Posts Tagged ‘Linn Winters’

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.  – Galatians 6:1-2

I’ve been through church crisis one too many times. The longtime head pastor of my church that I grew up in passed away due to cancer. Our popular youth pastor was fired abruptly because the new pastor that came in wanted a whole new staff in place. My good friend became an intern for our church (after just becoming a believer) and had an affair with one of the staff members. He took his life soon after. The accountant at my last church embezzled almost half a million dollars. My current pastor had to resign due to extramarital affairs. Yes… the church experiences death, scandals and affairs just like the real world. I must note that in most of these situations, the church handled them very poorly (something I’ve experienced personally as well).

But how are we doing as Christians in handling these situations? Do we deal with those caught in sin in a loving way? Do we restore them gently back to Christ with the truth of the gospel? Do we act Godly when the media tears into us or do we get defensive and attack back? All I know is Satan loves to attack the church when things are going well. All the situations I described above happened when the particular church I was at was at their peak and experiencing tremendous growth. We forget that when we became Christians that Christ warned us that we would face persecution. One of the things I know is that Christians today do not handle persecution well. Look at the Chick-fil-a and Duck Dynasty situations and see how defensive Christians get when our views are spoken against. I’ve been embarrassed how Christians have reacted in the media about gay marriage and other topics that go against our beliefs. Do we not trust that God will ultimately prevail?

Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.  –  Acts 11:19-21

God works during times of despair. He redeems and restores and takes these situations and uses them for his glory. The church isn’t perfect and it isn’t about one man or a building. It’s a living organic body of messy believers that come to together to grow and worship our Lord. We treat Pastors like rock stars and put them on a pedestal so high they could never meet the expectations we put on them. Pastors are just messy people being used by God. But God isn’t going to let his church fall. He is still faithful even when we are unfaithful.

What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written: “So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.”  –  Romans 3:3-4

I have been impressed with my current church and how they have handled our current crisis. They are doing it in a loving biblical way. My last two churches were clueless in dealing with people caught in sin and usually let them leave without any restoration. When I heard the news in church, the first thing I did was look at myself. I took this as a warning sign that I myself am a step away from falling into temptation and sin. I am thankful for my community and that I can come to them about anything that I may be struggling with. I am thankful for my church and that God called me to be here during this crisis so I can see firsthand his redeeming power at work. I remember when my last church was going through its scandal, I was quoted in the paper at that time by saying “God is bigger than this”. My viewpoint is still the same – God has got this and He will prevail.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world – John 16:33

Read Full Post »

Tonight was our final outreach. This was our third long trek of the day. We were tired, but we knew we had a job to do. This is truly an amazing team! There was a lot of energy at this event. Brian was fired up and cracked some jokes here and there. Rick did “Praise ye the Lord/Hallelujah” for worship and got the crowd into it by splitting them up for each part of the song. Mary Alice shared a powerful testimony and Pastor Linn brought the Word tonight. What a great outreach it was!

People singing praises

Pastor Abraham

Indian dancers

Mary Alice shares her story

Pastor Linn brings the Word

Dinner in the village

Read Full Post »

The Lean

Pastor Linn’s sermon really hit home for me yesterday. Going through tough times myself, I can’t even describe how incredible people have been for me. I have had so many friends that I can say I can ‘lean on’ that really stepped up to the plate for me. It is so overwelming. And since then I made so many new friends that I know I would be able to lean on if I needed to again. Building relationships is a huge thing for me right now. I love you guys and I hope you all know any of you can ‘lean’ on me anytime for anything. God Bless.

Read Full Post »

Power of 10

Program from Phoenix Civic Plaza

This is where my story starts. On September 16, my wife and I separated after 9 years of marriage. Earlier this week I stayed with my uncle to give her space. He is a Godly man and has been like an older brother to me. I’m so torn. My world has been turned upside down and I hurt for my two boys for the brokenness they will have to endure. This past week while laying on an air mattress in my uncle’s spare bedroom, I cried out to God. I will admit that for some time I have doubted that He even exists. I asked Him to reveal Himself to me and to help me through this difficult time. I want to be a man of honor and integrity as I endure these trials. I want God to lead my path. This week I surrendered my life to Christ and vowed to live my life for Him. The only thing I asked for in return is for Him to provide good solid people to do this new faith journey with.

I have been attending Cornerstone Christian Fellowship for the past ten years and many at the church have rallied around me to help walk me through this difficult time. Today was their ten year anniversary and they celebrated downtown at the Phoenix Civic Plaza. Pastor Linn Winters was my youth pastor growing up and I have been a part of this church since its initial inception. Now is a time I need my church family more than ever. I took the boys to this event to be a part of this milestone. It was pretty hard for me to be there without my wife. Little did I know, God was answering my prayer by providing this community for me to do life with and working out His plans for my future in the process.

Power of Ten1

My Uncle Joel doing a skit onstage

Power of Ten2

Brian Wurzell leads the congregation in worship

Power of Ten3

Pastor Linn and the original members that started the church ten years ago

Read Full Post »