Friday, March 03, 2006

renewed strength

Don't you know that the LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth? He never grows faint or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak. Even youths will become exhausted, and young men will give up. But those who wait on the LORD will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isa. 40:28-31

Have you ever felt like quitting? I mean anything-a marriage, a friendship, a career, a dream, anything. After walking with God for all these years and observing others lives as a pastor, I am convinced that when God’s life is in me, I can endure through the most difficult of times and see God’s faithful blessing. Far too many people break down before they break through. Most everything that is truly good in life is not going to be obtained without some degree of patient endurance.

It is easy to quit. It is very difficult to see things through. I understand this very well. Eight years ago I moved to Las Vegas will my eyes filled with Vision of all that God could and would do if only I would believe Him and work hard in His field. And work hard Michelle and I did. We worked so hard the first year or so that we about killed ourselves. We had to slow down or we wouldn’t make it for the long haul.

Then the learning phase kicked in where we started establishing as a church and I began to realize how much I had to grow if we were going to do a good job of helping people become like Christ as well as plant other churches.

A couple of years ago we had another phase. I would call it the trouble phase. A good friend died in a drowning accident at a beach while we were on a mission trip. I began dying on the inside. We experienced financial difficulty as a church and I took a job on the side to help make it through. A sect of the church formed through the influence of one person. Slowly but surely, each person who this one befriended became critical of me personally and left our fellowship. These were people I had known and loved. This was a season of deep wounding for Michelle and me.

For the first time I began to think about quitting. I lost my sense of vision for a while and was in survival mode. If it were not for a wife who believed in me and a mother in Christ like Lynnie praying for me as well as other men in our fellowship who continued to place confidence in the vision as well as the vision-bearer, I very well may have quit.

Today I am in a new phase. I am in the renewed strength phase. My vision is clear, and my heart is alive. I am praying and strategizing about our next church plant and believing God in spite of present challenges. I have been through some things and I have learned some things. The other night a demon said to me, “Chris the people of this church will never see this vision, go somewhere else”. I became very discouraged and could not seem to shake it. I woke up the next day and found the encouragement I needed. Three things happened. I prayed, someone sent me an e-mail saying just the right things, and someone else called me and dropped by the church to bring a financial gift.

God met me and renewed my strength. I am not going to quit on God or this church or my family! With God’s life in me I will overcome this world and all its pain and heart-ache and make a difference.

But the one who plants in response to God, letting God's Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life. 9 So let's not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don't give up, or quit. Gal. 6:7-9

I believe we have some very powerful and encouraging words for your heart this weekend. Join us at New Community Church as we continue our “God’s Life-Is it in you” series. We are going to help you with your staying power.

In His grip,

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