Tuesday, November 19, 2013

An Interview with Mary Jenkins

Note from Pastor Deanna: For years, I prayed for a retired pastor and pastor’s wife to come to Celebration. I had only shared this desire with a few ministry friends, privately. 

I wanted a couple who would be with us permanently --not just stopping by for a few months of healing. (We've had many pastors and their families who were in need of healing or in transition become a part of us for months or even a year or so, and we thank God for that. It's a privilege to be part of someone's healing process.) I dreamed of a retired pastor/wife that would be planted and could be with us to support, serve, to understand. 

In April of 2013, my husband called our church to a 40 day fast.  One of my personal prayers  was answered during the fast when David and Mary Jenkins and their precious daughter Josie and grandson Hunter walked into our church and became one of the best blessings to us, ever. I blogged about it, here.

To have another seasoned, loyal, rightly motivated former senior pastor's wife who could be there as a support, in the same church???  Pretty much a dream, right? I love it when God-dreams come true. 

I am delighted to introduce Mary Jenkins today, for those who have not met her, you’re in for a real treat. And for those who do know her – you’ll just be twice blessed to hear from her heart today.

Celebration Women: Mary, when did you say “yes” to Jesus?”

Mary: As a young girl, I was always in church, so I don’t know the specific time or date I asked Jesus in my heart. However, I believe I was around 8 or 9 years old when I received the Holy Spirit.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Are YOU Part of Your Child's Problem?

My husband and I were having a discussion recently about how many Christian parents live unaware of how their actions affect their children.  Many people are long-time Christians, even leaders -- and yet they have no idea of the principle of sowing and reaping that is affecting their life and the life of their family.

Photo Credit: mdanys, Flickr
The other day as we were sharing a conversation over lunch, my husband said to me, “I hate when children are affected and parents don’t even realize what they’re doing to them!"

I concur. Parents often have no idea their own behavior is part of the reason their kids are making the choices they're making!"

We parents cannot control everything our children do, and sometimes despite all of our best attempts at parenting they choose things of their own free will – particularly when they are young adults. However -- the truth remains that we DO affect them through our actions, even when they are adults! Many times our kids are simply mimicking what they see, in us, in different ways.

While our kids have a choice of their free will to live for God, or not -- as Christian parents it is incumbent upon ourselves to ask:  am I living in such a way that impacts my children – in a positive way?

Some would say, “Well yes! I read my Bible. I go to church. I even serve in the church! I don’t smoke, drink to excess, or cheat on my spouse. I have set a positive example.”

Look deeper. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

10 Things That Really Help Me To Grow Spiritually

1)  I read the Word, not just devotionals. 

Something I've noticed about a lot of today's Christians is that a lot of them don't read the Bible anymore.  If they read the Word in any form, it's in devotionals that contain short excerpts from the Bible.  I'm a fan of devotionals as they definitely bring greater clarity on the Bible, but we have to be careful to not use them as a substitute for the Bible.

2)  I read the Word in different versions. 

I am a fan of bible gateway, and love going there to read passages in different versions.  This expands my thought process on the various scriptures I'm studying and gives me a greater perspective -- the full counsel of God's Word.

3)  I write my prayers.

I'm an intercessor and pray in many different ways but writing is a favorite tool when I'm distracted easily, which is a lot.  Many times I'll write my prayers in a password protected format -- they are totally confidential between God and myself, just pouring my heart out, and doing it in this fashion helps me stay focused when other things are clamoring for my attention.

4)  I walk and pray.

Huge fan of this...I do it whether alone at home or at intercessory meetings at church.  Helps me to stay focused and quite literally move forward.

5)  I attend church services a lot. 

I know I "am" the church (the church is people, not a building) and I do make it a priority to attend services where the people are,  not just because I'm a pastor...because I'm a Christian.  (Hebrews 10:25)  Those who are growing most in the church are 99.9% of the time those who are faithful to be there not just on Sundays but during other worship opportunities whether they be mid-week services or small groups.  I don't say that because I'm a pastor, I say it because it's true.  Back when I was in Weight Watchers those who succeeded the most were those who were at meetings all the time.  They would say, "the meetings are the magic!"  There's truth to that for Christians too.

6)  I don't just "attend" services - I'm in close accountable relationships with others.

Yep, even me -- a pastor.  Nobody is exempt from accountable relationships if you want to go somewhere in God.  This helps me to grow - to be encouraged, and to encourage others.  Moving forward is a process only navigated well in the company of others.    

7)  I spiritually eat at home more than I do at church.

While church is essential and cannot be underestimated, I don't expect it to fulfill all my spiritual dietary needs.  I'm required to eat at home for spiritual health.  Some people eat nothing spiritually all week long and show up to church weak and sick spiritually and expect their preacher to do a miracle.  The truth is that God expects you to lift the spoon to your mouth during the week.  Most folks show up needing a spiritual I.V. by Sunday Morning.  And we wonder why many church services across the land are anemic?  They are filled with anemic people -- we ARE the church, so if we are anemic as individuals, the church is too.

8)  I go to services expecting, not hesitating.

I don't come in with a reserved, cynical attitude that wonders if anything is really going to happen.  I show up each time expecting the extraordinary.  That's easy to do when God is in charge.  It isn't dependent upon the preacher, the musicians, whether it's cold or  hot inside or out, or how many other people showed up.  If God's on the scene anything is possible.  When I show up to church I'm a thermostat.  A thermometer only measures the temp in the room but a thermostat sets it.

9)  I keep an open communication going with God all day long.

Praying without ceasing isn't  mystery.  You simply keep an ongoing talk going on about your entire day with your best friend who is right with you all the time.  I talk to God in my head when I'm walking the aisles of Sam's Club shopping for stuff for church, or when I'm sitting at my desk wondering wht in the world to say to the person who just called.  He talks to me all day too.  If He didn't I really wouldn't know what to say or do most of the time so it's good we have this dialogue going.  Otherwise I'd probably advise some people to do some really dumb things.

10)  I am intentional about listening for God.

I love to talk to Him and pour out my heart but what is equally important is getting quiet and hearing Him.  I make a point to put on some worship music, stretch out on the floor, get quiet and just LISTEN for what He's saying.  No preconceived agenda, just listening in the quietness.

Works for me!

~ Pastor Deanna