Messages from the Pastors Desk

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At first, I thought about completely staying away and resting from church ministry. So, I planned not to come to church for any reason even when I am in town. Instead, I thought about attending different churches to experience different styles of worship and learn from them. We loaded our belongings into a Budget rental truck while it was snowing, towed a white Honda Accord LX, and drove 1, miles in four days and three nights. We made stops to sleep in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Alabama. We arrived in Houston on Saturday, December 3. The church helped us to find an apartment on Jones and West Rd.

Several deacons and their wives from the church helped us unload our If the Bible says it is, then it is. If the Bible says do it, then we do our best to do it. This is the spirit of the New Testament church. Since we teach what tithing is through Class and Living Life Bible Study, I will not go in detail to deal with it.

From the Pastor's desk

But just briefly, all throughout the Bible, tithing is used to do mainly three things. One, to express our gratitude to God. Two, to demonstrate our faith in God. And three, to protect us from worshipping and idolizing money. Therefore, tithing does all these three If they are from Houston, we are very strict with them. If you are interested, just call the church office and we will be able to direct you to the right board. Finally, you can become a good steward by inviting your friends and family members to our services on Sunday mornings. This last area is one that I am going to commit myself to doing in the upcoming year and beyond.

I am going to commit myself to becoming a better steward by inviting people who I meet out in the community and in the Greater Rochester-Area to our church, just like my friend Tony Ruffin did for me. You never know; inviting someone out to church on Sunday morning could possibly transform the trajectory of their life and their personal relationship with Christ. So—if you have been wrestling with trying to find out what you can do for your church, you can start by simply extending an invitation to your friends and family.

In conclusion, keep in mind what Jesus said to Peter and Andrew as they were standing in their boats, fishing in the Sea of Galilee.

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Can you believe that it has been seven months since I arrived as your new minister? Time surely does fly. We do this because life can get so busy with a laundry list of things that we have to do; and, I think it is imperative for us to pause every once and awhile to take a sabbath i. We have to take time out to unplug and think and reflect about what we are actually doing and, why we are doing it.

So—let me encourage you to take a daily, weekly, monthly, and an annual sabbath. A time to just rest; to rest from the day-to-day grind; to rest from perpetually thinking about all the things that you have to do; and, to rest from trying to help everyone around you when they are in a bind.

On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation. Pastor Michael L. Let's Pray!! So, let me encourage you to do just that, pray. It is imperative for us as Christians to patiently persist in prayer. Every night before bed, she would have me kneel down at the bedside to pray. It was those seeds of prayer that my grandmother planted inside of me that have sustained me and cultivated my spiritual journey throughout the years.

As many of you know, I am a night owl. I stay up sometimes until around 2 a. If you were to ever ride past the parsonage during the hours of 11 p. This is not a new practice that I just started. I have practiced the art of praying for years. And, let me tell you this, it has been prayer that has sustained me and kept me through the years.

A message from the Pastors Desk

Finally, remember that prayer is not just you speaking to God. Prayer has just as much to do with listening as it does speaking. Remember to take time out to practice what some call listening prayer.

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When you are in bed at night, listen. When you are riding down the street in your car, listen. When the winds of life begin to blow, listen. Listen to the still small voice; listen to the music that plays in your own heart; and, listen to the voices of those around you sometimes God answers our prayers through the unsolicited advice of others. Finally, I leave you with the words of the Apostle Paul: The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

Whatever it is that you are working towards it will take persistence. Because nothing worth having comes easy. Therefore, let me encourage you to persist. Persist in your relationship with your children; persist in your marriage; persist in your spiritual life; persist in your health goals; persist in prayer; and, after you have persisted, persist some more. Persistence will give you the ability to conquer what appears to be unconquerable. Finally, it is my prayer that God will give you the strength, the ability, and the mindset to persist!

Dave Downer

It may lie low for a little time, but will come back all the fiercer [like a fiery blaze] for having been suppressed. I have been thinking a lot lately about a sermon that I preached on the last Sunday in April. Let me take this time to tell about when I experienced a great crisis in my faith—It was when I enrolled in seminary at Lincoln Christian University. I had grown up in a theologically conservative environment. So, when I got to seminary, I was surrounded by a lot of different theological views. When I was in seminary, for class I had to read Ancient Near Eastern religious documents that were parallel to some of the Scriptures that we have in our Bible.

I also began reading and interpreting the Bible in its original languages. I have to admit all of this was a bit overwhelming for me. As a result, I began straddling the fence.

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It was an extremely challenging time. However, as the years went by, I continued to pray, study, explore my spirituality , and even discuss my concerns with other pastors, scholars, and seminarians. When I thought my faith was crumbling, it was actually all coming together.

Additionally, I continued to see the fingerprints of God all over my life; and, He continued to be a powerful presence leading me along difficult paths. And, let me tell you, I have experienced some serious challenges in my life some that I am not even brave enough to put on paper, yet ; and, I can honestly say that if it had not been for that Supreme Being moving in the background almost like invisible guide , I would have been lost.

Let me encourage those of you who continue to wrestle with doubt: keep praying, keep expressing your doubts in written and oral form to those you trust, and, keep looking for the fingerprints of that Supreme Being in your life.

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