How Do I Grow In Christ

Growing In Christ

How can I grow strong in Christ? Is Spiritual growth a mystery that only a few can figure out? What are the keys to growing in Christ?

Know Jesus Christ! our highest priority in living for Christ is knowing who he is. The more you know and understand Christ, the more effectively you can follow him. Start by reading His word. There are 66 books in the Bible, 27 in the New Testament, and 39 in the Old Testament. The truths of the New Testament are built upon the teaching of the Old Testament, but to start with, your goal is to know Jesus Christ. To learn who he is, what He taught, and begin to follow His teaching. Read the four Gospels. They tell the story of Jesus. You won’t full understand everything for a while, but that’s OK. You will begin adding to your basic knowledge and understanding of God. After reading through the gospels a couple of times, you can get a better picture of who Jesus is.

Matthew presents Jesus as a king to a mostly Jewish audience. Mark Presents Jesus to a Gentile audience. Luke presents Jesus to a Gentile audience as healer. Luke also writes the historical account of the birth of the church, the book of Acts. Finally, John writes of Jesus as God in flesh, savior of the world. Get to know who Jesus is by reading these varied accounts of his life and teaching. Begin to model them in your life.

Pray. Prayer is not just requesting things, like the drive up window at Burger King. It is a conversation between brothers, and friends. God loves us, and wants to spend time with us. Prayer also means worship. Worship is an acknowledging of God’s glory and power. Read the psalms to hear how David worshipped God. Many of the psalms as meant to be sung. They speak of the grandeur that is God. They also show David humbled himself, and asked for God’s help and favor when dealing with disagreements and complications that life throws in our path. Many people do not know how to pray, so here is a simple guide. We have a prayer wheel that breaks prayer up into twelve five minute segments. It makes praying for an hour a simple directed process. Obviously, you do not have to pray for an hour every time you pray, but this guide gives you guidance on things to include in any time you have with God in prayer.
Prayer-Wheel
  1. Worship – Always start your prayer with a time of worshipping Him, acknowledging God’s goodness and mercy. David said in Psalms 100, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise. Be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” (Psalm 22:3, 63:3; Hebrews 13:15) Begin all prayer with praise. Whatever your ultimate goal my be, first praise God In praise you esteem God for His greatness and virtues.
  2. FORGIVENESS (Matthew 6:14-15) Nothing will block your spiritual progress more fatally than an unforgiving spirit. Forgiving is a complete “pouring out” of any feelings that might have developed against anyone during the day. Even a small “root of bitterness” will grow quickly into a serious problem.
  3. CONFESSION (Psalm 139:23-24, 66:18) Early in the complete prayer clock we deal with sin. Un-confessed sin is the greatest hindrance to prayers. Rid yourself of sin by confessing and seeking forgiveness and you will clear the road for powerful praying.
  4. PETITION (Matthew 6:9-13; James 4:2-3) “Ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask and receive not because ye ask amiss.” This aspect of prayer deals with our personal needs. You may feel confident to pray for your personal needs.
  5. INTERCESSION (Matthew 9:37-38; I Timothy 2:1-2) Intercession is praying for the lost and involves the most intense dimension of prayer. Intercession is God’s love flowing through us.
  6. BIBLE READING (II Timothy 3:16) It may surprise you to hear the suggestion that you should read your Bible during prayer. However, the Word is enlightening to the eyes (Psalm 19:9). When you read the Bible new possibilities are made clear.
  7. MEDITATION (Psalm 1:1-2, 77:12) Take time to “think on these things.” God will open your understanding.
  8. THANKSGIVING (Philippians 4:6) Although thanksgiving should be sprinkled throughout your prayer, spend a special period of thanking God out loud for all the things in your life.
  9. PRAYING THE WORD Personally apply, out loud, the precepts of the Bible.
  10. SINGING (Psalm 100:2; Ephesians 5:19) Singing Refreshes and comforts the soul, and one of the greatest thrills of singing is to sing in the Holy Ghost, “a new song,” during prayer.
  11. LISTENING ( I Kings 19:11-12) Prayer is not all talking to God. It also involves listening. When we listen we receive direct orders from the Holy Spirit.
  12. PRAISE (Matthew 6:13) We conclude every prayer session with praise. Again we exalt the nature of God.

Even if you don’t include everyone of the 12 items every time, everyone of them is a powerful piece of your prayer tool box, and you should learn to use them when you pray.

 



I Just received the Holy Spirit. Now What?

I received the Holy Spirit, speaking in an unknown tongue, now what?

I received The Holy Spirit, now what?

Jesus said, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” John 3:5. The Apostles understood Jesus to mean that a man needed to “Repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” Acts 2:38, 8, 10:44-48, 19:1-10. Peter preached that on the day the church was born, which was during a Jewish holy day called Pentecost. On that day, 120 received the Holy Spirit speaking with tongues, just like you did, Acts 2:1-4. Acts 8 shows that Peter continued to preach and pray for people to receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit when he went to the Samaritans. In Samaria Peter and John laid hands upon believers who had been baptized already in Jesus name. They received a baptism in the Spirit after they had faith and had been baptized. In Acts 10, Peter has a voice from heaven in a dream three times to convince him to believe that Gentiles could be saved, which Peter had trouble believing. He had men knock on his door asking for him, saying their master had seen an angel, who told him to go get Peter. Peter and the brethren from Joppa traveled to Cornelius’ house, which was a centurion, and a Greek. Cornelius had a houseful of family and friends when Peter arrived and asked Peter to tell them what they needed to hear. Peter, now believing God was leading him, began telling them about Jesus. Acts 10:44-48 records the response of Cornelius and his household, “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

Cornelius and his whole household received the same experience that you have just received.

Several years later, Paul had been baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit the same way, and was out on one of his missionary trips, when he came across a group of John the Baptist’s followers. The had known John before Jesus had come upon the scene, and were still following John’s teaching of repentance. Paul asked them had they received the Holy Spirit. When they said that had not heard about it Paul explained to these good men that the man Jesus had already come, and had died for their sins. Paul knew then that they had not been baptized in Jesus name, so he commanded them to be baptized in Jesus name. After their baptism, Paul wanted them to received the Holy Spirit, so he laid hands on them, and one by one, each was filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with tongues as the Holy Spirit moved through them to the overflowing. Jesus had promised

“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”

John 7:38. Peter and Paul both believed, preached and prayed for the Holy Spirit to overflow believers lives. In each case, the initial sign of that Spirit overflowing a life was the evidence of speaking in tongues. So when you believe in Jesus as your savior, you repent of your sins, and then you should be baptized in Jesus name to remit those sins, which is a washing away of your old sins. In the clean vessel left behind, the Spirit of the Lord can come in and dwell. God cannot dwell in an unclean vessel, so your repentance cleans and prepares your heart for God to fill it.
Full salvation, according to Peter and Paul, and all of the Apostles, consists of faith in Christ, and then a cleansing and filling response. Jesus said, “

And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish.”

Luke 5:37.
Congratulations on your new birth! Paul says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2Cor. 5:17. All things are become new! What a grand assessment of the work that God has done in your life. Paul explains in Rom. 2:14 “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:” This new nature is based upon the nature that Christ had. You rare born of the same spirit that Christ had. Paul again described it in Rom. 8:9 as, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
We no longer follow the will of our flesh, but we can grow and learn to follow the will of the Spirit. Paul, in Romans 6:1-2 says

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”

So in Christ, we have power over sin, but we have to learn and grow into the power of the Spirit. Again, Jesus described our conversion as being born again. Paul used this same analogy of being born. He accused the Corinthians as being babies, unable to take meat and subsisting only on milk or the easy things. 1 Cor. 3:2. He encouraged them to grow up, and so I encourage you to allow God to grow you into a strong, overcoming Christian. How do you accomplish that?

Being part of the church takes understanding that the church is made up of 5 simple areas.

First of all is worship. You were filed with the Spirit because you worshiped and believed in Jesus. In order to live and overcoming life, you must maintain a life of worship and prayer. Your relationship with Jesus comes first. Without it, you cannot effectively accomplish any thing else. Jesus said there are two great commandments of the Old Testament; one is to Love God with all you heart, soul, mind and strength. You do this in public and private worship. The second, Jesus said is like the first. To Love you neighbor as yourself, which brings us to our second point, fellowship with like-minded believers. Developing friends in the church strengthens you immeasurably. You can’t build your faith solely on other people because someone will fail you, or fail to meet your expectations. If your life is based on them, you will fail as well. If you anchor your life in Christ, then friends will add to you, and false friends won’t shake you. If you are not focused on worshipping God, then people can really get on your nerves. If you focus on loving God, then loving people he loved becomes much easier. People are God’s point. You can’t effectively love God without loving people. You love God through loving people. Jesus said,

“For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.”

Mark 9:41.
How do you learn to love people and overcome your old sin nature? “

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

Learn About Christ! Matt. 11:29. Jesus emphasized our need to learn about him, and that the result would be rest for our soul. Become a disciple of Christ, a learner. Show up for Bible study. Be in your age appropriate learning class. Spend a little time every day reading the word of God. Learning does not happen all at once, but a little at a time, based upon what you previously learned. You add to your knowledge daily. You didn’t learn everything you needed to know in Kindergarten in a week. Neither will you learn all there is to know about Christ in a short period of time. In fact, some things you learn will need to be tested, so that you will learn to trust in the principles and priorities of God. If you stay with it, you will learn that He never fails you. He will always lead and guide you.

Walk in the Spirit. Knowledge plus experience will cause your faith to grow, and both take time. Relax, God knows what He is doing.

Serve Christ and Others! After an appropriate period of time, you will begin to learn to serve God, through serving your fellow man. God has gifted you and shaped you for serving His kingdom. You already have talents and abilities that God can use. You may have to spend some time working to discover what those talents are, but they are within you, waiting to bloom out of your life to positively impact other’s lives. Paul taught the Corinthian church, as well as us, that we have each been gifted by the Holy Spirit with a Spiritual gift. Everyone who receives the Spirit of God ahs been gifted through the Spirit to serve the body with your gift. Your gift does not benefit you, but it benefits others around you. Other peoples gifting benefits you, so together, everyone is benefitted through allowing the Spirit to move through each of us. So you are both gifted in a supernatural way to serve the body, and talented in a natural way to benefit the body. Your talent might be singing, or teaching, or back office work, or some other ability God has given you, and you have developed through training at work, or self-development or college training. Allow God to use both your spiritual gift and your natural talents to serve both the body and your community around you. Remember, the gift the Spirit gives you is of God, by God and through God for the body. You just have to be willing to allow God to flow through you, and learn to let Him do that.

Telling Others Your Story! The final part of being the church is telling others about what God has done for you. We call that your testimony. Everyone has a testimony, or story. Your story is unique to you, and no one can refute your true story. God has brought each of us a very long way, and we should share our story. Who should we share with? Share it with anyone who will pause to hear it. You can develop a talent for connecting with people to share your story. Connecting may be something you have to learn how to do, but telling your story comes naturally. Don’t be afraid to tell your story.

We call these 5 parts of being a Christian,

Loving God

Loving People

Learning of Him

Living For Him though serving others

Leading others to Him.

Sometimes, it may seem hard, and even overwhelming, but God is on your side, and we are as well. Welcome to the family of God!

 



Dale’s Testimony

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Dale and his wife Judy are faithful members of Elkhart Life.

“I grew up in the country, the youngest of 4, in an alcoholic home that consisted of a lot of arguing and my stepfather molesting my sister. I grew up with a dad that was suppose to come pick us up on the weekends only to be disappointed by the fact that he couldn’t keep his commitments and promises to spend the weekend with us. In my early teen years my mother laid in the hospital after having surgery for a cancerous mole on her back. They had to scrap her spine and open her up from one shoulder blade to another. My stepfather left, leaving the four of us to fend for ourselves. Leaving us to grow up with a single mother who just wanted to go to the bars. I was 16 when she almost died when she flipped her car after a night of drinking and then heading to work.

At 17 I moved out of the house after quitting high school and just wanted to drink and smoke pot. So all I worked was in restaurants living in places that were not the best places to be.  I began to work in van custom paint shops making good money but most of it was spent on my weekend party life and smoking pot all of the time. When I met my wife Judy she was a backslider trying to raise five kids. I still continued my path of smoking pot and experimenting with drugs. She took me to my first bar at the age of 20 and we began bar hopping all the time. I got my first DUI in 1987.

I told Judy I would never be married to a woman that went to church; she stayed with me though and we were married a month later. I spent a $100 a week just on smoking pot, not including the time on the weekend spent drinking and smoking cigarettes. In 1990 God began to work in my life because I had a backslidden wife that got her dad to get a prayer cloth; which she sewed into my pillowcase. She laid in bed next to me praying and crying over me. I’m thankful God answered her prayers.

The paint shop that I worked in at that time closed and they were beginning to start drug testing, I had to quit smoking pot to support my family, so 30 days from the date of the shop closing I got a job building boats. In 1991 I decided I needed to quit smoking cigarettes because of the cost of the cigarettes  andI could put more money towards the family. God helped me remove the addictions cold turkey and I didn’t even realize it.

All the time that we were married I would go to my father in laws and he would try to talk to me about Jesus and the plan of Salvation, after leaving I would tell Judy that I am not going over there again if he is just going to keep preaching to me. Nevertheless, we would go back the next weekend. We sent Angel and Adam to church but didn’t go ourselves. In March of 1992 my oldest stepson was killed while he was drunk and passed out at the wheel and hit a semi head on. In October of 1992, after months of grieving, I told Judy something has to change. We started looking for a church and after going to another church once, we went to her dad’s church Calvary Chapel when they were on Grape and Catalpa in Mishawaka. A couple taught me a bible study after I was baptized in Jesus Name on October 31, on Halloween. I received the Holy Ghost on November 30th.  It hasn’t always been easy in the last 24 years trying to raise a family and changing my lifestyle but the one thing that I have learned is that he has always been faithful to me and taken care of us.  “



Denise’s Testimony

 

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Denise has gone to Life Tabernacle for most of her life. She was baptized at Life Tabernacle when she was 8 and received the gift of the Holy Ghost by evidence of speaking in other tongues when at age 9.
Even though I had the Holy Ghost since I was a child, I suffered from chronic depression. I never sought out help for the problems I had but thought it was just a part of life. When I was 20 years old my sister, who was four years older than I, died in a car wreck that had a significant impact on my life. I look back and realize my depression grew even worse when I lost my sister. A year after losing her and battling severe depression I looked for medical help. The doctor gave me medicine that seemed to work. In fact, it worked so well I stopped taking it because I thought I was healed. After I realized my mistake, I went back to the doctor again for help.
A year or so after that I went to a prayer meeting at Life Tabernacle. I remember that night on my knees in prayer weeping, asking God “Why?!” about so many things that were not right in my life. God did not give me the answer to my question. Rather he gave his answer which was so much greater than the answer I was asking for. He spoke to me, saying I no longer needed the medicine I was taking. But that He would be my joy and my piece if I just let Him be the lord of my life.
After seeking counsel from my pastor, he directed me to discuss this change with the doctor. And surprisingly the doctor was in favor of it. The doctor told me that he was a Christian and whole heartedly believed God could heal me. His only stipulation was that I would check in with him and schedule another appointment to see where I was in a few months and to call him if I needed anything.

27 years later I do not take medication and I do not suffer from any traces of depression. When I quit cold turkey I never experienced withdrawal or any other symptoms. In today’s world where depression is so common I am here as an example of the power of Jesus and the joy He brings. I can never heal you, but I know a God that can!



Nikole’s Testimony

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Testimony Tuesday
 
Nikole and her husband, Ryan, have been members since 2003. They serve by their unmoving faithfulness and commitment to Life Tabernacle Church.
 
“O Lord my God, in You I put my trust; save me from all those who persecute me; and deliver me.” Psalm 7: 1
 
I am a child of an abusive, alcoholic, rage-oholic, dysfunctional home (just a repeat of what my father, his father, and his father’s father experienced as a child). The primary dysfunctional rules: ‘don’t talk, don’t trust, don’t feel.’ I trusted only myself. Perfectionism and anxiety were my result. My value or worth was based on my performance as a ‘good’ girl. An approval seeker who lost her identity. Frightened by angry people and personal criticism. Confused love, with pity for others or for myself. Stuffed feelings from a traumatic childhood and lost the ability to feel deeply, or to trust as an innocent child.
God our Father must be like my earthly Father, right? An authoritative figure, looking down at me with anger and annoyance at my imperfections. Ready to punish me with lightening for any mistakes? How can a God love me, when I did not love myself? I didn’t trust God to fulfill His promises; I did not trust others to follow through. How could a loving God let me live in a family with such dysfunction?
Bondage. I attended church throughout childhood; I had a praying mother. However, I questioned what I learned. Praying to Jesus and God the Father (equal time each of course). Looking for an identity in Christ. ‘Hoping’ I was saved by the ‘sinners prayer’ (which I prayed several times a year, just to make sure). Again, not able to trust fully what I was being taught. So many questions unanswered.
Freedom. One day, a man walked through the doors of a local coffee shop. I offered my telephone number to “help him find a pair of running shoes.” He, in return, offered a Bible study called Search for Truth. A year later we were married. I was Baptized in Jesus name (previously Baptized in the Trinity, so I was re-baptized as in Acts), and filled with God’s spirit (Acts 2:38). God opened my eyes; I was blind but could see. God’s breath was in my lungs. I was free. I automatically felt the chains being lifted.
Over the last 13 years, God moved me from shame to self-worth, from secrecy to honesty, loneliness to connection with others, from silence to having a voice, and from mistrust, to trusting in Him for my life’s path. No matter what dysfunction you came from, God can restore the person you were meant to be, and use your past as a Testimony to others on a daily basis. You CAN trust God; He will not forsake you.”
 


Jamie’s Testimony

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Jamie and his family are faithful members of Life Tabernacle Church. Husband, and father of four boys with twins on the way, Jami is an excellent role model for his family, and others in the church
 
“I am so thankful that the Lord is as close as the mention of His name! It all started on a normal day trying to provide for my family with a second job. I delivered newspapers before going to the factory I worked at every morning. I usually was in a hurry to get the job done so I was not late for work. This particular morning I went a little too fast around a sharp curve. I drove an older top-heavy Bronco which rolled twice before skidding into a tree. My left arm was out of the window dragging on the ground as I slid and the first thing I yelled was, “Jesus help me!” The truck landed on the driver side, and the severity of the injury to my left arm disabled me from climbing out of the passenger side. I looked in back of the vehicle and the hatch was open so I could crawl out that way. It may seem little, but I believe that in itself was a miracle from God.
 
There was a house across the road from where I had wrecked but something told me to go to the house down the road a bit. So I walked ¼ of a mile down the road with my arm wrapped in my shirt.. I was told later, by the man whose house I walked to, that the people who lived across the road from my wreck were on vacation so I believe the Lord spoke to me and directed my steps. Jesus knew exactly where to send me.
 
To make a long story short, I had a large gash in my arm and that cut was one centimeter away from slicing a main artery in my arm. The doctors told me after the wreck I would have limited mobility in my left arm, specifically in my thumb. They required three surgeries and ten full days in the hospital to fix the damage in my arm. Some may thank the surgeons, but to this day I thank God because I have nearly full mobility in my entire arm, and still believe God can heal me completely.
 
There is a scar to remind me how great God is and how tragedy can be used to testify of His goodness. There is so much more to my testimony than this; but this was one of the many examples showing that Jesus has done the miraculous in my life. What an amazing God!”
 


Aaron’s Testimony

Aaron is a member of Life Tabernacle Church. He has four children; Anna, Hannah, Aj, and Isaiah. You will always find him at the alter praying with his children

“I never viewed my past as a testimony but rather I viewed it as a story of pain and resentment. But one day I realized that was simply a lie of the devil and he wanted me to continue to feel sorry for myself and be bitter. But I will tell you today, because I have stopped listening to the devil’s lies, I have been healed in ways I never knew I needed healing in.
My childhood and teen years were full of turmoil. When I was seven years old, on September 27, 1981, my father was murdered in an attempted gas station robbery. The man who introduced the Bible and it’s importance in my life was gone and I was the last person to see him. My mother, who was four months pregnant with her sixth child at that time, struggled to provide for our family. After a few years of fighting to survive she put us in a Children’s home in an attempt to get back on her feet and provide for us better. And I was even removed from my siblings and placed in a youth shelter. I was molested on three separate occasions in just a matter of ten years. The first time when I was three and the last time when I was thirteen.
After that last time I became angry, hurt, and broken. Why should I care if no one cares about me? I am just a thing to them. An item to be abused, made fun of, unlovable. My anger had no limits. I hurt and I was going to hurt others, which I did. Internally, part of me knew I was lashing out, hurting the world that had hurt me. Part of me knew all I really wanted was to be loved unconditionally, to be viewed as a person.
I remained hurt and broken for the better part of my life. But on December 15th, 1990 I walked into an Apostolic church and my life was changed forever. I finally found a place where I felt at home and loved. I received the gift of the Holy Ghost with evidence of speaking in other tongues April 1st, 1991. I experienced the unfailing love I had been searching for my entire life. My brokenness and anger was gone in a moments time because of the blood of Jesus.
I don’t know who will read this and what you have gone through, but know this, a big lie of the devil and one of his favorites is that you are alone and no one knows what you have gone through. I beg you to not believe it. I was a three time molested, angry, broken, boy who didn’t feel loved. My father was murdered. I smoked, have been drunk, been high, had premarital sex, been arrested, been in fights with knives and brass knuckles, hurt people purposely, went to 18 schools by the time I graduated, did everything I could to do things my way, to control my life so I wouldn’t be hurt again. And in spite of all those things God looked at me and said, “I love you. And you are worth more than you could ever imagine.” 25 years later and I am still walking with God. He took a broken and hurt 17 year old and molded him into a 42 year old father of four beautiful children. I’m not perfect, but He is and I have Jesus to thank for everything.”

 
 
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Sonny’s Testimony

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Sonny and his wife are active members of Life Tabernacle in Elkhart. He is apart of the worship band and is a very passionate and skilled songwriter. Sonny is currently sharing his testimony all over the country, hoping to make a difference in someone’s life. You can read more about his efforts to fight against drugs and addiction by visiting his blog at www.mywaronaddiction.blogspot.com .Hope you enjoy this week’s testimony from Sonny. God bless!

 

I have this equation that I have been living by for the last 14 years, Me +Jesus = Better. I got this calculation from one of the first interactions I had with Pastor Mark Johnson.

It was a concept that was strange but not unfamiliar to me in its nature since I was raised in a home that did their dead level best to teach me the ways and things of God. However, my thirst for the world and its pleasures outweighed my parents’ prayers and I ignored their godly advice. I walked right into a world that I was completely unprepared and not designed for. The human body was not constructed with the need to add chemical intoxicants to create emotions such as happiness and joy. But that’s exactly what I did. I was desperately wanting to fit in amongst my peers.  I did not know that these substances would change the very fabric of my DNA to the point where I quickly lost the ability to control my own thoughts and emotions. This created a NEED for me to manufacture my own emotions through drugs and alcohol that God intended to be present naturally. Throughout my teens and 20’s I was a slave to these products that would masterfully control every aspect of my life. While I was bound by these feelings that would ridicule, mock, and abuse me, I would justify where I was in life for just a few minutes of that high that would gratify my sense of self… over and over again.  The process of addiction had become who I was and who I would remain to be forever.

This brings me back to Pastor Johnson and this equation that “rudely” interrupted a perfectly addicted life. Lol!  A few months before this chance meeting I checked myself into a rehab facility.  The purpose of this was not really to stay clean and sober but to learn how to use drugs more efficiently without becoming suicidal or experiencing all the depths of depression that come along with them.  This didn’t work and I actually began to see where I had a serious problem and needed to make a change.  One of the things they taught me in my classes was that if I came across somebody that looked like they had something I wanted, to ask them how they got it.  So on my first day out of rehab my path crossed with Pastor Johnson, as I was surprising my mother at church, and it was what he told me that day that has forever changed my path.  He told me that he loved me. Then he had the nerve to look me straight in the eye with the utmost confidence and tell me that it’s the best life living for the Lord.  I thought he was crazy at first and was just being polite. But as his words kept echoing in my head, I decided I should investigate this idea of “a good life” a little further.  After 14 years of listening to a man who truly loves people and being a part of the best church on planet earth, I now have my very own relationship with the King of all kings and I can truly say that Me + Jesus=Better!



Mandy Nord has been healed

Mandy
Mandy and her husband, Chris, are our Sunday School department leaders. They have a passion for children’s ministry and outreach. They work very hard at what they do and we appreciate their heart and effort. We love them and know all of the kids in our Sunday School and Wednesday night One Way Club love them too. We hope you enjoy Mandy’s testimony about the healing power of Je

sus.

” About 2 1/2 years ago I started dealing with back pain that just wouldn’t go away. I have struggled with back pain since my teens, but this was different. It was constant and affected everything I did. After about six months of frequent chiropractor visits, I was sent to get an MRI. I knew it was going to take a few days to get the results so I just went about my business. Then, after an evening out with friends and family (celebrating my birthday nonetheless), I received a call from my doctor at 9:00 pm. My first thought was, “This can’t be good!” And it wasn’t. He originally thought that I might have a bulging disc, but was now saying that I had two bulging disc, one with a tear, several vertebrae showing degeneration, nerve impingement, and the list went on. His recommendation was to stop doing my current job as a dental assistant and find something new to do and that surgery would be my only option. I had been working as a dental assistant straight out of college for almost twenty years, and to top it all off, we had no health insurance. So needless to say I was scared to death. Fortunately I was able to switch to a front desk position with my current employer which was helpful to a degree physically, but not financially. Thankfully, I have a wonderful husband that changed jobs to obtain insurance for us so that I could get my surgery done, but it was a long wait for the actual surgery. And I was getting worse. The doctor had me doing physical therapy, injections, pain management, and all it was doing was helping me barely get through the day. After a while I was being seen by a spinal specialist who was the one that was going to do my surgery. He insisted on doing some follow up x­rays because he wasn’t convinced that the above listed items were my exact problem. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, just when I thought my surgery and relief was close at hand, he tells me that I was misdiagnosed. That my spinal issues are much more complicated and I only have two options: 1. Extensive spinal fusion surgery that would leave my with very limited mobility and would more than likely not cure my pain or 2. indefinite pain management. That was it folks, I was done. At this point it had been a year and a half of misery and I had no definite solution.I had prayed and been prayed for many times over that awful year and a half. I never once doubted that God could heal me, because He has healed me so many times before in my life. I was born with heart problems, healed. At 27 my heart began to struggle again and I suffered from congestive heart failure and God healed that, and so many other small things. But, I had no answer as to why God was silent this time. But on May 9, 2015, during a revival service, I went down to the altar to get prayed for one more time. This time, I had no other option but God. There was no doctor, no medicine, and no procedure to fall back on. He was my only hope. And right then and there, instantaneously, He did it again! I was finally pain free, able to move, bend over, everything! And today on my one year anniversary of my healing I am happy to report that I am still pain­free and I have been back to dental assisting for almost a year now. I am back to being the wife, mother, and worker in the church that I want to be. This year has been full of new beginnings and I thank God everyday that He cares enough to meet our needs, great and small.”



Sister Johnson’s Testimony

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Sister Marci Johnson is our Pastor’s wife. She is an amazing lady who is respected by everyone who meets her. Along with serving our church in every capacity imaginable, she serves as the Indiana District Ladies Secretary. There is no doubt of the love, admiration, and respect our whole church has for this godly lady. We love us some Sister J!

 

“God’s miraculous healing power has been a big part of my life.  At the age of two years old I was bitten by a sweat bee. The outcome of that bite was a very sick baby that ended up in Riley Hospital.  I was diagnosed at that point with Nephrotic Syndrome/Nephrosis.  This disease is simply this:  the kidneys spill protein and keep bacteria, causing excessive swelling and loss of kidney function.  At that time, (in the early 60’s)  no one that had been diagnosed with Nephrosis lived passed their early teen years.  But, fortunately for me they had recently discovered that the steroid Prednisone would not heal but would throw the disease into remission.  So that began my life of doctor visits and sickness.  Swelling and high doses of Prednisone for long periods of time and then remission and weaning off the Prednisone.  At one point we tried an experimental drug that could have caused me to be unable to have children.  Praise God that was not the outcome of that drug!  The Prednisone though unpleasant with it’s side affects kept me through my teen years!
My husband and I felt God call us to AIM Missionaries to Hong Kong.  During that preparation time of going over seas I became very sick again and also was pregnant with our second child Titus.  The doctors first suggested that we abort the baby because of the high risk it was to me.  After they realized that was not going to be our choice they begged us to stay in the States until the baby was born.  My husband and I were determined to go to Hong Kong.  We believed God had called us to this ministry, and we believed that God would go with us and protect us.  AND He did just that!  While we were in Hong Kong I delivered Titus, a healthy baby boy and was healed of Nephrosis at the same time!  I have not had one symptom of this disease for over 27 years!  To God be the glory!  Was it faith that brought my healing?  Was it obedience to God’s call?  Maybe it is both!”