One is Enough

     I remember seeking meaning and purpose in all the wrong places:  work; home, sports, religion, others, etc.  Maybe yours vary, maybe they don’t.  Fill your pursuits in here:  _____, _____, _____.  There are some common characteristics, no matter how seemingly different our pursuits are.  First, we have all tried to find meaning, and value, and purpose.  No matter where you or I may be in our journey of life (on the back side or the front side), we have sought.  And secondly, if our pursuit has come up empty and lifeless, we have not found a “holy, saving faith” that comes in authentic relationship with Jesus Christ.

     You see, God is in the business of heart and life transformation and it is His desire that by way of the Cross, the Holy Spirit will take up residency in us.  Not just around us or by us – but in us.  Down through the ages, cultures, and time periods, many men and women have experienced this and have given witness to its reality.  So there are many, many experiences – as many as there are people who have experienced them – but one element remains the same:  God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit made it available, made it real, and were in on it through and through. 

     Today, I see a vivid picture of a Pre and Post Pentecost Porter :)  The Pre is a desperate and ugly picture.  It is crafted with a lot of self will stuff.  It has the backdrop of a man (me) who pursued things of this world and who failed miserably.  I know, I lived it.  Thought things were supposed to always go right.  Believed religion was a noble cause.  Elevated my family before my God.  Expected the church to be a perfect institution.  But on that day, when the Spirit tugged my heart in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and I decided to respond (because I had reached the end of myself), Pentecost became so real to me.  The Post is a God thing and as a result, is magnificent.  Could spend hours, days, weeks going through it all.  Not enough words to write and not enough songs to sing in praise to God, for what He has done.  I could go on, and on, and on.

     Here is what I am saying:  Friend, give it on over to God :)  Trust Him and ask Him to take the helm of your life.  He is fully capable of taking the biggest mess and making it a masterpiece – because that is Who He is.  You will still face battles.  There will be trials and tribulations as long as you live and breathe.  But you will have His presence.  You will have His love and peace.  His grace will be given to you and your life will be transformed.  Even the Church, the very body of Christ in the world, will take on and have a whole new meaning, no matter what kind of experiences you have had.  It’s all out of the overflow :)

     Today, let us choose Him!  He is trustworthy, He is tried and true!

     Pastor Porter

Focusing Forward

I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it:  “relationship is where it’s at.”  That being, relationship with God (first) and relationship with others, each other (second).  It’s really nothing new – it’s no fresh concept, idea, or invention.  We simply have to take time to get personal and intimate in practically every area of life.

I continue to be amazed, perplexed, and a little troubled by people who claim a living faith and relationship but who don’t, won’t, and refuse to get personal.  I call that “closet Christianity.”  I also have no real interest in those who communicate personal perceptions, beliefs, and opinions behind a computer screen – in a forum that doesn’t lend itself to speaking fact and truth – which comes from the Living Word and through the Holy Spirit.  Some of the things I receive are absolutely ridiculous and aren’t even worth mentioning here. 

This is the bottom line, and I’m going on the record:  God ordained the Church, His body, to continue His work in the world.  We are a community called out and to holiness.  This is a practical holiness where relationships are birthed, nurtured, cultivated, and available.  In it all, we seek to glorify God and see His Kingdom expand.  Through His servant Paul, He has told us:  “Don’t forsake the gathering of the church.”  The Lord Himself told us:  “To go and make disciples of all nations…”   We have a great and awesome responsibility friends – because He deserves our best (not our leftovers, the first-fruits).  I know some have been hurt, damaged, and disappointed in so called “churches” – but know that is not what God wills or intends; and know that happened to me too at one point in my past.  Most of the time they are clubs and organizations hiding behind the name of a church – but it is not authentic, and it surely isn’t anointed with the Spirit of God. 

So many movements come and go, and so many catchy names get attached to movements.  Most of the time they want to protest or make a statement.  Through history and church history, relationships & communication could prevent and open up the opportunity for Christ-centered priority and right-of-way to be given.  Healing and repentance are a part of our community.  Jesus said, “By this others will know that you are My disciples: that you have love for one another” (John 13:35).  It’s time we seek the unity of the Spirit together, today.  Disregard the experts who appear to know so much about everything; who always seem to have something negative to say.  Let’s stop focusing on giving attention to inconsequential issues so that we can focus forward on building up a community where Jesus Christ is Lord!  A church like that can and will make a positive, eternal difference.  To God be the glory! 

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts…”

Pastor Porter

We are being formed and reformed into the Potter’s hand.  For many that brings with it some good and bad characteristics.  But let’s agree that when it is God doing for forming – it is good, even if we may have some problems with it in our personal lives.  Sure, it may bring a degree of unknowns and uncomfortable situations because we have relinquished the power.  Chambers states:  “we give up the right to ourselves.”  I can tell you this as a matter of fact:  when God has the helm, He is able to do much more than what we can ever imagine.  That is, if we come to the place where Christ is King and we lay it all down before Him, He will finish it.  We can’t keep on “keeping on” – doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  If I am not mistaken, Einstein defined that as “ignorance.” 

I have been really excited as of late by what God is doing in our midst.  I feel that He is refining our vision and purpose as a church body, prepping us for what He wants us to be.  Our Wednesday nights have taken on a whole new direction and theme as we explore, discuss, and talk about “Transitions.”  I am convinced that God is breathing fresh life into our lives and during this time we can expect Him to do something new.  If you haven’t joined us on Wednesdays for a while, or if you are thinking/praying over starting – now is a great time.  It is fresh and it is very user-friendly – on purpose.  His vision, His grace is new each and every day and your presence is all that’s missing. 

Praying and obeying,

Pastor Porter