Monday, August 26, 2013

A Glorious Church Service

by Gregory A. Johnson

Church in a renovated carriage house
Instead of the church in Mississippi, God led us to pastor a group of folk in central Kentucky. We were so happy to find the will of God and move from West Virginia to Kentucky to pastor. The church there did not have a lot of people, it didn't have a parsonage, and it was not debt-free like the church in Mississippi, but God called us there, and they were fine people. They had church in an old carriage house on the property of an old southern mansion that sat on a hill overlooking the city. The mansion had burned down, but the church bought the ten acres and renovated the old carriage house to have church in until they could afford to build a sanctuary on the property.

The property had history. The old two-level carriage house still had iron jail bars on the windows of the basement. It was where slaves were housed at night during the terrible days of slavery in America, when African Americans were treated, valued, and traded as animals. The slaves would work long, hard days on the property farming tobacco and taking care of the livestock. At night they would be locked in the dark, damp, and musty smelling basement with the horses and carriages housed comfortably in the nicer level above them.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Focusing on a Bright Future

By Jessie Eastland (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commonsby Gregory A. Johnson

Oftentimes we focus only on what is happening or not happening to us now. Doing so can cause anxiety, discontentment, hopelessness, and depression. What would happen if, instead of focusing on the present, we focused on what our future is in Christ? We would be tremendously encouraged in the midst of it all.

Christ-followers may not have a pleasant present, but they have a marvelous future that is literally out of this world. Christ has prepared the way for them to spend eternity with Him. At the cross, the power of sin was broken. At the resurrection, death was defeated. At the ascension, a promise was given—Jesus will return for His faithful followers, so they can be with Him forever.

Monday, August 12, 2013

What To Do in the Midst of Trials and Afflictions

by Gregory A. Johnson

By Balkhovitin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsAs we follow Christ, there will be many times when our journey will take us through trials and afflictions that test our faith. During these times, all we need do is cry out with a simple prayer: "Father, help me through this. I don’t know what else to do but simply wait on you and your help."

There have been many times in my walk with the LORD when I have prayed that prayer, I've still been left with worry and anxiety. I've learned to recognize that these fears are the fruit of the sin of unbelief, and so now, I quickly repent and ask the LORD to forgive me, thus renewing my trust in Him.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Where Faith is Tested and Perfected

By Charles Knowles from Meridian Idaho, USA [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commonsby Gregory A. Johnson

It is easy to obey the Lord when we see results, but that is not where our faith is tested and perfected. Our faith is tested when our prayers go unanswered, and we do not see the expected results. Our faith is perfected when we do not give up, and we continue to obey without seeing.

Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, passing along between Samaria and Galilee. “And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.’ When he saw them he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went they were cleansed” (Luke 17:12-14 ESV).

Please allow me to point out that:
  • The ten lepers cried out to Jesus for mercy in their time of need.
  • The need and the cry for help got the attention of Jesus.
  • Jesus gave the ten lepers something to do, but did not immediately give them what they were asking.
  • The ten lepers obeyed Jesus before seeing any results.
  • The ten lepers were cleansed as they obeyed Jesus.