Escaping the Blues

Do you ever feel blue, down, sad, overwhelmed, stressed, anxious and even depressed?  At one point or another everyone experiences the Blues and being that we are living in Statesboro, GA I think it’s fair to call it, as Blind Willie and Greg Almond have called it, “The Statesboro Blues”.  And yes even Spirit filled Christians struggle with the blues.  In the Church; you might say it is “The Elephant in the Room”.  Join us Sunday, 01-03-16, at 9 or 11 a.m. as we Escape the Statesboro Blues together.  During “Escaping the Statesboro Blues” we will experience the opposite of depression and that is what the Apostle Paul refers to as “inexpressible and glorious joy” that comes through a relationship with Christ Jesus! (1 Pet 1:8-9)

2015 Year End Donations

December 29th, 2015

Year End Giving 2015

As we close out 2015 and look forward to 2016, many have asked me about year end donations. To get credit for 2015 donations you can write a check or make a cash donation prior to 12-31-15. You can also give online at https://believers.infellowship.com by midnight 12-31-15. If you would like to view your 2015 giving statements they can be viewed at https://believers.infellowship.com as well.

God has been good to us in 2015 and we are looking for continued grace and mercy in 2016. I’m praying not only for financial blessings upon you and your family, but for all Spiritual Blessings provided by Christ Jesus!

12.27.15 BLOG PIC

As we read the New Testament gospels about the life of Jesus, we find that there were many people with different thoughts or ideas of who Jesus was. To some, He was the promised Messiah, the One who was to redeem Israel. To others, He was their Savior and Lord and the forgiver of sins. Some thought He was a “good man”, who helped others. Some called Him “Rabbi” and “Teacher”, and were amazed at His teachings. They said that He was a prophet who spoke as one with authority. There were also those who felt that He was a threat, because He was supposed to be a King. Many viewed Him as a trouble maker who came against their religious beliefs. Many rejected Him and refused to believe that He was sent from God.

To many people back in the days when Jesus walked the earth, and still today, He was, and is, just a good man. People could not, and still cannot grasp the fact that He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. In light of others’ ideas and opinions of who He is, the profound question is, “Who is Christ to you”?

Join us this Sunday as we hear who Jesus was to many people and discover that He is our High Priest, who made the greatest sacrifice of all, Himself, when He died on the cross to save us all from our sins. He died once and for all so that we can have forgiveness and eternal life.

So, in light of who Jesus is to others, who is Christ to YOU?                                                                             Fill in the blank, “Christ the ____________”.

Christmas Eve Communion Service

December 22nd, 2015

Believers Church will celebrate Christmas with a special Christmas Eve Communion Service. We will have two identical services at 5 and 6:30 p.m. with childcare from 0-24 months. We invite you and your family to join us in taking time to remember the true meaning of Christmas!

Christmas Eve

Slide3

Sunday at 9 and 11 a.m. we will have “Celebrate Christmas” the musical!  Invite your friends and family and come enjoy drama, music and much more!. You don’t want to miss this! See you Sunday.

12-13-15 Chanukah Blessings_BlogThe Spoken Blessings   “Chanukah Blessings”   Believers Statesboro 12-13-15

The Festival of Lights (Chanukah – Pronounced: “Hanukkah”)   “CHANUKAH” or the Festival of Lights commemorates the historic victory of the Maccabeans (Orthodox Jews loyal to God and the Torah) following a three year uprising to overthrow the heathen ruler Antiochus. Antiochus ruled Jerusalem with the help of traitor Hellenist Jews (Jews who favored Greek culture) and the self-appointed High Priest, Jason.

Antiochus determined to remove all traces of orthodox Jewish faith:

  • The identified Jehovah God with Jupiter
  • Erected a pagan idol on the altar of the Temple of God and offered swine on the altar.
  • He refused the right of circumcision, Sabbath worship or the celebration of Jewish holidays under penalty of death.
  • Copies of the Holy Scriptures were ordered destroyed.
  • The pagan laws were enforced with great cruelty.

 

In the village of Modin the devout aged priest Mattahias was called to offer a pagan sacrifice, he refused.  Instead he stepped forward and slew both the weak Jew who stepped forward to do it for him and the representative of Antiochus.  His five sons joined Mattahias immediately, destroyed the pagan idol sitting on the altar of God and then fled to the hills.  Mattahias soon died.

His third son Judas (Hebrew – Judah), known as “the Maccabee” (meaning “the hammer”) formed guerilla forces to “hammer” away at the pagan occupation forces for three years.

  • He recaptured Jerusalem in 165 BC, cleansed the Temple of God and restored traditional Jewish service.
  • All this was done with a very small military force and the supernatural help of God.  Many stories of miracles are told during the eight-day celebration.  They relate the wonders of God imparted to Jews both to suffer and die nobly for God and supernaturally win the victories.
  • The Maccabees were able to reclaim the Temple and rededicate it back to God.  Hanukkah means dedication.

When Judas, “the Maccabee” and his soldiers entered the Temple they wanted to light the large “MENORAH” (meaning-light), or lampstand, but there was no container of oil bearing the seal of the High Priest.  The Menorah was to never go out and symbolized the eternal covenant between God and the Jewish people.  The Jewish soldiers poured other oil on the tips of eight spears found lying outside the Temple.  They lit them and used them as light for the altar.  (The light was a symbol of life.)

Someone later found enough oil to light the Menorah for one day.  After it was lit, the oil supernaturally burned for eight days.  At the end of the eight-days, enough oil had been produced to keep the Menorah on the altar burning continually.

How is Christ Jesus seen in this wonderful Jewish celebration?

The Menorah on the altar of the Temple was a sevenfold lamp.

Revelation 1:12-18; “Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands;  and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man.  And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,  and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.” (NASB)

 

The SHAMMASH (the special candle lights all the others) that sets the other candles a flame.  The candles are lit each night after dark (except on the Sabbath) and placed near a window for all to see.

Isaiah 42:6-8 declares that the Messiah would be a light to us.  “I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, And will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the Gentiles, To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the prison, Those who sit in darkness from the prison house.  I am the LORD, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images.”

On this day of dedication Simeon prophesied over Christ calling him “A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”  Luke 2:32

 John 1:6-9  “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.  He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.  That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

John 8:12  “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

 As Christ Jesus is the Light… Let your light shine!

Matt 5:14-16  “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

 The SHAMMASH, a special candle that “serves” the others.

Jesus is referred to as Gods Holy Servant.  Acts 4:29-30  “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”

 Matt 20:26-28 “Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.  And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave–just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

As Christ Jesus is the Servant…Let us all serve others!

1 Pet 4:10  “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (NIV)

Other Interesting Facts

The Dreidle.  During the celebration of Hanukkah, children play a game with a four-sided top called a dreidle.  There is a different Hebrew letter on each side.  The letters stand for the words: “A Great Miracle Happened There.”

 Maoz Tzur.  A traditional song of praise sung for the rededication of the Temple.  This is sung after

the candles are lit.  Maoz Tzur is translated “Rock of Ages.”

Let’s let the flame of God burn bright within us, with the oil of the Holy Spirit and let us rededicate ourselves today to be a light to the word and servant to all.

12-13-15 Chanukah Blessings_Blog

Do you understand what Chanukah is all about? 

Is it a Jewish Holiday only or can we see Christ Jesus in this celebration?

Join us this Sunday as we celebrate  Jesus in The Festival of Lights – Chanukah (Pronounced: “Hanukkah”).

Come and receive Eight Different Blessings, as eight different Believer’s families speak blessings over your family for the New Year!

Not only that, but Lale Labuko will be here, in person, updating us on OMO Child!  This is the Sunday we will receive our special Christmas Offering to provide for the 45 Children that we helped Lale rescue from being killed due the Mingi practice.

Join us this Sunday, 12-13-15, at 9 or 11.  Receiving Blessings and Giving Blessings!  Isn’t that what we are called to?  “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:9  NIV)

 

 

Join us Wednesday evening at 6:30 p.m. to watch UNFROZEN, performed by our Children’s Ministry!  After this performance we will go next door to the pavilion for our church wide Christmas Party Celebration. Bring an appetizer to share and come have a great time with us!

Unfrozen Promo PICChrstimas party

The Spoken Blessing           “Blessing Your Family”       Believers Statesboro            12-06-15

12-06-15 SP Blessng Your Family_blog pic

1 Chronicles 16:43 Then all the people left, each for his own home, and David returned home to bless his family. (NIV)

I can’t think of a better atmosphere for a child to be raised in than in a home of unconditional love and blessings.  A home where blessings are confidently spoken in faith and a place where children can rest secured in knowing that their parents are blessing them, praying for them, and believing God’s best for them and that their parents are blessing one another.

In order to effectively bless our families we will need to take the principles that we have learned in this series and apply them to our family’s specific needs.

How to Impart the Blessing

1)  Bless By Faith

2)  Use the High Priestly Blessing as an Example

Num 6:22-27 The Three Part Blessing –A) Protection B) Favor and Grace C) Peace

3)  Desire God’s Highest and Best For the Ones You are Blessing

4)  Laying on of Hands

5)  The Spoken Blessing

We talked about THE FIVE BASIC ELEMENTS OF THE FAMILY BLESSING

(“The Blessing” Gary Smalley & John Trent)

  1. Meaningful Touch
  2. A Spoken Message
  3. Attaching “High Value” to the One Being Blessed
  4. Picturing a Special Future for the One Being Blessed
  5. An Active Commitment to Fulfill the Blessing

Get In Agreement With God’s Plan for Your Family

As parents it is our responsibility to help our children, not only learn the ways of the Lord, but also help them discover God’s unique plan for their lives.  We will want to support them, pray for them, and bless them as they grow in wisdom and knowledge.

This won’t be something that you discover overnight.  You won’t get this answer in one prayer.  God won’t even share with you every detail of His plan for your child’s life or your family life, but through much prayer, listening, and observations you will begin to see the plans that God has for them.

You will want to bless them in accordance with Gods plans and purposes for each child.

So begin to seek the Lord, and ask Him how you should bless your children.  Ask Him to reveal to you the direction that He is leading your child, and then get into agreement with God and bless them accordingly.

Stop speaking death or defeat to your children.  Let them know that you believe in them and that you believe in the plan that God has for them.  Let them know that they can be all that God says they will be and they have the ability to do everything that He calls them to do.

Even a you discipline your children you can remind them that their behavior was out of character with who they are, how they have been blessed to be, and what God has planned for them.  Discipline should be more correction than punishment.

But even as we begin to see through “Eyes of Faith,” we must understand that the blessing is not a magic formula.  Don’t try to force it or try to make the one being blessed something that they are not.

Seven Resources for Blessing Your Children

Bill Ligon in his book “Imparting The Blessing to Your Children” suggests seven resources to draw from that will help you bless your children.

  1. The Desire of Your Heart.

Trust the desires of your heart.

Psalms 37:5 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. (NIV)

If you are delighting yourself in the Lord you can trust that your desires will quickly be becoming God’s desires.

  1. Personal Insights into Your Child’s Life.

What is God showing about the future of your child?

NEXT STEP:  Begin to record observations of strong characteristics and Godly giftings that you see in your immediate family members.

  1. Special Inspiration from The Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit, Spirit of Truth, will guide believers into all truth, speak what he hears, show us things to come, glorify Jesus, and receive from Jesus and show those things to us, John 16:12-15.

  1. The Promises of God.

Search the scriptures and find promises to speak over their children’s lives and your spouse…  These scriptures can be powerful tools for speaking a blessing.

We should also teach our children to love and honor the Word of God.  They will learn from us that these are “Words of Life.”  Then when The Word of God is used to bless our children it will have special meaning to them and impact their lives for years to come.

There may have been prophesies spoken over your child also.  You will want to reiterate those Words from the Lord as you bless them.

NEXT STEP:  I will ask each family member what their favorite Bible verse is and I will search the scripture for promises to speak over their lives.

  1. What Other People Say About Your Child.

 

Other people are observing our children and they can often see things that we don’t see.

What are others saying about your children?

NEXT STEP:  I will start writing down the observations of others concerning my family members.

  1. The Desires of Your Child.

Many people will tell you that they had a sense of their destiny even as a young child.

I knew at a very young age that I wanted to be a Pastor.  I didn’t know if God was calling me to be a Pastor or not, I just knew that it was my desire.  Later I would realize that the desire had been planted in my heart by God and my calling was a confirmation of that desire.

NEXT STEP:  I will take time this week to talk with my family and listen to their desires.

 The Meaning of Your Child’s Name.

Many name books are available to find out what your child’s name means.  You may have given them a name at birth that expressed your heart’s desire for them or you may be discovering the meaning of your child’s name for the first time.  For many you may be surprised at how well their name describes them.

Biblical names can also express the character and strength that you have seen in a Biblical hero that you would like to see come about in your child’s life.

In scriptures God changed people’s names as He changed or clarified His directions of their lives.

  • Abram was ninety nine years old and childless when God changed his name from “Exalted Father” to Abraham, “Father of Multitudes” (Genesis 17:5).
  • In Genesis 17:15 God changes the name of ninety year old Sarai to Sarah.  Both names mean “Princess” but the name change served to remind her of the covenant God was making with her.
  • In Genesis 17:17 Abraham laughed at the idea of a one hundred year old man and a ninety year old woman having a son.  That son would later be named Isaac which means “May God Smile Upon Him.”
  • Isaac would have a son named Jacob (meaning “Supplanter” or “Deceiver”) and when establishing His covenant with Jacob, God would change his name to Israel (meaning “He Strives with God” or “May God Persevere” or “Prince With God”). (Genesis 35:9-12)

It is interesting that in this story even though God knew Jacobs name, He made Jacob speak it.  This made Jacob acknowledge his weakness before he could be transformed.  Having his name changed to Israel meant that despite his character weakness, he had a prevailing attitude and he was a fighter and God was pleased.

(Warning:  Just because you name your child a certain name with a special meaning, that does not guarantee that they will become what you name them.  You name and bless in Faith and Hope.)

 Speak Blessings over Your Family

In the Scripture a blessing becomes so only when it is spoken.  Every blessing in the Bible is a verbal one.  Even the written blessings were to be read out loud to the churches.  We have seen the damage of blessings withheld and silence in the home.

Planning a Blessing Service

Our Jewish friends celebrate their children coming into adulthood and being responsible to the commandments of God with a Bar Mitzvah for Boys and a Bat Mitzvah for girls.

A Blessing Service is sort of like a Christian Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah for our children.  It is our acknowledgement that they have passed from childhood into adulthood.  They are now responsible to God and His Commandments.  As they are making this transition into adulthood they receive a special blessing for close friends, loved ones, siblings, and parents.  This special service will provide a monumental and unforgettable experience for your child and all those who participate.

Even though we encourage you to bless your children as often as possible, this is a special day just for them where you celebrate who they are and the hope of their future.  Usually, The Blessing Service will consist of a dinner in which a few close friends and family members are invited.

Prepare your Child for the blessing service.

In all of your preparation make sure that you take time to talk to your child about the blessing service and the significance that it will have in his life.  Teach your children the principle of the blessing.  Show them examples in the Bible where God has blessed children as a result of their parent’s spoken blessing.  Show them that Jesus desired to bless children and He wants them to be blessed too.  Let them know that after the blessing is spoken over them that God will work in their lives making the blessings come about.   Hopefully it will be an event that each of your children will highly anticipate.

At what age should we have this blessing service?

We recommend that you plan a special blessing service when your child turns thirteen.  At this age they have a good understanding of what the spoken blessing is all about.  They are also old enough to comprehend and receive the things that are being spoken to them.

At age thirteen your child is about to face some of the most difficult years of their life, their teen years.  You will definitely want to bless them before they are confronted with all of the temptations of adolescent.  Hopefully your blessing will be a great encouragement to them and they will be able to fall back on the words of hope spoken to them during tough times.  They will need to be reminded that they have a future in Christ Jesus and that God has a plan for their lives.

Hopefully even when faced with temptation to sin they will remember the blessing that mom, daddy, and the family have spoken over them.  They will know that the blesser’s are pulling for them, continually blessing them, and expecting the best out of them.  This may me the edge that helps them to say NO to the bad and YES to the good.

 

Who should we invite?

Who you invite is a personal choice, but we suggest that everyone that is invited should have “An Active Commitment to Fulfill the Blessing” in your child’s life.  You want the people who truly love your child, who are committed to praying for your child, and will speak a heart filled, Holy Spirit inspired blessing over your child.

By the time your child turns thirteen your family probably has some close friends that love your child like one of their own.  Invite them to come speak a blessing over your child.

Invite your child’s and your family’s spiritual mentor.  This may be your Pastor and his wife, or an Associate Pastor and his wife, or your child’s Children’s Church teacher, or Sunday school teacher.  Someone who has been spiritually imputing into your child’s life and is committed to seeing Gods plan for their life fulfilled.

Invite close extended family members, maybe a favorite aunt, uncle, or cousin.  Invite both sets of grandparents, brothers and sisters, mom and dad.

 

It is important to understand and for those invited to understand that each person invited will be expected to speak a blessing over the child.  I like to have the blessing spoken in the order listed above.  Friends, extended family, grandparents, brothers and sisters, mom, and then dad should speak the Father’s Blessing last.

Make sure that you invite them far enough in advance that they are able to adequately prepare a blessing for your child.  Some may be caught off guard by this request and will need time to think about it.  Some will not understand what the blessing is all about and you may have to teach them the principles of the spoken blessing.  You may need to give them this book or the other blessing book that we have referenced.  But when they understand the power of the blessing they will be excited about the opportunity to bless your child and it will be a significant and meaningful event in their life as well as the life of your child.

We have found that grandparents really appreciate this opportunity and put a lot of prayer and thought into their blessing.  Brothers and sisters often speak some of the most tender and sweetest blessings that we have heard.  And when the Mother speaks the blessing it always seems to be a special anointing of love and grace in the room.  But when the Father speaks he speaks with a sense of spiritual authority as he commands the blessing over his child, knowing by faith that as he speaks it, the Lord will cause it to come about.  These blessing services are powerful and the presence of the Lord is strong as the blessings are being spoken.

Also encourage those invited to not only speak a blessing, but to also write down or type it out.  This way you can keep a record of the blessings spoken that your child can refer to for the rest of their lives.  A copy of the blessings would make a special wedding gift when they marry.

For our children we invited one close family to speak a blessing, I doubled as the pastor and father, their grandparents spoke blessings upon them, their siblings spoke blessings over them, and Janet and I each spoke a special parental blessing over each of our children.

What type of meal should be prepared?

This should be a special day for your child.  So prepare their favorite meal.  Make it special for them.  Make sure that your child knows that this meal is in their honor.  You may even want to have a special cake, similar to a birthday cake, which expresses the significance of that day.  Usually the meal is prepared in your home, but it is ok if your child wants to go to a restaurant.  If you go to a restaurant try to have a private room, or go back home where the blessings can be spoken without interruption.

As soon as the meal is over, LEAVE THE DISHES FOR LATER, and move to the room where the blessing will take place.

Take pictures; retell stories (the good ones) of your child growing up.  Remind them of special events in their lives so far.  At dinner talk about their salvation experience, achievements, rewards, friends, family vacations, and others things that bring joy in remembering.  Make this day as special for your child as possible.  THEY SHOULD BE THE CENTER OF ATTENTION.

Should gifts be given?

The greatest gift that will be given that day is the spoken blessing.  We don’t want to take away from the importance of that but gifts with meaning are encouraged.  Give items that will remind your child of this special day and the blessings being spoken this day.  For example, some parents have given their children a ring, necklace, of other jewelry items that will remind them that they have been blessed as they wear them.  Pictures, figurines, poems, songs all can be given to enhance the remembrance of the blessing.  Some have written and sung a special song for the one being blessed.  Get creative and give something meaningful.

At Bradley’s blessing (knowing that Bradley liked to fish) friends gave him a statue of a man fishing which went with part of the blessing that they spoke over him; that he would be a fisher of men.

Your Childs Response

You may want to work with your child to help them write a blessing to be spoken over those that have just blessed them.  This blessing could express appreciation and gratitude for the influences these people have had in your child’s life.  Your child might want to quote their favorite Bible verses and express why they are meaningful to them.  They may have a special poem that they want read or you may have someone sing or play their favorite song for everyone.  Remember your child is called to be blessed and to be a blessing to others.

The Wedding Blessing

We at Believers encourage blessings to be spoken over couples on their wedding day.  Both sets of parents are encouraged to lay hands on the couple and bless them.  If they are nervous they may need to read a pre written blessing.  We can’t think of a better way for a couple to start their new life together than to do it with the blessings of their parents.

Life Group and Family Devotional Questions

  1. In short, what is the desire of your heart for your family?
  1. What personal insights do you have about your children and spouse you could use to bless them?
  1. Has the Holy Spirit revealed anything to you about your family or children?
  1. What observations have other people made about your children or family?
  1. What promises of God are you standing on for your family?
  1. Have you ever asked your children what the desires of their hearts are?
  1. Do you know the meaning of your child’s name? Could that help in your blessing for them?

 

12-06-15 SP PromoIf I told you I knew a guaranteed way to earn a million dollars for your family would you join us this Sunday at Believers Church to find out how?

Of course there is no guaranteed way to earn a million dollars, but what if I told you that I could tell you how to give some time to your family that was more valuable than a million dollars?

Something that will bless them now and for all eternity.  What if you knew how to give your family your blessings and knew how to speak Gods blessings upon them, how valuable would that be to you?

Join us Sunday at 9 or 11 a.m. as we continue our series The Spoken Blessing.  This Sunday we will learn more about “Blessing Your Family.”  So far we have taught you Five ways to Impart the Blessing, and shared the Five Elements of the Blessing, now I want to give you Seven Resources for Blessing Your Children (not only your children, but anyone you love and want to bless).

Give your family a gift this Christmas that all the money in the world cannot buy, the gift of your spoken blessings!