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Letter - Posted on 7.25.21

Dear Church

An open letter (Week 6)

Dear Church, 

I wish I could tell you differently. I wish I could shield you from it. I wish I could tell you that I don’t have to deal with it anymore. From the beginning of time, everyone alive has had to deal with it. It is inevitable. Men, women and children of all nationalities have it. Christian believers, along with everyone else, have it. Getting saved doesn’t stop you from having it. However, Christian believers know that their response to this has to be biblical and different from everyone else. 

The thing we all have—conflict

The question isn’t how you’ll respond IF you have conflict… it is how you respond WHEN you have conflict. 

Conflict in families. Conflict at work. Conflict in society. Conflict in culture. Conflict in the church. 

That’s what I want to focus on—conflict in the church. 

From the inception of the church, there’s been conflict. In Acts 6, one group of the church felt neglected and perceived that others in the church were getting better care and attention, leading to the first conflict in the newly emerging church. Acts 15 describes the first council in Jerusalem when the “us and them”—Jews and Gentiles—question almost split the infant church. Acts 15 ends with a split between Paul and his mentor, Barnabas, who dissolved their missionary partnership and went in different directions with different partners. Most of the epistles by Paul, Peter, John and Jude are dealing with different types of conflict. 

Conflict is not new in or to the church. 

My question, therefore, is, how will you as a Christian believer respond to conflict in this church? 
- Will you take sides?
- Will you take to social media?
- Will you stoke the flames?
- Is it more important to be right than loving? 

As your uncle, here are a few of my recommendations: 
1. Examine yourself first before throwing rocks.
2. Talk TO people, not ABOUT them.
3. Do not turn conflict into a prayer request on social media.
4. Pray for the person you’re in conflict with—not judgement but blessings.
5. Seek forgiveness and apologize. 

Conflict is rarely limited to just two individuals. It will eventually involve and impact others—a splash effect. 

When the church experiences conflict, it is especially impactful. It affects our testimony and could jeopardize someone’s eternity. 

Like any parent/uncle, the goal is to share the wisdom accrued over a long time and to leave the children, nieces and nephews equipped to apply what has been imparted. 

We are all to stay “in character” (Christian character) as we go through difficult places with each other. 

Let me conclude with Jesus’ words of instruction: 

John 13:34-35 (TheMessage) “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” 

Your Friend and Uncle, 
Sam Chand

Letter - Posted on 7.18.21

Dear Church

An open letter (Week 5)

Dear Church,

Throughout my life and time in ministry, I’ve learned countless lessons. Even though I’ve committed my life to walking alongside our Father in heaven, I’ve gone through some very challenging seasons. I’ve been broken and I’ve been mended—but through it all, one thing has remained true… God is and has ALWAYS been with me. As a part of the body of Christ, I know that if He is always with ME then He is surely always with YOU.

So, let’s talk about it… We have been stretched on every side. We’ve lost loved ones, jobs and much more. While many have struggled, you may have seen some “undeserving” folks gain in this season. Or pandemic, politics and racial tension aside, perhaps you thought at this point in life you’d be further along whether relationally, in your career, or otherwise. In the wake of this season, it's normal to wonder, “What has been the meaning of all this?” Or like the biblical prophet Jeremiah, you could be asking God, “Why does the way of the wicked prosper?” Many of you are, by now, weary, frustrated, or plain angry with God and ready to throw in the towel. With all of that being acknowledged, I am writing to you today to tell you why you must NEVER give up on your faith or your journey no matter how tempted you may be or how “bad” things get…

Why not?

How would you feel if you knew and truly accepted that all of these challenges were for your good? Do you believe all of these “little” things could be training ground and preparation for where God is taking you and who He has created you to be? God responded to Jeremiah's concerns and complaints by asking, “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses?”  What does this mean to us today? It means, if we cannot handle the trials, we currently face, how then can we face what is to come? 

Simply put, stop complaining! Dry your tears, dear Church.

You are daughters and sons of the King and it’s time to RUN WITH THE HORSES! Just look at the world around you! Don’t you see? Maybe more than ever, it’s time to stand firm in our faith. If you are disappointed and weary, hold on to God. Call on Him even more! Yes, this life is full of trials—but know that the harder the trial, the bigger the calling and the blessing. Stand up from your sitting place! Don't envy others' gains! Don’t allow this world to wash over you! Give your whole heart to Jesus knowing if He is for you, NO ONE can be against you. If you are bound, He will break the chains and deliver you! If you struggle with self-doubt, He can give you the strength, ability, know-how, and anointing to do those things you can’t do on your own. You CAN run with the horses! Stop worrying about the small stuff around you–those are tricks of the enemy attempting to make you lose sight of what God created you for. You can overcome! Get your eyes up and lift your head!

Beloved Church, I pray that this message will take root, guiding your perspective on life’s challenges as it has done so for me. Know that as long as you have breath in your lungs, you are still in the game! God won’t bring you THIS far to leave you. Hold tightly to our Father in heaven and His Word. And please remember, He is ALWAYS with you.  

Sincerely,
Pastor John K. Jenkins Sr.

Letter - Posted on 7.11.21

Dear Church

An open letter (Week 4)

Dear Church, 

There is so much noise in this world, a constant stream of voices vying for your attention and affection. Sometimes there are so many voices that you can forget how special your voice is. You can be led to believe that when you use your voice, it just adds to the growing chorus of everyone else’s problems and complaints. The enemy of your soul wants to silence you.

But I am here today to remind you of something: Your voice matters to GOD. Your prayers are precious to GOD.

Let me say that again. Your prayers are so precious to God.

He wants to hear from you! The good, the bad, the ugly. Never, ever let the enemy, friends, or this world convince you that your prayers don’t matter to God. Your prayers do matter to Him. So, go to God with whatever you are going through…

If you are happy, pray.
If you are sad, pray.
If you are angry, pray.
When you feel hopeless, pray.
When you feel like there is just no use, pray.
If you are on top of the world, pray.
When everything is going right in your life, pray. 

Pray without ceasing!
Pray like your life depends on it.

Go to God in the mornings before you get out of bed, when you are going to work, in between meetings and emails, at lunch, on the way home, at dinnertime, at nighttime… As you are drifting off to sleep, pray.

Share with God your hopes and dreams.
Share with God your fears and doubts.
Share with God everything, because HE loves you and He wants to hear from you.

When you wakeup each day, remind yourself that if God is for you, who can be against you? Everyday is an opportunity to let your light shine in a dark world. Constantly keep a heart of thankfulness and generosity, and ask God each day: “Who do you want me to add value to?”

Ask and He will respond. Seek and you will find HIM.Knock and the door to eternity will be opened for you.And always remember that God is for you. 

Your prayers are precious to God.

Your friend and brother,
James Meeks

Letter - Posted on 7.4.21

Dear Church

An open letter (Week 3)

Dear Church, 

I’ve been thinking a lot about you lately and praying for you earnestly as we navigate the future together. I know this past year has been difficult for many of you, but I really believe that going through challenging times only serves to make us stronger and better prepared for anything that lies ahead!

One of my greatest concerns for you is that you would not be deceived by the spirit of this world. The more I read the Bible, the more I see a recurring theme throughout the New Testament where every writer seems to have this same concern for the church. When the Apostle Paul writes his letters to the churches, he seems very convinced that this will be the Christian’s greatest challenge in the coming days. The Apostle Peter seems almost obsessed with this subject as he writes over and over again about false prophets and their goal to deceive, if possible, even the very elect of Christ. And then we see Jesus speaking about what it will be like right before He comes back, and He also seems to emphasize that the number one way people will fall away is through deception.

Just remember that deception can come in many packages, even from people you like and trust. That’s why it will be so important to know what the Bible says to keep you anchored. Don’t be someone who feeds on conspiracy theories or is constantly following self-proclaimed prophets when the words they’ve spoken in the past have not come to pass. Make sure that whatever you listen to is backed up by Scripture instead of just an impression someone says they have.

As a pastor and spiritual father who loves you, I want to encourage you to hold fast to the truth of God’s Word even as it becomes more unpopular in the days ahead! Keep yourself rooted and grounded in love, especially when it comes to interacting with people who hold different views than your own. Always do your best to operate with a heart of reconciliation, reconciling people to God as well as people to each other. As Jesus said, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you. God is counting on you to be the catalyst that changes the world!

Just remember that from the moment you came into the earth, you were created to make a difference. Don’t ever buy into the lie that you’re a victim. You were always created to live as an overcomer regardless of what life throws at you! Never let your race, your economic condition, your education, or even your past failures limit what God wants to do through you. God believes in you and so do I!

When you wakeup each day, remind yourself that if God is for you, who can be against you? Everyday is an opportunity to let your light shine in a dark world. Constantly keep a heart of thankfulness and generosity, and ask God each day: “Who do you want me to add value to?”

As I close, I want to remind you what the Apostle Peter said to everyone who is a part of the church in 1 Peter 2:9 NIV.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” 

With all the love I have to give,
Your friend and pastor,
Dennis Rouse

Letter - Posted on 6.27.21

Dear Church

An open letter (Week 2)

Dear Church,

We have a tremendous opportunity to make an amazing impact on the world right now. In a nation and world filled with confusion, anxiety, rage, fear, helplessness, hopelessness, and often despair, we know the One who holds the world in His hands. And it is He—Jesus, the Anchor of our Souls, the Author and Finisher of our Faith, the Bright Morning Star—who will securely lead us through this perilous time. Listen to His words. Keep your eyes fixed upon Him.

The heavenly Father’s eternal plan calls for you to be involved in bringing hope and healing to His world and His creation. He trusts that you will step up and be part of this great endeavor of salvation and reconciliation.

He created you, claimed you, called you, and cultivated you to be His. He made you to be more than you ever thought you could be. He blessed you by making you in the likeness and image of His Son, Jesus. He called you daughter, son, light, salt, saint, ambassador, beloved.

He prepared a community to love you and to help shape you and to mold you and to teach you and to equip you to serve Him and others whose lives are empty. He made you to tell others looking to fill some inexplicable emptiness in their lives that God is love; He refreshes with living water and hardy bread for your journey through life; He has prepared a mansion for you in His kingdom, a true home where there is no more pain, suffering, death, or tears. You are His vessel to communicate this to a fractured and broken world.

He has told us over and again that this great plan will be accomplished as you step out in the power of His Spirit to bring the world together through Jesus—all peoples, all cultures, all races, all ages. It will never be easy, but it will be immensely rewarding. It will, however, take your persistence, you’re trusting and obeying Him, and you’re never giving up on Him.

And with all the words that wash over you each day, with all the catchy slogans, with all the static that attempts to confuse and distort and deflect your true purpose and meaning, pitch your ear to the words that rise above the din, words which at the end of life mean more than anything else in the world, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Come into My presence.”

Dear Church, seek this blessing all your life. God bless you all… in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Your friend and fellow sojourner,
Ron Bowie

Letter - Posted on 6.20.21

Dear Church

An open letter (Week 1)

The following is meant to be an encouragement for the Church as coming from Victory Leadership

My beloved,

The God of the universe knows YOU.
He really knows you! He knows you because He created you.
You were made in the image of the everlasting God.  
He made every part of you and took His very breath and breathed life into your lungs.
Before the foundations of the world were set, He had you in mind.
You were fearfully and wonderfully made.
When God looks at you, He sees His child—His son, His daughter.

He thinks of you so much that it is inconceivable how often you are on His mind. You belong to Him and He loves you.
God has so many wonderful plans for you—plans of hope and plans for the future.
He will never harm you or ignore you.
God will never ever turn His back on you.

Listen to me: GOD – LOVES – YOU.

I realize you have had experiences of what a father shouldn’t be and shouldn’t do.
I am so sorry for every person that has hurt you or wounded you.
I am sorry for every bad example of a father you’ve experienced.
That wasn’t the character of GOD.
You must understand that people will always fall short, but HE never will.
Even if all of your earthly fathers fail you, remember that your Heavenly Father NEVER will.  

Listen to me: GOD – LOVES – YOU.

The crazy thing is that HE loves you not because of anything you have done—not because of accomplishments or awards or what others think of you.
Your Father loves you because you are His child.
So, when you mess up, when you get weak and stumble, get back up and keep running to HIM.
Your Father will always be there, arms stretched wide, ready to receive you again.
Please don’t hide from HIM!
He wants all of you, not just the presentable parts you show everyone else.
Allow your Father to search your heart, showing you areas that are dark, and then allow the light of Jesus to illuminate every part of you.

The bottom line is this:
Your Dad wants relationship with you.
He wants the kind of connection that will never be broken.
He wants that connection because He loves you more than you’ll ever know.

He is a very, very good Father.
He loves you forever and always, and there is nothing you can ever do to change that.

I'm for you,
Your Pastor

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