A Flight Cancelled

Cancelled Flight(At first when reading this post you may wonder why I have titled it, “A Flight Cancelled.” I want to invite you to read the whole story and see how it will make sense towards the end. I don’t usually post anything this long but I really thought that this story was worth telling…) 

I had an experience this past weekend that absolutely changed my life. I was in Columbia, SC for a few days preparing for an outreach that we were doing that weekend. It was a Saturday morning and I was trying to get everything together for a large group that was coming together to meet before the outreach. Some of our plans changed so I was trying to find a meeting place for our group. We prayed and then the hotel suprisingly volunteered to give us their conference room that typically rented for $250 per day for free so our team could prepare for the day!

After leaving the front desk of the hotel I walked into the dining area where the hotel was still serving breakfast. I had already eaten breakfast but for some reason I just walked back in there. I saw two women who were getting their breakfast and was suddenly drawn to talk to them, so I walked over and grabbed a plate so I could get some food as well.

I ended up getting a waffle and one of the women wanted a waffle as well so I volunteered to make her one and we began talking. After I made her a waffle I made my own and then went to go sit down. As I was heading to my table I really felt the Lord say to go and sit with them and eat breakfast. Before I could even ask them one of them said, “Hey, you wanna come eat with us?” I told them, “Sure!” and sat down with excitement because I knew God was up to something.

As we started talking they asked me why I was in SC. I told them that I was with Teen Challenge and that we were reaching out to people in the area struggling with addictions. Then I began to tell them part of my story and how I got involved with Teen Challenge in the first place. They started asking a lot of questions and I was able to share with them some of the miracles that happened just before I came to Teen Challenge and then how God radically changed my life when I encountered His love. As I shared my story I was unusually emotional and could feel God’s presence so strongly. I looked over and one of the girls was crying as I shared the story.

After sharing my story the woman sitting next to me began to open up and to my total surprise she confessed to having a 15 year addiction to meth. I was blown away. She then began to tell me a story that absolutely astounded me. She said that earlier that week she was released from jail early so that she could come to SC and see her neice graduate. The day before we met, her and her girlfriend had a flight back to the west coast but it was cancelled because the door on the plane would not shut properly. They both were then sent to the same hotel I was staying in. That morning she said felt like rushing to breakfast but ended waiting for her girlfriend to finish getting ready to go eat…

This series of events led them both to come out to the eating area at the exact same time when I walked in. The woman began to tell me that she NEVER would normally invite someone to eat with them. Her partner nodded and laughed because of how unusual it was for her to do that. She then told me that inside she didn’t actually want to invite me to the table but something told her to invite me. She said she fought it at first and then suddenly she found herself inviting me to come over. She said, “something was just pulling me… it was like an energy or something.”

She told me that she saw something inside of me that drew her. She then told me that when she heard me share my story that she was suddenly open to sharing her own story with me. She told me how she had been battling this addiction for years and had told almost no one about it. She said that after sharing with me she felt so relieved and felt excited that she had met a new friend!

She began crying as we were talking together and I asked her if I could pray with her. She agreed and as I began to pray God started to pour His love on her in a really special way. I asked her if she was ready to follow Jesus and she said that she was. We prayed together and she made a decision to follow Christ. After praying she told me she suddenly felt so much peace. She said she felt so much better and couldn’t really describe what was going on inside of her. I smiled and reassured her that now she was a new creation and that from this day forward that life would never be the same.

imageIt felt like I had known her for years after we spent that hour or so talking together. I was so overwhelmed with gratitude that God had allowed her to get out of jail to come to South Carolina and then cancelled her flight back home all so that we could meet. It absolutely blows my mind how God orchestrates our lives and plans them out. I had no idea that this was going to happen and honestly it happened when I was the most busy and least expected it. I am so humbled and so grateful that God allowed me to meet her and lead her to Him.

I gave her a number to a women’s Teen Challenge in her county and also my own contact information. She said she had been looking for a program like this so that she could change her life. I can’t wait to see what God is going to do in her and through her life! I know that she will never forget how God revealed himself to her this past weekend and I won’t forget either! God is so amazing!!!

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Beliefs of Remarkably Productive People

This is an amazing guest post from a pastor from Columbus, GA that I have so much respect and honor for. I know that this post will be a huge blessing for you! 

2 Peter 1:5 – 8  (NIV) For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

shutterstock_134044358Remarkable productive people, regardless of industry or profession, all share similar perspectives and beliefs.  Successful people act on beliefs that fuel success:  It is a fallacy for the Christian to take the equation of his diligence in the use of their time and energy out of the formula for victorious living.  Our desire for success should not interfere with a Christian’s faith.  Our faith should be married to our desire to be a blessing to the Kingdom of God.  God desires for us to be prosperous so that we can be a blessing to His Kingdom.  Far too many Christians live with a poverty mentality by their actions.  It is easy to call it faith and then settle for less than God intended for us.  Our faith should empower us to seek to be successful!  Know that success is a badge of honor to be offered to God.  It does little to speak of God’s grace in my life when I am broke, don’t tithe, can’t seem to pay bills or provide for the family or support those who serve on mission fields.  God’s grace should propel us to success that we can bless the Kingdom of God.  It is by the grace of God that we are able to succeed in life.  We give our best, but realize without God’s grace in our life it all is in vain and selfish gain.  Success for the Child of God is defined in grace.  Grace is the power to become all you can be and do all that you can do.  Grace is the fertile soil for success.  Grace should never be an excuse for failure or lack of provision for God’s purposes.

 

1. Time doesn’t fill me. I fill time.

Deadlines and time frames establish parameters, but typically not in a good way.  The average person who is given two weeks to complete a task will instinctively adjust his effort so it actually takes two weeks.  Forget deadlines, at least as a way to manage your activity.  Tasks should only take as long as they need to take.  Do everything as quickly and effectively as you can.  Then use your “free” time to get other things done just as quickly and effectively.

Average people allow time to impose its will on them; remarkable people impose their will on their time.  Control the events of your life or time will control your life.  When you bring your highest priorities into agreement with the events of your life you will find a great amount of peace in your life.

2. The people around me are the people I chose.

Some people will drive you nuts. Some of your own family can be obnoxious. Some of your friends are selfish, all-about-me jerks.  Be honest enough to recognize people for who they are.  We chose the people we spend our time with for the most part.  If there are people around you that make you unhappy it’s not their fault. It’s your fault.  You drew them to you–and you let them remain.  You do not have to offend people or cast them aside, just don’t give your time and attention to people who drain you and restrain you.

Think about the type of people you want to associate with. Think about the individuals who inspire you.  Think about people you desire to serve. Think about the friends you want to have.  Don’t let friends pick you, you pick your friends who share your time and activity.  Ask God for wisdom to change you so you can attract successful people. Hardworking people want to work with hardworking people. Kind people like to associate with kind people. Successful people are naturally drawn to successful people.

3. I have never paid my dues.

Dues aren’t paid, past tense. Dues get paid, each and every day. The only real measure of your value is the tangible contribution that God produces through you on a daily basis.  You have not prayed enough in the past, studied enough previously, or served enough before now.  No matter what God has done through you or what He accomplished with you in the past, you’re never too good to roll up your sleeves, get dirty and do the grunt work.  No job is ever too menial, no task ever too unskilled or boring.  Remarkably successful people never feel entitled–except to the fruits of their labor.  What we do is insignificant in comparison to what God does to make it acceptable and successful.  God just allows us to participate with Him in what He is doing.  When we give our time and effort to what God desires done, then our efforts have merit.  Never  boast of your time spent for activity if it does not bear God’s blessings of success upon it.

4. Experience is irrelevant. Accomplishments are everything.

You may have “20 years in the ministry.” Whoopee. It does not matter how long you’ve been doing what you do. Years of service indicate little to nothing; what does matter is our effectiveness in the ministry God has placed at our hands.  It matters little where you have been; how many struggles you’ve faced, how many heartaches you have suffered, … all that matters is if the grace of God has been able to use you for His glory.

Successful people don’t need to describe themselves using hyperbolic adjectives like passionate, innovative, driven, etc. They can just describe, hopefully in a humble way, what they’ve seen the hand of God do.  Success will be celebrated by those who appreciate you.

5. Failure is something I accomplish; it doesn’t just happen to me.

Ask people why they have been successful. Their answers will be filled with personal pronouns: I, me, and the sometimes too occasional we.

Ask them why they failed. Most will revert to childhood and instinctively distance themselves, like the kid who says, “My toy got broken…” instead of, “I broke my toy.”

They’ll say the economy tanked. They’ll say the market wasn’t ready. They’ll say their suppliers couldn’t keep up.  They’ll say it was the system, someone or something else.  And by distancing themselves, they don’t learn from their failures.  Occasionally something completely outside your control will cause you to fail.  Most of the time, it is we who have failed. And that’s okay. Every successful person has failed. Numerous times! Most of them have failed a lot more often than you. Often times God has to humble us through failure before we learn that it truly is His work and not ours.

Embrace every failure: Own it, learn from it, and take full responsibility for making sure that next time, things will turn out differently.  Pray more, plan more, strategize more, learn more from successful individuals.

6. Volunteers always win.

Whenever you raise your hand you wind up being asked to do more.

That’s great. Doing more is an opportunity: to learn, to impress, to gain skills, to build new relationships–to do something more than you would otherwise been able to do.

Success is based on action. The more you volunteer, the more you get to serve.  Successful people give of themselves.  They give to good causes, they give of their time and energy to good purposes.  Successful people step forward to create opportunities, they face challenges and discover solutions.  Remarkably successful people sprint forward with a spirit of faith.

7. If I am paid I will serve.

When you are driven by monetary motivation alone you are an island to yourself.  Do what God has called you to do and do it with excellence, knowing that the only true value is what God puts into the equation.   Going the extra mile is the norm for the Child of God.  Serving is our nature because Christ set the example.  Find what you enjoy doing most and give your best to make it successful.  Be willing to do more than is required and you will build a reputation that will be honorable.

8. Only the people who pay me have the right to tell me what to do.

Get over your cocky, pretentious, I-must-be-free-to-express-my-individuality self.   You may be that way on your own private time.  Servant-hood is a way of life, it is accepting your role of serving others with pleasure and gratitude.  People who pay you earn the right to dictate what you do and how you do it–sometimes down to the last detail.  When you give beyond what is expected it builds character.

9. The extra mile is a vast, unpopulated wasteland.

Most everyone will say they go the extra mile. Almost no one actually does. The extra mile is such a lonely place.  What you do when no one is looking will speak louder than everything else that you do.  The extra mile is a place filled with opportunities.  Be early. Stay late. Make the extra phone call. Send the extra email. Do the extra research.  Don’t wait to be asked; offer.  Show diligence.  Accept the fact that you different, because God has redeemed you and given you a heart to serve others.  Your serving is an expression of your devotion to God.  Jesus set the benchmark, therefore strive for excellence.

 

Larry Biggers, Sr. Pastor

Northside Worship Center

“Connecting” – A Book on Mentoring

Reading the book “Connecting” has really opened my eyes to the wide variety of mentoring relationships that are available and needed. I had never thought of many of the suggestions that they mentioned through out this book and also how important having contemporary and historical models in our lives are. The whole book really brought to my mind the importance of finishing well. It was surprising to hear that so many leaders that start out really well end up finishing poorly.  This realization really motivated me to live a life full of accountability, mentorship and in community with others.Image

Immediately as I was reading the book I was able to assess my own relationships and see some areas that were not covered well. I saw that I had consistent coaches and people that would occasionally speak into my life but no spiritual guides or a person really discipline me. Since I began reading about that I found someone to help me as a spiritual guide as I move forward with some tasks that are really overwhelming and a lot bigger than I am used to. It was great to set up this formal relationship with a local pastor who offered to offer monthly guidance until my goal is reached!

Also, I really felt the Lord leading me to come into a closer discipling relationship with a leader. I could feel a sense of urgency that I need to always practice humility and have people speaking into my life, especially on a closer level than I might be used to. I really want to finish well and have seen through this book that it is vitally important to set these relationships up very intentionally to help ensure that I have guidance.

The last chapter in the book about finishing well really offered a lot of great advice that the authors had gathered from their research of hundreds of biblical and contemporary leaders. One great point that they make is that the greatest cause of them not finishing well was a lack of inner integrity. They make a really great point in saying, “The secret to inner integrity is intimacy with Christ.” To me this whole chapter really showed me that the key factor to finishing well in what God has called me to do is to maintain intimacy with him no matter what. It has become clear to me that abiding in the 1st commandment is the key to living a life of integrity and character.

Through reading this book I now see the vital importance to having leaders, peers and people I am mentoring speaking into my life. My goal after reading this book is to try and cover all the bases to ensure that I have a good balance of people above me speaking into my life and people next to me helping with accountability and encouragement. I think that this book is great for any leader who has a passion to lead well and finish well in the task God has given them!

Matthew 5:3 – Being Poor in Spirit

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“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matt 5:3

A truly humble person is so poor in spirit that they trust God for everything and know that apart from Him they can do nothing.(Jn 15:5) Humility enables them to achieve greater things because they know God can achieve great things through them.  They trust God so much that God can use them to do things that defy common sense and display the mighty power of God for all the world to see.  When Christ called us to live a life being “poor in the spirit” he was not talking  about us being self-condeming or depressed but to realize our own spiritual poverty apart from Him. God wants us to see the infinite abundance that is available to those who seize the Kingdom of Heaven through a life of humility. (Matt 11:12)

The key to accessing the kingdom of heaven on earth is realizing our own deficiency and need for God. When we live a life of total dependence on the Lord then a door of infinite supply is opened up as we access heaven’s resources. When we access the abundance of heaven then God can allow our life to become a miracle, sign and wonder. He can do things through us that otherwise would be utterly impossible. A life totally yielded to God and walking in true humility becomes an ocean wave of heaven crashing into earth.

False humility tries to masquerade itself as a person that is “poor in spirit” but is actually blatantly prideful and independent from God. False humility breeds a fear to step out and do anything that requires great faith and courage. It can also help steward a persons apathy and laziness that can sometimes appear as humility.  Jesus is not calling us to beat ourselves up on a daily basis but to simply see that we really are bankrupt apart from him. False humility is rooted in pride and is focused on self. Someone who is poor in spirit is focused on God and the abundance of heavenly provision.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  Eph 2:10

God wants to shift our perspective and help see that he truly desires to establish his kingdom through our lives. He wants us to become aware of the amazing destiny that he has for each one of us. Each one of us was designed for a life of good works that would be even greater than what we read in the gospel accounts of Jesus. In Christ, he is calling us to do even greater works. (Jn 14:12) As we live a life of total dependence on God we can begin to step out in faith and take risk. The greatest risk takers in the Kingdom of God are those who are the most poor in spirit. People with true humility realize that God can do great things through them, not because of who they are but because they know how great He is.

Is there something God has called you to do that will require you to be totally dependent on him if you were to step out in faith and pursue it?

Take the City

For this last year I have had the amazing privilege to lead a movement here in the Chattahoochee Valley area called, Take the City. It had been amazing to see racial and denominational lines broken as people from all over come together to share God’s love with their community. I wrote out a description with more information that will be handed out next week at an event in Phenix City and wanted to share it on here. If you would like to come and be involved then check out our event page for this month!

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In 1958 a young, skinny preacher by the name of David Wilkerson went to an unfamiliar city sent on a mission by God. His calling was to go and do whatever he could do to help the children involved in gangs and drugs in New York City. Little did he know that he would bring an entire city of churches together for one common purpose and spark a ministry that now has over 1000 programs worldwide that is in 96 different countries. From the very beginning the heart of Teen Challenge has been evangelism. The early days of the ministry began as ministry workers spent days and nights in the streets sharing God’s love with the least of these in that city.

Take the City is a movement that desires to spark the same momentum of evangelism and unity that David Wilkerson sparked in New York City. We believe that it is our duty to follow the commission that Jesus gave to us to go and to share the good news with anyone willing to hear. There are already countless stories of miracles and testimonies of entire families coming to Christ as the church went to where the people were.

take the cityOur passionate desire is to see the church in this area come together in unity and inspire people to get outside of the four walls of the church to reach the thousands of people in this area that are without hope. Many people may never enter a church and it’s our passion to go to them where they are and to share with them God’s amazing love and grace.

In John 17:20-21 Jesus prays to the Father, “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” We believe that as the church comes together the unbelievers will without a doubt know that God has sent us to share the amazing news of the Gospel.

We believe that God wants to revitalize and heal our land as we humble ourselves and seek His face. Our hope is that you would join us in the effort to see this area transformed by the love of God expressed through His sons and daughters. We would love for you to join us each month as we have people come together from various churches

We have gatherings where people from local churches meet each month and go do outreaches all over the city. Here are a few of the things we typically do on a monthly basis:

  • -Street Ministry
  • -Homeless Ministry
  • -Kids in Lower income neighborhoods
  • -Retirement Homes
  • -Prayer Team that will stay back and pray for our teams
chattahoochee river

Inconvenience Turned into a Miracle

This past week our regular meeting space for our local house of prayer and the church I attend has not been open because of water that smells like sewage flooding in through the walls. It seemingly will get better for a day or two and then suddenly the water keeps re-appearing and no one, including contractors and plumbers, have any idea what the problem is. The following testimony is a quick story of how God can take something that is really an annoyance or inconvenience and make it work out in a way better than ever imagined!

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Last night theDoor met at the Loft right off Broadway because the basement was not available and while we were waiting outside before going in for service Grant and I met two guys who are in the special forces with the army. They were looking for a bar and asked us where they could go drink. We ended up sharing about Jesus and what we were doing out there. They two guys ended up coming to the service and were radically touched by God. One was healed from an injury and both of them gave their lives to Christ. Neither of them thought they could be forgiven for all the people they had killed while serving overseas but they experienced God’s overwhelming love and forgiveness for the very first time last night. They left completely different people and plan to come to a small group this Thursday.
I wanted to share this because if the basement had still been open these two guys would not met us more than likely and would not have gotten a chance to accept Christ for the very first time. Thank God for taking this “inconvenience” and doing miracles through it all!

Testimony From Biker Event

I wanted to share an amazing testimony of something that God did this past weekend.  It’s so amazing what God can do through us when we realize how good he is, what our identity is in Him and the authority that He has given us to establish his Kingdom on the earth.

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I was with Shannon this past Saturday night and we were walking around the downtown area and went to this Biker event that was being held by the river. It was getting late and a lot of the people were wasted. It smelled like beer and fast food. You could hear some good old southern rock and loud motorcycles. The atmosphere was really dark that night and it really heightened my spiritual attentiveness to my surroundings. As we walked around I quietly asked God to let me reveal his amazing Love to someone.

We went under a tent where a vendor was selling miscellaneous knives and rings. When we got there I heard the still, small voice of the Father in my heart whisper that the woman in the booth had back pain. A man, who we later found was her husband, came over to help us buy something. We just stayed and looked around at the knives, its funny because Shannon hates knives but I really felt the Lord tell me to just stay right there and wait for Him.

After about 10 minutes, finally his wife walked over and I began to encourage her with a few things that Lord began to show me about her. I asked her about her tattoos and then began to share with her some prophetic words about these tattoos and how God has amazing plans for her life. She began to tear up as the Spirit of God really began to minister to her in the midst of this biker event.

I then asked her, “Do you have back pain?” She stepped back in amazement and shock and said, “YES, I have terrible chronic back pain…” I then told her, “The Lord is going to heal you. Can we pray for you??” She was kinda taken off guard but smiled and allowed us to come pray for her. Shannon and I laid hands on her declared healing over her body and commanded all the pain to cease. We asked God to release His Kingdom and healing power into this woman’s body.

After we prayed I asked her and she tested it and was shocked that the pain was nearly gone completely! Shannon and I got really excited and asked her if we could pray one more time. After praying for her the second time all of the pain was completely gone and the woman was healed by the power of God. Her and her husband were crying before we left and were so blessed by the amazing love, grace and mercy that the Father had shown them.

When we allow the Father to show us His great love for us and then extend that same love to others we begin to see lives impacted and the miraculous take place.

And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up.

James 5:15