in Florida, we stopped at a local department store to pick up a few items. My husband began a conversation with two women while at the store, and before long the subject turned to Jesus and our spiritual beliefs. These women showed their obvious love for Jesus and in turn, my husband proceeded to share his testimony with them. He mentioned that we were visiting our family and looking for a church service to attend this coming Sunday, but were unfamiliar with the area.

One of the women gave us her business card and wrote the name and number of the youth Pastor from her church on the back suggesting we speak with him regarding our search for nondenominational churches in the area where we were staying. My husband called him and spoke with the Pastor for 40 minutes on the phone. Both were blessed by this diversion and the sharing of their testimonies. We decided after the call that we would visit their church for Sunday service.

When Sunday came, we traveled to Unity Christian Church in Jacksonville, Florida. Everyone we met that day was very friendly and welcomed us with open arms. It was a somewhat small congregation and very obvious that those in attendance had a true love for Jesus, so much like our home church. We certainly were blessed and most definitely led to them by God that day. The Reverend who delivered the sermon is actually familiar with the area where we attend our home church in New Jersey, and told us that he travels to the area routinely driving trucks to make deliveries. He intends to visit our home church when he is in the area and would love to meet our Pastors. He said he can tell we have great Pastors who are dedicated to our Lord and Savior just from the short time he was in our company. It was such an enjoyable service and a great word from God. We are honored to know that God is using us, and thankful that all of these wonderful Pastors allow God to use them as well to reach and teach us all every day no matter where we may roam!!

We thank our sister in faith, whom we met at the department store, for allowing God to Divinely divert her that day. It was such a comfort to find this awesome church congregation, and to join them as part of their praise, worship and fellowship while we were so far from our beloved church family. We are so grateful to God for aligning things perfectly in bringing us together to praise and worship Him and to keep our paths straight.

Bible Scripture (King James): Proverbs 3:6: “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”

God is in control and we are at peace and amazed that we have finally realized that “letting go and letting God” is the best life secret we all could possibly learn! If you are struggling with life trials, and long to be free from such burdens, please reach out to God and I know you will find the same peace we have come to know today simply by handing over your burdens to our Heavenly Father and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you each day. He will help navigate the waters for you.

Be Blessed on Purpose today!

Bible Scripture (King James)

Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Matthew-11-28 “Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
John-14-27 – “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Are You in the Right Church? 5 Secrets We Have Discovered!

Today marks the 2nd year anniversary of the day God first led us to Changed Lives Church. We had visited several different churches in the past, even attending one for almost 2 years, before realizing we hadn’t found much growth in our relationships with God. Since coming to our new church, we now can see many obvious signs we are in the right church for us. Prior to moving to this new church, I had been discouraged with my job, trying to see how my role working for a huge technology company really made any bit of difference in this world. There were so many others who had what I felt were such important jobs helping people every day, such as social workers, physical therapists, doctors, nurses, community service workers, teachers, police officers, fire fighters, emergency medical technicians, and more. I prayed that God would help me find something more purposeful to do in life.

One day while searching online for a Christian event to attend in our area, a website came up in the search results for a brand new church recently established. The website proclaimed a new church where you are “free to be all that Christ created you to be,” indicating it was a church that “integrates faith with cutting-edge visual media, contemporary soul-stirring music, and an innovative message designed to strengthen your relationship with God and to walk out a Changed life.” The website indicated they were looking for people to help with building a new church. My husband, Rich, wanted to go to the church service the very next day, but the website indicated they met at 2pm each Sunday in an old church building which had been vacant. I reminded him we had plans with our daughter’s family the next day at the same time so could not make it. There was also a note on the website which indicated they held “launch meetings” at 9 a.m. on Sunday mornings in the Township Middle School Auditorium. My husband said he was going to attend, and I pleaded it wouldn’t be right to go to their launch meeting, because I felt it was a planning session. He was insistent on attending, and said I didn’t have to go with him, but he was going! So I went along with him and when we arrived, we heard such wonderful music and singing from the hallway. The music was just coming to an end, so Rich stuck his head in the door, apologizing for interrupting the meeting, and the Pastor called us in and said, “Praise God!”

On this very first day we came to Changed Lives Church, our lives were forever changed when Pastor Lawrence walked over to greet us and asked what brought us there. Rich told him his testimony and we explained the website search. As it turned out, the morning time slot was their new Sunday service – they were not actually holding services in the vacant church as the website had indicated. They explained they hadn’t updated the website yet with the new information. So again, I feel the experience is another example to us of being Divinely diverted by God to get to the service at the right time.

The Pastor spoke to us about Jesus, and right there and then we asked Jesus to come into our hearts and we accepted Him as our Lord and Savior. Pastor Lawrence and his wife, Pastor Celeste, hugged us and said “Welcome to Changed Lives Church!” The other members came over to hug and welcome us to the church as well. Rich has often described the moment in this way: “Everyone there came over to welcome us and I felt this incredible love and a special feeling I had NEVER known. I now realize that feeling was the Holy Spirit and He has been with me ever since, guiding me through life on this journey God has called me to…” Rich continued to speak to the Pastors and the other members of the church that very first day, telling his testimony of the trials he has been through in life with his past addiction struggles and his traumatic brain injury. Everyone there was very sympathetic and appreciative of Rich sharing  his testimony.

Not in any other Church had we ever felt so welcomed and felt such love and sincerity as we did when we walked into Changed Lives Church that very first day. It was so pleasing to us to find that Pastors Lawrence and Celeste wanted this Church to be a diverse, non-denominational, Bible-based ministry, and one where the main purpose was to reach out, show love in the community, and tell everyone we can about Jesus Christ. We truly believe God led us there and had called us to be a part of this wonderful new church. We have continued to attend services every week since that first day.

Here are some of the secrets we have discovered that may help you know if you have found the perfect church for you:

1)      You have gotten busy doing whatever God has called you to do in order to show love and spread the news of Jesus Christ in the community (without a thought of what others around you are, or are not doing). We have become Outreach Coordinators for our church and we are now partnering with other community organizations for fundraising and food drives, as well as reaching out on our own to the homeless community in our area. We do not judge others who may not seem to be doing as much. We are doing these things for our amazing God, so it makes no difference to us what others may or may not be doing on a daily basis.

2)      You have a renewed mind and spirit which also comes with an amazing sense of peace! Since accepting Jesus in our hearts and giving control of our lives over to the Holy Spirit, there is a strong faith and trust in God, knowing He will provide and take care of us.

3)     You can see the same purpose and mission in most others in your church congregation. Coming to Changed Lives Church has given us a family of caring brothers and sisters in Christ who sincerely want to know Jesus and tell everyone they meet about Him. We can honestly say everyone at Changed Lives Church feels just like a family member to us.

4)      Most Sundays you seem to get the feeling God is speaking directly to you through your Pastors. This is so true for us each week, and we realize how God uses us all to bless and inspire others.

5)      You  believe God has orchestrated things perfectly to lead you to your current church. Since coming to Changed Lives Church we have been attending Bible Study each week and learning more about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as well as just how we should be leading our lives and showing love in all we do every day. We have never learned so much or felt this close to God in any other church we have attended.

We hope this post will help you to find your best home church fit. If you have already found a home church you love, I invite you to share your story in a comment here. We’d also love to hear your thoughts and stories about being Divinely diverted throughout your days. Please comment to share a story and/or subscribe to our blog to continue to read our stories in the weeks to come!

If you are looking for a great church, awesome praise and worship, inspiring sermons from Pastors who are on fire for the Lord, and are or will be in the Southern New Jersey area, please look us up and come for a visit. Here is the website link for our amazing church:

http://changedliveschurch.org  CLC Logo