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Posts Tagged ‘God Stories’

Today I helped moved a friend and her husband to a new home with a group of people from Cornerstone for Second Saturday. It was great to get out and be a light in the community and to fellowship with some wonderful people. Just hearing Debbie’s story of how God brought her and husband back together after years of both of them struggling to be single parents on their own was encouraging. And now God has blessed them both with a new home to do life together in. I also enjoyed hearing the many stories of the group around me and how God is working all over the place in people’s lives. We had this amazing prayer session afterwards in which we prayed for people and blessed the new home. I love how a simple day of serving turns into a day in which we saw God glorified in people’s stories.

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Visionary pastor Louie Giglio and songwriter Matt Redman team up to write a heart-stirring book about the mysteries of God’s creation. Indescribable takes readers on a journey through the vastness of outer space and into the depths of the soul.

I just got this book in the mail the other day. I love it! It has so many amazing pictures of stars and galaxies. I was that boy growing up that love to look up at the stars and read astronomy books. I heard Louie Giglio preach this message live on two occasions about how big and beautiful the universe is. It really puts in perspective how big our God is and how incredible he is! A must-get coffee table book!

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Whirlpool Galaxy

“To whom will you compare me?
Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one
and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.

Isaiah 40:25-26

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Today is the big New England Patriots/ Denver Broncos game. But more importantly, the story line is Tom Brady vs. Tim Tebow. Tom Brady has proven himself on the football field with 3 Superbowl rings. This is Tim Tebow’s rookie year in the NFL. His stats are so/so and he doesn’t have the greatest technique when it comes to skills. Yet he has engineered several 4th quarter come-backs in a row. So what’s the big deal about this game…? Tim Tebow.

You can’t turn on ESPN without hearing about Tim Tebow. What makes him so special? Tim Tebow is very open about his faith and professes it every game he plays in. He reminds me a lot of Kurt Warner in his day. I admire Tebow very much for his faith and I root for him each game. But lately I’ve been a little concerned with some of the overkill media hype with it. I’ve been reading comments lately from other players saying they are sick of hearing about him. Now even preachers from different denominations are starting to call him out.

I like reading inspirational lines on Facebook here and there. Sometimes I will read something that makes me stop and pause my day to reflect on Christ. But then there are other times I find myself getting annoyed with people too when they overdo it. The question I am starting to have is if Tim Tebow is starting to annoy people? Is he turning people away or toward Christianity? The Christian community is loving him and are even calling him God’s quarterback. I hope we aren’t attributing his 4th quarter comebacks to the fact that he loves Jesus. Loving Jesus doesn’t make you win football games.

I know we are to live out a Godly life through our actions just as much as our words. I do believe Tim Tebow lives a Godly life. But I like that Kurt Warner has requested him to tone it down a bit too. I do believe we as Christians need to make sure we are winning hearts to the Lord and being careful that we are not turning them away. What happens if Tim Tebow makes a mistake in life? Does it make Christianity a joke because our fearless spokesperson is a human being? We have a tendency to be judgemental and we need to demonstrate the love of Christ through how we act and treat people. I know for a while I got caught up with being a little judgemental on Facebook with my status updates. I had to check myself after seeing occasional non-Christian friends de-friend me here and there. Yet it was a struggle because I want to be open and honest about who Christ is in my life as well and not hide my faith.

I have no answers to what is right or wrong with the Tim Tebow situation. It has been fun to watch him. But I do think we need to be seeking the Spirit more in guidance in how we portray ourselves to the world. We are to be a shining light to others and that comes from the Holy Spirit working in us. That’s what makes Christianity attractive to those that don’t believe, not our forced actions and words on people.

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Story of the Bible

This weekend, my church Missio Dei Communities held this cool weekend in which we went through the story of the Bible. We spent 10+ hours on a Friday night and Saturday morning tearing apart the Bible from Genesis through Revelation. There were two houses that hosted this and about 40 people at each one. My good friend Shauna and her roommate Rachel hosted the one I went to and Pastor Kyle facilitated. We had lasagna, salad and humus for dinner and bagels and coffee for breakfast. I love the family environments that Missio provides for these types of events. I was with the younger crowd and I was impressed on how insightful they were. We started with creation and the fall and went all the way to the crucifixion and the return of Christ. It was a great reminder for me of who God is and how much He loves us despite our shortcomings. I think weekends like this are so important for us as Christians as we tend to forget what God has done for us. I also enjoyed getting to know many of the people from the church.

Afterwards, we talked about two different churches. The one in Corinth adjusted to the world and its ways and the one in Acts stayed true to who God is and broke bread together and shared everything. I love being at a loving and caring church like Missio Dei. This family showed this love during my knee surgery with phone calls, cards and bringing over meals for me while I was laid out. I hope I get chances to be a blessing to others as they have been for me. I am thankful for opportunities to learn about the gospel and how Christ is our Redeemer.

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Aaron Markus captured this powerful photo of a bride and guests of her wedding praying for another couple’s separation right after her own ceremony. It’s an amazing picture of the power of prayer and true Christian friends who understand God’s design for marriage and His sovereignty in the midst of difficult times.

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Pray for Kate

I really learned a lot about faith while I was in India. I also learned about the power of prayer. I know there have been times I’ve told people I would pray for them and didn’t. Or there have been times I’ve prayed for something and once it looked as though God wasn’t going to provide, I stopped praying. The McRae family has shown me so much about trusting God in the most difficult of circumstances. Their faith in God has really been instrumental in my own faith and has shown me that I need to trust and rely on God more during trials. Their daughter Kate has been battling this cancerous brain tumor since mid 2009. She has gone through various treatments and surgeries and her story has captured the hearts of not only the Chandler community, but across the nation. Through social media and blog sites, thousands have been on their knees praying for this precious little girl. It has been truly amazing to see so many people come together to ask the Lord Almighty to heal her. God has certainly been glorified through Kate McRae. Even though this week we were hit with more devastating news, we can’t relent in our prayers. The Bible says in Thessalonians to pray without ceasing. He is God of healing and we cannot stop praying for anything short of a miracle for Kate McRae. Please take time and pray for Kate.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

PRAY FOR KATE

But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

Isaiah 43:1-2 (NIV)

On February 12, several people gathered at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship to pray for Kate and others for healing.

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There are times it feels God isn’t around… yet I know he is there. He is always working in all of us. I guess I can’t expect to see miracles or amazing things everyday. I’m really trying hard these days to look at the big picture. I know I can’t concentrate on just one day and think I can figure out what God is doing. I just go through these times where life is amazing and I see God working. Then I go through times where I wonder where God is. But in the end, the trials I go through seem to always make sense. And he is still working…

I feel pretty focused on God these days. Yet life is a little up and down for me. The past 6 months have been a little crazy for me. Especially with broken  relationships and temptations. But I keep looking to the cross for strength. I especially have spent some quality time reflection on what Christ did for us with Easter being here. I see God doing some cool stuff in my life, yet I still struggle as well. Especially this past couple of weeks with stress. I have been asking God to help me get through this rough period.

Just when I wonder where he is….

God goes and does something amazing and makes me remember that through Him all things are possible….

I work graveyards at a hospital in a laboratory. I usually work with the same four people everynight in my part of the lab. A male and a female in their late 40’s and a female my age. I’ve worked with them for over four years. Just over two years ago I knew nothing of their Chistianity. None of them were going to church. That is when I surrendered my life to Chirst after going through divorce. They were all very supportive and caring during that time for me. And I was open to what God was doing in my life and how he rescued me from that situation. But I didn’t want to overdue it and just tried to be an example in Christ by showing love to them.

The lady in her late 40’s went through her third divorce at the same time I went through mine. She inquired time to time about going to church, but hadn’t gone since a child. Her brother had died suddenly. She was at a point where she was trying to find peace in her life. One day I found out that she had attended my church. She drove by one day and decided to check it out. She fell in love with it. She know goes on a regular basis and even brings her ex-husband. We have many wonderful conversations about God at work.

I have known the girl my age for almost seven years. She spent the first five of those years in an abusive controlling relationship. She had a child with her boyfriend. He never worked. She supported him. There were too many nights she came to work crying. I prayed hard for this girl for years. I would occassionally give her a devotional book or a Christian book. But most of all, the other lady we work with and myself just tried to be there for her. Last year, her boyfriend up and left. At the same time, she started to go to Central Christian church with her sister. God caught her. I just went out with her this week and she is doing great. She has started to get very involved with her church and God is working in her. I truly feel someday God will use her testimony for other women that struggle from abuse. Its so awesome when you pray for someone that long and see God do amazing things in their life.

So this leads me to the last person… the guy in his late 40’s. Single guy, never been married. Pretty much lived the bachelor lifestyle his whole life. Smokes, drinks, sleeps around, lives alone. I pretty much felt there was no hope for this guy. Over the years he always poked fun at me for bringing my Bible to work and listening to church sermons on my IPod. Yet he saw what Chirst did in all three of us. Last year he ask me to pray for his sick aunt. Then he came to me about his anger issues last month. He told me his struggles with self control and was in tears. He asked me about my life.

This morning he called me and ask me if he could go to church with me….

Wow! I was on cloud nine all day! I just saw God do something amazing. I just saw him completely take a person that I felt had no shot of stepping foot in church and do a complete turnaround in his life. And he loved the church and wants to come back! I’m in awe of God! I can’t wait to go back to work (can’t believe I’m saying that).

I was unsure of how Easter would be for me this year. I read the gospels on the crucifixion and watched the ’Passion of Christ’ movie. Maybe I was hoping for something spectacular to happen. Something to me get past the down times of life. I don’t know. But I did see God at work. He is always at work. It doesn’t always make sense. But God used me to play a small part in a bigger story. And I have nothing to be down about. I trust God and know he is there. Easter is about rescue. Even though it was all in His timing, God rescued our little night shift… one by one. Its how He works. Its how He uses us. And its all for His glory!

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My friend Victor

Divorce is so hard to go through. When people file for divorce, most of them think it is an easy way out. They think freedom. They think the grass is greener on the other side. But it’s not…
Divorce changed my life. I lost the love of my life. I saw my kids goes through a lot of pain. It hurt. But I found a new love. Divorce brought me to Jesus.
And now I have seen it bring my friend to Jesus. His story reaffirms me how great God is. It tells me there is a God and he can do amazing things with people.
July of last year. I am working part-time in the church cafe. It was pretty dead in the summer. I was the only one at church one afternoon. No staff, no customers, nobody.
A gentlemen comes walking through the door. He had a blank stare on his face. He walked up to me and very softly spoke to me and ask if there was a pastor or counselor available to speak to. I told him that there was no one at the church except me. He thanked me and walked away. He looked discouraged. I began to think to myself  Travis…don’t let him walk away. I then yelled out “Hey man… I’m no counselor, but I can talk if you need someone to chat with”. He stopped and turned around and came back. His facial expression looked too familiar to me. He then quietly said to me … “my wife left me. I just got divorce papers.” My heart then went out to him. The pain of when I was shocked with papers came back. I excused myself from him for a second and cried. Then I prayed and asked for strength and wisdom. I came back and we talked. I asked him if he came to this church. He was from Singapore and moved here to marry his wife a couple of years ago. He had no friends or family here. He had never been to church. Yet he was driving around and felt something telling him to pull into our church. He basically told me that he didn’t know what else to do.
Tom Stone, one of our counselor, stopped in to pick something up. I immediately grabbed him and told him about Victor. He then sat with him and talked with him. Tom then went into the bookstore and grabbed a Bible. That day Victor gave his life to Christ. It was an amazing God moment.
Victor would come in 2-3 times a week to come and chat with me.Our stories were all too familiar. Every situation he was going through, I went through in my divorce. His wife’s behavior patterns matched my ex’s. I related to almost everything he was going through. I had just started a group for divorce people. He joined my group. He also joined DivorceCare, a support group for people just going through divorce. A program that helped me. He didn’t understand, but he was making all the crucial right steps in dealing with this.
A few months later, I ran into Victor at a BBQ. He chatted some about life. He was going through some tough times still. I told him about spiritual warfare and how Satan is going to do anything to discourage his new-found faith. He then told me about the first day running into me at the cafe. He told me that stopping at the church was his last stop. That he had given up on hope. He said if that hadn’t worked out, he wasn’t sure what he would have done. My heart stopped. Yet I knew God intervened in his life and he answered that call. God had a bigger plan in his life.
Victor would come and go in my group. I would see him from time to time. He then came to me around Christmas time and said his wife wanted him back. He was putting his hope that she would come around. I told him to be careful and to make sure that they got counsel before he moved forward (believe me I fell for this and got burned). Well, after a few weeks, she did the same. Victor was in pain all over again. I really felt for him. Yet everyone in the divorce group really reached out to him and helped him pull through that. The amount of love and care that was demonstrated was amazing. It is a truly amazing group of people.
Victor then had spinal cord surgery around that time. He was laid out for some time. Yet he was still going through his divorce process. It was a tough time for him. He really struggled with his faith during this time. His wife was still ruthless to him during his hospital stay. He felt like giving in and letting her have everything. He was physically and emotionally exhausted. We all tried to encourage him and keep his spirits high. Victor hung in there despite his physical and emotional pain.
Victor called me this past Wednesday night. He couldn’t sleep (he was sleeping on someone’s couch because he let his wife have the house). His trial was the next day. He just had radiation treatment as well. I gave Victor the only advice I knew.. Portray yourself as a man of honor and as a man of Christ in that courtroom. Do not respond or react to anything negative she says, but stand up for your rights and for your rights to your son. Know that God is control. As a group that night, we all took turns praying for him. Encouraging emails to him went out on our email list.
Victor called me after the trial. He was upset. He was driving around and was crying. He was thinking about the happier times of his marriage and how all of that was lost.  I told him it was ok. I cried after my divorce as well. No one wins in divorce. Its ugly and its difficult. Its amazing the power of the tongue and how hurtful words can damage someone. Yet Victor was ready to close that chapter of his life.
Victor’s wife said hurtful things to him in court. She wanted everything. Yet Victor stood strong that day.  His wife broke down and lost her composure. Victor almost gave in because he saw her cry, but he remembered the awful things she did to him. He didn’t retaliate. He told her:

"I am sad and heart-broken to hear that you think of me in
this light. I want you to know the day I left you and Ethan to
go back to Singapore was the saddest day in my life. Since then
all our efforts and dreams had been to get back together again
as a family. You and I both know we got married because we were
in love. I didn't do this for the green card or money. I hope
you can see that."

She broke down. The judge leaned in his favor. Yet Victor knew that no one ultimately won. Only Christ. Christ was there in that courtroom. Victor is now a child of God. And he demonstrated himself as a man of God in court that day. I truly believe that Victor will understand all of this someday. He will understand someday why he went through this. I am so proud of him. I am blessed to call him my friend. He shows me that God can work in anyone.
Victor sent out an email the next day to our divorce group. He called us his new family. We are the body of Christ and we are called to lift each other up during tough times. This story is an amazing demonstration of how Christ loves us and picks us up when we are down.

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