Thursday, November 15, 2012

the Race

Here's what I'm seeing:

I'm seeing God throw me into many different schools, with many different children.  I'm being stretched alot.  Learning how to think quick on my feet to teach a lesson and keep their attention.  Oh how I pray for these students and teachers.  I pray for the Lord to allow me to continue to build relationships with them, that will lead to conversations about Him.

I see Trey, who by the Grace of God, is able to share Christ through relationships at work.  One of his co-workers came up to him on Monday and was so excited to tell him that he went to church the day before.  Today he was blessed to get into a very deep conversation with a co-worker, and laid out the entire Gospel with him.  Please be praying for this situation.

I hear about how God is doing amazing things through Darin Pace and the leaders of the Student ministry at Relate, and how it is growing each week.  I hear how the volunteers and students are so excited each week about what God is doing in their lives!!!

I hear how God is using Lori Brown through a Woman's Bible Study that is continuing to change heart's, lives and mindsets.

I see how God is working in the lives of the Hospitality team and how they are learning to live their lives in the form of servants. How they recognize needs, and jump in to serve even before they're asked.

I see how when Relate does an outreach event, we have more volunteers show up than they created positions for.  Too many volunteers? What???  That's AWESOME!!!

We had a Fall Festival a few weeks ago and people from our church have been told by strangers how,
"you must go to Relate, God is doing some amazing things there."

I hear and see how the Lord is using Lee as he leads the worship ministry and how it is touching so many hearts as the church continues to prepare themselves for worship.

Radiance, our City Wide Woman's ministry is growing every month.

Relate will soon begin averaging 200 on Sunday Mornings.

I see how members of the church are all actively serving the Lord through the many diverse ways He leads them and it Blesses My Socks Off!!! There is this precious lady named Melanie.  The Lord pursued her out of a devastating past. Her story has truly challenged me.  Despite how out of her comfort zone it is, she began working in a prison ministry. Yesterday she was blessed to lead an 18yr old girl to Christ!!!!  Woo, that makes me excited!!!

We have a lady at our church Lori Talmage and God has brought friends from her past back into her life and they're always asking her, "Why are you smiling all the time?"

There's a lady who had prayed to mentor young women and the Lord is using her in a mighty way to teach young women how to be Godly wives, mothers and leaders. 

We have Pastor's who will go to a place in town to do their bible study and they will ask on public Facebook and Twitter if anyone would like to join them...Anyone!  I LOVE their hearts!!!

Relate is preparing (and working hard to partner with many other churches in the Region) for a City Wide Christmas worship service called, O.C.D.  It stands for Occupy Christmas Downtown.  It will be held at the Courthouse in Hendersonville, NC, also in Downtown Asheville.  Our volunteers are working tirelessly to prepare for this.

This is just a snippet of what the Lord is doing...Right Now!
GOD is moving radically!

Here's the flip side, the bible refers to the Christian life as "Running a Race."  Sometimes  as you're running and you're making ground, you forget to watch where your stepping. You can get so focused that you don't see the car coming out of left field.

This discourages some runners,which makes sense, but they choose to quit the race entirely.  Some take the hit and lay on the ground wrestling that car or bandaging their wounds for days or even months. Others take the hit - are angry they didn't see it coming but get back up to continue the race.  Yet some, recognize the car and dodge it, only to get hit by a train; but they still get up and run the race with a smile - because, through experience, they now realize they're ticking off Satan.

When you're running the race for Christ, Satan is going to attack you.  Whether it's through Him creating fears, doubts about someones intentions or insecurities. He can attack by placing divisions in leadership.  He will attack through relationships. He will attack through hardships in life.  He will do whatever it takes to take your mind off focus and to take your heart of course. 

Ephesians 6:8-10 warns us to equip ourselves with the full armor of God: 
  • We must learn to expect it.
  • Clothe ourselves in the fruit of the Spirit. 
  • Bear one another's burden's. 
  • Cast all our care's, our worries, our FEAR's on Him.  
We must also learn to watch for these attacks in the lives of our friends.  We're running this race together.  Hold each other accountable.  A church can only be as strong as the determination of the leadership, and members, to "seek CHRIST Only and Earnestly".  Filled with determination that we will not be sidelined or watch others become discouraged.  We must build one another up in the Lord!

Pray as the Lord moves this church that every member will be very mindful and watchful for attacks. I pray that we will focus on the truth of what God is doing and not become discouraged with what we're not yet seeing.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

In All Things, Through All Things

"And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together."
Colossians 1:17

That verse, that passage, is so awesome and deep.  I say that because I don't want to feel like I am limiting that verse to what I am about to say - there is so much more depth and meaning to it, but every time I think about what the Lord has providentially brought us into that verse crosses my mind.

He, my Jesus, is before all things and He holds all things together.

We knew God was calling us to Hendersonville, there was no doubt in our hearts and minds about it. The calling was so strong.  However, we had no idea about all of the reasons He was bringing us here.  We thought it began and ended with Relate Church and ministering to the region around Hendersonville. We had no idea what else He had in store and truthfully we still don't know.

We haven't said much about it to anyone outside of our immediate circle because it's a very touchy and heart breaking subject.  When we moved here, we moved in with Trey's grandmother, Mama Dot, with the intention of looking for and finding a home and job in Hendersonville, asap.

However when we moved in it became very apparent, that was our plan but God had something else in store. We have known for the last few years that Mama Dot was struggling with the beginning stages of dementia. We now know that it has progressed significantly and is in Stage 2, she is also struggling with Sundowners Syndrome.  

We have always had a very close relationship with his grandmother.  I praise the Lord that He sent us here to care for her and allow our family, to soak up these few months with her and allow her to remain in her home as long as possible. 

We currently have an hour commute back and forth to Hendersonville but the Lord providentially provided us with a Prius right before we moved from Kentucky. (In all things, through all things - Colossians)

The Lord provided Trey a job through a Temp Agency the first of October.  Through this position the Lord has allowed him to begin a relationship ministry.  The Lord has allowed him to share the gospel so many times, not only are we in Gaffney for his grandmother, but for these Divine Appointments.  His co-workers have begun asking him so many questions and He said the Holy Spirit has been so heavy at times in these conversations. (In All things, Through all things.)

The Lord has allowed me to be a Substitute teacher in Cherokee County Schools.  I have been blessed to minister and pray with several teachers, and blessed with the opportunity to LOVE on these students.
(In All things, Through all things.)

Last week Relate Church had the Fall Festival in Downtown Hendersonville, over 3000 people walked through the doors.The Gospel was presented numerous times!
(In All things, Through all things.)

We have been blessed to be witness of SO many salvations over the last 3 months.  (In All things, Through all things.)

Before we even realize there is a need the Lord providentially provides through your support or me being called in to Sub.  We're living on faith and every time the Lord provides manna.  I am learning not to fear. (In All things, Through all things.)  

Please continue to pray for us and the ministry God has called us to, there is so much going on!  Pray for diligence, endurance and a steadfast heart.  It could be SO easy to become distracted.

Pray that we will NEVER say No when God tells us to Go!

HIS Clay,
Melissa Bradley

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you;  
do not turn from it to the right or to the left, 
that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. 
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” 
Joshua 1:7-9


Friday, November 2, 2012

The Fear of Rejection!

I remember when I was in elementary school and we would play kickball or football every day at recess! There were times when we would have two team captains who would pick teams. I have never been the most athletic person. Even to this day, I have to practice and work very hard just to be decent at any sport. Many times I would be the last one picked, or at least be one of the last one’s picked. I never will forget the rejection that I felt in those moments.

Many of us have faced rejection in some way throughout our lives whether it is a breakup, the loss of a job, or the end of a friendship! Many have even faced being rejected by a parent or a spouse. No matter where the rejection comes from, we all probably agree that it can be a painful experience to endure. The fear of rejection can have a huge effect on how we interact with people and the decisions that we make. I strongly believe that this is one of the main reasons why we as Christians don’t share our faith the way that we should.

Studies show that about ninety-five percent of people who claim to be Christians admit that they have never shared their faith with anybody at all. That is startling considering that we claim to have the greatest gift anyone could ever have. How is it possible that a person could experience the saving power of Jesus Christ and never share it with others? There are of course many who claim to be Christians who are not! Obviously many are not going to share a faith that they don’t have in the first place. I do believe however that there are genuine followers of Jesus who do not share their faith due to this thing called fear of rejection. I know this is something that I battle with every time I share my faith with someone. For those of you who struggle with this, I have good news for you and me! In fact I will let Jesus Himself do the talking!

"He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me." Luke 10:16

Wow, is this saying what I think it is saying? If we tell someone about Jesus and they reject the message, they are not ultimately rejecting us, but are rejecting God! So we don’t have to worry about how they respond as long as we are faithfully presenting the gospel truthfully, lovingly and clearly! This doesn’t mean that when a person rejects Jesus that it will not still hurt. However, we must understand that we are just the messengers. We have to remember that it is not our job to save anybody. We are actually incapable of doing so! Only the power of the Holy Spirit can truly transform a person’s heart! (1 Corinthians 12:3) As long as we are obedient to opportunities that open up to share our faith, God is honored and we win no matter what the response is. Even through the rejection, a seed is planted and the name of Jesus is magnified.

So what does this mean

Share Jesus with everybody! Share boldly, lovingly, humbly, loudly, and leave the results up to God! It’s time to get with the program Christians! People are dying and going to hell while we stand by and keep silent because of self-esteem issues! I don’t know about you all but I refuse to allow this fear rejection to be my excuse any longer! We have the power of the God of the universe at work within us! Let’s do this!!!!

In Christ

Trey Bradley