Hello, and greetings to all our beloved friends and family in Jesus our Lord.
I set out here with the intent to write a report of Great Hope Christian Fellowship (GHCF) of this past year. God is on the move, and we have certainly felt His accelerated pace for the ministry, His Church.
Shirley and I have likened this past year of 2022 to being launched like astronauts into outer space. Just imagine we were strapped in and buckled up for this “Spirit of Adventure” rocket ship lifting off to parts unknown and unfamiliar to us.
In fact, Buzz Lightyear, Toy Story character, would say, “To infinity and beyond.” Yes, we have definitely felt the G-forces of gravity and acceleration on our mind, body, and spirit as we ventured out on this journey off the map— leaving Florida and landing in Tennessee.
What comes to my mind is a VBS song that says it all:
“We’re on a journey off the map….
Furthermore, we hold fast to what was spoken by God to Isaiah, “Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” (IS 30:21)
Just think of God calling Abraham and sending him off into a new and unfamiliar land. He obeyed not knowing all the details of his future residence, surroundings, and purposes for his life.
Shirley and I also are somewhat unfamiliar to our new surroundings and community here in Tennessee on Hope Summit and can identify (well, somewhat) with Abraham. However, we are holding steadfast to our very familiar God and Savior Jesus Christ. It is certain that He will never put more on us, His bride, than what we can bear. (9 Cor. 10:13)
Living in an RV is a totally new experience for us in itself while working with contractors on our property five miles away. We must allow the Holy Spirit to be the architect and builder of the dwelling He has planned for us.
This past year of 2022 has been an amazing transition requiring us more than ever before to trust God for physical strength, decision making, finances, wisdom, revelation, and discernment in so many matters. I pray that you, along with us, will take every thought captive and not let them run down all those “rabbit holes” of distraction in our lives.
Most certainly, we are not in Tennessee to retire, sit in a rocking chair on the porch and live a quiet and unassuming life on Hope Summit. We are here to live, and move, and have our being in Christ Jesus. See Acts17:28. We are here to do the work of service He has called us to do and build a dwelling for the King’s Table. Our commission is to gather together to worship our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, by putting on the garments of praise.
Our Father yearns to bestow upon His people “a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” (See Isaiah 61:3)
We must, as followers of Christ, desire with passion for the Kingdom of God and His realm to co-mingle with us here in this realm. This presence of God happens when we worship Him in Spirit and truth (awareness). If God inhabits the praise of His people, then praise is the requirement that brings God’s presence in the midst of such adoration to Him.
So, we praise Him! Job said he would praise God even if He were to slay him! Paul and Silas, while in a nasty prison, were singing hymns and praying to God when an earthquake shook the ground, their shackles came off and the doors opened! God came in power to Paul and Silas because they were praising Him. We are here to experience what God has in store for GHCF and others who desire to come into His courts with praise and thanksgiving in our hearts.
God has certainly revealed to us so many directives and revelations since the church building was sold in Tampa and up to this present day in December of 2022. We abide in revelation for this is God’s desire for the Body of Christ.
A religious spirit has far too long divided the body of Christ into selfish carnal dogmas rooted in pride. There is no room for praise with such carnal pride. Praise suffers when pride exalts itself above God.
I heard these words recently while meditating about all this division in the body of Christ, “Religion has pixelated the face of Jesus.” To pixelate means to divide an image into pixels, typically for display or storage in a digital format. Also, to display an image of (someone or something) on television as a small number of large pixels, typically in order to disguise someone’s identity. In other words, in light of this definition, I saw all the divisions in the church as pixels. Thousands of little image squares remaining separate and not coming together as one, and knit together, therefore preventing the true picture and image of Jesus Christ.
The community here in the Bible Belt has all the denominations like most places in our country. God’s solution to all these divisions is to crucify the flesh. You know the “me, myself and I” myopic agenda.
We must be most willing to check this die-to-self box each and every day in order to prevent pride from coming in through a crack in the door. I love to encourage people to “stay humble and stay in class.” In fact, God requires His followers to “Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.” (See Micah 6:8.) It is too convenient to see all the faults in others while failing to look in the mirror and see what’s going on inside of us. Let’s allow God to examine the inner man in us and make the necessary adjustments in order to pursue a life of transforming to the image of Christ.
We will keep you informed of the work going on here in Tennessee as we continue our journey into the new year of 2023.
These are exciting times that we are living in and be sure to ask God to receive, seek Him to find, and knock on His door in order for Him to open.
In seeking God for a word for this new year of 2023, I heard these words: “Hands to the plow.” Wow! Looks like there is a Kingdom work to be done my friends in Jesus. Luke 9:62 declares, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God.” These are the words of Jesus spoken to a man who promised to follow Him after saying goodbye to his family. May we “learn from the past” while putting our hands to the plow willingly, joyfully, hopefully, obediently, and faithfully laboring in our Father’s vineyard through Jesus our Lord and Savior.
Finally, my friends in Jesus, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Love in Jesus now and always,